Friday, December 21, 2012

wreaths across america.

this was the second year i volunteered with wreaths across america at arlington cemetery for their annual wreath laying ceremony. 

i was among 25,000 volunteers who helped lay an estimated 110,000 wreaths to honor and remember our fallen soldiers. it's always amazing to see so many people come together in support of such an amazing cause. i made sure to take my time at each headstone, to read the name and think about their bravery and sacrifice. the day was beautiful and inspiring.

to learn more about wreaths across america, go here.




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

close to home.

the devastation from hurricane sandy hits close to home. literally.

i grew up in hillsborough, nj, only 45 minutes from new york city and 1 hour from the shore. summer trips down the shore were a tradition. 

crabbing in ortley beach,
beach bonfires in sea isle,
miniature golf at barnacle bill's, 
bachelorette parties in atlantic city,
and prom weekend in seaside heights. 

i hold so many special memories from the jersey shore and the devastation from hurricane sandy is heart-wrenching. 

i was actually in atlantic city the day the storm came through. the city had a mandatory evacuation at 12pm. we left at 8am and the ocean was already up to the boardwalk. the streets were completely empty and windows already boarded up. such an eerie sight for what is always such a vibrant city.

the images of the aftermath still weigh heavy on my heart. especially for all of the people and families who lost everything. i have family and friends who had some minor flooding and were without power for a few weeks, but they were the lucky ones. i just can't help thinking about those people who lost everything - here we are with a roof over our head, decorating the christmas tree and wrapping presents, anticipating christmas morning in just a few short days. and there are so many who are stripped of those things this year.

so please take a moment this holiday season to think about those who lost everything due to hurricane sandy. and think about what you can do for them, whether it's a simple letter of encouragement, a small monetary donation, or lend a hand to assist with the clean up.

 it will take time to rebuild, but we are jersey strong and we will overcome this. 





what can you do?

1. visit american red cross to donate or volunteer 

2. visit the robin hood to donate




RESTORE THE SHORE 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

full of love.

hi guys!! 
i'm back!
as you can tell i took a three month break from thee ol' blogosphere.
to be honest, i needed a break. 
we had such a busy summer - between 6 weddings and everything else that comes with them, some birthday's, and an intense work schedule, the last thing i wanted to do was get back on a computer.
but now that things have calmed down a bit, i'm hoping to get back on the old bandwagon and reconnect with you all again. i've missed you!

i have to let you know that there will be a few changes up in here.
one being my layout...

i have no knowledge of HTML and the thought of trying to figure it out makes me want to vomit. as you can see i've updated my banner AND got my own domain name (i'm fancy now!), but that's as far as i am willing to go on my own.
if you know of anyone that can help me spruce this baby up then please let me know. she needs quite the face lift. 

and the second change will probably be my content and that's because....

I GOT ENGAGED LAST WEEK!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!

i'm not going to go into details, but yes it was a complete surprise, yes i cried (a lot), yes he got down on one knee, and yes he asked my dad for permission.
it was just the two of us. and it was PERFECT!
the ring is everything and more and i can't stop staring at my hand. 
i love this man more than anything and i can't wait to spend the rest of my life with him.

so where was i?
oh, yes the content. no this will not turn into a wedding blog but i will be sharing some of the process with you all because it'll be a huge part of my life and this blog reflects my life. so there.


minutes after the proposal. 
thank you, iphone.



oh. and i also chopped off 8 inches of my hair while i was gone.

SO HAPPY TO BE BACK!


P.S. my thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost their children and loved ones at sandy hook elementary on december 14.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

little bits.

a recent purchase. 

i need this.

windows down on a road-trip.


waking up with the sun.

celebrating boyfriend's birthday in july.

elephants on my shirt. {from asos}


a gift from work.

home cooked meal by my mama.

wall art at a local bar.

all photos from my iPhone.
follow me on instagram - ecoletta


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

what i wore...not to a wine festival.

it was a gorgeous saturday morning. i was printing off my ticket to the maryland beer and wine festival and packing a bag stuffed with a blanket, rain boots (just in case), snacks, and sunscreen. i checked the weather one last time and it still read 50% chance of thunderstorms. i prayed hard for the those storms to back off - i was looking forward to this day too much for it to be ruined.

i wanted to be comfortable at the park. i knew we'd be sitting down on a blanket for 6 hours and a dress would be too revealing. especially once wine got involved. i opted for my floral shorts (they sometimes tease the eye into thinking it's a skirt), a simple black tank, and my always reliable mustard cardigan. my idea of a perfect sitting-in-the-grass-at-a-wine-festival outfit.

i waited on the couch for my friend to call me to tell me she was on her way. 30 minutes passed and i noticed a huge storm cloud out my window. "oh no you don't", i thought to myself. i was having a GREAT hair day and i was totally digging my outfit. "i spent way too much time doing my hair for nobody to see this". 

