Life Lately, Vol. 8

Oh, Friday how I am glad to see you! This week flew by in the blink of an eye because we were so busy. It was one of those weeks where I actually got an insane amount of work done (day job, blog, wedding tasks, friend dinners, daily workouts) but I was up at 6:30am and didn’t eat dinner until after 9:30pm 3 out of 4 days. Whew! I have a feeling this may be my life until after the wedding…

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Hard to believe this was taken at a bridal show back in January – just 1 month after we got engaged!

Wedding: Speaking of, I’ll be doing a big wedding update next week to share how things are going, what’s left to do, etc. Crazy how the past 7 months have flown by in the blink of an eye.

Shopping for: Nothing! My fiancee and I decided a couple of weeks ago that we are halting all unnecessary spending until after our honeymoon, in a last ditch effort to save a small chunk before the big day. That means no dining out (I mentioned our dinner with friends above, but it was really clients who had been asking to treat us to dinner for months, so that doesn’t count!), no shopping (for home or clothes), no Starbucks coffee and no frivolous spending. Basically, if it’s not rent, a bill, gas, or groceries – we ain’t buying. I’ve done this before and it’s amazing how quickly you can save when you are hyper aware of it. Anyone else tried this?

Financial: Since we’re on the topic of spending…let’s talk financial. If there were any other career I would have chosen, financial planner would likely be it. I LOVE talking finances, read financial blogs, listen to financial radio stations/podcasts and have a general interest in the topic. I strongly believe that knowledge is power and there is so much to know in regards to finance. A friend and I were discussing budgets and I suggested that she & her husband see a financial planner (they just had a baby) to get on track with saving, spending & long term planning. This is one thing Terry & I will do in the fall after we’re married. For us, being on the same page financially is huge. We want to make sure we’re properly planning future events & starting our marriage on a healthy financial foot. I’ve heard great things about LearnVest (I also listen to her show). Has anyone used them before?

Cooking: I’m usually a creature of habit when it comes to dinner. I’ve pretty much got my top favorites on rotation (crockpot chicken, baked fajitas, shrimp tacos, stir fry) but I’m loving all things Greek right now. The flavors are so delicious & ingredients healthy! These turkey burgers are a staple of ours (served naked with Greek salad) and I’m eager to try this Mediterranean style frittata, seared Mediterranean tuna steaks, and Greek quesadillas. Yum!

On that note, I’m off! Today will be another normal work day with dinner at home (I may try one of the above recipes) while Saturday will be a full-blown wedding planning day. We’ve got quite a few tasks to check off our list. Luckily for us, it’s supposed to be 85 & sunny on Sunday, so beach day it is! My favorite 🙂

Enjoy your weekend!

Bridesmaid & Groomsmen Gift Ideas

With the wedding less than 6 weeks away (we are in the homestretch, people!), we’re dotting our “i”s and crossing our “t”s. One thing we recently finalized were our wedding party gifts. Now, I’m not going to share which we chose (want it to be a surprise) but I had a lot of fun looking into ideas. These range from $15-$150 per gift, so there are quite a few options at every price point.

For your bridesmaids

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{monogrammed tote | floral robes | bar necklace |spa gift basket | makeup bag|candle| earrings}

*If a tangible gift isn’t your style, think about treating your bridesmaids to a spa day or mani/pedi together on the big day. Sometimes time spent together is the best gift of all!

For your groomsmen

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{leather flask | wedding day socks | overnight bag | dopp kit | bottle of liquor}

*As mentioned above, if a tangible gift isn’t your style, how about treating your guys to a round of golf the day before the wedding, or a professional barber shave?!

 

All you brides out there, what are you getting your girls? What is the best gift you’ve ever received as a bridesmaid?

Free Summer Fun in Boston

I’m changing things up a bit today and making this more of a local post. After a very long winter and a barely there spring, we are officially in summer here in Boston! The city really comes alive this time of year and being outside is just fabulous. Whether you prefer outdoor concerts, patio drinking, Esplanade running or just strolling through the Boston Commons, this list covers it all. I’ve put together a HUGE roundup of free summer things that you can enjoy here in Boston. If you live in the city, be sure to take advantage of all Boston has to offer! And if you’re not from here, I’d recommend adding our beautiful city to your travel list and spend a weekend here!

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Without further ado…

FITNESS CLASSES

From spin to boot camps to yoga, the Greenway Fitness Program Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts annually offers FREE fitness classes in the Greenway. See the schedule here.

The Esplanade is one of my favorite places to work out. You get the killer river views and the cool breeze that comes with it. With Zumba, running, sunset yoga & boot camps (I’ve done them, they’re great!), the opportunities are endless. Read details here.

A few other free fitness classes that I learned about via Secret Boston are:

Mondays: Salsa dancing at the South End’s Blackstone Square (6 p.m.)

Tuesdays: Yoga at the South End’s Franklin Square (6 p.m.)

Wednesdays: HIIT in Brighton Square (6:30 p.m.)

Thursdays: Yoga at the Boston Common’s Frog Pond (6 p.m.)

Fridays: Bootcamp at Christopher Columbus Park (6:30 a.m.)

