Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thirsty Thursday

Today's recipe comes from this great website. They have a HUGE collection of fruit, yogurt, juice, ice cream and iced smoothies. Working outside often leaves me not wanting a ton of food, yes, good for my waistline, but not always great for my energy. When I'm TOO hot I don't want to eat a lot, so I turn to smoothies. I also use them when I'm done with workouts, a great way to get protein and repair your muscles quickly.

I thought this was the perfet time to use seasonal peaches, they are aplenty at farmer's markets all around the country, so pick some up and give this week's drink a shot!

Peach Smoothe Recipe
1 large peach, sliced and unseeded
1/2 cup of peach yogurt
1/2 cup of whole milk
6 ice cubes

Blend the peach slices with the ice cubes and milk first until slushy texture is formed. Then add the yogurt and blend for another minute on low setting. You may substitute fresh peaches with canned peaches with the syrup in this smoothie recipe.


Image from: here

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Running of the Brides

Ok, now THIS is a fun one.

This photos is the "Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona, Spain. And, it's not tooo different than the photo below it! The second photo is from, a local DJ who played music for the event, AND got these first rate photos, what a trooper!

If you ask me, this seems just as wild as bulls chasing you!

For those of you who aren't from "around here" you may not have heard of Filene's Basement, although they do have locations throughout the US. If you have not heard of them, they are a bargain store that sells designer brands for less than designer prices. Typically I find good deals, however, I was not privy to this when I was in wedding planning mode *DARN*

Okay, Amy, enough beating around the dress racks...IF you are a bride, know a bride, are going to be a bride or are in the bridal dress market DO NOT MISS THIS!!

Each year (unless you're in Boston, in which case twice a year) Filene's Basement does a huge sale called "Running of the Brides". It is one day of sheer insanity, but sheer fun.

Here's the low-down:
Brides grab their moms, bridesmaids, or whoever's crazy enough to come along and get to the store EARLY, usually before 6 a.m. (or the evening before and CAMP out if you're really dedicated to get a prime spot in line. Most brides are OCD, I mean, organized enough to wear the same thing (so they can find one another in the thick of things).

Again, photo from, but look at the hilarious shirts, Low Budget B*tches-haha, what a riot!

People bring snacks, water, whistles, signs, you name it, they've got it, I mean they ARE brides after all! Planning is their gig!

I found Documentary Associates a website and blog through this wedding search and loved this photo they had (below). Check out their website if you are in need of a fantastic photographer, they capture weddings and events in a photojournalistic style and have a natural eye for "that shot", the one that you'll smile at for years to come.

Basically as soon as the doors open people RUSH to the racks and grab whatever they can. The racks are usually stripped of dresses within 2 mintues and the brides are not far behind. They strip down, yep, right there on the salesfloor to see what works and what doesn't.

Then the trading begins. People have signs with their sizes or dress details and will hold them up and barter dress for dress.

As you can imagine this can often go wrong, very wrong, which is hilarious to watch I'm sure. But it also often goes right and a bride-to-be ends up with her dream dress for either $249, $499 or $699 where they would have paid $900-$9,000 retail. The other brides will stop to cheer for another bride who's found "THE DRESS" and the commotion continues.

All in all, it is a GREAT way to find an otherwise maybe un-affordable dress, and a fun experience with the ladies in your life.

Have you gone to this? Would you go? And if so, you bloggers could come up with some really clever T-shirts, let me know what would yours say?

In other DC Dress news, check out Chevy Chase Bridal, they're hosting a sample sale from July 30 through August 5, offering up to 80 percent off designer gowns. Also, through August, Rizik's is slashing prices by 50 to 70 percent on sample sizes of bridal gowns from Christos, Liancarlo, Rivini and Jenny Packham.

Happy Dress Hunting!
Cheers to Wedding Season! We've got 5 this year, so I'll be doing some wedding posts!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Can't Win

Do you ever feel like somedays you just can't win? I got a nasty customer comment today, passed down from my boss, always a crummy start to the day. Even crummier part was that I did EVERYTHING right for them.

