March 20th is here…

March 20th is here…

My favorite thing about growing up and living in the Northeast is that we really get to enjoy all four seasons.  If I HAD to pick I would say my least favorite is spring, but I do get so excited for the lighter layers and longer days.  Here are some wardrobe finds to get you in the mood for this new season…

Currently wearing:

I have this cute flounce sleeve t-shirt in pink, but I’m loving these other colors as well.

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This bell sleeve top has been my go-to since December.  I have it in both of these colors and plan to wear them through spring.  It’s so flattering, soft, and perfect for this transitional weather!! Untitled

These Aldo Galinsky flats are THE most comfortable flats I have ever owned. I have them in taupe, but they come in so many great colors.

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Some other items I’ve been wearing are these polarized sunglasses (under $50) and short rain boots (under $25).
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In my shopping bag:

Outerwear

This biker jacket comes in khaki green, vintage pink and light grey.

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Also loving this faux suede parka and tie waist coat..
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  1.  Parka              2.  Beige Coat

Tops

Sometimes I like color and sometimes I don’t…

spring

 1.  White seersucker      2. Twist hem      3. Striped
4. Gingham       5. Dotted sleeve

Bottoms

All the highwaisted jeans…

Untitled1. Light blue               2.   Black


Accessories

So many great sunglasses at H&M..

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1. Beige tortoise (polarized)         2. Gold tortoise          3. Taupe


Shoes

The cutest Target shoes..

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1. Slip on sneakers            2. Loafers           3. Woven mules


Rain gear

Spring wouldn’t be complete without a few wet weather accessories…
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       1. Umbrella           2. Rain boots 

Maui Honeymoon Guide

Maui Honeymoon Guide

Although we were married in October we waited until I was off from school in December to go on our honeymoon.  I’m sure it would have been nice to go away immediately after the wedding, but it was also great to have something to look forward to.  I have to admit I was not on board at first with Hawaii as our destination, but the fear of Zika (pause for an eye roll) kept us from traveling anywhere in the Caribbean and December can be a tricky time of year for many other locations.  After planning our wedding I also had no desire to put a honeymoon itinerary together.  So, after we picked Hawaii we decided to do only one island so that we could relax and explore at our own pace.  We chose Maui because it seemed to offer a diverse experience.

New York to Maui is a long flight so we broke it up by stopping to stay with my very generous aunt and uncle outside of San Francisco.  We spent two days in Napa wine tasting and can’t wait to go back.  (We may or may not have had several cases of wine waiting for us at home when we returned from our honeymoon.

Day 1

We took an early morning direct flight to Maui on Hawaiian Airlines, which I highly recommend for the experience if you are traveling to Hawaii for the first time.  After arriving we picked up our Jeep Wrangler from Avis at the airport.  I would never do Maui any other way than to have our own rental car and especially something with 4WD.  There wasn’t a single day on our trip that we didn’t drive somewhere and we loved being able to take the top down on the Jeep while exploring.

We drove straight from the airport to our hotel, the Wailea Beach Resort.  NOTHING on Maui (or Hawaii in general) is cheap or all-inclusive.  It was important to us to stay somewhere nice, but we also knew we would be spending the majority of the time off of the resort.  Also keep in mind that the resorts in Wailea are all very close together sharing the same beaches and view.   The Wailea Beach Resort recently underwent a full renovation and we were so happy with the property and our ocean-view room.

Day 2

Road to Hana

This was number one on our to do list for Maui and the number one reason to rent a 4WD vehicle.  We were jet-lagged and awake early after our first night so we decided to pack up the Jeep and go for it.  I had already done some research on where we wanted to stop along the way and what the mile markers were for each destination.  You really have to play it by ear and kind of decide as you go on where you want to stop.  I won’t list every stop because that would have to be another post itself and because there are a few really great apps (that we found out about afterwards) that act as your own personal tour guide during the drive.  Here are links to two of them:

Gypsy Guide – Maui Road to Hana
Shaka Guide – Road to Hana Maui Driving Tour

My biggest advice for the road to Hana is to leave early because many of the stops have limited parking.  We stopped and got gas and water before starting the trip.  There are so many little stands to stop at along the way.  We were ambitious early on and stopped for some fresh pineapple juice and banana bread, but quickly realized we couldn’t stop at every single one.

