Tag Archives: maryland

touchdown!: creole jambalaya with pulled chicken, sausage, and diced ham

creole jambalaya with pulled chicken, sausage, and ham

I’ll admit that in the days and weeks leading up to The Biggest Sunday of The Year, I was scheming and planning what Cajun-style fare to make as the Ravens unexpectedly (and somewhat unbelievably) notched their way up the Superbowl totem pole.

creole jambalaya peppers cut

I’ve alluded before to the fact that I am generally more enraptured with the food indulgences that come along with the big game (because really, when else is it morally sound to scarf buttered hot wings and beer at 11am on a Sunday?), but this year my excitement for the actual clash and crash of helmets was genuine.

creole jambalaya celery cut up

If it wasn’t for that pesky power-outage (seriously Beyonce?!) and the nail-biter of a second half that ensued, it would have almost been too easy — but thankfully, for my sanity and the sanity of every single person wearing black and purple, we managed to seal the deal. Superbowl 2013: nailed it!

creole jambalaya sausages whole and ready to cook

I woke up early on Sunday morning to start on a dish that I thought was worthy of being consumed on such a momentous occasion – inspired first because the game was being played in The Big Easy, and secondly because Fat Tuesday (and Mardi Gras!) are suddenly rightthere around the corner.

creole jambalaya cooked sausages

One of my favorite places to visit in the States is New Orleans, and though I believe it is to be fervently avoided during the two-week Mardi Gras celebration (have you ever smelled Bourbon Street even when it isn’t stuffed with thousands of tourists guzzling technicolor hand grenades?), the cuisine alone is enough to keep me coming back.

{but wait! there’s more…}


a fun surprise, for a friday: our wedding featured on the cover of washingtonian bride & groom magazine!

When I got an email yesterday from my wedding photographer saying that she had a surprise for me, I had zero idea of what to expect.  Katie Merkle, who is the fabulously talented photographer behind Merkle Photography,  then sent me back an email with a picture labeled “from the editor’s desk” – with the above picture attached, of James and I on the cover of the Washingtonian Brides & Grooms Magazine!

She also let me know that our wedding was featured today on my favorite wedding blog, Style Me Pretty – you can see the whole post with pictures (and an extended photo gallery) here!

Katie had posted a link with pictures of our day after the wedding back in October 2011, and these two things (coincidentally on the same day!) were such a fun surprise to bring us back to all of the happiness we had that day together and with our friends and families, just over eight months ago.

A perfect way to kick off the weekend, I think!

THE weekend to remember: parties, promises, & a new last name

I had been told by one of my best friends that ‘it’ would become ‘real’ when just my dad and I were left, arms linked and taking careful breaths, our eyes focused forward on the expectant crowd of close family, dear friends, and long-held loved ones.  After a year of much ado, suddenly, it was upon me: my bridesmaids had walked down the aisle to take their practiced places next to the arbor, my brothers had escorted my lovely Mother to her place one seat over in the front row, and the flower girl had just strewn the last pale pink petal  in the aisle that had been measured out and created just for us.

It was exactly there I felt that moment, as my Dad and I stood alone waiting to walk forward towards this neatly seated mass of people.  When the music resounding from a groomsman’s guitar paused just so before shifting into the appropriately titled lullaby ‘Happy Child,’ the world around me spiraled to a halt.  I was happy – so very happy – and until this moment by many standards I was still a child; a young girl standing on the brink of the ultimate commitment, with her Father by her immediate side and the man she loved waiting on the proverbial ‘other’.  The entire previous year of planning, thinking, deciding, un-deciding, and deciding again came to a quiet standstill, and for that one specific moment in my life there was the ultimate silence; that very moment where it all became real.

The feeling of having two-hundred-and-six sets of your most adored and cared for eyes locked upon you is not to be underestimated – it is exhilarating and wonderful and terrifying all at once.  As I hugged my Dad and took my place across from James I remembered that at the root of it all – at the base of this entire process – it was really just he and I there, one-on-one, and the butterflies dissolved into an energizing warmth that can only be described as the best feeling in the world.

We wrote our own vows, and I couldn’t have been happier with that decision.  Our ceremony was short, yet very meaningful to us both, and I think set the tone wonderfully for the evening.  The entire weekend was absolutely perfect; we battled back and forth with the forecast, but ultimately staved off actual raindrops until everyone was dancing the night away under the tent, champagne and cocktails in hand.  The speeches were so touching and heartfelt, and reinforced just how lucky I am to be joining such a dynamic and loving family.  Though I don’t have any professional shots of the weekend yet to share, I have a few small snippets of what was the most memorable, marvelous, and insanely fun weekend of my entire life.

I am one lucky, lucky girl.

{the menu for our beautiful bridal luncheon – i had the quiche!}

{gifts i set out for each girl – earrings to wear on the big day}

{raspberry napoleans – the perfect light dessert when you have a dress to fit into}

{delight in the details}

{the lovely ladies on the balcony of our bed & breakfast}

{a glimpse of the house & steps at the rehearsal}

{a heart shaped garden, where under an arbor we would exchange our vows}

{holding a ribbon bouquet for the rehearsal}

{practice makes perfect}

{in good company, before the rehearsal dinner}

{so ready to kick off the weekend!}

and the planning begins: who, what, when, where, how?

The enormity of what actually goes into planning a wedding doesn’t hit you right away.  Instead, you’ve only probably thought about the essentials – what shape dress you like (trumpet! princess!), your favorite flowers (peonies! sweet peas!), or maybe an appetizer that you DEFINITELY want to serve at cocktail hour (mini crab cakes! caviar blinis!)…..you know — only the really important stuff.

But as soon as “YES!” slips through your lips and into the atmosphere – its game on.  All of the sudden amongst the myriad of congratulatory phone calls and pastel envelopes in the mailbox there are questions.  And, well – after a few weeks…..people want answers.  And understandably so!  Rome wasn’t built in a day after all, and once the buzzy-ness begins to wane to it’s time to get down to business.

First things first: set a date.  And preferably one that allows you to book all the necessary accoutrement whilst still (relatively) retaining your sanity.  Since James popped the question in October, we thought that October 1, 2011 suited us quite nicely.  It’s far enough away that I still have a great deal of flexibility when booking vendors (photographer, band, caterer) but still close enough that I don’t think our engagement will feel like its dragging out.

Ten, one, eleven. I like it.

{But Wait! There’s More…}