Monday, August 6, 2018

Wine Club: We Eat, We Drink & We Celebrate Babies

Wine Club is celebrating our NINTH YEAR, which is spectacular. It's arguably the most enriching part of my life, a sisterhood that meets monthly to share food, wine and laughs. This summer, we also enjoyed a baby shower for our sister Stacie, who just became a mama! For dinner party and baby shower inspiration, scroll on. 

Steak Night


At the start of the summer, we had a Steak-Grilled-to-Order night at my house. Everyone brought their own cut of steak for Sean to grill, and a rose of their choice. We had:

  • Whispering Angel: The OG classic. If you haven't had Whispering Angel, have you even had rose?
  • Juve & Camps Pinot Noir Rose: Notes of fresh red apple, strawberries and toasted almond
  • Mulderbosch Rose: This beautiful South African rose has notes of pomegranate and berries
  • Champs de Provence Rose: A classic dry rose that tastes of red berries, citrus and orange blossom
  • Apothic Crush: Obviously not a rose, but our go-to red blend wine when in doubt. 


It's rare I get to bust out all my pretty tableware, so forgive me for indulging in a beauty shot.


The menu for the evening...


I also served a strawberry watermelon rose sangria that was so refreshing and delicious.


I finally had a chance to do something I've wanted to try for a while: make compound butters! I made a red wine shallot butter and a straight-from-Pinterest recipe for "cowboy butter." Both were delicious.


A shot of Ashleigh's bloody steak, mustard slaw and mac and cheese. We ate every piece of that mac! 

Summer Wine Night


When Lauren hosted Wine Club, we decided to have summer-inspired labels (sometimes the theme doesn't fit the wine we have in our fridge, hahahaha):



It would be a mistake not to admire Lauren's inspiring porch planters. She's an artist with plants!


She set a beautiful table with classic Blue Willow china paired with buffalo check napkins. So sweet.


We devoured her food so fast I barely had a chance to snap a pic, but this balsamic-marinated chicken is about the best thing on the planet and you should make it yesterday.

Stacie's Baby Shower


What a thrill to welcome another little lady to our sisterhood! We joined Stacie's friends and family in July to celebrate her babe. They did an INCREDIBLE job creating the perfect baby shower and we were blown away by all the special details.


Everyone received a favor of a scented salt scrub, all personalized with a floral motif they integrated into all the decor.


We played some fun games, including the classic "Don't Say Baby" clothespin game, "guess how many kisses" game and some games that challenged us to come up with baby items starting with the letters that begin the words, "baby shower."


We had a gorgeous brunch spread, including two types of quiche, hash brown casserole, fruit, granola parfaits and so. many. delicious. pastries. They also had my partytime favorite — champagne and pineapple sherbet. Heaven!


Stacie received many gorgeous gifts, including this handmade quilt from her sister-in-law. Her baby is here now and we couldn't be happier!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Savannah in the Summer 2018

Summertime is almost over and I'm finally sitting down to remember some of it! In June, Bret, Ashleigh and I set off for our annual trip to Savannah and Tybee Island — one of my most treasured traditions these days. Here's a peek at what we enjoyed for our 2018 sojourn in the Sav:


We decided our trip would be dedicated to Cocktails and Caftans and kicked off the trip accordingly: with a beach photo shoot celebrating our caftans via Amazon Prime. 


One hundred percent worth $20 to look this glamorous on the beach.


As is our tradition now, we spent our first night at Tybee Island Social Club, one of our favorite spots for cocktails and snackies. We'll always have a soft spot for their Scientist cocktail. 


The next morning, we spent a few hours completing crossword puzzles and then hit the beach with tumblers filled with cocktails concocted from Ketel One Grapefruit & Rose, St. Germain and Pamplemousse La Croix. We basic, we bougie, we cool with it.


After a day at the beach, we gussied up for a dinner/cocktail crawl with our high school friend Justin, starting with apps at Treylor Park, drinks to go from The Public Kitchen & Bar, and an absolutely fantastic dinner at a new spot called Emporium


Emporium was the perfect blend of old and modern decor, with a beautiful bar, gorgeous tile and soft mint ceilings.



I had the delicious Perry Lane Daiquiri — rum, maraschino liqueur, lime, pineapple, absinthe and bitters. I love a good old-fashioned daiquiri in the Hemingway tradition.


For Ashleigh and I, the main attraction was the burger served tableside with sizzling raclette melted right onto the burger. It was one of the best burgers of my life and all my raclette dreams come true.