I know I'll be fine tomorrow, for now I've got to get through today.

What do you do to shake the negative vibes? Any advice other than wanting to go to the gym and work out your frustrations then lounge by the pool??


Image from: here

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good times

This was a very busy, fun-filled weekend for us, we had some family friends visiting from Germany and had a great lunch catching up. Their beautiful little girls had a BLAST running through the new fountain in Reston Town Center. I was a BAD blogger and forgot my camera, so I found this image from an interesting blog called ObamaPacman that follows Apple products and their high-profile users.

The girls LOVED running through the fountain, each individual fountain spout comes up at a different time in a different area in the grid, so the kids chase the water (a GREAT way to wear them out!) It's hilarious to watch, and I wished I hadn't been wearing a dress or I would have been chasing the kids around too-hahha.

I had also already showered because we had tickets to the Zac Brown Band/Dave Matthews Band Concert at National's Park that night.

It was a great concert but it was SOO HOT. The ladies wore sundresses in hopes to keep cool, and even still I think I sweated off a few pounds, hey, a girl can hope right?

Saturday was for cooling off and re-hydrating, I won "The Best Wife Award" for volunteering to watch Star Wars Return of the Jedi. I think I've seen the original ones, but it's been a million years, okay, probably 15+ and I didn't remember them well, so Greg made a deal that for every chick flick movie he watches with me, I have to watch a guy movie with him. (Please note, we've been married almost 5 years, and I've just watched the 3rd Star Wars movie, if you're not a math whiz, I'll help you out, it was NOT a fair trade for him) so I do cave on occasion and watch something he wants. Hey, he doesn't complain, most of the time...

We were invited to a pizza night at our friends house and played a rousing game of Catch Phrase, for those of you not familiar, GO BUY IT! I LOVE games, and apparently so do our friends, so it was requested I bring it along. Us ladies got CRUSHED when we played at 4th of July (photo below), but Saturday night we dominated.

Sunday I worked, ugh, in the oppressive heat, good news, we got a flash thunderstorm around 3 and I got to leave early-yipee!!

That meant extra time to clean the house and do a little garden tending. Greg was SO proud to show me our NEW BABY FISH!! After our koi was killed I have been a little "anti pond", so seeing new baby fishies made me happy! As my sister would say "Cue...Circle of Life"

I know the photo is blurry, they are in moving water after all, but here are a few of the little guys!

And here is a little purple and white striped verbena in one of my pots on our lower flagstone patio.

Do you block out weekends for nothing but relaxing? Or do you plan, plan plan??

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thirsty Thursday

Today's Thirsty Thursday installment comes from one of my favorite websites, SELF, being a fitness fan, I do get the magazine by mail, but I also check their website for new exercises when I get into a rut, great recipe's when I need a new snack or meal, and of course sometimes even beverage ideas, it IS summer after all! It was this tasty treat that caught my eye...

Watermelon Quencher

Lauren Purcell, deputy editor at SELF and coauthor of Cocktail Parties, Straight Up!, shared her recipe on their website and I thought it looked too yummy to pass up sharing.

As with many fruits and veggies, watermelon has lots of antioxidants especially lycopene (also found in tomatoes) which they say helps fight cancer. So if you're being health conscious, limit your drink to one to get the health benefits without adding any extra calories to your daily routine-or just bust out a little longer on your run to make up for it.

2 oz fresh watermelon juice
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake 10 to 15 times to chill. Pour, with ice, into a glass rimmed with a mixture of half sugar, half salt. Extra credit: Tint the sugar-salt mix with a couple of drops of red food coloring.

Will you try this one out? Do you have a recipe that you love and want to share? Email me and I'll put it up here.


