Engagement Photos: Ninja Style

Liz here.  I was actually involved in the business of engagements long before I became Mom and Dad’s (yes, that would be Marisa and Douglas) faithful minion.   One of my (and my husbands) earliest photography jobs was an engagement shoot.  I don’t mean the posed, smiling “we just got engaged, look at my ring” photos…that would have been too easy!  Our challenge was to literally stalk a couple on their journey through central park taking photos without the fiancée-to-be knowing.

 This involved a lot of sneaking around, pretending to look casual, and of course, hiding in the bushes.  After shooting/stalking them in the lower end of Central Park (Tavern on the Green, Bethesda Fountain, etc), we had to hop in a taxi behind theirs and head uptown to the Conservatory Garden for the actual proposal.  I can’t deny it was fun to rush into the taxi and dramatically yell, “follow that cab!”

 Upon arrival, we split up to catch different angles of the proposal.  There was an awkward moment when fiancée-to-be caught a glimpse of me trying to casually lounge on a bench.  What?  No, that wasn’t me skulking around you in a completely different area of town less than 30 minutes ago, what are you talking about?  I did get a weird look from her, but luckily it passed quickly.

Onto the proposal!  There I was, at a perfect angle as the gentleman got down on one knee.  Of course a giant family group had to pick that moment to pass right next to me and yell, “OH MY GOD IS HE PROPOSING???” and burst into ear-shattering cheers. I managed to click the shutter a few times before diving down into the bushes, scratching my arms on the way down.  Lousy thorns!

Overall that day was a lot of fun despite the blisters, sunburn, and scratches.  Sadly, I no longer have the images from that day.  It was exciting immortalize such a special time in a couple’s life on film.   I also learned that the CIA would probably not be recruiting me any time soon…

Have you ever witnessed a public proposal?

Romantic Home: Breakfast in Bed

Now that some people have power restored in NYC, I think it’s fitting to do a post about creating a cozy, romantic home.  One extremely romantic way to take a morning at home to the next level, is to serve your loved one breakfast in bed.

Breakfast in bed isn’t really a new thing, so why is it always so special?  Is it that your partner wants to pamper you?  Is it that it’s really nice not having to get out of bed and prepare your own meal? Is it that it comes with flowers and you would never add that to your own meal?  Maybe it’s all of  the above.

Well, loving to serve it and loving to receive it, I wanted to inspire you with a few ideas to make breakfast extra special!

Let me start by sharing my breakfast inspiration with you: monogrammed trays from Designdarling.com.  These truly darling trays usually feature three initials each, but my husband, Douglas Elliott (designer) and I prefer our everyday initials. Leave it to the designer to opt for customization! 😉  Design Darling has many fantastic home accessories that are exceptionally priced. They’re great for hostess gifts, but so stylish that you’ll want to keep them for yourself.

As far as breakfast is concerned, Douglas and I like to eat gluten-free as much as possible, and he also prefers sugar-free.  In an effort to please both our waistlines and taste buds, I’ve learned how to make healthy meals taste yummy.  I start with Pamela’s wheat-free/gluten-free pancake mix. The mix is a rice-based flour, consisting of both brown and white rice. I find it comes out tasting closer to a French crepe.  I follow the recipe for pancakes exactly but I use low fat milk, instead of water.  Once everything’s mixed, I take out my fabulous Presto electric griddle, (the secret to all great pancakes), and just heat and pour!  While the pancakes are cooking, I chop up strawberries and mix them with a tablespoon of sugar-free, vanilla syrup.  It makes them taste like strawberries and cream, without having to use cream! Next, I heat up sugar-free maple syrup for him and maple agave for me. I love the agave because it tastes just like really good maple syrup, but it doesn’t raise the glycemic index and it’s totally natural.

Of course, breakfast in bed is not complete without coffee and a rose.  Our Keurig machine takes care of the coffee element with ease,  and I just step out into my garden for the rose. That stated, if you are a Manhattanite without a rose garden, nothing does the trick like a dozen roses from your convenient local deli – one of the wonderful perks of living in NYC.

Want to mix it up a little?

Try out different flavored syrups, like vanilla or caramel.

Try making a heart shape with your whipped cream.

Try grilling bananas – they’re fantastic!

Add other fruits to the mix like blueberries for a splash of color.

You can always add eggs or bacon if your love has a savory-tooth.

Have fun experimenting! I hope it ends up being a very romantic morning.