From there, we headed to The Grove, where I enjoyed a champagne-soaked blackberry popsicle on a rooftop. I'll have to cling to that memory when I'm having a rough day and feeling sorry for myself!


The fearsome foursome conquering downtown.


We kicked off a day of shopping downtown with a stop at Collins Quarter for the iced Vietnamese Coffee we've spent a whole year dreaming about. Truly good to the last drop! The restaurant is gorgeous and this flower arrangement has me itching to pull out my watercolors and get to painting.


Iced coffee of our dreams!!!


No trip to Savannah would ever be complete for me without a stop at arguably my favorite store, Paris Market & Brocante. It's beautiful just to explore, even if you don't plan to buy a thing.


We finished with our traditional Southern supper at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room and said adieu to another beautiful trip to Savannah. Until next year!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Harry & Meghan Royal Wedding Fashion

Well, I didn't actually intend to write an update about the fashion of the Royal Wedding, but I received quite a few requests and who am I to deny my 5 readers?

I spent the morning with my friends Kate and Lis, wearing fascinators, sipping tea, munching on Maltesers and generally squealing and cooing. I will always love Prince Harry, who is only a couple months older than me and despite being a party animal, seems like he has the tender heart of his mama. It was impossibly beautiful and romantic and I was surprised how much the whole thing swept me away.

But let's talk fashion!

She Woke Up Like This


THOSE FLOWERS!


THAT ANGELIC LIGHT!


THOSE SWEET SMILES


AND THAT KISS!!

I know some people were a touch disappointed by the simplicity of Meghan's Givenchy gown, but I thought it was perfect for her. It felt modern for a modern girl and a modern idea of who can be royalty, but also had the architectural lines of a late 1920's, early 1930's gown and the neckline even reminded me a bit of Maid Marian! For myself, I'd pick something more like Kate's gown, but for her, I thought this was perfection.


The real star of the look, however, was the gorgeous 1932 diamond bandeau tiara made for Queen Mary (grandmother of the current Queen Elizabeth II). It was a surprising choice for royal watchers who assumed she'd don something more recognizable, but it perfectly complemented the 1930's lines of her gown and looked so gorgeous with the breathtaking dramatic veil that practically covered the aisle. We should all be so glamorous for a day. Her understated makeup, lashes and those adorable freckles were so elegant.


Queen Mary. She looks fun, right?


But THEN! As if they hadn't left us dumbstruck and twitterpated enough, they unveiled this second act look worthy of James Bond for the reception. The cut of her sexy halter Stella McCartney gown is just perfect, and the fabric choice of silk crepe gave the skirt the most delicious flutter as she climbed into their escape car, a vintage Jaguar convertible. You could label this picture, "And you will know us by the trail of dead" because we were all done for after seeing this look.


And then she tossed off a wave with a sparkling something blue that turned out to be Diana's aquamarine ring. Donezo: Party of Me. 

Royal Family Looks

Let's go over the various stylings of those who knew they'd score an invite, no matter how questionable their fashions may be. 


Meghan Markle's mom Doria Ragland killed it in this delicately embroidered green jacket and dress by Oscar de la Renta, while Camilla did her best to wear the frothy feathered hat most likely to block someone's view of the action. Kate wore a buttercream ensemble that read white in many pictures, which many people thought was a little shady, but I thought in some shots it even looked closer to lemon. I was a little underwhelmed by her look (the hat was fun, though), but someone on Twitter cheerfully said she was giving all of the spotlight to Meghan. That's a fine idea. 


Real talk: I'm not the biggest fan of the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals uniform Harry selected (for good reasons; it's the uniform of the unit he served with). The ruffly flaps in the front are just...um...not cute? 


Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, perhaps not enjoying being an international meme for at least a year after William and Kate's wedding, chose decidedly less fanciful fascinators this time around and for that, we all suffer. Eugenie looked bright and cute, if maybe a touch underdressed, in a Jackie Kennedy-style pillbox hat and mock turtleneck dress. Beatrice wore the favored hem of most of the female guests -- the nearly impossible-to-wear tea length -- and while I bet her dress is interesting, it seemed a little overembellished. Her teal headband halo was very demure, if boring.


Who's afraid of color? Not this nonagenarian Queen. I was pleasantly surprised to see Elizabeth bust out this lime and purple combo -- advanced color pairing skills, you guys. Do you think she's been watching The Crown and wants to show us we're all wrong if we're thinking she's boring?


Sweet Charlotte's face is saying, "See you all back here in 25 years, bitches. It'll be MY day."

