Spring Has Sprung, At Last!

Look at that sea, girls-- all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen.
We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.
//L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Why hello there! It's been awhile. Things have been busy over here now that it is finally nice out and we can all actually go outside and enjoy ourselves. I have some updates on some recent Spring happenings to fill you in on life lately, as well as tons of home-improvement blog posts planned for the near future. A little over a month ago, my Mom, Aunt and myself got the chance to meet one of our Instagram idols, @yogagirl. Her name is Rachel Brathen and she is just amazing! None of us even do yoga, but she is just so uplifting, positive, and motivational that she can really help and impact your life no matter what your physical or yoga abilities are. She started from the ground up just a few years ago and now has over 1.3 million followers. She recently wrote a book and started off on a US book tour (She is from Sweden and lives in Aruba!)! LUCKY for us, one of the first stops was actually in Connecticut! We often get skipped over being one of the smaller states and part of New England, but we had our very own book signing and meet and greet in Madison CT hosted by RJ Julia Bookstore. We knew this was probably one of our only chances to see her, so we jumped on the registration and got there nice and early to get good seats up front. She has a dog named Ringo that has his own Instagram which everyone adores, sadly he couldn't be there that night but the shadow on the wall in the right photo looks JUST like him!
Soon enough, Rachel was announced in and we were so excited to see her in the flesh! It is a weird yet cool experience to finally see someone that you feel like you "know" through virtual means. Turns out this is not the only person I would be seeing that I am obsessed with on Instagram this Spring (read on)!
She answered some audience questions and just spoke about her life and her new book. My question got asked! I asked what her favorite places she has traveled are. My Mom had purchased the book so she got to go up and give her a big hug and get the book signed. She is so relatable and just such a real, down to Earth person. She doesn't put on a front or act fake, and is completely humble and genuine.
We all even got to pose with her sweet and cute husband Dennis! They make a great team and I love following them on their adventures through their blog and on IG.
Later than week I had an urge to see PB, so I headed down to Waterford for a night and even though my stay was less than 24 hours, it was SO worth it to see my Aunt and cousin and this amazing view that I love so much. No green grass or leaves at this point, but it was just starting to show signs of life. Here is the evening when I arrived:
And the morning before I left:
That next day instead of going home I drove to New Haven to meet up with my family to eat lunch with and pick up my cousin from Yale. He was coming to visit us for the night and we had been dying to try this spot called Caseus, so we decided to make a family trip out of it and all met down there for some grub. The restaurant was BEYOND amazing! Everything was SO good, and there are so many more things I was to try. I had their famous grilled cheese with bacon lardons, and it was out of this world.

Look at those thick juicy bacon chunks! My mouth is watering again just looking at it...
They had a cute cheese/gift shop as well, so we picked up a few things and cheeses to bring home for happy hour later on. It was a fun day with the fam and it is so nice to have my cousin here in CT at school. They live in Colorado during the year so we don't get to see them often but since he has been in CT for school it has been great!
Sunday of that weekend it was my college roommate Deanna's son's 3rd birthday party! Cole is SO cute and I am very happy to be one of the "Aunties"! We knew we had to spoil him, so Lea and I went in on this kitchen set. I just remember how much fun my brother and I used to have with our kitchen set when we were little. It is imagination at it's finest and I am excited to watch him play, "cook", and learn.
The box was HUGE, so I had to settle with newspaper comics as wrapping paper.
Deanna did such a great job on his 'Octopod' themed party. I literally have NO idea what any of the kid shows/fads are nowadays. I have never heard of Octopods or Big hero 6 until that day…. but now I know. It's kind of a mix between Spongebob and Ninja Turtles, but less risqué.

Deanna has always been AMAZING at making cakes. She had recently made that samoa cake for Nick and my birthdays in the Vermont post and it was the bomb. Check out this Octopod cake she made for Cole! I think she needs to open up a cake shop, she does it all by hand.

Nothing beats presents where you're a little kid! He'd open one up and look at it for a second and then it was right on to the next! He has very good manners though and made sure to thank each person individually for their gift and for coming to the party. He is really too cute.
Yayy for the kitchen! Deanna says he loves making her "coffee".
Cake time! Can't believe he is already three…. time really does fly.

