Saturday Morning 3.9.13: Wedding Bouquets

Happy Saturday morning to you!

Jeanne spent her morning making bouquets for a friend’s wedding. The look for this wedding called for a bridal bouquet of red roses and baby’s breath.

Bridal bouquet made by Jeanne this morning

Bridal bouquet made by Jeanne this morning

Jeanne is a fantastic amateur florist. She was taught by her mother who had a floral business for several years. The skill and joy that comes along with it is contagious, and I’ve tried my best to pick it up over the years, doing the flowers for several friends’ weddings (with my mother on the phone, of course). For Laura and Chad’s wedding, she tackled the bridal bouquet, coached me through the other bouquets, and instructed Sasha and a few girls from our family through the other arrangements.

Laura's bridal bouquet made by Jeanne

Laura’s bridal bouquet made by Jeanne
(photography by Angela Frances)

Simple flowers in a mason jar give a warm, vintage feel to the ceremony

Simple flowers and herbs (from Jeanne’s yard) in a mason jar give a warm, vintage feel to the ceremony

There’s something about caring for and arranging flowers for someone’s special day that adds an extra touch of love to the occasion.

Flower arranging can be intimidating at first, but it’s really not that hard once you try it. Making bouquets can be great fun and save a lot of money. As with anything these days, there are countless articles on how to make your own bouquets. Here are a few good ones from A Practical Wedding and The Knot.

Saturday morning for the rest of the gang included P90X at 5 am for Sasha (go girl!), knitting and a plyometircs workout for me, and a road trip to Chattanooga, TN for Laura (and Chad).

Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, TN

Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, TN


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Filed under Event Planning and Hosting, Our Saturday Morning

Sasha’s Detox Smoothie

Sasha is trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle and recently did her first ever detox juice cleanse for three days. She’s such a rock star — the only detox diets I’ve done have lasted about 12 hours…until I’m mean and hungry for dinner. Go Sasha!




Combine in a blender (or really fancy juicer as pictured) and mix on high:

1 cup kale leaves

1 cup spinach

1 cucumber (Tons of benefits, including hydration & loaded with B vitamins)

1 stalk celery

1 carrot, peeled

1 Bosc pear (or apple if you prefer)

1 lemon

½ cup fresh parsley (which is great for cleansing your blood!)

& whatever other fruits or veggies you have lying around. Strawberries or a kiwi are more great additions

solids on the left, healthy yummy juices on the right

Pulp on the left, healthy yummy juice on the right

The detox consisted of consuming this juice her meals for three days. After it, Sasha felt like a new (and clean!) woman!



-Update from Sasha:

Great enthusiasm from Brooke! But those three days were not that fun. I had such a major headache from the caffeine withdrawals and my skin broke out from all the “toxins” exiting through my pores. But hey I stuck it out! It was a good way to kick-start my healthier lifestyle and I think essential for myself in getting started, but I would much rather practice healthy eating habits every day & maybe the occasional 24 hour detox. I don’t see how people do these juice diets for 14 days. More power to them! Nonetheless this is a great juice/smoothie recipe and is loaded with good stuff for you! & yummy 🙂

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Filed under Cooking & Eating, Health and Beauty

The joys of being an Aunt.

It’s true what they say, you will never love anyone more than your sibling’s kids.

Okay, I don’t know if they say that but they should, because its 100% true. I am very lucky to have two amazing siblings, and even luckier that they have both had children & made me an Aunt. (2 nieces, 2 nephews) I have been in the delivery room for three of their births and to experience something like that is nothing short of a miracle. My heart is so full of love at the arrival of my newest niece that it just might burst! So without further adieu, I welcome Lena-James Cisilia Williamson. (Lena was my dad’s grandmother whom he adored and still talks about to this day, James was my Uncle Michael and my Uncle Al’s middle names, may they rest in peace, and Cisilia is my mother’s name. She does not have a middle name and Tamara wanted her name to be Lena’s, I love it.)

Lena-James Cisilia Williamson

Born: February 26, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

7 pounds, 4 ounces, & 20 inches of perfection.

One of the first pictures I took of her.

One of the first pictures I took of her.

Those Lips !

Those Lips !

She is so mellow, didnt cry a bit.

She is so mellow, didnt cry a bit. (Thats the antibiotic they have to put on their eyes, not tears.)

Precious little feet!

Precious little feet!

This picture makes me cry. It is such an emotional experience for me I cant imagine what its like for the mommy & daddy!

