Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sponsored Post


Love the look of a solitaire, but want a little more sparkle? Then you’ll love the Halo Collection from Brilliant Earth! These settings look gorgeous with diamonds or sapphires, in a variety of cuts. Here are nine of my favorites…

Counter-clockwise from top: Sapphire Fancy Halo Ring / Harmony Ring / Halo Ring with Side Stones / Sapphire Victorian Halo RingAurora Ring / Fancy Diamond Halo Ring / Contessa Ring / Round Bezel Halo Ring / Luxe Victorian Split Shank Halo Ring

The best part of choosing an engagement ring from Brilliant Earth? Not only are their designs stunning, but each ring is made with diamonds that are eco-friendly and ethically sourced, so you can really feel good about your purchase. Love these picks? See lots more designs (including even more halo settings) on the Brilliant Earth website!


This post sponsored by Brilliant Earth.

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Yesterday’s French Magnolia inspiration board was the jumping off point for today’s post! Created by Maggie Battista, Chief Tasting Officer and founder of Eat Boutique, this signature cocktail is an elegant take on an Arnold Palmer: St. Germain meets Mason jar. Gorgeous photos by White Loft Studio.

Says Maggie, “Made with a fragrant Black Ceylon tea, this sparkling sweet tea cocktail whispers of picnics in lush gardens. I infused the tea into the simple syrup, creating a concentrated sweet tea flavor. This recipe is for one drink, but I like to multiply by ten and make it in a big glass pitcher. Sitting outdoors with friends during a summer cocktail hour, it makes the perfect apéro.”


Sparkling Sweet Tea
Makes 1 serving

• 1 oz tea-flavored simple syrup (see recipe below)
• 2 oz organic vodka
• 1/2 oz St. Germain liqueur
• juice of 1/2 lemon
• 2 oz club soda
• lemon slices for garnish

1. Make your tea-flavored simple syrup following the recipe below.
2. In a large mason jar (with a lid) or cocktail shaker, add simple syrup, vodka, St. Germain, and lemon juice. Add 4-5 ice cubes. Put the lid on and shake, shake, shake.
3. Strain into a little jar or glass and top with club soda. Add a few more ice cubes and lemon slice for garnish, and serve.


Tea-Flavored Simple Syrup
Feel free to use any black tea that makes you happy. I chose a pure Black Ceylon blend that has rose and lavender made by Bellocq Tea, Brooklyn, New York, but your favorite black tea will work just fine.

• 1/3 cup organic sugar
• 2/3 cup water
• 2 teaspoons of your favorite black tea

1. Over medium heat, simmer the sugar and water in a pot until dissolved. Remove from
the heat.
2. Add the tea to the still hot syrup and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain and cool.
3. Use immediately or store in the fridge (covered) for up to 2 weeks.

*To make an easy cocktail where the tea flavor really shines, simply add 1 oz of the simple syrup to a flute, then top with chilled Champagne or sparkling wine and serve.


Find lots more yummy cocktail recipes on Maggie’s site, Eat Boutique, where she also shares the best small batch foods, shares recipes, and more. And if you’re looking for the perfect gift, Maggie also curates seasonal, regional gift boxes (engagement or wedding gift maybe?).

Photos by White Loft Studio.

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Hi all! I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July! Today’s beautiful wedding comes to us from photographer Jamie Clayton, who also happens to be a friend of the bride and groom. I just love the simple elegance of this Memphis-area wedding…

Alyssa and Caleb included their friends and families in their wedding, from Alyssa wearing her mother’s wedding dress, to Caleb’s father (a pastor) performing the ceremony.

The groom and groomsmen wore green seersucker bow ties with their khaki suits.

Gotta love a well-dressed guest!

Why this lovely wedding venue? Says Alyssa: “Caleb and I really wanted to find an outside venue that had the feel of an old Southern plantation. Even though we both grew up in church, we wanted something a little different than the traditional church venue – something more rustic and unique. So when we found Heartwood Hall and saw that we could have the ceremony outside and the reception inside such a beautifully renovated barn, we knew it was perfect for our Southern spring wedding!” 

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  A lot of inspiration came from my dress. I wore my mother’s wedding dress, which I absolutely loved and which made the experience so special for me. I changed very little about it and it had a lot of lace and a vintage feel so I definitely wanted to go with that look. I love simplicity and elegance, which is exactly what it ended up being. It all came together perfectly.

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  There were so many special moments throughout the day, but I have to say the taking of the vows was my favorite moment. We had dated for about 4 years before we got married and had been through several ups and downs, so finally being able to just take in that moment when we were looking into each others eyes and committing our lives to one another was a very emotional and awesome experience. It was the only part of the day I think where I almost let my emotions get the best of me!

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  I would say our wedding was pretty traditional for the most part, at least in how the ceremony was performed. We said traditional vows and we took communion together, which was very meaningful for us. We also decided to dance down the aisle after the ceremony to Mariah Carey’s “Emotions,” which is obviously not traditional, but it was so us and so fun, and everyone thought it was pretty hilarious!

What advice do you have for other brides?  I would tell them the same things people told me, which is to enjoy this time of engagement and the day of the wedding because (hopefully!) it’ll only happen once. Don’t get so caught up in the little things and having the perfect wedding that you let the big picture fall to the wayside. Remember that the day isn’t about having the most expensive dress or venue or most elaborate and perfect decorations, it’s about you and your husband committing yourselves to each other (and for us, to Christ) for now and forever. Let that be what ultimately makes the day special and if you remember that, you’ll be a much more pleasant bride for your family and bridesmaids to be around and they’ll love you for it!

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Try to find a venue that includes most things in their pricing. For example, we were able to save a ton of money because our venue included the food, the tables, chairs, tablecloths, silverware, etc. – we didn’t worry about having to rent all those little things.



Photographer: Jamie Clayton Photography / Venue: Heartwood Hall in Piperton, Tennessee / Bride’s dress: vintage / Groom’s attire: JoS. A. Bank / Flowers: Lynn Doyle Flowers / Cake: Cakes by Mom and Me


See more photos from Alyssa and Caleb’s wedding on Jamie Clayton’s blog!

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Mood: low-key Americana
Palette: red, white and blue

click image to enlarge

Row 1: Saja dress via Once Wed, photo by Jose Villa / blueberry jam jars with floral fabric from Wedding Style Guide / sparkler escort cards from Country Living / bluegrass band photo by Belathee  //  Row 2: red lantern and red enamel bucket with peonies by Matthew Robbins Design / strawberry hand pies from Country Living  //  Row 3: Music Highway map by Kristine Lombardi / blue floral envelope liner from Stripe & Field / vintage American flags from Country Living  //  Row 4: boys on vintage Coca-Cola cooler via Once Wed, photo by Beaux Arts Photographie / Sperry Tent, photo by Brea McDonald

Without being over the top with stars and stripes (just a few bundles of mini American flags), this inspiration board still manages to convey a sense of summer and Americana that I think make it perfect for a July wedding. Sparklers, bluegrass, red enamel buckets, hand pies, Coca-Cola. Nothing fussy, just a lovely, low-key celebration.


If you like this inspiration board, you might also like:

Board #488: Lobster Red and Blueberry Pie
Board #398: A Fun Fair Affair
Board #559: Blue Gingham & Honey


Friends, this is the last post for the week, but we’ll be back with regular posting on July 8th. See you then, and Happy Fourth of July!

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