Get ready for some cuteness overload in today's Wedding Wednesday! UGH I miss these kiddos and my mom so much -- we had the best (but very tiring) time last week babysitting them while my sister was out of town!
When I was in Atlanta last week, I decided to take advantage of having my mom and flower girl (my niece) in the same place and did a little wedding prep! My niece will be our flower girl and my nephew, our ring bearer which I am so excited about -- but I have no idea what they'll be wearing. For him, we'll have some more time to figure out, but for her, I thought a day shopping with me would be her favorite thing to do!
She LOVES dressing up and putting on pretty things and who better to make her wishes come true other than her fashionable aunt? So we packed up the kids and went out to a local David's Bridal to try on some dresses for the wedding. I thought it would also be a good time for my mom to try on some dresses as well. She already has the dress for the ceremony, but we were looking for a perfect dress for the other events during the week.
Starting with my flower girl, I had no idea what I wanted her in, but I did want her to feel special in it! She definitely has opinions on what she likes and doesn't so we pulled out some dresses for her to try on together. A positive: all of them were great to twirl in. The negative: she wanted them all.
She was just such a good sport, and it was so much fun seeing her so excited and happy trying on and wearing all of these dresses. She also picked out her own accessories for each look and made me tear up when she put on a veil! She's the cutest. (but no, she won't be wearing a veil to the wedding lol).
For my mom, she found a ton of really great options that had her saying when we left how surprised she was by David's Bridal! She always thought of the store as selling their own line fo wedding dresses, and that's it -- when in fact it's so much more! When we were talking about it after, she said that she plans on going back for all future weddings or events because of their selection and options!
Mom is much harder to shop for than my niece because she's more particular, but it was enjoyable seeing her in new and different silhouettes than she usually goes for. We even tried for some bright and fun prints (she's generally more of a beaded and lace kind of girl), and I loved them on her. She ended up finding a fabulous LBD (not for the wedding) that she loved and a new strapless bra that she swears by! So when I say David's Bridal is so much more, this is what I mean!
I'm going to leave my moms pick a surprise but let me know below what your favorites were for the MOB and flower girl! I'd love to hear your feedback :)
SHOP FLOWER GIRL:
SHOP MOTHER OF THE BRIDE:
Thanks to David's Bridal for sponsoring today's post!
If we're honest, I've worn this outfit 6 times in the last two weeks lololol. It's just soooooo easy, and I'm not seeing the same people other than Andrew or my mom, so I'm like screw it hahaha and just throw it back on.
I've been looking for dresses I can just throw on and not worry about. Ones that are comfortable, easy, ready to go on their own (aka no need for other accessories) and soft. All my searches have pretty much lead me to t-shirt dresses, and while this camo look might not totally be "me," I really love it.
The dress is super lightweight so it'll be great in the summer, it's very flowy and not tight, and it's SO AFFORDABLE. I think that's the main reason I tried it initially, a super cute casual dress for $58?? Yes, please! And it's not the $58 but made cheaply dress either, it's a sturdy and good $58 lol.
And then we have my new shoes. I feel like I need to shout this brand from the rooftop because not enough people know about them. But wow are they some fantastic shoes. The ones I have are a slip-on sneaker, are unisex and come in a few color options, but for summer I went with the all-white (and blue bottom).
The main thing is they are SO LIGHTWEIGHT. They kind of feel like a sock on your foot haha. They're also insanely comfortable -- I walked over 12,000 steps in Nantucket with these on. That's over regular concrete, soil AND cobblestone, all without any problem.
They are flat inside and out so if you need arch support, they don't automatically come with it (as a heads up!). And yes, of course, they get dirty (they are white after all), but they are SUPER easy to clean. I just cannot say enough good things about these shoes. Everyone must have a pair!
Now that summer is here, I feel like it's so much easier to stay active just by getting outside. As you know, we're less than 90 days (it gives me heart palpitations every time I say that lol), so I'm really in the mindset of trying to get fit and ready for this wedding. And while I'm still working out and taking classes, I'm also trying to be more active and healthy outside the gym, and I wanted to share what I'm doing to help with that!
