Holiday Gift Guide: Your Best Friend

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm always looking for the perfect little gift for the special ladies in my life. With most of these gifts around $10-$40, they'd be perfect as small gifts & even stocking stuffers!

Holiday Gift Guide: For your Furry Friend

Monday, November 26, 2012

A little while ago I came across the cutest online pet shop, Harry Barker. They carry some of the cutest doggie beds, leashes, collars, toys & lots of other fun pet products! I especially love the dog beds & all the different colors that they come in. I think the small one would be perfect for Gracie!

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Guys

Friday, November 23, 2012

Now that it's the day after Thanksgiving, I can post my holiday gift guides! :) I created a few, so I'll share them all in the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. This gift guide for the guys is Luke approved - so he can expect to see a few of these gifts under the tree with his name on them! 

Parisian Style Baked Eggs

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making breakfast is my favorite meal to cook. In our house it happens on Saturdays & Sundays. A few Sundays ago I made Ina Garten's Herbed-Baked Eggs & they were delicious. I paired the dish with lightly toasted crostini & some turkey sausage (because that's what Luke likes).

I call these Parisian Baked Eggs because they're from Ina's Barefoot in Paris cookbook. It also sounds slightly more elegant when you sit down at the table for breakfast, to nosh on Parisian style baked eggs. Don't you think?

Parisian Style Baked Eggs
[serves 2]

1/4 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp minced fresh parsley
1 tbs freshly grated Parmesan
5 extra-large eggs
2 tbs heavy cream
1 tbs unsalted butter
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Toasted French bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley & Parmesan, set aside. Carefully crack 5 eggs into a small bowl (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go & at room temperature before you start cooking.)

Place the cream & butter in a baking dish & place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until it's hot & bubbly. Quickly & carefully pour the eggs into the baking dish & sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place the dish back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.

*click on the link I provided above for Ina's recipe. The recipe I typed up is my adaptation of the recipe.

Wedding Wednesday: Welcome Bags

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Since we're having a destination wedding, it's only appropriate that we give out welcome bags to our guests when they check into the resort. Don't you think?

I've been to a few weddings that have handed out welcome bags to their guests & I thought it was awesome. It was nice to have a few snacks & bottles of water in your hotel room while you're getting ready - or winding down in the evening. Especially since everyone will be traveling for our wedding - I think it's a must to hand out snacks & water for everyone.

In doing some internet sleuthing, I found that a lot of people are anti-welcome bags & think they're a waste of money. My take on that is... It all depends on what kind of wedding you have. A few local weddings that I've attended didn't have welcome bags - & that's okay. But it you're having a wedding where a lot of people have to travel in - I think it's a fantastic idea!

A rule that I think I'm going to stick to - which should also help me stick to budget so I'm just not throwing just anything & everything into these welcome bags... is to include something edible, something useful & something fun!

Some things that we're thinking of using in our welcome bags:

Something edible: bottles of water, granola bars, fruit snacks, chewing gum
Something useful: a weekend itinerary, map of Cabo, packets of sunscreen
Something fun: a mini-size bottle of tequila - we're going to be in Mexico, so that only seems appropriate :)

Martha Stewart welcome bag contents can be found here
Customizable Welcome Bags: 1 | 2 | 3
Assembled Welcome Bags: 1 | 2 | 3

Make Your Own Crostini Bar

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Something that has been on my list of things to make is the "make your own crostini bar". My good friend Kaitlin (& also bridesmaid!) came over the other day & I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. With the help of my sister, we pulled this together in about 15 minutes. It's that easy :) We clearly loved it because we cleared all the plates in no time!

(not pictured: the case of beer on the counter that we also cleared out :)

Make Your Own Crostini Bar

[serves however many you want!]

1 baguette, sliced & toasted
2 oz goat cheese
3 tbs honey
2 honeycrisp apples
1 lb grilled, marinated chicken (I used chicken thighs & grilled them on my panini grill)
1 hand full of tomato & mozzarella balls

Other ideas!
prosciutto, caramelized onions, nectarines/peaches, apricots, figs, pesto, gorgonzola

The great thing about this appetizer is that the possibilities are endless!

