Rebirth of Lady Nine

By September 28, 2015 C'est la Vie


Wynwood Walls in Miami

This blog has been asleep for a long time.  Too long in fact.  Even though it feels neglected, I do think about this blog almost daily.  It’s kind of like that wonderful friend that you know will always be there for a glass of wine and good conversation.  So, needless to say, I’m going to make a solid effort to come back.  The reason I started this blog was because I needed a creative outlet because my current day job was slowly hacking at my creative soul.  In the past year and a half….I got my dream job (in the creative field thank goodness), my twin sister/bestie got married, and I began the process of nesting our home.  Today, life is just as busy, I am just figuring out how to handle it all. In the meantime, I want to have good conversations again with a glass of wine…while blogging.  That just seems to make sense, right?  So here it goes.  Stay tuned for some good things.


~Lady Nine

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Dreaming of: Cozy

By November 25, 2014 C'est la Vie, Portfolio


It’s that time of year where the nights are much cooler than autumn breezes and the sun drops below the horizon way too early. These are the days I rush home and grab a warm beverage (or a glass of wine) and cuddle up next to the fire.   It’s a beautiful time when everything begins to quiet down, you reflect on summer memories, and ‘cozy’ becomes a state of mind and body.

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One Year Later. The Story

By November 12, 2014 C'est la Vie

Looking back on my wedding day is such a wonderful daydream.  There are so many small details I remember, and then there are also parts of it where I feel like emotions totally took over and I blacked out. From start to finish, the day was perfect. Planning a destination wedding helped some of the small details turn into wonderful surprises throughout the day.

The morning of our wedding, I woke up with a smile on my face that did not disappear all day. Jon and I walked downstairs to start our day with all of our family and friends in the breakfast room.  When we walked in, I looked around at all the smiling faces of our closest loved ones, and cheer and applause bursted from the room.  I knew it was going to a day I will always remember.

I kissed Jon goodbye and said I would meet him at the “alter” at 5:00pm.  Then I went with my photographer to walk around the Villa gardens to explain my hopes for our photos throughout the day. There was a light rain so we talked about potential options of moving the wedding indoors.  I really wanted to get married outside, so we just hoped that the rain would blow away and turn to sunshine by early evening.  As we were walking back inside, I past by the flower arrangements the villa had prepared for our wedding. Since this was destination wedding, I hadn’t seen any of the arrangements before, and seeing them at this moment made everything so real.  I was getting married that day, and these were the flowers that were to surround me as I said my vows.  They were the most beautiful flowersI had ever seen and smelled so incredible, that I almost thought someone had sprayed them with perfume.  I shed some happy tears and in my bumpy Italian, told Carla (one of the event coordinators) that they were perfect flowers for our special day.

After breakfast, I asked one of my closest friends who is a yoga instructor, to teach a yoga class for anyone that wanted to attend.  We cleared out a main sitting room in the Villa and my friend guided us through my favorite practice I’ve ever had.  Not everyone had perfect poses, and that is what made it so perfect.  It helped me to breathe and live in the moment of that beautiful day.

After the class, I decided to get ready for the ceremony.  My bridesmaid sisters had already begun and they were doing each other’s hair and makeup to get ready for our wedding.  Instead of getting ready myself, I sat amongst them and laughed and told stories of the past week in Italy.  I was blissfully happy surrounded by my friends and loved ones knowing that I was going to marry Jon that evening.  My cousin asked if she could start on my hair and I happily obliged ready to let the festivities begin.


As I put the final touches on my makeup and the Villa staffed handed out the bouquets, I was so happy I had my MOHH Annie (self titled Maid of Highest Honor), to tell me what to do and where to be.  With a deep breath, I walked towards the terrace to walk down the steps to the garden to marry Jon.   Most of the rain had cleared up, but there was still a small soft rain coming down. I will never forget the sight and the smell of fresh garden rain.  I walked down the steps and focused on Jon’s smiling face, knowing I could not have been any more happy to marry him that day.


The ceremony was short and sweet.  It was officiated by a close family friend who added in his personality and character.  It made the entire experience more joyful.  When we finally kissed as husband and wife, I was the happiest I have ever been in my entire life.  Afterwards, the wedding party walked back into the covered patio and we had a champagne toast waiting for us.  Pictures and cocktail hour begun, and we mingled and cheered to our wedding.


