suzi's getting ready photos

My favorite part of photographing weddings is seeing everything fall into place.
Every detail, down to the shoes.
It's so perfect.

So getting to capture Suzi getting ready for her big day was the highlight of my summer.
Her dress was stunning.
Layers of ruffled chiffon.
Sweet, classic but with a modern edge.

Gorgeous sparkler.
Jon did good.

I loved every last detail.
And she was ready to go :)

Orange shoes and all.
I even got to assist her with putting them on.

Not my best angle.


suzi's wedding morning reveal

Excuse the lack of regular blogging over the past week friends.
I've been a tad under the weather.
Also, I think fall allergy season is already in full-force.  Which means nature and I won't be seeing eye-to-eye for the next few months.
I am a snotty mess.

To tide you over until next week, I wanted to share a few of the photos I took of my girl Suzi getting ready for her big day.
Stay tuned.  Tomorrow will be the dress reveal.
Gosh, I love every detail of weddings.

 We started out the morning at Maria Giallanza Salon in Solon.
With Maria herself there to transform Suzi's blonde locks into an elaborate chignon.

I absolutely loved the tiny braids hidden in her hair.

Afterwards we went back to the bride's house where mimosas were flowing.
Everyone was in a relaxed mood.
Getting their makeup done.
Snacking on an amazing brunch put together by the bridesmaid's mother.

And tomorrow: the bridal pictures.
Regular blogging to resume next week.


rehearsal at greenhouse tavern

My dear friend Suzi got married in June.
She was the most gorgeous bride.
Wait until next week, you'll see.

But first, some photos from her rehearsal dinner.
Which was held at Greenhouse Tavern on E 4th.

I love the rustic industrial feel of this place.  Between the wood grain details and the antique bicycles stashed in every corner.  Oh, and the rooftop bar with café lights strung from end to end.

The beautiful bride and her future-brother-in-law.
Who also happens to work with Chef Jonathan Sawyer.
Lucky guy.

 These two are my favorite.
Their wedding was so gorgeous and fun.

We even snuck in a shot of the entire rehearsal dinner party.

Quite the crew.
Speaking of.
I love these friends.

[wren, adam, the groom, me and wren's hubby]

Eventually we headed down to a private room for the dinner portion of the evening.
Which far surpassed any other rehearsal dinner I've been to.
All of the food at Greenhouse Tavern is local sourced, fresh and prepared to perfection.

I couldn't even finish all the food we were served.
Huge portions at this place.
My favorite was by far the Caesar salad, made with grilled romaine.  I really need to try that technique at home.

Oh and dessert.
 Buttered Popcorn Pot de Crème.
 With caramel and sea salt.

It's light, buttery, sweet and salty.
A perfect end to the night.


wren's blueberry thyme cocktail

Wren has been one of my real life friends since I was eight.
And luckily we both ended up back in Cleveland so I still get to see her all the time.
I love how life works out like that.

She just started blogging again (go visit!) and has been posting recipes left and right that are to die for.  Especially in the realm of cocktails.  We had a girls night this past weekend and she whipped up some martinis that I'm still daydreaming about.

So I'm thrilled she's here to share her recipe for this Blueberry Thyme Cocktail.
Try it.  You won't be sorry.


Blueberry Thyme Cocktails.
I will be making these again soon.  

 It's really all about the simple syrup which I have found really is simple to make. 

Sugar + Water + Heat = Syrup.

I mixed this blueberry thyme simple syrup with vodka and lemon juice.  It took some of the dark blue color away but tasted like blueberry lemonade.

 Delicious!  So delicious that I forgot to take a picture of the finished product until I had finished about a third of it.

Blueberry Thyme Simple Syrup

1 Cup water
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup blueberries
1-2 tsp thyme leaves

Note: If you want a sweeter syrup, use a 1:1 ratio of water to sugar.

Bring all the above ingredients to a boil in a saucepan.  Allow to simmer for 10 minutes - the blueberries should burst and release flavor/color.  Set syrup aside and let it cool to room temperature.

Blueberry Thyme Cocktail

4 oz blueberry thyme simple syrup
3 oz vodka
2 oz lemon juice

Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, top with ice, and shake like crazy.  Fill 2 chilled martini glasses and enjoy.

Great after a hard day of work.  Men, and it appears even dogs, will want one.


the fever || girl edition

I wrote a little post about how having a sweet little boy one day would be pure joy.
And thought that it needed to be followed up with a girl version.

Sweet curls.
Rosy cheeks.
And a wandering spirit.

That would be my girl.

She'd love boating.
And possibly soccer as well...depending how much of her Daddy she gets.
But if she's anything like her mama.

Well, she'd live in a world filled with tutus.
He dog would be her best friend.
She'd love all things beautiful.
And would enjoy quiet moments.

Little girls all lined up at the barre?
There's not much sweeter than that :)


when it's hard to be thankful

It's easy to write a post about all that's good in my life on the days that I'm feeling blessed.   
Today is one of those days.
I'm just feeling loved.

But then there are those days that I'm so tired I can't function.
Those days when every moment seems more disastrous than the last that I sometimes forget how much good there is in my life.
Those days when I envy.
When I'm not full of grace.
When I take life for granted.