Happy birthday Cole! Auntie loves you!
The following weekend was easter weekend! I was tasked with making and bringing a dessert to Nick's Moms house. It's tradition to go to her house on Easter with all of his immediate and extended family. It is really a fun day and we eat and drink and play games into the wee hours of the night. I love Easter because everyone gets to get together as a family without the pressure of having to get gifts and all that other jazz. I decided that it would be the perfect time to make my families 'Dirt Cake' recipe that we have been making for decades. It's always a big hit and the recipe is really delicious (read: fattening). I went all out and even got a traditional 'flower pot' and some faux Easter tulips. The ingredients are basically oreos, vanilla pudding, cool whip, and powdered sugar.

You mix the soft ingredients tougher into a large mixing bowl.
Crush the oreos using a rolling pin in a plastic bag.

So then you have your three bowls… Crushed oreos, the empty flower pot, and the pudding mixture.
Start with a layer of oreo, then add a thick layer of pudding, then back to oreo, pudding, oreo, pudding until you get to the top of the bowl. I saved some oreo tops off to the side and crushed those separately without the frosting on them to create some "topsoil" that wouldn't have any white chunks in it. I wanted it to be as realistic looking as possible. And I think it was! No one ate it for a good 20 minutes because they thought it was real.

The easter bunny (thanks Mom!) was good to me at home too! Munson galore! My FAVORITE chocolate shop. I get the craziest craving for Munsons sometimes and it is right off my exit coming home from work. Occasionally I will stop in for a few pieces but Mom really hooked me up with the Motherload!! No pun intended.
I had a couple Easter treats to bring up to nick as well. I love celebrating!
Here is all the girl cousins being goofy after Easter dinner. I love all of Nicks family so much! They always make me feel so welcome and a part of the fam. He is so lucky to have so many great cousins around his age and area that he got to grow up with. They have such close bonds and you can just tell that family is so important to all of them.
Tuesday after easter was an epically epic day! My brothers girlfriend had scored tickets to a live Jimmy Fallon taping in NYC and had invited us to go! A once in a lifetime opportunity, you just can't say no! We took the train into the city and it was an awesome day! We walked around, had lunch and some drinks, and visited Lindsay's cousin who works in the city. After picking up our tickets and getting in line and waiting forever and going through a crazy process that I am pretty sure can be made 100 times easier and following a maze through 30 Rockefeller we finally made it in to the show. They are SUPER strict about photos and such so I didn't even dare try. It was such a cool experience and nothing like anything I had ever done before. Jimmy was hysterical as always and the guests were Sophia Bush, Louis CK, and musical guest I Am Fancy. It was so neat to see everything that goes into putting out one single episode. There were at least 15-20 people on stage behind view at all times…. lighting guys, sound guys, video guys, camera guys, make up gals, producers, editors, cue card hold guy, cue card flipper guy, the Roots, etc etc. It was really cool to see it all come together and I am so glad we got to experience it!
We had dinner in the city after the show and got a couple more drinks.
After dinner we made the trek back to the ever gorgeous Grand Central for the train ride home.

The iconic ceiling!
Such a fun day in the city with my love.
The following weekend I headed up to Nicks as we had a weekend full of house and yard work planned. When I got up there, he said he had a surprise for me. At first he tricked me into thinking he had gotten me a twelve pack of the most disgusting beer I had ever tasted, Blood Orange Gose, so I was a little annoyed that he got me thinking I was really getting a surprise. But then a few minutes later he was in the laundry room and pulled a box out of the cabinet. I had NO idea what it was but was so surprised and happy when I opened a Daniel Wellington watch! I have been wanting one for a long time and he picked the perfect colors and rose gold face. I love it so much and it was such a surprise and the most generous gift.
I love the big simplistic face, and the band is interchangeable! This one is perfect for spring/summer.
Maybe the real reason he got the gift for me was because for the next two days we did a grueling amount of yard work, filling over 20 bags with weeds, sticks, and dead plants. I was so sore for the next couple of days afterwards, I felt like an old lady with an aching back!! But it was worth it because the yard was already starting to look SO much better and was finally getting prepped so that we could re-mulch and replant everything in the coming weeks (more on the yard in a post to come!)
Later that next week I did a paint night at Muse in West Hartford with my brothers girlfriend and our friend Alisa. I had never been there before and it was really fun. We sipped some wine and did a nice beachy painting.

