a touch of shagreen

Good Morning!  Today I am excited to share one of my newest obsessions with you- shagreen!  I have been trying to figure out where this love for shark/sting ray skin came from, and I think it is the fact that classic pieces can be given a little twist with the addition of shagreen.   I don't know that I (or my wallet) would love this in large doses, but I think small amounts of the material provide the perfect pop to a room or outfit.

c. wonder

Take this plate from another one of my obsessions C. Wonder.  While this shagreen is faux, the classic look of the material combines beautifully with a more modern green color and square shape.  I can just see this plate dressing up a dinner party, as a tray on a side table, or even hanging on a wall for an added pop of color.  I might just have to order one...or twelve! 

Can we all sigh together over this bracelet?  Here, the shagreen provides the contrast to an otherwise classic bangle shape.  I think this would be the perfect addition to so many outfits and would wear well for years and years.  This little touch of texture doesn't overwhelm the bracelet, but it provides just the right amount of glamour!  Maybe a birthday present to myself?!?

williams sonoma

Finally, a touch of shagreen for your man (or for yourself.)  This box would be perfect atop a dresser or night stand to hold watches, cuff links, or your pearl earrings.  Love the emerald color (color of the year!) and how it makes the texture pop.  Still not sure why Williams Sonoma is carrying this in their regular store v. Williams Sonoma home, but some mysteries shall remain...

What do you think?  Can we get on board with decorating your house (or yourself) with some shagreen this Spring?!



wedding registry: non-traditional items

Happy Wednesday!  Thank you all for the love you have shown this series!  I have actually had more than one reader ask me to do a post on "non-traditional" gift registries, so here goes...

Non-traditional gift registries have become increasingly popular over the past several years.  Many different factors may contribute to a couple's desire to have a less "traditional" registry, including the age in life when they get married, and their relative "need" for items to help start them in a new home.  While a non-traditional registry may not be for everyone, here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering registering for something other than a set of mixing bowls:


1. Set up a non-traditional registry that reflects a shared interests of you and your fiance.  For instance, if you both love to garden, register for a wheelbarrow, gloves, and your favorite spring bulbs at a garden store.  Prefer to spend time outdoors together?  Consider registering for a kayak, a camping stove, or even a new set of bikes at your local outdoor store.  It will be much easier for guests to splurge on these less than traditional items if they know you and your fiance can enjoy them together!

2. Keep in mind that you can register for "experiences" as well as tangible gifts.  There are several sites out there that allow a couple to register for honeymoon activities, a new ipad or computer, or even help with a down payment on a first home.  While these options may not appeal to all of your guests, many will like the idea of contributing to your first weeks or years as a married couple.  Some of these sites include various transaction fees so be sure to read the fine print before signing up!

3. Consider a charitable registry.  Sign up at weddingchannel.com, and you and your fiance can select a charity to receive a donation each time a guest purchases something from your registry.  The site can also be set up to offer guests the option to donate directly to a charity of the couple's choice.  Another great option is to use a site like crowdrise that allows a couple to set up a fundraiser for a specific cause.  For more help choosing a charity, check out this post.


4. Remember, while non-traditional registries are fun, it is also a good idea to register for some more "traditional"wedding items.  While many guests will love the idea of buying a hot-air balloon ride for your honeymoon, it is just as likely that grandma will want to purchase you a silver tray you can keep forever.  The bottom line is that while non-traditional wedding registries are catching on, many people will still be more comfortable purchasing you a more traditional gift and you want to give them some guidance as to your preferences and tastes.

In addition to just creating these "non-traditional" registries, consider having a friend throw you a shower geared towards one of your less traditional registries.  (Just remember- never ask someone to throw you a shower- just be ready with an idea in case a close friend offers!)  So, rather than having a kitchen shower, a couple could have a BBQ and Backyard Shower.  Guests would be encouraged to bring grill tools and items to be used in landscaping a back yard, rather than stemware and fine china.

Sounds like fun right?  While Josh and I didn't have a "non-traditional" registry (we were babies and needed to outfit our first house) I think the idea of registering for something you and your fiance enjoy doing together is a great option.  I think I would have registered for a set of bikes...


What non-traditional registry item would you register for?

As always, please email me if you have any specific questions or would like help compiling your wedding registry.


berry and beet smoothie

I know, I know... the name of this post leaves something to be desired.  BUT, rest assured that this smoothie is delicious!  I have been on the hunt for ways to sneak in more veggies (as documented here, here, and here) and Josh might have stumbled upon the perfect solution in this smoothie.

