Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Weddingbee Trash-the-Dress Session

As most of you know, I was a blogger for (nickname = Mrs. Cowboy Boot). Last year, a bunch of us 'Bee bloggers made the trip to Las Vegas for a "Bees Gone Wild" meet-up. The weekend was filled with clubbing, brunches, buffets, a 'lil bit of Chippendales (ha!), hot tubbing, and, well, a very early trash-the-dress photo shoot. Actually, 5 AM in Vegas might not even be considered early. In fact, I think it's considered right on time for still being out from the night before. Regardless, I bet everyone around us was confused by the names being thrown out: "Hey, Toucan, can you pass the coffee?" "Let's play this slot, Meatball." "Moonbeam, let's go dancing!" "Dumpling?!"

Our trash-the dress shoot is finally finished (thanks to photographer/blogger, Mrs. Bunny, aka Lisa Rice). I went out to a ghost town-turned-tourist attraction with Mrs. Sprinkle and Mrs. D'Orsay early one morning while in Vegas.

And since it has yet to be shared on Weddingbee, I thought I'd share it here. It's good fodder for inspiration boards and bridal portraits. We didn't actually trash our dresses, but it was a good excuse to wear them again.

Mrs. D'Orsay

Mrs. Sprinkle


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

La Vita e Bella

It's funny how life can surprise you. There are times when you're trying to work out a plan in your head and all of a sudden, it so clearly unfolds right in front of you. You start thinking, there must be a catch. But there isn't.

Last weekend, my husband and I went out for a late afternoon hike with our dogs. We love to do this together--I find its when we connect best. We're out there huffing and puffing, taking in the fresh air, smiling at our dogs as they sniff and run and play, and, mainly, talking about life and dreaming about what we want for our future. We're big dreamers, if you couldn't tell.

Last weekend's topic? Italy. Who doesn't dream about Italy? I studied abroad there in college and became fluent in the language. My husband and I went back a few years ago (where we got engaged!) and he became fluent in the art. We hiked pilgrimage roads to medieval towns, drank wine at countryside stands for two euro, and traveled everywhere by train--even getting stuck in one tiny village because it was a holiday, and trains don't run normally on holidays. We've been on several vacations and this one glistens for me. There's something about the evenings in Italy, when everyone in whatever town you're in goes out for a passeggiatta (a walk), that just holds me.

When I got home, I started Googling around for expat communities in Italy. For, you know, later in life. I came across La Vita e Bella, a blog run by an American couple in their 20s who recently moved to Florence. I also came across the term jure sanguinis. Huh?

I read on. Jure sanguinis is a social policy that determines citizenship not by where you are born, but by your lineage. And, Italy is one of the only countries in which this policy is multi-generational.

Okay, I was thinking, my husband's great-grandfather was Italian. What does that mean?!

Essentially, it means that if a family member in your lineage was born in Italy, you too have Italian citizenship by birth right. Um, for reals?

After more research, I found the rules.

1) Say it was your great-grandfather who was Italian (like my husband's). If he came to the U.S., he had to have your grandfather or grandmother before gaining U.S. citizenship, otherwise your grandparent is a U.S. citizen, and not an Italian one, therefore unable to pass it along to you.

2) Prior to 1948, women couldn't pass along citizenship. So, if your grandmother was the last born in Italy, she had to have your mom or dad after 1948, otherwise your parent did not receive citizenship.

Those are the biggest deal breakers. So far, I can cross #2 off our list--my husband's line is all male. And, I haven't found reason to believe his great-grandfather ever naturalized into the U.S., meaning the citizenship should be traveling freely right on down the line.

As amazing as it sounds--with Italian citizenship you get EU citizenship--it's going to take a lot of grunt work to see it through. In order to get your Italian citizenship recognized, you have to compile more than a handful of birth, death, and marriage certificates and proof of naturalization (or not). The best way to find the list of what you need is at But, remember, what you need also depends on where you apply (either in Italy or at your local consulate), so it's best to check with them.

After reading all of this, I wondered how it affected me. As a spouse, if you live in Italy, you can apply for citizenship after just six months. If you live abroad (like, in the U.S.), you have to be married for three years to be able to apply. Not three years from the citizenship approval, but three years total.

Why would we want dual citizenship? For the freedom it brings. Say we want to pick up and move to Italy for an unforeseen amount of time. We can. If a job pops up in an EU country, we can apply without having to convince the company to sponsor a work visa. We can pass it along to our children, once we have them.

Plus, it brings dreams just a 'lil bit closer.

Do you have Italian ancestors?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Dairy Farm Wedding in North Carolina

This wedding came to me by way of Facebook. That's right. It happens to be a friend's wedding. A real friend--not just a virtual one--and I adore it. The jewel tones, the rustic, rural setting, and the flowers. Oh, the flowers. Plus, it has a unique setting--a dairy farm, The Inn at Celebrity Dairy in Chatham County, North Carolina.

The bride, Emily, is a travel writer with her hand in the Lonely Planet guide books. So much of the wedding was done by her and her husband, who are apparently incredibly talented because it looks damn-near professional. It was all captured by Michael Moss.

So, let's get right to it.

Emily and her friend made the paper bunting to string from the porch.

