Life Lately Vol. 3

Happy Friday! We are headed to Philly today & New Jersey for the rest of the weekend. The forecast is 85 & sunny so we’ll be setting up camp on the beach for a couple of days! We’ll be taking our frenchie with us (on Spirit!) so hoping for an easy flight…

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{Mela loves flying}

Speaking of the beach, I’ve been looking to invest in some new swimsuits this year since Victoria’s Secret discontinued their swim line! (Wah). I like the Vix ones at Nordstrom but they’re super pricey. Any suggestions for affordable, cute bathing suits?!

Eating: Mason jar salads! Now, obviously this is not a new concept but as someone who brings my lunch to work everyday, I want something healthy, easy & delicious! I’ve been on the Greek salad kick for legit like 4 months now. I keep thinking I’ll tire of it but I enjoy it every single day. I layer (from bottom up) olive oil/red wine vinegar mix, red onions, chick peas, feta cheese, cucumbers, red peppers, green peppers & lettuce. I make 5 on Sunday and boom- lunch done! Anyone have any non-Greek style mason jar salads/meals they recommend?

Reading: A lot of upsetting airline stories lately! First there was Bumpgate, then the stroller incident, then the deplorable responses from airlines (looking at you, United)…ugh, it’s such a shame because travel should be FUN! Whether you fly often or once in a blue moon, it’s super important to make yourself aware of your behavior. I find that it’s best to be prepared to alleviate stress (from yourself, other passengers, officials, etc). What does that mean? Have your ID & boarding pass out, get your sh*t together when going through security (or get global entry like me so you don’t have to!), and be cognizant of the boarding process. There’s nothing more annoying than kids running around while boarding begins, or passengers rushing the gate when they’ve got zone 5 boarding, or some jerk so deep into their phone that they’re holding up the line!

Be polite, be passionate & be present.

Wearing: I currently can’t get enough of the bare shoulder tops. It’s really mixed weather here in Boston so these are perfect for the in between weather. This white one, this floral one & this blue striped one are some current favorites!

What’s on your agenda for this weekend?!

Life Lately Vol. 2

This week was a total sh*tshow…I got into a car accident on Tuesday (luckily nobody was hurt, but my car on the other hand…) which totally threw my week off – work wise, workout wise, productivity wise, etc. That being said, I am more than ready for the weekend! Here’s what’s happening:

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Wedding: We’re in the task phase – making timelines, deciding on stationary wording, finalizing menus, getting outfits together, etc. I must say, the day-of timeline is very tricky. Anyone have tips?!

Home: We had the best time hosting some friends for Easter and now we’re itching to do it again! If only we had more space….I’ve frantically been searching Zillow & Craigslist for a larger, more spacious apartment (preferably in the South End). Any Boston peeps know someone looking to lease their place?

Listening to: Okay, so I mentioned S-town last week. Well, in 7 days I’ve gone through the ENTIRE season! Omg yall this podcast is sooooo good!! It took a turn in ep. 3 that I did not see coming and it just got better & better. Since I’m done (for now), I need new podcast recs – any favorites?

Friends: My friend Amy just got back from Paris (also did the bike tour we did last year, loved it!) and so we randomly decided to try and learn French together! We’ve signed up for “French 1” classes at the Boston Center for Adult Education which is an amazing place in the South End – they have classes on art, language, wine, photography, technology, etc. You name it, they’ve got it. We begin next week & are so excited!

Mela: This little piggy is going on Spring break, starting next weekend! We are so lucky to have family somewhat nearby, who will watch her whenever we need. She’ll be heading there next Friday and staying for at least a month! I gotta say, it is nice to have a pet-friendly home for a few weeks (think less vacuuming!) but we sure are going to miss that cuddle bug!

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What’s happening in your life lately?!

Life Lately: Vol. 1

So I decided to start this weekly Friday “life recap” for a few reasons. First, I love reading other people’s recaps, as it gives you a glimpse into their life, shopping links, activities, etc. while not getting too detailed or overstepping boundaries. Second, it’s a great way to stay afloat when trying to maintain balance. I often struggle trying to balance my very demanding day job (that includes a 2-3 hour commute daily), this blog (which is WAY more work than it looks- props to bloggers out there), planning a wedding (aka full time job #2), doing my interior design projects on the side (currently only 2), working out daily & trying to maintain friendships and keep in touch with family (hi mom!), all while living across country from 99% of my people. Whew! Busy. Is. Right.

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Wedding: I’ve been trying to knock out a lot of the small details now (music details, cake topper, welcome bag items, parent/bridesmaid gifts, etc) since I know a million new things will come up as we approach the big day. Any tips for staying organized?

