Maternity Photos

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Miles and I decided to do our “Babymoon” in Aspen this New Years! We were there for seven days. It was a wonderful to really just spend some quality time together away from the craziness of the holidays, the off season commitments, and everyday stresses. With Miles leaving at the end of January to go back to Japan for baseball spring training, we wanted to have time to connect with each other completely before we are no longer a family of two, but three! We soaked up every minute of the cold weather, gorgeous snow, breathtaking scenery, delicious food, and handheld walks through out Aspen’s picturesque village. We stayed at Aspen Square Condominiums, in which we had a studio complete with a fireplace and kitchen, making those cozy-cuddly nights and easy late mornings possible.

 

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While there, we took the opportunity to take some unbelievable maternity photos! Being a Florida girl, I wanted to do something different than the “belly on the beach” pictures I have seen so many times. I purchased this dress on PinkBlushMaternity and made the flower crown myself, which I quickly found out was easier said than done!

 

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I was able to connect with the amazing Aspen-based photographer Tara Marolda, who captured these beautiful photos seamlessly! She completely understood what we wanted, and worked fast, which worked well for me because it was COLD!

 

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I ended up wearing my snow boots and thermal leggings underneath my dress to make the cold a little more bearable! The boots were a definite good call since the snow ended up being a little deep!

 

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What you thankfully can’t see is that my eyes and nose were both watering, and I couldn’t feel my hands; it was so cold!

 

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I was so happy we took the time to capture this moment in our lives while she is still safe in my belly!

 

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Being seven months pregnant was the perfect time in my opinion for me to do my maternity photos, because I was obviously big enough to look noticeably pregnant, but not to big to where I didn’t feel good about myself in front of a camera.

 

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My Baby Shower

I was really looking forward to my baby shower because it was the first celebration for our little girl! The excitement to was also shared by my family and friends who attended. My mother, sisters, and I worked together to bring all the little details together, of which resulted in the most beautiful and elegant shower that I could ask for! I am a someone who likes clean neutrals and whites with rustic elements mixed in. The decor was spot on and everything I had envisioned!

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I gave my mother the square wooden boxes that I liked for the centerpieces, and she made the most beautiful arrangements that filled the room with the most wonderful fragrance! I have one talented mama. She purchased the flowers from Whole Foods, soaked some green floral foam in water, and dreamt up these beauties.

 
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Another decorative element that I wanted to have were these amazing balloons. Like all good ideas, I had seen something similar on Pinterest, and collaborated with my mom with the recreation. I ordered these large 36″ white pearl balloons, and found the rest of the foliage at Michaels Craft store. My mom secured the flowers and garland on skinny wooden dowels to help the garland maintain the straight line, as oppose to it sagging on a curve. (I didn’t think it was necessary at the time, but once again, Mama was right)

 

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Everyone kept going on and on about how much they loved these balloons!

 

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I found these adorable rocking horse place cards on Etsy, and added the little flower to each. My mom also made some baby-themed soaps as favors!

 

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My favorite part was of course the dessert table! It was simple and elegant. The books were actually taken from my living room cabinets, while the dessert stands were all from TJ Maxx! The stuffed animals are from Pottery Barn, which I had already purchased for our little girl’s nursery.

 

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The cookies were another party favor for the guests to go home with, which everyone appreciated!

 

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The cupcakes were a lemon flavor with butter cream frosting with an adorable pink bow topper.

 

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The top layer of the cake was Hummingbird cake, and the bottom was a traditional vanilla! How cute are those pink blocks on top?!

 

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Once we all enjoyed our lunch, it was time to play the games: belly string, the price is right, close pin, what’s in your purse, and best “solicited” parental advice. All the winners took home a centerpiece! They were all thrilled to go home with the gorgeous arrangements!

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Then it was time for the gifts!

 

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Baby girl clothes are the cutest!