Dinner was served and each course was more amazing then the next.  The head chef came out after the meal and we gave him a round of applause and said it was the best meal we have ever had.  My MOHH sister had turned DJ by this point (she really wore a lot of hats that day) and invited Jon and I to the dance floor for our first dance.  We danced to Louis Armstrong’s “La Vie En Rose” as everyone around us watched and smiled.  We then danced with our parents, and then had the whole party join us on the dance floor.  We danced through the night and I was not the least bit tired when the Villa staff brought out our cake and more champagne.

When the day finally came to an end, I felt as though I could burst with all the love I had for all my family, friends, and my new husband.  It was the most special day of our lives and looking back after a year has gone by, I realize that this is only the beginning of our beautiful life together. Per Siempre!


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One Year Later. The Details

By October 17, 2014 C'est la Vie, Style & Beauty
For weddings, it’s all in the details, right?  Funny enough, the details were the things I had the least to do with!  The best advice I ever received while wedding planning was to pick my top 3 priorities and then let everything else be secondary.  Therefore, when it came to the smaller details of our wedding, I didn’t have a lot to stress about.  The lovely part of taking that kind of attitude, was that the staff at the villa was able to put their own personal touch on the wedding. That meant more to me than asking for a particular kind of napkin just because I thought it would match the tablecloth.
Every bride dreams of what kind of wedding dress she will wear when she says, “I do.”  I was one of the lucky brides that ended up choosing the first dress I put on.  I bought my dress from BHLDN when it was only an online shop.  I ordered it in the mail and had it shipped to my sisters house.  One night, over a few glasses of wine my mother, sisters, and some girlfriends were all around while I tried on my dress.  I absolutely loved it.  Tears came to my eyes immediately.  I felt beautiful, comfortable, and most importantly, I could see myself marrying Jon in that dress.  Just for fun a few weeks later, my sisters and I went to some local bridal shops to have the “dress shopping” experience and be sure I chose the right one.  No dress compared and we ended that day knowing I chose the right one for me. To this day, I still love my dress and hope my future family generations will be able to use it in some way.
I only had two instructions for the villa staff for the wedding.  I wanted as many things as white as possible, and I wanted my bouquet to be white peonies.  The only reason I (and Jon let me win this one) chose to get married in May, was so I could have peonies at our wedding.  They are my favorite flower and the I love the rarity that they only bloom once a year.   The villa staff knocked this one out of the park, and they found ways to incorporate them into the ceremony and dinner decor as well.  My bridesmaids also held baby’s breath bouquets which added softness to our Italian garden wedding.   It was the most heavenly sight.
The table at our wedding dinner was wonderful.  Since we had such an small wedding, we were lucky enough to have everyone sit in a large square.  This allowed for everyone to see each other and still have conversations with people at their own table.  The staff had decorated the table beautifully using elements from around the villa.  Each place setting had an olive branch on the plate and the place cards were drawn out my Jon (being married to a talented artist has its benefits!). The villa’s staff had put a huge beautiful bouquet in the center of the dining tables and they even brought in potted olive trees and hung candles from them for additional ambience.
In my opinion, Italian food is the best cuisine in the world.  On top of that….Italian food in Italy, is truly an experience of its own.  We were so fortunate that we had found a villa that not only was a beautiful place to have a wedding, but the food was of the utmost quality.   Almost everything we had for dinner was local, and much of it was grown in the gardens at the villa making for the most delicious meal I’ve ever had in my life.  Course after course was brought out to our tables, and each one was more amazing than the next.  At the end of the meal, the chef came out for us to give him a round of applause and kisses on his cheeks.  Everyone was so full, we had to kick off our shoes and dance.
I could not imagine my wedding without music and dancing.  I come from a long line of “dancing in the kitchen while you cook” dancers and it was only natural that we incorporate that fun into the wedding. Since all the Italian DJ’s I found on the internet seemed a little too cheesy, I decided to save some money and make a playlist of my own.  The villa had some speakers to connect my iPod playlists to, and with my sister sporting some sunglasses and using a hairbrush as a microphone, we had ourselves quite the dance party.   It was a perfect way to end the night of our dreams.

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One Year Later. The Location

By May 21, 2014 C'est la Vie


This coming weekend is my wedding anniversary with Jon.  To say that the past year has zipped by would be an understatement.  Even though we had been together for 6 years before getting married, this past year as husband and wife was more special to us.  Re-living every moment and memory of that day in my head is my favorite pastime. The sights, the sounds, the smells, I truly remember it as if it were yesterday.  It was the best day of my life, a perfect day with imperfect details.  Looking through my past posts, I’m shocked and ashamed of myself that I haven’t shared my wedding day with you all.  So I figured our one year anniversary is the perfect time to share and relive all the memories.  I will post our wedding in a series of three; the location; the details, and the story.  Let’s talk first about location.


