HOTEL ON THE HILL: THE CAVALIER

We opted out of traveling this summer in favor of a fall vacation but that didn’t stop us from enjoying our own little stay-cation all season long at the newly renovated Cavalier Hotel. Re-opened this year after a four year renovation, this hotel has been a landmark to Virginia Beach since 1927. Now boasting opulent decor, a farm-to-table restaurant, and a lavish infinity pool, the Cavalier is the epitome of "old world" with a newly reimagined charm.

Becca Restaurant

From birthdays to anniversaries, Becca was our go-to for special occasion dining this summer. We took advantage of both indoor and outdoor dining during brunch, lunch and dinner throughout the season. Among my favorites were the Chicken and Waffles for brunch - with hand battered chicken served over the most delicious corn and rosemary waffle, the Becca Rotisserie Chicken for lunch, served in a wrap, and last but not least the Chesapeake Jumbo Lump Crab Cake for dinner.

The Plunge Pool

The indoor plunge pool transcends seasons and allows guests pool access by the beach all year long. I never actually had the opportunity to swim here but it was by far my most favorite decorated space in the hotel.

The Raleigh Room

Finally, our “stays” at the Cavalier were never complete without a stop by the Raleigh Room for conversation and cocktails. We particularly enjoyed lounging in the verandas surrounding the space and overlooking the gorgeous estate.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE. LENA TURNS TWO!

We have been extremely busy this summer season - transitioning to a new job and transitioning Lena to her first school (cue the tears). However, that did not stop us from taking time to plan a birthday party for our aforementioned toddler. All we needed was a low key BBQ (with a side of blooms and balloons) to celebrate our little firecracker turning TWO!

Because Lena's birthday is so close to Independence day (and also originally her due date) we decided to embrace the holiday with a red, white, and blue themed celebration. I found budget friendly florals from our tried and trusted Trader Joes in a combination of patriotic themed colors, including blue hydrangea, white chrysanthemums, and red hypericum berry filler. To coordinate with the theme, I bought stars and striped paper party goods from Meri Meri and Jollity & Co. And in saving the best for last, I enlisted the services of a local bakery, Incredible Edibles, for a combination of strawberry, blueberry and vanilla flavored cupcakes for the dessert.

I snapped a few of my favorite details before putting the camera away and choosing to be fully present with the time we had celebrating our sweet girl. It was the best feeling watching her run around our backyard with all of her friends, squealing with such joy and excitement. 

letter board: Letterfolk // tablecloth mat: Gathre // paper plates, cups, & straws: Meri Meri // blooms: Trader Joe's // desserts: Incredible Edibles Bakery // photo prints decor: Artifact Uprising

MOTHERHOOD MOMENTS WITH THREE GENERATIONS

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When I received the email for a Minimal Motherhood photo session with Nikki Santerre, fellow mama, friend and talented photographer who also recently captured our family’s Christmas holiday together here, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to capture a season that has come full circle, one between a daughter and her mother.

I have always admired my mom for more than just the obvious reasons - the overwhelming amount of strength she had to overcome a challenging childhood, to dedicate twenty years of her life to the U.S. Navy, much of which was spent away from her family during frequent deployments, and then the courage to carry on in the face of tragically losing her husband, my father. Now after becoming a mother, I find the appreciation for my own growing exponentially.

"My mother... she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her." ―Jodi Picoult

This calling that is motherhood is far from glamorous - the tears, the tantrums, the mundane routines of waking up at 5 a.m. to pack lunches and bags before heading off to work every day - yet, it is glorious. It is beautiful. Situated in the middle of this domino of life, I see so much of myself in my daughter and so much of my mother in myself. Each giving each life. That is the beauty of motherhood - this interweaving of life and giving. And so, I could think of no better gift for Mother's Day this year than to capture this life, these moments together as mothers.

Happy Mother's Day to my mama, to all moms, those present in life or in spirit, moms to be and those that someday hope to be. XOXO

photography: Nikki Santerre Photography // lena's outfit: Rylee + Cru // lena's shoes: Saltwater Sandals // my jumpsuit: Free People // my shoes: Lotta From Stockholm