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Saturday, June 30, 2012

day trip to israel

We went to Israel yesterday.  If I say it enough times, maybe it will feel real.  We went to Israel.  It was a completely surreal experience, one that I will treasure for the rest of my life.  We spent the bulk of the day in Jerusalem and I wish we had more time.  It was just incredible.  The highlight for me came at the very beginning of our day when we stopped at the Garden of Gethsemane.  Someday I hope to be able to put into words everything I felt amongst those ancient olive trees.  The nearness of the Savior was so strong and the atonement has taken on new meaning.  I treasure those moments in my memory.  Today the whole family is groggy after a very late return to Cyprus but really happy.  Our day in Israel was worth every moment of sleep deprivation.

Friday, June 29, 2012

guest post

I just stumbled in from one of the greatest days ever but am too tired to write about it now.  Instead you'll have to content yourself with my first ever guest post over on Fancy This.  Check it out!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

family in cyprus!

Over the past week, Mr. F's parents and sister have been visiting us and getting to know how we live here on Cyprus.  It has been complete and utter bliss.  Having family around to talk with, joke with, drink Coke with.  We haven't done anything really epic during their time here, but we've savored every moment.  For me, it has been a really wonderful opportunity to get to know this family that I've always loved even more.  Mr. F has been at work through a lot of their time so it's just been me.  I'll be honest, I was really nervous about this fact.  Being alone with the "in-laws."  Remind me to never feel that way again.  I'm already dreading the thought of them leaving.  I didn't inherit in-laws when I got married, I got a whole 'nother set of parents and a sister!  Luckily sister is hanging around a little bit longer with us because the idea of parting with everyone already is just painful.   It's been an easy trip and I am so glad to have them here.

(also, the giveaway is still open!  have you entered???)

Friday, June 22, 2012

golden ticket

I'm running around the island like a crazy person this week and especially today as I prep for the most wonderful thing to happen in nearly 9 months...FAMILY!  Mr. F's parents and sister are joining us for the next little while and we're kind of freaking out with delight.  We've been monitoring the flights to make sure they're getting here and I'm packing up stuff for a weekend away.  It's going to be so nice!  So while we'll be near Aphrodite's Rock and the Tomb of the Kings, all I have for you now is a picture of Taco Bell, which to this expat is just as beautiful as the rock on a hot summer day when I don't want to cook.  Be sure to sign up for the giveaway while I'm gone!  The prizes are so awesome and I really want you to have them, but you have to enter!

Anyway, wishing you a very happy weekend from a girl giddy with delight to see family in a matter of hours!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

i'm the worst model ever

{shirt: thrifted, shorts: nordstrom(caslon), sandals: h&m, necklace: j.crew, belt: ann taylor, pink daisy bag: vera bradley, giggles: c/o Mr. F}

this week's photos were taken while we absorbed the free AC at Mr. F's office over the weekend.  by the time I realized that I looked cute, the sun had already gone down and we were stuck inside.  thus followed a drowsy, overworked Mr. F taking pictures of a groggier and potentially sillier me. he gave me cues, be sassy, be angry, embrace your inner monkey.  every time he tells me to be sexy, I giggle.  every. single. time.  told you I was a prude!  and while I know these are blurry, I don't really care.  time with my tall guy is getting more and more scarce and I love that I have a few moments with him filled with nothing but giggles and silly.  if he keeps making me laugh, I don't think my modeling skills are going to improve anytime soon.  happy what i wore wednesday friends!

pleated poppy

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

summer giveaway

There's a lot to celebrate today.  It's my mom's birthday (WOO!!), family is coming in just a few days, it's not as hot, life is good...  The list goes on and on!  Because of all this happy, I thought we would party hearty with a giveaway.  And it's a good one.  Actually, it's two.  You heard me, 2!   Here's what we're doing.  1 free 8x10 watermelon print (a $20 value) to one winner and to another, a packet of 5 different summer lovin' cards (a $15 value)!  Be excited, be very, very excited....

So here's what you do...

1. follow this blog via google friend connect   skip to 2 and 3 (:
2. like our facebook page, and...
3. leave a comment here on the blog telling me what you love most about summer

extra votes for commenting and sharing on facebook

Winners will be announced next week.

Again, you could win either...
an 8x10 watermelon art print
5 summer-lovin' notecards!

Good luck and tell your friends!

