Rustic Chic Baby Shower

Elizabeths Baby Shower (3)This past weekend our family celebrated something wonderful {well, we've actually been celebrating for months but on Sunday we went all out}! My daughter Elizabeth and her husband Jon are expecting their first baby in January. Her sisters and I couldn't wait to plan the shower. In fact, the minute we found out they were expecting we were on it. It's who we are. Planning parties is my favorite thing to do and my daughters are right there with me. It was a beautiful shower and a fabulous day so we wanted to share it with you.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (13)We chose a unique location at Historic Acres of Hershey. The venue was once a working farmland and is home to an Antique Mall that has been in existence for over 20 years. The Coop was the perfect setting for our Rustic Chic themed baby shower.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (4)The bright yellow doors were a wonderful welcome into this adorable building. The antique wood floors, exposed wood beams and scattered chandeliers had me at hello.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (6)Elizabeth and Jon live in Alaska (I know, let's not go there) so we wanted to keep the theme clean, fresh and earthy to mirror the life they are living. The gender of the baby had not been revealed so we decided to keep the decor all white with touches of green. The tables were covered with Staccato linens  and topped with beautiful fresh flower arrangements that included succulents, a personal favorite.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (7)We added a non-traditional touch by placing gilded woodland animals (reminiscent of Alaska) around the tables along with potted succulent favors for the guests.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (10)A sweets table was a must and all white was the theme here as well. Pretty little paper bags were placed on the table so guests could take home their treats.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (9)This simple white cake was the highlight of the dessert table. I think we all fell in love with the adorable handmade bear topper that Kyrsten of Kyrsten's Sweet Designs created especially for Elizabeth.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (5)A clothesline full of onesies added the baby element to the shower and was the focal point over the buffet.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (11)In order to stick with a simple, clean look we opted for neutral colored baby clothes and added handmade fabric tassels to the onesie garland. I'm in love with this look!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (12)Pink or blue drink stirrers were a fun way for guests to share their opinion on whether the baby was a boy or girl.... most people chose blue!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (1)Shower games seem silly at times but offering them as an option creates an element of fun and sparks conversation. This game gave the guests a chance to guess how big Elizabeth's baby bump was. It was a huge hit!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (2)The Price is Right guessing game was a hit as well, mostly with moms who know all too well what it costs to shop for a baby!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (14)The absolute most favorite moment and highlight of the day was when Elizabeth surprised her guests as she opened a huge package (supposedly from Jon) that released pink helium balloons revealing that their little bundle was indeed a girl. Words just cannot express the joy that filled that room. It was truly one of the most exciting things I have ever witnessed. I had the privilege of helping with the surprise so to have the opportunity to sit back and watch the reaction was awesome!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (16)Elizabeth loves s'mores so we decided to set up a s'more bar for the guests outside on the patio.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (15)We got the men in the family involved and asked Elizabeth's dad and brother Michael to create a table top version of a fire pit to keep things simple. It was a huge hit with no mess and easy clean up!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (8)It was a fabulous day and these girls made it happen. I am truly blessed to not only have 3 amazing daughters (and a very talented son) but to have the most wonderful family and friends to share these special moments. Life is so much better when you are giving so find what makes you happy and share it with someone.

Celebrate the little things and find the joy in everything. It's what makes life so worthwhile!

Enjoy the day,

Leslie xo

 Photo Credit- Doug Reese, Leslie Reese

*A special thanks to Doug Reese Photo for the use of his photos.

Favorite Things

Emerson Turns ONE!Emerson's First Birthday Party (9)Hello! Yes, it's me! I'm actually posting something! And yes, it's been months...too many months but hey, better late than never right? I figured it doesn't need to be all or nothing and as inconsistent as it is, I refuse to give up the blog! So, if I have something to share and if I can find the time, you will see a post! Look at it as a little surprise in your day!

So while we're on the subject of surprises and celebrations, I thought I would share a very special first birthday party with you. My sweet little granddaughter Emerson turned one in May and her very creative mommy planned a party to remember! You know I absolutely love parties and this one was as cute as they get!  It was a celebration fit for a little princess with pretty flowers, pink and gold accents, girly party food and a chandelier....because every birthday girl needs her own chandelier! I'm sharing some of my favorite photos from the day. Happy Friday!

First Birthday Party via Pretty tables topped with Gold Chevron, a sprinkle of Metallic Confetti  and Pink Peonies.

Emerson's First Birthday Party (1)Satin Ribbon in shades of Pink and Gold Glitter tied loosely around Emerson's birthday chair.

Emerson's First Birthday PartyWooden letters O N E and a petite chandelier to decorate the birthday table.

Emerson's First Birthday Party (11)Pink Lemonade and Strawberry flavored water station.

Emerson's First Birthday Party (15)Gold Stripe and Pink Polka Dot straws.

Emerson's First Birthday Party (5)The food was designed around small bites. The Yogurt Bar was my personal favorite.

Emerson's First Birthday Party (4)Mini Smoothie Shots topped with Raspberries.

Emerson's First Birthday Party (3)Heart shaped Peanut Butter & Jelly/Marshmallow Sandwiches ~ A birthday girl favorite.

Emerson's First Birthday Party (10)A Pink and Gold Birthday Cake by Kyrsten's Sweet Designs ~ Perfection!

Emerson's First Birthday Party (7)Of course Emerson had her very own cake!