Image from: here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


As I was sourcing some outdoor furniture for a customer, I came across a new line called Loom by JANUS et Cie® For those of you not familiar, they are entering their 28th year of providing stylish and often cutting edge furniture throughout the world.

I was fascinated by this new line as it is created from paper twine, reinforced with wire for strength and woven on huge looms. The owner, Janice Feldman partnered with Vincent Sheppard to use this technique originally invented by Marshall Burns Lloyd in 1906. I love how so many old ideas are becoming rejuvenated.

The result is spectacular. It is weatherproof, comfortable and above all, really attractive! Read more about it on their website in my first link.

The company offers an array of options as far as color and cushions go, so there is something for everyone.

Go check out their website or this article in Garden Design for even more beautiful images. Although I LOVE my FSC Teak furniture we bought I wish I had another patio for this line! Hmm, keep it in my file for the next house maybe on a patio such as this one below...

Do you like this line? Would you use it?


Images from: here, here and here

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Berkley Springs, WV

On the way to and from Pittsburgh this weekend, we made a little stop in Berkley Springs, WV. It's about halfway into the trip and we all LOVE a good excuse to stretch our legs, have a bite to eat and of course shop!

Mom and Kathy found Tari's a great local restaurant on one of their trips up to PA awhile ago, so we popped in for a delicious hamburger and wrap, I'm big on sharing (it's the small child in me)

Then we puttered through one of the Antique malls, what a TON of treasures they had!

I loved all the colored glass, especially this turquoise vase.

I know Eddie and Jaithan would do some AMAZING things with this crackle glass pitcher and glass set...

The REAL reason for stopping here however, is the HOT SPRINGS!!

So, of course we couldn't pass that up! Here are the individual rooms, they fill the roman bath with spring water heated to 102 degrees and you soak for 30 minutes. It's supposed to heal your ailments and be really good for you, so we gave it a try!

After our bath Kathy and I splashed in the springs outside, yes, we were with the little kids, but hey, we had fun!!

Have you ever stopped here or at another Hot Spring? Do you love weekends away with "the girls??"


Monday, July 19, 2010

Bridal Shower Take 1

This is another year filled with weddings for us, we have 5 this fall starting in August and ending in November-almost every other weekend-whew! This weekend was the first of the shower's so sorry for being MIA. My mom, sister and I drove up to my cousin Melissa's Bridal Shower up in Pittsburgh, PA on Friday and came back on Sunday, our girls weekend was a blast.

The brunch was held in a beautiful old train station on one of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers, so the view was beautiful, and I got some good detail shots of the room.

The shower was ADORABLE, our Aunt Margie is very talented (I know you bloggers are too!) and threw a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" themed shower as that is Melissa's favorite movie. I'll share some photos so you can see what fun we had...We were all asked to wear our Little Black Dresses and pearls to keep with the Audrey Hepburn themed movie. It made for awesome photos!!

This is the beautiful bride-to-be and one of her cutie pie niece's.

Each table setting had a BIG diamond ring key chain as the napkin ring, and our Aunt Mary made the little black dress favors (I guess their talents have rubbed off on me over the years, even I'm not THAT clever!)

Even the flowers had some BLING on them!

This was the dessert table, delicious cupcakes!

Margie and her sister Barb made these boxes for those who wanted to take the cupcakes home to enjoy (I snagged one to bring home for Greg), he loved the Carrot Cake one!

Kathy (my sister) won this book in one of the raffle prizes, I can't wait to read it when she's done.

Here we are Kathy, mom and Me all in our LBD's and pearls!

I'll post about our adventure's in Berkley Springs, WV (where we stopped on the way up and back) tomorrow, stay tuned, there's some ANTIQUING involved!

Did you all have a fun weekend??

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day

Every country has it's celebration, for France it's Bastille Day (image above from here), July 14th, the French also call it La Fête Nationale, us American Francophile's fondly use: "Quatorze Juillet".

Image of the Bastille from here.

Info from Wikipedia:
It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution. Festivities are held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic.