I am not usually a huge smoothie fan (too much hassle and I am always still hungry when I finish), but this smoothie is SO filling.  It is actually meant to be consumed post-workout, but I think it would be good anytime. Plus, there are so many veggies that you can sneak into this recipe that you won't feel bad drinking it throughout the day.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Berry and Beet Smoothie
Adapted from Outdoor Magazine
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 beet (Can be peeled, or if your blender can handle it...whole)
  • 1 handful of kale leaves
  • 1 small finger of ginger (Can be peeled, or if your blender can handle it...whole)
  • 2 c. frozen berries (I used a cherry and blueberry blend)
  • 2 c. vanilla almond milk
  • A splash of OJ, if desired

  1. Place all ingredients in blender.  
  2. Mix well and serve cold.



weekend recap

First and foremost...HAPPY BIRTHDAY REBECCA!  I can't believe my baby sister is nineteen today.  I will always remember waking up February 25 all those years ago and Meemaw telling me you had been born.  I was so excited to get a baby sister and I am so proud of the woman you have grown up to be.  You are beautiful and caring and I am so thankful that you are my chicken little.  Wishing you a happy day today and sending all my love!
happy birthday rebecca!

As I write this, my "busy season" in law school is officially behind me.  With two back to back events this month (Pro Bono and Craven Moot Court Competition), it has been a whirlwind, but I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to work with such fabulous teams of people.  While I am grateful for my experiences, I must say, I am ecstatic for a little more free time in the coming weeks.  Thank you all for the love and support.
blurry iphone pics from the craven competition banquet at the carolina inn.
After the Craven Competition ended on Saturday afternoon, I spent some quality time in my slippers on my couch.  I literally didn't do anything!  Josh and I had plans to go out for dinner and drinks at one of our favorite restaurants, but even that seemed like more effort than it was worth once I was firmly planted on the couch.  Josh got us take-out chinese and then surprised me by replicating one of my favorite drinks from the restaurant we did not patronize on Saturday.  He called it the "Carolina Ginger" and I must say it was very tasty... and pink!
carolina ginger compliments of josh
Sunday I woke up feeling so rested and relaxed- AND it was the most beautiful day we have had all spring.  The sun was shining and it was warm enough to go out without a coat and boots...blissful!  After a quick run with Mac, Josh and I attempted to go to brunch at a french restaurant we have been dying to try.  When we arrived it was closed for construction, so we improvised and went to an Italian Restaurant, 411 West and tried their brunch.  While I missed the french brunch, 411 did NOT disappoint.  We had beignets and benedict and left feeling spoiled rotten.
beignets at brunch...notice the bite taken out of one...couldn't get my camera out fast enough!
With all that has been going on this semester, I haven't had much time to bake.  I tried to remedy this on Sunday afternoon by making the macaroon recipe I shared with you here.  I must say, I have a ways to go before I become a french pastry chef, but the macaroons were edible and made for a VERY sweet dessert on Sunday night.  I did have a mis-step along the way with the macaroon filing, but the mistake became the base for a "strawberries and cream" cake so it worked out well...stay tuned for a recipe if I can re-create the original mistake.

strawberry macaroons
Finally, I have been hearing rave reviews about Revlon's "lip butter" lipstick.  The grocery store had them on sale Sunday so I grabbed three colors and I am SO glad I did!  They go on so easily and provide tons of moisture for your lips.  The color range it fantastic and the colors go on sheer for a subtle look or can be layered for more drama.  I stuck with the pink colors, but I may head back to stock up on some more- seriously...try these!

lip butter...#90 "sweet tart" is my favorite, but be warned, it is bright!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!  I'd love to hear about it in the comments section! 



friday find: chesterNYC

Happy Friday!  I am so excited to share my "friday find" with you today... chesterNYC!


When I worked in Charlotte, I was lucky enough to meet Mimi Kennedy Harris.  Mimi is bright and energetic and always had the BEST statement necklaces.  Recently, Mimi moved to New York and launched her new line of statement jewelry, chesterNYC.  In just a short time, Mimi has developed quite a following and counts Kelly Ripa as one of her fans.

kelly sporting her chesterNYC necklace on set

Mimi creates custom pieces by mixing different colors, textures, and materials.  Recently, I was lucky enough to win this custom necklace from chesterNYC and I LOVE IT!  It is perfect for work, for going out to dinner, or just to dress up a casual weekend outfit.

Just in case you need any more inspiration, check out these other great pieces I love.  Have a fabulous friday and be sure to check out chesterNYC!

harrison collection


winter white



flower pressings

Good Morning!

