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Friday, March 29, 2013

It's Friday, Love

{ Sugar therapy at Sweet Spot }

First things may have noticed things look a little different around here. A few months ago I decided that Austen Hill needed a little freshening up so I began working with the very talented Fabulous K on the re-design you see before you. We wanted the site to feel more editorial, while maintaining the feel and atmosphere I'd already created. If my arms could extend all the way to Texas I would give Fabulous K a giant hug, but as my surname is not Gadget I will have to resign myself to the blogosphere. So here goes...a giant shout out and virtual hug to Miss Fabulous K for all your work and design brilliance. You rock!

My family is in town for Easter so I'm signing off to enjoy some time with them this weekend. Here are some shots from this past week. I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

{ My new niece Liv }
{ Sunday's snow from my backyard }
{ My mom still keeps paper flowers out that I made years ago, appropriately spruced up for Easter } 
{ Reconnected with old friends from For Kids Sake- a local kids tv show - I think I'm about 10 in this photo }

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Irish Breakfast

I hope you didn't click on this post thinking you were going to be treated to a Full Irish Breakfast of strong tea, eggs, bacon, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, and homemade jam. God that sounds wonderful! But alas I didn't have the energy or available stomach space last weekend {because of the Irish Festival} to produce such a culinary miracle - maybe in a future post. I did however want to make my ancestors proud so I made the next best thing.....a cocktail bearing the same name!

On St. Patrick's Day this year I actually found myself having a great brunch at Can Can with a friend. As I was perusing the cocktail list I came across a martini called The Irish Breakfast- sold! It was ridiculously yummy so I decided to re-create it at home. One could argue that this was a far better way to honor my Irish ancestors anyway:). Essentially a mimosa with a couple other special ingredients, this drink would be perfect for your next brunch gathering. 

The Irish Breakfast 

1 shot Irish Whiskey (I used Jameson)
1 shot Orange Juice
A nice pour of Prosecco
A dash of Butterscotch Liquor

Shake the ingredients over ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with orange. I would also recommend turning on the Kate Rusby Pandora station and starting a fire while enjoying this cocktail. 

{ My favorite monogrammed shot glass was a 21st birthday gift from my best friend }

{ The impending snow from my kitchen window }

{ Whiskey and Butterscotch give the drink a wonderful warmth }

{ I love the smell of fresh oranges }

{ A sprig of fresh rosemary would also be a beautiful garnish }

Monday, March 25, 2013

Church Hill Irish Festival

{ Flying the colors }

We had a fabulous time this weekend at the Church Hill Irish Festival! Thanks to everyone who came out to support the neighborhood and the many charities that will benefit. I had so many photos that I loved I just couldn't choose so I'm posting them all. I hope you enjoy. Until next year....... 

{ Real men wear kilts }

{ Beautiful St. Patrick's Church }

{ Cheers! }

{ The folk stage is my favorite }

{ A curious little man }

{ Engine Co. No. 1 }

{ The amazingly sweet and talented Susan Greenbaum- check out her music here }

{ My friend Pam's POV }

{ Beautiful iron-work that you can find throughout the neighborhood }

{ Traditional Music }

{ Mama Hazelwood and her granddoggy Abby }

{ Stefan, my friend Dawn's little boy, enjoying his funnel cake }

{ Quite the crowd on Saturday }

{ The Music Man }

{ I had to try everything to be fair }

{ A member of the Order of Hibernians }

{ Sunday morning was chilly- thank goodness for Irish Coffee }

{ Don't ask what's on the plate just trust me it's delicious }

{ The view of St. John's Church from St. Patrick's }

{ The yard at St. John's }

{ The yard at St. John's }

Friday, March 22, 2013

It's Friday, Love

{ Blog brainstorming session at Secco with my friend Leslie who is the amazing designer behind Dollilop Designs }

Despite the fact that spring is officially here, the weather was apparently not notified so sweaters and comfy blankets have been on heavy rotation. Other than the chill in the air it's been a great week. I spent some time in DC for work and had a couple really exciting creative meetings for upcoming blog features. This weekend is the annual Church Hill Irish Festival so if you're in the neighborhood please stop by for some fabulous food, drinks, and music! I'll have plenty of pics on Monday. If the weather cooperates, a hike is on the agenda for Sunday followed by some tv show catch up because my DVR yelled at me yesterday.