Monday, June 18, 2012

a few things

1. wedding portraits are so much fun! I've been getting a lot of requests for them and, I'll admit, I just can't get enough.  I love trying to capture all the different expressions, not to mention all of the beautiful gowns!  too much fun, I say!
2.  I have the eating habits of a four year-old boy.  cheese quesadillas and sliced apples have been my dish of choice lately.  and yes, the apples have to be sliced, they don't taste as good whole.
3.  my basil plant thinks it's just as hot out as I do.  I water him and the next morning, he always looks like this.  poor guy...I feel your pain!

4. taco bell is coming to nicosia! having it in limassol, about an hour's drive away, was pretty exciting as it was.  but having it a fifteen minute drive away in a well air conditioned location?  genius, I say! pure genius!
5. after the weather looking like this for the better part of a week, I'm either ready to move or work on a serious attitude adjustment.  right now learning how to cope and not whine about perpetual sweat is a lot cheaper than moving.  wish me luck!
6. family comes on friday!!!!! WOOOOO!!!!!!   we've got some serious fun planned and some serious fun that I know is just going to happen without us planning it and I really can't wait to share some of it with you.

7. speaking of family coming into town, my summer schedule is filling up rapidly, so be sure to get your custom orders in soon!  between planned trips, a potential summer job for me, and orders already in place, space is getting limited.  email me for more details and pricing for special orders.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

father's day

Happy Father's Day to the men who taught us that life requires time at the beach, family, faith, good music, and of course, a guitar.  We love you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

strawberry lemon yogurt cake

You know a recipe is a good one when you get called a good cook immediately after serving said dish.  Such has been the case each and every time I have made this divine lemon strawberry cake.  It's moist, airy, refreshing...everything a good summer cake should be!  It is one of my always ready recipes for parties.  It's easier than it looks and offers itself as a stunning presentation piece!  It's so good, I used it for my own birthday cake.  Just think of all the summer get togethers you could take this to!  So, so good...

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake



2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

Zest of 1 lemon

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

8 oz. plain or vanilla, Greek yogurt

12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced


1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 325*. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan (10-15 cup pan.) Sift together the 2 ¼ cups of flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 Tb. lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. Toss the strawberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 Tb. of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


{shirt: esprit, belt: stradivarius, skirt: macy's, shoes: payless, necklace: j.crew factory, squints: compliments of the sun}

 This, my friends, is what happens when you try to look cute and have your husband document it in the middle of summer in Cyprus.  You squint, get disoriented, kind of want to cry because the sun is so strong, and then run inside the house as fast as you can to cool down.  This is our first summer here and let me tell you, I'm scared.  I really, really, REALLY don't do hot.  This week it's been flirting with the 100 degree (farenheit) mark a lot.  And our Cypriot cohorts are telling us that this is nothing yet.  Let me put it this way, nobody has turned on their air conditioners indoors yet because it's not hot enough.  Since when is 100 degrees not hot enough for the AC?!!?  What kind of strange, hot world have I stepped into?

Monday, June 11, 2012


I'm teaming up with Daryl of Roots, Wings, and Other Things for her big 500 Follower Giveaway.  Be sure to head on over there for more details!

cape greco

Mr. F didn't have to work this weekend...wahoooooo!!!!!  So we did what any pale skin living on a Mediterranean island would do.  We went to the beach.  I don't know if I've shared this before, but every time we go to the beach, we go to a different one, and each time the experience is wholly unlike the previous.  Saturday we went near Protoras, a village on the eastern coast hovering north of the breathtaking Cape Greco.  We found sandy beaches as well as sheer cliffs waiting for us to enjoy them.  We swam, read, and laid out under our striped umbrella.  Four hours and three days later, I still look like a tomato but it was so worth it!  The two of us got to enjoy a surprisingly stress free weekend and just be together.  It was perfect.

Except for my camera gave up the ghost.  Do you know of a point and shoot that needs a Cypriot home?  I promise I'll take care of it!
Happy Monday, my friends! 

Thursday, June 07, 2012

thankful thursday: friends

Mr. F and I got some pretty major news this week that will be changing a great many things in our lives.  (No, I'm not pregnant.)  I can't yet share what that news is yet, but trust me, it's major.  One of the elements of this new change is that Mr. F will probably be taken from home even more than he already is.  While grateful for the opportunity this is going to be for our little family, I was overwhelmed by a fear of loneliness that I already struggle with regularly while I am so far away from everything I used to know.  How would I possibly be able to handle such isolation?