La Fête de la Fédération was a huge feast and official event to celebrate the uprising of the short-lived constitutional monarchy in France and what people considered the happy conclusion of the French Revolution.

Typically after the parade, the President, currently Nicolas Sarkozy (he and his wife Carla Bruni photo above from here) hold a party in the gardens of Élysée Palace his private residence and official workplace. Image from here.

Their flag (image from here), known as the Tricolore, flies above his residence when he is in the country.

Info from Wikipedia:
Blue and red are the traditional colors of Paris, used on the city's coat of arms. Blue is identified with Saint Martin, red with Saint Denis. At the storming of the Bastille in 1789, the Paris militia wore blue and red cockades on their hats. White had long featured prominently on French flags and is described as the "ancient French colour" by Lafayette.[1] White was added to the "revolutionary" colors of the militia cockade to "nationalize" the design, thus creating the tricolor cockade.[1] Although Lafayette identified the white stripe with the nation, other accounts identify it with the monarchy.[3] Lafayette denied that the flag contains any reference to the red-and-white livery of the Duc d'Orleans. However, this myth did allow Orleanists to adopt the tricolor as their own.

Lafayette's tricolor cockade was adopted in July 1789, a moment of national unity that soon faded. Royalists began wearing white cockades and flying white flags, while the Jacobins, and later the Socialists, flew the red flag. The tricolor, which combines royalist white with republican red, came to be seen as a symbol of moderation and of a nationalism that transcended factionalism.

Being a french-speaker I couldn't pass up the opportunity to give any non-francophile's a little insight into the history and culture of the beautiful country of France.

I will be eating quiche and drinking champage today in celebration!

Vive la France!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Tribute to Marija

Today I want to pay tribute to a warm, kind, spirited woman, Marija Stephens of the blog Holding Court. She was tragically killed in a car accident while on an antiquing trip to Atlanta over the weekend. She is survived by her beautiful family, husband Cory, daughter Olivija and son Nigel.

Marija was intelligent, witty and always inspiring, although I only knew her through the online world, her enthusiam for life and the love of her family was contagious. It shocked me to read Cory's post yesterday about the sudden loss of his wife. He had the courage to post and let us know of his pain during this difficult time, he knew her love for her blog and the people who read it. Although we are all putting our fond memories of Marjia on our blogs, I know nothing can bring her back.

Always tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, life really is too short.

Sending my thoughts, prayers and love to the Stephens' family,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Does it Measure up?

Often I need to measure out various spots on a property to be able to design it, I'm sure many of you do the same with rooms.

I try to keep this standard measuring tape from Home Depot in my car for my jobs. I never worry if it gets muddy, messy or otherwise beat up.

However, when I'm shopping for furniture I hate carrying the BULKY tape around with me.

These next few beauties could be perfect in my bag for the days I have happened to leave my big tape on the job-hey, it happens! Or if I was just in the mood for something a little more girly!

I loved this gorgeous leather tape from Rowallan, a Scottish company who has very clean lined stylish accessories to keep your life in order.

Even these are perfect for those who are fans of blingy things...

Images from: here, here and here

Do you have a specific measuring tape you use or will anything do? Or do you just eyeball it?

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Organic Flowers & July Birthday's

July for us is BIRTHDAY madness, I think we have 10 birthday's this month alone! I am big into Birthday's, I know not everyone is, but to me they're a big deal and should be celebrated!

When we were little our mom and dad always had our place at the table set with a candle, confetti and our special birthday mug. They did little things throughout the day to make us feel special like put a note in our lunchbox, and we always had our favorite dinner made for us.

I always chose ice-cream cake and still do, some things never change! I think Carvel is the BEST, that crunchy chocolate layer in the middle is YUMMMMY!

We are also a family big on presents, now don't get me wrong, they do NOT have to be big, or bought. They can be small gestures like a thoughtful card-my sister makes awesome IOU cards, like "Valid for one pedicure and manicure day" so we get to spend time together and have a little birthday treat.

