New York Recap

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Finally trying to get caught up on all our trips and things we did. I love being able to look back on the memories we've made over the past year(s). So only 2+ months later, here's our October trip to New York.

We try to go to the city/Cooperstown at least once a year so that we can see my Grandpa and Flis. Otherwise, we only get to see them once a year when they stop down on their way to Florida. Even twice a year just isn't enough. 

We did LOTS of walking (as in 25 miles in 3 days) and lots of eating with a little bit of shopping and touristy stuff thrown in. The one thing I'm sad I don't have a photo to document is our trip to the Beretta store. We were talking with one of the guys about the different guns and he helped me with my stance and all sorts of other things. It was awesome. 

We got to New York bright and early on Thursday morning. Thursday night we stayed in a hotel (the Roosevelt - wouldn't recommend it) and then Friday and Saturday we stayed at Grandpa and Flis' apartment. On Thursday we went to Ellis Island first thing because Dale's always wanted to go. It was actually really disappointing though. They had removed a lot of the artifacts due to damage from Hurricane Sandy so a lot of the displays were empty. The ferry ride over and back was really fun (and made it worth it). The views of the city were gorgeous!

For lunch we went to Luke's Lobster and it was amazing. I would have eaten there again for another meal. They have a few locations throughout the city, so I would definitely add it to your list!

From lunch we were already in the financial district, so we walked over to the 9/11 Memorial. It was beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. 

Thursday night we met Grandpa for dinner at Joe Allen's - his and Flis' favorite place to eat before the theater. We all got burgers and they were super tasty. It's the perfect place to eat before a show. It's a quick walk over to Broadway, the walls are lined with posters from all the Broadway flops, the owners and staff are extremely friendly, and the entire place has a cozy vibe.

Lion King was a really good show! Flis has seen it a few times, so she knew the best seats were on the lower level on the aisle. The costumes were stunning and I can see why they won so many awards. Lion King didn't top Wicked in my book, but it was still a great show.

Friday morning we woke up early to get to the Met. Flis has worked in the education department for years, so she always comes along to give us a mini tour. The rooftop garden/maze was one of my favorite exhibits. Between that and the American furniture wing, I could stay there for hours.

Flis sneaking us into a restricted/not open area at the Met. She wanted to show us the candlesticks that Dr. McMillan (their neighbor in Coop and father of Kelsey, the Naptime Chef) donated. Dr. McMillan has been so great with my grandpa's cancer and we always love getting to see him and his two dogs when we go to Coop.

After the Met, we met grandpa at The Brook. This was our second time coming here - the first was in 2011 for my great aunt's memorial service, but neither Brandon nor Dale were able to make that trip. It's a men's club, so women still aren't allowed above the second floor. We were able to eat in a private room, which was ideal.

Friday night we had the latest meal (our reservations were at 10!). We went to L'Artusi, an Italian restaurant that my foodie brother picked. It was delicious and the wine menu was extensive. All of the pasta is made in house and the restaurant itself is fantastic. I would highly recommend it.

Saturday morning we went to the Guggenheim. The entire museum featured the German ZERO exhibit. It would have been nice to see a few other exhibits throughout the museum, but it was still a good way to spend the morning. 

We had lunch at Sara Beth's and then walked around a shopped a little bit. This is when we went to the Beretta store too. We didn't buy too much while we were there. Brandon got a great sweater from Barbour and I got a Nars nail polish and that was it! We definitely did good on that trip of sticking to our envelope system budget! We had dinner at The Oyster Bar at Grand Central and 42nd Street. They have a black bean soup with lump crab meat that I would love right now! 

 Sunday we had brunch at Fig & Olive before flying back home. It was a quick trip, but we were able to do lots of fun things in our 3 days!


Kirsten and Ryan's Engagement Party

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Back in November, we were able to host an engagement party for two of our good friends, Kirsten and Ryan. Ryan and Brandon have known each other since middle school and are/were each others best men in their respective weddings. Kirsten's parents were able to come down from New Jersey for the party and it was so great to get together with them, Ryan's parents and some of their closest friends.

I was really happy with how the invites and envelopes + liners turned out. It really helped to set the tone for the entire party. I addressed the invites in a white gel pen and they looked great! I went through numerous types of white pens to find one I liked best, and the gel pen worked perfectly. 

We hosted the party at our house. We had two cocktail tables and the drink station set up on our side porch with chairs set up around the fire pit in our backyard. We kept all the food inside. We borrowed my step dad's space heater and it did wonders to keep us all toasty while outside on a cold November day!

Marriage Advice Cards and Questions for Ryan & Kirsten

Gorgeous flowers from Whole Foods!

Drink Station

I purchased the Bombshell font so that we could have the same printing on the cups, napkins, food place cards,  and marriage advice cards as we did on the invites. I love this font and will definitely use it for lots of things in the future. I was able to get the printable place cards from Staples. They were so easy to use and turned out great! 

We had some tinsel drink stirrers and paper straws leftover from Mom's wedding. They were a fun touch for the wine glasses and tumblers.