Walking // My goal is to hit 10,000 steps each day. Which, in the city is not hard to do. BUT because I work from home, I do find it a bit more challenging because for hours at a time, I'm just sitting at my desk working. So to combat that, I've tried to do things that have more steps in their routine. For example, in the morning, when I walk the dogs, I walk for the full thirty minutes (vs. taking them to the park). That way we're both getting in our steps and moving our legs. We also speed walk during our time, so we get the heart rate up!
The same thing for lunch, there will be times I'll have lunch at home, but maybe I'm able to walk and eat at the same time, or I'll walk to a nearby park to eat lunch -- just trying to get away from my desk and getting steps in. Another way I'm getting steps in is deciding to walk somewhere when I'm running errands vs. taking a cab. This is where the beautiful weather comes into play -- it's much more enjoyable to walk places when the sun is shining!
I've been wearing my apple watch more during the day now so I can really hold myself accountable for how many steps I'm taking or not taking. It's kind of fun to have this goal you set yourself to each day. And I'll do just about anything to try and hit it!
Drinking Water // This is the biggest struggle I have, which is crazy because I only drink water. But like above, I really forget sometimes when I'm working to stop and take a sip to rehydrate. I consume most of my water during my meals so there I'm great, but outside of that, I need to get better. I've been trying to keep my water bottles full and near me at all times so I can just reach for it without worry.
Another thing I try and do is drink a full bottle of water in the morning before I eat, right when I wake up. I will take a daily probiotic and some collagen and then just have water for the next hour. It's an excellent way to wake your body up and an even better way to start your day. I'm not able to do it every day, but I've found that it's a lot easier if I drink while I'm getting ready, walking out, things like that. During the downtime before you even realize you're hungry!
Riding Bikes // This is definitely a luxury for me in the city and again, a great thing now that it's so lovely out, but I love to ride Citi Bikes. I'm lucky that I live so close to the West Side Highway where there is a dedicated two-lane bike bath along the water, so I don't have to be in the streets of the city. I'll usually ride my bike if I'm going further than 20 blocks downtown -- mainly for my classes! I pay upfront for the year, and it's cheaper than the subway and keeps you super active and on your feet.
Dressing Active // Now this one may seem silly, but I swear it really does help! If you're dressed for a workout, you'll be more inclined to exercise. Great example: I wore my sneakers and this golf skirt to the airport traveling last week and because I was comfortable and in workout attire, I chose to walk the terminals instead of taking the plane train. Another time I was dressed in sneakers and an Outdoor Voices set when I was running an errand and just felt like running (weird, I know), so I just went for a small run. It didn't last long, but I know for sure I wouldn't have done it dressed in anything else.
And dressing active doesn't have to be expensive either! Wear what you already have (aka me above) OR find some affordable, second hand or on sale activewear. I personally love shopping on eBay for activewear because you can find some exceptional items at an even better discount! Things like Outdoor Voices, Nike, Lululemon, Alo Yoga, and a lot more. I've been stocking up on my favorites and honestly, am giddy finding NWT items for a fraction of the price.
eBay also has a great selection of shoes and sneakers, and I'm currently trying to find new trainers for when I'm weight lifting at the gym! So if you have any recommendations, please let me know. I have so many great running and casual sneakers, and I've been mainly wearing my white UA sneakers, but I need something more flat (or so I've been told lol).
Sleeping // And we conclude with my favoriteeeee way to stay healthy -- sleep! Getting sleep is so so crucial for your body and your recovery and your health! Getting 7-8 hours (or more) is actually really good for you. I personally never miss out on getting my 9 hours, so we're good in this department.
And that's it! Super easy, really affordable (and mostly free) and something everyone can do and integrate into their everyday. If you have more tips, I'd love to hear them below!
Happy Friday friends. I am currently in Atlanta testing out my mom abilities and let me tell you it is tough lol. I'm exhausted and just want a good nice long sleep lol. Is that so much to ask for??
What I bought:
But while I have you, I was randomly looking at my Fohr profile and saw that they accept follower testimonials. SUPER random I know, but I'd love to see and hear from you. At least I think I'll get to see them? IDK! But if you have like 2 minutes and want to support me (more than you already do!!), please fill out this 4 question form.
NYC Life: Just as quick as I was back from Nantucket, I was off to Atlanta (where I am currently, and will be until this weekend). I really don't like traveling back to back like this, but I'm here helping my mom babysit my sister's kids, and we are having fun! But boy am I so exhausted. We took them out yesterday, and I may never do that again, haha. So life this week has been good but a lot.
