ANNOUNCING OUR ENGAGEMENT!

Festivity, Inspiration

So ecstatic, excited and proud to be announcing my engagement!

You may or may not have noticed a lull following my last post but, as you can imagine, the past week and a half has been a complete whirlwind!

Andy totally surprised me with this one (as is the ultimate goal), treating me to a romantic dinner at the Brewster Inn in Cazenovia, NY. Little did I know that our post-dinner stroll down to the lake would end in him getting down on one knee and breaking out the perfect ring from his suit jacket!

The restaurant staff did an amazing job as well, going the extra mile to make the evening special and (just as importantly) helping to keep me totally oblivious!

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It was perfectly romantic and elegant (both the evening and the ring) and was everything I could have ever asked for. I’m a lucky woman!

Needless to say, the last 10 days or so have been full of celebrating with friends and family. We are truly blessed to have those of you in our life that have gone above and beyond to make our engagement a special time in our life and have gone the extra mile to make us feel loved and supported – we can’t wait to have you at our wedding!

Aside from celebrating though, there’s also been a lot of work getting done vis a vis  WEDDING PLANNING! And may I just say, I never had any idea just how much planning went into a wedding? I’m tired already! But in the best of ways.

Stay tuned for more wedding-inspired writings, artwork and DIY. This occasion has helped me realize now more than ever just how inspirational love can be!

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Society6 Products! (15 Percent Off + Free Shipping)

Festivity

A new year means a new look and new adventures for this blog! I am very, very excited to announce that you can now support this site and your love for constant creation and inspiration with products from Society6!

You can now buy tote bags…

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Notebooks…

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Art prints…

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Notecards…

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Pillows…

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And a t-shirt to support your favorite inspiration blog!

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To help me celebrate this big announcement, click the link below and receive 15 percent off of EVERYTHING + FREE SHIPPING!

https://society6.com/emsmith21?promo=F6N8YJNDQR6Q

*Sale ends Jan. 8 at midnight, Pacific Time.*

Also, be sure to stay tuned for more products!

Christmas Checklist: Finding Your Holiday Spirit

Festivity, Inspiration

It’s that time of year again! The most wonderful time of the year as a matter of fact, and everyone is abuzz with excitement and anticipation as Christmas day looms closer.

Though our culture tends to associate this season with gift-giving, most of us know that there is so much more to this holiday and that it is the traditions that make it special. While the Christmas season technically kicked off two weeks ago, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the activities and traditions that make this the most wonderful time of the year.

But perhaps you’re still in need of a little holiday spirit? Not a problem. Check out my Christmas to-do list for inspiration:

  1. Decorate the house and transform your home into a holiday wonderland.

2. Trim the tree, because it wouldn’t be Christmas without a grand and shining tree shining through your window.

🌲❄️☃️

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

3. Make a festive wreath to hang on your front door.

4. Bake an abundance of Christmas cookies (because calories don’t count on the holidays).

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5. Watch a Christmas classic, such as “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” 

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6. Check out a Christmas show or performance, such as the “Nutcracker Ballet.”

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7. Attend a Christmas-craft class or do one on your own!

8. Read a winter or holiday-themed book.

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9. Sit back and enjoy the snow.

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Here's to hoping the #snow stays put for the next two weeks. #whitechristmas #samadams #sundayfunday ❄️🍺

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10. Spend time with the ones you love most.

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It’s the little things in life that we remember, and the little things that count most. Be sure to make this holiday season count!

P.S. Only 18 days until Christmas!

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Happy Halloween!

Festivity, Holiday

As I mentioned last Halloween, we don’t have children and don’t hand out candy, so typically, our Halloweens are pretty low-key. This year we stuck to the basics by carving jack-o-lanterns…

Jack-o-lanterns 2016 🎃#Halloween #pumpkincarving #harrypotterforever

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Watching “Hocus Pocus”…

And handing out candy and cake to our few trick-or-treaters, AKA: Andy’s younger siblings.

Though simple, we had a pleasant evening, enjoying candy and Halloween classics on TV. So whether you went all out with a party, costumes and haunted houses or stayed in for a low-key celebration, I hope that you all had a Happy Halloween!

Our 2nd Annual Oktoberfest

Festivity, Food

Growing up in an Italian household, I never had much exposure to German culture. That changed when I met Andy. Being more than fifty percent German, he possesses a passion for the culture of his heritage, particularly when it comes to food and drink.

Although neither of us have actually been to Germany, visiting Disney World’s Epcot theme park last summer inspired us to participate in Germany’s most famous festival: Oktoberfest.10502479_10153149017179064_3639388602894563004_n

While our ultimate goal is to one day attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, we thought, for the time being, it would be fun to have our own little take on the festivities within our own home.