Emerson's First Birthday Party (8)This very serious Birthday Girl was rather cautious with her cake. If you could only see her view! There was quite a crowd watching her (should have captured that pic!).

Emerson's First Birthday Party (6)Pink Chevron and Gold Goody Bags ~ Filled with candy of course.

Emerson's First Birthday Party (13)A truly special day for a happy little birthday girl!

What a wonderful time we all had! It was so much fun to watch the wonder in Emerson's eyes as we ooohhhed and ahhhhed over her first birthday celebration. This is a great life and I'm happy to be living it!  And I am especially grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of these fun times! I hope you are all having a beautiful summer and enjoying the special times that are happening now with your family and friends! Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Favorite Things

Favorite Things FaceAbout Face

This winter has been brutal in my neck of the woods! And as much as I love all four of the wonderful seasons we get to experience in Central PA, I am ready to kiss this one goodbye! The cold temps are wreaking havoc on my skin and when you add that to the fact that I'm not getting any younger, the need for a good skin care routine is a must. Don't get me wrong, I am completely willing to accept the aging process and plan to do so gracefully but hey girls, why not preserve what we've got? I think it's important to be proactive and using products that work helps! I thought I would share some of my latest skin care favorites with you today. Happy Friday!

Mia_White_Front_1000x1000Clarisonic Mia ~ Morning  and/or Night

This little gem paired with your favorite cleanser is a great way to start and end your day. It does a great job at gently but thoroughly cleaning your skin. I've had mine for about a year and I love it!

SCS031_lSkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Gel ~ Morning

Recommended by my Dermatologist, this power packed Vitamin C Gel delivers a healthy dose of antioxidants that do a nice job of repairing and protecting my skin. LOVE it!

Kiehls EyeKiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ~ Morning & Night

This awesome eye cream was in the Swag Bags at the Nordstrom Beauty Trend Show last April and I have been using mine ever since. It's lightweight but does a great job of hydrating. I'm hooked!

Kiehls FaceKiehl's Ultra Facial Cream ~ Morning & Night

Another Swag Bag treat that just might be my favorite right now. While I usually prefer a lighter moisturizer, this intense cream is perfect for keeping skin hydrated in these bitter cold temps. It's like a huge drink of water for your face!

z0ao0ran_201305152236088183 Replenix Retinol Smoothing Serum 10x ~ Night

The older I get the more I appreciate the word Retinol! You know the whole fine line thing... (nothing fine about lines on your face!) And although I am not a fan of most Retinol products because they can irritate my skin, I do love this one! A little goes a long way when I add it to my moisturizer making it last twice as long. Bonus!

Agave Nectar

Farmhouse Fresh ~ Agave Nectar Body Oil

Taking care of your skin doesn't stop with your face. I decided to try a sample of this body oil last fall when I was wearing a cocktail dress and heels. I used it on my legs and I LOVED it! It wasn't greasy and sticky like some oils can be. It absorbed really well and gave my skin a nice subtle glow (a perfect fix for that winter white look). I've been loving it ever since!

Take control this winter and make your skin a priority! Do at least one little thing for yourself each day and notice the difference it makes! You're worth it! Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Life is Good

Elizabeth's Wedding  copy (640x424)I know, your jaw is on the floor and you're wondering what is going on! A blog post? Really? Yes, really! What has it been? Three, almost four months? I feel like I've been on another planet and I've missed you! And I've missed my blog like crazy! I wanted to hug it when I signed on to write this post (not kidding)! The good news is I have been busy doing something I really love! Here's the story...

20130706-DTS_7324 (640x426)

Last year I decided to start listening to my inner self and I began to follow my true passions in life.  Since then, things haven't been the same. Along with some other amazing changes, I started working full time at Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster, PA as a Wedding Sales Consultant. (You may remember my daughter Elizabeth's wedding was there.) The place, the people and the job are all awesome and I love it! If you ask me how I got there, I will tell you it was fate. It's been an amazing few months and a perfect fit! The bad news is, my new schedule has not given me time to blog the way I used to. And those of you who work full time know days off are precious. The race to tackle the to-do list begins the minute you leave the office. So obviously the blog went to the bottom of the priority list.

Well last week, for some reason, I decided to bump the blog up a notch on the list and get back to it. Call it perfect timing, prioritizing, whatever it was, I decided to sit down and write. I'm looking forward to blogging again whenever I can, about whatever I'm in the mood to share. No schedule, no plan (if you know me, that's not easy!)

So to give you an idea of what I've been up to, I decided to share a few of my favorite photos that I've captured at Cork Factory Hotel. I think you'll see why I love it there!

Cork Factory Favorite ShotsThis is a wedding cake in progress behind the scenes at The Baker's Table, our on-site bakery. It's fun to see all of the beautifully decorated cakes that come out of this bakery. The talent is extraordinary.

Cork Factory Favorite Shots (1)Another day, another gorgeous wedding cake from The Baker's Table.

Cork Factory Favorite Shots (2)Each event is so very different and it's fun to see how people celebrate special occasions. This is a simple candlelight wedding ceremony in one of the newest event spaces at Urban Place, The Warehouse.

Cork Factory Favorite Shots (3)Meeting so many wonderful people in the wedding and event industry is definitely one of my favorite things about this job. I had the opportunity to sit down with Janell Berte of Posh Bridal recently to interview her for a Cork Factory Hotel blog post. These wedding dresses are just a few of the many stunning designs in her upscale shop.

