Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Tale of Two Umbrellas

Ok, so a huge disclaimer is in order. I am going to compare two very different products and absolutely prefer one over the other. Of course, both are in my collection, both are similar in price, but one is probably going to break any day now and is not my first choice.

Earlier this spring, when Lilly Pulitzer collaborated with LeSportsac, I rushed to buy the mini umbrella. It is, well, pretty mini in size. Initially, I was thrilled to have an umbrella in a Lilly print and loved the small size. It fits perfectly in any bag. The cute umbrella served it's purpose quite well.


But then I saw the newest umbrellas from Lilly Pulitzer and I had a change of opinion. These umbrellas that are part of the fall stationery and accessories line, are much higher in quality than the LeSportsac umbrella. Immediately, I noticed that the umbrella seems much more sturdy and is larger in size. It can still fit easily in my bag. The print options are more to my liking, too. I finally decided on the Checking In print although White Zin is also one of my favorites.


The price points of the two umbrellas are so similar that unless you need a micro small umbrella, I'd suggest the newest umbrella in Checking In or White Zin. A stronger umbrella can save you on a windy and rainy day!

Have you seen both of these umbrellas? Which one do you prefer?

xoxo

Monday, August 30, 2010

Birthday Party


The minnies celebrated their birthday this weekend with some of their BFF's at a custom makeup studio called Smooch. The girls had the opportunity to create their own signature lip gloss with the help the ladies from Smooch, Nicole and Kendra. Each gloss was unique in color, flavor, and texture. Some girls had quite a bit of sparkles in their gloss! My favorite flavor was the Mint Chocolate. Then the girls were treated to some sparkle on their face with a light dusting of color. All of the products are natural/mineral based, so I feel comfortable with my girls using the products.


Everyone really enjoyed the pink and green candy buffet and the silly bandz cupcakes!




The girls loved the party and had so much fun! They even danced to the Cha Cha slide. It was such a fun day!

xoxo

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Terrific Toile

Toile is so pretty! I love everything toile; linens, curtains, paper... The list could go on forever. So imagine how excited I was to find these adorable wellies in brown toile. Perfect for a rainy day or a fall equestrian event. You'll look gorgeous even while you're in the mud!



xoxo

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Royal Wedding


Here are the best in pictures from the wedding between Nicolas of Greece and Tatiana Blatnik. I love reading Hola or Hello to see what's happening with the royals across the pond. The wedding guest list was quite impressive and everyone looked stunning. Here are some of my favorites.

Queen Sofia of Spain (in red) is so incredibly elegant and serene. I've always been a huge fan of hers, but she really won my heart with her incredible patriotism and pride during the world cup.


Victoria of Sweden, in red, is another one of my favorites. Her own wedding was so beautiful and she truly radiates happiness. She looks fantastic.


The Spanish royal family also looked fantastic at the wedding. Princess Letizia, in blue, is uber elegant and is an example of a modern day fairy tale princess news reporter turned princess.


Of course, I saved my ultimate favorite for last. Marie-Chantal Miller is such a fashion icon. Every time I see her, she is the picture of elegance. Plus, she proves that you can have a lot of kids and still be absolutely stunning!


Who is your favorite royal?

Channeling my inner "Marie-Chantal" today....

xoxo


(Images via Hola and Getty Images)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Casual Friday Follow!

Happy Friday! It's hard to believe that it's already Friday, but I am really glad! My week has been so beyond busy that it has been somewhat of a blur. I've adjusted to waking up while it is dark and have had a fantastic first week of school. This weekend is also going to be busy and fun with the girls' birthday party on Saturday and another birthday party and play on Sunday. Whew.

But today is a casual Friday. Yesterday at school, we all got an email telling us that it was casual Friday. This means jeans and a nice shirt. At some places of work, jeans would never be permitted on a casual Friday. And at other places, jeans are acceptable for work every day. It's really important to know, understand, and respect the culture of your workplace. I heard that some people are wearing school spirit t-shirts with their jeans and I just can't bring myself to do it.

I'm wearing my Cedar Tunic in Madly Glamorous and a Katia wrap in white with Joe's Jeans and gold shoes!

Join me today for the Casual Friday follow!

Your link will be visible on the list on both blogs throughout the week so a lot of people can find you!

Blog readers will see the same list on all of the blogs and will be able to "hop" from blog to blog. What a fun way to find new friends! If you have not joined previous weeks, be sure to add your blog to the list today. Even if you've already added your blog on another blog hop, add your name to the list today since every week is a new list.

Here's how to play:
1. Find new blogs to follow and be sure to follow the hostess Bethany) of the blog hop.
2. Be sure to follow someone who follows you and let them know that you found them through Follow Friday. You all know how much we love comments! :)
3. Tell your other blogger friends about Follow Friday and encourage them to join!



Want to be a part of this Blog Hop? Click for instructions and code…


Happy Friday! Make it a beautiful and casual day.

xoxo

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Minnie Swag!

Over the next few days, I want to share details about the minnies' birthday party with you. But before I tell you about their swag bags, I have to tell you about my lack of swag. Remember the infamous order from last Tuesday's Lilly sale?? Well, there was a glitch in my order and my three favorite items, the Anya dress, the Goldy dress, and the Rosemont Cardigan were no longer available when someone actually checked the shipping status of the order.