- Photos © Holly Carman -

Engagement Photos (Sneak Peek!)

Monday, November 12, 2012

This past weekend Luke & I met up with Linnea to shoot our engagement photos. We got rained out on our first attempt last month - but this past Saturday the weather was a little chilly, but gorgeous! I'm so thankful Linnea was patient with us & let us reschedule. She's the very best!

We took photos down on a dock off the eastbank esplanade with some gorgeous light behind us & then walked over to the railroad tracks & found some pretty brick buildings & fun colored walls. Linnea gave us a sneak peek the same day she took our photos - & I can't wait to see the rest! :) Click here to see some little souvenirs Linnea gave us from the shoot, too!

Wedding Wednesday: I picked out my own engagement ring

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

After some thought I decided that I wanted to start posting Wedding Wednesdays on the blog. I know a lot of people do it, but I don't care. I'm doing it, too!!
This week I'm talking about engagement rings.

I picked out my own engagement ring...

There was a time a little while back when one of our friend's got engaged & we saw her ring. Luke said, "oh that looks nice, he did a good job picking that out for her". I sat there quietly & didn't say anything. A little panic might have settled inside me. I made a mental note though... & that mental note was that if Luke liked that engagement ring, Luke wouldn't be picking out mine! Does that sound a little harsh? I certainly don't mean for it to - it's just the truth. And it's the start about how we both set about to find the perfect engagement ring.

When we started talking a little more seriously about our future, we went looking for engagement rings, together. I thought I was certain in what I wanted & I went into the ring search knowing that I wanted a square diamond with a halo. When I tried a few of those styles on it just didn't feel like "me".  I was kind of surprised. After a few shops, trying on lots of styles, I fell in love with an emerald cut ring. A cut I never thought I would ever want. But it turned out to be THE ONE ring that I kept coming back to, the one ring that I couldn't get out of my head. It's the ring that Luke ended up buying.

Now, when I tell people that I picked out my ring I get one of two responses...

I get the... "omg I did too!"
or I get the... " ohhhh really? why'd you do that?"

People have asked me if it's any less special, or does it not mean as much that you already knew. The answer is NO! It was such a great experience going all around town with Luke, trying on rings. We spent two different days searching & those were two very special days to me. I remember feeling very excited & giddy. I remember thinking that we were taking the next step in our relationship & that I couldn't be more excited!

When I knew that Luke had the ring, I began to wonder when exactly he was going to propose. I knew he had the ring, but was I going to be able to figure out when he was going to ask me? He definitely kept me in suspense & ended up completely surprising me when he *finally* did propose. It was the best surprise; it couldn't have been more perfect. It was us.

Truth be told, Luke felt a lot better about both of us picking out which ring I wanted, because he didn't want to mess it up. He wanted me to have the ring I wanted. I am the one that is going to wear it forever, after all.

Now every time I look at my ring, I think of how we picked it out together & it actually means more to me than him guessing on something I might like.

I want to know... 
Did you pick out yours - or was it a surprise?
What are your thoughts?

(all photos via Martha Stewart)

I'm also linking up with Ashley, so you can check out other Wedding Wednesday posts!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm lucky in that Oregon allows you to vote by mail. Luke & I sent in our completed ballots a few weeks ago. It's a good feeling to know that we've voted, that we've tried to make a difference. I hope that you all get out & do the same, if you haven't already! Happy Election Day!


Canada Day 3

Thursday, November 1, 2012

On our last full day in Vancouver, we started off the morning right with some yummy crepes at Cafe Crepe & then hit the streets once again to take in some more sights. We ventured over to Stanley Park & walked along the seawall on the edge of the city. It was such a gorgeous walk; there were trees as far as the eye could see in every shade of red you can imagine. As we were nearing the end of our walk we got caught in a heavy downpour & had to take cover in a nearby coffee shop (okay, it was a Starbucks...). My sister showed up with the car a little while later & we headed to Yaletown... More to come on that next week though! 

Hope you all have an incredible weekend! :)

Canada Day 1 & 2

- Photos © Holly Carman -