Holy moley you guys. Can you believe that Anna Elizabeth Events is THREE years old? I truly can't. I mean, how did this happen? It's practically talking back to me, sneaking out at night, and wearing mini skirts already. Phew. Three years. So much has changed - the blog has gotten a number of face lifts, we've partnered with some fantastic companies, and our number of readers has grown by the day. I feel that I've changed tremendously along with AEE as well and it's crazy to go back and reread some of my very first blog posts to see how greatly my writing style, photography, and personality has changed in just 3, short years.
I know I told this story last year when I did my big, 2-year anniversary photo session but, in case you are one of our newer readers, it's only fair that I share with you how AEE come to fruition. Anna Elizabeth Events was launched on a whim in the middle of my mother's living room on February 24th 2013. My life was changing practically by the minute at the time and I found myself interested in a number of new things like cooking, crafting, style, and party planning. I worked at a mortgage company (still do!) and, not that the mortgage industry isn't exciting. but I needed a creative outlet to focus on after sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours a day.
My independent event planning business was launched on that day and, shortly after, the blog became inevitable. Looking back, I never would have thought that this blog would become such a huge part of my everyday life. It seemed like a small thing to do at the time, almost an afterthought, to start a blog. However, in the past three years, it has made me a significantly more open and happy person, I've met so many fantastic bloggers, and tried recipes and projects that I would never have even attempted before.
That being said, I can't thank you all enough for supporting AEE, reading each week and testing out my recipes, DIY tutorials, beauty regimens, and more. You have become such a huge part of my life, whether you realize it or not. I am excited to see this lifestyle brand grow and expand in the future and I have no doubt that looking back in another 3 years, my heart will be just as full and proud.
And, since we're all in agreement that no celebration is truly complete without a slice (or two) of cake, I made this super over-the-top, fresh strawberry layer cake this past weekend to celebrate the milestone. I've seen so many desserts on Pinterest that incorporate florals and greenery into their designs and I've wanted to try out the technique myself for awhile now. So, I figured, what better way to celebrate our 3-year blog anniversary than to step outside of my comfort zone and try something totally new? Isn't that what this is all about, anyway?
I have to tell you guys the truth though; this cake didn't start out all that great. I can't remember the last time that I actually baked a layer cake but, since I got this new Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas from my hubs (faaaancy, I know), it's all I've been wanting to do. The recipe that I adapted for this dessert called for a fragile, delicate cake and a soft, creamy frosting which made it very difficult to work with in the beginning. I was actually in the kitchen deliriously laughing at my own misfortune and shouting the lyrics to Adele's "Hello" at one point. A startling vision, I know.
However, after pulling it together and reminding myself that even the contestants on my favorite baking shows start out with an ugly looking cake at times, I decided to strut on with the most false-confidence that I could summon. I froze the cake layers, refrigerated the icing, and decorated the cake stand with every feminine prop that I could uncover in my office (ribbon, gold cake toppers, roses). And after taking a step back at the end, I had such an overwhelming feeling of happiness with how the cake turned out.
It was the perfect metaphor for when I come across an obstacle with the blog and begin to feel overwhelmed or frustrated with the progress I am making. I have to remind myself to take a step back and appreciate all of the successes rather than the failures and to focus on the positive. That constant feeling of motivation is what drives me forward and reminds me of the love that I have for this industry.
Wait, did I mention how amazing this cake tastes, by the way? That's probably important too, right? I swear I actually tasted Spring when I took my first bite. After cutting slices for each of our neighbors, Sam and I practically licked the cake stand with a "no crumb left behind" mentality. So, yes, it's that good and you should definitely make it. Even if the only thing your celebrating is a cold bottle of wine in the fridge ready to be devoured. What the hell, right? That's a worthy accomplishment in my book.
Fresh Strawberry Cake
(Makes three 8-inch layers)
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
How to Assemble Floral Layer Cake
Recipe adapted from Nicole Hill Gerulat.