I'm pretty upset about this, not necessarily because the items are no longer available, but because my emails went unanswered for days and I spent probably a total of 2 hours on hold at Customer Service. Only when I emailed Jack at Lilly directly did I get the bad news. Jack feels badly about the situation and is trying to find these items at a Via Store. Fingers crossed on that one.

It's funny because I just knew that something was wrong. I've got this crazy sixth sense about things. I've told people they were pregnant before they knew it. I know things long before they happen. Maybe my relatives were caravan-traveling fortune tellers. (Just kidding!)

Anyhow, if any of you lovely readers come across Rosemont or Anya in turquoise, please, please let me know! A million thanks.


The girls and I had so much fun putting together the little goodie bags for their birthday party. They hand picked everything for their friends and are so excited about their party this weekend. For the 8 year olds who are going on 18, the party is going to be held at a custom makeup studio called Smooch. Each girl will get to create her own customized lip gloss with the flavor of her choice.

So we wanted very glamorous goodies for the girls.

Here's what the little minnie swag bags contain:
* Lots of birthday shaped Silly Bands like cupcakes, cakes, balloons, presents, and whistles

* Lots of "Diva" shaped Silly Bands like lipstick, sunglasses, shoes, and crowns

* A pen that looks like lipstick. This is my favorite item. The colored part is the top of the pen. Love this!

* A cupcake nail file.

* A Lilly pencil. Of course, no swag bag is complete without Lilly!



I used ordinary paper lunch bags in a pretty green color and stamped them with a wasabi green color using ink and a stamp from Stampin Up. To close the bags, I folded over the top once and punched two holes in it. For the bow, I threaded the ribbon through the back of the bag and tied it on the front. Easy and pretty!


The party guests will also take home two lip glosses; the one they made and another gloss that a friend made. There will be a candy buffet, too! It's been fun putting this together; especially since the minnies are hand picking everything they want.

So excited!!

xoxo

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tea for Two



Leesa and I recently enjoyed the most lovely afternoon at Serenity Tea room. The company, the service, and the food were all outstanding. The tea menu is quite extensive and I loved it that we were able to sample different teas after finishing our first pot. I had the hibiscus tea and Leesa loved her mango flavored tea.

We started our tea with a cold cucumber soup which was perfect for the hot and humid day. From there, we enjoyed so many sandwiches, scones, baked goods, and sweets. The chicken salad is amazingly good and the other finger sandwiches are suprisingly very filling. We couldn't even finish all of our food!

Of course the scones are served with homemade preserves and clotted cream. Probably my favorite was a bread that had a crunchy praline glaze on the top. Soooo good!

Tea is always so lovely and is a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon. Thanks to Leesa for her company. I hope that we can have tea again in the future.

In other, less serene thoughts, I'm going a little crazy about my Lilly Pulitzer.com order from Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. Yes, I'm sure that they are very busy, but my order has been "released for shipment" since LAST Tuesday. My emails have gone completely unanswered. I called customer service yesterday after school and was on hold for 30 minutes listening to that Boogie song that I never want to hear again before someone assured me that my order was "fine" and that they expect it to ship "soon," but couldn't give me any date when that would be.

Patience is a virtue; I'm seriously trying to be patient with the company I love, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

xoxo

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tomato Festival!


On Sunday, I attended Big White Barn Produce's Tomato Festival. I estimate that there were about 400 people at the event and everyone had a fantastic day. I don't think I have ever eaten so many tomatoes in my life; but what a DELICIOUS journey! My cousin, my aunt and I had the opportunity to sample over 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, wines from top VA and MD wineries, cheese, olive oil imported from Greece and other delicious gourmet items.

Anita and Steve did such a great job with hosting this event! They are planning a pumpkin festival in the fall. You'll be among the first to know the details.


Tasting tables with over 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes were a highlight of the event. Each one was so perfect and delicious; my favorite was a zebra stripe tomato. The best chefs in the area tempted guests with their unique and delicious creations using different varieties of tomatoes from Big White Barn Produce.

Chef Bryan Voltaggio from Volt Restaurant was incredibly popular with attendees. Luckily, I got in the line fairly early in the afternoon and didn't have to wait long to sample his incredible creation. Don't you love the bobblehead of Bryan??



The process for making Volt's tomato treat was incredible to watch. The four chefs looked like equal parts artist, scientist, and master chef while preparing the unique creation. Dippin Dots ice cream was made on the spot with gazpacho and fennel puree. Laughing Bird Farms shrimp ceviche added another layer of flavor to the Big White Barn Produce's heirloom tomatoes. This was served with a coriander seed craker with micro fennel. To top it off, Bryan was spinning cotton candy that was sprinkled with dehydrated tomato and sea salt. The explosion of flavors and different layers of taste was unlike anything I have ever experienced.

Simply beyond words incredible!





The heirloom tomato popsicles from Cafe Nora were one of the minnies' favorites! This DC restaurant offers Organic American Cuisine. I've now added it to my list of places to try.




