Archive for the ‘Style’ Category

  • Beach Part 2: The Wedding

    Date: 2012.05.11 | Category: Family, Friends, Love, Photography, Style, Travel | Response: 12

    The main reason we ventured down to Ft. Walton Beach was for my sister’s best friend Kari’s wedding. Shannon was the Matron of Honor, my nephew was the ring barer and I was the photographer.

    Despite the morning rain, the weather for the wedding was perfect.

    Only one misstep happened when my nephew Jacob tried to swallow the wedding ring, leading the officiant to say, “Holy Mother of God, where’s the ring?!” while the groom frantically asked if he had swallowed it. Turned out the little guy had spit the ring right back out and it had landed in his front pocket. No harm done, just lots of laughs!

    Here are a few photos I took from the wedding.

    My nephew cutting up during the ceremony. Good thing my sister could handle him.

    With this ring…

    Bridesmaids with the bride and ring barer.

    Love birds.


    Dip and kiss.

    Thumbprints = the most awesome guest book ever.

    Matron of honor speech.


    This was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been to and I was so honored to photograph it.

    Congrats Kari and Chris!

  • The Birthday Party

    Date: 2012.04.18 | Category: Baby, Birthday, Family, Food, Friends, Leela Fish, Life, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Style | Response: 9

    Man was it a crazy weekend! Saturday we celebrated Sarah’s birthday out at Mark’s family farm… which is literally out in the middle of nowhere. We marked the path with balloons for our guests who ventured out that way. My grandfather thought it was a joke and that we were leading him on some wild goose chase. Lucky for him, he made it to the country party on one of the most beautiful days of the year.

    Because Sarah loves to dance to the “Hot Diggity Dog” song on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I decided to use that as our theme.

    I made banners:

    (You know you’re in the Southern country when deer antlers accompany your decorations).

    And I made a wreath for the door. (That’s the party invitation at the bottom of the wreath).

    And because I’ve become obsessed with baking, I made two different kinds of cupcakes, both from scratch (and also learned that I would totally fail with the time constraints and creativity needed to do Cupcake Wars).

    These were the favorite: Oreo cupcakes from Annie’s Eats.

    But I also made yellow cake with chocolate icing per my husband’s request.

    And the birthday girl? She approved of the cupcakes!

    And the presents.

    And baby Evelyn made sure the grown-up food was yummy too.

    So many friends and family helped us celebrate!

    And Leela had a great time too.

    What a fun party!

  • Sweet and Saucy

    Date: 2012.02.28 | Category: Food, Friends, Life, Me, Style | Response: 14

    It started with a suggestion.

    After all, Cassie cooks all the time and it was only natural that she start a cooking blog. So I told her she should do it. And somehow I ended up volunteering to help set it up and then all of a sudden it was a joint blog and cooking project. I have no idea how I got bamboozled into it, but I’m really happy I did.

    I enjoy cooking and baking and find myself doing both more than ever these days since going out to eat has become rare treat. There’s the added challenge of feeding a kid who eats table food now and not being ok with her eating Taco Bell every night. Oh how we’ve had to change our eating ways!

    Cassie and I have very different approaches to doing things. I am a planner. I like lists. I like to know what needs to be done and what’s coming next. I needed a blog title, a satisfactory URL and operating plug-ins. Cassie is more of a “grab life by the horns” kind of gal and just jumped right in.

    You would think that would be problematic, but it worked. If it wouldn’t have been for Cassie, I would have dragged this thing out over who knows how many months before finally launching it. And while I was meticulously planning categories and print buttons, Cassie was cooking and posting recipes up on the blog. She got me going and I made sure it was all orderly.

    So here we are with the aptly named “Sweet and Saucy” blog. My sister planted the idea for the name in Cassie’s head after labeling her “saucy.” I think the two of us are a little bit of both. I bring the southern flare and she brings the northern (though let’s just be honest here, we all know southern food is better – except for those perogies, those things are amazing). Just joking! Sort of.

    We really hope you enjoy our blog and all the love we’ve put into it. Share it with your friends, print off recipes and let us know if there is something you’d like to see added!

  • Baby Book Worm

    Date: 2012.02.27 | Category: Baby, Books, Home, Sarah, Style | Response: 8

    My girl loves books. And I’m not just saying that to prove how intelligent I think my little monkey is. She really and truly loves to flip through their pages and point to things and push buttons. While I would love to attribute this to how she watches me read, I know that’s not true either. I rarely read a bound book these days, instead relying on my Kindle, and even then after she’s gone to bed.

    Sarah has developed “favorite books,” ones that she goes to over and over. And while I’d love to tell you it’s a list of classics like Goodnight Moon, in reality she prefers books that make noises or have textures.

    Here are her current favorites:

    1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Ok, so this one is a classic, but the board book has all the little panels with the holes punched through the food items the caterpillar eats through. This means Sarah can flip through the different sized panels and shove her finger tips in the holes. It’s great fun.

