Pop Up Vacay with El Camino Travel x A Daily Something

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I'm so excited to be working with Katalina of El Camino Travel (and a host of other fantastic partners - Mornings Like These, Cava Mezze Grill, District Doughnuts, DJ Ayescold, Emma McAlary Photography, Running Byrd Tea, and Urban Stems) on a crazy cool new idea: A Pop-Up Vacay!

Basically, 45 of us are going to escape for 6 hours to a fresh water quarry about 1.5 hours from Washington, DC to take a mini vacation, relax, and enjoy each other's company in the middle of the week. The quarry-turned-swimming-hole is on the outskirts of Baltimore and it has a rope swing, diving board, floating docks. It's magical. You'll most likely find me setting our lunch table and trying to gather the courage to let go of the rope swing.

When: August 6th, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Price: $85 if you sign up before 7/28 and $95 thereafter. El Camino Travel is graciously offering A Daily Something readers $10 off the ticket price (so, your total will be $75), if you sign up before 7/28. Just enter the code 'elcaminoADS'. HURRY because it's only open to 45 people!

Includes: Oversized inflatable swans and inflatable half eaten donuts, the sweet sounds of DJ Ayescold (the official El Camino Music Curator), creative photographer extraordinaire Emma McAlary (you will get access to these photos soon after the event), delicious food, table settings that you might freak out about, trasnportation there and back, a copy of the beautifully designed wanderlust filled Boat Mag, and a special appearance by #yolo and #vacay. You can sign up HERE!

El Camino Travel is a company for those who desire something more profound during their experiences abroad. They provide highly curated and authentic group trips to unique places around the world. Each group is accompanied by a creative photographer with an eye for the extraordinary. 10% of profits go to a local social entrepreneur who is radically changing the destination of choice. BE A TRAVELER, NOT A TOURIST.

 Hope to see you there!

Floral Experiments | Local Blooms in early July

Friday, July 11, 2014

 I simply love summer's floral bounty. Every time I'm in the car, I'm tempted to pull over on the side of the road and just start picking (but usually refrain since Zoe's in the car and it'd be unsafe). I've been trying to keep fresh flowers in the house all summer long, and I really want to take a workshop, or at least read some books on floral arranging, so that I know more about the art and the flowers that are available locally (any recs?).

Our flower beds aren't producing very much yet, so I've been driving over to Fields of Flowers, just on the other side of Purcellville, for my weekly flower fix. (If you're in Northern VA, I really recommend taking a day to visit Fields of Flowers). Then I pretend to be Sweet Root Village and make (or try, in my case) them look pretty in a vase or pitcher or whatever. A few days ago, my interns (to be introduced next week!!!) and I went to Fields of Flowers for a little flower picking adventure. Anna snapped these pretty photos, and documented one of my first arranging attempts. It was so satisfying to know that I had chosen each type of flower or green, and then see how they all came together for the final look! If only I knew the names of each plant....(please feel free to shout out names of any you recognize!)

Since I usually dream of ranunculus, peonies, and Juliet roses, it was fun to play around with a more wild, freshly picked look. I really love my first attempt at arranging freshly picked blooms, and cannot wait to learn more!! 

This weekend, I'm going on a little STAYCATION with Joy! So excited to explore Georgetown with this dear friend and have some much-needed girlfriend bonding/relaxing/brainstorming time. Our itinerary is prettttty full, but if you have any MUSTS for Georgetown, please shout them out. We'll be posting lots about our adventures, so follow along on instagram (#WestinWeekend).

Photos by Anna Clair Photography.

Blog Brunch DC | Mornings Like These + A Daily Something

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This past Sunday, about twenty DC-area bloggers gathered at the Studios at 112 South Patrick in Alexandria for a morning of local bites and sips, making new friends, hearing other bloggers' stories, and connecting with kindred spirits. I am constantly amazed by the friendships made through this blogging journey. I simply love that moment where you introduce yourself to someone and you realize you've been following them on instagram for a year. Or when you're like, wait, I thought your hair was super short, but it's really just an outdated twitter picture.