{ Trying to take photos in the living room if someone would stop making me know who you are:) }
{ Beautiful day in DC- taken with my iPhone and edited in Snapseed }

{ I finally joined the club and bought some Toms, or as I refer to them- pillows of heaven for your feet }

{ My friend Mandy took this fun shot of me- or rather my eye }

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easter Photo Shoot

I wanted to share a few photos from an Easter shoot I did recently for my friends Mike, Mandy, and the always adorable Mr. Parker. To be honest, the fact that they all look like GAP models made my job pretty easy. Easter is early this year and I can't wait to dye eggs and eat ridiculous amounts of chocolate! I hope you enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Forward

{ An obliging bloom from my backyard }

I've mentioned before that I've felt an unexpected sense of moving forward this year. It's really unexplainable. Who knows why we feel a sudden inertia in life, but I think there's no better time than the first day of spring to enjoy it. The sun is shining and in Church Hill we're anxiously awaiting the first perfect night to sit on our porches with a glass of wine and watch the world go by. 

The word spring, which appears in many languages, actually has quite a few different meanings . They all seem to communicate that same sense of movement I've been feeling. Here are some of my favorites.


{Old English springan; related to Old Norse springa, Sanskrit sprhayati he desires, Old Slavonic pragu grasshopper}

1. To appear or come into being quickly.
2. To arise from a source; develop.
3. A small stream of water flowing naturally from the earth.
4. A source, origin, or beginning.
5. A time of growth and renewal.

Friday, March 15, 2013

It's Friday, Love

If you think this is a photograph think again. Pay attention to the woman in the photo. See it? This is no mere photo it's what's known as a Cinemagraph, a still photo in which minor and repeated movement occurs. This particular one was created by the amazing creative team behind From Me To You, Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg. It peaked my attention because I would very much like to know what she's thinking. I often feel that curiosity when I look at photographs or people watch on my travels. Who is this person? Where were they born? Who have they loved? What makes them cry? 

If you took a picture of me right now I would be thinking about how much difference one hour can make. As always, the time change has seriously messed with my body and sleep has eluded me for much of the week. This weekend I'm looking forward to getting back on a regular schedule and enjoying the extra daylight. In Church Hill we save our St. Patrick's celebration for the Irish Festival which actually happens next weekend, so low key plans are on the agenda for the next couple days {dinner with friends and a little spring shopping}. I hope everyone has a great weekend see you Monday!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New York State of Mind

{ A cup and a song in the morning }

I remember the first time I saw New York City in real life, not just in a movie. I was about 16 and headed to Boston for a choral competition with my high school choir. The sun was setting over the bay when we started crossing the bridge and the skyline came into view. I think I seriously wounded a couple freshmen as I pushed them out of the way to get to the side of the bus with the best view. My best friend {M} would tell me years later that the look on my face was priceless. I think she was afraid I was going to break the window, jump off the bridge, and swim over to lower Manhattan. She should have been, I was considering it.

New York City symbolized something for me. I was so hungry at that age for something amazing to happen. I wasn't sure what that was but I was certain it had a better shot of happening in New York. You see nothing exciting happened where I lived but everything exciting happened there. Dreams became reality simply because you dreamed them while walking down 5th Avenue. Oh yes, the rational musings of a 16 year old. 

Over the years I've been able to spend some time in the city and there are things that I absolutely love about it; the rooftop garden at the Met [my absolute favorite place], the ability to see a Broadway show because Broadway is literally 4 blocks away, or the way a bagel tastes better in New York City than any other place on earth {the water}. As you get older though and come to know yourself better you realize that even though you love things about a place that doesn't mean it's the place for you. 

I don't think it was the city that I craved as much as the feelings that it evoked. New York City really is a state of mind. When you're there you feel alive because you literally have no idea what might be around the next corner. It's easy to feel stagnant in life when we forget that its not over till its over. You never know what might happen tomorrow. That's what the city has taught me and what I take with me each time I leave it. 

{ A subway in downtown Richmond really would be great. Who can I call about that? }

{ The best $2 you'll ever spend }

{ Somehow it's different when it's the local paper }

{ A misty morning on the Hudson on the way back from Albany }