Cork Factory Favorite Shots (4)Another "perk" to the job is having so many amazing coffee shops and restaurants to visit while I'm in the area. I have a few favorites but one of the best cups of tea I have had was at a little place called Cafe Di Vetro. You know how I feel about detail and presentation and this was one of the best!

So there you have it! You are officially updated and I am happy you are here. I'll look forward to staying in touch and keeping you posted! You can look forward to some more frequent posts and a possible new twist to the blog!

Have a wonderful week!

Leslie xo

Paper Flower Wall DIY

Paper Flower Wall via Leslie ReeseI am one of those people who is always looking forward to the next party or celebration. I just love making the most out of any holiday or event.  I absolutely loved helping two of my daughters plan their weddings and I honestly can't wait to do it again someday for the next one! I live for this stuff! What's fun is that each wedding is as unique as the people getting married. This past July Elizabeth and Jon got married at the Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster, PA. Elizabeth had a vision and knew exactly what she wanted. In case you missed the last post, you can find a little recap here. It was truly a beautiful day. One of our favorite things from that day was the paper flower wall that stood as a back drop during the ceremony and reception. We made it ourselves. It was a labor of love and we were thrilled with the result. We thought it would be fun to share the progress of such a big project with you.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (15) (640x489)It all started when we had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Martha Stewart Bridal Market Party in New York City last October. It was a real Who's Who in the event planning world. It was a fantastic night and as you can imagine there were amazing things to see and do. One of the things that caught our eye was the photo booth. The wall behind it was covered with white flowers. It was beautiful.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (14) (640x426)At the time, Elizabeth was engaged and the minute she saw the wall she said " I want this at my wedding!" So naturally, since I'm her mom and a person who loves a creative challenge, my answer to her was " Then you shall have it!" We stood in awe of the wall taking pictures and examining the flowers. The whole thing was made from paper. It was so cool. No big deal...right? Well, sort of...

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (11) (640x426)Soon after we returned from New York City we began the process of making this wall happen. We had 9 months, which was plenty of time, but we couldn't find a how-to anywhere. Not on Martha Stewart's website and not even on Pinterest! So we decided to just figure it out. We started by making tons of paper flowers. We made patterns and cut them out of everything from single sheets of copy paper to rolls of craft paper. The varied weights in paper gave the flowers a few different looks.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (12) (640x507)Elizabeth made a job out of designing and cutting paper flowers.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (13) (640x426)We had flowers everywhere so we carefully attached them to a bare wall in our basement to keep them from getting wrinkled or torn.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (4) (640x480)While we were creating the flowers, Jon and his dad constructed a 12' high by 8' wide wall that would wrap around the fireplace in the ballroom at the Cork Factory. We tested the fit before the big day to make sure it worked. The Cork Factory staff was fantastic to work with and were happy to accommodate us with this project. We just love them!

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (6) (480x640)Once the wall was constructed we attached the flowers to it. We used a combination of glue and staples.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (5) (529x640)In order to make it portable Jon and his dad used five separate boards to create the wall. Three across the front and one on each side. They would all be attached together at the venue.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (7) (480x640)Once most of the flowers were attached we stood each section of the wall up to see how it looked (it helped that Jon's dad's basement had high ceilings!). We added more flowers to completely fill the wall.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (8) (501x640)The wall was transported to the venue the day of the wedding in a covered truck. A HUGE thank you to Jon's dad Glenn for making that happen!

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (640x426)When the wall was set up in the ballroom we touched it up with a few more flowers and a little bit of glue. We lined the base of the wall with glass vessels filled with water and floating candles. It softened the look and gave the wall a romantic glow.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (1) (640x426)Mission accomplished!

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (3)This paper flower wall was truly a labor of love. Elizabeth had a vision and with some hard work and  the collaboration of some amazing people it became a reality. And it was perfect!

Have a beautiful day!

Leslie xo

Hello September

Elizabeth and Jon  Wedding July 6 2013Welcome to September! I can't believe July and August are over. How did that happen? It seems like just yesterday I was saying "I'll be back soon" and all of a sudden we fast forward to September and the last few months are memories. I hope you had a wonderful summer! Mine was filled with celebrations, new beginnings, adventures and time spent with family and friends. It flew by quickly! When that happens we sometimes find ourselves hanging onto the season, not wanting to let go of the here and now. Other times we feel ready for a change. It's why those back to school commercials resonate with mothers everywhere! Either way, it's time for transition and ready or not, here it comes. I love this time of year so I will be embracing the new season and all that it brings but before I jump into fall recipes and cool weather projects, I want to share one of my favorite summer memories with you.

My daughter Elizabeth was married to the love of her life, Jon, in July. It was a magical day and I can honestly say I have never seen her happier. The entire process leading up to that day was wonderful. It was a fantastic collaboration of amazing people and it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had. I loved every minute of planning this special day with Elizabeth. We worked hard, laughed a lot and even shed a few tears. It was truly the highlight of our summer.

Cork Factory Hotel Wedding ~ Elizabeth and Jon The wedding was held at the Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster, PA. The wood ceilings and brick walls of this 19th Century building once housed the historic Armstrong Cork and Kerr Glass companies. This well preserved structure was a perfect setting for Elizabeth and Jon's special day. The awesome photos in this post are the work of New Chapters Photography, in Harrisburg, PA.