I have a treat for you all today.  Remember this post, when I told you all that Josh is literally the nicest person on the planet?  Well, today he is being not just a sweet, loving husband...he is being really, really, really nice to me as well.  Today is day 2 of a 4 day event, so posting new material was not going to be in the cards for me today.  BUT, in addition to helping me survive the week, Josh agreed to write a "guest post" about how he made me a set of flower pressings (seen here.)  A huge thank you to Josh and I hope you all enjoy!

Hi Ann Elliott Readers,

I will be the first and loudest to say that I should not be the one to write this post.  Luck and trial and error made the pressings turn out the way they did, and there are hundreds of ways I did it incorrectly I’m sure.  Most of the pressings I do for AB are just small flowers from places we’ve been together, which means they’ve got to be small enough to fit in a book.  Then Annie discovered Lauren Lachance, and I had to up my game.  Here’s what I do…
  1.  Pick the Flower:  Flat flowers like Oakleaf Hydrangea (see picture above) and Dogwoods are the easiest.  Flowers like clover and lavender that can be pressed from the side are a good place to start too.   Roses and flowers that require you to open up the entire blossom to press are a pain and don’t try daisies, they just fall apart.  The quicker you can move from step one to two and three the better your final product will be. 
  2.  Set up the Flower:  Lay the flower face up on a sheet of paper.  Arrange the petals, leaves, stamen, stigma, and stem (I just got that off of Wikipedia) how you want them, and try to keep them from overlapping too much.  Then carefully lay a second sheet of paper down on top.  If you picked a flower that has a stamen you’ll need to either 1) cut them off or 2) cut a small hole in another sheet of paper to stick the stamen through otherwise they will stain the petals.
  3. Press the Flower: Lay the flower in the wax paper on top of a board or hardcover book.  Then lay another board or hardcover book (Annie prefers to use her collection of Fifty Shades of Gray...this is a test to see if she checked my work) on top of the flower.  Finally, find all the heavy books, unused barbells, or paint cans you have and lay them down on top. 
  4.  Wait:  If you check the pressing too soon it might mess everything up, so wait.  Someone told me to microwave the flower in 30 second increments while it’s being pressed to speed up the process, but that seems like much work.  After a day or two, you can check the flower to make sure it’s pressed correctly, but it needs to stay in the press for another couple of weeks.  Once the flower is thoroughly dried and flat, you are ready to go.  

I hope you like this and that you do not share this with your husband or boyfriend or men in your life.  Next week I’ll be back with another riveting post on the art of designing a centerpiece that will make any guest feel welcome…

A huge thank you to Josh.  Please show him some love and leave him a comment to let him know how much you like his post!



wedding registry: fine china

Good Morning!  Thank you all for the fabulous response to last week's Wedding Registry Question.  I'm having fun with it and I hope you all are enjoying it as well.

Today we focus on fine china.  I know lots of brides struggle over whether or not to register for something that is: a) so expensive, and b) not used that often.  I'll put your worries to rest right now and say...register for fine china.

Raynaud, "Allee Royale"

While you may not think you will use it (and you may not right away), one day you will host your boss for dinner, throw a surprise birthday party, or host Thanksgiving dinner, and I promise you will want fine china.  This is the one time in your life when lots of people who love you want to purchase beautiful things for your future.  Register for fine china (and silver, and crystal) and let them help you build a collection.  You are much more likely to purchase one or two more salad plates in ten years (when you decide you want to use your china) than you are to buy an entire set because you didn't register for it in the first place.

Royal Crown Derby, "Old Imari"

Now that we have that settled, here are a few things to think about when you are choosing your china:

1. How much will you need?  Typically, people register for 12 place settings.  While this is a good rule of thumb, you may consider getting extra plates (or entire place settings) if you have a large extended family, or if most of the gatherings you attend now (ie: Thanksgiving dinner) have significantly more than 12 people.   Keep in mind- it never hurts to have extra plates in case one breaks.

Philippe Deshoulieres, "Orsay"

2. What other pieces do I need? A typical place setting contains a dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate, and a cup and saucer.  All of these pieces are sold separately giving you the flexibility to chose things that reflect your personal taste.  For instance, if you don't typically drink tea or coffee after dinner, you might chose to get more salad plates in lieu of cups and saucers.  Finally, don't forget about serving pieces!  At a minimum, you will need a large platter, a medium platter, and two vegetable serving dishes.  Keep in mind that just like having extra dinner plates, having extra serving pieces is never a bad idea.

