My Best Friend’s Wedding

My best friend got married to her Navy man a few months back! I’ve been holding off on the post, because I wanted to share some of their gorgeous wedding pictures too! Thanks for letting Danny and me be a part of your special day! We love you both so much and wish you all the happiness in the world.

A little MOH love to her best friend and groom. 
A small slice of my cheesy speech… 

“It is impossible to not see the love, respect and friendship between you. It is the kind of relationship we should all aspire too…one that pushes you to be your best, to trust in your partner and to live by the motto — home is where your heart is / or home is wherever I’m with you. 
Love is powerful – it’s the virtue that holds all others together. Whatever plan God may have for your future, you will know with certainty that he gave you each other to get there as a couple
to love each other 
to support each other 
and to make each other stronger 
Cheers to Justin and Shannon and their greatest adventure yet.  May you both grow more in love each day and be surrounded by the support of family, friends and God’s immeasurable love.  Cheers to a lifetime of happiness.”

A little wedding clip I put together:
“All I Do Is Dream of You” by Debbie Reynolds and Bobby Van {S and J’s 1st Dance Song}

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My Best Friends Wedding
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Photography: jmfoto photographic co.  | InvitationsMinted  |  Venue: Twin Oaks Garden Estate  | Catering: Twin Oaks  |  Floral Design: “Petite Bouquet” | Linens & China: Twin Oaks | Wedding Dress:Allure Bridals 9121 | Suit Rentals: Men’s Warehouse & Navy Dress Whites  |  Hair & Makeup: Annie Mergenthaler & Camille Smith 


Shan’s Bridal Shower

My best friend is getting married and I am her Matron of honor! So neat. She was my Maid of Honor and now I can be hers. I can’t wait to see her get hitched to the man of her dreams in a few short weeks. Here is a little clip of our French Bridal Shower we threw for Shan {they are honeymooning in Paris – Ahhh si fabuleux}. We all love you so much Shan and we are excited for you and Justin to begin your grand adventure together. I am blessed to have you as my friend. You really are the crème de la crème.
My Best Friends Bridal Shower


Springtime in Paris Bridal Shower Watercolor Invitations

 Springtime in Paris Bridal Shower Watercolor Invitations

My Mom and I are throwing my best friend Shannon a Bridal Shower in a few weeks. Shanny and her man Justin are planning on honeymooning in Paris so my Mom and I thought it would be cute to throw Shan a Springtime in Paris Bridal Shower Brunch. We thought it would be fun to paint the invitation with French-esque scenes to make things extra special. As I was searching for some Frenchy inspiration I stumbled upon the Michael’s Springtime in Paris Contest. What a coincidence! So I entered the paintings into the #Springtimeinparis #Contest. Cross your fingers! I hope it wins! 5 glorious days in Paris — cooking, sketching, florist lessons, and a private tour of the Louvre. Awwww swoooooon.  Oui se il vous plait.

Here is a fun little blurb that I sent to Michaels:
I’m in love with France and everything Parisian – the culture, food and art etc. It would be a dream of mine to take my Mother to Paris with me. She has always wanted to travel but has never had the opportunity to do so. I would love to be by her side as she experiences her first overseas adventure (and to Paris of all places); to one of the worlds most exciting and beautiful cities — the crème de la crème for 1st time travel. We are both very creative people and this trip would be absolutely dreamy. I could picture us having the best time exploring the Louvre, admiring art, cooking French cuisine and arraigning gorgeous bouquets. These artistic classes are right up our alley. I would love to take a stroll through Montmartre, buy some crusty bread and cheese from a local fromagerie and some bubbly champagne. We could sit in the park by the Eiffel tower, enjoy our goodies and watch its lights twinkle.  I know that Paris would bring out the best of our creativity and friendship and give us memories that could last a lifetime.

*Any visible addresses are fictitious.

Ok, so it’s a few weeks later and I didn’t win. Bummers…but congrats to all the winners. You guys did a fabulous job! Here is the link if you want to check out their amazing work. 


Cooking Class With Mom {+ Fancy French Recipes}

I took a fun cooking class with my Mom, Susan and Andria last week. It was lead by some awesome culinary high school students at the Orange County School of the Arts {OCSA}. It was a fun night out!

Here are all the yummy recipes that we made (slightly modified…by moi.)
Wild Mushroom Duxelles

Yields 8 oz.

