On Sunday this past weekend, Oli and I decided to start our day at the crack of dawn, drag Sam to the grocery store, and pound on a ball of dough while blasting Blink 182 before any of our neighbors had even woken up. We were having far too much fun in the kitchen and Sam was giving me that look like, "is this what I get for the rest of my life?" while debating whether to drink his coffee or head back to bed. Believe it or not, this is a pretty normal occurrence in our household, hence the look I know so well.
A few months ago, after we celebrated National Bread Day (that's a thing now) at my Aunt's house by eating an unhealthy amount of carbs straight from the oven, I attempted to make my own by copying their recipe. It didn't work out so well and, although it photographed phenomenally, once the bread cooled down, it was as dense as a bout of London fog. I trashed all of the photos and decided that maybe I just wasn't meant to be a bread maker for a little while. After all, I had just taught myself how to cook eggs without setting off every smoke alarm in the house. Let's take it one day at a time here. I didn't want to let you guys down and being a bread snob myself, I just knew the recipe wasn't good enough... yet.
Then, earlier this month, I started experimenting with recipes again and trying to come up with a new combination that would be both light, and extra flavorful. Now, although Sam and I live in the city and a grass sighting is a rarity in our area, I've somehow managed to keep a rosemary bush very much alive each year in my little garden box hanging outside. Every year that it comes back is really a shock to me, since I usually forget to water it for weeks at a time. This is a particularly pleasant surprise for me since rosemary is my go-to herb to cook, bake, and make cocktails with (see here). Plus, I knew that with Spring rolling around, rosemary would be a perfectly abundant flavor to finally make this bread recipe a success.
(Makes 2 loaves)
Recipe adapted from Food.com
When guests come over for a quick happy hour or passing through on their way to an activity in the city, my favorite thing to serve is fresh, warm bread and different types of olive oil and wine. This combination makes for the easiest tasting bar and I've found that people really think that you've put more effort into it than you truly have. Also, it looks fancier than Cheez-Its and Digiorno pizza so... that's a plus.
I like to keep the aesthetics simple and clean with white plates, a natural cutting board to hold the fresh bread, and leftover herbs to decorate. This allows the focus to remain on the tasty, homemade rosemary bread and not on your last minute, $11 purchase of cheap, red wine.
Just last weekend, I visited my favorite hair salon outside of the city to get a little "refresh" for the new season. There's just something about that feeling right after you get your hair done that boosts your confidence and gives you a little extra glow, am I right, ladies? When I got home, Sam and I decided that since we didn't have any set plans for the night (a rare occurrence in our household), that we would wander downtown to the water and grab a margarita at our favorite spot afterwards.
I slipped into my favorite, floral heels, a pink crop top and flowy skirt from this past Winter (shown here), and threw a few essentials into my casual, "Rose" clutch. This time of year, I think that it's helpful to mix Spring and Winter wardrobe staples in order to create a look that not only fits in with the season but, also ensures that you're comfortable in the weather moving from afternoon to night.
This is especially true when you're sporting sandals at lunch and, by the time dinner rolls around, you're dusting snow flurries off your car and warming up with a mug of hot chocolate. Ugh. Maryland weather, right?
For Sam and my date nights, I generally try to work in a splash of color since my go-to shade for the office during the week is good, ole. boring black. Since it's Springtime, the colors that I am favoring most right now are pink and pastel blue (you'll be seeing a lot of these this month).
This pale shade of pink in particular, has been a staple of mine throughout the Winter, (especially in the beauty department). And, after my most recent shopping trip, I have reason to believe that I will be incorporating the color into my Springtime wardrobe over the next few months as well.
Top: TopShop Cropped Sweater (similar style), Skirt: Banana Republic Pleated (similar style), Nail Polish: Essie Double Breasted Jacket, Shoes: Elle Floral Heels (similar style), Bag: Olivia + Joy Rose All Day Tassel Clutch, Sunglasses: Ray Ban Classic Aviators
Happy Saturday, babes! I'm a little late to the party today but, it's only because I've been running around like a maniac since 7 this morning. I accompanied my Dad and little sister to a self-defense/street fighting class early in the day, then followed that up with breakfast (much needed after dripping sweat for a full hour), and stopped to grab some design inspiration on my way home for a rooftop dinner later this month.