Looking forward to just being home and getting back into my regular routine. We don't have any travel booked until mid-July!
-The gingham blazer that I really wanted is on double sale (but still expensive) should I do it??
Weekend Plans: I'll be in Atlanta but coming back Saturday afternoon to New York for the guys' tux fittings! We're going to pick out what they're all wearing and get everyone measured. Then I assume Sunday will be a lot of playing catch up and shooting for the blog.
A Must Watch: Mom and I watched "Always Be My Maybe" on Netflix and it was adorable!! I laughed a lot, and the cast was excellent. I feel like I've been all over the map with Netflix as of late -- would you guys want to see a list of my must-watch shows??
Oh goodness... I'm about twelve days late to this post lol. I was writing my other post for today talking about how long I've been in the city, and I was like oop! I totally missed the mark. That's what makes me a true New Yorker, right? Not caring about the anniversary/forgetting... dress / bag / shoes / earrings / sunglasses WELL... it was a different year, to say the least. The end of last year was rough -- so rough that it really just plagues all the good memories I can't seem to remember. When I think back, I just seem to recall crying into my dinner every night talking to Andrew about feeling so lost and anxious. I just wasn't myself. But at the same time, I was. I don't know... it's hard to explain. I was so happy but so sad all at the same time. It didn't make any sense. One thing about last year that was great was getting engaged. I know people always say they're so excited to marry their best friend but truly, Andrew is my person. And if there is anything above anything I can thank New York for, it's him. He's my born and bred New York guy; my best friend, my biggest ally, my loudest supporter. He's a can be a little rough around the edges if you don't know him (he is a New Yorker after all) but with me, with us together, we're happy. We laugh every day, we listen, we love so deeply, we support, and we encourage. We're the perfect team. So New York is pretty great. And this year has been great. So 50/50 of my 5th year in New York was pretty ok. It was challenging, sure, but whats growth without some obstacles? Just as the later part of last year plagued happy moments, this year has erased the past. I'm back to being me and being happy, stress-free, and excited about my job. I always thought it would be New York that would break me in the long run but if anything, it's been there for me through thick a thin. That's the thing about this city. It understands what you're going through (its seen it before) and it's there to help. Need some late-night soul food at 3am? Got it. Need to go for a 5 mile run on the water without interruption? Got it. Need construction so loud you can't hear your own thoughts? Oh boy, does it have it. New York is here to weed out the weak and support the strong. Build a business, become your own boss, take control of your life and the city is here to help. Over the past six years, this city has truly become my home. It's where I am now rooted in this world, and it's where a part of me will always be -- no matter where I live. It takes little pieces of you over time, but it gives you back so much more. Sure the rent is high, the summer heat makes the city smell, and the traffic cannot get worse. But it's my home. My place. And every day I open my eyes to one of the most iconic buildings in the world and every night I watch it light up the night sky. It's a blessing. And moving here, taking that risk, is still one of the best decisions I've made in my life. So as we conclude my yearly love letter to this city, I always take the latter half of the blog post to go over past goals and set some new ones for the future. Here are the past five years:
...live in a bigger apartment
...get a promotion at work
...have solid savings account with investments towards my future
...be even better with my money
...see the blog continue to grow
...live a healthier lifestyle
...take fewer cabs
...cook more food
...have traveled to Europe
...to be closer with my (on the way) baby niece
...complete my New York checklist (a post for another day)
...get another promotion at work
...see the blog continue to grow
...cook more food
...have traveled to Europe
...be closer with my baby niece
...go to bed earlier
...dedicate more time to YouTube
...build closer relationships with those I love
...continue to grow my job at work
...have fewer things
...travel home more
...see the blog continue to grow
...become tidier in the apartment
...cook more food/eat out less
...work out on a consistent basis
-be more organized
-take fewer cabs
-create more videos
-see my family more
-get engaged (can I say that??)
-find a GP in the city
-shoot more New York City content
-continue to grow the blog
-travel to the Canadian Rockies
-wake up earlier
And for this time next year...
-get married (!!)
-settle into my new finances and hopefully get a raise (think my boss will allow it???)
