Author Archives: the mrs.

a matron of honor speech for my sister’s wedding

For those of you I have not met, I am Anna, the bride’s older (and definitely wiser) sister. Just a warning: I make up in honesty for what I lack in brevity.

As your older sister, Laura, and while I have the time and your attention, I would like to first take this opportunity to remind you that while you are a smart, capable, driven young woman, you will never be as smart, capable, or driven as me. Just kidding (no, really, I am).

I thought it wise to include here insights from older generations of happily married couples in our family, but then I thought: No. I mean, let’s be honest, I’ve been married for a few years now, so Robert and I are clearly the experts. Laura and Tripp, I’ll share with you some of my own marriage advice:

Tip One: Go to bed angry. It’s better to go to bed angry than stay up all night fighting – you’ll need your rest in order to win the fight the next morning. Never give up, never give in. Trust me, this is important. Laura’s competitive Camp genes will show through soon enough, Tripp. Just wait.

Tip Two: Always encourage each other to continue improving as people. For example, Laura, if Tripp comes home from a Saturday round of golf and flies through the door with his score, say, “I thought you were better than that.” It will encourage him to try harder next time. Laura’s confrontational Italian genes will show through soon too, Tripp. You’ll see.

Tip Three: Monograms are over-rated. No, seriously, they are. Some day, you will regret that your LBR’s are plastered on every dish, glass, blanket, doormat, and tray. And, Tripp, her obsession with monograms will seem a lot less charming in a few years. Giving in to her demands for that embroidery-covered, ruffled duvet will feel like a mistake soon enough … just wait. Remember, you heard it here. The older sister told you so!

But, seriously, though…

As a married couple, Let things go. When you share your life with someone, you see each other when you’re happy… but also when you’re sleepy, sick, stressed, when you have a bit of spinach in your teeth, when you’re unbearably sad, when your eyes are puffy from crying, mornings when a certain girl wakes up hungover from too many Kir Royales and just can’t deal with life in general… Basically, there will be times when you’re grumpy and snappy, and if your partner is going through something hard and snaps about something random, LET IT GO. Don’t escalate things, don’t take it personally.

Try new things together: move to new places, try new foods, travel when you can.

Say “I love you” during arguments and fights. Gently say those three words – “I love you” right in the middle of an argument. The secret to a long and happy marriage is not the idea that nothing bad is ever going to happen. But it’s that when something bad does, you know how to get through it together. One of the most important things is that when you’re having an argument, instead of ratcheting up the emotion, you diffuse it. It doesn’t make everything instantly better, but it helps.

And, finally, kiss each other in the kitchen.

Tripp, you are the luckiest man in the world to get to marry such a beautiful, driven, family-oriented girl, and if this incredible wedding weekend is any sign of what is to come for your future, you will both be truly blessed. Laura may shop too often or too much (and p.s. moving her to New York City is not likely to help this habit), BUT she is loyal, she is determined, and (while her political leanings have gone a bit off track in recent years) she has a strong moral compass. She will love you no matter what. While Laura may have been her high school AND college homecoming queen (you can’t make this stuff up), she’s still a girl with a gentle soul that is excited to embark on a new life with her new husband. Tripp, with the same enthusiasm that she displays toward her shopping sprees, monograms, and homecoming crowns, she will lavish on you ten-fold.

I see how happy you both make each other, and as Laura’s sister, that makes me so, so happy.

As Shakespeare wrote, “May you be merry and lack nothing.”

Let’s all raise a glass to the new Bailey monogram …

C H E E R S !


Leave a comment

Filed under marital bliss

dearest nonno

The image I have ingrained in my head is of his hands.

The last photo I took of my Nonno were of his strong yet gentle Italian hands, taken on Thanksgiving Day, the day before he left us. They were peacefully clasped on top the sheet over his sleeping body. I held his hands, they were warm and fidgety. But something told me it would not be long before I could no longer hold them.

Some of my warmest memories as a child involved these hands. They spoiled my sister, brother, cousins & me with homemade donuts, sugary candies, many a game of king’s corners & blackjack … & wrapped around us every time we would come to visit and before we would leave each other – Nonno loved giving big bear hugs.

Whenever I think of his hands, I am reminded of his occupation – the thing he diligently did with these hands for much of his life.

