L’Auberge Del Mar Wedding, Part One
Aditya and Dana

He never thought of himself as a boy that was good with the ladies, and neither did his friends and family. He was simply Aditya - sweet, smart, ambitious, practical, and funny. So when those around him heard that he had a girlfriend - an outgoing, gorgeous girl with just as much talent and ambition as him - they all wanted to see proof that she was real.

And when they met Dana, they not only saw she that was real, but that she was the real deal for Aditya. Her warm heart matched his sensitive soul, his quiet nature balanced her boundless energy, and both of their brilliant minds pushed one another in their academic achievements. From the very beginning,  they were quite the pair. But when I see Aditya light up at Dana's laugh, and Dana lean into Aditya's steady arms, I know they will be real deal for a lifetime to come.

Aditya and Dana's wedding day was one of those elegant and traditional days with a stylish twist that Jeff and I simply adore. We had already fallen in love with the simply adorable Dana and Aditya themselves, but when we walked into Dana's parents home the morning of the wedding and saw a traditional-yet-modern Vera Wang gown hanging up, I melted into a puddle of happiness.

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Dana is a truly graceful girl, and I loved photographing her elegance.

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We spent a few minutes with the ladies before hopping in the limo to head to the ceremony at The Immaculata.

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Just minutes before the start of the ceremony...

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What beautiful moments my hubby captured...

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Married!

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The wedding party was magical to work with - Dana and Aditya have the sweetest friends!

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I loved that each groomsman wore a different tie in the same shade of blue. It added just the right amount of personality and interest!

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After the Catholic ceremony, Aditya and Dana headed out with all of their guests and family members to take part in a Hindu ceremony for the afternoon. Everybody met back up for the big reception at L'Auberge Del Mar, and we stole away with just Dana and Aditya for a few minutes before heading into the party. It was such a peaceful time!

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I'm head over heels in love with this shot of Aditya. It's the perfect mix of two traditions coming together.

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I've been keeping it pretty calm during Part One today and trying not to let on just how stinkin' excited I am to show off Part Two of this dynamite wedding. The reception decor by Jennifer Cole Florals is STUNNING and the moments are breathtaking... You'll get to see it all tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Hugs,
Erin


Wedding Photography : The Youngrens | Ceremony Location : The Immaculata | Reception Location : L'Auberge Del Mar | Event Coordinator : Adele Meehan | Floral Design : Jennifer Cole Florals | Dress : Vera Wang | Shoes : Manolo Blahnik | Make-Up : Paula Mayer Studios | Hair : Paula Mayer Studios | Band : Wayne Foster Entertainment | Reception Lighting : Classic Party Rentals | Catering : L'Auberge Del Mar | Rentals : Classic Party Rentals | Stationery Designer : Simply Posh Design | Transportation : La Costa Limousine |


    

The Youngrens - Jennifer I kept thinking about your wedding too! Wonderful memories that always warm my heart :)

Jennifer Ruark Spencer - I love seeing other people’s wedding pictures from the Immaculata. It makes me think about my wedding there with your stellar photography. Gorgeous as always <3

Tres Leches Bread Pudding

Awwwww yes... Easter. The day of chocolate shaped bunnies, deviled eggs, the official launch of the little summer dress, the only day I'll ever wear white gloves, and the end of lent. Oh the end of lent.

Ok, so I've rarely observed lent, but I'm slowly hearing the excited groans of those around me that are longing for their neglected shots of espresso, french fries, chocolate bars, and donuts - they're getting louder and more insistent as the end of lent draws near. So I realize this post will not help those dessert hunger pangs over the next week, but drop this little ditty into your crockpot the night before Easter and wake up to heavens opening up over Easter brunch. You'll thank me after its devoured.

This is a super easy crockpot bread pudding that is moist, sweet, and nutty. I love the Cinnamon Sugar Sauce that is drizzled over the top - when it's topped off with the sauce and a dollop of homemade whipped cream, this centerpiece of brunch is a true winner!

