Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Years Resolutions

So many of us make New Years Resolutions, but how many of us actually achieve those goals we set our for ourselves? Resolutions often fade in our minds around tax time, and then right around the Holidays, we start to feel guilty for wasting a whole year doing nothing to work on our self imposed ambition. I think that's why in January, the gyms are packed with people, and by April, the population waiting in line for a stair stepper has dwindled to none. Like most women I know, I tend to have the same resolutions each year: to lose those 5, 10, 15lbs I feel I need to lose-even when I was a slight size 2 and weighed only 115 on my 5'6 frame, I thought I could stand to lose a little more fat from my butt. But I guess that's a folly of being an early twenty something girl. Sure, I'm reaching 30, not young, not old, but I'm starting to see age on my face and body from stress and life, and while I'm starting to realize just how foolish I had been and how I'd KILL to only need to lose a few tiny fat spots from my derriere.

Resolutions can be a good thing, though, a source of motivation or the impetus to self improvement. But more times than not, it's a cause for finding the acutest faults with oneself, or your life. And you feel guilty when you fail to reach the goal.

I think the best kind of resolution is the realistic one, where you enlist the help of friends and family, people who know you best, to help you get to where you want to be. My husband and I have decided to start early. We are redoing our home offices so that they are more relaxing, more organized, and overall a nicer place for us to work and relax. We think it'll help us be happier, more productive and less stressed if we improve our surroundings. We're painting huge rooms, lifting heavy furniture, running up and down stairs and working hard. Neither one of us would do it alone, but we're doing it together, so it's getting done. We've also decided to move my letterpress workshop to our cellar and turn the old workshop into a work out space. I'm taking my treadmill back from my parents, we already put the inversion table out there (this thing is awesome, I love it-but consult your Dr. first!). We're putting down mats, moving our weights from the attic and planning to get our gym ready to use by early Spring, at the latest.

Having someone to monitor and motivate makes resolutions attainable, and gives you someone other than yourself that you don't want to disappoint. We'll push one another to work out instead of eating out, just like we did redecorating the office. I'll keep him motivated, and he'll do the same for me. We'll look better, we'll feel better, and we'll keep one another on the right track. I'm counting on him to give me the gumption to get back to my pre-wedding fitness routine. Plus, I feel a little safer hanging upside down from my ankles after an exhausting workout knowing that he's there behind me.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Years Resolutions, The History

The tradition of the New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.

With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.

The New Year has not always begun on January 1, and it doesn't begin on that date everywhere today. It begins on that date only for cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the beginning of the New Year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had.

The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. Thus he could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new. The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve by giving one another branches from sacred trees for good fortune. Later, nuts or coins imprinted with the god Janus became more common New Year's gifts.

In the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Year's Day to December 25, the birth of Jesus. Then they changed it to March 25, a holiday called the Annunciation. In the sixteenth century, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and the celebration of the New Year was returned to January 1.

The Julian and Gregorian calendars are solar calendars. Some cultures have lunar calendars, however. A year in a lunar calendar is less than 365 days because the months are based on the phases of the moon. The Chinese use a lunar calendar. Their new year begins at the time of the first full moon (over the Far East) after the sun enters Aquarius- sometime between January 19 and February 21.

Although the date for New Year's Day is not the same in every culture, it is always a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year.

courtesy of Goals Guy, Painting, A Dance to the Music of Time by Nicholas Poussin

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Plastic Barrettes from my Childhood

Etsy is addictive, and I think most Etsy shoppers can atest to that. I love all the great things you can find, and I think it's wonderful way to support independent artists and businesses. With all that adult talk out of the way, I'm free to indulge my inner child of the 80's with Very Vintage's Etsy Store. This fab little find brought me right back to elementary school with it's kitschy plastic jewelry that is full of girly nostalgia. I love most of what I saw, and considering most items are around $5, I can pick up as much as I want without feeling too guilty about spending money on myself around the holidays!

Very Vintage has adorable jewelry for everyday, but I thought how cute these would be for the non-traditional bride who wanted a little punk, a little fun, a lot of nostalgia or a tad of whimsy injected into the day!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Giving is AWESOME

Well, it's Christmas, and I can't think of anything more in the spirit of the holiday than to announce my choice for the Giving is Awesome Giveaway.