Nonno was quite simply the best kind of farmer: he truly respected and cared for the land. He cared for his land such that the soil is still rich and producing. Nonno may not have called himself a steward – he was not one to brag. But that’s exactly what he was.

Nonno loved tending his small garden. As kids, we got such a kick out of watching him pull up from the soil long carrots and cut from their stems enormous zucchini.

The depth of care he had for all living creatures has been unmatched by anyone I have ever known – and that means a lot, coming from this family of animal lovers! His hands cared deeply for and nurtured so many animals throughout his life. He fed baby animals with a bottle. My mom has warm memories of Nonno caring for her pet raccoon. He faithfully mixed and filled sugar water into feeders for hummingbirds. He worried himself sick when Sylvester, his adopted stray cat, would wander off for days at a time. He loved more dogs to their final days than we can count. Shortly before his passing, Nonno asked my mom who would feed the animals left at the ranch. We’re not sure which animals he was referring to, but it didn’t matter. His tenderness toward animals was heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

Nonno’s olive-hued hands told the story of his Italian roots, of which he was so proud. In true Italian fashion, he really did speak and sing with his hands. As a kid, I loved watching him raise his hand from the front seat while he sang along to some classic Italian crescendo playing in the car. Nonno loved showing us photos and telling stories about his Italian heritage. One day, I hope to visit the town in Italy where his family originated—Tassignano.

Man, those hands could cook! They kneaded dough and sliced salami. They stirred sauces and cooked meat. We never left Nonno’s house hungry. According to my mom, Nonno taught my Nonni how to cook when they were first married. By the time I came along, together they were an excellent aproned team in the kitchen.

Whenever I visit any of his favorite local restaurants – eating pasta on the checkered tablecloths at Luigi’s, at a long table (with a glass of red wine) in the back of Wool Grower’s, or on a barstool at the counter of Dewar’s, I will think of my Nonno.

His hands could really bake too! He baked dozens upon dozens of seriously delicious Italian cookies with family at Christmastime. Yesterday, we recreated this memory, but of course it was not the same without him. I loved watching Nonno pour more & more Amaretto into the pie dough, correcting my mom and uncle on their technique. The smell of biscotti and chess pies will forever remind us of his ability to bring people together with laughter in the kitchen. We promise to carry on this holiday tradition even though he his gone.

While my husband and I were visiting Nonno on Thanksgiving Day, Nonno called out for Nonni many times, raising his hands up, reaching & calling out for “Edna” and asking for her help. I personally find so much comfort knowing that my Nonno and Nonni are now back together again – holding hands, how they belong. That is how I will remember them.

Leave a comment

Filed under marital bliss

playing catch up

things we’ve been up to this spring/summer:

celebrated ANNA’S BIRTHDAY … one year closer to thirty, & she’s feeling good about it.  while she may be twenty-nine now, bartenders still give double-takes when she passes them her license to order a drink (we think she’ll be carded until she’s forty).  :)

moved to a NEW LOFT APARTMENT (which we love).

anna is currently testing out her green thumb on the new patio.

although, there were a few tears as we packed up & left our first apartment we’ve lived in together… au revoir, holly street.

traveled to PARIS with anna’s family!  we ate buttery pastries every day, sipped lots of wine, people-watched in bistros, dined in fancy restaurants, walked the streets until our feet were blistery, traveled to the countryside for a few days, fell in love with rue montorgueil, spoke french with locals, & vowed to visit again.  (we’ll always have paris.)

anna attended her cousin caroline’s BABY SHOWER in virginia.   (update: baby belle is currently an adorable, healthy & happy three-&-a-half-week old!)

anna soaked up every second of time with her east coast cousins on this short trip.

celebrated the FOURTH OF JULY with our parents (it’s becoming a tradition ’round here).  we rode bikes to dinner, sat outside & ate lobster (which felt very festive), watched deuling country clubs’ fireworks shows from the patio, & had a delicious late-night cobbler at robby’s parents’.

took a DAYTRIP TO SANTA BARBARA (the place we were wed) to reminisce.  & reminisce we did.  we ate at the little cafe where we had breakfast every morning of our wedding week.  we visited the hotel where we stayed with our wedding party & friends.  we had a cocktail at the site of our reception & the place we spent our first married night.  we walked on the beach, getting sand between our toes.  ah, the memories.