Best Dressed Guests


Amal Clooney wasn't just the best dressed royal wedding guest in this delicious and impeccable marigold Stella McCartney sheath, topped with a perfect hat and veil, accessorized with gold metallic pumps and finished off with the most perfect makeup look imaginable. She was maybe one of the best dressed people in the history of time and fashion. I'm not even exaggerating. This is one for the history books and museum exhibitions.

 I was not familiar with Kitty Spencer (right) before this weekend, but she definitely caught my attention with this master class in confidence. Not many of us could rock a tea-length green gown paired with orange pumps and a truly fantastic hat, but she looked effortlessly chic. And as you may have guessed, it turns out this beauty is Diana's niece and Harry's first cousin. The woman on the left is supposedly the infamous "friend" who hooked up Harry and Meghan for their first blind date. Not all heroes wear capes; some wear Ralph Lauren.


As usual, Priyanka Chopra walked around like the royalty she practically is. She wore this fun and modern suit for the wedding itself, but then she set her phaser to STUN with this evening look by Dior:


This is what you wear when you're doing some prince-hunting of your own. Pumpkin carriage not necessary.


I love living in a world when America's greatest athlete is also our best fashion export. Serena Williams looked like she grew up going to royal weddings at Windsor in this tea rose nipped and tucked dress by Versace and a fanciful fascinator. From Compton to Windsor, you guys.


Of the many floral, tea-length gowns, I was most smitten with Sofia Wellesley's Red Valentino dress. She looks like a perfect English rose and I love the shoe choice. In case you're wondering, she's the wife of James Blunt, who I recently learned prevented a third world war in addition to writing one of my least favorite love songs. Life's surreal, you guys. 

Good


I'm so glad Harry and Meghan had the wisdom to invite our queen, Oprah. She looked like she was representing all of us, cheesing the entire time, feeling the spirit from Bishop Michael Curry and generally repping the U.S. of A. to its best. I liked her pale pink Stella McCartney dress just fine, but I thought the lace was a little fussy. Apparently they had to stay up all night making it again because the original version looked white and Oprah, in all her wisdom, knew it was not cool to wear white to a wedding. Hear that, Kate? 


Carey Mulligan wore a bright, but kind of blah tea-length floral dress by Erdem. It's lovely, but she looked a little washed out to me and I'd like to have seen a bolder and more obnoxious headpiece look.


In England, Jacinda Barrett is pretty well known and in fact, is Meghan's co-star on Suits. Honestly, I know her best from The Real World: London and Bridget Jones' Diary. But I have to give her a hearty congrats for this beautifully tailored look in an inspired shade of bordeaux. Her hair and makeup are also luminous and pretty.


I live for a cape moment, so I'm all about this royal purple capelet dress and a hat ripped from a Christmas gift on Countess Karen Spencer (wife of Diana's brother Charles). I love it. 


I really went on a roller coaster of emotions about this Gucci look on Idris Elba's incredibly lucky date Sabrina Dhowre. At first I thought it was cute. But then it felt a little...collegiate? And maybe more appropriate for a very fancy soccer game? I don't know. It's still really cute and so is Idris Elba, so here we are.

Meh


Gina Torres (also a star of Suits) looked very lovely in this sheer red lacy floral dress and a really pretty blush hat, but the paneling on the dress and the pattern itself are a little discordant. My eyes don't really know where to look with so many leading lines.


I was pretty underwhelmed by Pippa Middleton's ho-hum floral dress with pink panels. It feels a little matronly for the woman who wowed us at the last royal wedding.


Posh looked funeral-ready in her navy frock, which felt a little blah and borderline morose for the occasion. But her tomato red heels were redemptive! And she wouldn't be Victoria if she wasn't wearing dark colors, right?


Harry invited two of his exes, sweetie that he is. Chelsy Davy looked perfectly fine in her navy dress, but it was also a little underwhelming. Maybe the perfect thing for an ex-girlfriend to wear to the wedding everyone thought might be hers?


Harry's other famous ex, Cressida Bonas, wore a really cute and very bright and technicolor dress that, to me, felt a little more summer party than "my ex's wedding." It's like she had the opposite approach of Chelsy, whose outfit was not designed to get attention. Cressida is like, "LOOK AT ME, I'M DOING FINE."


And lastly, this fancy lady named Delfina Blaquier wore a pretty ill-fitting Wendy Darling costume that has all the makings of a pretty outfit but fell apart a bit on execution. 

All in all, it was a beautiful day for beautiful people and if anyone was horrifically dressed, I haven't seen pictures of them! What more could a wedded couple ask for?