Congratulations to Rebecca Green Neale, who nominated her 6 month old neice, Abby, who has had a very difficult battle with her health, and her family who have done all they can to help their young daughter get through this trying time. Rebecca mentioned in her email how many lives Abby has touched, and I hope that through this gift from Rebecca and Jubilee Photography, we can give something to little Abby that will stay with her and her family for the rest of their lives.

I'm delighted and honored to be a part of something so wonderful, and I cannot wait to meet Abby and family-thank you Rebecca for your nomination.

Merry Christmas Everyone. Let's never forget what the true meaning of this Holiday is really about, and how far better it is to give, than to receive.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I'm taking a little break to cozy up and enjoy the Holiday with family. I don't know about some of you out there, but Christmas Eve was always my favorite part of Christmas, and it goes back to my childhood memories. Getting my Christmas dress on and going to the candlelight church service, watching holiday specials on the floor by the Christmas tree with my brother on my Mom's BetaMax, looking for Rudolph's nose out my bedroom window, that warm all around feeling and excitement that you only get on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas, and God Bless Us, Every One.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Inspired Decor: Ornaments

The iconic ball Christmas Ornament. If you get a tree, chances are, you have a slew of these pretty little shiny balls in a variety of colors and finishes. And what a great, CHEAP way to decorate! Simple use these darlings in a silver plated bowl or a glass vase, decorate tiny tinsel trees-and you can pick and choose any color you want, since you can get these ornaments in a rainbow of colors! You could have a Wintery or Christmas wedding without feeling festive with the traditional red and green..the possibilities with this bauble beauties is almost endless! And wouldn't a hand-painted ornament make such a lovely little wedding favor? Love it!

images courtesy of Martha Stewart, Country Living, Smith and Hawkin, Cottage Living

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Greetings from a Trailer

I'm a huge fan and always have been of a lot of retro-vintage things. I've wanted a Grand Wagoneer for years, have a penchant for mixing mid-century modern furniture with rustic farmhouse finds, and would love to have my office in a silver Airstream trailer. So when I found these adorable Christmas Cards featuring my beloved Airstream by artist Paige Bridges, I had to post them! There are others in the Vintage Trailer Art collection that aren't holiday themed, so be sure to take a look around the site.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Decor, Simply Put

I found this a few days ago on C Star Event Planning's blog, and I thought it was so pretty, simple and I love the white walls and monochromatic holiday decor. No need for more words, Just enjoy the pretty pictures and feel festive!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter Wonderland

I found this magical winter wedding while perusing Style Me Pretty. It's so peaceful and so serene, what a welcome breather from the usual holiday chaos. Sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning photography of James Christianson and this breathtakingly beautiful winter wonderland wedding.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Inspired Decor: Candy Cane & Amaryllis

Red and White is such a classic color combo for weddings, and we've seen it done time and time again for playful, all-American summertime weddings. So why not take the classic Christmas Candy Icon, the Candy Cane, in all it's colorful glory and turn that into a winter wedding inspiration! The Candy Cane stripe, paired with the beautiful Amaryllis is such a classic and modern combination, it made me want to plan my own winter wedding, so I designed some Holiday Wedding Invitations for Milkmaid Press to get my fix! Here are the images that inspired me to create the suite, and hopefully they will help inspire you!

Images courtesy Martha Stewart, William-Sonoma, Smith and Hawkin, Rebecca Thuss, Cottage Living, Country Living

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Q&A with Michelle Poole of CakeKraft

As promised, here is my little interview with the oh-so-talented culinary wizard, Michelle Poole of CakeKraft.

1 ~ How would you describe CakeKraft?

CakeKraft is an all natural traditional and alternative baking company, specializing in special diets recipes.

2 ~ What inspired you to start CakeKraft?

I wanted a job that I looked forward to doing every day.....Some of my interests are baking/cooking, eating (!), and creating arts and crafts.....so CakeKraft is really a culmination of my favorite activities, which makes me love my work! I'm a bit of a "foodie" and am always in search of delicious food and desserts....and wanted to create desserts that measured up to the best. I also feel that sometimes it's hard for people with special diets to share in the dessert fun, and wanted to give them a product that was indistinguishable from the "real thing."

3 ~ When you aren't making your delicious desserts, what do you love to do for fun?

I love to be outdoors, walking and biking... just enjoying nature. Plus the exercise helps after all of the taste testing I need to do! : ) Going out to try new restaurants and food is also a constant favorite activity of mine...I love trying new things, especially foods and desserts from different parts of the world.

4 ~ How is CakeKraft different than other bakeries?

