Category Archives: Summer

The Perfect Bridal Shower

Last Saturday, the 21st, my gorgeous bridesmaids and mama threw me the most beautiful bridal shower at White Dog Cafe in Wayne, PA. I cannot thank them enough, especially my sister and Maid of Honor, Allie, for all the hard work they put into the perfect little party.

Bridal Party

The whole weekend was a whirlwind, beginning with my family meeting us at a local Italian place Friday night, only to be trailed by my grandma who lives in Florida and my best friend Lauren from Arizona, two of the biggest surprises I have ever had! I had no clue they were flying in for the weekend, and as I hadn’t seen Lauren in 5 years (how is that even possible?!), it was an emotional get-together!

My parents’ house was pretty packed over the weekend, as they were joined by my sister and her boyfriend Oscar, my two grandmas, Lauren, and Josh & I (oh, and two big, excited dogs!), so it was like a huge sleepover all weekend! We celebrated my 28th birthday and our shower weekend kickoff with an amazing confetti Birthday Cake by Momofoku. Oh. My god. Best cake ever.

Momofoku Confetti Cake

Saturday was my shower, and the boys took off to golf while the gals headed to PA. The shower wasn’t a total surprise, but I didn’t know where it was going to be or who was able to make it…and White Dog was the perfect spot. My girls know me well!! The place is adorable, with fabulous sustainable and local food and pictures of dogs everywhere. Plus, they decorated it so beautifully, it was like a page out of a magazine (and the favors?! So very “me”….Lush soaps and Momofoku Confetti Cookies…perhaps even better than the cake we had the night before?! David Chang, I love you. And the Philly Cooper cheese box is so perfect!).

Lush Soaps and Momofoku Cookies Favors Shower Gift Table

Allie and I

Beagle!Dog topiary 11052872_10104021060699022_6660058446950184928_n

I should’ve known with my sister’s skills from working for Anthropologie for so long (and my artistic friends), it was going to be aesthetically stunning! Alyssa even gave me a real Hawaiian lei of tuberose and white orchids that smelled like heaven and felt so special!! I have always wanted to wear one! It was a pretty intimate shower, with my closest friends and relatives there….we wanted to keep it on the small side. It wasn’t totally traditional, in that I didn’t open gifts there or play any games, we just started with cocktails and mingled and then sat down for a great meal (I had the lobster bisque, the cheeseburger with truffle fries, and the dessert trio…soooo insanely good).

cheeseburger and fries

 

dessert trioJosh’s mom came all the way from New Hampshire, and Josh and Oscar showed up shortly after to say hi to everyone and help take the gifts home. The drinks and food were awesome, the decor was stellar, and the company was just the best. It was the most low-key, perfectly “me” shower ever, and I am SO thankful for everyone who came far and wide to make it! It gives me butterflies thinking about it!

The girls 11403277_10104021063683042_7852609095590584119_n 11057974_10104021063069272_455410853692074069_n

A few of us stopped at my bridesmaid Alyssa and her boyfriend Mike’s house for a bit after to keep the party going, and then came home to ice cream from Latteria, the best place known to mankind. They are doing ice cream at our wedding!

Sunday, Allie, Lauren, and I woke up and headed to Philly for something I have been anticipating for a LONG time! We went to Max Brenner, famous for his chocolate….so we obviously had to get something chocolate-laden to try. We split a Mexican omelette (with a sugar-dusted biscuit and molten chocolate spread on the side. Wut.), a Philly cheesesteak waffle sandwich with KILLER sweet potato fries, and a peanut butter and chocolate crepe. Ugh, my mouth is watering even thinking about this meal. I cannot wait to take Coop to the NYC Max Brenner!!

Max Brenner's Max Brenner's Max Brenner's

We then walked all around Center City and Old City, did some shopping, and included a quick stop at Josh’s old place on Elfreth’s Alley. I miss that house!! And Philly….always holds a special place in my heart! Remember this from our engagement pics? We HAD to come back to take photos in a place so reminiscent of the beginning of our relationship. And every time I am in the area I love to walk by and peek in the courtyard.

Elfreth's Alley

City Hall on Broad Street

That evening, the clan drove me back up to JC (Coop was at practice in PA all day), and it was so nice to spend more time with my parents and grandmas and Lauren before she headed back to AZ, and it was fun walking down to the waterfront so they could take in the iconic views of the Manhattan skyline. It was a nice way to celebrate Father’s Day with my dad, too. Oh, and did I mention I also got to test-drive my dad’s friend’s brand new 2015 Corvette, too?! Just another feather in the hat of the weekend.

Father's Day 2015 in Jersey City

It was a jam-packed, indulgent weekend, and I have never felt so loved! It was the perfect kickoff to our wedding festivities…it finally feels like it is really happening! I cannot believe we are only a few months away!

xoxo

 

Guess who’s back…

Heyyy, remember when I blogged sometimes?