Handmade Paper Flower Wall via Leslie ReeseElizabeth had a vision for a white flower wall that would be the backdrop for her wedding ceremony. After weeks of cutting and gluing, we covered the entire 8' X 12' structure with handmade paper flowers that we designed ourselves. We were thrilled with the end result. I will be sharing the experience from start to finish in an upcoming post.

Candles and Paper Flowers via Leslie ReeseFloating candles in a variety of glass vessels lined the bottom of the flower wall giving it a soft romantic glow.

Wedding Programs via Leslie ReeseHandmade programs tied with coral ribbon were hanging from chiavari chairs for each guest.

Simple Garden Flowers via Leslie Reese #weddingsElizabeth wanted simple but elegant hand tied bouquets of garden flowers. Blooms by Vickrey in Camp Hill, PA did a fantastic job with the entire wedding. Owner Mark Vickrey was on site all day making sure everything went as planned. Not only did that give us peace of mind, Mark was a blast to work with. He is one of our favorite vendors.

Handmade Wedding Headpiece via Leslie ReeseElizabeth's headpiece was beautifully unique and a perfect compliment to her dress. When she decided to wear a headband I thought I would try to make one for her. I designed it to include a removable veil so she could wear the headband during the reception. It was so simple to make and was special for both of us.

Babies Breath Balls #weddings #flowersSimple elegance was the goal for this wedding. Elizabeth chose balls of babies breath, some of which were suspended over the tables, instead of traditional arrangements. Another job well done by Blooms by Vickrey.

Individual Miniature Wedding Cakes via Leslie ReeseIndividual miniature wedding cakes made by Kyrsten's Sweet Designs were placed on the tables for each guest. Kyrsten is an extremely talented local baker and cake designer from Harrisburg, PA. I will be sharing more about her and her amazing work in an upcoming post.

Chocolate Covered Sugar Cookie Spoons #events #coffee #tea via Leslie ReeseA few of our favorite things from this special day were the ice cream bar, the homemade chocolate covered sugar cookie spoons on the coffee bar and the fact that the guests loved taking their cakes home in individual boxes. We even included a fork just in case they wanted to dig in before they got home!

It was a wonderful day and a memory that will last a lifetime! What is your favorite summer memory? Do you have one or are there many that you will tuck away? It feels good to be blogging again! I'm looking forward to sharing lots of new things this fall so stop back soon. I hope your summer was memorable and you are heading into the new season looking forward to all of the wonderful things to come! There are so many!

Leslie xo

Photo credit and many thanks to New Chapters Photography! Another favorite vendor!


Stone-Harbor-Sea-Glass-Beach (640x426)It's hard to believe it's July! Where did June go? Summer is moving along quickly and lately I find myself trying to slow it down in an effort to really enjoy each moment but like it or not, it just keeps moving. It's been a busy year for our family. We have so many wonderful things happening. We welcomed my beautiful little granddaughter in May, we're celebrating my daughter's wedding in a matter of days and our entire family will be gathering at the beach for a wonderful summer vacation. My family is spread out from the West Coast to the East Coast but they are all slowly traveling to the same place to be together to celebrate and have a good time. I feel very blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. I want to soak up every minute with them and for that reason I will be taking a little break from blogging in order to fully enjoy every little thing that goes on! Don't worry, I will be collecting photos and memories and will blog about all of it when I get back, especially the details of Elizabeth and Jon's wedding! In the meantime if you're looking for some recipes, DIY projects or things to do this summer, I have a few ideas. Check out these past blog posts.

Nut-Free-Pesto Nut Free Basil Pesto

Have some basil growing in your herb garden? Try making pesto. It's quick, easy, and freezes well.

blackberry-jam Blackberry Jam

Capture the flavor of summer with this fresh blackberry jam recipe.

Peach-Berry-CrispPeach Berry Crisp

Peaches and berries come together to make this delicious summer dessert.


Who doesn't love Sangria in the summer? Get ready for happy hour with these three recipes.

Stone-Harbor-Sea-Glass-1 (640x426)Sea Glass

Heading to the beach this summer? Keep your eyes open for Sea Glass. It's one of the prettiest treasures on the beach.

Beaded Bracelet DIY DIY Beaded Bracelet Tutorial 

Looking for a summer project? Try making your own beaded bracelet.

Dip-Dye-Scarf-12 Simple Dip-Dye Scarf

Accessorize your summer wardrobe with this simple DIY project.

Celebrate the little things, enjoy the people around you and have a wonderful summer! I'll see you soon!

Leslie xo

Favorite Things

Favorite Things Cake StandsI am not someone who collects things and I really don't like clutter but lately I am realizing I have an obsession. It's an obsession with cake stands and I can't seem to stop. I love them! I love to bake too and since I am a detail person, I think a pretty dessert should be sitting on a pretty plate. I can't help it. It's who I am. So naturally, every time (well, almost every time) I see a beautiful cake stand, I imagine the dessert I would serve on it, and I buy it.  I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with you. Happy Friday!

Favorite Things Cake Stands This little green cake stand is one of my (very) favorites. The color is fun and the size is perfect for petite desserts.

Favorite Things Cake StandsI love the detail on this little glass cake stand and the dome on top just makes it extra cute.