There are quite a few things that set CakeKraft apart from the competition. At CakeKraft I cater to many different diet needs (gluten free, dairy free, eggless, low fat), and put as much time and attention into these alternative recipes as my traditional recipes. The alternative baked goods that I sell are really quite tasty! Even people who aren't on a special diet can opt for a healthier treat and still be completely satisfied with their choice. You'll find that CakeKraft cakes and European-style buttercreams are less sweet than the competition; perfectly suited for "grown-up" tastes. I only use all natural ingredients....never any artificial color or flavors, both of which are pretty hard to get away from these days. I support the local and organic farms in the area and buy from them as often as possible, which makes for a fresher product....and helps the environment! Any ingredient originating overseas (coffee, cocoa, sugar) are fair trade certified, which ensures good working conditions for any involved laborers. And the icing on the cake..I strive to provide the best customer service available, so that you get exactly the right dessert, exactly when you want it.

5~ Where does your love of food and cooking come from?

I've always loved food.....and my travels to different parts of the world definitely impacted my love of food and desire to try new things. My mom and dad both cook, and for as long as I can remember, I was allowed to "help" with the household cooking and baking. The act of creating a delicious dish was always so much fun, and once I grew older, learning the real craft of cooking and baking became a new pleasure in my life.

6 ~ What inspires you in general?

Creative people who are passionate about their craft.

7 ~ What, if anything, would you like to see in the cake & dessert world for 2009?

I love simple, elegant and classic desserts that feature fresh flavors and are not too sugar-laden....so more of these would be welcome! In addition, I'd love to see bakers becoming more environmentally friendly....buying local and organic whenever possible, and making conscientious choices about their packaging.

8 ~Do you have any advice to brides or potential customers when searching for the perfect cake or dessert for their wedding or party?

Save pictures of cakes that you like and bring them (or email them) to your baker...it will be much easier/quicker to arrive at your perfect cake if you have a jumping off point. Likewise, have ideas in mind about flavors, fillings, and buttercreams which will help your baker cater to your tastes and arrive at a perfect final product.

9 ~ What is one piece of advice to other creative types who are looking to start their own business?

Networking is essential to establishing your business...join up with an entrepreneur's group in your area to help you on your way. You never know who you may meet that can help you!

10 ~ What's your favorite thing to do on a Saturday afternoon?

I love going to Whole Foods and just wandering around, checking out the new products, brainstorming how I can use new ingredients in my desserts....I could spend hours in there!

Thank you Michelle! Your words of wisdom and inspiration will un-doubtedly help many a Bride, and I look forward to many wonderful reviews and tastings with CakeKraft in the future!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Inspired Decor: Holly & Berries

The Dark, Lacquer green pointed leaves, the bright red tiny berries...add a little snowy white and you've got yourself a happy holiday inspiration board!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wedding Cakes by Cake Kraft

Happy Monday everyone! Since it's a Monday, and most of you are reading this from work, I thought I would start your week off with something sinfully sweet, sans sin.

I recently had the immense pleasure of meeting with the truly lovely Michelle Poole of CakeKraft. Michelle recently relocated to my neck o' the woods here in the Brandywine Valley and "is lovingly and masterfully baking cakes, cupcakes, vegan cakes, gluten-free cakes, cookies, and other treats with all-natural ingredients and the best local, organic, and free trade ingredients whenever possible." Taylor from Mac-and-Cheese said it so well and so succinctly, why mess with perfection? It was Taylor, a Philly area food critic and my go-to restaurant guide that introduced me to CakeKraft, so thank you Taylor!

Michelle and I met at Terrain for a tasting, talking and a general get-to-know each other. My good friend and B2B Amy met me there earlier to gab about weddings, and Amy was generous enough to stick around and ruin her admirably healthy everyday diet by indulging in Michelle's delicious cupcakes, and to be a second set of taste buds to review the baked goods of CakeKraft. Michelle brought 6 delectable samples, which Amy and I happily devoured. The samples were simple, yet so unique and flavorful that in lieu of wolfing it down like most woman do when given chocolate after a long suffering diet, we had to savor it. Amy and I split 4 cupcakes. The first, a signature chocolate with cappuccino icing, the second, a vanilla with a hint of maple, the third a vegan carrot cupcake, and the 4th a vegan dark chocolate cupcake. Flavor review a little later in the post. And what was our consensus of these 4 culinary delights? Amy was so smitten with the assorted cupcakes that she was ready to sign her cake contract right then and there. And that, in a nutshell is what makes CakeKraft my new obsession and why everyone should try to book CakeKraft for their next wedding, party, event, weekday...whatever.

