We’re back…and married!!

Posted on: March 11, 2014

tamiz photography
(photo credit: tamiz photography)

Well, this is my first post as Mrs. Mickelson (!) – how fun is that?!

We’ve been back for a few days now and I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of the incredible events of the past month.

Was it everything I hoped and dreamed? Nope. It was so much better.

Was it perfect? Heck no. But that’s ok because at the end of the day, we were surrounded by so much love that the details didn’t matter anyway.

There’s so much to catch you up on that I may take some time and break things up a bit…. wedding, honeymoon, highlight video, professional photos and so much more.

Thanks for all your sweet messages while we were away – you guys know how to make a girl feel good and very loved, I’m so thankful for you!!

The Final Countdown…

Posted on: January 21, 2014

maui

{image via Carl Zoch Photography}

Well…I had the best of intentions to kick off 2014 with Tyler’s annual recap post, but the reality is that work, wedding, life and preparing to be gone for a month have us pretty consumed.

There is light at the end of this madness, though – our wedding! In only a few weeks, we will be exchanging vows and celebrating with our families and friends. I could not be more excited to marry Tyler – in the midst of wedding band shopping, seating chart planning and number crunching, I find myself having these moments of “who cares? I just want to be married!!”

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to try my best to let some of the details go (gasp!) and savor these last days of our engagement.

If you have any “final countdown” advice…I’m all ears!

A Very London Christmas

Posted on: December 27, 2013

Hello, friends! How were your Christmas celebrations? Ours was pretty quiet with the three of us at home, but sweet and just right as we prepare to leave for the wedding in only six weeks!

Hope you were cozied up somewhere nice with people you love… and have had a chance to relax in these last couple days of 2013!

I’m over the moon that some of our best friends are visiting right now, so I’ll leave you with some quick photos of our Christmas before I venture out to take these ladies on their first Ottolenghi experience :)

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Christmas morning….coffee in bed while we opened our stockings20131227-053344.jpg

Tyler made us croissant french toast for breakfast… it was sooo good!20131227-053238.jpg

Our annual Christmas morning walk through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park20131227-053222.jpg20131227-053328.jpg

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After our walk, we stopped by the Churchill Arms for a cheeky pint before heading home to get dressed for dinner.
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A festive Christmas brunch at Shoreditch House
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The parties, gatherings and celebrations were so much fun, but I’ve come to the conclusion that my very favorite gatherings are the three of us cuddled up by the twinkling lights of the tree :)

Candied Bacon Bloody Mary

Posted on: December 20, 2013

Bloody Mary

I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas!! Are you done shopping, wrapping, decorating? Tyler and I will be cozied up at home just the two of us this Christmas – it’s a bit different than the crazy family holidays we both grew up with as kids, but since we will be seeing everyone so soon for the wedding, we decided a quiet little Christmas at home sounded just right.

It won’t stop us from making a big ‘ole Christmas brunch though! If you are still putting together your menus for Christmas morning, you should add this to the list! I can tell you from experience they are a crowd pleaser and what’s even better is that you can make the mix ahead of time to easily serve a crowd – win, win!

In Portland a few months ago, we had brunch at The Urban Farmer – their Bloody Mary bar was unreal. If you follow me on Instagram (abuchanan217) you may have seen a photo of this gorgeous little set up:

Bloody Mary Bar

Tyler’s Mom did an incredible job replicating the elaborate Bloody Mary bar at my bridal shower – complete with the candied bacon! She was sweet enough to share her tasty recipes below – enjoy!

Candied Bacon

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 T. pure maple syrup
1/2 lb. thick-sliced, applewood-smoked bacon

  • Preheat oven to 375.  Line a sheet pan with foil and place a wire rack on top.
  • Combine the brown sugar and pecans in food processor (or blender) and process until pecans are finely ground.  Add the salt, black pepper, cayenne and pulse to combine.
  • Add the maple syrup and pulse again to moisten crumbs.
  • Cut each piece of bacon in half and line up on the wire rack. Evenly spread the pecan mixture on top of each piece of bacon and press.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until the topping is very brown but not burned.  (If under-baked, the bacon won’t crisp as it cools)

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The Best Bloody Mary Mix

1 quart (4 cups) V8 Juice
1 cup vodka (or let people add vodka themselves)
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 T. lime juice
3 T. Worcestershire Sauce
3 T. prepared horseradish
2 T. hot sauce
1 T. Manzanilla olive juice
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper

In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients.  Stir well, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or even overnight.

Garnish with all or some of the following:
Pickled green beans
Pickled asparagus
Manzanilla olives
Mini mozzarella balls
Lime/lemon wedges
Dill pickle spears or slices
Celery stalks
Bacon (Regular and/or Carmelized)

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(anthro etched monogram glass – thanks, lolly!)