Those who know me, know I LOVE flowers, I know what you're thinking. Obviously Amy, you're a Landscape Designer...They do not have to be expensive or unusual, there is little that makes me happier than fresh flowers, aside from my sweet husband, family and good friends of course! And perhaps that cake, or maybe Raspberry wine, hmmmm...Well I'm getting off track.

The reason for this post was to mention Organic Bouquet, it's a great website that offers pesticide free flowers! I know everyone knows of the big companies and FTD, etc, but this is lesser known and I think needs to be passed around.

So, if you have as many birthday's as we do, and LOVE fresh flowers or just want to let someone know you're thinking about them, hop on over and send some beauty their way.

Here are two of my faves:

Are birthday's a big deal to you? Do you do something special or is it "just another day?"

And a VERY Happy Birthday to all the July babies in our life! Many more happy, healthy years to you!

Images from: here, here and here

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thirsty Thursday

Although summer is already in full swing, I had the genuis idea last night (hey, better late than never right??) to start a new series...

Welcome to Thirsty Thursday!

Each Thursday, until summer ends (or longer if you all comment and let me know you like the idea) I will post a new drink, some may have a little "kick" to them, others may not, but feel free to get the ingredients, test them out, and let me know what you think!

This recipe comes from the site of POM, for those that don't know POM is short for Pomegranate, their Corporate Offices in LA are LEED Silver certified, and they are proud to grow, juice and bottle their own fruit. POM is very high in antioxidants and helps fight free radicals, what better reason to test it out!

I have loved POM for many years now, and my family has made our own version of mixing POM juice and San Pelligrino with crushed ice. However, when I was looking around on their webiste I found this treasure I thought would be DELICIOUS for us East Coaster's who are currently suffering through a HEAT WAVE.

POM Highball

1 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed pomegranate juice* or POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 1/2 oz. gin
4 oz. bitter lemon or Lemon San Pellegrino

1. Build all the ingredients over ice in a highball glass.
2. Garnish with a slice of English cucumber.
* This cocktail can be made with freshly squeezed juice from a POM Wonderful pomegranate or by using POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice. To juice the pomegranate, cut it in half (as you would a grapefruit) and juice using a citrus reamer or a juicer. Pour mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer.

I myself am not really a GIN person though that's Greg's liquor of choice, so I will use vodka, (I am 1/2 Czechoslovakian). So feel free to use either or neither and let me know what you think. Get out your barware and join me!


Images from: here and here

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Surprise Balcony Planting

One of the projects I haven't mentioned in my posts yet, was planting some balcony planters for our friends that own Xander he's in an earlier post (not sure how to link to it-sorry!). They were out of town one weekend and had hoped for some herbs and flowers on their balcony (before photo below.)

So Greg and I surprised them by planting it all for them while they were gone.

They just moved into this super cute condo/townhouse and hadn't had the time to plant anything. Of course having me "on staff" makes it a little easier! Greg and I ran over to the garden center friday night to get the best stash of plants before the weekend crowds hit.

I found these awesome trough planters for about $30.00 each and Greg installed them on each of the 4 sections of their railing.

There requirements were simple, herbs for cooking and flowers for looks. Done and done. I love the look of herbs and flowers mixed, so Greg and I set out to create a diverse garden on this HOT, HOT terrace.

I left all the plant tags in front of each of the plants (I don't usually do this), but they wanted to have the plant info handy so they knew the care requirements, yay for responsible customers!

We filled each container with a moisure-retaining potting mix, genty removed the plants from their containers, teased the roots gently and tucked them into their new soil. We gave everything a really good watering and left them a watering can so they could do the same when they got home.

Here is the finished product:

We are going to be at their house on Saturday to celebrate The Birthday Girl, so I will take some UP close photos since things have filled in a little.

Do you like the combo of herbs and flowers? Do you mix them in your own containers?