Michelle is so nice and adorable, she looks like she was plucked directly from an Anthropologie catalog-and she can bake. She's everything a bride could want. She is kind, soft spoken, honest and easy to talk to, and as soon as she sat down, a few waitresses from Terrains Cafe hustled over and squealed "You're the cake lady, right?" Michelle graciously chatted with the girls, who raved about her baked goods, begging her to bring more samples, and exclaiming their passionate love for her cupcakes. Terrain might actually carry CakeKraft, and they should for every possible reason. CakeKraft makes flavor art.

Michelle uses all natural, all organic ingredients, and she buys the most conscientious products she can get, going green and supporting local farmers, free trade and all around positive attitude whenever possible. Her products are delicious, but they are also healthy, something not often found in the world of desserts. She offers gluten-free and vegan options as well, and you cannot taste the difference. I had a friend growing up who was vegan, and most things tasted like cardboard, or, like vegetables mashed up with some sugar thrown on top. Michelle's vegan options were wonderfully complex in the most subtle way. The carrot cake cupcake was sweet and light while having a very hearty, earthy flavor, and I was amazed at the Vegan chocolate cupcake. Velvety and smooth, rich and dark without being overly sweet. It was perfect, and I don't know how she does it, but God Bless her for being able to make something so chocolaty, so yummy, and so healthy without using anything animal.

The regular cupcakes were spectacular, again, in the simplest way possible. Michelle's decoration of the cupcakes are playful and whimsical. Nothing overly fancy. Michelle relies on the taste to sell her work, rather than a ton of over the top visual shenanigans. The regular chocolate with coffee icing was incredibly moist and flavorful, and the icing was smooth and creamy, while still tasting very light, almost like a homemade whipped cream with a hint of, just a hint, of indulgent cappuccino. The flavors worked so well together, and I found myself wondering what else Michelle could make that would taste this satisfying. Then I tried the vanilla cupcake with a hint of maple syrup. I'm not a big vanilla fan. Vanilla to me is, well, vanilla. I usually go for big impact flavor like chocolate. When Amy and I bit into the vanilla cupcake, our eyes widen in surprise as the flavors unfolded. We looked at each other and both remarked that, despite having lukewarm feelings for vanilla, we were digging the CakeKraft spin on this often ignored flavor. Michelle uses a bit of maple syrup to add sweetness and a little something different. Again, moist, fluffy, light and a feast for the senses. Nothing overly sweet, but just sweet enough.
I left a few crumbs behind, and felt very satiated, but without the regret and heaviness that usually accompanies eating 4 halves of cupcakes. Michelle hopes to have her own bakery storefront in the Philly/Brandywine area soon, and she is currently available for weddings, parties, events, weekdays. I could go on about how wonderful Michelle is, how awesome CakeKraft is, but the truth is, give her a call and meet with her. Once you do, I'm sure the search for the perfect cake will end right there.
The beauty of CakeKraft and Michelle's kitchen genius is all about simplicity. Simple, healthy, all natural ingredients. Simple, pretty and elegant presentation. And simply put, CakeKraft is simply the best cake I've had in years.

Stay tuned, on Wednesday, I'll have an Interview with "That Cake Lady", Michelle Poole of CakeKraft!

All photos by Me, for Jubilee Photography at Terrain at Styers

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Get out there are VOTE (for Milkmaid Press at Minted)

I am pleased to announce that "Sweetie Pie Baby", my submission for their modern baby photo announcement contest, was chosen to be sold exclusively at Minted! Now that I've caught the Minted fever, I'm really enjoying entering the contests, voting and seeing what other amazing, indie designers are creating for people like you! I love that Minted showcases smaller, independent design houses, and they carry some of my favorite stationers, such as Ceci New York, Dauphine, Mr. Boddington, Paper + Cup, Peculiar Pair Press, Wiley Valentine..and the list goes on! I love paper, and I love the work of these incredibly talented designers, and it's nice to see that there is finally a place where the indie designer can thrive and prosper!