(editor's note: i probably blow dry and straighten my hair once or twice a month. it takes too damn long!)

when my friend arrived we were having doubts. it was already drizzling. we called our other friend who lives in maryland close to where the festival was being held and she told us it was storming and that it didn't look like it was giving up any time soon. my friend and i let out a big sigh, hung up, and sat back on the couch. "no wine festival today," we said. 

my typical self would have changed right out of my clothes and in to some comfy sweatpants and called it a day. instead, my inner girly girl told myself to get up off the couch and show the world my sitting-in-the-grass-at-a-wine-festival outfit. so that's what we did. i told my friend that rain or shine we were still going to have ourselves an afternoon of drinking beer and wine...just inside.

we got in the car, drove to the closest bar, and stayed until 2am. not so much wine was had, but there was definitely a lot of beer. and some pickle shots.

sick.



 cardigan {urban outfitters}
tank {express}
shorts {target}
sandals {nine west}
necklace {dream weaver}


was there ever a time when you got ready to go to an event, it got cancelled, and then you were bummed that no one would see your perfectly done hair and cute outfit? 

or am i just the crazy one?

Monday, September 10, 2012

a review from a non "foodie".

by no means do i consider myself, by technical terms, a "foodie". yes i love to eat. and i love to go out to eat. and i love cooking/baking. but i'm no expert.

so it only makes sense i write a restaurant review, right?

it's my blog and i do what i wanna.

but for all seriousness, i love going out to eat and trying new restaurants. so when we found out the dates to restaurant week in our town center this summer we planned well in advance. there is quite a selection of places in our new hood so the decision was a bit overwhelming. to narrow it down we first decided on what kind of fare we wanted. it ended up being seafood which brought us to two places. we settled on passionfish.



the restaurant was absolutely stunning. as soon as you walk in, it opens up to the grand dining room with an elegant stairway that takes you to a second floor with additional seating that overlooks the entire restaurant. we made reservations and were seated right away. within seconds, yes seconds (!), our waiter greeted us with a beautiful little dish of toasted bread and salmon butter (!!!)



the deal with restaurant week varies by restaurant but basically those that participate have three course prix-fixed menus for a reduced price. although with passionfish they allowed you to pick any entree on their regular menu. our waiter gave us plenty of time to review their extensive menu - which i appreciated because i'm so indecisive when it comes to ordering. 

we ordered a bottle of their pinot grigio tiamo (i'm a strong believer in having white with fish) and even though it was not my absolute favorite, it was still pretty good. i ordered their blue crab and corn chowder soup as my appetizer and it was SO GOOD! i thought the corn would over power the dish, but it didn't at all. there were huge chunks of blue crab floating around and the portion size was very generous (boyfriend had the classical peruvian style ceviche, and loved it). sometimes restaurants skimp on their portion sizes during restaurant week but this place did not fail in that aspect.


around 15-20 minutes after we finished our appetizers (a perfect amount of time for yours truly) our entrees came out. i ordered the jumbo lump crab cakes (what can i say, i like crabs), and a side of sweet potato fries (boyfriend ordered the swordfish steak with a side of sweet potato fries too). i was beyond shocked at how large the plates were. and at how many fries they gave us. we each got buckets. BUCKETS, I TELL YA! we ended up splitting one bucket of fries and took the other one home with us. the crab cakes were scrumptious. no filler. all crab. and i got two of them. boyfriend was very jealous!




after this course we were beyond stuffed but we had.to.keep.going. after all, there was dessert. we both ordered the chocolate mousse praline crunch cake which was mediocre (it was the only chocolate option on their prix-fixed menu). i'm not a huge fan of mousse so i wasn't really "wow'ed" by it, but nonetheless, it was a sweet ending to an incredible meal. the best part? all of this food only cost us each $30 (not including the wine). oh and we couldn't help but admire their huge raw bar at the entrance. we hear they have an amazing sushi bar too so we will definitely be going back to passionfish!

i definitely recommend going out during restaurant week especially if you are looking to try out a new place, without emptying your wallet.

i know this isn't what i normally write about so thanks for reading (if you've even made it this far!!)

do you guys take advantage of restaurant week?
any new places you've enjoyed recently?









Thursday, September 6, 2012

fresh snapper.

here is a dish that's sure to knock your socks off.