And even if no one in the room has anything in common (which is unlikely), we're all bloggers, and that unites us. We can talk about our successes, failures, collaborations, our families, dreams, etc. For hours and hours. Before we know it, we've had 3 cups of coffee, our bellies are full, and we're making wild plans for the future.

We were blessed to have the involvement of a handful of partners! These blog events would be significantly less exciting if it weren't for all our wonderful sponsors. First, Sweet Root Village lent us their gorgeous studio space, and took these cheerful photos! For our goodie bags, we were SO excited to partner with Trouve Magazine, Lollia, Rifle Paper Co., Uncommon Goods, and Esther & Harper.

And our food and drink partners. Oh my word. Thank you so much for providing delicious munchies and sips! Dangerously Delicious Pies (seriously dangerous....especially the strawberry rhubarb!), Puree Juice Bar (the strawberry lemonade was my jam), Cava Mezze (trying to figure out how to make the CRAZY FETA dip...I ate way too much and wish I had more), Seven Sundays (tastiest muesli ever....original flavor is my favorite!), Out of the Box Bakery (the tastiest peach + berry crumble ever...and it was gluten free, paleo, and vegan), and Goldilocks Goodies (super tasty gluten free raisin bread...all the gluten free ladies were psyched we had gf goodies available)!

My favorite part of our time together (and I think everyone agrees) was when each person shared a little about themselves, in front of everyone else. Sometimes it's nerve-wracking to actually speak and open up in front of people (we're all bloggers, after all, and are used to hiding behind our screens and keyboards). Everyone shared...about anything and everything: their family, job, blog, interests, fears/failures, hopes for the future. It was inspiring to hear so many similar stories! Thank you for being so transparent, honest, and loving.

You better believe that Joy and I have plans for future Blog Brunch DC events! Stay tuned for details!!

Have a wonderful weekend celebrating AMERICA! 

P.S. Two more Blog Brunch DC recaps, by Carlene and Alicia.

My Work | Edible DC - Summer Picnic

Monday, June 23, 2014

Earlier this Spring, I had the opportunity to style a casual urban picnic for the newest issue of Edible DC, which is currently on news stands & is free of charge! Edible DC is a print publication (available at many brick-and-mortar shops, and even online) with the mission of nourishing, supporting, educating and celebrating the growing local food community within and surrounding Washington, D.C. Such a great publication, a must-read for food-lovers in the DC area.

I had such a blast working with the brilliant minds behind this shoot: the cooks - Max Weidman and Jen Keely; publisher and visionary - Susan Able; and of course, the wonderful photographer - Kate Headley (who brought me on board). Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this shoot (and enjoy the great food and company afterwards)! Hope to work with you all again soon!

P.S. There's also a little feature on Melinda at Knead & Know, photographed by Kate and styled by yours truly! Check it out, and make sure to take one of her bread classes! More photos of the Knead & Know shoot coming soon.

May Kinfolk Gathering - Washington DC | l'esprit de la mer

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I'm heading out of town for the weekend; my grandparent's are hosting our annual family reunion and this year we're having a pig roast! So very excited for the pig, to see my extended family, to celebrate Zoe's birthday with family, and generally, to be going "home" (will I ever grow out of calling my mom's "home"?).

For the extended weekend, I'm going to leave you with a few of my favorite photos - all taken by Sweet Root Village - of last month's l'esprit de la mer Kinfolk Gathering in Washington, DC. So far, this has been my favorite Kinfolk gathering to host...everything cam together so perfectly (although we were running around like crazies all day) and I had such fun planing, styling, and hosting.

I'm always at a loss for words when I try to write about these gatherings. I've been hosting these workshops + dinners with Kinfolk for almost a year now and what a tremendous blessing they've been. I've made some incredible friendships, learned innumerable lessons (about myself, hosting gatherings and workshops, preparing food for a crowd), connected and partnered with some of the most generous and exciting brands. The list goes on... I'm always amazed at the amount of people who end up pitching in and lending a hand.


