Friday, May 27, 2016

Five on Friday {May 27, 2016}

Summer really took her sweet time arriving in NYC, but at least she made it in time for the season's unofficial kick-off this weekend! Memorial Day, it sure is good to see you, and here are 5 other things I'm loving this week!

Wedding Venue!

I'm thrilled to say that T and I have crossed our first major wedding decision off the list (besides deciding to marry each other, of course) - we've booked our venue! After considering several beautiful options around where I grew up in New Jersey, we selected the Molly Pitcher Inn for its elegant historic feel, its ridiculous yummy food (their brunch is NO JOKE), and for those absolutely gorgeous riverfront views. I'll be sharing our selection process in a future post - it feels so great to be able to picture exactly where we'll start our lives as a married couple!

Long weekend kick-off

What's a long weekend without some splurge food? I started things off on the right foot by meeting up with Pam for some delish margs, chips, and quesadillas. We were both just happy to be able to finally eat outside after months of this gross weather!

Lists, lists, and more lists

There are few things I love more than a good list, and I can already tell that The Knot Book of Wedding Lists is about to become my planning bible. The easy-to-follow format and meticulous attention to detail has already set it apart from the crowd of the many other wedding planning resources out there. Do you have any favorite wedding planning guides?

The great outdoors

What's everyone doing for the long weekend? I'm stretching a bit out of my comfort zone and going hiking! I've been trying to vary my fitness routine and thought this would be a (relatively) easy way to spice things up, though I'm not usually the outdoorsy type...luckily, there are plenty of brunches and happy hours also scheduled this weekend to keep me sane!

Tiny taco truck

After last week's registry pondering, I think I've found the solution...I should pretty much only register for tiny taco trucks like this adorable little guy! I mean, seriously...everything looks better in miniature form, and no one can resist a food truck! Problem solved! :)

Wishing everyone a very relaxing and fun Memorial Day weekend!

Cheers to AprilAmandaJennieKarliRebecca, Katie, HeatherAndrea, and Tif for hosting today's link-ups!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five on Friday: Celebrity Edition!

It's Friday once again, but instead of the usual Five on Friday list of things we love, I'm bringing you a star-filled edition of celebrity encounters! 

Living in NYC, I've definitely crossed paths with more than my fair share of stars - off the top of my head, I've sat next to Kevin Bacon at a bar, organized an event with Gwyneth Paltrow, rode the subway with Hank Azaria and Aaron Tveit, saw Tony Danza roller-blading down my street, and bumped into Cynthia Nixon and Derek Hough in front of my office. For this post, I'm focusing on 5 celebs that I've actually chatted with and (no surprise here), most of them are Bravo-lebrities (but I say it still counts!). 

Bethenny Frankel / The Real Housewives of New York

I wish I had snagged a picture with Bethenny but in the absence of that, a pic of her Skinnygirl protein shakes will have to suffice (and let's face it, she would probably prefer that anyway since she's all about that branding hustle!). M and I attended her book signing for A Place of Yes a few years ago and got to spend a little time chatting with the original Skinnygirl herself. We talked about her yoga DVDs and she seemed quite pleased that we were loving them!

Stassi & Katie / Vanderpump Rules

When Bravo-holics vacation in Los Angeles, obviously a trip to a Lisa Vanderpump restaurant is a must-do activity. My friend (and occasional guest blogger) J made Sur reservations before we had even confirmed our flights, so we were definitely on the hunt to see some of our favorite, drama queen SURvers. When he spotted Stassi and Katie across the room, he immediately grabbed my hand, walked me over to them, talked all about how we adore them and their show, and sweetly requested a group snap. We lined up, and Stassi immediately expressed her displeasure with our poses and rearranged us - it was actually kind of perfect, since that's exactly how she acts on the show!

Joe & Melissa Gorga (and Melissa's sisters) / The Real Housewives of New Jersey

This was one of those epic, couldn't have planned it better, "only in New York" sort of nights. M and I were deep in the midst of planning our first big NYC joint party together, and were hitting all sorts of walls; we didn't have a menu, we didn't have a playlist, we were totally stressing out about our lack of party preparation (obviously, this was a long time before our blogging days and we've come a long way). So obviously, when we heard that Melissa Gorga was "singing" at a local gay club, we decided to toss all of our party planning to the wind to go out and see her!

We also got to shake hands with Joe Gorga (a total highlight) and dance along in the front row as Melissa sang about being "On Display, On Display".

We also hung out with Melissa's big sisters, who had just been featured as her protectors on a recent Housewives episode! Something about this enchanted Bravo night must have inspired us because when we finally made our way back home, we banged out all of the planning tasks that had previously seemed so daunting and the party was a total smash.

