August in Photos

August in Photos

I always feel that my birthday and then Labor Day signal the end of summer – marking the change from longer days and saturated color to cooler weather and wardrobe layering.  Even though I’m sure we’ll have many more 100 degree days in front of us, my thoughts immediately turn to the new season.  And judging by the number of Pumpkin Spice Latte pics I’m seeing on Instagram, I’m not alone in this.

August is, of course, my birthday month and it brought with it a much-needed vacation from work and time to get together with friends.  I’m still enjoying breaking out some statement jewelry pieces, which has been great fun.  I was also treated to some new nail polish, new (much needed) perfume, and a blow out.  I even made it to the gym again.

I finished reading City of Glass and moved right into City of Fallen Angels – both so good.  I’ll have a review of this series up soon.  One of my birthday outings was getting together with a friend to see the Mortal Instruments movie on opening night.  So good.  So much love for Jace.  Go see it if you haven’t yet.  I’m looking forward to reading the fifth book.

I also spent an afternoon with another friend and we met for lunch at Bluebonnet Bakery, which was absolutely delicious.  I had their famous chicken salad sandwich and then we both topped off our lunch with a slice of Italian Cream Cake.  To. Die. For.  I haven’t had Italian Cream Cake that good since last April!

For my birthday, Eric bought me new perfume.  As I’d mentioned on this post, I was in dire need of some new perfume.  I ended up with D&G Light Blue for a lighter, summery scent and Thierry Mugler’s Alien Essence Absolue for my deeper fall/winter scent.  I love them both!  He also took me out to dinner at Ziziki’s, which I just can’t stay away from for my birthday dinner.  Everything there is absolutely delicious.  I had the first glass of wine I’ve had in awhile, I can’t go wrong with a Riesling and this one was fabulous!

We also hit a milestone with Ramses and Thutmose.  We decided that they were finally old enough that our Moroccan pouf would be safe to put out again.  It has been locked away almost since we bought it, so it’s nice to actually have it out in the living room again.  If we can get to a place where the other kitty-proof measures can be done away with I’ll finally be able to share our living room redo.

August was a good month, and I had a wonderful vacation and birthday.  Exciting things are on the horizon for my new year!

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Honoring Her

Easter never used to be more than a holiday for me.  As I mentioned in my last post, over the past few years it has been made more special by spending our honeymoon in Rome for Easter.  Eric’s love of family and traditions has also changed my perception of it, and we celebrate with a special meal and his special cake.  But, this year things seemed to all fall into place to change me at some deep level, to focus on the true meaning of the days leading up to Easter.

On Good Friday, Eric’s grandmother passed away.  And suddenly, we were faced with mourning this amazing woman who had helped to shape Eric into the man he is today.  The past few years have been so full of loss, but somehow this was different.  In the midst of our sadness and grief, we were presented with the message of Easter and for me at least, it brought some comfort.

While I had intended to make Eric’s special cassata cake for him, because of the tradition his Grandmother started, once we got the news on Friday I knew that making Easter special this year was something we both needed.  When I did my last post and posted the photo of my dining room table decorated for the holiday, it reminded me that other than Christmas, I have done zero holiday decorating in several years.  So, I decided that I wanted to make this Easter as special as possible for both of us.  So, on Saturday, while Eric was gone I dug through my holiday decorations and did a little decorating around the house.  Just a few touches, since I knew it wouldn’t be up for very long.  I was so happy to see our dining room all dressed up for Spring.

I especially love my little glass bunnies.  I think I got them from Williams Sonoma years and years ago.  But, aren’t they cute?

And I’m glad I managed to get a photo of how pretty everything looked before the hoodlums got up on the table and ran off with an egg ornament in their mouths and proceeded to bat them around the house.

After I got the decorating finished, I got started on making the cassata cake.  My recipe reminded me that it’s good to make the pound cake a day ahead so that it is completely cooled before I try to put the filling between the layers and frosting it.

On Sunday morning, I got started on finishing the cake.  I made the filling and popped it in the fridge to chill so that it was easier to spread.  Then I got started on making the whipped cream frosting.  Homemade whipped cream is just the best, isn’t it?  Reminded me of my chocolate bread pudding – I need to make that sometime soon.

Once I had my filling and frosting made, I cut my poundcake into layers and then brushed them with rum.  I have actually forgotten this step before, so this time I made sure that I noted it on my recipe ingredients.

Once I had the cake assembled, into the fridge it went so that the ricotta filling and the whipped cream frosting could set up.  Then it was time to make dinner.  Eric made the fabulous Moroccan lamb burgers we’d agreed on for Easter dinner, from a recipe courtesy of our friends in Rhode Island.  We opened a bottle of Barefoot Moscato for dinner and it was a delicious counterpoint to the spices in the burgers.  Everything was so good!

And after dinner we dove into dessert.  I sprinkled the top of the cake with some semi-sweet chocolate shavings.  I loved the finishing touch it added.

Here’s a little view of the cake once we’d sliced into it.  So so good!  And don’t you love the little bees on the table runner?

It was a beautiful Easter Sunday, made all the more special because I felt like we were honoring Grandma’s life by celebrating with a wonderful meal, a beautiful table, and time with each other.  She will be truly missed.

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