3. How do I chose my pattern?  Unlike last week's post about everyday china, for fine china you should consider a pattern that you will love forever.  Some brides know their pattern from the time they can walk, some chose their mother's pattern so they can combine sets when entertaining, and some have no idea.  No matter your situation, think about finding something classic (ask your mom or grandmother) and find a color scheme that you love.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Herend, "Chinese Bouquet"
Chinese Bouquet is a beautiful, classic option.  Herend makes tons of accompanying serving pieces and this pattern comes in blue, green, and rust.  Definitely one to consider!
Royal Crown Derby, "Derby Panel Green"
Derby Panel Green is our fine china.  I love green and gold and the accent salad plate sold me.  It also comes in a red color that would be fun for Christmas time.
Herend, "Princess Victoria" paired with Signature Monogram Charger

I love the idea of mixing different patterns to get something unique.  This is Herend's Princess Victoria paired with a custom, monogrammed charger.  This picture shows the two monogram options available, but the charger or plate would only feature one.
Herend, "Golden Edge" /Bernardaud, "Athena Platinum"/ Royal Crown Derby, "Carlton Gold"

Finally, neutrals are a good option.  They can mix well with other pieces you may acquire later and they are always classic.

I should also mention that I love the other patterns sprinkled throughout this post.  That Old Imari gets me every time!  What do you think?  Do you have any favorite patterns not shown here?



one-pan stir-fry

Happy Tuesday!  I don't know about you, but nothing makes me happier than not having a pile of dirty pots and pans to clean at the end of dinner.  I may be on the extreme end, but I rinse and re-use as many tools/pots/pans as I can while I am prepping dinner.  Some in this household do not subscribe to that theory, so this recipe is the perfect solution- literally only one pan!  In addition to minimal clean-up, it is a great way to get extra veggies into a meal and makes lots for leftovers.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Beef and Brussels Sprouts Stir-fry
Adapted from Southern Living recipe


  • 1/2 lb. flank steak
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided 
  • 1/2 C beef broth or water (I used water, but I will use beef broth next time for more flavor)
  • 1 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 12 oz. fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into small strips (I used a red, green, and yellow bell pepper cut up)
  • 1 Tbs. fresh grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Hot cooked rice, if desired
  1. Cut steak into cubes or strips.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  2. Stir-fry steak in a 1 Tbs. hot oil in a large skillet over high heat for 2-3 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.  Transfer to a clean plate and wipe skillet clean.
  3. Whisk together beef broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.
  4. Stir-fry brussels sprouts in remaining 1 Tbs. hot oil over high heat for 2 minutes until lightly browned.  Add peppers, ginger, and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Pour soy sauce mixture over veggies and bring mixture to a boil.  Cook, stirring often 3-4 minutes until veggies are tender.  Stir in steak.
  5. Serve over hot sticky rice if desired.



homemade sushi and barrister's ball

Good Morning!  Did you have a fabulous weekend?  It always goes by too fast around here, but I am told that happens no matter where you are!

So, I am hoping this weekend was my last real brush with winter before we move to sunnier and warmer climates.  I know, I know...I feel like I am always complaining posting about the weather, but we went from 70 and sunny on Friday to SNOW on Saturday morning.  I walked to the gym at 7 am it was cloudy and cool, and by 8 am on my walk home from the gym it had dropped about 10 degrees and had started to snow!  BUT, it wasn't cold enough for the snow to stick- so it looked like it was pouring, but pouring snow.  Crazy around here...crazy.

just about sums it up...Florida is calling my name!

Anyway, on Friday night Josh went gourmet and visited three different grocery stores to find ingredients to make sushi!  Doesn't this look delicious?!  We weren't very good at getting the sushi to stay in one piece (hence the picture only has two lonely looking pieces) but it tasted fabulous.  Do you all make sushi?  Do you know how to keep it from falling apart?!

Saturday we had our annual law prom, also known as "barrister's ball."  It was fun to pull out cocktail dresses and makeup after months of jeans...though I could have used a little Jergen's tanner if I had really planned ahead!  I had to laugh as I pulled out my cocktail dresses- I definitely had my "wedding phase" a few years ago when all cocktail dresses were one shouldered.  I think I had four "one shouldered wonders" in all different colors!

me and my cute date

law school girls at dinner
This week marks the last big "extra-curricular" push of my law school career.  It is bittersweet to have so much of my law school career coming to an end.  While I am excited for more free time after this week, it will be a little strange to have less and less to do as the semester progresses.  Thanks for all the love and support- one more push this week and then spring break is on the horizon!



hot pink pants

Happy Friday! Spring must be in the air because all I can think about are BRIGHT colors.  Right now I am loving hot pink pants.  While the color is bright, and may be off-putting for some, I think it is a fun color that can bring an outfit to life and be styled for different occasions.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to wear a pair of bright pants:

top /wool blazer /pants / heels / jewelry 

sweater / pants / shoes / necklace /sunglasses

chambray top / jacket / pants / shoes / sunglasses

What do you think?  Hot pink for Spring?!