Guys we are getting SO CLOSE to the wedding I almost can't wrap my head around it. How is this possible?? What will I do once it's over? I feel like for the past year it's consumed me and I haven't been able to think about anything else!! And with that, here is your June wedding update!
Things That Are Done:
-Our shower:Done and done! And BOY WAS IT FUN. It was just a fun party that was chill, had good food, and was filled with people I love.
-Invitations: These are signed, sealed, delivered! I cannot wait to show them to you because honestly, they are so beautiful I keep just looking at them. They're perfect and very us and are just so custom and unique for our big day. I love it and cannot say enough good things about Shine Invitations.
-Menu for the reception: It's set, and we're pumped. Again, going to be some really great food that I cannot wait to eat. We were able to sit down with the owners and the chef during our trip to Nantucket in May, and it couldn't have been easier.
-Find a photographer: I kept going back and forth with if we wanted to get a photographer for the weekend (outside of our wedding photographer) and I finally just pulled the trigger and said yes. We booked Carter, who shot our shower, and we're very excited about it!
-Booked a second car: Another thing I was going back and forth with and arguably the hardest part about this whole wedding: what will I be bringing, how much room will I need? So we just booked a second car to drive up and take onto the island to be safe. Better safe than sorry!
Things That Are in Process:
-Our tablecloth: Talked about this some in last months update, but I think we finally have the color and sizing down! Now I just need to order it and make it final, but I'm feeling a lot better about it as of this week when the samples came in!
-Tuxes: The guys need tuxes! We're actually going to The Black Tux Saturday to pick everything out, so this is almost in the group above but just quite yet. I'm excited to see everyone all dressed up -- especially Andrew! I'm going to take some photos so you'll see a sneak preview soon!
-Chef for dinner: For our private family dinner, we booked a chef to come to the house. We're finalizing our menu for that (hello surf and turf) and making sure everyone is taken care of -- especially my mom who has a severe food allergy.
-Dress alterations: My second round of fittings are next week, and I'm really anxious to see how the dress looks. My first fitting was a dream but not for the reasons you would think! So the woman doing my alterations is the BEST. Her little shop is so cute and well done, and she just made me feel comfortable and that anything was possible in terms of fixing and fitting the dress to my body. If you remember I was worried it would be unfixable because it was SO BIG but she was like, "ok not great but we can fix it, and you'll come in sooner than later" and that was that. In and out. So this next fitting should be much better and really make it, so we're starting from step one.
-Undergarments: After our first fitting, we also talked about what to wear under the dress in terms of bra/underwear, and I think I found something at Bloomingdales that will work but TBD. There weren't many options for what I needed, so I'm hoping the thing I got will do the job. If not, the hunt will continue! Any recommendations on places to look would be appreciated!
-Workouts/clean eating: Will talk about this probably tomorrow, but we're less than three months away, and it's time to "get serious" lol and start eating right and working out to get tight and toned for the wedding!
Things We Need to Do:
-Engagement photos: This is now set for the end of July (woof), and I'm excited, but I'm also not. The heat I hope won't be a nightmare, but knowing NYC, it probably will be. We missed the mark with June because I've been traveling back to back weeks, but we'll just hope for cool-ish weather and pray for the best!
-Book a hotel night of: We need to book our hotel for our wedding night and also a room for Carter over the weekend. Something I just need to do but haven't done yet lol.
-Wedding Bands: I found two(!!) I really liked to go with my ring but I probably just need to go back one more time before deciding to see what I like best. One is plain, and the other has some sparkles on it. So it just depends on what look I'm trying to go for with my ring.
-Finalize food truck: I've been playing phone tag for the last week with the guys for our food truck, and I just need to get him on the phone and book it!! He's a busy man to track down lol.
-Book sailing: Another thing I just need to do haha. Wow, my list is getting long! As a gift to the girls, we're going on a private sail while the guy's golf which I'm really looking forward to.
-Finalize gifts: I have my bridesmaid gifts half done -- their big present is ready to go, but their little gifts still need to be ordered. As for the parents, 1/4 are done -- I just need to find the perfect gifts for the rest of them! And then there's Andrew. I know what I'm getting him, but I need to figure out how I want to give it to him *mwahaha*
Are you ready for the trip of a lifetime?? Ugh, I still can't believe it was real and that I was picked to do this! I'm so so so thankful and happy and appreciative for this trip. I cannot WAIT to tell you all about it!!
