A Daily Gathering | Calligraphy Workshop

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's been such a fun year, with the launch of A Daily Gathering! I just love bringing people together, to learn to skills, to share a meal together, to commune, and to just slow down and be present. These workshops and dinners are a lot of work, but I thrive on being busy. The past two weeks were some of my busiest this year, with two workshops and a dinner, and the biggest styling job of my career! But wow, it's fun, and I have such a supportive husband, friends, assistants, and the list goes on!

Two weekends ago, on a blustery cold Saturday morning earlier this month, a bunch of eager-to-learn ladies (and one adorable baby boy) gathered at Pamela Jane's Studio for the first ever A Daily Gathering Calligraphy Workshop! Pamela Jane's Studio is a brand new private event space in Fairfax Station, and I cannot recommend it enough! Pamela is a joy to work with, and her studio. It's filled with such a great light, and tables, and art supplies, and all the pretty things. I am so looking forward to working with her again! It was a simply wonderful time! Lindsay Ponta of Shrimp Salad Circus was our genius instructor and miraculously taught us all how to write beautifully. Not that we don't have to practice...but she was patient, shared some tricks and tips, and made us all feel so confident in our new skill!

We were privileged to work with some lovely sponsors who provided decor, some of our food and drink, and all of our goodie bag contents! Haley Tobias decked out the space with local, seasonal flowers and greenery. My favorite were those huge white mums! Le Pain Quotidien sent us quite the array of pastries, a granola, yogurt and fruit bar, mini croissant sandwiches, and coffee and tea. We were so impressed with their generosity and presentation. Best catering ever! Kristyn from Laite sent each of our students a gorgeous handcrafted gold ring. I want every single piece of jewelry she designs. They're just perfectly dainty and unique. Rifle Paper Co. generously sent each student a two-pack journal set. Kelsey Garrity Riley, a Brooklyn-based illustrator sent everyone notecards. My favorite is the "Warmest Wishes" card. Her artwork is beautiful and whimsical, and I have an adorable print all ready to go on Zoe's wall next week for her big room makeover! Knot & Bow gave each student a roll of black cotton twine. This stuff is my favorite! And just in time for the new year, each student got a wall calendar from Idlewild Co. They sent over their kaleidoscope flowers wall calendar, and I just LOVE the bright patterns and colors. A dear, local friend Sandy from Mes 2 Petites Etoiles gave each student personalized pencils from her shop. And to top it all off, these goodies were all stowed away in an Oh, Hello Friend tote bag. They sent over a few designs, and my favorite design is "let's be adventurers." Yes, please!

I'll be announcing the 2015 A Daily Gathering schedule in early January, so keep an eye out for that! Sign up for the mailing list to be the first to know!

Photos by Anna Clair Photography .

Camp Like a Lady with United by Blue

Monday, November 24, 2014


About a month ago in October, a group of 15 ladies trekked out to Ricketts Glen State Park in northeastern Pennsylvania for a weekend of hiking and camping. Bundled up in United by Blue gear and packs (check out the entire Camp Like a Lady Collection), we set out to conquer the trail and stop at each the 24 waterfalls of which the park boasts. It was slippery and steep and cold and wet, and we had a blast! I'll be honest, at 7 months pregnant, the huge, slippery slate steps hugging the side of the mountain and overlooking the 97' waterfalls were a bit intimidating. But the group was amazing, and they promised to catch me if I misstepped.

We eventually made our way back to the campground to set up camp...and it began to rain. And the temperature began to drop. Starting a campfire - the heat source for our supper - in the rain is not an easy task. But the ladies conquered the fire and we feasted on hotdogs and everyone's potluck side dishes! After cozying around the fire and chatting for awhile, the dropping temperature and heavier rainfall sent us off to our tents where we were lulled to sleep (or not) by sleet. In October. We woke up to a dusting of snow, and worked our hardest to prepare breakfast in the freezing weather. We quickly packed up camp and said goodbye! What a weekend!

I met a bunch of awesome ladies on the trip, like Kat from That Kind of Woman , Chaucee of Streets and Stripes, Tracy (@tracythnguyen), Melissa (@melissa_annetilley), and Lauren of Handcrafted in Virginia. And of course, my girls Joy, Emma, and Laicie were there!  So thankful for the invitation from United by Blue. You can see more photos and a sweet video on their blog today.

ALSO, perfect timing for your Christmas shopping: United by Blue is offering A Daily Something readers 20% off their Camp Like a Lady Collection with the discount code CAMPLADIES. My favorites are the Whitney Pullover, Infinity Scarf, and Derby Tier Backpack. Hurry, because the discount code expires tomorrow at midnight!