Clothes: Speaking of wedding, I’m ferociously searching the internet daily for cute, white dresses! I need approximately 2 shower dresses, 1 bachelorette one, and 3 for wedding events. Help! I’ve locked down 2 but still need the *perfect* one for our casual, yet festive BBQ rehearsal dinner. Am I crazy to wear white and eat BBQ?!

Listening to: S Town. My mom turned me onto it and I can’t wait to start listening. Podcasts keep me sane during my long commute and considering I was obsessed Serial & Undisclosed, I think I’ll like this one too. Anyone heard it?

Cooking: All of the Easter food! You saw my post yesterday on the Easter table so today I’m heading to Homegoods (need a few cute decor pieces) and to Whole Foods, as I’ll be making chilled asparagus, spring salad & key lime pie.

Design: I have a friend who recently spilled the beans that she’s got a little bun in the oven so naturally, we’ve already been talking nursery design! In fact, I think she’s already ordered this chandelier – it will go well in any little girl’s nursery/room. (Bonus it’s 20% off today!)

Lastly, good luck to all of you running the Boston Marathon on Monday! I’ll be out watching with some friends and cheering you on. What an accomplishment!

Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes

Happy Monday y’all! How is this the last weeke before Christmas?! Oh my gosh time is flyingggg by. If you’re like me, this week will be spent doing some last minute shopping & baking! Let’s be honest, we all love Christmas cookies. Whether you’re a novice baker or super talented in the kitchen, I’ve got you covered. Here are 10 of my favorite cookie recipes (almost all are tried & true) along with some cute ways to package them:

  1. Coconut Cream Bars: These no bake, freezer friendly are basically giant almond joys. YUM! I’m considering making these for our annual cookie swap.
  2. Basic Sugar Cookie: It’s my family’s annual tradition to bake & decorate these (we do Christmas trees, angels, snowmen, etc). I made a batch last night & they’re quickly disappearing!
  3. No Bake Chocolate Balls: These are great to freeze & then hand out to people. I made a bunch last weekend to give to my fiance’s clients.
  4. Paleo Magic Cookie Bars: Paleo and vegan friendly, these cookies are a great option for your super healthy friends or coworkers. Disclaimer: I attempted (and failed) a batch of these; however, I’d like to try again because I think they could taste really yummy if done right (think I over-baked them).
  5. Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies : I have yet to make these, but I hope I can find the time to make some this year. Red velvet cake is one of my favorites, so I’m looking forward to these!
  6. Oreo Cookie Balls: Need an easy, delicious cookie guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser? These are for you. I made these for the cookie swap 2 years ago & people still talk about them. After all, let’s be honest…who doesn’t love oreos?!
  7. White Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Cookies: A twist on the classic, these are soft, delicious and taste like Christmas. Serve with a glass of milk & call it a day.
  8. Christmas Cookie Bark: Oddly enough, bark is one of the holiday desserts I’ve never tried to make. I’m not a huge chocolate lover (gasp, I know), but these are great because they make a huge baking sheet & good for kids to help. Throw the broken pieces in a mason jar, wrap a bow & give to any neighbor or coworker.
  9. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies: Okay, so these aren’t technically “holiday” cookies, but in my book peanut butter cookies are always a good idea (also, see #2: I added a spoon full of peanut butter + chopped walnuts to a small portion & made my own peanut butter cookies)
  10. Versatile Cookie Dough: If you’re limited on time or want to make a variety easily, try this idea- it’s 1 basic dough, 4 types of cookies. Genius, no?

As far as packaging goes, there are a million cute ideas out there so I’ve picked 3 I liked:

  1. Fill clear bags & wrap with seasonal decor via MaiTai
  2. Use clear tubes to stack cookies like Paula
  3. Take a tip from Tessa & decorate craft boxes

Happy Baking!

Our Engagement Story

It’s one of those moments I’ve dreamed of my whole life. What will he say? How will I feel? Who else will be there? What will the ring look like?… For the past 32 years I’ve imagined this day and I can honestly say it surpassed all of my wildest dreams…

♥ 12.1.16 ♥

Terry & I decided to celebrate our 2-year anniversary, my birthday & the holidays with a trip to California. We’d fly info Los Angeles, drive up the PCH to San Francisco and stop along in Santa Barbara, Carmel & Sonoma. Ever since I met him, he’s boasted about his love for Santa Barbara (specifically the scenery & the surf) so I was particularly excited to visit this coastal town.