What does this translate to? Well, basically a copious amount of home-cooked German foods and Oktoberfest brews. Last year, we went all out in cooking German cuisine and while most recipes remained on the menu, we decided to try a few new things as well.

OUR 2016 OKTOBERFEST MENU:

Appetizers:

  • Homemade Oktoberfest-style Pretzels
  • Horseradish Cheese Dip

FullSizeR (13).jpgMain Course:

  • Homemade Applesauce
  • Beer Bread
  • Potato Salad
  • Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage and Apples
  • Bratwurst and Sauerkraut

Dessert:

  • Layered Black Forest Cake 

Drinks:

  • Goose Island’s Oktoberfest
  • Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest
  • Apple Frost Wine from Fly Creek Cider Mill

The new additions included the Horseradish Cheese Dip (purchased at Fly Creek Cider Mill), Beer Bread, Layered Black Forest Cake, Goose Island’s Oktoberfest and Fly Creek Cider Mill’s Apple Frost Wine.

While we purchased the Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest last year as well, this company has a unique practice of partnering with a different German brewery every fall to create a memorable brew year after year.

The 2016 Oktoberfest rendition, a result of a partnership with Mahrs Brau (established 1670) is especially satisfying and perhaps one of the best Oktoberfest beers that Andy and I have ever tasted.

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That being said, the Goose Island version is pretty tasty as well…FullSizeR (12).jpg

So although neither of us have ever been to Germany, our German spirits are certainly high. Having our own Oktoberfest celebration is our way of saluting the culture and the fabulous cuisine it has to offer.

Stay tuned for recipes!

Happy Fall: Seasonal To-Do List

Festivity, Inspiration

As my favorite season, I’m so excited (and inspired) that it is now officially fall! To celebrate, I’ve put together a to-do list for this fall season, a compilation of my favorite ways to celebrate the most anticipated time of year.

FALL TO DO LIST:

Decorate the porch with these awesome concrete pumpkin planters.

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Decorate the house with fall foliage, scarecrows and harvest-inspired decór.


Bake pumpkin-flavored goodies even if PSL season did start a month ago.

pumpkin cookies

Plan your own Oktoberfest! Because we all need another reason to eat a ridiculous amount of food and drink beer.

pretzels

Visit a fall-inspired location. Apple orchard, pumpkin patch, cider mill….Take your pick!

Start making Halloween plans (if you haven’t already). Between goodies, costumes and jack-o-lantern designs, you have your work cut out for you!

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Break out the sweaters, it’s officially #sweaterweather!

The weather is getting colder! #falliscoming #sweaterweather 😍🍁🍂

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Drink fall beer. Between Oktoberfest and Pumpkin Spice varieties, fall time is beer prime time.

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Make a fall craft, such as these lovely table textiles.

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Get ready for football season.

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Whether its following this list, or your own traditions, I hope you are as excited about this fall as I am. A fleeting time of year, let’s enjoy it while we can!

 

Great New York State Fair Musts

Festivity, Review, Travel

When you are a New Yorker, attending the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY  is a near-obligatory yearly outing. A celebration of agriculture, food, music and all things New York, there are a few sights and eats that you won’t want to miss.

  1. The Butter Sculpture: What has grown to be one of the most well-known and revered traditions of the NYS Fair, the annual butter sculpture is always an impressive feat. The 2016 sculpture is Olympic themed, supporting Team USA through the depiction of three athletic figures.
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Butter Sculpture 2016

 

2.Wine Slushies: If you like wine, then you will like wine slushies. Don’t worry about missing this fair-eat as there are at least 10 different vendors that offer this summer delicacy. Find several at the Taste NY Wine, Beer & Spirits Village.

Enjoying my first #wine🍷 slushie at the #greatnewyorkstatefair

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3. NYS Animals: From Peacocks to Angora rabbits, the various barns provide much in regard to local agriculture and domestic animals. For those New Yorkers that don’t have the pleasure of living in the country, this can be a great learning experience and, also, an excuse to gawk at  baby pigs…

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4. Fried Dough: A fair wouldn’t be a fair without fried dough. You can find this summer treat practically anywhere you look at the NYS celebration.

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5. History of the Great New York State Fair Exhibit: Located adjacent to the Dairy Cow building, this exhibit provides an interesting and well-designed history of the event, including information on previous locations and famous fairgoers. There are also replicas of past butter sculptures and 2016 fair model, a three dimensional map for those who may need extra help finding their way around.

Additional Offerings:

  • Rides (Ferris wheel, rollercoaster, etc.)
  • The Iroquois Village
  • Toyota Coliseum
  • DEC aquarium
  • Science and Industry Building
  • Infinite amounts of delicious foods

The fair lasts until September 5 so be sure to catch it before it disappears for another year!