It's hard to be thankful on those days.
But those are the moments that we should be thanking God for the good in our lives. 
For the husband who forgets to take out the garbage but is supportive of your dreams.
For the dog who wakes you up during a thunderstorm only to snuggle closer the rest of the night.
For the half-painted house that makes you cringe, but houses happiness within.
For the garbage disposal that spits back at you.  At least you're well off enough to have one when others have so little.
For the girlfriends who also have mood swings (yes, that's nature) but are always there in a pinch.
For the family that that abuses the 'reply all' option, but that you get to talk to every day.

Yes, it's hard to be thankful when the day isn't quite going your way.
But you still should be :)

Have a lovely weekend friends!


fresh garden caprese skewers

Fresh mozzarella.
Plump cherry tomatoes.
And garden fresh basil.

You really can't go wrong with those ingredients.
Especially when paired together as an appetizer.

This one only takes about five minutes to prepare.
And is fancy enough to take to a dinner party while still being delicious enough to indulge in as a snack.

Other than the main trio, you just need some toothpicks, balsamic vinegar, oil olive and salt.

Place one tomato and one mozzarella ball in each basil leaf.

Secure with a toothpick to make a little basil boat.
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a touch of salt.

Fresh, healthy and quick to prepare.
The perfect summer treat.


doggie paddling

For the past five years we've been blessed with our dog.
He's quirky, human-like and has selective-hearing.
We pretty much have him figured out by this point.

Other than the last great remaining mystery.
Can he swim?

Being an avid hater of baths and peeing in the rain, Ricki wasn't the ideal candidate for a swim.  But he adores being on the boat.  Which is near water.  So he can't hate it that much...right?

Besides, we had a doggie life jacket for him to rock.
Which I couldn't stop squealing about once we put it on. He looked like such a brave dog in that orange vest.  My heart melted.

He was being so calm and so sweet.
Until we got him in the water.

 Then he turned into the dog version of Ryan Lochte.
Paddling this way then that way.
Happy as a clam dog in water.

A pretty successfully first swim.
Resulting in a exhausted but happy pup.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out on the platform watching the other boats.
And watching the Olympics in the air conditioning.

No need to overdo it on day one.

I couldn't be prouder of our little pup though.
Who knew he had it in him?


color torn

I mentioned yesterday that we're giving our exterior an overhaul.
A makeover that is way overdue.
Leading us to discover that our house was once painted olive green with a bright teal door.

Who were these people?

Anyway, aftering giving our door hardware a quick and inexpensive new look this past weekend, it became apparent that our double-front doors are in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint.  They've faded so much that there's an ombré effect taking place where the glass door lays over it.

Trendy, but definitely sad looking.

My MIL has been a gem in scouring ideas for paint.  She seriously has a crazy good eye when it comes to color.  Thank goodness...other than red, I didn't really know what paired well with a blue house.  And well, I didn't want to go the traditional red route.

We narrowed it down to these two yesterday.  And I'm debating which one to try first.

I like them both for different reasons.
The deep chocolate-plum undertones really keeps the house color as the main event.  And will tie in beautifully with the plum curtains you can see peeking out the bay window.
The greyish-green is calm, relaxing and very cape-cod-like.

Both colors really make the hardware pop.  I was worried the darker door knobs would fade into the dark plum but they actually are much bolder than the paint color.

So internets.
Which one do you think is the winner?
Seriously.  I need your opinion here.  I'm torn.


ORBed it back to life

Some of you may have seen some of the sneak peeks on instagram (@nstudly) I've been posting about our current house project.  Namely, getting rid of the wash out pale yellow exterior walls and splashing on some Cape Cod inspired blue-grey to spruce the house up.

Exterior painting is the true test of a marriage.  Because it's not just one room.  It's the whole deal.  Multiple walls.  Multiple floors.  Multiple types of trim.  The works.
I'm a firm believer that if you and your spouse can paint an entire house together...you are in it for the long haul.

You can quote me on that.

There's no big reveal today, namely because a month later, we're STILL not completely finished and I'd rather not flood the internet with pictures of my half-painted house.  I do have a quick little project I completed this weekend and have been boasting about ever since.

When we moved into the house we were immediately smitten with having double front doors - they made moving a breeze.  What we weren't so keen on was the hardware that adorned them.

 Kind of lackluster.

The plan always was to replace them when we repainted the front doors.  But after seeing this ORB spraypaint tutorial on Young House Love, I decided to try to upgrade these babies myself.
What's the worst that could happen?  We have to buy the doorknobs we were already planning to buy?

So I grabbed a can of RustOleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint (around $7 a can) and removed the hardware from the door.  Sherry used a liquid deglosser before spraypainting, but since I didn't have any on hand, I just washed them thoroughly with dishsoap to remove the grease and grim.  It seemed to do the trick.

Then sprayed a thin coat every twenty minutes until I had the coverage I wanted.

Here was the result (after and before):

I'm kind of in-love.
And desperately wanting to repaint the doors.

Not bad for a $7 upgrade.
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