We arrived at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara on Thursday afternoon and I was immediately blown away by not only the superior service (truly the best) but also the insanely gorgeous property. Picture a lush jungle with endless paths, secret gardens, tranquil coves, and Spanish-style steps & terraces leading to private bungalows. Then picture the entire place merely steps away from a stunning, private beach. Yup, it’s basically heaven.

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The beach where the proposal happened!

When Terry told me that he’d arranged for the concierge to take some sunset pictures on our camera, I grew a bit suspicious. But he insisted, “Babe, it’s the Four Seasons. They do stuff like this all the time.” After all, who was I to question this amazing experience being offered to us?!

 So around 4:30pm, we threw on some cute clothes (thank goodness he told me we were headed straight to dinner after, so I styled my hair!) and headed down to the beach. Ironically, there was a professional photographer on the beach taking sunset pics of two other hotel guests, so I immediately thought, “huh, I guess they really do this for people”. Oblivious to the weeks of preparedness that was unfolding before my eyes, I smiled for the camera as we took picture after picture as the sun went down. Terry went to to check the photos & mentioned that our faces were dark because of the shadows, so we better try one more picture. And then this happened…

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Due to extreme surprise/excitement/joy/shock/laughing/crying, it’s fair to say I completely blacked out. We both did. We each remember various bits & pieces of what he said…and to us, that’s just perfect.

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How lucky am I? Not only did Terry spend weeks planning the most thoughtful, beautiful, romantic proposal, but we have this incredible moment in time captured on camera. A moment I will never, ever forget.

Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now. I feel so beyond blessed to have even met someone like Terry. Someone who truly appreciates my good and tolerates my not-so-good. Someone who makes me laugh when I’m crying & then makes me cry all over again from laughing so hard. Someone who I love so much that it hurts. Someone who wants to build a life with me and grow old together. He is my best friend and the absolute love of my life. I know the best is yet to come, and I cannot wait for this adventure to begin!

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Oh and to answer my lifelong questions: Can’t remember…overjoyed…just us…and, it’s absolutely perfect!

Four Seasons beach photo courtesy of their website. Thank you for the unforgettable experience, photos & countless flutes of champagne 🙂

Taking a break

Wow, it’s been almost two weeks since I posted here! As a person who put up a post almost daily for about a year, it’s felt weird. Feels like everyday there’s been something missing of my “to do” list.

But the truth is, I needed a break.

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{Ahh, so calming}

The more I was posting, the more pressure I felt to keep up. I would see these other interior design bloggers who are participating in challenges, or being widely recognized, or renovating homes. And I would see these travel bloggers who are partnering with major airlines, or receiving lavish vacations- complimentary, of course. And then there’s me…I don’t make any money off of this blog, I don’t get widely recognized, and I surely don’t get free vacations. Am I even good at this? Does anyone read this (hi mom!)? Will I ever grow this? Will I ever further my career? So I’m a little torn…

Torn between design and travel (my two passions). Torn between keeping the blog and shutting the doors. Torn between spending my energy posting and saving it for other ventures.

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{most beautiful home vs most beautiful scenery}

What do y’all, my “readers”, think? Do you prefer design? travel? Any advice for feeling overwhelmed and maintaining balance?

A glamorous NYC event venue

I’m heading to a friend’s wedding this weekend (congrats Laura & Wilson!) and I couldn’t be more excited. Having worked for a wedding/event planner for three years in college, I have always LOVED event planning. Wedding planning is, of course, even more fun because it is such a special occasion! Truth be told, I always thought I’d “grow up” and be an event planner…but since it’s not my full time job, I enjoy perusing various sites and seeing the latest & greatest in wedding venues, decor, fashion, etc. You name it, I’ve probably got it pinned!

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{The Barn @ Flanagan Farm}

While the above rustic, charming venue is my personal venue of choice, I think it’s always fun to look at glamorous, high end venues that a girl can only dream of. When I came across the rooftop terrace at The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, I practically squealed!

This venue is breathtaking!!!  The space provides an intimate, yet glamorous feel. (In fact, it may work best for the rehearsal dinner, given the small space) There are beautiful plants and flowers all over, and the interior walls are filled with contemporary art. The walls & ceiling are practically all windows, so you can imagine the spectacular views, especially on a clear night. It’s so not “me”, but you can’t deny its beauty.

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{gorgeous cabana upon entry}

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{adorable terrace space for your guests to enjoy fresh air}

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{super rustic- chic bar area}

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{lounge area <– what a light fixture!}

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{beautiful tablescape}

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{another beautiful tablescape option}

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{incredible view from the sit down dinner table}

What’s your perfect wedding reception venue?