WINE TASTINGS

The Urban Grape (303 Columbus Ave in South End) is offering free sine tastings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 5-8pm. View their offerings here.

Wine Bottega (341 Hanover St in North End) has free wine tasting every Friday from 5:00-8:00. This is the perfect thing to do before grabbing a fresh oysters & raw bar at one of my favorite restaurants, Mare.

BRIX (1284 Washington St in South End) also has free wine tastings on Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm-8pm. You can get more details here.

MUSIC

The Boston Public Library has their annual Concerts in the Courtyard, which are free on Wednesdays and Fridays. Concerts are held at the Central Library on Boylston Street which is too cute – grab lunch and head here for some mid-week relaxation.

With too many to list, The Berklee Summer in the City Concert Series presents more than 400 free performances throughout Greater Boston from May through September.

There are seven concerts by Boston Landmarks Orchestra at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade. Grab a friend (or date), a picnic basket & a blanket. Perfect evening!

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Shakespeare on the Common is a free show by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company at Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common. The 2017 show is Romeo & Juliet. I’ve done this in the past and can’t wait to do it again. Such a fun weeknight event!

Head to the beach and check out some giant sand art at the Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival, which includes live music, food trucks, and Saturday fireworks.

For a totally different kind of Friday evening, head to the  Museum of Science and check out their free Astronomy After Hours program, where you can view stars, planets, the Moon, and other astronomical phenomena.

MOVIES

Boston Harbor Hotel screens free movies every Friday night. Schedule here.

The MFA is offering a more adult-friendly outdoor movie screenings, with wine & beer available for purchase. View their movie list here.

For the 32nd year in a row (amazing, right?!) the Hatch Shell is offering free Friday night movies.  I heard it gets really crowded, so get there early. Schedule here.

 

EVENTS, MARKETS & FESTIVALS

One of my favorite summer activities is the SoWa market in South End! The SoWa Open Market is open every Saturday and Sunday, April 29-October 29, from 10am-4pm.

While you’re there, check out the SoWa vintage market which is open every Saturday between April 29-October 29, from 11am-4pm, rain or shine. Read more here.

Greenway Open Market: Held on Saturdays and every 1st and 3rd Sunday, May through October along the Wharf District Parks of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Details here.

 

As you can see, Boston has SO much to offer. I need to start checking these off my list!

Whats your favorite free summer activity!?

 

Using Wallpaper in a Nursery

I hope everyone y’all a great weekend & were able to spend some time celebrating all of the awesome dads out there. Even though I wasn’t able to celebrate in person, I did facetime with my dad which was better than nothing. Thank goodness for modern technology.

Onto interior design…

I’m in the middle of a nursery project (more on that to come in upcoming weeks!) and while we opted not to go with wallpaper, I was really loving a lot of the wallpaper I was finding. I like the idea of only doing one wall (perhaps the one the crib is on) because it gives the room some pattern & color, but isn’t too loud or busy. After all, we want to create a calm, serene space for the babies, no?! Let’s take a look…

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{Ellie Cashman wallpaper via Inspired by This}

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{Anewall “Jolie” wallpaper via Monica Hibbs}

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{Rebel Walls “Bellewood” paper via Emily Henderson}

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{Susan Harter Muralpaper via Erin Gates}

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{via Whit & Delight}

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{via Domino}

All of these are so beautiful! I especially love Monica’s wallpaper, though I’d prefer it in a toned down shade. Overall, I am loving this trend and think that wallpapering one nursery wall is a great way to give some “umph” to the space, while not overwhelming it. Plus, it’s more cost effective since you’re only doing one wall. Side note – how adorable are these animal prints? I’ve used them before in nursery design & we may use them again. They’re just so adorable.

What are your thoughts? Which one is your favorite wallpaper?!

Life Lately, Vol. 7

FRI-YAY!

After being not only delayed twice, but cancelled, and then re-delayed on my way back from FLL (you can read about my trip here), I finally arrived home 48 hours later. While I certainly don’t enjoy dealing with airline delays (Spirit customer service, you can expect to hear from me later today!), I was able to spend a quick 36 hours in Atlanta seeing my family which was a wonderful surprise! I must admit, I was feeling a little homesick and needed that visit.

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3rd visitor in 2 weeks arrives on Sunday so keeping this guest room clean is key…

Travel: Speaking of, there has a been a lot of travel new lately, including a new 72-hour SPG cancellation policy update (I’m a loyal member with status so this makes me cringe) and some possible restrictions when visiting Cuba, a country I’m hoping to make it to soon. Looks like I better plan this trip for sooner rather than later.

Honeymoon: In other travel news, we are booking away! I mentioned before that we booked our safari via Sabi Sands and now we’ve booked our hotels in both Johannesburg & Cape Town. Next up: inter-Africa flights (to/from the safari lodge and from JNB-CPT), our hotel in wine country and…wait for it…shark diving!! AHHH this is really happening.