YAY weekend. I've planned a lot of activities for the next two days and, although it's pretty much equal parts work and play, there was no hesitation this morning when I woke up to start on my to-do list. As I mentioned on Instagram yesterday, Anna Elizabeth Events turned THREE years old on Wednesday (can you believe it??) and I dropped the ball entirely and didn't realize we had passed the milestone until Friday. Oops. So, this weekend in order to make up for it, I'm baking a big, sparkly cake to celebrate and I promised to get all sappy with you guys over it when I share the recipe next week.
In addition to cake making (and eating), the weather tomorrow is supposed to be quite beautiful so, Sam and I have planned a little adventure/date day to soak it in. I hope you all have something fun planned for this weekend too! xo
TGIF! Happy hour awaits, no? Last weekend I was feeling very inspired by the warm weather here in Maryland and decided to mix up a few, tasty cocktails. I'm usually a wine or a champagne drinker when Sam and I go out but, I also love to step outside of my comfort zone and try a fancy cocktail combo on the menu from time to time. I've found that I'm specifically drawn to mixed drinks that incorporate fresh herbs and squeezed juice. So, I decided to create my very own cocktail to enjoy at home using all of the flavors that I know I enjoy.
When I created the rosemary simple syrup for this cocktail, I immediately became enamored with the unique taste. So, forewarning, this will not be the last you'll see of this specific technique and/or recipe. It is so easy to make and truly elevates the cocktail and allows you to taste the fresh herbs in every sip. If we're being honest, it's only fair that you know that I have an entire Tupperware container filled with this rosemary simple syrup in my fridge right now. It's for, I don't know, a snack?
Makes 2 Cocktails
Rosemary Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. When the syrup starts to boil, lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Gently roll 5 sprigs of fresh rosemary between your hands to release the aromatic oils, then add it to the syrup. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then remove the rosemary sprigs and strain the syrup if need be. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, the syrup will keep for about 2 weeks.
This past weekend, the weather in Maryland was an absolute dream in comparison to our unpredictable Winter thus far. On Saturday night in particular, it was about 60 degrees and as the sun was setting, Sam and I were heading out the door for our weekly date night. We wandered over to the bridge near our house and played with the camera a little while we watched the sun go down and discussed our plan for the evening.
On date nights, I tend to gravitate toward the more feminine and sultry looks. I've owned this skirt for more than 3 years now and it is my no-fail look for dinner with a simple top and these black, knee-high boots that Sam spoiled me with for Christmas two years ago.
Another staple in my wardrobe right now is definitely this black H&M blazer that I bought for my first big, corporate meeting. This blazer fits me in all the right places and I wear it at least 3 times a week to the office because I find that it can dress up or dress down any outfit in my closet. On the weekends, I love to add a little flare to the classic blazer and use this Georgia Perry pin to give it a pop of color and attitude.
In regards to my black, knee-high boots, I love pairing them with a skirt or leather pants because they are form fitting and truly accentuate my legs (difficult to do since I am so short). I don't own more than a handful of high-end, designer pieces in my wardrobe because I can't justify spending thousands of dollars on each look - especially pieces that are "on trend". So, these Prada boots are really a treasured piece in my closet.
To make the most of my outfits, I find it beneficial to implement the high-low strategy and pair a staple like these Prada boots with some fun, inexpensive items (like this $15 Georgia Perry pin).
Top: Banana Republic (similiar here), Blazer: H&M (similiar here), Skirt: Forever21 (similiar here), Boots: Prada (similiar here), Pin: Georgia Perry Fingers Crossed, Sunglasses: Kate Spade, Lipstick: MAC Kinda Sexy
This morning I'm doing some recipe testing in my office (specifically cocktails) so, I figured what better way to start off the weekend than to have a little happy hour chat, brunch-style. I feel like a lot has happened since we last talked and it's only fair that I bring you up to speed. Last weekend on Valentine's Day, Sam and I went to this fancy smancy restaurant downtown that I had been dying to go to ever since we moved to the city. It has this big, pretty garden out front and so he surprised me and we went for dinner and I'm not going to lie, it was kind of a let down. Like when you order an expensive chocolate souffle and they bring you a melted Snickers bar.
