Maryland Bloggers’ Group
This week, I hosted the first get-together of 2014 for a blogger group run by Fadra of All Things Fadra consisting of many of my favorite Maryland and Frederick food, lifestyle, and video writers/bloggers. For me, there’s nothing better than a room full of people who are doing things and doing things they LOVE to do. Unlike so many networking events and gatherings where I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel for something to say and pained by repeating the same conversation over and over, these ladies are definitely doing something they love. Everybody had something inspired and unique to contribute; everybody was dreaming, scheming, and excited to be there. It was a Sunday afternoon well-spent with lots of tasty treats and dishes (everyone brought a dish that reflected their blog).
Arm Knitting at the Muse (below)
I spent Wednesday night at my first class through the Muse at the coziest artist’s studio in downtown Frederick. Arm-knitting seemed simple enough, but apparently I was talking a little too much and my infinity scarf didn’t come out as planned—but, I’m repurposing it as a muff and couldn’t be happier. (On another note, I just recently learned what a muff is.) (As a side note to my note, upon writing this post and linking up the definition, I just recently learned what the secondary and slightly more vulgar defintion of a muff is.) The Muse’s blog is here. Photo courtesy of Anne Weil of Flax and Twine (who is also a Martha Stewart blogger and has a book coming out on arm knitting! Tutorials can be found on her blog.)
DIY Chandelier Birdcage
We hung this birdcage in the family room and originally intended it to house a vibrant green fern. After adopting a few plants (each of whom lost the will to live after placement in the birdcage), I changed course/jumped ship and inserted a small metal chandelier instead. I clipped one of my favorite feathered faux birds on the outside of the cage and have been loving the soft crystalled glow of our new creation ever since.
Thai Cooking Class
This was my second class at the Kitchen Studio—I adore the people in these classes that I meet each time and the teachers, who are always so knowledgable and entertaining. Okay. But there are a LOT of ingredients in Thai food and–our favorite Thai restaurant is only 1 block away—not sure how often I’ll be whipping up a Thai dish, but it was loads of fun. Photo courtesy of MotherThyme.
Daily Baths with Eucalyptus, Quiet Time, and Lots of Sleep/Hot Tea
This picture says it all.
A Free Lunch (or Dinner)
For sure, one of the highlights of blogging is free stuff and the company Relished out of Chicago contacted me this week about trying their delivery meal service featuring delicious gourmet meals using fresh ingredients. Sometimes the offers are less enticing –for example, the company Balls of Steel contacted me a few weeks ago for a sponsorship. I initially thought the email was a joke and was trying to figure out which of my friends would have sent me this prank. But no, the product is real and, even though it wasn’t an exact fit for the blog, I was flattered. However, free lunches (and dinners) are right up my alley and the perfect resolution to our weekly household debate as to whether to eat out (me) or stay in (my husband). Photo courtesy of Relished.
Wishing you a gorgeous weekend!
I don’t want to bore my east coast readers with a diabtribe of how depressing it gets when it snows as much as it has this year. As someone who is normally delighted and fascinated with snow (as a native Arizonan), the process of continually closing daycares at the slightest prediction of flaky white, leaving parents stranded with no hope of relief while trapped in their homes–is brutal and exhausting–and it seems our condo has been growing smaller with each passing frigid day. I ran into one of the moms in my son’s daycare class yesterday who told me she just started wearing concealer for the first time this week due to “rough conditions at home” between the snow, her kids’ schools/daycare closing, and holding down the fort with 3 kids. On top of it, my husband, son, and in-laws had planned a weekend trip this past weekend, which we eventually cancelled due to cold, icy conditions. There’s a reason it’s called Winter Blues and not Winter Happiness.
I can’t remember the last time I felt bored, but this past weekend I found myself wishing I knew how to knit or sew, that I still enjoyed reading fiction, or watching reality tv, yet I felt completely uncompelled to learn or try any of these things.
After unsuccessfully attempting to convince my husband to play monopoly and/or scrabble with me about a dozen times, we spent most of the weekend cooking and baking, yet somehow ate out for most of our meals. I have nearly all of the Martha Stewart cookbooks, but I especially love her two cookbooks on Cookies and Cakes because of their encyclopedic nature. These were a white chocolate and chocolate chunk cookie (I improvised a little) that we made into ice cream sandwiches with some salted caramel ice cream. These cookies are the first I’ve ever made from scratch, and it’s a well-known, independently tested fact that when the weather drops below 25 degree F, calories don’t count and salted caramel ice cream sandwiches register in the body the same way as apples wrapped in kale.
Another family member not concerned with his belly size: my son. I was even too lazy to take out my camera this past weekend, until Judah started doing these funny poses.
Tyra Banks take note.
Pop the chest,
Pivote left thigh,
Accentuate the jawline,
Elongate the legs.
Is my diaper-toe showing?
Cookie break. Even models need to fuel-up.
At his feet on the couch are about 17 various-sized 80s-style cell phones Judah made with dad (they each have an antenna). Even my 2 year old at some point during our entrapment began demonstrating obsessive-compulsive behavior. That was the result.
The only disappointing aspect of these ice cream sandwiches? Between mixing them up, baking them off, cleaning up, and scarfing them down (only a few minutes), the entirety of the process only spanned about an hour and half, leaving us with so many more hours to fill with fantasies of spring.
Wishing you warm jet streams!