This picture makes me cry. It is such an emotional experience for me I cant imagine what its like for the mom & dad! My sister did awesome, couldn’t be more proud of her.

My first time holding sweet Lena

My first time holding sweet Lena

Big brother Jack waiting for her to come out of the nursery

Big brother Jack waiting for her to come out of the nursery

Jacksons first time holding her. All he kept saying was "Look how small her fingers are!"

Jacksons first time holding her. All he kept saying was “Look how small her fingers are!”

Ben & Lena.

Ben & Lena.

So happy to have a girl we can dress up in PINK!

So happy to have a girl we can dress up in PINK!

My sister did some at home shots.

My sister did some at home shots.

Jackson & Lena-James

Jackson & Lena-James



I cant take these!

I cant take these!

Baby girls first photo-shoot

Baby girls first photo-shoot

Siblings, who I pray one day will understand the love I have experienced through them.

Siblings, who I pray one day will understand the love I have experienced through them.

– Sasha


Filed under Memories

Osis Dust It


Osis Dust It is an absolute MUST TRY! This stuff is so amazing, and since I’ve been using it I can’t ever remember hair life without it! I use it almost every day for extra volume and texture and to keep my hairstyles in place! It’s great for up dos and down dos, curly or straight!
My close friend and hairstylist used it when she did my hair on my wedding day and then bought me some for my birthday. I’ve been hooked ever since!
To use:
Sprinkle a tiny bit on your roots, and tease with a comb for awesome volume and amazing texture!
Throughout the day I will shake my roots up with my hands or a comb to renew the volume.
Be careful because a tiny bit goes a long way! When I first started using it I would sprinkle in my hands first so I wouldn’t use too much, because too much can change the texture of your entire head of hair for the worst! Too little is better than too much, and if you use it properly you will fall in love! One of my favorite elements of the Dust It is how it absorbs the oil from your hair so if you must skip a hair washing, it’s your secret!
So go for it and try out Osis Dust It! It will become your new favorite hair product!


by | March 6, 2013 · 9:00 pm

Lasagna Rolls

Ok, so I know that being healthy is always a number one priority, but I am good at splurging when it comes to food! Tonight, I splurged but in a semi healthy way with this lasagna roll up recipe. I saw a version of this on pinterest and on the back of the lasagna box but never read either recipe, only looked at pictures, haha!

What I used:

Whole wheat lasagna noodles (only cook as many noodles as you will use)

Small curd cottage cheese (instead of ricotta, it’s just a preference over ricotta) (used about a half a cup or less)

Fresh mozzarella (chopped) (used half for inside mixture and the other half for the toping)

A good block of parmesan cheese (grated)

Fresh spinach (I used an entire container)

Tomatoes (on the vine)

Fresh garlic (4 or 5 big cloves)

    1. Chop tomatoes and garlic and place on a baking sheet and toss with some olive oil, basil and oregano. Roast in the oven at 350 for about 20 to 30 minutes. (I wished I had some fresh herbs but all I had was dried)


1. Wilt spinach with one clove of garlic and a little water and mix with mozzarella, parmesan and cottage cheese.  I mushed everything together and let the cheese melt some from the hot wilted spinach. (Season with salt and pepper to taste)


2. Spread spinach mixture onto noodles and carefully roll up and repeat



3. Place in casserole dish


4. Puree roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic and pour onto lasagna rolls




5. Add the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan and bake uncovered for about 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven.


I served with some crusty bread and a healthy green salad! It was pretty good! I never measure anything so just eye it, it will work out!



by | March 6, 2013 · 7:53 pm

Multi-Vitamin Smoothie

I’m generally a healthy person, but I loathe multi-vitamins. For starters, they make me feel nauseous. Secondly,  half of them don’t fully dissolve before moving through your system. (Check by placing your vitamin in a half-cup of vinegar for 45 minutes. If it’s not dissolved there, it won’t dissolve in your belly.) And third, a diverse, healthy diet provides all the vitamins you need. (Trust me, I did research on the entire multivitamin ingredient list.) So instead of taking a huge, nasty pill, I make a vitamin smoothie every morning that gives me the same “good stuff” that I would get from a vitamin and provides me with a healthy, quick, eat-on-the-go breakfast. (Bonus: it’s one of the few breakfast meals that actually keeps me full until noon.)

This morning's blended vitamin smoothie

This morning’s blended vitamin smoothie

This is my recipe, which inevitably varies towards the end of the week when I run out of one thing or another.