The town of Hana itself is not the attraction.  We met people who basically said they drove straight to Hana not realizing and were clearly disappointed.  Enjoy the drive and taking in the sites!
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Don’t turn around in Hana!! The tours and most of the guides tell you to drive to Hana and then turn back from there.  (Your rental car company will probably tell you the same.) We are so happy that we did not take their advice and decided to continue on driving all the way around the South East side of the island.  It was breathtaking and a complete change of scenery from the North East coast.  Just past Hana is Koki Beach, known for it’s red sand.  We stopped there to have “Huli huli” chicken for lunch and were very impressed.

The rest of the drive was stunning and desolate.  You could stop and have a beach all to yourself.  Just make sure to keep an eye on the time depending on the season because you want to be sure to make it back around before sunset.

Day 3

Haleakala National Park

Watching the sunrise from the crater summit is another must-do when on Maui.  Plan to do this early on in your trip so that you are still jet-lagged and waking up fairly early.  Plan ahead for how long it will take you to drive up.  It is a VERY steep and winding road.  Also don’t underestimate how cold and windy it can be at the top like we did.  This depends on the time of the year, but expect it to be about 30-40 degrees cooler at the top than sea level.  They now limit the number of vehicles allowed in each morning for sunrise so you will need to make a reservation online ahead of time: Haleakala Summit Sunrise Reservation.  The reservation costs $1.50 and can be made up to two months in advance.  We didn’t know this until we were there, but luckily they release another batch of tickets for reservation two days in advance, at 4:00 p.m. HST (Hawaii Standard Time) the day before arrival.  There is also a $25 vehicle park entrance fee when you arrive.  This pass is good for three days so plan to do Haleakala Summit within three days of the Road to Hana so that your pass covers any stops at the park during that as well.

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Stop at the Kula Lodge for breakfast after the sunrise! It is about halfway down on your journey back and has great food and an amazing view.

Te Au Moana Luau

I suppose the Hawaiin experience would not be complete without a traditional luau.  Our hotel hosts one of the largest luaus on the island, Te Au Moana, so we decided to check it out.  We enjoyed ourselves and the food was delicious, but I would say this is a first time only kind of thing.

Day 4

Humble Market Kitchin by Roy Yamaguchi

We had breakfast at the Humble Market Kitchin at our hotel on most mornings and I think we ordered the Kalua Pork Eggs Benedict every single time.

This was our “off” day.  I really like activities, but we were tired by day four and spent most of the day at the resort pools and beach.

Day 5

We decided to take a drive up the West Coast of the island and do the entire loop.  This was the most underrated thing to do on the island.  We loved this drive just as much if not more than the Road to Hana.  I’m not sure why they don’t advertise this drive to tourists, but I’m thinking because it doesn’t offer as many money-making stops for the locals and is more narrow and winding than the Road to Hana.

Nakalele Point 

Nakalele Point at mile marker 38.5 on the northern shore of this loop was a beautiful stop.  You can climb down to the Nakalele Blowhole, which is a natural geyser caused by seawater trapped in a lava tube.  When the blowhole is to your left turn around and look to the right to see Maui’s heart shaped rock.

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Humuhumunukunukuapua’a at Grand Wailea

Our dinner at Humuhumu was a short walk from our hotel and definitely our favorite dining experience on the island.  Get there early so that you can get a table closest to the water or request specific seating when making your reservation.  I would still recommend going early before sunest and hanging out at the bar area before dinner!