It’s been a crazy ride here since I’ve become a Jersey Girl again, and I love being just a quick hop into the city. If you told me this time last year I would be where I am today, I would laugh at you. But! It has been so amazing, Coop is loving his not-so-new-anymore career move to Manhattan, I get to see my city-dwelling BFF like WAYYY more, and I don’t think the same weekend night can ever be repeated. Always something so fun and new to try. I feel like our life has been infused with didn’t-even-know-we-needed-it new adventure, and it feels amazing. Also, we are less than three months out to the wedding (WHAT?!?!).

So! I have been thinking, and Coop and I have agreed it would be so fun to document this time in our lives. We could be up by NYC for years to come, or things could change by next year…who knows! So we are taking full advantage of it. And so, I think you will be seeing a little bit more of me over here!

Starting with this past weekend. It was one of my absolute favorites I have had since moving! My 28th birthday was last week, so our weekend started off with a bang when Coop took me to a restaurant on the waterfront I have been dying to try. And it did NOT disappoint.

Battello JC

Battello is on a pier in JC with a breathtaking view of the city, and the decor was crazy impressive, as well.

And then there was the food.

We decided on a chef’s tasting, where we could each choose an appetizer, a pasta, an entree, and then received a tasting of 4 different desserts. We also each had a Brooklyn Blast IPA and then split a bottle of Malbec while the sun set.

Bread and Truffle Butter

 

 

Mussels

Tuna Rollatini

Ricotta Gnocchi with Sausage Bolognese

Linguine with Clams

Pancetta Wrapped Scallops with Red Quinoa and Almond Puree

Ribeye Steak

Dessert Sampler

(That popcorn ice cream and the chocolate/caramel/powdered PB/caramel popcorn dessert were TO. DIE. FOR.) We both agreed it was one of our best experiences in JC and one of our favorite dinners/date nights ever, period!! The service was stellar, too. Even though the place was packed, our server was attentive and had great suggestions while still allowing us to not feel ushered out once we finished our meal. He even took a photo of us on the water before we headed out! Nothing but glowing reviews for Battello, and we cannot wait to come back for oysters and drinks at the bar, and will certainly be a go-to for any celebratory dinners.

View of NYC

NYC

We were able to walk along the boardwalk to another beer spot that I didn’t even know existed….Taphaus is another with one of the very best views of the city, with a solid beer list and lots of space. Definitely will be back here as well.

Saturday was another memorable day for us; after walking to his local barber for a quick hair cut, we hopped in the city to Indochino for Coop to get fitted for his suit for the wedding. It was so fun to be there while he chose all of the unique details of his suit, including stitching, the lining, even the inside monogram of my soon-to-be new last name and our wedding date. SO fun, and the associate that helped us was so great. Can’t wait for his custom-made suit!

Indochino fitting

We were STARVING after, so we walked to one of our favorite spots in the city…Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen (how appropriate…)! Last time we were here we had THE BEST oxtail gravy and biscuits for brunch, seriously, the best, but as this trip was a little later in the day and brunch had ended, we went with the pretzels and beer cheese and a dozen hot buffalo wings. I planned on sharing a yummy-sounding grilled cheese after, but we were so full after this! Also, their own IPA is on point.

Cooper's Craft & Kitchen

Pretzels and Beer Cheese

Buffalo WingsCooper at Cooper's

After a quick pitstop to visit my best friend Christine who happened to be a few blocks away with some girlfriends (and inhale a quick margarita on the rocks because, well, Mexican restaurant), we went back to JC to see Jurassic World! Seriously SO fun, it was the perfect mixture of adventure + corniness + visually awesome. Go see it in 3D, you won’t be disappointed! After a late-night cajun turkey hoagie (with fresh mozz!!) stop at Stella’s on the way home (our go-to late night JC food spot…solid little 24hr pizza and sandwich shop on our way home from downtown), we were more than ready to crash!

Sunday Coop had band practice in PA, and my mom and grandmother came up for the day to hang. We walked to the water and went to City Diner (another go-to for us!) for salads and burgers (cannot wait to try the Veggie Jalapeno Burger again), and came back to our place to relax and watch a movie and drink coffee from my favorite bakery downstairs.

Veggie Jalapeno Griller from City Diner

 

It was my grandma’s first time to Jersey City, and it was so fun to see how much she loved our new place and our neighborhood! Another fabulous weekend in the books, and next week is our wedding shower back in Philly/South Jersey. I know my sister has been planning up a storm and I am so excited to see what she has in store for us. See ya then! 😉

Kissing Seahorses!

As much as I love fall, I am still hanging on to every last drop of the end of summer 2012. In honor of all of my newlywed friends, I have new personalized prints for sale in my Etsy shop, and new products available in my Society6 shop (including iPhone 4, 4S, and new iPhone 5 cases!).

You can commemorate a special occasion with personalized names and dates.

Or maybe you just want to have some seahorses on your hoodie.

Perfect for a beach or nautical-themed wedding…..or just for someone who loves seahorses as much as I do. 😉

Fit for TBA: My Favorite Workouts (Part II)

Hello there! Happy Monday…I am definitely ready for a fresh new week.

Let’s start it off with Part II of Fit for TBA: My Favorite Workouts! You can find Part I here.

