THE GREATEST GIFT

Counting the days to Christmas has me mostly counting my blessings. Every year as the holiday approaches I think more about gifts that aren’t found under the tree. And the older I get, I think about the greatest gift of all: time. Time with my family and my friends. It’s true what is said, time is a thief, such a thief, and forever fleeting.

I’ve become somewhat obsessed with capturing all the moments in time and particularly our moments as a family. Like many, our holiday tradition includes family photos to document our time together. This year, I ran across a post for mini film sessions from a favorite photographer turned friend, Sarah Street Photography. We had the honor of working with Sarah when I was pregnant with Lena and it felt a little nostalgic to return in front of her lens again.

“We take photographs as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.” — Katie Thurmes, The Stories We Tell

Every year when asked what I want for Christmas, I can honestly say that I have everything I could ever want. That every day is a gift and I’m forever grateful for it.

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