Before Jon and I got engaged, we were sitting on a park bench at Lake of the Isles talking about our future.  We both agreed that Minnesota or Florida (where Jon is from) didn’t feel like the right place for us to get married someday.  For some reason, neither one of us could picture any other place than Italy (where we first met) for our nuptials.  When the time finally came for us to start planning, I brushed up on my Italian translation and started searching for villas in Italy.  I had to consider accessibility, food, and overall feel of the villa.  When I google searched “villa in Italy,”  a thousand options populated, and none of them seemed right, or would be financially available for our guests.  So I started using google in a different way.  I used the map function and began looking at the business in each of the surrounding towns of Florence. It was then I found Villa De’ Fiori.

pic2.1This was a villa that seemed to have it all; incredible food, beautiful space, and enough room for all our guests.  I contacted them and right away I received a response from Elisa who I now consider a lifelong friend for all her help with our big day.  The villa was a beautiful representation of all things Tuscan, and the staff that worked there treated my family and I as if we were royalty. Villa De’ Fiori is located in Pistoia, a quick train ride from Florence for our guests. The main houses of the villa contained many rooms, each of them with unique names and characteristics.  There was a beautiful garden, a pool, and an outdoor terrace for dining al fresco.


Since I wanted our wedding ceremony outside, the staff was gracious enough to set up a floral arc and aisle  in the main garden.  After our wedding, we took pictures in the gardens and then had dinner on the terrace.  The staff at the villa were so friendly, accommodating, and fun, I felt as though they were part of the family by the end of the weekend.  Not only were they so enjoyable, but the level of professionalism was incredible.  The food and service were impeccable.  I truly was impressed with all Villa de’ Fiori had to offer, and my only regret was that we did not stay longer. I wrote a detailed review on Trip Advisor, and I truly hope it inspires you to spend your holiday here.  I am absolutely positive it was the best decision of our wedding.





 *All photos courtesy of Shanna Jones Photography 

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Dreaming Of: April Showers

By April 11, 2014 Portfolio


It has been a wonderful week for Minnesota weather.  Usually we don’t have much of a spring season, we get snow right up to summer months, and then it hot and humid and my hair looks like I’ve put my finger in an electrical socket.  However, this past week was a breath of fresh air. We hit 70 degrees on Wednesday and teetered around 60 degrees for the rest of the week.  This coming weekend we have a rainy day in the forecast and I could not be more pleased.  The sound and smell of the rain is peaceful and therapeutic to me. If we get distant rumblings of thunder, I might just let out a small squeak.  April showers bring natural elements indoors with wooden decor, washed pastel tones, and intricate prints you would find in a French countryside guest cottage.   Spring rain is meant to wash away the season of the past, and breathe life into new beginnings of the year.  This weekend, you will find me on my porch holding a cup of tea and listening to the rain.  I hope you all have a beautiful weekend.

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Gallery Wall

By April 4, 2014 Home & Entertaining


Moving into our condo has been a lovely experience. Not only do we have more square footage, but we also have more wall footage (I’ll be calling Webster tomorrow to add that to the dictionary).  Someday I hope to live in a house that has floor to ceiling windows instead of walls because I’m obsessed with natural lighting.  But for now, I have lots of walls to display artwork that is near and dear to our hearts.  Lucky for me I married an artist, so we have an large supply of beautiful artwork. However lucky for you, Jon sells most of his work so I only was able to pick a few from the “not-for-sale” bin. I love the look of a gallery wall and  I didn’t follow any rules when putting it up on the wall.  I just tried to ensure the pictures were straight and the bottom row was even.  Some are framed, some are frameless; some are oil paintings, while others are sketches; some are photoshopped photographs, while others are vintage photos.  See? No rules. I laid out all the potential candidates on the floor and then switched them around until I found a layout that I liked. I had to stand on the coffee table a lot to get a good view of everything. Then we started from the middle bottom painting and worked our way up and out across the wall.  After they were all put up, it was really amazing to see how it looks together.  The center is one of our wedding photos, five others are Jon’s art pieces, one of my photographs from Venice, and then prints and pictures that have been in my family for years. It’s kind of like a family history up on our walls.  It’s a great conversation piece and really connects the living and dining areas. I love looking at it every day and hope to expand it more over the years.