NIR Retail (aka Shop Nantucket on Instagram) invited me out this past week to enjoy some fabulous shopping and exceptional food on Nantucket. I, of course, jumped at the chance to go because... Nantucket duh. It's my favorite place! Any and all excuses to go back, I will. What I was so excited about was the itinerary they set up for us -- so many places I had yet to shop and dine at, just waiting to be explored.
I don't create travel guides often because I really want to know the place before I suggest spots for your trip --that's why you don't see many on here often. But one I am really proud of is my Nantucket guide and how many great things there are to do on such a beautiful little island. So the thought of being able to really round out the guide with details on shopping and more restaurants got me excited.
So I'll stop rambling and take you through our three days on Nantucket with the NIR team!
Our day started off with a casual wakeup call of 3am and Uber by 3:30 so we could make it for our 5am flight to Boston. This wasn't the first time I've stopped in Boston on our way up, so I didn't think anything of it. We were booked on JetBlue, and that was that! FYI every time we fly from NYC to ACK, we're on a four across plane. Small overhead but otherwise a normal-sized plane.
So we get to Boston, and I can't access our boarding pass (or get any other information for that matter) for our second flight to the island. I had to stop some pilots in the airport and ask for help, and they directed me to the cape air gates. So we popped over and checked in. It didn't really hit me until they were weighing our bags and then asked for our weight. LOL, WHAT. I was like ohhhhh are we on a puddle jumper to the island? She laughed and told me to look out the window.
I did, and it was all but completely blocked by the bridge (that would go to a normal plane), and I saw a teeny tiny leetle aircraft on the tarmac. LOL, I did not know what I was in for. Cape Air lined us up, walked us out, and we were assigned seats based on weight. Ashby and I ended up right behind the pilot and co-pilot, and I was just laughing in shock at how small this plane was.
I've been on a private plane before to Derby, and that was small but not compared to this!! The whole time I could have just touched the pilots and its just not normal being that close to the people who are flying something like that in the sky. It was wild but a lot of fun. The biggest perk was (for me, being an airplane freak lover) getting to really see takeoff and landing through the eyes of a pilot. It was a lot of fun!!
So we landed in Nantucket around 8am and by this time we've already lived a lot of life haha. Ashby and I are ready to take on the day. We're picked up by someone on the NIR team and taken to our hotel, The Cottages at the boat basin. If youread my Nantucket guide on where to stay on the island, you'll remember that I have wanted to stay at these cottages ever since Andrew and I were first on the island and realized they were for rent! I'm sad he wasn't able to experience it with me but boy oh boy was it a great stay.
We stayed in the Veronica cottage, and it was a two-bedroom place with a queen downstairs and two twins up. It had lots of closets (three I think!), one full bathroom, a cute little living room, and a kitchen. We also had the most quaint patio overlooking the boat basin. Lots of cards were played out there!
The hotel offers free bike rentals, beach towels, chairs, decks of cards, lots of water, free DVDs and will bring you freshly cooked popcorn if you want to have a movie night! It was like staying with family. Everyone we came in contact with was over the top friendly and helpful, and we could not have had a better stay. Thankfully, we were able to check in early, drop our bags and head into town, which was about five steps away since we were so wonderfully located on the wharf!
Since we had plans for lunch, we didn't want to get a huge meal but needed something to tide us over. So we opted for The Juice Press. This is a relatively new spot right on Main Street that I had never been to before, so I was really looking forward to it. Andrew had gotten a juice for me during our trip in May, but I hadn't been in there myself, and I just love it!! I want to go back and sit down for breakfast. Ashby and I split a delicious acai bowl (the picture doesn't do it justice lol).
After a quick bite, we walked around the wharf some, showing Ashby some of my favorite spots. We also did a quick stop into Nantucket Peddler, which is one of my favorite touristy stores on the Wharf. I shop pretty much only here, and Annie and the Tees for my Nantucket gear! They were sold out of the crop sweatshirt I wanted, but I did manage to snag this cute beige one!
We had killed enough time by now that it was time for our lunch (and when our itinerary with NIR kicked in!). Our first stop was the Straight Wharf Fish Store, which is right next door to Provisions! One of my favorite things about this trip was how many new to me places I got to try. I guess I get very stuck in my ways when I go to the island. I forget how many great places there are still on my list to try!