If you're already familiar with Krav Maga, you know that it's unlike any other, alternate workout out there. Only a few hours later and I'm already seeing the bruises, feeling sore, and ready for another class. After a long and very busy work week, it was the perfect way to relieve some stress (aside from an ice cold glass of Chard, of course). Needless to say, I'm anxious to head back in a few days and work on learning new techniques.
In the meantime, today I plan on shooting a few new projects for the blog, finishing up a style post, baking some goods in the kitchen, and waiting out the storm while hoping for better weather tomorrow. I hope you all have something fun planned for this weekend and are staying warm!
Recently on AEE: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Being a Lifestyle Blogger, A Month in Review + April Goals, Skinny Strawberry Mint Margaritas, From the Office to Happy Hour, Monthly Beauty Buys
Follow along via Instagram (@anna_elizabethevents), Facebook, and Pinterest to see what we're up to and get the first peek at new content coming to AEE.
xo Anna Elizabeth
I love reading secrets about people's professions or hobbies that you would otherwise be utterly blind towards. I think that a lot of people looking in from the outside of the blogging community view it as very glamorous and stress-free. With Instagram accounts acting more as a professionally coordinated portfolio than a spontaneous sharing outlet, styled shoots mirroring high-end fashion magazines, and recipes calling for multi-tiered, naked cakes and a spotless kitchen, it's really no wonder why this expectation exists. I read an article by Studio DIY's founder last month about the secrets of being a DIY blogger and it inspired me to share my own revelations about what I've experienced as a lifestyle blogger over the past 3 years.
As I've mentioned previously, being a blogger has changed my perspective on a lot of things in my personal and professional life. When I first decided to write with Anna Elizabeth Events, I was unsure of many things. I didn't have a single friend or connection in the blogging community and therefore, had no idea what to expect before the website was actually launched. You could say that I "winged it" in many ways. I still am, really. (I think a lot of us are!)
There are many categories to this whole blogging thing and being deemed a "lifestyle" blog is both challenging and freeing. It has allowed me to cover a large variety of interesting topics and creative projects in my blog posts from week to week. It gives me more flexibility than, say, a strictly DIY blog. On the other hand, being in this broad category has made it difficult to define a niche market and differentiate between other websites and bloggers.
Now, before I receive a string of criticism and nasty emails, let me preface this blog post by saying that it has been written strictly from my own experience as a lifestyle blogger. As expected, my experience may differ greatly from yours (and that is okay!)
"My go-to location for shooting a new recipe is the corner in my bedroom. I use a big, white board propped on top of a wobbly stool and stand on the corner of my bed frame until my toes are practically bleeding to get the perfect shot."
01. It's the opposite of the "get rich" scheme
If you joined the blogging industry after reading a viral post of how much the top bloggers make (hint: millions) with that singular goal in mind, well, I hate to break it to you but, you're dreaming. As the founder of Studio DIY explained, when you are first starting out, many people don't realize how much time and money will be spent simply to attract your first few readers. Constantly coming up with new content, purchasing supplies (whether it's for a craft, recipe, or style post on trend) can take a toll on your finances. Especially if there's nothing going back in for the first year or so. There are a ton of ways to generate income from blogging; however, these things don't happen overnight while you're sleeping.