Day 6

Molokini

Snorkeling at Molokini was another top activity of Maui that lived up to the hype.  Molokini is a partially submerged volcanic crater, one of only three in the world, that houses a lush reef and crystal clear waters.  We chose Kai Kanani for our catamaran snorkeling tour because they offered a smaller group, picked guests up from a beach close to Wailea, and included food, water and alcoholic beverages.

Mama’s Fish House 

Mama’s was the one place that everyone told us we HAD to try.  It is on the pricier side, but was worth it.  Again, I would suggest arriving early and before sunset to enjoy the view before dinner.  You will need to make reservations here well in advance.  It is the most popular restaurant on the island.

Day 7

The Mill House

We went to lunch at the Mill House on our last day and were so glad that we made it there.  It is part of the Maui Tropical Plantation, which could be a day trip by itself.  They offer zip lining, tours of the grounds, shopping, and other activities.  It’s a great place to get any last minute souvenirs.  The restaurant has a stunning view of the West Maui mountains on a clear day and a great farm to table menu.

Paia

After lunch we still had plenty of time before our flight so we drove to Paia, which is just past the airport and the last town before starting the road to Hana.  Paia is a historic laidback town with a lot of amazing shops and boutiques.  You can also drive just past Paia to Ho’okipa , a world renowned wind and board surfing location, to watch some of the locals and professionals.


In conclusion..
choose Maui! I am so glad my husband pushed for this trip and would love to go back someday.  The island and the people that we met were unlike anywhere else we have been.  I loved that there was a lot to do on the island, but that it was still small enough that we felt like we were able to see everything.

maui map

Other Maui tips:

  • Plan some meals ahead of time to get reservations at some of the more popular restaurants, but don’t plan ALL of them.  In addition to the restaurants I listed there were so many amazing food trucks and stands all over the island.  Allow for some flexibility in your dining.
  • Don’t stress about the weather.  Maui has several different sub climates and the weather on the island can vary drastically depending on location.  Kihei/Wailea tends to be the driest area, which makes it a great resort spot.  If it looks like rain just check the weather somewhere else on the island.  Definitely keep a light rain jacket in your car though!

Coming Soon…

Coming Soon…

My husband and I are currently in the process of getting ready to renovate/build our new home.  We have owned the property for almost a year and I have been (not so patiently) waiting to get started.  It is right around the corner from our current home and had been our dream property for a while.   It was once a beautiful horse farm, but the home and property had been foreclosed and vacant for several years.  Unfortunately, it was not on the market when we were really looking and we got tired of waiting when we couldn’t get any answers about what was happening with it.  Well, lucky for us, the same day we were about to move forward with an offer on a similar house and property in the area this one came back on the market.  We were ecstatic!  We have spent the last year meeting with the architect, brush hogging, fixing up the barn and fences, and taking our dog to run around at our future home almost daily.

Here are a few before photos (and AFTER some major yard work):
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We will be adding a second floor as well as an attached garage so that we have plenty of room to grow into as we hopefully add children (and puppies) to our family in the future.  Below were some of our must-haves when designing the new space.

His:
– extra large three car garage so we have more space for more junk
– a two story entry way to store dust and spider webs in hard to reach places
– higher ceilings.. OK fine I like this one

Mine:
– mudroom
– dining area to fit excessively long table
– walk in closets, linen closets, did I mention closets?

We didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye in the planning process, but definitely made some compromises and are excited about our (almost) finalized plans.  The longer we wait to get started the more details we change so hopefully we will begin demolition and framing in the next two months.

Our design style is traditional/modern farmhouse.  The exterior will be white siding with board and batten accents and black shutters.  There will be A LOT of white on the interior as well with some rustic and industrial charm.  Below is some of our design inspiration:

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Of course, I have already been shopping around for furniture, lighting, and other decor.  I figured I would share some of the items I love:

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Click to shop:
1. Wall Light        2. Door Mat         3. Bench         4. Throw blanket 


Living Room 

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Click to shop:
1. Chair      2. Rug     3. Side table     4. Clock     5. Shelf     6. Basket