Andy, Evelyn, & Lou Cohen / Watch What Happens Live

Gals, this was a BIG one. Not only did I meet Andy Cohen at a book signing, but I was also one of the people selected to participate in his Q&A. Much to my Bravo-loving delight, when I stepped up for Andy to sign my book, he looked me up and down and proclaimed, "You're KA-UUUUUUUTE!" If only I hadn't opted to lean over his desk in such a tremendously awkward pose, ugh!

Also, how adorable are Andy's parents?! With the number of guest bartender appearances they've racked up on Watch What Happens Live, they're basically celebrities in their own right by now. Evelyn and I had a hard time figuring out who was taller since, as Lou pointed out, we were both wearing enormous heels!
Michael Buble

Siiiiiiiiiigh. This is seriously my ultimate celebrity experience. Meeting Michael Buble was such a dream come true (and honestly, it still feels like a dream - though I'm happy to have this picture WITH HIS FINGERS WRAPPED AROUND MY WAIST to confirm that it really happened!). Michael always sets the ultimate romantic playlist and he was so sweet and hilarious in person; while I love my Bravo-lebrities, Buble will always be #1 on my list!

Now it's your turn to dish - tell me about your celebrity encounters!

Cheers to EmeliaAprilAmandaJennieKarliRebecca, Katie, HeatherAndrea, and Tif for hosting today's link-ups!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Registry Daydreaming

I've only been engaged for less than two weeks, but I'm already loving all of the wedding-related daydreaming that comes along with the early stages of planning. It's too early to commit to most decisions, so I'm having lots of fun scrolling through all of the (seemingly limitless) possibilities!

One area of planning that seems a bit overwhelming to me is registering for gifts; I'm much more comfortable putting together a task timeline and dealing with vendors since I've done that for many years as part of my career, but I've never put together a wish list quite like this before! T and I already live together and have most of the essentials, plus our NYC apartment doesn't really lend itself to storing cute items that have limited practical use (I'm looking at you, ice cream maker). However, it will definitely be nice to upgrade certain items that we've had since college and have some things that are "our" stuff instead of the separate items we each brought into the relationship.

Here are just a few registry items that recently caught my eye:

With their cute sayings, these adorable little plates are perfect for entertaining. T and I borrowed a cordless drill when we first moved into our apartment and didn't return it until almost a year later (oops) because it was just so handy. I'm all about slow cooking, so this state-of-the-art slow cooker is calling my name (I absolutely love that you can control its settings remotely!). A luxe sheet set is always a good idea, and a KitchenAid mixer is basically a registry staple at this point. For someone who loves cocktails as much as I do, I've somehow never invested in a quality cocktail shaker so I would love to find one that doesn't leak! My love of pineapple is well-documented, so these tumblers and the tray would be right at home in our pineapple kitchen. While we won't be registering for fine china, it's still fun to get lost in the pretty patterns, like this Kate Spade Larabee Road set.

Do you have any suggestions on must-have registry items (or items that you registered for but didn't really wind up using)?

Linking up with Jenn and Macy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Peach & Arugula Salad

Now that the warmer weather is here to stay (hopefully!), I am thrilled that there is an abundance of fresh fruit at our local farmer's market. Peaches are a particular favorite of mine, and are the star of this yummy salad that T and I made a few months ago for our New Year's Southern brunch. This salad is a snap to throw together, and the perfect side dish for a grilled dinner out on the patio. The combination of the peaches, gorgonzola, and prosciutto is incredibly flavorful!

Peach & Arugula Salad
(adapted from Brunch at Bobby's)

* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
* 2 teaspoons honey
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 2 ounces baby arugula
* 1 slice prosciutto, diced
* 2 peaches, chopped
* 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola
* Salt and pepper 

* Whisk the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and honey in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the arugula, and toss to combine.

* Top the greens with the peaches, and sprinkle the gorgonzola and prosciutto on top.

Linking up today with Jennifer JuniperKaryn, KristenEmilyMandyMaryMandySusanLisaSarah, Lori, Tammy and Natasha!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Five on Friday: Engagement Edition

Happy Friday! If you missed my big news on Monday, today marks exactly 1 week since I got engaged and I still feel like I'm on cloud 9! Since my head is currently filled with all things wedding, I'm sharing five engagement-related things I loved this week (thanks in advance for indulging me).