The weather was starting to get really nice so I decided one day to go for a bike ride on my beach cruiser that Nick had gotten me for Christmas. Epic fail. Not only did the tire on my new bike IMPLODE for no reason, my phone fell out of the basket and shattered. So a trip to AT&T and $650 later.... I now have the iPhone 6. We still need to go and get my bike tire fixed... all I am thinking is that it must have been overfilled with air and since it was the first hot day of the year it must have expanded in the heat and blew up. Just my luck!
April 19th was my first wedding to photograph of the year! It was up in Dover New Hampshire at a cool old mill building called Rivermill, and it ended up being a really nice couple and a beautiful day. A great start to the wedding season for 2015. One down and 13 to go, not including 4 other weddings that I am attending this year!

The first wedding I was attending as a guest was on April 25h, and it was my dear friends Chris and Cristina's big day. You may remember I photographed their engagement session last summer. Nick and I went with a blue theme and I loved my dress from Nordstrom. Nick looked especially handsome in his suit and I love having him as my date. Also a big thanks to him for driving me to about ten stores to find a gold and navy necklace.....You'd think I was looking for a piece of the moon!

We headed down to the southern part of CT for the ceremony at St. Marks in Shelton. The ceremony was beautiful and really personal. The deacon did a great job and it was a very nice mass.
Cristina looked absolutely gorgeous and so so happy coming down the aisle with her Dad. You could tell it was such a proud moment for him to be giving his daughter away.

After the kiss they were officially Mr and Mrs Toussaint! They were both glowing and smiling form ear to ear! They are truly meant for each other and I know they will make a great team as husband and wife.
The "OH MY GOSH, WE'RE MARRIED!!!!" faces!! Happy happy happy
Chris spiffed up his Miata for their getaway car! Check out how beautiful of a day they got, it was perfect!
We joke about April 25th from this famous scene from Miss Congeniality.... It truly is the perfect date!
After the ceremony we headed to our hotel a few minutes away and checked in. This is where the fun really started! We had a shuttle to and from the reception so it was really nice to not have to worry about driving anywhere so we could really let loose and party. We went down to my coworkers hotel room and had a little pregame before it was time to get on the shuttle.
Chris and Cristina provided all of the guests with adorable welcome bags with all the stuff you would need for the weekend including an itinerary, water, soda, snacks, candy, and most importantly....Tylenol!
We then headed to the Great River Golf Club which is where the reception was held. The cocktail hour was out on the veranda overlooking this beautiful view! They could not have scored a better day and I can't wait to see all of their professional wedding photos. I did my best to just be a guest and pretty much only took a few snaps on my iPhone throughout the day.
He's marrieddd!!!!!!!
Their grand entrance as Mr. and Mrs. Toussaint!
Dinner was delicious! Nick and I both got the salmon and it was so flavorful and moist.
Chris's friend Sam's girlfriend Hope! She was really nice and fun to sit next to for the evening. She really knows how to get the party started.
Sam to the left, and my coworkers Ryan and Cody to the right! I work with some great people and we have a lot of fun. I never thought I would be working in the construction industry. It is a very male-dominated industry so it is often tough to go far or feel respected as a female but my team is the best!

Chris and Cristina had some really cute details throughout the reception. Shoutout to table 14!!!
The night got blurry from here on out but we had a BLAST! Sam and I even sung Mariah Carey's "Heartbreaker" to Chris and Cristina and the end of the night and it was too funny and a great memory. Hopefully no one got it on video.
Some other recent happenings included: my chubby dog getting stuck under our deck for a good hour! Poor thing had to literally be dug out!
May day lei day!! Anything to remind me of Hawaii.... Happy May 1st everyone!
May 2nd was Kentucky Derby day! It was also Nicks last weekend before starting his new job as a firefighter, so I had planned a fun day to celebrate in Newport. A sign of a good day below when we parked in back of a car with the license plate 'Lu', which is our name for each other. We also ended up parking at a meter that was broken so after calling the city we found out we basically got free parking for the day! Woo hoo! We also stopped in at the small casino in Newport at the start of the day to hit up the OTB and place some small bets on some of the derby horses. Gave us something to look forward to later on and hopefully win some cash money!
It was a GORGEOUS day to be in Newport with not a cloud in the sky. It still wasn't the hottest out but it was warm enough to wear a dress and a jean jacket.

Another month and these marinas will be PACKED to the brims.
We stopped for some photo ops on the pier.

I hadn't been to Newport over a year and it is one of my favorite places in New England, I was so happy to be back.
We went with Nicks cousin Dan and his girlfriend Chelsea. We love spending time with them and always have so much fun. We stopped at 41North, a swanky inn/bar right on the water and played some outdoor chess and lounged in their luxurious patio furniture. This place gets elbow to elbow in the heat of summer, so it was nice to actually have the place to ourselves.