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Happy Birthday Andy! (Exploring Skaneateles)

Festivity, Food, Travel

I am a firm believer that every birthday, no matter how “unexciting” the age reached, is worth celebrating  and should be fun and inspirational. After all, every birthday marks another year on this earth.

To celebrate Andy’s birthday (which is today) he and I decided to spend Saturday in Skaneateles, NY, taking in the sites and exploring a town yet unknown to us.

Below is a recap of the awesome day we had with information on the given venues:

WINERY Our first stop, and one of our main destinations, was Anyela’s Winery. Overlooking a beautiful view of the finger lakes region, I would highly recommend this destination to anyone. The staff was friendly, the ambiance was refined and the wine was delicious. A basic tasting was only $5.00 so if you are in the area, why not?

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PUB After visiting Anyela’s, we felt like having another drink. Doing a quick Google search, the Lakeside Pub sounded promising. Making our way along one of the main streets in the town, we followed the crowd and found ourselves in what is apparently the hot spot of Skaneateles.

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BURGERS Lastly, we visited Johnny Angels Heavenly Hamburgers for lunch. A burger joint with a price range similar to that of Five Guys Burgers and Fries the burgers were absolutely delicious. Andy ordered the Angel burger…

hamburger

 

and I got the Poached egg burger…

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Even if you’re not a carnivore, the menu boasted a wide variety of salads and gourmet sandwiches.

If you are ever in the area, this is only a handful of noteworthy locations in this beautiful town. I know that we will definitely be returning in the near future to explore the rest of what this location has to offer!

 

How to Find Your Christmas Spirit

Crafts, Decorating, Festivity, Holiday

It’s officially the Christmas season! This means the stores are decked out in Santa Clauses, the radio is blasting Christmas carols and the food industry is swamped with mint and gingerbread.

But what if, try as you might, you just aren’t feeling the holidays?

Well then, I have a solution! Below are a list of suggestions; tactics on how to become excited for the most wonderful time of the year.

christmas spirit 1

  1. Decorate. Personally, nothing puts me in the holiday mood more than decorating the house. Christmas lights especially send out serious holiday-mood vibes. I am also a huge fan of nutcrackers and enjoy displaying my collection this time of year.nutcrackers
  2. Attend a holiday production. This year Andy and I will be attending a production of A Christmas Story in Syracuse, NY as his younger brother will be playing Flick in the play. Most communities put on holiday-themed productions and religious ceremonies so be sure to check out what’s going on in your city! (Check out the show schedule if you live in the Syracuse area and are interested in seeing A Christmas Story).
  3. Do a Christmas craft. Tomorrow I will  be going to a wreath-making workshop with my mother and grandmother at the local nature center (more on this later). Check your local papers and Facebook accounts to see what holiday-themed events are happening in your neighborhood! Or perhaps do what I did below and spend time assembling a classy center-piece.christmas placesetting
  4. Read. Whether it is a Christmas craft book or a holiday romance, I find that seasonal books can not only give you that warm,fuzzy feeling but also help you embrace the season. Recommendation: Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog
  5. Watch a Christmas movie. Gather your family and friends and indulge in a Christmas movie. Classics, such as A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Grinch are always a win but some of the modern titles such as Four Christmases, Elf and Fred Claus are both hilarious and delightful. Make some popcorn and enjoy a night in.

It is only the 4th of December, which means you have plenty of time to get in the spirit and have a fun holiday season. It truly is a magical time of year, so be sure to enjoy it while it lasts! (Just don’t go sneaking for presents like our naughty dog).

auggie and stocking

Feel free to comment below with other suggestions on how to create Christmas spirit!

(Photo credit for the last photo goes to Andrew Janitz)

Happy Turkey Day!

Crafts, Decorating, DIY, Festivity, Holiday

Posting once a week every Friday means that my weekly post will be falling after Thanksgiving on (duh-duh-duuuuh) Black Friday! A day when everyone will be out madly shopping as the Christmas season officially commences.

That being said, I thought I would throw an extra post out there this week to give you some ideas on how to have a creative holiday! While we all have Thanksgiving traditions that we live and die by, it is always fun to try new, creative ideas to spice up already established traditions.

Here are a few creative ideas you can add to your food-filled day:

  1. Homemade placemats. If you read my post from last week you know that homemade placemats can make great holiday gifts. They can also personalize your Thanksgiving dinner and table. Check out my post from last week to learn how to recycle textiles into these woven settings.

woven placemat

  1. Homemade place cards.
    Whether you simply stencil letters onto card stock or use different colored paper and ribbons for embellishment, place cards can add a fun and sophisticated look to your Thanksgiving table.
  2. Try a new recipe! This year I will be making something I have never eaten or made: Frozen Pumpkin Pie! Here is a recipe for one version if you also want to give it a go!

 

So no matter how traditional or trendy your Thanksgiving is, I hope that it’s a good one!

(Cover photo found via Google Images)