Drink options were:
-Hot Apple Cider
-Keg from Total Wine and assorted beers
-Pinot Grigio
-Cabernet Sauvignon 
-Pinot Noir
-Prosecco (which we forgot in the freezer and ended up pushing the cork out)
-Coca Cola in glass bottles

Everyone enjoyed getting to warm up around the fire pit - and it was the perfect spot for s'mores!

Can y'all believe this boxwood wreath from Trader Joe's was only $9.99?! Talk about a steal!

Food Table (buffalo chicken bites were still in the oven)

Caprese Bites - we used the mozzarella balls soaked in the olive oil and herbs. I highly recommend going this route. We didn't have to do the balsamic reduction and they were so tasty!

Crudite platter with dip (Ranch packet and 16 oz. sour cream).

Biscuits with Homemade Strawberry Jam
Not going to lie to y'all - I ran out of time and didn't make the biscuits. Brandon got the frozen Pillsbury biscuits last minute and they were a life saver. They were so good. Don't ever buy the canned biscuits ever again

Mini barbecue sandwiches with cole slaw (We always get our barbecue and slaw at Clyde Cooper's)

Mini Biscuits and Pimento Cheese

Dessert Bar! 
Pumpkin Macraons, S'mores Bar (with Hershey Chocolate AND Reese's) and Mini Chocolate Chess Pies

These pumpkin macarons from Trader Joe's are AMAZING!

Buffalo Chicken Bites (I use the Skinny Taste recipe and put them in phyllo cups)
Mini Chicken and Waffles (with Chick-fil-A nuggets)
Mushrooms Stuffed with Cajun Crab dip - pop the top off the mushrooms, stuff with the cajun crab dip from Harris Teeter (in the seafood section), and cook at 350 for ~20 minutes until mushrooms are cooked

Peter was sweet enough to take a picture of Brandon and me before the party started. Otherwise, we wouldn't have had a single person photo. We (I) were both too busy enjoying the party to remember to take people pictures - oops! Peter helped Brandon with all his running around/tasks leading up to the party and the day of and mom came to help with all the food prep and make sure everything was running smoothly so I could enjoy the party. I don't know what we would have done without the two of them! Forever grateful!

We had such a great time celebrating Kirsten and Ryan's upcoming marriage and can't wait for their wedding this March! 

Invitations: Etsy, Paper Please
Envelopes: If It's Paper, Raleigh
Envelope Liners: Etsy, Day Dream Prints
Ribbon: MJ Trim
Custom Cups and Napkins: Totally Promotional 
Linens and Cocktail Table Rentals: Party Reflections
Flowers: Whole Foods
Boxwood Wreath: Trader Joe's


December Goals

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I know today is supposed to be the last day of the "A Few of My Favorite Things" linkup, but honestly, I just didn't have time to compile a thoughtful enough list. Head over to Elise, April, Katie, or Zelle's blogs to check out their lists and everyone else who linked up!

I haven't done a monthly goals post for quite a while now and I want to end the year on a good and productive note and goal setting definitely helps me stick with my plan. 

-Decorate for Christmas
-Get organized for 2015 with my Simplified Planner
-Remember the true meaning of Christmas in all of our celebrations
-Finish Christmas shopping by December 10 - Done shopping at of Dec. 8 (just waiting on shipments to come in!)
-Have all presents wrapped and under the tree by December 15
-Watch way too many Christmas movies
-MOVE! We're hoping to get all moved into our new house the week after Christmas.
-Spread the eBates love. 
Y'all how am I just finding out about this now?! It's FREE money! All you do is sign up for a {free} eBates account, visit the store you would already shop at through the eBates website and make your purchase as you would through that store. They have pretty much every store you can think of and they have a set % cash back for each store. Once a quarter, they'll mail you a check or deposit it into your Paypal account. 


These are a Few of My Favorite Things: Stocking Stuffers

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Continuing in my tradition from last year, I've compiled a list of stocking stuffers for both ladies and our men.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

1. Striped Taper Candle in Wasabi and Mint
I adore these tapered candles that all my favorite shops are selling. They come in so many great colors that it's easy to change them out seasonally or leave your favorite color combo up all year.

2. Gigi New York Tassel Key Chain
This key chain is the perfect way to spice up a boring set up keys - and they come in lots of fun colors. Anything Graphic Image/Gigi New York is so well made that it would be able to handle the beating your keys take.

3. Nars Nail Polish (in Chinatown)
I love Nars nail polish and the fact they don't use any of the toxic ingredients in their nail polishes. The colors are so fun and I love the burgundy one for winter.

4. Beautycounter Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash
I'm sure you've heard of Beautycounter by now and their great skincare products, but I'm an even bigger fan of their shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. We always get hygiene products in our stockings and Santa definitely got this link in an email already

5. Pom Pom Beanie
We're supposed to get a lot of snow this year and I've found if your feet and head are warm, the rest of you probably is too. It doesn't hurt to look cute while you're at it!