(1) Hosting the long-awaited hot air balloon baby shower for my darling friend and mama-to-be, My darling friend Angela is expecting her baby girl next month, and this Pink and Gold affair complete with DIY hot air balloons provided the proper entryway for her sweet baby’s arrival.(2) Valentine’s (burlesque) brunch with the girls, My meticulously perfect friend Rachel hosted an all-girls Valentine’s event at SAX in Washington, DC, complete with a gold, embellished tablescape decorated with metalliic confetti hearts, love-day gifts for each of the ladies (including heart sunglasses), and a love poem exchange. Each girl brought her favorite love poem, we drew names from a red, heart-shaped box (with each name divinely scripted in calligraphy by Rach), and we exchanged the love manifestos with one other. I gave this one.(3) 2 Voltaggio restaurants in 1 week: Volt, Table 21 for our friend Brian’s birthday and Family Meal for brother-in-law’s birthday. Have you ever tried beef salsify roasted over embers? What about clam celtuce with pickled garlic? The experience at Volt’s Table 21 was existential, although the dining adventure for me was reminescent of a marriage between Andrew Zimmerman (eating strange things) and Man versus Food (300 grams of fat in 1 sitting? Nooooo problem.) If “indulgence” had a taste, it would be a Volt dish and probably their rendition of “guajillo radiatore crispy pork butt with cojita cheese”. (4) My Valentine’s TV segment on Fox5: What fun this morning was– I was spouting with energy and excitement at the thought of doing this segment and my sweet husband came along to cheer me on and assist with setting everything up. (5) Snow Day at home with Judah and precious moments: his wild peacock hair in the morning, Judah: ”Bear is so cute, he loves Judah and wants to hold Mommy’s hand” (placing bear’s paw in mine), Judah: ”Mommy, I’m trying to grow it” (talking about making my tripod taller), Judah: ”Let’s take a ride!” (on my rolling stool),(6) These flowers (photographed at En Masse in downtown Frederick): Sharon–the owner of En Masse–has graciously agreed to do a podcast for Fat Vegan Baby to debut in March featuring a flower arranging lesson. Her flower shop has a European flair with the most unique selection and innovative arrangements (En Masse does the rotating arrangements for Volt as well); I’ve had a crush on it since I moved to downtown Frederick 2 years ago,(7) Veggie spring roll assembly line: What’s better on a snow day than making a dozen Vietnamese veggie spring rolls? The combination of cilantro, shitakis, and my peanut sauce/Sriracha blend is perfection.(8) Authentic sushi for Valentine’s dinner with my Big Love & Valentine’s gift exchange. A well-travelled friend gave me a great tip for authentic-Japanese-style sushi nearby, so we are heading over for Valentine’s dinner (they don’t accept reservations) to order a batalion of the freshest fish in Maryland. I gave my husband and son their I Love You Because cards, and my mother-in-law gifted me these divine tea-cups for Valentine’s Day this year–for sure to be featured in my next event! Sending you love this Valentine’s Day! xx
“The Eye Has to Travel”
I’ve referenced the hot air balloon baby shower I’ve been planning for my darling friend Angela so many times now, all that’s left is to show you the pictures. If viewing photos of cupcakes from 5 different angles doesn’t excite you, go here.
The mama-to-be chose pink and gold for her shower–I came up with hot air balloons as a whimsical, colorful, DIY-able theme. Enter, hot air balloon baby shower in pink and gold.
Because I was offering all sweets, I thought the addition of milk as a beverage choice would be a cute idea. I cut out little clouds to match the hot air balloon theme, hole-punched each one, and adorned the straws with my airy additions.
The 3 hot air balloon centerpieces I created by turning paper lanterns upside down and hot gluing ribbons onto the sides and skewers onto the bottom so that they would stand up in my flower baskets.
I used various pink, gold, and white ribbons as an element for the shower, tying them onto the balloons, the banners, the curly willow, the milk glasses, around the frame, the mini mason jars holding pencils, and strewn along the table.
For all my events, I am very, very particular about the look (even more than the taste) of the food on the table, so for cakepops I exclusively use Alexandria Cake Pop Company. They are the best in the Washington, DC area–the cakepops here are part of their wedding line.
Just a few flower arrangements…
Thinking pink at the drink station (I swear these tablecloths were ironed before the shower).
I bought these darling little pink onesies for the baby and wanted to display them on vintage clothpins that I received as a gift–they ended up looking the best ascending the staircase, entwined with crate paper and (of course) ribbon.
Robin, a friend of Angela’s, made these darling hot air balloon cookies for guest gifts. The cake and cupcakes were from Angel Cakes in Frederick, MD.
I wanted a way to thoughtfully document everyone who attended the shower for the upcoming arrival of my friend’s baby girl. I set-up a sort of activity table where guests could sit, chat, and cut-out, decorate, and write a wish on their own pink paper hot air balloon. I strung all the wishes together and gave them to Angela at the end of the shower.
One last photo of the cake/cupcakes!
Just kidding, one more!!
Me and the mama-to-be.
Can’t wait to meet you Baby V.!
1- Putting the final touches on the hot air balloon baby shower I’m planning for this Saturday,
2-Starting the online class Life Scripted with Kal Barteski through Studio Calico. I made this little sign for the baby shower on Saturday,
3-Leaving work early to get a delicious sushi-making lesson from my darling friend Mari and her sweet 2-year-old daughter Lisa (post pending),
4-Finding this app (Waterlogue) that turns photos into watercolors,
5-Buying the 4 Hour Work Week on audio and print (what took me so long?!) and fantasizing about tasks for my future Virtual Assistant,
6-Decorating my craft room for Valentine’s Day (with more practice for the Life Scripted class),
7-Finishing and sending off my homemade Valentine’s,
8-Deciding it’s time to invest in an address stamp after hand cramp from penning homemade Valentine’s (I found this darling one on Etsy),
9-Attending the Fire and Ice street event in Downtown Frederick (Judah was old enough to play the bean bag game this year, pictured on the left).
Wishing you a sweet weekend!