Favorite Things Cake StandsThis pink cake stand was a gift from my children. I love the color. It makes serving cake more fun!

Favorite Things Cake StandsThis square cake stand is great for serving things like brownies and bar cookies.

Cupcake-Stand-DIYThis stand is from a Dessert Stand DIY  post I did last year. I've made some fun stands but this blue one is my favorite.

MSW-Cake-StandsI took this photo during the Martha Stewart Living Behind The Scenes Tour last fall. I have never seen so many beautiful cake stands!

Bakers Table Cake Stands This photo is from The Baker's Table in Lancaster, PA. If you're local check it out! They have the most amazing selection of cake stands! Each time I go in I have to look at what's new before I do anything else. It's getting dangerous!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

The Baker's Table cake stand photo: property of The Baker's Table

Favorite Things

Summer Survival via Leslie ReeseThe summer season is fast approaching and temperatures are warming up. Beach vacations, outdoor workouts and dining Al Fresco are a few of my favorite things to do this time of year. For me, summers are all about keeping things light and simple. It's a laid back time of year. I'm all for no makeup days, simple accessories and minimal fuss to make the summer routine quick and easy. So when it comes to beauty and skincare I have some favorite things to help me lighten up for the season. These are some of the things that you'll find in my travel bag right now. Happy Friday!Summer CeraVe SPF

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF

In January I shared a great tip from my dermatologist,  CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion. It's inexpensive and effective. During the summer months I make sure I use the AM lotion with SPF 30 every day.

Summer Body ButterShea Body Butter from The Body Shop

I love  Shea Body Butter. It's hydrating and works well to keep skin soft without feeling greasy. I've been using it for years.


Summer Sugar Lip TreatmentSugar Lip Treatment with SPF by Fresh

Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 is great every day but especially on a beach day.

Summer Almay Waterproof MascaraAlmay One Coat Waterproof Mascara

Remember, great beauty products aren't always expensive. Almay's One Coat Waterproof Mascara is my choice for smudge free eyes all summer.

Summer Benefit Watts Up Watt's Up! Highlighter by Benefit Cosmetics

A little touch of Watt's Up! Highlighter above your cheeks and you just brightened up your whole face. I love this anytime but it's perfect for those no makeup days!

Summer Bobbi Brown

Beach Fragrance by Bobbi Brown

One of my favorite summer fragrances is Beach by Bobbi Brown. It's a fresh, light scent that is so reminiscent of summers at the beach.

Summer Essie Polish Come Here

Essie Nail Polish in Come Here

A  bright summer color like Essie Nail Polish in Come Here is always fun for beach toes.

Summer Pura Vida BraceletsPuraVida Bracelets

PuraVida  bracelets are one of my favorite summer accessories. They are lightweight, colorful and fun to stack together. PuraVida donates a portion of the proceeds from each bracelet sold to help clean up and preserve beaches and oceans worldwide. Very cool.

Enjoy the warm weather and have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Favorite Things...One Year Later

One Year AnniversaryOne year ago today I entered into the blogging world and published my first post on Leslie Reese. I had been looking for a way to share the things I love to do and blogging seemed like the perfect way to do that. I enlisted the help of a graphic designer and while she was busy designing the layout of my blog, I was figuring out how to work with WordPress, and on May 24th the blog was launched. It has been a journey and the past year has been quite a learning experience. I have really enjoyed taking photos, trying new recipes and visiting fun places. I love blogging and one hundred posts later, I can say it's been an awesome year! Since today is Friday, I thought it would be fun to share my favorite posts from the past year. I've chosen one from each month since the blog was launched. I hope you enjoy looking back with me. Happy Friday!

2012Stone-Harbor-Sea-Glass-1 (640x426)May - Sea Glass

flower-garden-daisyJune - Fresh Cut Flowers

Roasted-Rosemary-CashewsJuly - Roasted Rosemary Cashews

Summer-Sangria (558x640)August - Sangria

Terrain-Entrance (640x468)September - A Trip to Terrain at Styer's

Homemade-PastaOctober - Homemade Pasta

Pecans-And-Pretty-BoxesNovember - Pecans and Pretty Boxes

Gingerbread-Church December - Gingerbread Church


Stacking BraceletsJanuary - Favorite Things ~ Accessories

Elizabeth-Bridal-ShowerFebruary - Bridal Shower Love

Lemon_Cheese_Bars_2March - Lemon Cheese Bars

Favorite Things Cheese BoardApril - Favorite Things ~ Simple Cheese Board

Cocktails and Cake Decorating May - Favorite Things ~ Cocktails and Cake Decorating

I appreciate each one of you for stopping by, following along and giving me your feedback. I have truly enjoyed writing about some of my favorite things and it's been fun sharing those adventures and stories with you. From recipes to baby showers you have joined in the fun and stayed in touch. I am grateful for the support. If there is one thing I hope to do with this blog, it's to inspire you to celebrate the little things in life. So often they are the things that matter most and while so many people are busy worrying about things that won't be important a year from now, those little things you do will be remembered for years to come. So live your life, have fun and find something to celebrate every day! I'll be here doing the same!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Favorite Things

Favorite Things Tea A Cup of Tea {in my grandmother's tea cup}

Last September I told you I had become a coffee lover after a recent trip to Italy. I fell in love with Italian espresso and have been drinking it ever since. Before that I was an avid tea drinker and although coffee is now my favorite wake up call, I am still a tea lover at heart. I just drink it later in the day as a way to relax instead of waking up with it. There is something soothing about sitting down to a cup of tea. It can be an afternoon recharge or a quiet way to end the evening. There are so many varieties to choose from and lots of benefits to drinking it. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite "tea" things today. Happy Friday!