 

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My older sister Jenny, who has two little ones of her own, made me an organized first aid kit for the first few years needs! It was so amazing and had everyone laughing because it was such a “Jenny” thing to do!

 

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She even had a note book with tabs and labels for quick references for me!

 

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Needless to say I was so overwhelmed by all the love in the room, and the amazing women who are already in our little girls life. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Miles came at the end to thank everyone, and help with all the heavy lifting or present and party clean up.

 

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Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

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I have been on a lemon kick lately! I think the baby is liking all the citrus because I can’t get enough! I made these as a light-refreshing flavor to all the heavy indulgences that we tend to encounter over the holidays! I was a little concerned about the flavor pairing, because I had never tried it in cookie form, but oh boy was I glad I did! These lemon and rosemary shortbread cookies are absolutely delicious. I hope you enjoy this easy recipe!

Ingredients

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2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

1 cup of cold unsalted butter cut into cubes

1 tsp almond extract

3/4 cup of sugar

zest of two organic lemons

1 large tbsp of minced fresh organic rosemary

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the butter, lemon zest, almond extract, rosemary, and half of the sugar in your standing mixer. Then add in the flour and the rest of the sugar and mix until you get a crumbly dough.

 

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Transfer the dough onto a piece of parchment paper, and mold into a log. Wrap the dough in the parchment paper tightly, and place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

 

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Cut the cookie dough into slices about a 1/2 inch think.

 

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Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, then immediately remove.

 

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Let the cookies cool completely before removing then from the tray.

 

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Once cooled, your cookies are ready to enjoy!!

 

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with a Butter Sage Sauce

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I have tried to make gnocchi a handful of times, and to me, this way is the easiest way! I love using sweet potato for an added healthier element. The sweet potato and the butter sage flavors marry extremely well together! I love this dish for the fall and winter seasons because it is just so savory and earthy.

Ingredients:

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3 large sweet potatoes

pinch of salt

2 large egg yokes

2-3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tbsp minced garlic

6 large sage leaves

2 cups of apple cider

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

pepper to taste

sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

Fill a large pot with water, and add a pinch of salt and the sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover and let it simmer for about 35 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

 

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In a small sauce pan, add the apple cider to simmer on high until it is reduced for about 15 minutes.

 

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Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, remove the skin, and place the potatoes in your blender or food processor until completely pureed.

 

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In a large bowl, add the pureed potatoes, flour, egg yokes, and pepper.

 

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Spoon the dough into a plastic ziplock bag, and cut the corner off about a half an inch from the tip of the corner. In a large pot, bring about 8 cups of water to a simmer. Begin piping out the dough, and cutting it into 3/4 of an inch size gnocchi.

 

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Once the gnocchi has cooked and starts to float on the top of the water, you can remove it with a slotted spoon and place it on a baking sheet.

 

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In a large frying pan or skillet, melt half of the butter.

 

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Add half the gnocchi, and cook on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes until they begin to brown. Then add in half the garlic, sage leaves, and pepper.

 

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Cook for another minute, and then top with the apple cider. Repeat for the other half of gnocchi. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon, and serve!

 

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Crown Roast Of Lamb

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Nothing is more traditionally impressive on your dinning room table than a beautiful crown roast of lamb! You can really dress up your crown roast on the serving plate around it, or even top with paper frills. Either way, you will beam with pride when your family and friends see this wonderful display.

Ingredients:

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1 lamb crown roast

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a deep baking pan with aluminum foil. Place your crown roast in the center of the pan. Mix the oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.

 

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Then rub it over the entire roast.

 

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Cover the top bones of the roast with aluminum foil so that they do not burn in the oven. Place the roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the center of the meat reaches about 130-135 degrees for medium rare to medium.

 

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Once your roast is ready, place it on a platter and cover it with foil. Let it stand for about 8 minutes. When ready to serve cut the lamb between the ribs into individual chops! Your guests will be so impressed with this dish! It couldn’t be easier!

 

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