1/4 cup shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 oz. butter
1 lb. mushrooms chopped {we used a combination of shiitake and white}
1/2 cup. white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper

– In a lg. saute’ pan sweat shallots and garlic in butter 2-3 minutes until translucent
– Add mushrooms and saute’ until soft, wilted and dry.
– Deglaze with white wine and reduce until au sec {almost dry}
– Add cream and reduce by half. Add parsley, salt and pepper.

– Use Duxelles to fill puff pastry vol-au-vents.

Crab Cakes & Remoulade Sauce

Yields 8 – 2 oz. cakes

1 shallot minced
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup oz. mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 fl. oz. pommery mustard
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 tsp. chives, sliced thin
hot sauce (to taste)
1 tsp. old bay seasoning, optional
1 1/2 cups crab meat, picked
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
more panko, for dredging

-Heat a saute pan and sweat the shallots in the oil until translucent. Cool.
-Combine the shallots with the next 8 ingredients
-Fold the mayonnaise mixture into the crab meat without shredding the meat. Fold in the bread crumbs and salt & pepper
-Divide the mixture into 2 oz. servings and form into small cakes, 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 3/4 inches thick. Dredge in extra panko crumbs.
-Fry the crab cakes in the hot vegetable oil until golden brown on both sides
-Drain on a paper towel

-Serve immediately with Remoulade Sauce

Remoulade Sauce

Yields 8 oz.

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
1 tbsp. chive, sliced thin
1 tbsp. tarragon, chopped
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 anchovy filet, minced
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. creamy white horseradish
salt & pepper (to taste)
Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
hot sauce (to taste)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready.

Crème Brûlée

Yields 4-5 servings

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar (separated 1/4)
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean (scrapped)
4 egg yolks, beaten
granulated sugar for topping
strawberries for topping

-Split the vanilla bean in half, scrapping the fine seeds from the pod.  Add both the pod and the seeds to the heavy cream, 1/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, stirring to prevent the milk from burning. Remove from heat.
-Beat egg yolks in a small bowl and add the rest of the sugar (1/4 cup) to the yolks.
-Slowly add the yolks to the cream mixture while stirring. *If you add the yolks too fast, it may cook and clump in the hot cream mixture. Be sure to slowly temper the yolks into the hot cream. Stir, stir, stir!
-Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
-Ladle the strained custard into ramekins, filling them 3/4 full.
-Bake in a water bath at 325F until just set, about 35 minutes or until the mixture is set in the center. the crème brûlée should wiggle slightly when shaken. Let cool to room temperature before putting in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
-To finish the creme brulee evenly coat each custard’s surface with a thin layer of sugar. Use a propane torch to melt and caramelize the sugar. Serve at room temperature

-Top with strawberries if desired

Molten Chocolate Cake
French Cooking Class
Yields 1 dz.

4 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
14 oz. bitter sweet chocolate
14 oz. butter
6 oz. all purpose flour, sifted

-Whip eggs, yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Set aside
-In a bain marie (double boiler) melt the chocolate and butter together, constantly mixing to incorporate the butter into the chocolate.
-Temper the egg mixture into the melted chocolate. Pour the egg mixture slowly (while stirring) into the hot chocolate to avoid cooking the eggs.
-Add sifted flour
-Grease small ramekins or muffin tin and fill the cups 3/4 of the way full
-Bake at 350F for about 8-10 min. The middle should be slightly under cooked.
Pictures:1,2,4,5

Sailing the British Virgin Islands {Part Two}


{part two of three}
 
For those of you who’ve been following along, Dan and I went on an awesome sailing trip in the Virgin Islands a few weeks ago. Here is part two of the three-part journal post that I’m working on. If you’re just joining in now and want to catch up, here is the previous post. I should have put this video in part one, but I just discovered iMovie last week! So here are a few clips of the trip! 
 
 
Day Four
We sailed from Anegada back to a dive spot called Blonde Rock, a set of two pinnacles between Dead Chest and Salt Island. D and I snorkeled today and swam through thousands of tiny baby jellyfish . Ouch. They felt like little needles and left dime-sized red blotches on our skin. Thank the lord their bigger and more painful mamma wasn’t around. After our morning snorkel we sailed to Virgin Gorda and explored the famous Baths – giant boulders with a menagerie of  tiny waterways and sea caves with crystal clear water. We squeezed though cracks and jumped off rocks. This place is a sight to see! Picture perfect.We spent the night anchored off Cooper Island  – cooking, drinking wine, swinging in the hammock and worrying/getting amped for the RMS Rhone dive in the morning. I must have asked a million and one questions that night. It was only our (mine and D’s) second dive and 85 ft deep. “What if this happens….what if that happens?” Did you know you can barf under water and put your regulator back in? Who knew? Don’t worry, I didn’t… but I had to ask. I’m a planner. 😉
-my babe and a morning stretch-
 