Favorite Things Tea (8)I'm a big fan of loose tea. I like to buy different varieties but Ceylon is my favorite.

Favorite Things Tea (5)I love this little gadget called the ingenuiTEA. It's the coolest way to brew loose tea.

Favorite Things Tea (3)Decaffeinated Ceylon Tea from Harney & Sons is my favorite afternoon tea. It has all the flavor of a good black tea without the buzz.

Favorite Things Tea (6)Tea should be poured into something pretty. I bought this hand painted mug on a trip to Alaska. It's one of my favorites.

Favorite Things Tea (4)I love the flavor of lemon in tea. And I'm a huge fan of lemon wedges because you can't squeeze skinny slices! Silly but true.

Whether you enjoy tea or coffee, pour a cup, relax and enjoy the moment. Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Try this recipe for Pine Nut Orange Biscotti with your tea or coffee!



Favorite Things

Favorite Things Mother's Day (6) Favorite Things Mother's Day (8)This Sunday is Mother's Day. It's a day to honor not only our mothers but all of the important women in our life. It's a time to say thank you and a time to be grateful. So much of who we are we owe to them. They love, teach and guide us all of our lives.  I personally feel I would not be the mother I am today without the love and support of my own mother. The dedication and commitment she has shown her family over the years is truly admirable and I am a better person because of it. Today I thought I would share some favorite photos of the most influential women in my life. They have shared so many wonderful gifts through the generations and although some of them are no longer with us, their gifts will be present forever. Happy Friday!

Favorite Things Mother's Day (1)This is my maternal grandmother. She was an amazing woman. She loved unconditionally, had tremendous faith and a compassionate heart. She touched everyone's life in a positive way and treated every person she met with love and respect. She was full of wisdom and an absolute joy to be around. She was an amazing role model.

Favorite Things Mother's Day (3)This is my paternal grandmother. As an Italian immigrant, she worked hard to create a better life for her family. Hearing the stories of her voyage to the United States and all that she had to go through as a young mother traveling alone, makes her a hero in my eyes. Having a conversation with her was a history lesson that I only learned to appreciate once I grew up. Her cooking skills were something not many of us have mastered but what we did learn made us better in the kitchen. She was a wonderful woman.

Favorite Things Mother's Day (5)This is my own mother. I could write a book about her. She has shared so many gifts I will forever be grateful for. My creativity, love of tradition and dedication to my family are some of the things I have learned from her. She always celebrated the little things in life and still does. She knows how to find the joy in anything and would rather take a last minute trip to the zoo with her great grandchild than cross something off of her to-do list. She is a wonderful mother, grandmother and now a friend. I feel blessed that I live close to her and have the opportunity to spend so much time with her. She is amazing.

1998This is one of my favorite pictures of my four children. It was taken 15 years ago in one of our favorite places, Stone Harbor, NJ. When I look at this picture, I see four beautiful people who have made my life complete. From the time they were little we have been making wonderful memories. We played in the sand, danced in the rain, ate ice cream late at night in pajamas and sprayed silly string all over the yard, just because. It has been a privilege to be the mother of these great kids and I have loved every minute of it. To me, this weekend is about them.

Favorite Things Mother's Day (4)This is my daughter Lauren with her son Braden. I will never forget the day he was born. It was one of the happiest days of my life. You can't imagine a joy greater than your own child until you have a grandchild. The past two years have been some of the best in my life.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Take time to be grateful for the people in your life. Thank them and show them you care and remember you just might be a bright spot in their life too!

Happy Mother's Day!

Leslie xo

Photo of Lauren and Braden by Mariclare Lavelle

Favorite Things

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (2)Cocktails and Cake Decorating

Last night I hosted a Cocktails and Cake Decorating Class at The Baker's Table in Lancaster, PA.  This hip new bakery was the perfect place for a Girl's Night Out. I remember the first time I stopped in. I took one look at the large communal table and collection of antique baking tools that decorate the room and I knew this was a place I would visit often.  The casual but creatively arranged space makes a great backdrop for so many events. I held my daughter's bridal shower at The Baker's Table in February and once that was over, I suddenly felt the urge to throw another party (this happens often) so I decided a cake decorating class would be next on the list. It was a fantastic night full of great food, lots of laughs and a whole lot of buttercream! It was so much fun, I thought I would share some of it with you! Happy Friday!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating - CopyAttention to detail is so important and The Baker's Table excels at it. Everything from drinks to food was beautifully arranged. It's one of the things I love about this place!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (1)A wonderful selection of hors d'oeuvres including Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad and Foccacia Pizza were on the menu.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (3)Sparkling wine in a can?  This Sofia Blanc de Blanc Mini is the cutest thing I've ever seen on a cocktail menu!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating - Copy (2)Executive Chef Tammy Hurley led the decorating class and taught us how to frost and decorate a cake with basic buttercream. I am blown away by her talent!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (1) - CopyShe makes it look so easy!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (3) - CopyTammy also shared her secrets on decorating with melted chocolate.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (5)Each guest had the chance to test their skills on their own cake.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (4)Bags filled with frosting and decorating tips were available to try the different designs on our cakes.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (6)Beautifully decorated cakes were placed on the table to guide and inspire us.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (2) - CopyAfter my first swirl, I thought this was going to be easy.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating - Copy (3)After a few more swirls, I realized it was not easy and I gained even more respect for Tammy!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (8)Getting together with good friends was so much fun. There were lots of laughs as we frosted our way through this class.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (7)Having my mother and two of my daughters at the event was really special. I love making memories with them.