6. Matches
I don't know about y'all, but after burning my favorite Nest candles for the past few months straight, my matches supply is getting a little low. You can never have too many matches.

7. BlueAvocado Re-Zip Bags
I'm the worst about reusing ziploc bags - even if they're "clean," so the re-zip, reusable bags are perfect for me. Our Target even carries them. Perfect for bringing snacks and lunch to work.

1 (on sale!) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 (cheapest at Bass Pro) / 6

1. Art of Shaving Carry on Kit in Sandalwood
Brandon and my brother both swear by the sandalwood scent (I actually use the lavender shaving cream myself). This carry on kit makes it super easy to either try out the products for the first time or to make packing for a trip a little easier.

2. Hand Warmers
These things were a life saver at the freezing Carolina vs. Duke game we went to last week. I'll definitely be using them from now on whenever we're outside for extended periods. They're also great for hunters.

3. The Ultimate Bar Book
I love this easy reference guide for all your bar needs. It's nice to not have to good a recipe every time you need one.

4. Mark & Graham Handkerchiefs
We got my brother these handkerchiefs for Christmas last year and I was happily surprised with what high quality they were. Brandon immediately wanted some as well, but they ended up being back ordered until March! Clearly the word got out, so order these quick!

5. Sportear XP3 Ear Plugs
Brandon and I both have these ear plugs and love them. They stay in our ears much better than the orange disposable kind and do a great job of blocking out noise.

6. Pappy van Winkle Bourbon Balls
If you're like Brandon and are on the 10 year waiting list for a bottle of Pappy, these are the next best thing. They have a smaller box of 4, but I say splurge and get the box of 12 because I'm sure they won't last long.


These are a few of my favorite things: My List

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I know I'm a day late on linking up with Elise, April, Katie, and Zelle - but better late than never, right?! I was in jury duty yesterday (and just barely missed having to sit for the trial), we have our big client party at work tonight, and the engagement party this weekend. Things have been a little crazy in these parts lately, but all good things! I loved participating in the "These are a few of my favorite things" Linkup last year and am excited to participate again!

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 (cheaper version here) / 8

1.  This was on my list last year and we still haven't made a decision - but new fabric to recover our club chairs. We're definitely moving (right after Christmas), so I think this will be the perfect time to get this done. I'm loving this gray and white fabric. 

2.  I would also love to be more intentional with our color scheme. I'm leaning towards blues, greens, and grays and am in love with these pillows. They would be the perfect pop on our sofa.

3.  With 1 1/2 more bathrooms in the new house, we're going to need more towels! I love the white Pottery Barn towels we got for our wedding.

4.  Continuing with the house theme, there are some built-ins in our new living room, which is the perfect excuse for more coffee table books. I love the Aerin Lauder and this cover is gorgeous!

5.  We have one Apple TV right now and we LOVE it. We constantly move it back and forth from our bedroom to the living room. It would be really nice to have another one so we can leave them hooked up.

6.  I love sunglasses and these mirrored Ray Bans are so fun! I still haven't decided between the blue or the red/orange yet. 

7.  I love the Dior "Mise en Dior" tribal pearl earrings that you've seen all over the place, but the Dior version are definitely not in the budget. There are lots of great alternatives floating out there for fraction of the cost.

8.  I love the layered look of this necklace and the customized bar.


Friday Five

Friday, October 31, 2014

1. Happy Halloween! Are y'all doing anything fun tonight? I think the extent of my Halloween is going to be handing out candy to our 10 neighborhood trick or treaters and eating a Krispy Kreme Halloween donut or two. Sprinkle or holiday themed donuts are my weakness. Y'all can keep your original glaze. If you need further motivation, head to any Krispy Kreme in your costume and get a FREE donut!

2. I got the cutest pair of rag & bone newbury booties on super sale about a month ago. The same ones I have are on sale again plus some other cute styles/colors. I wanted a pair of newbury booties for over a year (they even made an appearance on my wishlist last Christmas) and it made it even better that I got them on sale. They are super comfortable and go with everything - I even wear them with work dresses. The bootie trend seems to be here to stay and you can't beat the price for such a high quality pair.

3. Junior League of Raleigh's 30th Annual A Shopping SPREE! started yesterday and runs through Sunday. On Wednesday, I helped with set up and got to check out the vendors. I can honestly say that this is going to be the best SPREE! yet and the vendors are all amazing. I'm going to the Saturday "Weekend Wakeup" with all the woman on my mom's side of the family. It's going to be so much fun and hopefully a new tradition! I've already gotten a jump on my Christmas shopping, but after Saturday, I might be almost done! 

I can't wait to get this cute Wolfpack shirt!
And how gorgeous are these monogrammed pillows?!
4. Daylight Savings is on Sunday and I'm so ready for it. Getting up in the pitch black every morning has been r.o.u.g.h. I'm hoping with the extra morning light, I'll be able to wake up a little earlier and do a small circuit to kick-start my day. I would love to do something like this first thing:

5. Leaving y'all with a quite that spoke to me this weak. He is the only one that can heal our hearts in times of sadness and loss.

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