Loungin' and lovin life!
We then hit up Midtown Oyster for some drinks and appetizers/snacks. We had to wait a little bit but didn't mind and bellied up to the nautically themed bar for a cocktail. We asked if they would be showing the Pacquiao/Mayweather fight later that night and they said no because it would be a $5,500 charge to the bar to air it!

We got a table for 6 on their second level patio and right in the sunshine. It was perfect! Dan's college roommate and his wife ended up meeting up with us as well, and they were really nice.

After Midtown Oyster we decided to make a drive a few miles further down Newport past the mansion to the infamous Castle Hill Inn. A pristine 40 acre property right on the ocean with gorgeous unobstructed views. It costs a pretty penny to dine or stay here in the hotel, but we just went to their terrace bar for drinks and to watch the Kentucky Derby.

We were sitting out on the lawn when after a good ten minutes Nick realized that one of my Instagram idols, Kiel James Patrick, was actually their as well! I was so surprised and knew I had to get the courage to go over and say hi! I finally got up the guts and he ended up being so nice! We got some sweet photos and it really made my day. Him and his fiancé have a nautically inspired American-made lifestyle brand out of Rhode Island and are becoming more and more popular by the minute.
He even thinks I'm funny!

One of his friends took about 20 photos for us, so it was totally awesome and made my day. Between seeing Yoga Girl and now KJP I have now met both of my instagram faves in less than a month!

After the KJP meeting we headed inside to the terrace bar and I busted out my bid white derby hat to get ready for the race. I absolutely love the Kentucky Derby and it is the most exciting two minutes I sports. I love everything about the derby culture and it is a definite bucket list item to get there one day and see the actual race in person! Maybe next year!
Classic Nose-flare pics for days....
Nick is finally learning how to master it.
Chelsea has it down too.

The terrace bar is gorgeous and I loved the arched ceilings with wooden cross beams.
Checking out our bets from earlier. We were rooting for Danzig Moon, Bolo, Ocho Ocho and War Story. We had placed a couple "Win" bets, and a couple win-place-show bets, so we were really hoping to win something!

Sadly, we came up empty handed and the favorite, American Pharoah, took the crown. I love when an underdog wins but this year that wasn't the case. We had a great time watching it though and cheering on our horses. Better luck next year and congrats to the winner!


The boys.
Dan insisted we take a nice gourmet shot inside Castle Hill by the fire place. We will have to come back here for a fancy schmancy dinner someday!
After Castle Hill we went back into downtown and had a great dinner at Clarke Cooke House. We had wanted to go to Diego's but the wait was too long. We went to Cooke House instead and it ended up being fabulous. It was such a fun day with the best company and I can't wait to do it again.

We went to leave just as the sun was setting! It was gorgeous!

Such a beautiful spot! After Castle Hill we went back into downtown and had a great dinner at Clarke Cooke House. We had wanted to go to Diego's but the wait was too long. We went to Cooke House instead and it ended up being fabulous. It was such a fun day with the best company and I can't wait to do it again.
Monday was a BIG day for my sweet boy as he was officially done with 5 years at the PD and started his new career as a paramedic firefighter on May 4th! I am so proud of him and all he has worked through and accomplished to get to this point. He has worked so hard, doing countless hours and crazy shifts, taking multiple tests and studying, ride time and interviews and this is so well deserved for him!
I will miss my police officer but I love my firefighter even more!
I knew I had to do something new on the chalkboard so on Sunday while Nick was out getting his new bike I surprised him and did a chalk drawing of his soon-to-be new patch at the Fire Department. I think it came out pretty spot on and he was SO excited and surprised! We love our chalk wall and I have a feeling this one will be up for quite awhile! #chalkboardchronicles (Check it out on instagram to see our previous drawings!)
NFD here you come! He ended up having a GREAT first week and already loves it. I can tell he is already so much happier here and can't wait to see where this takes him.
May 5th was of course CINCO DE MAYO so a margarita was definitely in order after a long day at work. Sadly I didn't have the ingredients to make Nick's and my recipe (the best ever in my biased opinion) so I had to settle for the mix but it was still a yummy treat!
That is just a little bit of what has been going on lately so I hope you enjoyed the updates, I know it's been a while! We have been doing a TON of house and yard work behind the scenes and I have a ton of great home improvement and DIY posts planned for the near future. First up will be our front sun porch redo and I just can't wait to show you! Stay tuned and thank for following along!

No comments:

Post a Comment