These are a few of the finished cakes. I'd say there are some talented cake decorators out there!  Cocktails and Cake Decorating (4) - CopyCocktails and Cake Decorating (5) - Copy Cocktails and Cake Decorating (6) - CopyThe Cocktails and Cake Decorating Class was a blast and I can't wait to do it again! Whenever you bring great people, cool places and fun ideas together, it's bound to be a wonderful event! Maybe we'll see you at the next one! Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Favorite Things

Happy BirthdayIn my family, spring is the season for birthdays. We have so many to celebrate and it seems like every few days we are singing to someone. By now you know I love a party, so having so many opportunities to make people feel special is something I look forward to. Some of the people I love are close by and some of them are far away. All of their birthdays are special to me. So for the ones that are close by, I might make cupcakes or buy balloons. For the ones that are far away, a card, small package or a simple phone call might do. The point is to celebrate! This week I thought I would share a few of my favorite birthday photos. Happy Friday!

Happy Birthday (1)Bake Cupcakes!

Happy Birthday (2)Throw Confetti!

Happy Birthday (3)Send Cards ~ these cards came from all over for my son's recent birthday. Family rocks!

Happy Birthday (4)Blow Up Balloons!

Happy Birthday (5)Light Candles and Sing!

Everyone deserves to be celebrated so if you had a birthday recently, I hope it was happy! If you have a birthday coming up, Happy Birthday to you! May your day be as special as you are! Celebrate the people in your life whether they are near or far. The smallest gesture just might make someone's day!


Leslie xo

Favorite Things

Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (5)I love living in an area where we can fully experience all four seasons and the beauty that comes with each one. I look forward to spring every year and the color that pops out from every corner of the earth. It's such a beautiful time of year. My neighborhood is lined with flowering pear trees and they are breathtaking when they are in full bloom. We have had some  gorgeous weather in the last couple of weeks so I decided to head over to the Hershey Gardens to wander around and see what else is blooming. I snapped a few photos as I walked around and although they are far from professional, I wanted to share my favorites with you. Happy Friday!

Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (1) Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (2) Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (3) Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (4) Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (6) Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (7) Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (8) Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (9) Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (10) Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (11) Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie Reese (12) Spring Color at the Hershey Gardens Via Leslie ReeseI hope you are enjoying a beautiful spring and the color that is everywhere. Remember to take time each day to look around and enjoy the little things. In a world where there are so many sad things going on and people are hurting, it's those little things that matter. Don't take them for granted and be thankful for each day!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Favorite Things

Travel via Leslie Reese If you know me, you know I like to travel. I worked in the travel industry years ago and fell in love with the idea of wandering the globe the minute I took my first trip. I like to explore new places and try new things so the idea of hopping on a plane or taking a road trip has always been exciting to me. I have been fortunate enough to travel to some great places, both near and far but my favorite trips are the ones taken with family. Some of the best memories are made that way! I am usually traveling this time of year but since I don't have anything planned right now, at least not in the very near future, I am reminiscing and I thought I would share some of my favorite places with you. Happy Friday!

Citta Sant Angelo, Italy via Leslie ReeseCittà Sant 'Angelo, a town in the province of Pescara, Abruzzo, Italy.  A beautiful town where my entire family stayed on a trip to trace our family heritage five years ago.

Soho NYC via Leslie ReeseWandering the streets of SoHo in New York City.  Whether you are eating,  shopping or people watching, it's a cool place with a great vibe.Napa Valley California via Leslie ReeseRoaming through the Wineries in Napa Valley, California.

Stone Harbor NJ via Leslie ReeseWatching the sunrise in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. One of my favorite beaches.

Sanibel Island FL via Leslie ReeseWalking the beaches on Sanibel Island in Florida collecting sea shells.

Seals at La Jolla CA  via Leslie Reese Watching the Harbor Seals and enjoying the restaurants and shopping in La Jolla on the California coast.

Flower Fields Carlsbad CA via Leslie ReeseWalking through The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch in Carlsbad, California to enjoy the breathtaking view of the blooming Ranunculus.

All of these places hold special memories of good times spent with family and friends. I'm not sure what's next but I'm looking forward to wherever the next adventure takes me! Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Photos by Leslie Reese

Favorite Things

Simple Cheese BoardCheese Board by Leslie ReeseWeekends are a perfect time for last minute gatherings and thrown together happy hours. Some of the best times start with spontaneous invitations that turn into an evening full of laughs and catching up with great friends. When I find a party happening quickly I'll throw together a simple cheese board with some of my favorite things, open a bottle of wine and we're good to go. The key word is simple, not everything has to be over the top! Happy Friday!

Cheese Board by Leslie ReeseI assemble my cheese board right on top of an old cutting board that was made by my grandfather. I use this board for everything!