Fit for TBA: My Favorite Workouts! (Part II)

I have a true love for yoga, and definitely don’t make enough time in my schedule for it. I truly think one reason I have been so stressed out lately is not having that time carved out every week to let go and quiet my mind. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to my favorite yoga classes, only to walk away yoga-noodley AND have a clearer head…my instructors always seem to have the right things to say, and help you to feel like you are in the right place at the right time, and your life is right where it should be. I need to do yoga more regularly again!

Runners-Up: BodyCombat and boxing-inspired classes. Alright….sometimes there is no better feeling than uppercutting that imaginary bad guy in your kickboxing class, and delivering a nice roundhouse right to his head. And hitting a heavy bag is a therapy session all on its own!

I could go on and on about these super-inspiring, outrageously gorgeous girls, but all you need is to spend a few minutes on their blog or YouTube channel and you will see why! They have developed a lifestyle eating plan that works, and started a Community that is unlike any other. And they are so FUN! I couldn’t recommend them enough.

Runner-up: Cassey at Blogilates. She has the cutest personality and blog, and a great YouTube channel as well. Her Call Me Maybe Squat Challenge is NO JOKE!! Seriously….do it everyday for a week and try to tell me you don’t see a difference in your thighs!

Taking this class has been one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. Women should absolutely weight train! (Good article on why strength training is so beneficial to women here.I accredit this class for the definition in my arms that I never thought was achievable. It is my main source of lifting, and in two (sometimes 3) days a week, I get in my full body weight lifting sessions, accompanied with fun instructors and good music. Since starting weight training, I haven’t gotten bulky, but definitely more toned. Due to the lack of testosterone in us ladies, we can’t can’t too bulky without the help of supplements. With the high rep, lower weight-style of BodyPump twice a week, lots of pushups, and protein afterwards, I am perfectly happy with my weight training. It’s what works best for me right now, and all of us regulars cannot deny the effects of BodyPump! This is one group fitness class that also caters to the males just as much as women. Our classes at my gym are often 50/50!

I am not much of a long distance runner. As much as I want to train for a half marathon, sometimes I think the Disney Wine & Dine is so enticing to me A) because of the cute medals and B) due to the fabulous food and drink awaiting for you at the end. I get bored easily and usually tap out at 3 miles, so Tabata intervals are PERFECT for me. I usually perform these on a treadmill. A Tabata is a 4 minute cycle where you go hard for twenty seconds, totally STOP for 10 seconds (I hop on the sides of the treadmill), and repeat for 8 total rounds within the 4 minutes. This. Is. Killer. I am not very fast, and my top speed is usually 9.5-10, but let me tell you. Two rounds of these with an incline walking warmup and cooldown and I am spent!!! Shape magazine has a great article on why Tabatas are so great for you.

“Doing as little as 4 minutes (or one “Tabata”) can increase your aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, VO2 max, resting metabolic rate, and can help you burn morefat (and make you look 200-percent leaner) than a traditional 60-minute aerobic workout. That’s right—4 minutes of Tabata can get you better fitness gains than an entire hour of running on the treadmill.”

…yes, please! 🙂

 

Hope you all have a great week…my weekend included a super fun bachelorette party in Atlantic City (Revel is AMAZING!!), a shopping trip to Anthropologie where I bought a towel set I have been lusting over (and picked up my sister’s huge paper mache elephant head from there as well, which I had to carry through the mall like a crazy person), and a yummy Shrimp Fra Diavlo dinner, accompanied with a Weeds marathon, Breaking Bad, and a couple glasses of Malbec. AND some Oreo ice cream pie…my parents wanted to celebrate Coop’s 30th, too! They got him a programmable crock pot. THIS I am happy about. 🙂 Any great crock pot recipe ideas? Hoping to catch up on some sleep this week!

Have a fabulous week!

Jersey Fresh!

Much love to my favorite local farmer’s market!
One of the very best things about being from the Garden State is that fresh, local produce is always abound in season. Jersey tomatoes are the absolute BEST!
 
 
Pepper lover’s dream!
I stopped by to get some jalapenos (I am making “skinny” jalapeno poppers for part of Coop’s birthday dinner tonight), but was drawn to the chocolate-colored and purple bell peppers. They had 6 different colors of bell peppers, along with all kinds of hot peppers, from habenaros to hot and sweet jalapenos to poblanos.
Check out my haul, including the chocolate and purple bell peppers, a stripey heirloom tomato, and more. Best of all, this was all under 8 bucks(!!!)….making my impulse buys totally warranted.
Plum the size of my whole hand!
I love how everytime I go, there are unique assortments of some of the best produce in the country. Plus, the market is on my commute home, so it’s perfect to pop in at lunch or on my way home from work. AND they sell wine there.
I miss fresh California avocados (they are SO much cheaper out west!!!), but since being back East again, I have been taking full advantage of the awesomeness that is the Garden State.
(Being able to have a smoothie bowl chock-full of fresh produce on the patio during your lunch hour is always nice, too!)
xoxo hope you are having a great week! I’m off to walk the pup and then cook my favorite 30-year-old his birthday dinner! 🙂