All photos by Kelly Smith Photo.

Recipe | Butternut Squash, Sausage, & Feta Bake

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Once again, I'm sharing a butternut squash recipe with you and it's not my own recipe. A few weeks ago I was at Zion Springs Bed & Breakfast for a client's walkthrough, and I hadn't eaten dinner (and I was starving). The gracious hosts they are, I was offered a bowl of this butternut squash bake, and I fell in love. The recipe is from an old fall/winter issue of Taste of Home...so thank you, Taste of Home, for our new favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner. The flavors are incredible...a little spicy from the red pepper flakes, a little herby from the rosemary, a lot cheesy from the feta, and then sausage and squash. What else does a fall dish need? And apart from peeling + chopping the butternut squash, it is a super simple recipe. My favorite kind.

- 1 lb. Italian sausage
- 2 large onions
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, divided
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
- 2 cups (8 oz.) crumbled feta cheese
- 2 small sweet red peppers, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, cook the sausage, onions and 1/4 tsp. pepper flakes over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink and onions are tender, breaking up sausage into crumbles; drain.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, rosemary, salt, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and remaining pepper flakes. Add butternut squash, cheese, red peppers, and sausage mixture; toss to coat.

Transfer to an ungreased shallow roasting pan. Cover and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until squash is tender. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve & enjoy. I promise you will!

When my interns and I got together to shoot this recipe, we couldn't wait for it to finish baking so we could dig in for lunch. The house was filled with the tastiest aroma and I think we were actually drooling. Joe and I ate it again for supper that evening, and then the next morning, I scrambled some eggs and tossed the butternut squash bake leftovers into the eggs right before they were done. So scrumptious. This dish works for any meal and will satisfy everyone. I need to make more dishes like this, so if you have a favorite recipe for a fall bake, please send it my way!

Photos by Anna Clair Photography for A Daily Something.

Off On An Adventure

Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Friday! I'm headed deep into Pennsylvania for a camping adventure with a bunch of lady bloggers and United by Blue. Joy, Emma and I are driving up there together, and I'm SO stoked. I think I'm ready....stocked up on all the necessities, and I miiiight be bringing a few non-essentials. We'll see how heavy my pack ends up being. Still deciding on what to bring for our campfire potluck (need something that weighs nothing).

I'm leaving you with a few of my favorite camping and hiking snaps from instagram. The first two are by Bethany, and the last one is by Justin. Ever since first seeing these images on Joy's instagram, I've been thinking about how I want to go camping. And now I have the opportunity. Just not sure our tent will be as picturesque as Justin's. Or comfy. We definitely don't have an air mattress on our list of must-haves.

I have a tent, a tent floor cover, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, headlamp, water bottle, great hiking shoes, clothes. What am I forgetting? If you have any last minute camping advice (especially for a preggo), please give it! I'll need all the help I can get!

P.S. I announced the last A Daily Gathering workshop of 2014: A SEASONAL SUPPER + WORKSHOPS IN NATURAL DECOR + BEESWAX. Tickets and more info here 

A Daily Gathering | Backyard Potluck

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A few months back, I hosted a simple backyard potluck in my friend Melinda's (from Knead & Know) perfectly overgrown and charming backyard, nestled deep in historic Leesburg, Virginia. I wanted to bring together some of my closest friends (and their spouses) for a carefree evening where no one did anything but bring a tasty summery creation and sit down at the shared table and commune. A celebration of summer and the breaking of bread together outdoors. A sort-of thank you to all those who have been such dear co-hosts, collaborators, brainstormers, venturers into the unknown with me the past few years. Lauren and Rachel didn't take photos or make flower arrangements. Jennifer didn't design a menu. We didn't promote it on social media. 

It was simple, and lovely, and we all had a chance to enjoy each other's company. 

The recipe for a meaningful time involves piecing together just a few simple elements to make a that beautiful whole. Little details that will make a difference and let your guests know you prepared for them...hanging some overhead lights, filling the table with long taper candles that will burn well into the evening, collecting some firewood. Then add in a handful of friends and a table spread with simple food, and just being present, together. A bonfire, s'mores, and grilled peaches won't hurt, either. And music, quietly humming somewhere off in the distance. 

As we're plunging deeper into fall, I want to spend every moment I can, out-of-doors with friends and family. Savoring the autumn chill, cozying up around a bonfire, and sharing a meal. 

Photos by my lovely intern Rebekah Lisk. 

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