Friday, March 6, 2015

Wedding Vendor: The Garter

I think we can all agree that my favorite expression is "it's all about the experience." Clearly everything for our wedding was an extension of this phrase and what an experience it was. I have planned hundreds of events with my parents for our family business. Which means I have seen hundreds of garters, whether I wanted to or not. (awkward smile)

As I began thinking about our wedding I originally thought I wanted a Florida Gator garter, but my Kentucky Wildcats husband wasn't going to agree to that one. My beautiful friend Marissa MacLeod, owner of Arlynn Couture, came to my mind like a palm to the forehead. She mentioned wanting to make my garter and I couldn't think of a person that I would rather have create such a special piece for our big day! 

MarBear and I met back in May of 2009 while working together at Solutions Bridal Designer House in Gainesville, Florida. She has since continued her career in the event industry and is now a Senior Stylist and Brand Developer at Solutions Bridal in Orlando, Florida. 

She also happens to be one of the craftiest people I know and has turned that amazing talent into a business.  That business is called Arlynn Couture, specializing in couture bridal garters. 

As Marissa puts it,
"I believe that a garter shouldn’t be just something that just gets tossed away as a party gimmick. I think it should be a beautiful accessory that adds to the entire bridal look, just as a gorgeous veil or piece of jewelry would be. Arlynn Garters are made of only the best bridal quality materials. This includes Chantilly and Alencon Lace, Silk Satin, Tulle, Glass Pearls and Swarovski Crystal, among other materials. Many garters also use recycled vintage jewelry pieces found at local antique stores, making them one of a kind."

Now, let's see the beautiful piece of artwork that I now have the honor of passing down as an heirloom to my daughter. Every aspect of this piece was perfectly handmade for me with love by one of my very best friends. Nothing can beat that. 

With many thanks to my beautiful friend, Marissa MacLeod. 

mrs. r

Perfect Paleo Pancake

I must begin this post by dedicating it to George over at Civilized Caveman

I started eating Paleo back in September of 2011. The Paleo way of life goes against every American societal norm. By now, I think most people have heard of it or even tried it themselves. 

In case you live under a rock generally don't follow health trends here is the Paleo breakdown:

- lean meats
- fish/seafood
- fresh fruits and veggies
- healthful oils 
- nuts and seeds 

Stay away from: 
- artificial sweetener 
- grains
- dairy
- white potatoes
- refined sugar
- processed foods
- refined vegetable oil
- salt
- legumes (including peanuts)

The hardest part, as I'm sure most of you can imagine, is creating a variety of flavorful meals without using the ingredients I was taught to cook with. (i.e. butter, milk, sugar, etc)

I have been at points in life where I was VERY strict with my Paleo rules and other points where the pizza at a New York City brick oven hot spot was more temping than my self control. 

BUT, all in all I LOVE the Paleo lifestyle. I feel better when I eat this way. I perform better at workouts when I eat this way. I also fit into my pants better when I eat this way and who doesn't love that?

Now back to the main event and my dedication to George at Civilized Caveman. When I started Paleo he was still a small company with recipes on a blog that I couldn't get enough of. Three and a half years later he has a booming business with products, a website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I love seeing genuinely good people (and their hard work) PAY OFF! He is awesome and so is his gorgeous fiancĂ©. I spotted this recipe on his Insta a couple months ago and couldn't wait to try it! 

Paleo and Pancake are rarely used in the same sentence and IF I actually attempt most of these online recipes...I'm usually  always disappointed. This is the FIRST (out of far more than I would like to admit) Paleo Pancake recipe that I have actually enjoyed eating. 

Side note: My husband, who could not be any LESS Paleo, loved this recipe and told me it actually tasted just like "regular pancakes." Success! 

Without further ado here is the recipe, along with some pictures I snapped of my brunch today. 

Civilized Caveman Pancakes
Yields 5-6 Medium Pancakes

-       3 Large Eggs
-       ½ cup + 3 Tbsp Almond or Coconut Milk (Full Fat)
-       1 Tbsp Organic Honey
-       ½ Tbsp Lemon Juice
-       1 tsp Vanilla
-       ½  Cup Coconut Flour
-       ½ Cup Tapioca Flour
-       ½ tsp Baking Powder
-       ½ tsp Baking Soda
-       Pinch of Fine Grain Sea Salt
-       Coconut Oil for Skillet
-       ½ Blueberries or EnjoyLife Chips


 In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the almond milk, honey, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut flour and tapioca flour, then add the wet ingredients ¼ cup a time, while continuously whisking. Lastly, mix in the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Grease a large skillet with coconut oil and place over low-medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, use a ladle to pour 3-inch pancakes into the pan. Once holes begin to appear on the surface of the pancake, drop a small handful of blueberries or chocolate chips onto it and flip. The pancake should cook approx. 3-4 minutes on each side. Repeat with the rest of the batter. 