I would like to dedicate this post to one of my dear friends and bridesmaids, Robin. To the girl who loves Bloody Marys more than anyone I know and whose dance moves are good enough to start a Wobble flash mob at Friendsgiving - this one’s for you, girl! xo

Surprise Bachelorette Weekend

Posted on: December 19, 2013

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A couple weekends ago, I was whisked away to the Cotswolds for a surprise Bachelorette (AKA Hen-Do) weekend with some incredible ladies.

Lauren stopped by my flat on Friday afternoon to help pack… giving scenarios to get the right outfits without giving too much away (i.e “If you were doing a cookbook shoot with Gwyneth Paltrow, what would you wear?” Haha… umm what?!) I truly had no clue where we were going, but she didn’t spill any secrets as we made our way to the train station.

When we arrived, she stalled a bit and then finally led me around the corner to find a group of smiling faces complete with a welcome sign!

Anna, the brains behind this whole sneaky weekend, planned everything so perfectly, I truly couldn’t have done it better myself. She’s a keeper, that’s for sure. (Love you, Anna!!)

 (…that just reminded me of “You sneaky Mom!!” Have you guys seen it? It’s hilarious. Sorry. Easily distracted…)

We boarded a train to somewhere I’d never heard of, popped a few bottles of champagne (our fellow passengers thought we were awesome, I’m sure) and ventured out into the countryside. Midway through the journey, I was given a box with “clues” – the photos slowly revealed our destination: the Cotswolds!!

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We checked into The Wild Rabbit, ooohed and ahhhed over the decor and cozy fireplaces roaring in the connected restaurant/pub,
and quickly snuggled into a corner table for wine and an indulgent meal.

photo (1) The next morning, we grabbed a quick coffee and croissant at the hotel and headed toward Daylesford Organic Farm where we all indulged in a yoga class, massages at the spa,and mulled wine at lunch before heading back to the hotel to rest up for our evening out.

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One of my favorite parts of the weekend was actually an impromptu gathering by the fire for games, stories, wine, and cheese.  It was just so fun to get to spend some quality time with the girls in such an incredible setting, I already can’t wait to go back!20131217-222223.jpg20131217-222233.jpg20131217-222313.jpg20131217-222210.jpg

We dressed up and went to dinner at a place called Wild Thyme which was perfect for a Bachelorette weekend..
although it was far from wild, I think we all had a good time ;) 20131217-222146.jpg20131217-222120.jpg

We woke up the next morning and headed back to Daylesford for a Champagne Brunch Cooking Class. The instructor showed us a few different dishes which we attempted to replicate while sipping champagne in the most gorgeous kitchen I’ve ever seen. The morning was topped off with a tour around the farm before heading back to the train station.dayphoto 220131217-222003.jpgphoto 320131217-222350.jpg

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Everything was perfect – and I truly wouldn’t have changed a thing about the entire weekend. I felt so spoiled and totally loved – these girls were amazing!!  If you are visiting London anytime soon and have a day or two to spare, I highly suggest a weekend in the Cotswolds!

Festive Peppermint

Posted on: December 6, 2013

Things are getting festive around here!

We have yet to buy a tree because Tyler and I have successfully killed every one we’ve ever had long before Christmas arrives and so this year we are waiting a bit longer.

It may be because Pippa drinks the water as fast as we fill it, but that’s ok, I’ve just come to terms we will always have a brown crispy tree for Christmas every year :)

While I anxiously await the decking of our tree, I have been obsessing over anything candy cane/peppermint. And perhaps evening trying to make some peppermint bark (anyone have a good recipe?)

Are you obsessed too? Check out some of my favs below!

Have a great weekend, friends!

peppermint

1 Peppermint Garland | 2 Peppermint Foot Butter | 3 Swirled Cupcake Liners | 4 Candy Cane Twine
5 Peppermint Bark Candle | 6 Peppermint Marshmallows | 7 Candy Cane Wafer Cookies
8 Peppermint Stick Bodywash | 9 Minted Rose Lip Balm | 10 Mint Tea Lights
11 Candy Cane Ice Cream Sandwiches | 12 Chocolate Peppermint Coffee

Life Lately | Thanksgiving Edition

Posted on: December 2, 2013

give thanks

Happy belated Thanksgiving, friends! I hope everyone had a great time and wore their stretchy pants like me ;)

I’m so thankful for all of you – thank you for reading, commenting, emailing, encouraging…this is such a special little place for me and it wouldn’t be that way without each of you. (raising my virtual glass) – Cheers… this one’s for you!