Sassy ring dish

I knew that I needed a very special place to keep my new favorite piece of jewelry, and this sassy ring dish was the perfect choice since it pays homage to our humble beginnings as a couple (in other words, yes: we met on Tinder). I was never a huge fan of online dating but take it from this Tinderella that swiping right actually can lead to happily ever after!

Sweet and sparkly cards

Glitz, glitter, and gems - many thoughtful cards and gifts have been rolling in since last week, and I love how pretty they look on our entry table! Also, it appears as though my love of gold has been made abundantly clear to all of our family and friends.

Mountain of magazines

While there are tons of online planning resources available (and I already have a very full Wedding apps folder on my iPhone), I was chomping at the bit to dig into some old-fashioned magazines to start my wedding inspiration journey.

T took me to the drugstore over the weekend and waited patiently as I bought literally every bridal magazine they had available, and I've slowly been adding to my collection thanks to a thoughtful package from Kate and trips to other drugstores on my lunch breaks! (I may have an addiction.)

Favorite mug

I've seen a bunch of different versions of this mug all over the internet, but I particularly love mine because my BFF co-blogger M created it just for me! She brought it with her on proposal night since she knew that I would obviously need to use it for my cup of coffee bright and early the next morning, and it hasn't left my side since.

Blog love

Thoughtful emails and comments have been pouring in from all over the blog community - I especially need to thank Biana, Emelia, and Pam for their advice about how to start planning! When we started this blog 3 years ago, I was a single gal trying to navigate the tough NYC dating scene, so thank you for sticking with me on this journey as I found my love! Make sure you come back soon to hear the full proposal story.

This is shaping up to be a pretty slow weekend for us, which is perfect after all of the excitement of the last one (and as you know, I have plenty of reading to keep me occupied!). Do you have any tips for this newly engaged bride-to-be on where to begin with all this planning?

Cheers to AprilAmandaJennieKarliRebecca, Katie, HeatherAndrea, and Tif for hosting today's link-ups!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Weekending: The best one ever!

Wow! I'm still pinching myself to make sure this weekend wasn't a dream, because I've literally been beaming non-stop since Friday night. 

T proposed, and I said YES!

(We also did a bunch of other really cool stuff this weekend, like attend a Kentucky Derby Gender Reveal party, eat the best fried chicken in NYC, stroll through the High Line and Central Park...) - BUT ALSO WE GOT ENGAGED! 

I couldn't be happier and am so excited to share all of the proposal details in an upcoming post...for now, I'll leave you with one of my favorite candid shots from our group dinner immediately following the engagement.

Linking up with Biana!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

4 Spring Design Trends

Spring cleaning season is officially underway, which means it's time to freshen up our home decor with some new pieces. We're invited interior designer Natalie Chianese to share her top 4 spring 2016 design trends to help you breath new life into your home:

1) Rose Quartz, which has been chosen as the #1 Pantone Color of the Year, will be widely used in design fabrics and paint colors this season, both very soft and romantic. Whether you infuse it into a room through furniture like chairs or your sofa, choose drapes or an area rug with some rose quartz undertones, hang art, paint the walls with it, or even include it in your accent pieces, all are great ways to put some glamour into your space. Pink is back, just in a much softer and charming way.

paint//   plaid pillow//   coffee table//   framed art//   rug//   sconce //   mirror //   sofa//   velvet pillow

2) The Balance of Nature and Minimalism

To achieve this look, choose authentic furnishings that reflect the true quality of nature in material or silhouette. Blended with bright, clean patterns, and abundant detailed textures, it will create a bold, yet elegant feeling for any room.

 3) Mixing Metals 

Platinum, gold, rose gold, copper, or steel – as long as they’ve got a metallic sheen, they go together!

 4) Hack it Out! IKEA Hacks provide an affordable way to produce an expensive look, whether you need built-in cabinets, multi-functional shelves, or gorgeous closets that didn’t exist prior. In these examples you can add handles, wallpaper behind the shelves, spray paint shelves, and add legs for a Mid-Century Modern look. Just Google “Ikea Hacks” and check them out!

For more tips on how to decorate your home with the hottest trends this spring, visit Natalie online:

Instagram: @ncinteriorsinc
Natalie Chianese is an accomplished interior designer serving the New York and New Jersey area. Upon receiving her certification from Parsons School of Design with an Interior Design & Architecture focus, she traveled to Europe to further her training. Gaining inspiration from notable structures & cultural ambience amid cities in Italy, France, Switzerland and England, she returned to the states and immediately began Junior Design work with Shelly McClure, Inc. in Manhattan. Under Effeti USA, Natalie saw the design process through from start to finish and helped manage all design and business aspects for some of New York City's most elite clientele. 

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