& we’re currently getting ready for a trip with the smith clan to IDAHO (the place of bob’s birth, home to many lakes, long summer days, outdoor sports, & beautiful scenery).  it will be a blast, we’re sure of it.

(oh, we’re also getting POLITICAL & helping robby’s dad with his run for city council of our hometown.  go bicycle bob!!)

i guess we’ve been busy.  so sorry for the lack of smithlove updates.  we’ll be better, we promise!

xo, anna + robby

p.s. here’s a little reminder to be thankful (from the chalkboard in our kitchen). we thought you might like to see…

Leave a comment

Filed under family + friends, holidays, home, marital bliss, memories, milestones

true vintage

ready for a flashback?

here i am with my cousin aimee & sister laura. . . .

tiny laura’s scream in the first photo is classic.  it cracks me up that we all have necklaces on with our bathing suits.  & laura, in her seersucker suit with the ruffles in the back and little chipmunk cheeks (with lips pursed mid-sentence), pulls at my heartstrings.

funky haircuts & all, i think we were pretty darn cute when we were little.

{thanks to my aunt linda for the fun flashback!}

xo, anna

Leave a comment

Filed under family + friends, fashion, memories

easter 2012

spring is here!  here are a few photos from our easter weekend with family…

{al fresco brunch by ashley: lentil & roasted vegetable salad + asparagus with toasted pine nuts, shaved parmesan & poached eggs}


{delicious dessert by pam: layers of fruit & cream}



{grandmother & granddaddy with a few of the camp cousins}

we also spent the night with both of our parents, ashley & cousins (including little jack) playing tabboo late into the night. it was a fun, full & memorable spring day.

xo, anna

Leave a comment

Filed under cooking, family + friends, holidays

baby jack

how do babies manage to capture your heart? could it be the innocent coos? the chubby cheeks? their precious clumsiness? the way their eyes widen when they discover something new? the fuzzy hair? the adorable way they wobble when they walk?

for these reasons & so many more, little jack mason has captured our hearts. anna’s cousin’s first baby, jack is the cutest little person we have every known. (we might be a little biased.)

{he can’t quite reach the pedals to his new tractor, but he’s got quite a grip on the steering wheel!}

we ♥ you so much, jack!

remember, we’re the ones that feed you chocolate cake when mama & dada aren’t looking, let you play with our iphones, & cuddle & kiss your cheeks every chance we get! (we hope you like us too.)

xo, robert & anna

1 Comment

Filed under family + friends, memories

crème de la crème

i cannot stop watching this video of two ballet dancers, captured in slow motion at 1000 frames per second. i love when graceful dancers make ballet seem almost effortless, while those of us who’ve practiced for years & years know this illusion is anything but true. ballet is a demanding & difficult art.

my favorite part?: their synchronized grand jeté. so beautiful it hurts!

xo, anna

Leave a comment

Filed under art, inspiration

on blogs

“there’s something sacred about reading a blog post on someone else’s site. it’s like visiting a friend’s house for a quick meal ’round the breakfast table. it’s personal – you’re in their space, and the environment is uniquely suited for idea exchange and uninterrupted conversation. in many ways, we should be treating our blogs like our breakfast tables. be welcoming & gracious when you host, and kind & respectful when visiting.”
-trent walton

{chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes from my favorite food blogger, joy the baker}

xo, anna

Leave a comment

Filed under anna: the baker, blogging

my first bundt cake





we had a little dinner party with friends at our new table, & we ate this chocolate-coffee cake for dessert. i ♥ baking. it soothes my soul.

xo, anna

{recipe from joy the baker}


Filed under anna: the baker, family + friends, home

at long last, our finished table!


ta da!
we’re over the moon excited to eat our first meal tonight at our new table. we might even christen it with a couple glasses of red wine.

{you can see the process here, here, & here.}

i can already picture many memorable dinner parties at our farmhouse-inspired table in the years to come…


xo, anna

*we would like to thank don, debbie, & shai for all of their wisdom & help with this project. we couldn’t have done it without you all! ♥

Leave a comment

Filed under home, projects