{who even says that}.

no, but really. this fresh red snapper with black bean salsa and sliced avocado is a new favorite of mine. and so easy to make!

here's what you'll need:

- 4 red snapper fillets
- 1 avocado
- seasoned flour
- 1 can black beans
- 1/2 sliced pineapple
- 1 chopped tomato
- 1 chopped jalapeno
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 lime
- 1/4 cup cilantro 

here's what you'll need to do:

1. drench snapper fillets in seasoned flour
2. pan-fry in butter on medium heat - 3 minutes per side
3. mix ingredients for salsa (cilantro, onion, tomato, jalapeno, pineapple, juice of lime)
4. slice up avocado
5. FEAST!






see! so easy!

now, excuse me while i go to the grocery store and pick up these ingredients again.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

what i wore...to dinner.

did you all have a nice long labor day weekend? i can't believe it's the end of summer and fall is just around the corner. where did it go? we took advantage of the holiday sales and went shopping at the outlets for some fall clothes. i picked up some great pieces that i can't wait to wear! we had our second wedding of the year on saturday night in DC and on sunday we had friends from richmond stay with us. i sure am pooped!

one of my favorite shirts that i can't wait to transition to fall is my j.crew chambray shirt. i paired it with shorts a few weeks ago on a rare chilly night here in northern virginia and i'm looking forward to wearing it with some colored jeans and riding boots this fall. 



shirt {j.crew}
shorts {j.crew}
sandals {banana republic}
watch {michael kors}



what's been your favorite piece of summer clothing that you can't wait to transition to fall?

Friday, August 31, 2012

it's a fiesta.

it's no secret that i love mexican food (2nd to italian, naturally). give me chips and salsa, some guacamole, and black beans, and i'm one happy girl.

unfortunately, mexican food is not good for my hips. so i can't really have it every day like i want to. so when i want to satisfy my cravings i whip together my own form of a taco salad. 



healthy taco salad

1 lb. lean ground turkey
chili pepper
cumin
garlic
salt & pepper
cayenne 
1 avocado
1/2 tomato
shredded lettuce
1/2 can of black beans
salsa (as desired)
12 baked tortilla chips

1. combine chili pepper, cumin, garlic, salt & pepper and a tiny bit of cayenne with your ground turkey on a skillet and cook (this will give it the taco seasoning flavor- we don't measure)
2. place your shredded lettuce, cooked ground turkey, diced tomatoes, scoop of black beans and salsa on plate.
3. add your avocado and tortilla chips to side
4. FEAST!




and then there are those days where i don't care about my hips. and i just want an old fashion quesadilla loaded with cheese, guacamole and tomatoes. with a side of salsa and bud light lime, of course. at least i used a whole wheat tortilla???







what's your favorite kind of food?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

what i wore...to the winery.

wine tasting is like, my favorite thing to do in the summer. it's so peaceful and relaxing that i can't really imagine doing anything else on a saturday afternoon. we're lucky that northern virginia is covered with lots of lovely wineries. i love wearing soft, summer dresses because it's not reallllly wine tasting unless you're wearing a cute dress, right?

this is what i wore to veritas winery when we were up in the mountains a few weeks ago. i purchased this dress a few months ago and have worn it to a couple of special events this summer - such as my friend's bridal shower, a dinner, and now a winery! it's so soft and silky and oh so delicious. i love it!




dress {j.crew}
sandals {banana republic}
sunglasses {ray-ban}
earrings {target}
messenger bag {urban outfitters}
watch {michael kors}
bracelet {c/o la plus belle}



happy wednesday xoxo

p.s. linking up with the pleated poppy today!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

b&b.

two weeks ago we escaped the hustle and bustle of northern virginia and spent a weekend three hours south in the mountains. it was just the two of us. and it was perfect.

we stayed in a gorgeous little b&b owned by the sweetest woman who decided to retire from the dc corporate world and chase her dream in turning her family's vacation home into a b&b. this place is nestled on a beautiful farm filled with horses, cows, ducks, dogs, and even peacocks!! the views were magnificent. my favorite memory was waking up with the sun, taking our time getting ready, grabbing coffee and our kindles at 7:30 am, and reading on the back porch surrounded by so much natural beauty. 

it was one of those weekends that makes you really appreciate life. and loved ones. and just the simple things.

we ate some incredible bbq, did a lot of wine tasting, and went on a tough, but beautiful, 4 mile hike up a waterfall. i'd like to go back. right now.

on the drive down we stopped at our first winery, mountain cove.



and then we arrived at the b&b...

our view in the morning

peacocks on the front porch!
i want this kitchen.

morning hike up crabtree falls.


watching them press the grapes at lovingston winery.

how cute is the bottle on the right?


pit stop for bbq on the side of the road. it was SO GOOD!


winery #3: veritas

we clearly like our wine.




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