Ladies in Navy

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Instagrammer

"I am going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life."

-Elsie de Wolfe

I'm obsessed with pretty things. This should come as no surprise to most of the readers here - I collect shiny objects like a magpie. And I'm always on a quest to surround myself with beauty and then to photograph those moments and share them. As I'm not a professional photographer, my outlet for sharing all of this is through Instagram, my favorite social media and the one I find to be a wellspring of inspiration. It's capturing the pretty moments happening around me - a calm river at sunrise, a bouquet of roses on the coffee table, my cat sleeping in a patch of sun - that makes every single day (as hectic as it may be) worth it to me. But lately, every single day has felt so busy that I hardly have a second to (quite literally) stop and smell my roses. And those pretty, cherished moments have been passing me by.

I've talked before on the blog about being busy and lately life has been overflowing. I have a day job in tech recruiting that involves reading resumes and searching for tech candidates. It doesn't incorporate anything creative into my life and so, when I get home, I immediately want to work on creative projects that infuse some prettiness into my life. In addition to my day job, I have a small calligraphy business on the side, I blog about my life and style here, and for the past year, I was planning a wedding. There are not enough hours in the day to do everything and struggling to get everything done without the right tools and technology sets me back even further. 

Our household was recently flipped on its edge (in a really good way) when we added the Lenovo YOGA Tablet 2 Pro to our technology lineup. A giant screen that lends itself well to reviewing presentations for work and school (PowerPoints look fabulous on the 13" screen), lightweight portability for dashing off with it in my massive purse, a size that lets me edit the minor details of photos for Instagram, and a generally gorgeous display that makes blog feeds and photo-sets even prettier and brighter than on any other display.

I've been using this tablet from wake-up to sleep every single day. My morning is usually filled with reading blogs to catch up on the latest trends (from music festival style posts to every-day work-wear), mid-day when the apartment is full of light I use it to photograph calligraphy work to share on my Instagram, and in the evenings I use the tablet to pull up calligrapher Instagram profiles to get inspired and write. If I'm not attached to the tablet, Ben is studying medicine on it by watching YouTube presentations, reviewing slide decks and flash cards, and making notes. By bedtime, Ben and I have usually posted up underneath our down comforter to project movies onto our bedroom wall. With the Lenovo YOGA. Seriously, it has a built in projector that we stream movies with. Like our own little movie theater at the end of every extremely busy day.

The projector evenings we now enjoy feel like a metaphor for my eternal pursuit of the best moments in life. We get to end our nights with a full wall covered in video of birds or whales migrating, of rolling ocean shores, or populated grassland. Though my cat would not agree that the wall-sized birds enhance his day, we've been getting a view into the gorgeous world out there every single night.

Check out the Lenovo TrendHub here for more on how Lenovo helps make a busy life brighter and easier!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dress Rehearsal

Dress: Jill Jill Stuart via Shopbop (no longer available: similar, similar)
 Heels: Michael Kors

I wore this dress to our rehearsal dinner in Hawaii and upon throwing it back on to take some photos, found myself reflecting on both our dinner and the entire nature of the rehearsal dinner. Perhaps, because it was not my responsibility to throw, I didn't see that much online about the rehearsal dinner (save for some etiquette suggestions). It took me a bit by surprise when we actually had ours and, though I walked away having had a wonderful time, it was a bit of stressful event.

The rehearsal dinner is the one element of the wedding left entirely up to the groom's family. For a type A bride and a type A bride's mom, I think that this can usually cause panic. After a full year of planning, it's difficult to let go part of the process and just let someone else take the reigns. I suppose that holds true for anything that my I do, but the dinner stands out to me as very difficult to release from my anxious grasp. The rehearsal dinner also happens to take place, traditionally, post-rehearsal and the evening before the wedding itself. I know that my mom was seriously stressed about putting the final details on the ceremony and reception site (flowers, gifts, paper goods), I was stressed about the coming day and all it held, Ben was interested in getting away from it all and back to the beach. 

Our rehearsal dinner was at Kona Brewing Company on Oahu and we had a delicious dinner, lots of beer, and the service was great (besides the wait to get in - 20 minutes after our reservation time, we were finally seated). They offered us complimentary poke platters, had their live band play a song dedicated to us, and I spent much of the dinner in tears, the laughter sort of tears. But having our rehearsal at a brewery, on a lanai (porch) with other guests, and in a noisy restaurant made it a bit difficult to turn the dinner into something that brought people together. Though it was the first time that our extended families had met, the table was so long that there was minimal mixed-family mingling. It was also quite loud and there were no speeches, toasts, introductions. 

Depending on the sort of dinner your groom's family would like to throw, I think it's good to remember that private rooms, homes, or other venues that offer seclusion, allow for more mingling, talking, moving about. Though it seems a bit ridiculous, a seating chart would be a great idea for that first ice-breaking dinner. Our families ended up clumped together on opposite ends of the table (whoops!). I also highly recommend that someone give a toast (it doesn't have to be long) to start the event off on less of an awkward footing. Once we got the dinner going, everyone was talking (loudly) and having a great time but the first thirty minutes or so, felt a bit stilted - like everyone was waiting for something to happen (probably dinner). 

In other, less wedding-y news, I am so sad this dress is no longer available as it's become a favorite in my closet. The perfect amount of tropical and pockets!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy Hour: Pineapple Mai Tai

Before we'd even picked up the rental car in Hawaii, Ben was making a list of all of the alcohol he needed to buy for the house in order to make a Mai Tai immediately upon arrival. When he learned that we needed to detour and pick up some friends, I'm pretty sure he pitched a fit about the obstacles standing between him and the Mai Tai prep. I am personally not a fan of pineapple (fresh pineapple makes my mouth itch), any sort of rum that isn't making me a mojito, and maraschino cherries so I did the boring thing and got myself some gin and tonic supplies.

Withdrawals from vacation have been really severe, so we threw a Hawaiian-themed party last weekend to throw ourselves back into the island life. Ben made Mai Tais, I made spam musubi, our friends brought over watermelon and pineapple to share, and we finished the night with Hawaiian chocolate we picked up on Oahu. If you can't get back to the islands, bring them to you!

Read on for Ben's pineapple Mai Tai recipe!

You'll need

2 oz. Golden rum (we used Zaya)
3 oz. Pineapple juice
3 oz. Orange juice
1 oz. Dark rum to float (traditionally Meyers Rum)
Sliced pineapple (to garnish)
Maraschino cherry (to garnish)

Fill a tall (tom collins or highball) glass with ice. Add golden rum (not spiced rum), pineapple juice, orange juice to a separate glass, shaker or pitcher. Mix well. Pour in your glass full of ice. Float dark rum on the top of the glass and garnish with loads of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.