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You'll pull out of your baking pantry all of the essentials - and a good amount of creams - for this delicious dish.
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And don't forget the sauce - the Cinnamon Sugar sauce will take some buttermilk, corn syrup, and a dash of baking soda.
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You'll start by toasting your almonds for a minute or two in the broiler on a baking sheet.
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Then cut up your bread into one inch chunks. I couldn't find challah bread, so I actually used some Hawaiian sweet bread, which tasted pretty wonderful with this mixture. Definitely let your bread go stale for the best results.
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Then you'll mix together your wet ingredients, including your tres leches - whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and egg yolks.
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Then dump in your bread and almonds (which will be done by now) and mix it together until the bread is completely coated.
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Spray the inside of a slow cooker with non-stick spray, and the recipe suggests coating the inside with aluminum foil for easy removal and clean up. I didn't this time, but I definitely would try it in the future. There was some 'stickage' that happened for sure!

Dump in the bread mixture, cover, and cook on low for about four hours. It's done cooking when the center of bread pudding is set.
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When the bread pudding is finished, take off the lid and let it cool while you make your Cinnamon Sugar Sauce. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a  saucepan except for the baking soda. Bring to a boil.
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Remove the saucepan from heat, and slowly add the baking soda. The sauce will get bubbly, but keep stirring because this will make it thicken as the sauce cools off.
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Cut your bread pudding into portions, drizzle with the sauce and top with whipped cream to serve.
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I love this dish and how simple it is to make. Any slow cooked dessert is a winner in my book!
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Tres Leches Bread Pudding

(view original recipe from Cooking Channel TV)

  • Nonstick spray
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 9 large egg yolks
  • 1 loaf challah bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces (stale is best)
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • Cinnamon Sugar Sauce, recipe follows
  • Freshly whipped cream, for serving

Cinnamon Sugar Sauce

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

  1. Coat the insert of a slow cooker with nonstick spray. Line the insert with aluminum foil for easy removal, letting some foil overhand for handles.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and egg yolks. Toss in the cubed bread and the almonds and mix to coat all the bread.
  3. Add the mixture to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low until the center of the bread pudding is set, about 4 hours. Remove the lid and cool. Use the foil handles to lift the bread pudding from the slow cooker. Drizzle individual servings with Cinnamon Sugar Sauce and top with freshly whipped cream.
  4. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, buttermilk, corn syrup, vanilla and cinnamon and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and slowly add the baking soda. At first the sauce will bubble up, just keep stirring. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Hugs,

Erin

    

The Gift of Both

Jeff's sweet aunt sent us a truly meaningful Christmas gifts this past holiday season. She sent Jeff two prints - one of his grandmother and one of his grandfather. They are displayed in our living room, enclosed in the cardboard frames that the photo studio provided all those decades ago, which I think is absolutely perfect. I wouldn't want them framed any other way.

Jeff burst into tears the moment he opened the gift. His grandfather helped to raise him when he was a small child in Minneapolis while his mom was a flight attendant and his dad worked his full time 9-5. His grandfather passed away when Jeff was still very young, but those few years with him have lasted a lifetime. His grandmother is still with us and has been the rock of the family ever since.

I love that both of these prints were taken when Jeff's grandparents were both young - roughly the same age that most of our couples are today. In the millisecond that it takes to glance across the room at these prints displayed above my precious library of books, I become overwhelmed, sobered, thankful and humbled in one fell stroke. We get to envision and create these portraits for all types of couples that will someday become parents, aunts, great uncles, grandparents and great grandparents to the generations that are coming.

For Jeff, these prints represent the foundation of unconditional and ever-flowing love into which he was born.

For me, these prints remind me of our purpose. Thank you, Aunt Sharen, for the gift of both.

001002

PS Can you see where Jeff gets his boyish smile??

Hugs,

Erin

    

Dreams of Sheep
Reves de Moutons and Dreaming BIG

"If the life you dream of living is one you know you can accomplish, then you need to dream bigger."

I don't know where I got this quote or who said it, but I wrote it on the whiteboard in our studio last week after coming home from a trip to Paso Robles.

This past November, our friends, Evan and Kristy, sold or stored everything they owned and moved from San Diego to a teeny apartment in Paso Robles. Soon after, they purchased a ten acre farm, moved into their new home, painted and furnished every single room, bought a herd of goats and sheep (half of which were pregnant), built shelters, installed a chicken coop, delivered enough animal babies to DOUBLE their herd, and learned completely from scratch (and the Google-tubes) how to be sheep and goat farmers.

