engagement story

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Two years ago Christmas dinner our first of four daughters shed tears at the table believing she would never have her one to love. Hearts on hold, all around.

Ensuing days brought more shared meals, both celebratory and with deep conversation. Keep the faith, you are absolutely beautiful, and maybe try Tinder? She was like, ‘mom, really, a dating app?’, and I was like yes, absolutely. When you dress beautiful women you also listen to intimate details, and Tinder was one.

She hit pause, and then in the quiet of one night or an afternoon or not really sure, logged on, and in.

Direct match, and they had even met before, a year or two ago, and now had mutual friends and cousins and colleagues all intertwined, Two martinis and dinner at Nobu she shared with me they made out in the ATM bank lobby that first meeting, and I couldn’t have been happier hearing about lips locking, on the first night out. That rush and lust feeling at first sight, priceless.

Fast forward to summer weekends at the country house, a casual long ski weekend in upstate New York, a beach weekend or two in NH with his crowd, and then ten of us in Portugal this summer and it’s all feeling family familiar,

Late summer forces apartment and lease and roommate renewals, and naturally they draw together and make things work. An apartment for two, and they talk futures, and diamonds.

He calls the husband, as he’s traditional that way, and they arrange a Monday night NYC dinner for two, and cap it off with ‘let’s toast and drink some champagne’, my heart beats at the thought. He tells him he believes deeply she will want to celebrate with family, and wants to propose to her in her hometown, Buffalo. WOW.

Husband call me excitedly and say’s ‘babe, figure out a way to get her home, with him, this weekend, and it’s got be down low, and vague’. Cool, I’ve got this…sure. Lightbulb moment, mandatory family Saturday attic cleaning! Call her Wednesday morning telling her she’s the only one that gets my madness and I need her and the attic is disaster and fire hazard and I’m headed for a breakdown and she needs to be home and if she wants she can bring him with her LOL and dad will pay for flights. Bingo, she’s in, and flying home to BUF, with her man, for the weekend, and cleaning the attic.

Stealth text messaging with future son-in-law to be took place, ‘how about your parents?’, and he likes that idea. They book flights, we book the room, and a celebratory Saturday evening dinner is planned, unbeknownst to her, and everyone else. Family dinners are normal, yet engagement dinners, this is a first.

Lizzie was face-timed in

Entire family is put on mandatory attic cleaning, even the away college freshman. NO ONE knows anything. Lizzie can’t make it, she’s got weekend theatre rehearsals for a school play with two characters, and she’s one of them, haha.

They fly in late Friday, and there’s pizza, and wine, and a beer or two for him. Saturday morning 11 am sharp we start cleaning the attic. Ethan and Maxwell and Lexi arrive afterwards, tuck into the leftovers, and play video games and go virtual golfing. He cracks a beer before noon, as that was his day. Told the family I was too overworked to cook, and we were eating out, and the only last-minute place we could get on a Saturday night was dinner at the club and jacket and tie were required.

Husband and he are scheming, for proposal spots, and when. I run to the airport under pretense of heading to the studio, and shuttle his parents to downtown club, where festivities were planned.

Husband is like a cat on a hot tin roof, and future son-in-law is deciding a kitchen table, late afternoon, family wide proposal is key. WOW. Okay, we’ve got this, and chill: open a little wine, play a little music, call a family meeting to discuss holiday and Christmas calendars.

We gather, and there’s printed calendars and activities on table to consider, and he starts to talk, out loud, to all of us, thanking us for including him, and that he’s looking forward to Christmas, and every Christmas after that with our daughter, and it starts getting a little surreal, and then he’s down on his knee with the most brilliant diamond ever asking her to marry him. WOW.

Tears and shaking and champagne popping and it’s incredible.

Engaged.

 

We’re all overjoyed, and celebrate where most of our life takes place, in the heart of the home, the kitchen, and the garden.

Cocktails at seven, and dinner at eight, with his parents, and she still doesn’t know they are in town. I had a new dress for her, kind of like when we surprised her for her sweet sixteen, yet this time there was an added gift of fine lingerie, to match her dress, of course.

 

Met at the club bar, and his parents were there. She was ecstatic.

Set menu, candlelight, flowers, piano; enchanting.

Club pool, and cigars. Husband and I head home, and they all head out into the excitement of the night, and life.

