photography : design : life

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Orchid show

Spending the day at the Cleveland Botanical Garden for the Orchid show!

photos from our road trip to Pittsburgh a few years ago...

Friday, February 26, 2010

snowed in....

Schools are closed and offices are shut down....

I drove to work this morning and it really wasn't that bad. After my morning meeting was cancelled, I came home and I'm finishing up some paperwork then doing some weekend cleaning. After all the work is done, then it's time to start the weekend! So excited for a relaxing weekend full of coffee, out for tea at my favorite tea cafe, new recipes, and the Orchid show at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

the most important part of our Mexico trip...

This is where we got engaged. That is my pearl ring that my husband bought from a small jewelery store on the board walk.

Even though I didn't hear enough real Mexican music or eat enough delicious enchiladas, I came home with a fiance and that's the best souvenir I could of ever expected!


We went to Puerto Vallarta back in June 2007. I love Mexican culture. I love the food, the music, the language, the hospitality of the people, etc. In the summer, all I wear are Mexican-inspired sundresses and little white cotton tops embroidered with flowers. We play the Tejano station on our TV and blast Gypsy Kings and salsa in the car and when we eat outside in the summers. As for our trip to Puerto Vallarta, our biggest mistake was not looking for the locals enough. That I think is the most important part of traveling. Do as the locals do. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort. That came in handy when we wanted free drinks by the pool or a quick snack of chips and salsa. Bad idea when searching for real authentic Mexican food. The pool bars were even playing Top 40 pop songs. Blah! I wanted a mariachi band or some Top 40 Mexican tunes playing while I was sunbathing. We want to make a trip back to Mexico and this time we wont get too comfortable at the resort. We explored on this trip, but the next one we will search out all of the hidden gems.


I used to keep a dream journal back when I was 12 or 13. It seemed like almost every night I would have the most colorful and awe-inspiring dream. They were always very weird and quirky and I always woke up excited to record last night's adventure.

I still have some crazy/weird dreams here and there. Sometimes I have dreams where I wake up and I am really happy because my dream was so peaceful. That is what happened this morning. My dad was alive and we spent the whole day together. We took some karate class (weird) and hung out at home and watched movies because my husband won a plane ticket to Salt Lake City through work (weird again). I hit the snooze button at least 5 times this morning because I didn't want to wake up from my dream. It was so nice to see my dad and know that although dreams don't always come true, they are always there in your mind and heart.

Kind of a cheesy post, but I woke up feeling good and that inspired me to write!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Voted the most miserable city in America by Forbes magazine.

Well that's just depressing!

Every city has their bad sides and things you just hate. I have definitely been through many phases that I wanted to leave and go somewhere "better". I have learned that this is my home and I will always love Cleveland even when I swear I hate the place and I want to move.

Cleveland has some of the most amazing restaurants in the country (with a hometown Iron Chef to prove it). We have beautiful parks and we even have beaches! (I'm well aware they aren't as beautiful as Southern California but don't make fun of them!) I ran across this article by my favorite columnist from The Plain Dealer that will hopefully convince the crabby Cleveland haters that this city isn't so bad after all.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

road trips and cherry blossoms

I have never been to our nation's capitol which makes me feel like a bad American. There is so much history and so many things to do and see there. Last night, my husband and I decided that D.C. will be our first road trip of 2010. To make it even better, I suggested we go when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. I looked at pictures and I can barely contain myself. The trees are so breathtaking, I might faint when we get there. I go crazy over flowers and trees and especially flowering trees. This is going to be amazing and I'm counting down the days till we pack up the jeep and head southeast for Washington D.C!

Photos by National Cherry Blossom Festival

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Duquesne Eiffel Hotel France

This is the hotel that we stayed at in Paris. It was this quaint and cozy hotel that was secretly hiding off a side street. Only a five or ten minute walk to the Eiffel Tower, it was in the perfect spot in the city.

The past couple of days, I have been thinking of Paris and daydreaming about how much I want to go back. I watched Amelie the other day and the beautiful cinematography has had me in a Paris daze for the past few days. Whenever I make it back to beautiful Paris, I would definitely stay at the same hotel. Until then, I will listen to my French Cd's, watch French movies, and look back to all of our photos from our trip.

I miss you Paris.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

respect the snow

As a native Clevelander, I'm always prepared for snow from November to sometimes even the first week of April. The weather may play sneaky tricks on us and give us a 65 degree day in March and then a blizzard the next day. Born and raised here, I know what to expect. It's been the same every single year. I have realized that one of my pet peeves is when Clevelanders or other northerners spend all day complaining about how much they hate the snow and "when will the snow stop?!?" Well, it's not going to stop anytime soon. It's February 16. Get ready Cleveland. Spring doesn't come till late April! Keep your scarves, sweaters, boots, and snow brushes on hand for about 6 more weeks.