Top with coconut butter or organic maple syrup.

Enjoy this wonderful Paleo treat and be sure to check out Civilized Caveman!

mrs. r

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Share the Love...

Valentine's Day has been a transformed holiday for me. I used to dress in all black (I believe I've mentioned this in previous posts) and celebrate with my girlfriends by overindulging in libations. When I met Jason it was just after Valentine's Day 2012, so our first Valentine's was just shy of a year dating. When asked where I wanted to go the answer was easy, one of my favorites, BONEFISH GRILL! (insert yummmm sound) That was 2013 so for 2014 we decided on the same. Traditions are kind of a big deal for me and this one included Bang Bang Shrimp...I'm in!

(Our first Valentine's Day)

(Our only engaged Valentine's Day )

This year I was just finishing up an Advocare 24 Day Challenge and ready to indulge a little. (Don't judge me!) We booked our reservations and I began dreaming of Bang Bang Shrimp and multiple glasses of wine. If you have ever worked in the restaurant industry, or even visited a restaurant on a holiday, you know very well how these reservations work. It is more of a "suggested" seating time. Our reservation was for 7pm and around 7:30 they called our name. J noticed an elderly couple that arrive before us had not been seated, but we were being escorted to our table. (I rewrote that scenario three times, hopefully it makes sense) At first, we didn't think much of it but then I overheard the man say they had been there since 6:45. We sat down, ordered my dreamy glass of wine and I asked J if they were still standing there. He confirmed and I felt the Lord nudge me to invite them to sit with us. It just so happened that they sat us at a table with four chairs, sometimes God couldn't send a message more clearly unless he face palmed my forehead. I looked at J and we both agreed to invite them to eat with us...share the love.

God is so good. He knows when we need something, even when we NEVER imagined it to happen. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner talking and laughing with this couple. The woman was a teacher and the man was a lawyer, both are retired now. Needless to say we had plenty to talk about. They said the last time someone randomly asked them to enjoy dinner with them was in 1970 in Hilton Head, SC. (They still talk to that couple today!) When we finished our meal we were ready to pay for ours with sweet gift cards we received for Christmas, but to our surprise this generous man insisted on taking care of all of it. (Bang bang and glasses of wine included!) J and I were blown away by his giving heart and blessed by an enjoyable evening of good food and great company. 

No pictures. 
My phone was in my purse during the entire dinner, just the way it should be. 
Sometimes the best memories aren't on a camera roll. 

I titled this post, 'Share the Love' because we need to do just that. If you can make someone smile, do it. If you can reach out and make someones day better, do it. Whether you are sharing the love with your husband, fiancĂ©, boyfriend, best friend, brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, cousin, coworker, hair dresser, mailman/woman or a complete it. A smile, an invitation, a hug, a note of love, anything. In a world of murder, hatred and terror, we need more smiles. More coffee dates. More hand written notes. More random acts of kindness. More random Valentine's dinners with strangers. More love. 

mrs. r 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Best Night Of My Life...

Good morning y'all! It has been 8 months, almost to the day, since I last blogged. Planning a wedding, moving into our first house, bridal showers, bachelorette, starting two new jobs and now being a wife has kept me a little busy. (BUT) I miss blogging!

This post is literally going to be ALL of my favorite pictures from our wedding. I have to brag on our photographers because not only are they are awesome friends of ours but they also traveled all the way from Nashville, TN to shoot our wedding in Naples, FL. They are an awesome husband/wife team that captured every precious moment of our big day. If you need a photographer for ANYTHING, contact them...
Here is their site, check them out!

Our wedding week, rehearsal, bridal sleepover, wedding day and wedding night were all straight out of a fairytale. Our friends and family traveled from near and far to celebrate our joyous day of marriage. We were (and still are) blown away by the love and generosity of our loved ones. 

My Mom, Dad and Les worked day and night to make this everything I have ever dreamed. I will forever be in debt to them for making all of my wedding dreams, a reality. There is something to be said for parents who will literally spend more time on your wedding details than you could even contribute. I am eternally thankful for parents that care about making moments into memories with me. (And now J too!) Planning a wedding from 4 states away made this process even more difficult. But with the help of my parents and our vendor friends we pulled it off without a hitch. 

My next few posts will be highlighting some of our AMAZING vendors and all of the beautiful details that went into making this weekend such a dream come true. 

After all, it's all about the experience. 

(for the first time on SSS) 
Mrs. Lauren Elizabeth Ritter