Shopping: I’m on a major spending freeze (weddings & honeymoons are no joke y’all…$$$); however, I am in search of a couple cute one-piece bathing suits. We all know they’re making a huge comeback. Gone are the days of old, frumpy one pieces. The ones these days are stylish, sexy & so cute! I’ve got my eye on this black one & this off the shoulder. How cute for bike riding around a beach town? Throw on some jean shorts & you’re ready! Perhaps I’ll get both…

Reading: Not like I have any time for reading right now; however, laying on the beach with a good paperback (and a glass of rose) may or may not be my Sunday activity of choice. I’ve currently got The Royal We and Forks, Knives and Spoons in my cart. Both came highly recommended as fun & easy summer reads. Anyone read them?

Interiors: Crushing hard on this Studio McGee Park City renovation. Whoever owns this home is one lucky duck! This rustic meets mountain dream home is To. Die. For. Let’s be honest, anything Syd & Shea touch turns to gold. Check it out!

Wedding: The 6-week countdown begins. My fiancee & I are getting SUPER excited to host all of our loved ones for the weekend. Given that my to do list is a mile long (about 6 printed pages to be exact), I am spending every waking second this weekend getting stuff done. I need a whole new word for “overwhelmed”. Who wants to help me? Any takers?

On that note, I’m off to Michaels, The Dollar Store, Anthropologie, Staples & Target to knock stuff of this list. Wish me luck!

What’s on your weekend agenda?!

Iceland Part 1: Golden Circle Tour

Oh Iceland, where do I begin? Let me start by saying that this country is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been…in a good way. Given that we only had 3 nights in Iceland, we opted to stay in downtown Reykjavik and partner with local tour companies for two excursions. Our full Iceland trip will be broken down into 5 sections, as I have a large amount of review, tips & tricks to share…

Day 1: Golden Circle Tour via Grayline

We woke up bright (literally- it was light out almost 24 hours!) and early on Sunday morning to grab a quick breakfast in the hotel lobby prior to our 10:00am pickup. Since we were staying in town at the CenterHotel Midgaurdar, pickup was a breeze. We waited out front as they pulled up right on time. The small bus takes you to the main bus station, where you are checked in and  directed to the appropriate large bus.

My first impression of the bus was very positive. It’s your standard 55-passenger bus, but felt new and updated. The seats reclined, there was free wifi and in-wall plugs to charge any electronics. Given that this was a full 8 hour excursion, having these amenities proved to be a valuable, and necessary, benefit.

Tip: Come prepared! We packed a backpack with extra socks, gloves, beanies, jacket, various snacks & water bottles. We used it all.

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The lush, green scenery of Iceland

Here’s our itinerary:

The Golden Circle Classic Tour takes you from Reykjavik city to Þingvellir National Park, arguably the most important site in Iceland in terms of history, culture, and geology.

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Þingvellir National Park, right after the rain passed

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A UNESCO world heritage site, Þingvellir National Park is home to Iceland‘s largest natural lake and the place where the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia split and drift apart. From Þingvellir, the tour continues through an area of beautiful scenery towards two of Iceland’s greatest natural attractions at Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir hot spring area.

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Gullfoss

At Gullfoss waterfall you can take a short walk down a pathway and get right up close to this powerful waterfall and feel the mist of glacial water on your face as it cascades down into the narrow Hvítárgljúfur Canyon.

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Getting soaked by the powerful & beautiful Gullfoss

The Geysir area home of “The Great Geysir” hot spring, which all geysers are named after, this area is an impressive collage of bubbling mud pools, hissing steam vents, and colourful algae deposits. It also features one of the world’s most reliable fountain geyser, Strokkur hot spring, that every 4 to 8 minutes blasts out a column of super heated water up to 20 metres into the air.

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Overall, Grayline was a very easy tour group to deal with. Their busses are clearly marked, they come fully equipped & they run a tight ship. Our tour guide was very informative, knowledgeable & had a good sense of humor. I would definitely recommend them for this tour – I only wish we had more time to do a second tour!

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A surprise trip to a “secret” waterfall from our tour guide…

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Stay tuned for Day 1, Part 2 tomorrow…

Thank you to Grayline for sponsoring this post. They graciously provided us with this complimentary tour. As always, the provided opinions are my own.

 

My Bachelorette Party

Happy  Monday y’all! I’m still on a huge high from pretty much the best weekend ever. All of my best friends & I hopped down to South Florida for a long weekend full of beautiful ocean views, delicious food & drink and endless laughs. I’m so grateful that 10 of my best gal pals were able to join in celebrating my “last sail before the veil” (as our boat Captain Michael said). To say I’m sad the weekend is over is a huge understatement! Isn’t it the best feeling when you bring a group of friends together & everyone not only gets along, but genuinely enjoys spending time together?!

While I won’t share all of the fun details from the weekend, I want to give recap with a few of my my favorite parts.

We spent hours by the pool, soaking in the view…

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We ate delicious food & drank delicious drinks…

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We dressed up & had a night (or two) on the town…

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The girls surprised me with the most amazing bridal brunch…

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And an afternoon on the best boat ever…

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my high school friends

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my college friends

 I can’t thank my friends enough for all of the time, effort, money, generosity, love and thought spent on this weekend. I am one VERY lucky girl!