Kitchen

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Click to shop:
1. Kitchen sign    2. Coffee sign      3. Faux leather
4. French bistro      5. Modern faux leather      6. Metal stool


Lighting

lightingClick to shop:
1. 5 light chandelier       2.  Cage pendant      3. 8 light chandelier 
4. Industrial flush mount     5. Hammered pendant       6.  One light pendant     7. 5 light pendant 


Miscellaneous Decor
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Click to shop:
1. Milk can       2.  Wreath      3. Basket       4. Rectangular tray       5. Garland 
6.  Circle Tray       7. Natural rug      8. Shoe cabinet       9.  Rawhide rug

To be continued…

 

Photo Sources:
FancyFarmGirls
Donald. Garner Architect 
Rejuvenation
Homedecort
Halycon Style 
Provident Home Design

 

Wedding details for the bride who would rather have a fondue station than a wedding planner. (Definitely do both if it’s in your budget!)

Wedding details for the bride who would rather have a fondue station than a wedding planner.  (Definitely do both if it’s in your budget!)

My husband and I got married on October 21, 2017 in upstate New York.  We got engaged in September of 2016 and, like every other “basic b***h” out there, I dreamed of having a rustic fall wedding.  I’m hoping this post will help some future brides who are just as clueless with their planning as I was!

(Click on the vendor or item names for links)

Venue: The Barn at Lord Howe Valley, Ticonderoga NY 

Finding the venue was no easy task for a picky bride like myself.  I contacted every barn and winery within a 3 hour radius of where we live.  They either laughed at my request because they had no dates available until the fall of 2018, couldn’t accommodate 200 guests, were way out of our budget, or just not my style.  We were about ready to settle for an off-season date at a local country club, but found an article at the last minute about a new barn venue being built in Ticonderoga, NY.  They had just held their first wedding and were almost completely finished with the barn when we went up to see it.  The entire property photographs beautifully, but is even more stunning in person.   It was exactly what we had been looking for and, since it was their first season, a fraction of the cost of other venues who didn’t offer half of what they did and weren’t nearly as beautiful. They included farm tables, reception chairs, two arbor choices, ceremony chairs, lighting and decor options, as well as luxury bathroom trailers at no additional cost.  There is truly nothing else like it out there. Sarah, the owner, was amazing to work with throughout the entire process.

The venue also has a second barn on site for the bridal party to get ready.  The bride’s side is basically what I would want my own home to be designed to look like and the groom’s side is a rustic man cave complete with leather chairs and a putting green.


Catering: Mazzone Hospitality 

The only reason that my husband agreed to a barn wedding was because of Mazzone Hospitality.  They are an unbelievable catering and event management company out of Albany, NY that provided full service off-premise catering.  We were so impressed by their menu, staff, and planning resources.  Cassie, our event coordinator, helped us pick our package and menu items.  She sat with us during our amazing tasting and walked us through the entire day starting with a refreshment station before the ceremony and ending with a late-night wood-fired pizza station on the patio.  Cassie and our event manager, Sean, from Mazzone met with us at the venue the day before the wedding for a final run through.  Sean was there for the entirety of our wedding and made sure that it was all perfect.  We heard so many great things from our guests about the catering and were so happy with how it all looked and (most importantly) how it tasted.

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Floral: Fleurtacious Designs, Latham NY

I contacted several different florists in the Albany/Lake George/Vermont region to compare quotes and ended up choosing Fleurtacious Designs.  I loved that they were willing to re-purpose our ceremony flowers for the cocktail hour/reception and would stay on site to do the switch over.  Our venue had long farm tables and we decided to do half of the tables with garland and the other half with three small centerpieces.  We alternated tables and got the look we wanted at a lower price.  They also provided long stemmed candle holders for the tables with the garland.  Even though I purchased all of the other votives and candles myself they set everything up and styled it all beautifully. Kris Ann, the owner of Fleurtacious Designs, made my vision come to life.  We met once in person, spoke on the phone a few times, and emailed back and forth with some minor details.  She made the whole process so easy and stress free and we could not have been happier with the end result.