    2. Touch and Feel Books. All of them. Every animal has a different texture from fuzzy chicks to spongy pig noses. After she studied me rubbing my fingers over all the textures, she finally grasped the idea and does the same, squealing especially over the border collie page. If we find one with orange tabby cats in it, the squealing will have no end.

    3. My First Colors. This book has no weird textures, but it has tons of bright colors and each of those little squares around the edge is cut out and easy to turn. She will flip through the pages of this one from beginning to end and back again. Over and over and over.

    4. God Made You Special. This book has a button that plays a silly song that she can push over and over AND a mirror. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “God Made You Special” as sung by Larry the Cucumber. At least 137 times. Would you like me to sing it to you? The mirror totally makes up for the repetitive song though because Sarah will stare at herself in it, giggle and give herself kisses. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.

    5. Santa Claus is Coming to Town. This is one of those Hallmark Recordable storybooks. My grandmother got it for her for Christmas. So naturally I recorded my voice reading the story. The book conveniently adds music with my voice. Sarah thinks it’s the best thing ever while I get to hear my Southern twang echo across the house any time she wanders over to the book and opens it up. Note, if you get this, lock it after you do the recording, otherwise your immature husband may or may not record lewd things when your back is turned, only for you to hear it as your infant daughter opens up the book and dies out laughing. Not that that happened to us or anything.

    *Not a sponsored post.

  • Chop!

    Date: 2012.01.25 | Category: Family, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Sarah, Style, Travel | Response: 16

    I chopped my hair off and I love it. I can fix it so much faster and am no longer tempted to throw it in a pony tail every morning. I feel more grown up and put together, which goes right along with my goals of embracing myself.

    My hair minus six inches or so.

    Other resolution updates:

    1. The reading is going swimmingly. I’m on Book 3 from the Game of Thrones series. These books are fantastic, but I swear I have hit a point (or two or three) in each volume where I got so mad at the writer for what he puts his characters through that I’ve been tempted to put them down and take a break. But then I keep reading and I’m so glad that I do.

    2. The travel. I’ve planned a big trip this summer to visit my friend Tammy in Indianapolis and Cassie in Pittsburgh. There is also a possible trip to Florida in the works. Yay and Yay!

    3. Home beautifying. We are getting ready to get a desk for my awesome new iMac and shift things around drastically. We’re grown ups with a baby, time to (mostly) retire the tv trays and let Sarah sit at the dinner table with us.


  • Farewell to a Great Lady

    Date: 2012.01.17 | Category: Baby, Family, Life, Mark, Nostalgia, Style | Response: 20

    Saturday evening we got the phone call that Mark’s grandmother had passed away. It was sort of expected and sort of not. When we visited her New Year’s Day, she was doing better than she had in months. She remembered things, laughed, ate cupcakes and delighted in playing with Sarah. So we were a little shocked when we got the phone call.

    It’s hard for me to reflect on her life, because I’ve only known her the past 8 out of 88 or so years of her life, but I do know she meant the world to Mark. So much so that our daughter is named after her.

    Grandmother and Mark in 2007.

    Personally, I was always struck by her kindness and stubbornness. She immediately adopted me into the large Italian family, but sternly told me that I better take care of her grandson. She always had a smile and a laugh and insisted people did too much for her. She shared many a Christmas Eve with us and constantly asked when Mark and I were going to have a baby. And when we did have Sarah, despite her despair over her recent strokes and trouble speaking, she always lit up as soon as she saw our little girl. She would hold her, smile, play peek-a-boo and laugh at Sarah’s constant mobility and babbling.  And the woman could make some mean spaghetti and meatballs and never failed to bring them to a Thanksgiving feast.

    Visiting with me on our wedding reception in 2007.

    Mark loves to reflect on his experiences with his grandmother. Last night he told me about the train set she bought especially for him and his sister to keep at her house (and that’s saying something considering she had over 30 grandchildren and even more great grandchildren). He told me about how they would play ambulance and he and his grandmother would cart his sister around on a board like it was a stretcher. His grandmother loved to talk about how Mark was as a baby, kicking his legs when it was time to eat (something Sarah does now). To say he loves her fiercely is no understatement.

    Tomorrow we will bid our final farewell to her at her funeral. The giant families of her seven children will come together. I imagine it will be a very difficult experience, but good all the same.

    I’m sad that I didn’t get to know her longer, but thankful that I was a part of her life, even if it was a short time. I’m even more thankful for the giant, positive impact she had on my husband and all the joy she brought to him in his 35 years of life. And I’m glad she got to meet her great granddaughter, her namesake, and delight in her at the end of her life. I know Sarah won’t remember her, but I’m glad we have the photos, the videos and the experiences to share with her when she’s older. We’re proud to have our little girl named after such a great lady.