I was determined not to let it ruin our night since we got all dressed up and I was wearing open toe shoes and my legs were still thawing out from the freezing cold. So, we listed all of the positive things about the restaurant, making each other crack up laughing, instead of focusing on the negative (like the fact that his steak was ice cold and someone left the door open to the outside in the women's bathroom). It turned out to be a really great date anyway and really fit in well with our unpredictable, yearly Valentine's Day.
Then, on Monday I had my heart set on shooting a new style post for the blog in a snow storm and that didn't turn out so well either. So we went back home, cuddled on the couch, and had margaritas and homemade Mexican food instead. I was in cross-training all week for my job and learned like, a lot of shit and made some headway. Then, I watched the wedding on Girlfriends Guide to Divorce and it made me super sad and definitely broke my heart (was not expecting that turn of events). R.I,P Gordon and Delia.
Like I said earlier though - I'm recipe testing this morning for some Spring cocktails for the blog and this afternoon, Sam and I will be heading to the spa for a couples massage that I scheduled in lieu of Valentine's Day (he's never gotten a massage before). Tonight we have dinner reservations at a restaurant we haven't tried yet (we all see how that turned out last time) and tomorrow we're planning on a big adventure day just the two of us exploring near DC.
Phew. I told you we had a lot of catching up to do. How was your week? Did you watch the wedding on Girlfriends Guide to Divorce or were you all-consumed with New Girl since Megan Fox appeared on the screen (p.s. I am)? I hope you all have something exciting planned for this weekend! xo
(1) Mesh Bralette (2) Leather Crossbody (3) Lace-Up Top (4) Wool Fedora (5) Chiffon Jumpsuit (6) Lace-Up Heels (7) Statement Necklace (8) Oversized Sweater
Happy Friday, babes! This past weekend, Sam and I were getting ready for a spontaneous day trip when we were surprised by snow flurries falling outside of our window. We had been foolish enough to think that our Maryland Winter had already ended and were ready to welcome Spring. However, since we truly do still have over a month left of Winter, I have decided to embrace it and pick out a few, inexpensive pieces this month that will elevate my wardrobe and translate well into next season.
It might be because February has me gravitating toward the more feminine and romantic styles but, I am feeling very drawn to breezy jumpsuits, laced intimates, simple crossbody bags, and everything in between.
This past weekend, I completed my very first couples' photo session in Downtown Annapolis in honor of Valentine's Day. The couple, Tanvi and Michael, were the absolute sweetest and upon meeting them, I fell in love immediately. This was their first photo session together as a couple and they wanted to do it as a date to celebrate the holiday.
An overwhelming amount of people believe that professional photo sessions are reserved solely for milestones like an engagement or a pregnancy. However, I think that they can be such a fun and meaningful way to document your life regardless. They can be especially romantic to use as a date night or a surprise for your partner.
On this day in particular, the weather was about 18 degrees, cloudy, and undeniably windy. That being said, these two were troopers, cuddling in a blanket and keeping each other warm at every chance they got. Near the end of our session, they were able to sit together downtown and treat themselves to a couple of Valentine's themed red velvet cupcakes and emoji cookies from NatSweets before heading off to grab a drink together nearby.
The entire session felt like a romantic one on one date for the two of them, which is exactly what we had aimed for so that the pictures would be cherished and intimate.
I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to capture some of Tanvi and Michael's love in photos on this day and I am excited to do even more photo sessions and styled shoots in the future for AEE.
I hope that you all had a lovely, long weekend and spent Valentine's Day surrounded by loved ones and friends!
Welcome to Anna Elizabeth, my creative space for fashion, recipes, styling, tutorials, figuring out how to run a successful business... and all of the little moments in between!
I N S T A G R A M S
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1 A Change of Pace
2 Rosemary Grapefruit Cocktails
3 Sunday at the Apple Orchard
4 Dark Romance
5 Lace-up Suede / Festival Style
6 Plaid and Chambray
7 Pecan Toffee Cookies
8 Leather and Satin
9 London Fog Tea Latte
10 Rosemary White Bread
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