This is Cleveland. This is the north. The snow will continue. So either deal with it or move to Miami Florida!

This photo was taken last winter at my favorite beach of Lake Erie. I happen to think the snow covered lake looks beautiful. Take that all you complainers!!!

Also just wanted to add that before I went to bed last night, I peeked out the window to see if it was still snowing (surprise, it was!!). The falling snow was illuminated by the light post across the street and a deer was galloping in the middle of the street. 5 minutes later I peek again...and a little bunny with a little white tail was running along in the street. Narnia! See how magical snow can be? It wouldn't of been as cool if it was hot and humid and a deer was walking along. The snow made the scene.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

I was awakened this morning by my husband who was already up because he was the one who got up to get the door when my flowers were delivered. I was out cold and never heard the doorbell. So, I didn't see my BEAUTIFUL Valentine bouquet until an hour later when he woke me up. I will take some pics later and post some time this week of my purple roses. I'm not a fan of red roses and I hate baby's breath, so this bouquet is quite perfect. Dozen purple roses and lots of greens. Very me, very "not typical blah cliche red roses". I truly do have the best Valentine ever :)

So anyway, I woke up this morning from a dream that we were getting married again. I'm very adamant about renewing our vows at a few specific locations. Our wedding day was so fun, so beautiful, so loving, so perfect that I want to live that day over and over again.

First stop for our vow renewal....VEGAS!

I want to go to one of those insanely cheesy wedding chapels that are so beyond tacky with the fake flowers and pillars around the altar. I will even accept the garter that they give brides (I refused to wear one at our real wedding). I plan to wear a mini white dress, maybe my favorite red patent leather heels, and possibly even sunglasses to add to the Hollywood/glam/spontaneous Vegas wedding charm. Hey, why not? It's LAS VEGAS and you can do whatever you want there. Since I don't like red roses, I plan to bring my own bouquet (they give the brides a bouquet of roses...I researched the details). I love anemones, and black and white ones would look perfect. After the ceremony, which I would like to be at midnight, we will hop in our limo and drink lots of champagne and go play lots of Blackjack.

Vegas chapel photos from
flowers from

Friday, February 12, 2010

best chocolates in Cleveland

who would of thought that combining red grapes and chocolate would be so amazing?

Malley's Chocolates... I love you. Thank you for bringing me my favorite dessert (well one of them...I have many). Whether you love Valentine's day or hate it, make it special with a box of these grapes! That is if you live in Cleveland. If not, then your Valentine's day might not be all that lovely.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts were never served in my house growing up. I was forced broccoli which I despised and spinach that was mixed in certain weird Mediterranean dishes my parents would make. One thing I never had to fight off were brussel sprouts. Until about 2 months ago, I have never had them. How crazy is that?!

So I decided to go wild and buy some to cook.

After my first batch, I went on a brussel sprout binge. I wanted them everyday. I couldn't get enough. The obsession has died down, but I still love them and I am thankful that I didn't write them of as a child due to being forced to eat them. Sometimes you just have to let your taste buds mature. Thanks mom and dad!

So here is one of my recipes for the oh-so-wonderful little green veggie:

1. First, wash and slice in half
2. Toss in a large mixing bowl with some olive oil and kosher salt
3. Heat more olive oil in a pan, then add the sprouts and let them brown and soften
4. Transfer to a lined baking sheet with foil. Add shredded Parmesan cheese and more kosher salt
5. Bake in oven for anywhere from 20-30 minutes
6. Bon Appetit!

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day inspired photos......
Wine and flowers should be for every weekend, not just on holidays......

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

In need of fresh foods

I have been feeling tired, sluggish, and just unhealthy. It might of been my junk food binge on Super Bowl Sunday and the fact I'm still scarfing away at salsa and tortilla chips.

It may be time to start a detox.

I have been eating waaay too much unhealthy foods. Sugar is my best friend and my worst enemy. When I cut back on sugar, I feel so much better. It always sneaks up on me in cereals, Starbucks drinks, and well, of course, my inability to say "No" to desserts.

Starting tomorrow, I will slowly start eliminating certain foods out of my diet in order to fully detox. My detox is not as complex as others. I refuse to drink any weird potions that are supposed to "cleanse " or "re-energize" your body. In my opinion, that is what water and green tea is for.

I have a hard time eliminating dairy out of my diet too. I drink a lot of milk and I'm in love with cheese. I will slowly eliminate dairy, red meat, sugar, alcohol, and any type of processed foods. Just for a week.