Every day dress, engagement story, love all around. xoxo

all took place a week ago Saturday

all photos by her twin brother

maxwellmichaels.shootproof.com

 

 

weekend things

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farmer’s market, by bike, in the rain

setting up for the week ahead

they did brunch, with bloody’s and mimosas

ham and cheese, with bacon, double decadent

Twenty-three photos in this one, so hang on, thinking we need to explore video, yet not yet. Monday through Friday, and very choice weekends, we’re working our styling thing, dressing beautiful women in beautiful clothing. Those two end-days hit and it’s all about kitchen, and garden, and time spent outdoors. As the days get shorter we’re moving a little indoors, and shown here are a few intimate weekend thing highlights. Intimate, as we’re not all dressed, kind of how it is in our downtime. 🙂

happy at home

look close, there’s really two dogs there

Winston!

when making bolognese, we simple triple, in two pots

 

stacks plates, asparagus in water, messy counter, working on that

gifted wine, and pastry dough, waiting…

taller than him, even barefoot :), might even weigh more, not looking, yikes

you know, butter is love….

Saturday night, at home

We like to cook, and feed those we love, always.

wilted herbs, and candles at brunch, all okay

why not put the fresh squeezed OJ in the fancy decanter

simple greens with beets and cucumbers, for breakfast

the real deal maple in a small flower vase, on the griddle, keeping it warm

Every day dress, and weekend things, that feed our soul into the days ahead. xoxo

Sunday night minestrone, works for Monday too

Booie polished some of the silver, getting ready, and dried hydrangea in wooden bowl

keeping it simple, weekend things

last first day

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Sixth child of six handled her first day of senior high exactly as she slipped into this world; low-key, super easy, and just like that.

She was out the door and gone before I even put the coffee on. Looked for her car upon my rise, and no, not there.

Her birth date was exact: almost born in the elevator, and husband delivered her before doc could get there. We knew the drill, head down, fluid clear, let’s go. Nurse was as nervous as hell.

In the room that night woke up and missed her, why oh why does she need to be in the newborn nursery, she belongs right here, right now.

This child knows things beyond her years, and we love her beyond infinity.

Last first day, and every day dress. xoxo

all photos shot in Portugal by Maxwell

party to go

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muscles in a wine butter broth

simple table with chargers

hair up, we don’t care

We’ve been town & country, carting food & wine here, there, and everywhere.

salmon on cabbage

a flat of homegrown strawberries = 14 jars of jam

Life is moving fast, definitely some big bumps, yet we’re celebrating the simple.

yes, please, homegrown peas

everyone in the kitchen now

Breaking bread, always a party to go. When we started this site 5+ years ago we were all about making your bed, protein at breakfast, walk the dogs, get out of the yoga clothes, put on some makeup (yay, kind of slacking on that one, it’s summer…), make some dinner, spend time with those you love, enjoy a glass of wine. Still the same.

major mac & cheese prep, notice the rose gold Birkenstocks and the white polish 

unplanned family supper

flower prep, check out the sleeping dog 🙂

blanched hericots verts and chorizo bread waiting to be cubed

the sky is falling

double denim, double wooden salad bowls, toss with your hands

gorgeous roasted miniature San Marizona tomatoes

homegrown for the table times twelve

the gangs all here

knot those cloth napkins if no time to iron 

Every day dress. xoxo

back in town, champagne and cell phone never far behind….

messy kitchen counter, honest kitchen life xoxo

a mid-year agenda

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white tulips, bread, and butter is love

spaghetti and meatballs, one of the mother sauces

haricots verts and milk braised pork, looks weird, tastes delicious

cod, asparagus, quinoa and sautéed tomatoes

spring is time for rack of lamb

pesto, by hand, no food processor, with small pasta

maple glazed carrots cooked in scratch chicken stock

Essie ‘bikini so teeny‘ nail color

We’ve been out for a little, cooking, gardening, parenting, and forever working on good habits. We’ve been at our studio as well, helping women put together looks for spring and summer events, professional and celebratory. One thing we’ve added to our personal shopping cart is a new mid-year agenda, to help us stay on track, especially those daily habit kind of things.

Last year for the 51st birthday bought the desk size, this year we’re sizing down. Streamlining has been kind of our thing, with the wardrobe edit, now the agenda, and even the wallet. We’ve switched to carrying a little silver card case, with two cards, one for personal, one for business, and our drivers license. All those fancy store credit cards, gone. Card case slips into our bag, or a jacket pocket, or the back of our jeans. Easy.

