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. 

Florals | The Perfect Fall Arrangement

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A little all-local floral inspiration for these gorgeous autumn days we're having...

This shoot is from a fun day at Wollam Gardens in Jeffersonton, Virginia with the Sweet Root Village ladies last fall. We were working on a little project for Anthropologie, and we spent the morning hours walking through and gathering blooms from Bob's lush gardens. Then we set up shop on his front porch (and in his charming bed & breakfast) to style with our fresh picks.

I love a-typical arrangements for fall; this time of year it's easy to get overwhelmed by and tired of all the pumpkins and mums and corn. To me, this is a perfect arrangement...still very fall with the bright pops of deep orange dahlias, but still unique and unexpected. To create this look, Lauren used a mixture of hydrangeas, peppers, beauty berry, eucalyptus, African blue basil, dahlias, and an assortment of greens. Makes me want to take a trip back to Jeffersonton to pick a basketful of autumn's best! Anyone wanna be my flower picking buddy?

Photos and florals by Sweet Root Village for A Daily Something.

The Brand Market DC

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Two weekends ago, I co-hosted The Brand Market DC with Anna from In Honor of Design and Joy from Mornings Like These. What a blast working with these two ladies and teaching a studio full of women entrepreneurs about building a successful brand! That first picture pretty much sums up how I felt about being a part of TBM.

I got to speak on some of my passions: collaborations, pitching to brands, and styling! And got to meet so many wonderful business owners, bloggers, and women with super awesome & crazy dreams for the future. When I got home from the workshop, my mind was spinning from the amount of creativity and drive among all the women, and I already have a few ideas up my sleeve for collaboration (ha!) with some of these ladies. Told ya it was a passion of mine! (Lookout for a FUN workshop announcement in the next month or two!)

It was also super inspiring to hear from Anna and Joy, who have built successful brands with such passion and sincerity behind them! Love these two so much, and am blessed to know them!

Anna and her Brand Market team rallied an awesome group of partners for the workshop. The workshop was held at the The Studios at 112 South Patrick in Alexandria, home to Joy's studio, the Sweet Root Village gals, and a handful of other creative Northern VA folks. The Sweet Root ladies put together that massively stunning mantle display - I'd like one of those permanently in my home, please. Tickled Photo Booth set up shop outside and snapped loads of hysterical photos for us - if you're in the DC/MD/VA area, I highly recommend Lauren's company! My interns (Anna and Bekah) put together the perfect ribbon/macrame backdrop I had envisioned, but had no time to make ;) They're such blessings! And all these photos are by Anna Clair Photo, the workshop's official photographer! Check out In Honor of Design for the full list of partners.

I already want Anna to come back to the DC area for The Brand Market DC Part 2. Sound like a plan, ladies? :)

Recipe | Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It's that time of year ... the time of year we open the windows to let in the cool fall air, button up our sweaters on our early morning walks, and want to drink copious amounts of tea. It's also the time of year where I make butternut squash soup and grilled cheese for dinner at least once a week. Something happens and all of a sudden all I want are soups and stews and to be wrapped up in a blanket. Pretty soon I'll be playing Christmas music (yes, I follow no rules and I play before Thanksgiving).

This butternut squash soup recipe is not my own - when I discovered Marin Mama's recipe last year, I had no reason to create my own recipe (not like I do that, anyway)... This soup is the best, with the roasted squash and garlic, hint of thyme, and lots of crunchy bread (or grilled cheese) on the side. If you want, you can add 1/2 and 1/2 or greek yogurt or heavy cream (whatever you fancy) to make it a bit creamier and yummier (and fattier).

I'm wishing I had a squash to roast right now so I could make some for dinner.

- 1 medium squash
- 6+ cloves garlic
- yellow onion
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh thyme sprigs
- 4 cups chicken stock
- salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup 1/2 and 1/2 or heavy cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Place on baking sheet, and fill empty cavities with at least 3 cloves garlic and 2-3 thyme sprigs each. Then drizzle halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully flip the squash over on its belly so the cut side is down, being careful to keep the garlic and thyme underneath. Roast for about one hour, until it's nice and tender and caramelized (you can check this with a fork - if it sinks into squash with ease, it's done!).

Meanwhile, in a medium pot on medium heat, sauté the onion in a tablespoon or two of oil until it begins to brown. Once the squash is finished roasting, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for a bit. Put garlic aside and toss the thyme. Scoop out the squash flesh from the skin (be gentle, because the skin tears super easily). Dump squash and reserved garlic into the pot with onion, and turn up the heat a bit, allowing the squash to caramelize a bit. Break up the squash with a spoon and stir it so it doesn't stick to the pot.

After the squash is nicely caramelized, add the chicken stock to the pot. Stir, and allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Remove from heat and add 1/2 and 1/2, if you're using it! Taste, and add salt & pepper as needed.

I could seriously eat this soup every other night, throughout the fall and winter (and do, as much as I can get away with). Sometimes, Joe walks through the door after a long day at work and smells the squash and garlic roasting and he just laughs. Squash soup for dinner, again? You betcha!

Lovely photos by my intern, Anna Clair Photo for A Daily Something.

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