This time around, I could have not pulled this gathering off without a few key people (I'm going to try to be brief). Christine and Anca from Huckle & Goose - they planned the menu (with almost no input from me except "that sounds delicious" or "mmmm"), were a constant sounding board, reached out to local partners, and worked ALL day day-of to help set up, prepare food, run the event, and then clean up. All while Christine was 9 months pregnant. Christine and Anca are the sort of ladies everyone needs to know (and they put together KILLER recipes and meal plans on Huckle & Goose) so if you don't know them, go check out their work and become their friend. The dinner also would not have happened without the ever-awesome Rachel, Lauren, and Rachele from Sweet Root Village. These ladies have been there with me since Kinfolk gatherings DAY ONE. Always willing to do whatever's needed. Always willing to take beautiful photos. Always willing to fill our space with fresh flowers and greens. ALWAYS willing to listen to me for hours and then push me in the right direction. Always full of common sense. And always willing to help set up, run the event, eat in the corner with the "vendors," and then help clean up. So plllleeeaaaase check out their work! And then there's the DOLCEZZA GELATO team. They hosted us in their brand new factory location just north of Union Market. Farrah, their events coordinator was a dream to work with. So very helpful in every way possible. And to Robb and Violeta - thanks so much for letting us use your space, for your scrumptious custom strawberry, lavender and rose water gelato, and for your enthusiasm! Hope to work with them again very soon!

My interns, Bekah and Anna were little helper angels the day of, and were such a blessing to have around. Standby for an official introduction to my interns...coming soon! Ian Reid made a video - to be released - of our gathering. I cannot wait to see his work; it will be fun to relive through his camera! Jennifer from Tonic Site Shop designed our perfect letterpress menus, which were printed by The Mandate Press. After we got the menus back from the printer, we spritzed them with watercolor and sprinkled them with sea salt. The result was delicious and looked like a fresh spray of sandy saltwater. Stephanie Basralian custom-made over 50 ceramic plates for our tabletop. Everyone was blown away with the beauty of her creations. They were simply perfect, adding the most wonderful touch of the sea to our tablescape. Thanks for your generosity and your wonderful talent, Stephanie! And Morgan! It's so fun to work with creative people who so greatly exceed your wildest dreams. Morgan made the giant indigo-dyed sale that oh-so-elegantly graced our space. I don't even want to think about how many hours she spend hand-stitching this creation. All I can say is thank you!

We partnered with a few companies who helped make our menu fantastic. Steve from Sfoglini Pasta Shop came down all the way from Brooklyn to make our entree pasta on site! The handmade pasta stuffed with blue Chesapeake crab was the star of the dinner table! Melinda from Knead and Know baked us fresh baguettes and a fruited/nut spelt loaves. You need to take a bread-making class from her if you haven't already...so highly recommended! Gordy's Pickle Jar donated tons of sweet relish pickle for our baby beet tartare appetizer. And Art in the Age sent us SAGE liquor which we used in our apiary punch (sage liquor, lemon juice, cardamom honey syrup, orange bitters, and soda. Yes, it was delicious). Which leads me to Kirk and Eddie...our bartenders for the evening. Such great guys, and I'm so grateful for the hours they spent developing our drinks, and then serving them!

Everyone got to take home beautiful slate cheese boards from Brooklyn Slate Co. and bags of hand-harvested sel gris by Salt & Sundry. Currently, these are two staples in my kitchen...and I sprinkle the sel gris on almost everything.

Last, these events would be nothing without all the wonderful guests. You are why we put together these dinners. It brings me so much joy to prepare these gatherings and then to share a meal with you. To slow down and get to know you away from our computers. To meet up with you for coffee after. To collaborate with you. To share another meal with you. Thank you for the inspiration, the friendships, and for your support! These dinners would really stink without you! 

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