We love anything Smythson, friend and colleague gifted us with these amazing notebooks, one personalized SCRAPPY, and the other, CLASSY. Pretty much sums us up. Thank you, dear friend.

Every day dress, some new habits, and a new mid-year agenda.

 

linen, un-ironed

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Conversation with 5th child, 3rd daughter, before dinner: me: ‘really kind of liking these un-ironed linen napkins of late’, her: ‘yeah, I get it, me too’.

We’re all for a little pomp and circumstance, especially when the occasion calls for it, yet on a weeknight family kitchen dinner, we can go with the un-ironed.

Like everyone out there, we’ve been busy (prom season et al), and wondering where the days go.

sliced leg of lamb, roasted potato, sautéed spinach

all hands on deck, fish tacos 

we always love a little wine

As crazy as it gets, the glue that keeps us together is breaking bread, whatever that may be. Peanut butter and jelly, fish tacos, roasted leg of lamb, doesn’t really matter.

a rail for a client

Every day dress, linen, un-ironed. xoxo

all photos from the iPhone, we got a new laptop and it doesn’t have a memory card drive, not that it makes a big difference, LOL, figuring it out, stay tuned.

classics, over time

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We’ve been doing stuff, like roasting chickens, and grilling caesar salad, and wearing our wardrobe classics: long merino skirt, Breton stripes kind of thing bodysuit, a leather jacket. and a striped scarf.

Also going on, a pile of beans, and weeknight dinners:

a pile of beans, who really cares

sweet potatoes

add a lean protein and some time in the kitchen and you’ve got dinner baby

grocery roses, $20, DIY

cut flowers on the table at the restaurant, always add votives

double dates xoxo

a finger or two in the frosting, always

twins!! celebrating 27…

the men watching sports, on the iPhone, in the wine cellar haha

While talking about the blog with second son, graphic designer, expressed how I didn’t want this to be a place where readers felt worse after visiting. You know, an endless visual parade of all things new you need to buy, or etc.

We like new, no problem there. It’s the constant and endless acquisition that gets us.

So, here we are, digging down a little in the kitchen and digging down a little in the closet.

so, he did get the bunny in the window, and here is its head, on a platter, for breakfast, lol

Every day dress, classics, over time.

 

mellow yellow

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Snow day in the BUF, so we’re staying put and doing fun things in the kitchen like making omelets, and vegetable stock.

Never knew a proper omelet was all about the proper heat, and stirring, and stirring and shaking, and that the eggs should be barely done. And that to be an omelet you don’t even need to put anything in it, it’s all technique. We’re all about learning new things.

Baking we’ve done for decades, and funny thing is no one really eats the stuff anymore, it just kind of sits.

Thinking we’ll have more success with some good soup from some scratch stock.

Every day dress, we’re pretty mellow, loving the March snow day. xoxo

 

 

learning new stuff

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 mise en place for first step of minestrone

Life-long learning, we’re all for it. Enrolled in some online stuff and while we love clothes, shoes, and bags, decided to upgrade the culinary skills.

Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to, the past three days at least:

setting up for poached eggs

barely yet greatly set

lunch for one, new nail color, Essie bikini so teeny, and a jam jar with a smash of Walt Chardonnay

homegrown kitchen counter basil

resulting basil walnut pesto, skipped those pine nuts this time

veggies prepped for dinner

couldn’t resist, pussy willow for the front hall from the grocery, $15

if it works, do it again, this time black suede Birkenstocks, OPI boyfriend jeans nail color

Every day dress, learning new stuff. xoxo

homemaking

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We’ve been trying to get in the kitchen, buying baby bok choy and stuff to step up our culinary skill set. Instead we’ve been doing the school run drive around, and it’s all okay.

Husband reads all the time, and reads a lot about happiness. This morning while I was ironing he said the latest research shows that homemakers are the happiest. Can’t tell you how excited I was to not go anywhere today and just do laundry. 🙂

So, since we need to eat I’ll try and tackle that new green vegetable now. And, as we need to dress this is the look we put together today for the run around. We mixed up some floral print, a kind of conservative blue cashmere jacket, and a little camo. Momma won’t like it, she’s so over the skinny jean thing and these are in camo, yet we’re wearing good shoes.

blouse and jacket | Worth New York | camo jean | Hudson | suede boot | Christian Louboutin 

Every day dress, today it was all about homemaking. TGIF everyone, have a great weekend. xoxo

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