March 7, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
Back in my early days of blogging (circa 2008), Vané of Brooklyn Bride fame became one of my first blogging buds. Fast forward eight years later and Vané now has an incredible new book on shelves (Weddings in Color) that is loaded with wedding inspiration in her signature clean, modern style. Even cooler than that, in November we gave birth to a little girl and a little boy just one day apart and have been passing emails back and forth for months about the finer points of swollen ankles and nap time woes. (Namely, how neither of our children care much for napping with any regularity so good luck trying to plan anything. Ever.) All of that being one very long-winded way of saying that I am so happy to have the privilege of sharing Vané’s beautiful, modern baby shower with you today! Held at iCi Restaurant and featuring stationery and paper goods from Paper+Cup Design along with stunning images from Brklyn View Photography, you’ve got party inspiration for days here, friends.
The graphic, black and white color palette was carried throughout all of the details from the table linens to the flowers to the black and white cookies packaged up as favors for guests. Nine Cakes rocked out the most amazing mint chocolate chip cake and Vané’s hostesses even arranged for a photo booth that doubled as a guest book. (Why didn’t I think of having a guest book at my baby shower? I love that idea!) I love every last little detail. For even more, pop over to Vané’s lifestyle blog, Brooklyn Living!
Vendors + Sources –
Photography by Brklyn View Photography | Venue: iCi Restaurant | Cake: Nine Cakes | Photobooth: Shake & Share Media | Flowers: Flowermuse | Stationery + paper goods: Paper+Cup Design
[Photos by Brklyn View Photography.]
March 4, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
It’s onto the weekend we go, friends, and in honor of the first week of March, this weekend’s to do list is an ode to all things green. Share with me what you’re trying, making and doing this weekend over on Instagram with #theweekendtodolist so I can take a peek! Hopefully these recipes, drinks and craft ideas will get you started as you kick back over the next couple of days. Scroll down for this week’s salute to some of my fellow bloggers who are doing and announcing awesome things this week. And without further ado, have a great weekend and I’ll see you here next week! xoxo
1 | Sip This
I mentioned earlier this week, that I want to try out the current matcha craze and this iced coconut match latte looks like just the right way to give it a whirl! [Photo by Sprinkle of Green]
2 | Craft This
Boasting itself as the easiest St. Patrick’s Day garland ever, this sweet shamrock swag is the perfect way to add a touch of green to your decor. [Photo by Pictilio for A Subtle Revelry]
3 | Make This
Feeling a touch more ambitious with your Irish pride? Make this green ombré cake you’ll sufficiently wow just about 100% of people you know. [Photo by I Am Baker]
4 | Try This
My idea of the perfect Sunday afternoon is making homemade pasta for dinner that night. This asparagus ravioli recipe looks like one definitely worth trying! [Photo by Nicky & Max]
5 | Eat This
Have you jumped on the smoothie bowl bandwagon yet? It’s definitely a trend worth trying! This green smoothie bowl would make a great weekend breakfast plus it’s loaded with spinach. [Photo by Lauren Caris Cooks]
6 | Download This
My lovely friend Maddy of Splendid Supply Co. designed this gorgeous art print exclusively for The Sweetest Occasion readers last year about this time. Download it here!
March 3, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
Just in time for the end of the work week, Samantha and Chanda of Zest It Up are sharing the perfect cocktail recipe to kick off weekend happy hour. (Also, do you remember these chocolate covered vodka cherries they shared before? Yum!) We’re talking a fresh, citrusy, Meyer lemon inspired drink they’ve dubbed the lemon thyme blueberry spritzer. Yes, yes and yes, please. This is the type of drink you can make by the pitcher so it’s perfect for casual entertaining after work on a Friday or for brunch on a Saturday. Plus, Meyer lemons. Precisely 100% of things made with Meyer lemons are delicious and this cocktail is one that is sure to follow suit.
Makes 1 pitcher
- 1 cup blueberries
- 3 Meyer lemons
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 bottle dry white wine
- 3 cups tonic water
- 8 – 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
Start by zesting your lemons, then squeeze lemons and separate seeds from juice. Next muddle your blueberries. The ingredients above will make a full pitcher, but to chill make in a large cocktail shaker filled with ice. Pour equal parts white wine and tonic water into shaker over ice. Shake. Next pour into pitcher and repeat until all wine and tonic water is mixed and chilled. Add sugar, lemon juice, zest, muddled blueberries and thyme sprigs to pitcher. Keep refrigerated or serve immediately. Alternately, if you’d like to make in advance simply make wine and fruit mixture ahead then add tonic water just before serving.
[Recipe by Zest It Up | Photos by Anya McInroy.]
March 2, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
Weight loss. This is a topic I haven’t talked a lot about in the past, but I’m going to try really hard to be more open and honest about. I want to start sharing both the triumphs and the trials in hopes those of us who are in the same boat with wanting to improve our overall health can find support from each other. Sometimes it feels so isolating to be someone who struggles with weight issues when the blogging community seems to be full of really thin, gorgeous women and there are times I feel like I’ve really let it hold me back from going after some of my professional goals. (Like that YouTube channel I have been wanting to start for like three years? Ugh. I can’t even imagine getting in front of a camera!) So today is step one in coming out of the closet, if you will, and trying to pull back the curtain to say hey! I’m here. I’m not a size 2. Or a size 6. Or a size 10. I have the same self doubts and struggles that you do, and I’m hoping that through this transparency we can all help each other succeed at moving forward past the insecurities to a place where we feel healthier and more at peace. That’s my intention anyway. I’ll share more about the full extent of my weight loss struggles at another time (including the time I lost over 100 pounds but managed to slowly let a ton of it creep back on), but for today I just wanted to kick things off by talking about what I’ve been doing lately and how it is working for me. Because so many of you expressed interest in hearing more about my journey I thought I would share a quick update, specifically sharing about my 30 day (and counting) sugar detox results! Moving forward I’m thinking I’ll check in maybe once a month or so to share my progress, and probably more frequently over on Instagram if you want to follow along there.