-blonde rock and rhone dive on the map-
 
-blonde rock friends-
-the baths-
-yumi jumps-
-& evan splashes-
 
 
Day Five
I woke up early this morning and made French toast with cream of coconut syrup, mangos, pinneapples and oranges for the crew. Mmmm I didn’t eat a lot though…I was already jittery and nervous for the dive + didn’t want my question from the night before to come true. barf.
We sailed a short distance to Salt Island and got ready for the RMS Rhone Dive. Cole and I dove first! I asked him to teach me how to do an emergency backup regulator switch just incase something went wrong. I wanted to know that I could make the switch without messing up (my motto: prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Right? D says I worry too much…I call it being smart). Thumbs up. I did ok. We eventually descended the 85 ft to the ocean floor with a few helpful foot pulls from Cole. 
 
Wow my mind was blown!The huge RMS Rhone Ship lay on her side right before us! It was an eerie feeling being up close to such a devastating wreck and touching something that has been underwater for almost 150 years. 
 
The RMS Rhone was a Royal Mail Ship that carried mail, passengers and cargo between England and the Caribbean. In October if 1867 a major hurricane hit the Virgin Islands. The “unsinkable”Rhone; planned to make for open sea. As a safety precaution the passengers in Rhone were tied to their beds to prevent them from being injured in the storm. The Rhone struggled to get free as her anchor caught on a coral reef. It in now lies with its chain wrapped around the same coral it caught on a century and a half ago. The ship sank swiftly — the bow section in 85 feet of water, the stern in 30 feet. 123+ people went down with the ship that night.
 
Our dive went perfectly, besides my lack of divers sign language (apparently thumbs up means I want to go up…should have done the OK sign instead. Oops). I wish it was longer, but I’d imagine that’s the same with every dive. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! So grateful to have friends that made it possible for us!
 
After my dive I got to watch Danny descend (with my heart) for his dive. Oh gosh I can’t take knowing he’s at the bottom of the ocean.  He’d actually be far better off surviving an underwater situation than I would. But still, I can’t watch him do scary things. Good news, everything went well with his dive too. Thanks for taking care of my baby, Jeff!
 

That afternoon we anchored at Peter Island and found coconuts on shore and I got a chance to climb the mast. The views were amazing and the picture I took was even reposted on Goops Insta by Gwyeneth Paltrow! What? Yes!How did that happen?

 

-french toast party-
 
-camera & dive gear-

{cheesing it up under the sea}



-this picture makes me feel like a badass…but i’m actually trying not to hyperventilate ;)-

-drink of choice and climbing a mast-
 

-playing peter pan on peter island and the picture that ms. gwyneth palrow reposted. can we be best friends please?-
Sailing the BVI's {Part 2}

-ladies and gentlemen, i give you peter island-
-fun fact: when bill gates stays here he pays extra for planes to change their flight pattern so they don’t fly over the island and disturb his relaxation…crazy-
 
Day Six
Woke up and the boys had already set sail to Brown Pants…yes that’s right Brown Pants. A dive spot known for it’s cool under water arches and BULL SHARKS. Hence the name. I opted to stay on the boat and open coconuts while the majority snorkeld and dove. Poor Ryan suffered “Mask Suck” or sinus problems that led to some uncomfortable swollen eyes after his dive. Miss Mon our personal Nurse cured him with an ice pack. Phewf.
That night we moored off Norman Island (AKA Treasure Island) in Privateer Bay around the corner from Willy T’s in The Bight Bay. We heard there had been theft in Bight Bay so we decided to moore a little further away and take the dinghy to Willy’s that night.
Oh Willy T’s…you were hilarious, fun and disgusting. Our first shotski.

Motoring back to the boat that night was magical…in a tipsy blissful state, surrounded by my love and friends in the black of night and the warm water glowing with bioluminescents in the wake of our dinghy. Ahhh a night to go down in history.
 

-this took me an hour-
 
-treasure island sunset-

-laundry day-

-exploring the shore for me treasuuuuuure-

-found it-
 
-snorkeling the caves on norman island- 



 


-cheers friends-
 
Click on the links if you want to read more about our trip…
Days 1,2,3, (part 1); Days 4,5,6 (part 2) and Days 7,8,9 (part 3) to come.