Emily and Jamin had a candy bar with treats from all of the places the couple has visited together including France, New Zealand, Thailand, Australia, Laos and Cambodia, and Canada.

Their DIY flowers are such an inspiration to try and, well, do it yourself. Emily had a box of dahlias shipped in from Swan Island Dahlias in Oregon and brought the rest in from a local farmers' market vendor. The rest being zinnias, lemon basil, eucalyptus, and globe amaranth from Perry-winkle Farm.

Jamin's homemade and home-labeled "Goat and Pig Hot Sauce"

If there's one thing I know about Emily, it's that she's a major foodie. She tried to drag me to a rural green chile festival in New Mexico some 400 miles away. But, that also means her wedding guests ate well.

The bride on their food:

Classic North Carolina pig pickin' with a modern twist--heirloom pig, from Cane Creek Farm in Saxapahaw, NC. It was cooked by a local pitmaster along with a bunch of locally-raised chickens. The sides--mac n' cheese, NC slaw, green beans with pine nuts, three-color potato salad, cornbread, and watermelon--were from Celebrity Dairy. Appetizers included Celebrity Dairy's own goat cheese served with crudites and North Carolina red pepper jelly. Dessert was a variety of pies from the amazing Scratch bakery in Durham. For drinks, we had colorful watermelon, cantaloupe, and lemonade aguas frescas (Mexican juice drinks) from a local taqueria, plus kegs of local beer from Carolina Brewery in Chapel Hill, and wine from Trader Joe's.

Instead of buying small chalkboards, Jamin spray painted pieces of plywood with blackboard paint and then put them in thrift store frames.

Vendor Guide
Venue: The Inn at Celebrity Dairy, Chatham County, NC // Bride's Dress: Nicole Miller // Bride's shoes: Ariat cowboy boots from Nashville's Boot Barn // Bride's Hair: Amy from Syd's Hair Shop, Chapel Hill, NC // Flowers: DIY, bought from Swan Island Dahlias and Perry-winkle Farm // Groom's attire: J. Crew seersucker suit and Calvin Klein shoes // Food: Cane Creek Farm and Celebrity Dairy // Dessert: Scratch bakery //Beer: Carolina Brewery // Photographer: Michael Moss

Monday, November 29, 2010


We spent the last week in the pastoral landscape of Upstate New York to see my husband's family for Thanksgiving. One of our favorite things to do in the Finger Lakes region is, simply, drive around. There's nothing better than a gorgeous, historic barn next to a lolling weeping willow with a pond, a silo, and grass that reaches in all directions.

As a born-and-bred city girl, this bucolic image renders feelings of a simpler life, filled with beautiful antiques and barefoot children in cotton dresses (or shirts, as it may be).

As I mentioned before, my husband and I dream of building a barn home. And after our trip, I'm finding it impossible to do anything except for sketch the layout, sift through images online, and picture our adorable homestead.

So, I thought I'd share my recently-found inspiration here to give you a better idea of what we want to do. There's just too much eye candy out there.

Greenwich Barn from Heritage Barns

I love the barn above for its windowed room. While the one above is used as a sitting room, we plan to have a room like this off our kitchen to be used as a greenhouse.

Grovernors Corners Barn from Heritage Barns

My favorite look is what you see above: white walls with barnwood accents, made modern by polished concrete floors. This flooring option is ideal: we can put radiant heat under it, it's easy to clean, and is also more affordable than, say, wood floors for a new house.

Hops Barn from Heritage Barns

The window is just drool-worthy. But wait until you see the surprise inside:

A windmill ceiling fan. Genius! I love the re-use of this farm element.

I can't say that I necessarily want kids bunks like this--inspired by train sleeping cars--but I want our house to have inventive, creative functional spaces. A climbing wall for the kids, perhaps? Or toy-storing window seat benches? Or...?

A Colonial Barn renovation

This is a must have in our house. So far we want it in our living room, in my office and in my husband's painting studio. Which room's going to win?

Kipp Barn by Heritage Barns

A stone attachment (smaller than the one above) to a wooden barn would round out the textures we're looking for. Plus, it adds a bit of English country cottage to what will be an otherwise fairly modern structure.

Would you live in a renovated barn structure?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gilt Groupe's Wedding Shop

One of my favorite websites, Gilt Groupe, a place to buy designer duds, modern home decor, and luxurious vacations at deep discounts, is currently selling wedding-related items in their wedding shop through Sunday, October 24th. This means everything from your dress, your jewelry, your honeymoon, and even your beautifying treatments could cost you way less than the retail price.

The catch: is a member's-only site and you have to be invited to join. If you'd like an invite, feel free to e-mail me at

In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite items (that aren't sold out yet!) from their bridal shop:

From the "Fine Jewelry" Sale

From the "Fine Jewelry" Sale

From the "Runway Bride" Sale

From the Bridesmaids: "Black and Ivory" Sale

From the "Head to Toe: Shoes, Clutches and More" Sale

From the "Costume Jems" Sale

From the "Flower Girls" Sale

From the Bridesmaids: "Reds and Pinks" Sale

From the Bridesmaids: "Black and Ivory" Sale

From the "Runway Bride" Sale

From the Bridesmaids: "Greens and Blues" Sale

Which items do you like?