Well, that fear lasted about five seconds as my Father in Heaven whispered sweet remindings of the dear friends I have made on this little island.  Those whispers turned into hugs, kisses, smiles, phone calls, and gatherings today as I spent a rather lovely day with these kindreds of mine.  I was able to share the news with some of them and others I just listened to their stories and the feeling of comfort and camaraderie blossomed and swelled at the rate of the Cyprus summer heat.   

I got home much later in the day than I had anticipated.  My basket that had carried a cake in the morning was stuffed to capacity with gifts and helpmeets from these women.  But my heart was even more full.  When I picked Mr. F up from work I could not stop sharing stories of my day and of the love these women had shared with our little family.  Not only did I not feel alone, I felt like my husband was not alone either.  And trust me when I say that is a big, big deal right now.

To my friends, both far and near, please know how dearly I love you.  To those of you whom I have begun emailing via our blogs, to lifelong friends who call on a whim, to my parents and siblings.  To all of you, you have filled my heart so much more than I thought it could be.  Thank you for loving me and caring for my family.  Mr. F and I are so much stronger and capable because of you.  To you, my friends, I offer my sincerest thanks.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

an ode to the maxi skirt

 {linen shirt: gap(thrifted), tank: target, belt: stradivarius, skirt: nordstrom, sandals: h&m, glasses: local shop, baubles: gifts, earrings: target}

I love this skirt.  I wear it all the time.  It's my go-to hot weather piece.  I feel dressed up enough to go out in it but it's cool enough that I don't perspire through everything in the first five minutes.  What I'm really enjoying is the straight cut.   I'm a girl with a partiality to trim, tailored pieces like pencil skirts and oxford blouses, so floofy, frilly summer skirts really don't ever do it for me.  The simple lines of my floral maxi really work for me though.  And..it's cotton!  It breathes!  Oh, glorious, glorious cotton, let me sing thy praise!  Now that I have the skirt I need to invest in starch so I can get my collar to stand up straight again...

Also, wanted to give a quick thank you to everyone who stopped by last week from The Pleated Poppy.  I was absolutely overwhelmed by your sweet comments and response to my ensembles.  You're lovely and I hope we get to see even more of each other!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

donut muffins

After much trial and error I have learned that I'm not especially fond of cooking.  I'm not horrible at it, I just don't enjoy it all that much.  Baking?  Baking I love.  I can't get enough of it!  For some reason or another it is so much simpler to understand for me.  This much flour, this much butter, presto-chango! Cake!  An old friend of mine, Angie over at Kneady Sweetie shares some really great recipes.  One of her recent posts shared her "donut" muffins and I knew that it was love.  They're so easy to make, extremely satisfying in a not overly sweet kind of way, and they make your house smell like nutmeg.  What's not to love about a recipe like that?

French Breakfast Muffins
via Kneady Sweetie


2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons milk
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled


Heat the oven to 375.

Butter the bottoms only of 12 standard size muffin cups and set the pan aside.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In separate bowl, whisk egg until frothy. Blend in milk, melted butter, and vanilla.

Add wet to dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

Bake 15 minutes. Rotate pan and bake 5-7 more minutes. Transfer pan to cooling rack until muffins are cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes.
While muffins cool, prepare topping. Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Melt butter in another small bowl.

Quickly dip tops of muffins into the melted butter and then the cinnamon sugar, rolling to cover the entire top. Serve immediately.

Makes 12 muffins

Monday, June 04, 2012

olive us

Have you checked out Olive Us yet?  If not, you should!  It is such a sweet reminder of childhood with fun things for your own little ones to try out.  Plus, the Blair children are really just as sweet as can be.  

Friday, June 01, 2012


Hah! It's the first of the month and not only do I  have a calendar ready to go, it's framed and I had to pull it OFF the wall to take this photo.  This is epic people, epic.  I am so incredibly excited about this month though that it's little surprise the calendar is done.  We have family coming all the way to little Cyprus to spend time with us, some fun trips, social outings, and probably a few changes.  It's just a lot to look forward to.  Plus, I'm using June as my prep month to get a whole slew of new cards, prints, and...wait for it...calendars ready for YOU!  That's right, come this fall, there's going to be a 2013 calendar for sale.  Oh...I'm excited...I really am!  Anyway, we're just kicking off a three-day weekend here.  Mr. F has to work clear through it but that doesn't mean there won't be fun!  Happy weekend, friends!