    Sarah, Mark and Grandmother at her house in September.

  • New Gadget

    Date: 2011.12.02 | Category: Books, Mark, Me, Style | Response: 19

    What a week. There was so much new mother panic going on about my baby running 101-102 degree fever for three days straight that I think my husband was ready to slip a Valium in my drink as soon as I looked the other way. Especially after I insisted we go to the doctor and lay out that co-pay only to hear that it will pass.

    But, Sarah has rallied and so have I.

    So now that things are happy again, I want to tell you about my belated birthday present.

    Mark has a thing about wanting to buy me gadgets, something I can use and have fun with (because jewelry is obviously so boring). This year, when the rumors started circulating that the release of the iPhone 5 was nigh, he settled on that for a gift. Unfortunately, the big Apple reveal was a disappointing iPhone 4s.

    I didn’t want to waste my money or upgrade on that, so we decided to pass and hold out for the 5 when they finally do release it.

    So he asked me what other gadget I wanted for my birthday.

    I have toyed around with the idea of getting an e-reader for a while, but I have such a strong love for books. I love how they feel. I love to turn the page. I love how they smell. But, there are also so many books I want to read and finding time to go to the library these days is getting tougher (and sometimes finding the book I want at the library is even harder).

    When I was in Austin, my friend Dana was reading from her Kindle. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw one, but I was impressed that the screen looked like a real book. It isn’t back lit, and it actually looks like ink on paper.

    The more I thought it over, the stronger the desire was to have any book I could possibly desire at my fingertips at any given moment. And so, I told Mark I wanted a Kindle. However, I wanted the as-yet-released, Kindle Touch with 3G and wifi, so I had to wait.

    It finally came in the day before Thanksgiving and I’m in love with it. I’ve played with the library borrowing option, which is really neat, except that my library doesn’t have a lot of the books I want to read digitally, and the ones they do have have an extensive waiting list. But I did find a couple that were available that I wanted to read and it was pretty easy to put on on my kindle.

    I’m also trying to figure out a way to use the Kindle Lending Library. We have Amazon Prime, but it’s on my husband’s account. And even though he can share it with me for shipping, this apparently doesn’t apply to the lending library? Anyway, more research to be done on that.

    But for now, I’m really enjoying my Kindle, and sort of glad that I can slide it in my purse instead of lugging around the 770+page copy of the first book of A Game of Thrones that I’m reading now.

    Do you have an e-reader? Any tips on this lending library business? Any books I need to read right now or buy with my impending Amazon Christmas gift cards?

    *Not a sponsored post, all opinions and purchases are my own.

  • Busy Baby Basics

    Date: 2011.11.10 | Category: Baby, Home, Sarah, Style | Response: 18

    You guys, Sarah is mobile, and I mean get across the room and shove a dog toy in her mouth in five seconds flat mobile. Not to mention busy and extremely determined. If she wants something, she’s going to get it despite any efforts we make to prevent it.

    Yesterday, we had our first “incident report” from her school because she pulled up on the swing, it swung and she fell and hit her head. She’s fine, but she hasn’t stopped pulling up on the swing. And to top it all off, she is now starting to pull up, let go, stand on her own for a few seconds, topple, and get up and do it all over again.

    So today I present you with a list of my favorite things for busy babies.

    1. Classic Rubber Ducky Bath Toy
    Sarah won’t sit still in the bath tub. She would scream if we tried to hold her down long enough to scrub her, so we dug up one of my mom’s ingenious purchases, rubber duckies. She now spends her bath time attempting to capture all three of them and hold them under water or chew on them, thus distracting her long enough for a complete scrub down. ($3.85)

    2. Summer Infant Secure Surround Play Safe Play Yard
    This thing is amazing. I can fold it to any size and shape allowing me to rope Sarah into a safe space. I put a bunch of toys in the enclosed space and she can go wherever she wants, pull up on the sides and generally entertain herself without injury while I do things like cook or laundry. And it’s big enough that she doesn’t cry because she’s enclosed. Win! ($54.50)

    3. Bright Starts Bounce Bounce Baby Activity Zone
    This was another genius gift from my mom. Before Sarah was super mobile, she thought it was so amazing that this thing let her stand up! Now that she’s mobile, she sort of fights us when we try to put her in it, but once she’s in, she plays with all the things in it and bounces around. This thing is perfect when we’re trying to eat and want to make sure she’s in one place. ($39.50)

    4. Fischer Price Laugh and Learn Learning Puppy
    This was a gift from my friend Jill. She said her daughter loved it. We handed it to Sarah, pushed his singing feet and hands a few times and figured she wouldn’t really know what to do with it. Boy were we wrong. She will tackle that dog now to make him sing, accurately pushing his nose and tummy and laughing when he sings and makes noises. And there are so many songs this guy sings that it actually takes me at least 30 minutes before I put it up and hand her a quiet toy. ($20.89)