02. Thick skin will become second nature
The first time that negativity ever came from starting a blog for me was within a year of my first post when someone went out of their way to inform me that my new puppy was ugly and that I'm a detriment to society because he wasn't adopted. I remember reading the comment in disbelief. This obviously wasn't the first time that someone had ever said something unkind to me and it certainly wouldn't be the last. However, I think that putting yourself out there on the internet in such personal posts opens the door for people to comment, whether that's positive or negative reinforcement. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, I have also met many wonderful people in the blogging community that have provided nothing but support, love, and encouragement. I think that as a blogger, you have to take the good with the bad. That being said, having thick skin and a sense of self-confidence (and humor!) behind your brand can be essential to your long-term success and happiness in this business
03. The majority of us are normal, working class people
Surprise! The larger majority of us bloggers aren't rolling around in bed at noon with a cup of joe and a perfectly color-coordinated magazine in our lap. We're probably sitting in a cubicle, drinking stale, black coffee and staring at our computer screens or daunting to-do list. Although we would like to be spending our days in the kitchen coming up with new, trendy dessert recipes, working on perfecting our social media strategy, or shooting a style post in the sunny weather, we have bills just like the rest of the general public and can't afford to have blogging be our only income (at least not yet!) Almost every blogger that I've connected with in this community are holding "real" full-time jobs in addition to working on their websites in between. There are days that I wake up at 5am to write, stay at the office from 8am to 6pm, and come back home to shoot a project or work on publishing and promoting a blog post until 1am. I know that I work my ass off to grow Anna Elizabeth Events and I don't take one single praise for granted. Simply put, if you don't love what you're doing, you won't last very long.
04. We have one hell of a supportive partner and/or family and one of those lucky people has been deemed our on-call photographer
When I launched Anna Elizabeth Events just 3, short years ago, I had 2, whole readers: Sam, and my Mom. And, to be honest, I'm pretty sure that my Mom didn't actually read my posts (she just clicked on them to get me excited when viewing my stats!) That being said, I would never have been able to expand the blog into the categories that I have if I didn't have such a supportive partner and family behind me. I am blessed beyond belief to have reconnected with Sam in the early stages of launching Anna Elizabeth Events. He is my editor, my photographer, my recipe-tester, mentor, and biggest supporter. I know that he is always out for my best interest and cares about the success of this blog as much as I do. An overwhelming amount of our weekend dates are decided by where we want to shoot a new post for the blog. We have turned it into a fun activity to do together and always reward ourselves by grabbing a tasty margarita or dessert afterwards.
05. We are overly concerned with the weather
I'm not a meteorologist but, I play one on TV. I have never been more concerned with the weather than when I am shooting a new creative post. Knowing the exact timing of when the light shining through the window of the bedroom will be perfect has become second nature to me (it's 2pm on a partly sunny day, in case you were wondering). Rainy weather can truly be a disaster, especially if there is one gray weekend after another. Like I mentioned above, the majority of us bloggers are inside in an office all week. So, it can be especially frustrating when the weather is beautiful from 8am to 5pm and, the moment that we pull our car into the driveway at home, the sun has set and the rain clouds decide to rear their ugly head. I've had days that I spent getting ready for an hour only to shoot outside on a cloudy, gray day and erase the entirety of my camera memory card when I arrive back home. Those days deserve an extra glass of wine.
06. The places we shoot new posts are... unique
While our styled posts may look spontaneous or very glamorous, I assure you they are not. Our perfectly, color-coordinated charcuterie may appear as if there isn't a fig out of place but, you should see the mess right outside of that frame (or, our kitchen!). My go-to location for shooting a new recipe is, get this, the corner in my bedroom. I use a big, white board propped on top of a wobbly stool and stand on the corner of my bed frame until my toes are practically bleeding to get the perfect shot. In terms of style posts, I personally don't like shooting at the same location (there are SO many places to choose from in the city). So, as I mentioned above, Sam and I usually make an afternoon of searching for the perfect spot to carry out a new post. Just last weekend, we got kicked out of a location on the water and almost ticketed for leaving our car in a tow-away zone while shooting my date night look (decidedly very worth it).
07. We've never known ourselves more fully
I am absolutely positive that I have never felt more "myself" than since I began blogging and using Anna Elizabeth Events as a creative outlet. If you are truly passionate about blogging and enjoy writing and sharing your projects, you are already a success. A lot of people out there can't truly say that they "love" their jobs. I think that blogging is a huge industry in which loving what you are doing is inevitable. Yes, there have been days that I've wondered to myself "what the hell am I doing, and why?" But, each time I write a post like this from my heart or find the beauty in photographing a simple cocktail, I know that I am exactly where I need to be. I may not ever become Emily Schuman or have an empire like "Cupcakes and Cashmere" (#dream) but, at least I'm spending time dedicated to something that I truly love and respect.