Stationary: Paradise Invitations 

Let me start by saying that I had NO idea that invitations could cost so much.  I had my heart set on simple letterpress invites, but quickly realized that it was not an option. I found Paradise Invitations on Etsy and contacted her to recreate a design I had found online.  She designed, printed, and assembled my invitation suite with belly bands for half of the cost of anyone I contacted locally or online.  She also made my menu cards that doubled as place cards and digital files for a few signs that I printed and framed.  She is based out of Australia, but included free express shipping!


Signage: AlRiteByMe 

So.. I saw a seating chart on Style Me Pretty using photos of the guests and I NEEDED to have it.  I promise I know the difference between want and need and this was an absolute necessity.  At first I was naive and thought that I was going to have the time and ability to make it myself, but started to panic when it was two weeks before the wedding and I didn’t have a single photo printed.  I had already done a lot of Facebook stalking and digging for old pictures, which were saved on my phone, but knew that if it was going to happen at all I would need to find a calligrapher to actually make the board and put it all together.  Amanda was local to the Lake George area and had a lot of beautiful work on her facebook page.  She took on the challenge of making this seating chart with short notice and also created two chalkboard bar menus.  She bought all of the materials for me including the chalkboard stand and I printed the photos from foxprint.com, wrote the table numbers on the back, and mailed them to her with five days to spare.  It would have cost more to purchase just a plain seating chart board on Etsy than what she charged me for all of the materials and her time.  I highly recommend her for all of your calligraphy and wedding project needs!

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Photo: Lauren Fair Associates 

I think there was a period of time when I was following almost every wedding photographer in the Northeast on Instagram.  I fell in love with Lauren Fair Photography’s style, but they were out of our price range.  They do, however, offer a package for their associate photographers who are also extremely talented.  This was such a great alternative and the owners, Lauren and Tim Fair, still edited our photos to get the look we loved so much.


Video: Railroad Productions 

We cannot say enough great things about Molly and Cory from Railroad Productions.  They captured our entire wedding weekend and truly kept us (me) sane through everything.  A videographer was not at the top of my must-have list when we started planning, but my husband was adamant that we have it.  I am so happy that he pushed for this because the trailer (below) and full video are my favorite things from the wedding.


Day of Coordinator: Katelyn Taylor Events

Early on in our planning I had contacted a few well known wedding planners to see what they charged for day of services and they were all VERY expensive.  Then about six weeks before the wedding I started to have nightmares about wedding day disasters.  I ended up searching again and found a day of coordinator who was local to the Lake George area and very reasonably priced.  Kate Taylor met with us at the venue prior to the wedding and went over all of the details.  The day of our wedding she was everyone’s go to person and it was so great to not be stressed about all of the little details.

Officiant: Pastor Joshua Stewart 

DJ: Next Generation Entertainment
Greek Band: George Floradis; Patra Neamonitaki

Photobooth: O Snap Photobooth

Hair/Makeup: Erica Sherman (Beauty by E) 

Bride: Plumed Serpent Bridal , Westport CT

Dress: Blush by Hayley Paige
Overskirt: Monique Lhuillier

Clutch: David’s Bridal

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Veil: Preownedweddingdresses.com (Lazaro)


Shoes: Chinese Laundry 


Bridesmaids:

Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid (Watter’s Lottie Gown in mink) 

Shoes: Chinese Laundry 

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Pajamas: J.Crew 

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Groom/Groomsmen:
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse (Joseph Abboud)
Ties: Tie Bar 


Decor: 

Silver & gold votives: Paper Lantern Store
Long-burn candles: Candles4Less

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Sweetheart Table Candleholders: Kirkland’s 
Floating Candles: Candles4Less

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Gold Chargers: Dollar Tree 

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Cake topper: Etsy

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Chairback signs: Etsy

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Cigars: Thompson Cigar
Matches: foryourparty


Dog collar with matching leash: Etsy

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