One of those being the fish store -- it's right on the dock of the wharf by where the fast ferry lets out, and it's so authentic and tasty. You must stop by! It's a little shop where I think you mainly order fish/seafood to bring home, but they have a small menu and I, of course, ordered the lobster roll. I've had lots of lobster rolls in my life, and I will say hands down this was the biggest one I've ever had! There was (dare I say it) almost too much lobster (gasp!)... I know, I know. Crazy but really good.
The fish store is also owned and connected to Stars ice cream. Andrew and I had this our first trip to the island and loved sitting by the water eating our ice cream. I was too full this time around, but Ashby loved her mint chocolate chip!!
Then the fun began, and we started our tour of stores for day one. Our first scheduled stop was Lemon and Line which make these really adorable (and very preppy!) rope and leather bracelets for men and women. Their store is one of the cute little shops right on the wharf by where the fast ferry lets out. I made an adorable stack -- that I'm still wearing today! -- of the Nantucket leather (red on one side, brown on the other), a gold anchor and the classic beige knot!
If you like them, you can use the code "krista" for 20% off! They messaged me after seeing me in store and were so kind as to offer this for my readers!!
I keep telling Ashby they are our friendship bracelets!
Next, we stopped into Native Shoes (also on the wharf by the ferry)-- which was a totally new-to-me store with a great mission. They are trying to make sustainable (and cute) shoes and will gladly accept your old ones to help make playgrounds. Their shoes are affordable, adorable, and are insanely comfortable. I was between the bow flats and the white sneakers (that you can machine wash without worry!) and eventually went with the sneakers. I wore them for the rest of the weekend, and I'm pretty sure they're now my go-to summer shoes.
After that, we stopped into Perch (right behind the Gazeebo next to Provisions), and I fell IN LOVE with this Veronica Beard blazer... then I saw the price and nicely put it back lol. I could justify a lot of things, but at that moment I couldn't with that blazer. But I swear that I have never looked cooler IN MY LIFE. Like so cool that I was too cool to be friends with myself lol. I think about it every day. If anyone would like to gift the blazer, I'm a size 4.
After that, we were done for the day until dinner, and we stopped by a few more shops on our own -- one being this little shack -- called Bon Ton. It's right next to Nautilis, and it has just little knick nacks from around Nantucket and estate sales, and it's surprisingly not overpriced. It was like a treasure hunt in there. I loved it! I picked up a little flower basket for Ryan at the wedding and a unique item for my mom for the wedding as well!
We still had some time to kill before dinner, so after the girls left, Ashby and I rented bikes, and I showed her around the eastern(?) part of the island. We rode by Brant Point and stopped to get some beach time, the to Jetties, Galley beach, The Nantucket Hotel, and then eventually past the house where I'll be getting married!! Bikes cruisers are the best!
After the little tour of the island, it was time for dinner at Slip 14 -- another place I had never been to! It's right next to the reception desk at The Cottages, and for those who still are having some trouble, it's on the same path/walkway as The Skinny Dip right next to the wharf! I ordered oysters, we ate some tuna, Ashby got some crab artichoke dip, we had some salads for dinner, and Ash got to try their creme brulee. The food was delicious!! The seafood especially was so so good -- the oysters were perfect!
Happy Friday from Nantucket!! This was my lewk for last nights dinner at Lola 41 (which was SO good!!) -- don't worry a new blog post will be coming with all we did, shopped and ate! Until then, here's a little update about my week:
NYC Life: This week in New York was a short one (same for next week) since I'm traveling during the week. Monday was a lot of running errands, workouts and trying to get things done for the rest of the week. Tuesday was more hunkering down and trying to get as much blog stuff done as possible before leaving for Nantucket. Then it was Nantucket Wednesday to Friday and we're just having the best time! I'll be sad to leave today :(
Weekend Plans: We head back to New York tonight so I'll probably spend a lot of my time working and catching up from the week. Andrew is at his bachelor party this weekend so we'll reunite on Sunday! Other than that, not much going on here!
A Must Watch: Dead to Me on Netflix. Its a super easy and fun show with little twists and turns that actually just got renewed for a second season! I've been hearing such great things and decided to give it a go. I really liked it!