Combine in a blender, and blast on high:

1 cup  pomegranate juice (vitamin K, vitamin E, B vitamins, antioxidants)

1 cup  baby spinach leaves (vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and a slough of other good compounds)

1 cup frozen blueberries (antioxidants, fiber, Vitamin C)

1/2 to 1 cup plain greek yogurt (20 grams of protein)

1  banana (potassium and mellow, creamy flavor to compliment the tartness of the berries and pomegranate)

1 Tbsp flax seeds (omega-3 fatty acids, lignan, fiber)

If I’m feeling sweet, I’ll add about a tbsp of honey or agave nectar.

1/4 to 1/2 cup water (just enough to make the blender go)

Pour into your favorite water bottle, and out the door you go.

When available, use organic ingredients. Why organic? First, craw out from under that rock. Then, educate yourself. Even if you can’t eat all organic, there are some foods (and other items) that are more importantly organic than others.

Confession: At lunch today, my husband asked why my nose was bleeding. It turned out that it wasn’t bleeding. I had been wearing a splash of smoothie on it all morning. Watch out for that!

In addition to this daily smoothie, the list of staples at my house includes other foods that round out all the recommended daily supplements on the back of that multi-vitamin label: salmon (Alaskan wild caught!), lots of leafy greens, a variety of fruits, bell peppers, avocados, tofu and other soy products, eggs, brown rice, nuts, dark chocolate, and quinoa (Laura provided a great quinoa recipe a few weeks ago).

Sasha and Laura, what smoothie recipes have you tried recently? I know you’ve done it b/c I’ve seen your green concoctions on Instagram!


Filed under Cooking & Eating, Health and Beauty

The Simple Things

Feeling renewed and centered from my recent trip to Maui, I’ve been approaching the simple things in life with renewed excitement. Here are a few highlights that I especially love.

A clutter-free counter that I love -- more of my kitchen ideas on my Pinterest board, kitchens

A clutter-free counter that I love — more of my kitchen ideas on my Pinterest board, kitchens

1. Purge, toss, hide. I’m a big fan of this anyway, and this weekend, I purged my kitchen in preparation of an upcoming renovation (more to come on that). Haven’t used it in a year? Toss it. Have two (OMG three!?) of a gadget? Toss it. Wedding gift hasn’t been used six years later? Toss it. The result: six bags of items to donate and neat, clutter free cabinets, half of which will soon be open shelves. There are some great tips for doing this on Apartment Therapy and DIY Life. My inspiration came from the latest issue of Mother Earth Living, formerly Herb Companion, which arguably has the best home life articles of any out there (without an over abundance of ads).

2. Animals to soothe. It’s no secret that viewing animals reduces one’s stress. While I love my adorable dogs, Mango and Cokie, I decided I needed a little more. The result: two small and easy fish tanks (betta in a bowl, five gallon tank to transport me to the tropics) and a simple bird feeder.

A 5-gallon tank (thanks, Katrina!) brings a touch of Tahiti into my living room.

A 5-gallon tank (thanks, Katrina!) brings a touch of Tahiti into my living room.

3. Knitting. I love knitting, but I rarely have time for it anymore. Over the weekend, I made time and focused on a few quick projects to keep my attention (with all natural wool, hand-dyed yarn). The result: a hat and mittens for my best friend’s new baby. Want to try knitting? Visit Ravelry for thousands of free patterns. You Tube has all the how-to videos you need to get started.

knit newborn hat from baby alpaca wool in pink and orange

knit newborn hat from baby alpaca wool in pink and orange

4. Turn off the TV. My husband and I have a six-month cable plan. Each year in October we get cable, and then in March, we cancel it. It may sound silly, but it’s our balance between wasting hours in front of the tube (necessary during those long winter nights) and focusing on the many other, more productive activities without it. Instead of watching TV, we are reading, talking, knitting, and working on house projects together.

5. Celebrate love. OK, you’re saying, “duh! Of course.” But, we all get in our habits and routines. From time to time, it’s so important to spend time and energy focusing on the one you love and the relationship you share — the love, fun, laughs, quirks, and interests of the couple and the individuals in it. I am so thankful that I have a wonderful husband and a healthy marriage. It’s a love worth celebrating daily, constantly.

Sasha, Laura, and Jeanne — I know you’re always focusing on the simple things in life. What is your latest “simple” focus?


Filed under Crafting, Decorating