Another favorite of mine was from Chef R.J. Cooper who is known for his experiments at Vidalia. His restaurant Rogue 24, is scheduled to open in 2011 and I hope to be among the first to try this multi-course tasting menu experience. If the treat I sampled is any indication of the quality of food that will be offered at Rogue 24, this restaurant is going to be a huge success.

This modern day interpretation of a bruschetta starts with a stick dipped in balsamic vinaigrette. Tomato tartare and tomato gelee form some of the first layers to this treat. Carefully slivered parmesan cheese along with basil and olive oil powder add further layers of flavor. But perhaps the most unique part of this creation are the pop rocks candy that top the bruschetta. Such an amazing taste sensation.

Truly a treat for the eyes and mouth!



Firestone's is another one of my favorite restaurants. Chef Jack Walker served delicious gazpacho that was incredibly smooth and light. I'm a HUGE gazpacho snob and have had some of the best and this was top notch. The texture was perfect and the hint of cucumber was so delicious on a hot summer day. Another one of the minnies' favorites was the watermelon and tomato served with feta cheese. They actually ate two portions of this, they liked it so much!



Anita and Steve did a fabulous job of making this event family friendly! The minnies and their cousin Brennan were thrilled with all of the kids activities. Here the girls are visiting the goats. They spent so much time with the goats, on a hayride, and playing on the moonbounce. Of course, the snowcones, popcorn, and other treats were also a big hit. Natalia especially loved the fresh roasted ears of corn.




Thanks to the chefs and my dear friends Anita and Steve who made this event so special!

xoxo


Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School!


Summer flew by like it always does. I can't believe that today is the first day of school! The minnies are excited and are looking forward to another year of school. There's something exciting about new school supplies, a new desk, and a new year. Even as an adult, I love opening a fresh box of new crayons.

When do schools start where you live? Last week, I started working to get my classroom in order, but today is the first day of school for students. I'm so excited to see my students and start a new year.

My girls are beyond excited about fourth grade! They were so cute when they were choosing their outfit. The winning dress was the Lilly Queen of Green little shift dress. Natalia's rationale for the decision was that the dress will make a good impression on the teacher because she'll "realize that I like science and that I care about the environment!" Too funny. Alexia is wearing flip flops and Natalia is wearing plain white old school Keds without socks.

Alexia's favorite teacher gave these to students last year when they did a good job. Amazing what a little bit of candy will do to motivate and inspire students!

Fun, fresh school supplies. I fondly remember my Trapper Keeper and saw that they're back in stores.


I'm eager to hear about their day. It's so hilarious because both girls immediately get in the car and start talking rapid fire for about fifteen minutes. That's always a sign of a great day!

xoxo


(images)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Minnies


It seems like just yesterday that the girls were born. Natalia and Alexia are the most precious gift and blessing in my life and I treasure every day with them. Although it might sound like a cliche, they truly are growing up so quickly. Earlier this week, I was looking through baby pictures and noticed how their unique and fun personalities were set from day one. Their smiles, the way they played, and their expressions, have not changed at all. I love that they both have such an amazing and distinct character.


On the day that the girls were born, my life forever changed in such amazing ways that I could have never imagined. No book could have every fully prepared me for motherhood.

Happy Birthday Natalia and Alexia!

I love you!

The girls' pre-school picture in Mexico



And the next year at pre-school...


Here they were almost 4 years old.


At Disney a few years ago


At an Irish Dance performance this summer



xoxo

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Fun and Lilly!

Happy Saturday! Today I have another sweet dose of some lovely peeps wearing their Lilly! Isn't it so much fun to see other people wearing Lilly when you're shopping, running errands, or at a special event. Every dress has a story. Do you remember what dress you were wearing on certain days or occasions? I know that I do, even if the event was years ago. I still remember a sorority formal from a L O N G time ago when I was wearing a yellow Laura Ashley dress with a scalloped neckline. Oh, how I loved that dress and that night!

This week, we'll start with Holly. She sent me this picture from her prom. Holly says that she was the only one there in Lilly. While there was momentary drama over girls who showed up in the same dress, she looked gorgeous and special and most importantly, she was so comfortable in her dress. That's a key for a good time at a party! Who wants to dance in an uncomfortable dress. Now Holly wears this dress all the time now, months later. How many people can say that about their prom dress?


My friend Raquel sent the most adorable picture! I love to see children in Lilly. It's so timeless. I save so many Lilly dresses that my minnies have outgrown because I know that they could wear them on their own daughters some day. Here is Raquel's precious niece, Grace. Grace chose this dress herself to wear at her aunt's wedding in Key West. She has fantastic taste, doesn't she?


Let's keep this going! Please feel free to send your pictures and a description to blbrodger1@hotmail.com and I may include it in an upcoming post. It's so much fun to see how everyone wears their Lilly!

Today is going to be a fun and busy day! I'm meeting some friends in Annapolis for lunch. We're eating at a restaurant that is on the water, so that should be fun since the weather is going to be beautiful today. Then later tonight, I'm making dinner with a special someone. ;) Thanks to Leesa for the menu advice!

xoxo

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