Our Thanksgiving was so fun… we gathered around a folding table and devoured our meal by candlelight. I think the best part was that most of the group was celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time (babies + Brits). It was fun to watch them daintly put together their plates (the Brits, not the babies. Obviously) and then stare with wide eyes at the mounds all the rest of us Americans assembled. We made our country proud :)

big ben pie

Big Ben Pumpkin Pie – photo courtesy of Lauren, pie courtesy of this yummy recipe. I’d definitely make it again!

feasting turkey leaf placesetting thanksgiving table sparkle champagne coupe with frozen cranberries

Glittery Champagne Coupes + frozen cranberries handsome guy pouring the ladies festive drinks

This handsome guy was so sweet to keep the ladies’ glasses filled… he has been battling some nasty colds and glad he is finally feeling better!turkey brine

Citrus & Black Pepper Turkey Brine – my new go-to recipegorgeous orchids super creamy mac n' cheese with baconThis super creamy mac n’ cheese was also a hit

Five Amazing Thanksgiving Pies

Posted on: November 19, 2013

I’m slowly acquiring a taste for pumpkin pie… I’m not sure why it took me so long because I’ve loved all other things that have pumpkin as a main ingredient. But I have to say, I’m just not the one jumping up and down for a slice. I’d rather have more stuffing. Or maybe just a different kind of pie?

If you too, aren’t the biggest traditional pumpkin pie fan, or just want to add something new to the usual Thanksgiving menu – check out these five alternatives below.

Mmmm….pie

fivepies

Rosette Apple Pie | Caramel Apple Pie | Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie | German Chocolate Pecan Pie | Peanut Butter Pie

Weekend Getaway: The Lake District

Posted on: November 18, 2013

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Hi friends – how was your weekend? Hope you got up to something fun!

We spent ours indulging in comfort food, long bubble baths, drives through the country, late nights drinking wine by the fire…. On Friday night, we hopped the train to the Lake District to spend the weekend with our sweet friends, Jin and  Josie. It’s been on our UK Bucket List for awhile now, so it was high time to cross it off the list.

We arrived after dark and checked into The Punch Bowl Inn and were immediately charmed by the cozy rooms, crackling fireplace and smell of dinner wafting through the dining room. I had heard the restaurant at the hotel was incredible, but it didn’t quite hit me until I was sitting there reading the menu and eyeing dishes as they swept past our table. If you have the chance, it was truly one of the best meals I’ve had anywhere in the UK – and the chef is only 23!

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{roasted butternut squash tortellini with cranberry sauce}lakedistrict4 lakedistrict5 lakedistrict6

{aztec cardigan found here}

The next day, we sipped strong coffee and lingered over breakfast before layering on sweaters, coats and mittens and setting off into the cold. We tried clay pigeon shooting… not killing anything, just clay discs that are thrown into the air and you try your best to shoot them. I sucked. The old man helping us was so sweet, but kindly asked what other hobbies I was interested in because clearly this would not be one of them. But it was fun, nonetheless!

Afterward, we wandered through some of the cute towns before deciding a Mulled Wine (my first of the season!) was in order. The Albert pub in Bowness-on-Windermere was cozy and we all agreed had the best mulled wine ever.

With the temperatures dropping and our bellies full of wine, a hot bath and nap sounded just about right before heading out for dinner. The clawfoot tub and bamboo scented bubble bath made it feel especially posh unlike our little afterthought of a tub at home.lakedistrict7 lakedistrict8 lakedistrict9 lakedistrict10 lakedistrict11lakedistrict12

Our last day was a quick stop in Grasmere to check out the teeny tiny Grasmere Gingerbread shop – it’s where the original gingerbread was from afterall! The shop was big enough to fit a few people, you had the choice of a small or large slab of gingerbread (not at all what we think of nowadays… this was crumbly like cookie or graham cracker) or pieces of fudge. With a line of people behind me, I panicked and bought way too much of everything. Oops.

We finished our weekend off with a traditional Sunday Roast at The Drunken Duck (hilarious story about how it earned it’s name can be found here). Said our goodbyes and sleepily boarded the train home. If you are traveling around the UK – I highly recommend a day or two in the Lake District, you will not be disappointed!lakedistrict13 lakedistrict14 lakedistrict15 lakedistrict16 lakedistrict17

#prayforthephilippines

Posted on: November 13, 2013

I woke up to a text this morning from Tyler:

“What’s going on in the Philippines is awful. I wish we could do more to help. Do you want to adopt a kid?”

I love him so much. And his huge heart. Although we are in no position to adopt, we want to help contribute to the relief efforts of Typhoon Haiyan and so can you.

First – have you seen how bad things really are? I had no clue. Look at these interactive maps showing before and after shots  - it was very eye opening to imagine hungry, cold, hurt, and homeless people in what’s left of these towns.

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Here is a great article from the NY Times with safe ways give money (and information to attend fundraising brunches/dinners).

If you prefer to wear your support in the form of a Prayer Bracelet for the Philippines – this sweet jewelry shop, Sophie Grace Maui, has them for $15 – all proceeds go to disaster relief.

prayer bracelet

Do you know any other great companies offering support or donation matching programs? I’d love to hear!

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