Love – Marisa

Romantic Weekend: North Fork Table and Inn

Ahh, fall is upon us!  Aren’t you ready to spend some time in the country with leaves changing color?  Maybe picking a pumpkin or two and sipping some late fall harvest wines?
Then take some time to visit our friends at The North Fork Table and Inn! Who says fun weekending, and the North Fork are for summertime?
I recently discovered that one of my favorite NY pastry chefs, Claudia Fleming, opened up an Inn on the North Fork, in Southhold, to be exact. I met Claudia years back when she was the executive pastry chef for Gramercy Tavern. When I heard of her most recent venture, I could not get there fast enough! She has always been wonderful, gracious and charming – not to mention, a fabulous baker of all things sweet and irresistible!
Douglas and I took a wonderful, mid-week getaway trip to check out The North Fork Table and Inn just a couple weeks ago and it was SO romantic! We pulled up to a gorgeous, stately, white colonial house which was built in 1790. The front door opens up to the restaurant and bar area – nothing is quite as welcoming as entering into the bar for an aperitif!
We were given a quick tour of the restaurant and ropes before being escorted to our room. The rooms are moderately sized, but large considering the age of the house. We had a private bath with a tub, and the mattress was great. Chic, Hampton-esque decor with peaceful neutrals lined the Inn through and through.
 The best part about the trip for me was spending time with my husband (of course), but breakfast was a close second!  Claudia baked us fresh scones – the best I’ve ever had.  She made Douglas his first ever ricotta cheese pie, with truffle and a light, flaky crust.  We also had spectacular muffins, quiche, and other breakfast staples you’d expect. I could hardly get past the scones to indulge in much else though – they were incredible!
 We had a lovely dinner our first night at the Inn (photos above).  In the afternoon, we indulged in their fabulous Lunch Truck, which is their casual, outside eatery.  We enjoyed our lunch picnic-style and went back for seconds of the Chicken Pasole.  It was super delish!
The following night we decided to go to Greenport to dine at a recommended restaurant, The Frisky Oyster. Despite its “pub like” name, it was so luxurious. With padded fabric walls and sophisticated fare, it turned out to be quite a romantic dinner. We enjoyed a sweet stroll through the shops in Greenport afterward, which only added to our experience.
Douglas and I are looking forward to going back soon.  I can’t wait to see the leaves change colors in the country side, and to visit the cute farm stands. I love seeing tables of fresh farm fruits and vegetables left out in front of  houses in the North Fork.  The stands still have little money boxes, with  signs reading, “Put a dollar in the box and take a quart of ….” still left out after all these years! The  environment out there is so relaxing in contrast to our bustling city.
My dear friend’s mom, Mrs. Gallop, always says, ” For a long and healthy marriage, go away and take vacations!” She has been married over 52 years, so I think we will gladly take her advice!  Here’s wishing you many romantic, weekend getaways!
Best, Marisa

Once Upon a Time: Liz & Igor

It was obscenely early on Thanksgiving morning at O’Hare International Airport and I was headed home to New York.  I couldn’t possibly have looked worse.  I had just pulled two all-nighters for school, was wearing a mans sweater which reached my knees, and black jeans that had really seen better days.  How was my hair?  In an unceremonious wad on the top of my head.  It was not an ideal situation for meeting ones true love, but hey!  It worked!

            My fellow passengers and I sat crammed like sardines waiting for the plane to take off, but for some reason, we weren’t moving.  Finally, the reason for the hold up came bursting through the door in the form of a frazzled looking young man who avoided our dagger stares like a champ as he bustled down the aisle and stopped at the seat across from me.

            I couldn’t help but smirk as he banged his head on the overhead bins before untangling himself from his bags and finally sitting down.  He caught my smirk and started to give me a dirty look before seeing the humor in the situation and smiling back.  The first words he said to me were “this sucks.”  I couldn’t help but laugh and agree.

            We chatted the whole flight and it turned out that he was a Navy man.  He asked for my number and I obliged because the combination of a sailor and an art student was too funny to resist.  I wrote “that chick from the plane” underneath my name and he chuckled.  I responded with, “well I don’t know how many numbers you’ve gotten today…you ARE a sailor after all.”  He turned red and denied any such thing, but for the record:  I was the fourth number he had gotten that day!  Player…

 

            We started dating immediately after Thanksgiving break and got married a year and a half later. This past May, we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Can you believe it? I’ll save the “oh crap we need to elope right now because he’s getting deployed to Japan for two years” story for another post.

Until next time,

Liz

Romantic Sparkle: Machalka

Greetings Romantics,

Liz here.  I’m excited to introduce you to Malchalka, a gorgeous new line from France we’re carrying.  If you know us, you know we love micro-pave, so we were delighted when Maureen from Malchalka strolled in armed with necklaces, bracelets, and rings in white, rose, and yellow gold…and even some black diamond pieces!

Leave it to the French to get sexy right.  These pieces are delicate and dainty, the jewelry version of lingerie.  What I really like about this line is that they manage to stay classic and simple with plenty of unique style.  Check out the asymmetrical diamonds on the necklace…wouldn’t this look hot with your favorite top?

If someone wants to romance me with some of the white gold earrings :::insert saucy glance at husband::: I certainly wouldn’t object 😉

Until next time…