    5. Learning Curve First Keys Teether
    I don’t know what it is about these cheap keys, but they are Sarah’s absolute favorite toy ever. She chews on them shakes them, carries them around while she crawls and beats them on things. I got these at our local grocery store for $2 and I think I may go back and buy them out of their stock. ($3.61)

    6. Kidkusion Hearth Kushion, Brown
    The one problem with our enclosed play area is a brick fireplace hearth. We put this stuff on the edging. Sarah has already tested it twice by falling and her head bouncing off of this stuff like it’s a cushion. Crisis averted! ($20.99)

    *Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

  • A Very Harry Halloween

    Date: 2011.10.31 | Category: Books, Food, Friends, Halloween, Nostalgia, OMG YAY!, Style, Work | Response: 22

    I think I may work with the most fun (or most nerdy, depending on how you feel about these sorts of things) people ever.

    As soon as October rolled around, my friend and co-worker, Lori and I hatched a plan to transform our entire hall at work into Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. Our imaginations quickly spun out of control.

    All our goodies to share with our co-workers are Harry Potter inspired.

    Chocolate Frogs

    Golden Snitch Pops

    All of our co-workers got in the spirit and dressed up as characters from Harry Potter and every single door in our hall is a different shop from Diagon Alley.

    Yours truly as Rita Skeeter at The Daily Prophet.

    Mickey as Professor Sprout at the Magical Menagerie for pets and supplies.

    Guy as Harry Potter at Eeylops Owl Emporium.

    Margie as McGonagal at Sugar Plums Sweet Shop.

    Lori as Trewlawney at Potage's Cauldron Shoppe.

    Jill as Hermione at Flourish and Blotts.

    Mike as Hagrid at Quality Quidditch Supplies (do you see the little snitches at the top of the door?)

    Blanca as a Ravenclaw at Ollivander's Wand shop.

    We even designed covers for the text books in Harry Potter and made treat bags out of them.

    And every book had a description.

    Oh and there were lots of other details too, including a cackling, dancing broom and the Harry Potter soundtrack playing in the background. These letters littered the hallway.

    There were so many details. If I posted all the photos here, it would take five hours to load. There were several more decorated doors including an ice cream parlor, a robe shop, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, the Leaky Cauldron, Gringotts and Terror Tours. Here are just a couple more details.

    Can you tell we’ve been enjoying our Halloween? This is all going to be sort of hard to top next year.

  • The Trifecta

    Date: 2011.10.18 | Category: Me, OMG YAY!, Photography, Style, Travel, Work | Response: 15

    What’s a blog for if I can’t brag a little bit on myself? (You know I already brag on my kid all day long anyway).

    I am really happy to say that I love my work. By day I run a monthly religious publication and in the evenings I freelance for a monthly senior magazine. For the religious magazine, I primarily serve as editor and layout director. I also take photos and write occasionally. For the senior publication, I primarily do layout and graphic design, occasionally writing and taking photos. Both publications are educational, but completely different in scope and design.

    Where the religious publication is a bit more formal, the senior publication is a lot more creative.

    So imagine how thrilled I was to learn that the senior publication just won 14 first and second place awards, seven of which were for my work or contributions! The editor of The Best of Times, sent me the following email last night:

    The magazine won a total of 14 awards – 11 first, and 3 second place finishes. I’m so proud! I haven’t received the judges comments, but will forward those when they arrive. YOU are a huge part of the magazine’s success! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    • 1st place:
      • Best of Show
      • Most Improved
      • Column Review - This category required 2 reviews: Your review of Athena Greek/Lebanese and The Market by Lizzie Lyles
      • Senior Issue – Lee Aronson’s legal column
      • Briefs and Shorts (editorial) – STAT! Medical News
      • Travel columnYour article about Hiroshima and mine about Branson
      • Front Cover Design Photo – Your photo of Tom Clark
      • Table of Contents – Your design – June 2011
      • Briefs and Shorts (design) – STAT! Medical News
      • Best Single Ad Color – your Toyota ad
      • Web Self Promotion
    • 2nd Place:
      • Urgent Senior Issue – Lizzie Lyles for Is it an Emergency?
      • Feature layout – your design for 50 Ways to Feel Great
      • Overall Design – thanks in large part to your delightful layouts (this category required submission of 3 consecutive issues. we sent in April, May, & June of 2011)

    The red items are things I did or contributed to! Needless to say this made my day. I won the first place trifecta: photography, design and writing.




    I think the one I’m most proud of is the Hiroshima travel article (pg. 34) I felt inspired to write one day, so I jotted that article down and submitted it, not even sure if it would be published. I’m so thankful to work with an editor who is open to my whims like that.

    Also, this means I get to cross another item off my life list!

    11.  Win an award for writing.