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Stress Fix – Lavender Bath Salts

By April 2, 2014 Home & Entertaining, Style & Beauty


Just like everybody else, certain days at my job are more stressful than others. Luckily I work with some pretty fun people, and we can usually find creative solutions and have a few laughs along the way.  However, on the days where the going gets tough, we turn to stress fix. We only had a trial size version of this magic potion, but it was this little pick-me-up that reminded us of warm weather, long summer days, and that somehow all would problems would work out in the end.  We soon ran out of that stress fix (Minnesota winters are dry and lotion is a hot item to have around the office), so I was inspired to figure out what else I could incorporate that lavender scent into.  I just happened to have dried lavender sitting in a jar from a friend, so I decided to try making Lavender Bath Salts.  I looked at a few recipes, and they all seemed to follow the same guidelines. I somewhat followed this recipe, using only dried lavender, lavender essential oil, epsom salt, and vitamin E capsules. I combined all ingredients into a large mason jar and gave it a good Tom-Cruise-in-Cocktails shake (this may also help with your stress).  The result=a relaxing and detoxifying soak in the tub.  I told my pregnant sister about the salts, and she even asked to take some home so she can have a little R&R.  I think I may have to package this up in little jars and give it away as Easter gifts.  I hope you find time to make your own stress fix, whatever that may be!




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Dreaming Of: Neoteric

By March 26, 2014 Home & Entertaining, Portfolio


I’ll admit it. When I first gave a title to this board, I had to look up this word.  I will also shamelessly admit that I have the dictionary app on my phone that comes in very handy at times like this. I’m not even sure you would have to look up this word, it seems to spell itself out.  Modern. New. Recent.  All these words lead you to the road of: Neoteric.  I love this visual because when I created it, it really pushed me outside my comfort zone. Usually, I am drawn to all white rooms, neutral palettes, and simple clean design.  This board is loud, colorful, bold, modern, and well…neoteric (see?! the perfect word).  Even though I am quite sure that I cannot work all of this color into my home decor, I love the modern designs and fun symmetry of these objects. They are eye catching and have pushed my influences and decisions in a whole new direction. Now that the seasons have changed, if you are looking for some new ideas for your home, perhaps neoteric is the way to go?  Ka-Pow!





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Hardcovers and Paperbacks

By March 17, 2014 C'est la Vie, Food, Home & Entertaining

Since Jon and I have moved to our new place, my commute to work has increased from 20 minutes to 40 minutes.  At first I was kind of annoyed at the fact that it takes me longer to get to work because we moved less than 3 miles from where we lived before. However, I have to say that thanks to NextIssue on my Ipad and books on my kindle, I love the extra time to read books or magazines that I didn’t have time for before.  I’m not one that can get through a book a week, but I do enjoy the quiet time of reading or getting swept up into the plot of a novel. Here is a list of books I have read, currently reading and will be reading in the next few months.

Have Read:


The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress

A well written historical fiction about three women in the roaring 20’s that have their lives intertwined because of the men they are involved with. It combines everything that the era is known for and the murder mystery plot has a surprise twist at the end.  An easy read and I’ll be looking into the other books by this author.


The Alchemist

Whenever I find myself day dreaming about the future or trying to figure out my path in life, I turn to this book.  Very few books I read more than once, but this one I have read a handful of times.  I find the lessons in it so meaningful and can be applied to various aspects of my life.  Right now is a tough spot for me professionally, but I am thankful for the opportunity to  take my life in any direction I want.  If you have not read this book, do it. It’s beautifully written and I hope Paulo’s words help you to find guidance if ever in need.

Currently Reading:


The Monuments Men

I am only a few chapters into this book, but I am already hooked. If WWII had a baby with Art History…wait, that doesn’t sound right. Whatever. It’s a great book so far and I’m so interested in reading another story of this war that hasn’t been told before.   I’m also trying to read it as fast as I can because Jon wants to go see this in theaters.  It’s a tall order, but keep your fingers crossed for me!


Giada’s Feel Good Food

As an Italian and life long fan of Giada, I own all of her cookbooks and have loved watching the evolution of her business and brand.  This is her most recent cookbook, and it’s filled with tons of recipes good for your mind, body, and soul. Even though she is a chef and not a nutritionist, she is very mindful when choosing ingredients that tastes good and is good for you.

Will Read:


Picture Perfect Parties: Annette Joseph’s Stylish Solutions for Entertaining.

It’s no secret that I love to entertain. Since buying a new place, I think Jon and I have hosted at least 10 dinner parties or other fun events at our home in the past 4 months.  With the weather turning to sunshine and the desire to dine alfresco, I will be reading this book for tips, tricks and inspiration for our soirée’s ahead. Cheers!

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