What do you think? Tell me about your experience as a blogger in the comments below or via Facebook!
xo Anna Elizabeth
Happy weekend, babes! It has been a hectic month, to say the least. At the moment, I'm happily relaxing on the couch with my computer in my lap, a fresh coffee in my hand, and Oliver curled up around me as some sort of pregnancy pillow. It's a rare feeling and yet I'm extremely comfortable, somehow. I shared my monthly recap and April goals yesterday on the blog and, as you may have seen, one of my goals for this month is to work less on the weekends and spend more time exploring with my two loves.
My strategy is to get the majority of my writing done in the early mornings throughout the week while I'm enjoying my first coffee of the day and to shoot only 1, new creative post each weekend rather than trying to cram in 3 or more in a single day. That being said, the weather for this weekend isn't exactly looking promising at this point so, after I wander out of the city to get my hair done this afternoon, Sam and I might just have to see a movie downtown and relax in our pajamas for the rest of the weekend. No complaining here.
What are your plans for this weekend? Did you have an awesome Easter (if you celebrate)? Have you tested out my latest cocktail creation yet? Did you just make a plan to drink margaritas in the middle of the day in your pajamas too?
Last month, I launched a new, monthly series designed to wrap up the prior month as a whole and make goals heading into a fresh start. I'm feeling quite happy with the results of how it helped me stay focused and to track the progress that I've made in just 30 days. March was an extremely busy month for work (my normal, 9 to 5 job) so, even though I felt exhausted throughout each week, surprisingly, I still found the time to check off a few, fun items on my to-do list.
Just this past weekend, Sam and I spent an entire day simply riding our bikes around DC and enjoying the cherry blossoms which is something I've wanted to do for years. On Sunday for Easter, we spent the morning at Calvert Cliffs with my family, scouring the beach for tiny shark teeth, and we finished the holiday at Sam's parents' enjoying homemade shrimp scampi.
In terms of meeting my March goals, I'm feeling very proud looking now at the increased performance on my blog and social media outlets after just one month, even with spending a lot less time glued to my smart phone. I discovered an App earlier this March that allows me to schedule social media posts for an entire month in advance (I'll be discussing it soon on the blog!). This App, and my participation in 2 giveaway contests and a number of new "blogger" groups, have helped me refocus on my marketing tactics and form strong relationships in the community.
Last month, one of my goals that I mentioned was to get back on track with my e-newsletters and, if you check your inbox this morning, then you'll find that I followed through with that goal too (even if it was in the eleventh hour). If you haven't signed up yet for our e-newsletters, do so now on the right so that you don't miss any of the exciting things coming up this month. I'll be announcing giveaway contests that I'm hosting to give you a reminder to enter, and sharing new content in the form of recipes, style posts that you can now shop, and more.
In my personal life, I was successful in my goal to spend more time with Oliver outside and have been taking him on a long walk each night before dinner. I can tell that it is helping to improve his anxiety as he becomes more comfortable with the city sounds and people. Also, in my attempt to wake up earlier in the mornings before work in order to make for a calmer and more organized day, I was mostly successful. Although, I must say that some mornings were more difficult than others to jump out of bed and head for the Keurig so, this is going to be one of my goals to focus on again for the month of April.
March Blog Posts:
Heading into this month, some of my business goals include hosting 1 to 2 blog and Instagram giveaways, increasing my advertising efforts, strengthening the relationships that I've made so far in the blogging community, scheduling time to write more, and getting back to the basics with event styling. I'm currently in the process of planning both a corporate, team-building event and a rooftop, celebratory dinner in the city. I think that this month, I'll be able to shift my focus on the blog a bit and bring in a larger variety of weekly content.
In terms of my personal goals, in addition to maintaining what I have achieved throughout March, I want to continue to wake up earlier in the morning in order to start my day by organizing my to-do list with Oliver by my side. Also, I want to make an effort to spend more time with my 2 loves doing fun activities and exploring rather than focusing on just work. I've already made a list of some of the places that I want to visit throughout the month. If you want to keep up with behind the scenes shots, and snaps of our weekends, follow along on Instagram (@anna_elizabethevents), Facebook, and Pinterest!
What are your goals for April? Share them with me in the comments below or via Facebook.
xo Anna Elizabeth
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
Now trending .
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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