A Must Read: Ashby's book review from earlier this week! I've been so bad about books lately but I loved having these reviews on the blog so Ashby is here to save the day. Coming in HOT with some great books.
Guys! We have an entertaining post today featuring my girl Ashby! I know I've so been lacking in the book recommendation category and I really miss these on the blog, so I tapped my local expert and begged her to start a book review series. Spoiler alert: she said yes!!
You guys are going to love it I promise you. Ashby and I have the same taste in books (as you'll see below!) and she just reads so much more that she really comes hard with the recommendations. So with all that being said, give it up for AssshhhhBBBBBYYYYYY!
^Krista wanted a photo of me reading. Unflattering but authentic.
Hi friends! Welcome to my first guest blog! I am here to tell you all about my favorite books that I have read in the past year because I would really just love to spark some conversation since Krista refuses to fit reading into her busy schedule...
Just to set the stage, I am a very avid reader – I carry books on the subway, I read my kindle walking down the street, I can read in a moving vehicle – NBD. Please note, however, that that doesn’t mean I am ripping through Hemingway on a regular basis. I once was asked what my favorite book was, and I panicked and blurted out Harry Potter. I was so embarrassed until I thought about it for a minute and then firmly stood behind that answer.
I am all about an easy, fun, well-written read. Give me the best sellers, the psychological thrillers, the juicy historical fictions, etc. While I could talk endlessly about every book I read, I decided to start you all off with my top 5 favorite books that I have read in the last year (some came out a few years ago, but I was late to the party).
I know some of them have been covered before, but that just reinforces how good they are. If you haven’t read these, I need you to stop what you are doing and get on board.
Ok, so we all know that Gone Girl set the standard. The OG plot twists that we didn’t see coming and what every psychological thriller author is trying to replicate in some way. I read so many of this genre and constantly am guessing the endings or am let down by the plot. But The Last Mrs. Parrish took me for a ride.
This book was the perfect amount of suspenseful, exciting and disturbing (personally, the more disturbing a book is, the more I like it, which I am sure we can unpack but let’s save that for another time). Amber is new to town and envies the perfect Daphne Parrish. Daphne has it all – she is gorgeous, she is rich, she has a beautiful family. Amber comes along and schemes to take her down and slide into her life.
I will say that there is nothing worse than when someone says that there was SUCH a good plot twist because then obviously you spend the whole book anticipating what the twist will be. With this one, I say just be cool and buckle up because it was so so good!
If you are a New Yorker, this is a must-read. It is about an apartment building called The Dakota (famous for where John Lennon was killed if you didn’t already know). It gives a snapshot of what NYC was like in the year 1884 when the Dakota was built. It goes back and forth in time between a member of the Dakota staff (and her illicit love affair) and a tenant in the 1970s.
It honestly made me start researching historic buildings in NYC, and now when I pass them, I go into full tour guide mode and start spouting fun facts. I also do that while showing apartments around the city (shameless plug) but while I can’t promise to get you a new home in the Dakota, I’ll find you the next best thing – email me firstname.lastname@example.org ;) I just love all things NYC so this was a fascinating book plus there are Downtown Abbey vibes, which I’m all about!
Nothing has moved me quite like Kristin Hannah’s Nightingale. I can’t even talk about it on here but it just ripped me apart and obviously turned me into her biggest fan. The Great Alone is her most recent book. It focuses on the Allbright family living off the grid in 1974 Alaska and follows the hardships that a teenage girl must endure in that type of setting. I was cold just reading it.
This poor girl Leni and her mother are moved to Alaska by her father who returns home from the Vietnam war and has a hard time adjusting back to normal life. He thinks that the quiet and seclusion of the Alaskan frontier will be the perfect place for his family to relocate. All goes well until the winter darkness starts to set in and the few residents of the community can no longer help support the Allbright family and they are all alone.
You really fall in love with these characters and are rooting for (most of) them until the very end. Of course, there is a love story that is woven in as well. It is just a hauntingly beautiful book!
Taylor Jenkins Reid has become one of my favorite authors. She really nails the light and easy beach read without crossing the line into trashy. This is the first one of hers that I read and it just touched my heart. As an avid fan of all things celebrity gossip, this book felt like reading a very classy, very interesting People magazine (not sure that comparison is flattering but I mean it in the best way possible).