They have done all of this in four months.

FOUR MONTHS.

The best part of this story is the name of their farm, Reves de Moutons. This means 'Dreams of Sheep' in French. You see, Evan and Kristy started chatting about their long term dreams a few years ago, and they developed a mutual vision to own a farm somewhere in wine country that would have an inn for guests plus a cheese kitchen to make, enjoy, and sell cheese.

When this dream came to light, they didn't know a thing about how to make cheese or run an animal farm. They were natives to Baltimore and living in San Diego. She worked in Radiation Therapy and he's a photographer. But they just knew that it was what they were meant to be doing.

Jeff and I are no stranger to making big dreams a reality, but Evan and Kristy's story inspires us to dream even BIGGER. It should inspire all of us to dream bigger. For these two, the excuse of "I don't know how" just simply didn't exist. Instead, they leaned on their passion, ambition, and savvy financial heads to pull together their resources and build a plan to make their dreams come true.

A few weeks ago, we made a visit to the burgeoning Reves de Moutons to see Evan and Kristy's new life in action. Keep in mind that these two used to live in a beautiful three story Point Loma home with a 180 degree view of the San Diego harbor. Now, they live at the end of dirt driveway in a farmhouse surrounded by rolling green vineyards and pastures. When we stepped out of our car completely dumbfounded, we were greeted by two of the happiest rubber-boot-clad humans we've ever seen and a teeny baby goat ran up to us with joyful baby bleating and jumped into Kristy's arms...

This is the story of our two days at Reves de Moutons - the kind of place that proves that your WILDEST dreams can always come true with the right amount of ambition, a lot of work, and a bucket of faith.

Reves de Moutons_01

Both of us got the chance to get up early with Evan and feed the animals, which was the highlight of our trip. Another highlight - two baby goats were born while we were visiting, and Jeff and I were honored to name them Lavender and Clove (this herd is named after spices). This is Lavender at just a day old...

Reves de Moutons_02Reves de Moutons_03

And here's her brother Clove. Such a sweetie!

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The farm is surrounded by orchards and vineyards, so the scenery is somewhat epic.

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So many babies, so many mouths to feed.

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This is Bleu. His mom wouldn't nurse him so now he's bottle fed. Because he's bottle fed, he loves hanging out with us humans and thinks he's more of a dog than a baby goat. He's still small enough to fit through the fence, so whenever we come outside, he comes running to hang out. He's quite the cuddly fella.

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This is Evan who fits the perfect description of a wonderful sheep and goat farmer. He loves his herd and he loves his new life.

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I would keep an eye out for Reves de Moutons on the social media tubes as Evan and Kristy continue to build their dreams. If this is what they've done in a few short months, I can't wait to see how far they go in the coming years!

Hugs,
Erin

    

Erin - @Kendall Love that! Thanks so much for sharing – I am definitely going to hold on to that one for sure! I was talking to Jeff about the quote I used in the post, and we tracked it back to our friend Mingo who shared an incredible message at The Rock using the story of Peter casting his nets. He shared about how it was only when the Lord asked Peter to leave the shallows of the shore and cast his nets in the deep that the true miracles happened, Peter was transformed, and he dropped everything to follow Jesus. And then Mingo shared his own story about how he’s currently casting his nets in the deep and how the Lord has been showing up and changing his life… such a powerful message! If I find the message online, I’ll definitely post it here.

Kristy Bishop - Erin and Jeff, Thank you both for the kind words and for your support and friendship. We were so glad you could come up for a visit, and hope you will make many return trips! XOXOXOXO We love you both!

Tina Butrim - Absolutely beautiful! DREAM BIG!!!

Evan Bishop - Fantastic having you both stay! We loved sharing both the dreams that have already come true and the dreams still in the making. Can’t wait to have you up again, and thank you for such an amazing version of our story & images.

P.S.

Looked into the dozer & ditchwitch today. Both can be rented locally … Not sure about the keg of coors light though … Just sayin’

Kendall - What a beautiful place! Im not sure if you got the quote from seeing my facebook post a few weeks ago or not, but George Williamson shared this with us during his album recording: “Disturb me Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.” – Sir Francis Drake