I plan to start tomorrow by cutting out some sugar and eating more fresh fruits and veggies with each meal. By next Monday, the detox will be in full effect.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Lots of snow from last night....might go out to the park and snap some photos

Thursday, February 4, 2010

for the love of lemons

First of all, this post was entirely inspired by a dinner out with a friend to my favorite restaurant in Cleveland, LUXE ( I decided to have a lemon drop martini which is my favorite "fancy" mixed drink of choice. It made me start thinking about how much I love lemons (and also how random my thoughts can be).

Growing up, my dad always had a lemon tree (in shiny mirrored pots, thanks to my mom) in the house, even in the dead of winter. They were placed right next to the sliding door out to the patio. This was near a little nook that I would play and read as a child. I remember always checking to see if a lemon had grown on the tree (of course they always did.... we are a family of green thumbs!)

Strangely enough, my husband has wanted a lemon tree for quite some time. Hey, they always say that you end up marrying a guy like your dad. I wouldn't mind having a lemon tree in our home. Maybe this will be a nice Valentine's day gift ( I sure hope he isn't reading this).

To keep on going with the lemon theme (and my lemon drop martini haze), I also wear a lemon scented perfume. Sugar Lemon by Fresh might be the most amazing perfume ever made. I seriously can't get enough of the scent and I have a mini bottle of the Sugar Lemon lotion that travels along with me throughout my day.

Lemons are the BEST SCENT EVER!

photos from top to bottom:

New Orleans is on my mind...

With the super bowl approaching, I have been obsessed with all things New Orleans. The city, the football team, the sights, the sounds, and the food. I can't get enough. I came across this photo of a beautifully decorated living room on the House Beautiful website. It is from a home in New Orleans. I want to live in this house and eat Cajun cuisine all day long and listen to jazz and blues.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A personal favorite

Volupsa candles might be the greatest candles ever made. Even when they aren't lit, you can still smell the deliciousness that they are. My personal favorite is the Baltic Amber. The 3 wicks allow the wax to burn evenly and fill your home with a sweet/woodsy aroma. I buy mine at Anthropologie, but I actually just discovered that Amazon sells them too.

photo from

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

T-shirt love

On a recent shopping trip to Banana Republic, I found lots of 40% of sweaters and this amazing t-shirt. It looks like a watercolor painting of the Eifel Tower.

I have been very responsible with not buying items that I don't need, but I just had to buy this shirt. Even though winter is not even close to being over, it's never to early to buy something that makes you think of spring. So,I bought it and I love it!

6 more weeks of winter :(

It's Groundhog Day! Unfortunately for those of us who live up north, it means 6 more weeks of winter.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Valentine's Day

I happen to love Valentine's Day. Always have. It's a cute excuse to have red/pink/purple/white flowers in the house and eat chocolates.

We are staying in for our first Valentine's Day as a married couple. We plan on making a nice meal (haven't decided what to make) and opening a nice bottle of red wine. Of course we will need to have dessert. I was looking through Martha Stewart's Valentine recipe and found these two...

1. Figs that are sliced lengthwise. They look like hearts! Nothing is better than a huge chunk of cheese and some figs to go with wine.

2. Then for the main dessert, a heart shaped cake with raspberries. Here is the recipe:


Serves 12

* 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
* 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for pan
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 6 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* Raspberry Simple Syrup for Valentine Cake
* Whipped Cream for Valentine Cake
* 2 pints raspberries
* Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
* Cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 11 1/2-by-9 1/4-by-2 1/2-inch heart-shaped cake pan and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour the parchment paper, and set aside.
2. Set the bowl of an electric mixer over, but not touching, a pot of simmering water. Combine the granulated sugar and eggs in the bowl, and whisk until mixture is warm to the touch, about 2 minutes.
3. Transfer the bowl to an electric mixer fitted with a whisk at 3. tachment, and beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick and pale, about 4 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Sift in the flour in three additions, folding gently after each. Combine the butter and the vanilla, and add in a steady stream as you fold in the third addition of flour. Fold gently, and transfer to prepared pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.
4. Bake until the cake is springy to the touch and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When ready to use, turn out cake onto a cutting board or a cake turntable covered with parchment paper, and carefully peel the parchment paper off the cake.
5. To assemble: Using a serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally. Brush cut sides of cake liberally with simple syrup. Spread bottom layer to within 1/2 inch of edge with half of the whipped cream. Cover cream with an even layer of raspberries. Spread remaining whipped cream over berries. Place top of cake cut side down over cream. Dust with confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder, if desired.

photos and recipe from Martha Stewart Living Television