Evelyn Hugo is an iconic socialite and former actress who was married famously 7 times, a la Elizabeth Taylor. No one knows the true story behind her scandalous life until she hires an unknown magazine reporter to finally tell her life story.
First of all, why did she choose that particular reporter (I must have tried guessing the answer a hundred times and was so surprised when it was finally revealed)? Second, the big question that everyone wants to know is which of Evelyn’s husbands was her true love. I won’t spoil the answer but let’s just say it isn’t who you think!
MMMMMMKK you guys. This one is a real thought provoker. Krista actually did read this one (good job girl!) and we ended up discussing it for weeks after. This book follows what would happen in present-day if the USA suddenly lost electricity due to an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) attack (which is a real thing).
It doesn’t initially sound like a huge deal (minus no TV or lights) but basic things like cars, keeping food cold and getting drinking water into houses immediately becomes problematic. Hospitals no longer can keep machines on or medicine on ice. Planes fall from the sky. Riots and violence break out everywhere. It is insane and the scariest part is that theoretically it all really could happen. This book follows what happens to a small isolated town in North Carolina and how they are able to deal with the aftermath of the EMP.
It really made me think about how I would survive and what my emergency plan would be if an act of war ever got that far. Feel free to reach out if you’d like to a full rundown. I may sound like an alarmist but you try reading this and not mentally coming up with a plan of action!
So in conclusion, please do yourselves a favor and read those 5 books. They really run the gamut of genres (I am just soooo diverse) but each stands out in its own way. Going forward I am going to write a monthly review of all of the books that I read each month. I am a true copycat so if anyone has any suggestions, definitely let me know!
SO excited to finally be sharing these photos with you guys! Our shower was an absolute blast and it came to life better than I ever imagined. Get ready for some photo overload!
The Food + Decor:
I think I've mentioned this before but it's so so so wonderful to have this idea in your head but if it can't live up to expectations you've set, you're always a little sad. But I am so happy to say it went off exactly as I hoped AND was even better than I planned for. So very grateful for my future SIL and MIL to help and host this shower for Andrew and I. And thankful that they let me be so involved in the planning and party!
Our shower was featured on Over the Moon earlier this week and I definitely think you need to head over to give it a read before we continue! They wrote such a wonderful article about the party and our plans. It was so fun to see! (Plus they have some exclusive photos!)
We had our shower at Decadent Ales, which is the brewery that Andrew helped start with his cousin and Dad a few years back. It just seemed like the perfect place to have all of our friends and family come and celebrate our future marriage. The place also really lent itself to our tropical theme which was so wonderful!
The one thing I really wanted after we got married was having Shake Shack at the wedding. I just loved the idea of having this really fabulous party with some true New York burgers. But once we decided to have everything in Nantucket I realized that it just wouldn't be possible so I set my sights on it for the shower. Andrew wasn't that into it probably up until we actually had it but it was one of my non-negotiables lol.
But as you know Shake Shack doesn't really have a catering service and I was convinced I was going to have to order it and have someone drive to pick it up. THANKFULLY they do deliver and I was connected with the local Shake Shack GM and he was a total gem and helped the party really come to life. We had the regular burgers, chicken, and mushroom options as well as boatloads of fries and some shakes that were served with dessert.
And I, of course, couldn't stop there... If I was really going to make this the party of my dreams I wanted to have some Dippin Dots for dessert. Andrew and I aren't really big cake people and much prefer ice cream of sorts. Last year when I was in Lexington for my littles wedding, she had served Dippin Dots and I was like f-yea! I need them for my party too. So that's what I did. Fun fact you can order individual packs or large buckets online to be delivered! It was a lot of fun to have the food be so popular in an unexpected but very exciting way.
Outside of the main food, we had lots of fruits set up in cute ways, chips and guacamole made by my future FIL (he makes the best guac), cheese and some veggies. Dessert also had a small cake, cupcakes, donuts, and cookies.
For the balloon wall, I'm happy to say we did that ourselves! It was a lot of work but it really turned out so cute I couldn't get over it. We just used this little strip to make the arch (I know, I couldn't believe that was it either) and got the regular balloons from party city and large gold foil letter ones from Amazon. The backdrop was also from Amazon, as were the palm leaves and stems. Most of the plates and extras like that were also from party city!