For starters, let me share that I am serious believer in the power of food and nutrition to solve most, if not all, of a body’s woes. I believe this to be true when it comes to regulating weight as well. My major food weakness? Sugar. Oh, sweet heavenly sugar. Also, it turns out, sugar is basically poison for your body. And yes, sadly, that includes artificial sugars and sweeteners, too. Diet soda? It’s one of the worst things for you. My Diet Pepsi loving soul hates this fact, but it’s the truth. In January, I made the decision that as of February 1st I was going to give up all sugar and everything with added sugar. (You know, like ketchup and store bought salad dressings. All full of sugar!) I am also avoiding all artificial or natural sweeteners, including things like honey and maple syrup right now until I feel like I can use them only sparingly. I also decided to cut back on dairy and any processed wheat such as bread, pasta, etc. because my body tends to be really sensitive to those foods. I’m not saying I’ll never eat a cupcake again, because that’s just not going to happen. But on a day to day basis I am eating a diet that is essentially 100% compromised of veggies, fruits, whole grains such as quinoa, beans, nuts, seeds and eggs. I may have a bit of cream (real cream, not creamer) in my coffee. I occasionally pick up olives stuffed with blue cheese. Otherwise, I’ve cut out most all dairy, too. I have not touched bread or pasta or crackers or cookies or anything of the like for 30 days and counting. And you know what? Save for a few days of mild sugar withdrawal headaches (akin to caffeine withdrawal headaches), I feel pretty amazing!
As of today, I am down 11 pounds since February 1. This is in addition to the 22 pounds of baby weight (I only gained about 20 during my pregnancy) I had already lost, meaning in total I am down 33 pounds since my c-section in November. Sometimes I’m frustrated because it’s not going quicker, if I’m honest. I’ve completely overhauled how I eat and I was really hoping I’d see more like 13 – 15 pounds the first month. (Keep in mind, I have a not insignificant amount of weight left to lose.) But you know what? 11 pounds is kind of awesome, too, and I’ll take it! Add in the fact that my energy level really seems to be up (which is tricky in and of itself with a three month old in the mix), and I would have to say, I’m a believer. Additionally, I’ve lost a little over an inch around my waist and a little over an inch around my hips, too, which definitely seems like a good starting point considering I have a lot of swelling from my c-section still.
I think it’s important to note that I am not following any specific plan or “diet” at this point in time. I am simply trying to eat real, whole foods. I have not counted a single calorie or measured a single serving. Also, to date I have not been cleared to exercise so I have not been working out either. I eat things like baked sweet potatoes with spinach and black beans and fresh pico de gallo. Or salads loaded with veggies, greens, a bit of hummus and simple homemade vinaigrettes. I make big batches of grains (usually quinoa and sometimes barley or brown rice) a couple of times a week and then quickly make little hodge podge meals on the go, usually with a baby in one arm. (I’ve already shared my go-to lunch these days!) If you want to consider something like this yourself, I suggest checking out Hello Glow, a wellness site that I really love. (All of the photos in this post are from Hello Glow, to give you a little taste of the goodness that Stephanie has going on!) There are loads of great recipes and tips that will really help you get started with overhauling your diet, but it manages to feel pretty approachable and not overly crunchy. (I mean I’m down with some crunch clearly, but I don’t like to get too carried away with myself.) Also, watch the documentary Fed Up and Google search “sugar detox” and you’ll start to find loads of information.
So, lay it on me! Any tips or recipes for me? How about questions for me? Is anyone else trying to lose a whole crapload of ell bees this year? I am committed to being as open and honest with you about this process as I can. Eventually that will even mean sharing really real before numbers and photos, but I’m just not there yet. Give me a couple more months and hopefully I’ll have some good progress photos! In the meantime I’m going to be over here experimenting with the health benefits of turmeric and matcha, because both seem to be everywhere these days and apparently I can’t resist exploring the hype for myself. Thanks for your support, friends! You’re all amazing.
[Photos from Hello Glow.]
March 1, 2016 | by Cyd Converse
In case you blinked and missed it, today marks the start of March! We’re just over two weeks out from St. Patrick’s Day, which means it’s officially fair game to start talking about all things green and stocking the fridge with the requisite supply of Guinness. Speaking of Guinness, have you seen the number of ways the genius people of the internet are working stout into everything from cupcakes to brownies to beer nuts? It’s true and it’s so so good. In honor of your Irish heritage (because everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day), I’ve rounded up 17 ways to get your fix with some seriously delicious Guinness recipes.
1. Double Chocolate Guinness Muffins [above]
2. Guinness Chocolate Cake
3. Baby Guinness Jello Shots
4. Black and Tan Brownies
5. Guinness Beer Nuts
6. Chocolate Guinness Cake
7. Homemade Stout Marshmallows
8. Guinness Beer Battered Onion Rings
9. Chocolate Guinness Floats
10. Guinness and Pretzel Truffles
11. Double Chocolate Chunk Guinness Ice Cream
12. Guinness Barbecue Sauce
13. Beef and Guinness Hand Pies
14. Guinness Crinkle Cookies
15. Sweet and Salty Guinness Chocolate Pie
16. Dublin Iced Coffee
17. Guinness and Pretzel Caramels