For the second contest I've entered, I designed Tandem, for Minted's latest contest for Save the Date cards. I chose Aly and Joey, who seemed to be outdoorsey, athletic, fun, into the whole vintage country romance and I'm hoping to be voted into the top so they can sell that design on Minted! So if you have a little extra time, and you want to spread some love my way, go to Minted and vote big (5's are nice) for Tandem by Milkmaid Press!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Giving is AWESOME

Well, it's FINALLY FRIDAY. So i'm sure many of you are planning to head out for some Holiday Shopping. In an earlier post, I mentioned giving gifts that had meaning, rather than just scouring the mall for steals and deals. Well, I've joined this amazing initiative and am offering a giveaway from Jubilee Photography, through an amazing collaboration of photographers called Giving is Awesome.

It was started by a local photographer, the very sweet and very talented Kristen Kalp (Another Kristen who spells it with an "e" and is a photographer and is really awesome..there are just too few of us). She started Giving is Awesome as a way to give back to people you know who deserve a little something extra this holiday season-

You know someone. You know someone who’s experienced a tragedy, is struggling to stay afloat, is raising kids while holding down more than one job, or is volunteering selflessly despite extenuating personal circumstances. You know someone who is always giving to others and never asks for anything in return. You know someone who can’t afford custom photography, but who would cherish it this holiday season. You know someone who deserves a year-round reminder of their family’s spirit, love, and beauty. You know someone who is going through a hard time, whether it's financially, emotionally, mentally or physically.

You know someone. I guarantee it.

The giveaway will be limited to people in the DE/MD/PA area (New Castle Co, DE, Chester Co. PA, Cecil & Harford Co. MD, or those willing to drive to those areas for FREE PICTURES) and you will have to email us at info@jubilee-photography.com to submit your nomination. Make sure you submit their name and email, as well as their location and why this person or this family deserves this gift, along with your own name and email, and location.

The winner will receive a portrait session with us, complete with DVD of their choice of fully retouched images AND a $250 credit toward any print or album order. And the person who nominates the winner will also receive a $100 credit toward a portrait session of their own! Winners will be announced Christmas Eve.

Start sending emails, and if you aren't in the area, check out Giving is Awesome for a photog in your region. Tis the season for giving to those who truly deserve something better, because like the other Kristen said...you know someone.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Inspired Decor: Snowflakes

They sparkle and shine, with a glint of icy softness. Snowflakes make me think of shiny silver, cool blues, winter whites and glittering glass. The snowflake is so elegant and playful, and always, a very cool way to decorate!

Images courtesy of Martha Stewart, Three Winks Studio, Longwood Gardens, Amy Atlas, Harry Winston

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gorgeous Flowers: JM Flora

I'm sure most of you know of the Brides Cafe Blog, it's one of my everyday reads, but how many of you have taken a look at the lady behind the blog-the truly gifted floral designer Janie Medley of JM Flora in Richmond Virginia! Janie's work is some of prettiest and most impressive I've come across. Her work is flawless, her attention to detail is not only surprising in the BEST way, but her work is impeccably stylish and sophisticated, while still looking soft and romantic. Her use of color and texture is among the best, and she's so talented and so sweet, you might want to plan a Richmond wedding just so you can work with her! And she has an awesome blog featuring all sorts of great wedding resources-what more could you ask for!

If you are planning a wedding or event in Richmond or somewhere close by, you HAVE to have Janie design your florals. You'll be so glad you did!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Baby it's cold outside....

I don't know about the rest of the world, but here in the Mid-Atlantic states, it's FREEZING cold. Nic and I tried to go to a Christmas Tree farm in Maryland, and I honestly don't remember the last time I had ever been that cold. We kept running into this little mini snow blusterings-one side of the road was blue skies, the other side, a dark wintery grey sweeping snow across the car. Eventually, it evened out and it turned into bone-chilling ice cold winds.

With the Winter Nip in the air, and that serene grey sky that only shows when snow is a possibility, I decided to snuggle up with Gracie and watch Pride and Prejudice under the covers! Before we retired, I decided to do a little online browsing at Etsy, and I found myself gravitating toward things in warm winter grey, dulled metal tones and soft snow whites, and things to match my mood and the sky today...

images courtesy of Skakuyaku, Fray, Mariwibi's, Tigerlilly's, Max Melody, Stevester, Very Vintage

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Inspired Decor: Rustic Yuletide

Think English Countryside meets Early New England Americana with a Rustic Yuletide affair. Hearty winter fruits such as apples and berries, tarnished silver, heavy wool tartan, and a distinctive earthy warmth of an old fashioned fire place. Just thinking about it makes me want to curl up in a blanket with a warm mug o' cider!

Images Courtesy of Country Living, Cottage Living, Martha Stewart, Flickr