Cheese Board by Leslie Reese (6)I like to use cheese serving paper on my boards but if I don't have any, a brown paper bag works just as well. Write the name of the different cheeses on the paper instead of using cheese markers. Simple!

Cheese Board by Leslie Reese (1)Crackers

Cheese Board by Leslie Reese (2)Seedless Grapes

Cheese Board by Leslie Reese (3)Cashews

Cheese Board by Leslie Reese (4)Sliced Dried Figs

Cheese Board by Leslie Reese (5)Fig Balsamic Vinegar tastes amazing drizzled on top of cheese.

Cheese Board by Leslie Reese

Cheers to spontaneous gatherings and good times! Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Favorite Things

Favorite-Things-Easter (640x426)It's hard to believe it's almost April and Easter is just two days away! If you read Tuesdays post, you know I am a bit nostalgic, so it should be of no surprise to you that I might reminisce a bit more today. I can't help it! Holidays always bring back fun memories and I love reliving them! Easter is a religious holiday for most of us and in my house it is a priority to recognize the reason we celebrate this day. On the flip side, we are also celebrating with baskets of candy, colored eggs and family dinners. It's all part of the fun and for most kids that basket of goodies they find in the morning is the most exciting part of the weekend. I vividly remember hunting for our baskets Easter morning when I was a kid. They were wrapped in colored cellophane and filled with small toys and lots of awesome candy, most of which you would only see once a year. Even though my kids are grown, I will search for these favorites every Easter just for the fun of it! Happy Friday!

Favorite-Things-Easter-Candy (1)Spiced Jelly Beans ~ my absolute favorite!

Favorite-Things-Easter-Candy (2) Malted Milk Eggs ~ AKA Lipstick Eggs.  My sisters and I would paint our lips with these eggs when we were kids.

Favorite-Things-Easter-Candy (4)Candy Coated Marshmallow Eggs ~ harder to find each year but worth searching for!

Favorite-Things-Easter-Candy (5) Peeps ~ It's not Easter without traditional yellow chicks and pink bunnies.

Favorite-Things-Easter-Candy (6) Hershey's Milk Chocolate Eggs ~ there is just something about the shape that makes them taste better than kisses.

Favorite-Things-Easter-Candy (7)Hershey's Candy Coated Chocolate Eggs ~ Love these crunchy little chocolate eggs.

Favorite-Things-Easter-Candy (3)Chocolate Easter Bunny ~ No Easter basket is complete without a chocolate bunny. My favorite ones are the old fashioned unwrapped bunnies with candy eyes.

However you are spending your Easter holiday, make if fun and make it memorable! Have a wonderful  weekend!

Leslie xo

Favorite Things

Favorite-Things-Spring (2)Each time a season changes, we are reminded of how quickly life moves and how important it is to stop and pay attention to the little things around us. This week we welcomed spring and although there is still a chill in the air where I live, there are some definite signs winter is slowly moving out. If you look around, you'll notice that things are starting to come alive.  There are buds on the trees, the birds are singing and the flowers are peeking out of the ground. Spring is another opportunity to reflect, make changes and look forward to the many wonderful things ahead. Today I thought I would share some of the little things I've been noticing as spring begins. Happy Friday!

Favorite-Things-SpringAlthough it seems to be a myth, robins have always been considered a sign that spring has arrived.

Favorite-Things-Spring (1)As the tulips start to rise, I look forward to the color that will be scattered throughout my flower beds.

Favorite-Things-Spring (3) Pansies are one of my favorite flowers. They are hearty enough to stand up to the last of the cold weather so they are the first flowers I plant each spring.

Favorite-Things-Spring-RabbitI love to see rabbits wandering around the yard, another sign that spring is here.

Favorite-Things-Spring - CopyOne of my favorite signs of spring is when the pussy willows start to bloom. Their soft fuzzy buds are such a perfect announcement of the new season.

We are in a transition right now and it's a beautiful thing to watch. Enjoy all of the little things spring has to offer because before you know it, they'll be gone. Life moves fast, don't miss it!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Robin and Rabbit photos courtesy of Doug Reese

All other photos by Leslie Reese

Favorite Things

Favorite-Things-St-Patrick-DayIrish Shamrocks

This weekend people everywhere are going to be getting their green on while they celebrate St. Patrick's Day. There will be parades, pub crawls and a lot of green everywhere to carry on this Irish tradition. One of my favorite memories of St. Patrick's Day is of our family traveling to New York City to see The Lion King on Broadway and then watching the St. Patrick's Day Parade march down 5th Avenue. It was quite a spectacle. My kids were young and had so much fun wearing green beads and shamrock glasses while the floats and bands went by. If you have never been to New York City to watch a parade, put it on your bucket list. It's a great time! This week I thought I would share my favorite green foods to kick off the celebration. Happy Friday!

Favorite-Things-St-Patrick-Day (2)Lime Green Finger Jello

Favorite-Things-St-Patrick-Day (1)Spinach linguine with basil pesto sauce

Favorite-Things-St-Patrick-Day (3)Irish Cheese ~ Kerrygold Dubliner with Irish Stout

Favorite-Things-St-Patrick-Day (4)Green Spearmint Leaves Candy

Favorite-Things-St-Patrick-Day (5)Granny Smith Apples with Caramel

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Have a great weekend!

Leslie xo