Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Making Merry 2018: Hosting Christmas at Home

I hope everyone had a very happy holiday season! Sean and I hosted my parents for Christmas Eve and Christmas, and we had the nicest little holiday just the four of us, even though we missed relatives who live further away. We made Italian Christmas Eve: Sean's mom's manicotti recipe with sauce, sausage, and meatballs. For Christmas, we made Cornish game hens, which are surprisingly easy to cook and look pretty when they're plated. My mom brought a ton of yummy Christmas cookies, so I made a blueberry pie—Sean's favorite. My favorite pie hack is to use cookie cutters to create a pretty top crust that looks beautiful but is actually so much easier to create than your typical lattice. My mom let me borrow her collection of holiday cookie cutters. I couldn't decide on one, so I used them all and made a menagerie of holiday favorites. The more the merrier! Happy holidays to from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Chenille Sweater and Flare Culottes

Head to toe: Sweater and culottes, TJ Maxx // Clutch, vintage // Booties, Dr. Scholl's (last season) // Necklace, Alex Woo

When I first saw chenille sweaters were making a comeback, I was dubious. I never loved them as a kid when they were hot in the '90s—I think it was a tactile thing, velvety feeling things always freaked me out. Apparently, 20-some years can change your perspective. When I saw this perfect mauve sweater for a few bucks at TJ Maxx, I had to have it. And now I think I need 100 more. It has just enough sheen to feel more festive and dressed up than your average nubby sweater, it never wrinkles, and it feels so super soft to the touch (I've gotten over my velvet issues, it seems).

I do have one gripe about this sweater that I shared in a small Instagram rant. It's hand-wash only, and it drives me crazy when cheap items are hand-wash or dry-clean only. I'll be delicate with my J. Crew cable-knits, but this, unfortunately, went for a spin in the wash. I laid flat to dry, and it doesn't seem any worse for the wear. Ain't nobody got time for that, especially with less than a week until Christmas! Who's ready?
Photos by Laurel Creative

Friday, December 14, 2018

Cozy On The Go In Downtown Manhattan

Head to Toe: Turtleneck and boots, TJ Maxx // Overalls, H&M // Boots, Seychells // Bag, Brahmin // Beanie, J.McLaughlin // Necklace, Alex Woo

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in a “Sip & Shoot” event with NYC website My Life OOO and photography studio Laurel Creative. It was my first experience doing a shoot on the other side of the camera—besides posing for my auto-timer or having a friend snap a few photos. I learned that modeling is way harder than it looks, but I had a blast and love the way these photos came out.

I’ve been obsessed with the whole Hygge movement (a Danish concept for coziness) lately, hunkering in at home with my pups under a cozy blanket. This super push fleece hoodie lets me take those vibes with me when I have to go out into the real world, and it’s perfect instead of a coat for a warmer morning. Thankfully, it’s Friday and I’m planning on staying in as much as possible this weekend. Who else is team let’s stay home?
Photography by Laurel Creative

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Easy DIY Seashell Snowman Christmas Ornament

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! Sean and I had the whole week off, which was divine, and we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving and and an early Christmas with family in Maryland and Virginia. It was our first trip down south since our whirlwind weekend visit in June, when my niece took on the task of collecting pretty clam shells on the beach. I had been saving them for some sort of DIY project to give at Christmas, and with a little Pinteresting, I decided on these cute snowmen ornaments.

The difficulty level was literally zero. I picked up a hot glue gun and puff paint for cheap on Amazon. (Seriously, the glue gun was $12 and works great. I want to hot glue everything in my life now.) I glued the clam shells together in snowman-like fashion, then glued some yarn I had handy in a loop to the back...The shells are heavy, so I glued the yarn all the way down to avoid all of the weight on one shell. Buttons, face, and carrot nose with puff paint and you are done! Let the puff paint dry for a few days so it is fully hardened. If you don't have shells handy, winter is a great time to collect them since there is little traffic at the beach, or you can buy a bag of them at the craft store. Happy Christmasing!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Hipster for a Day: A Plaid Jumper in Brooklyn Heights

Head to Toe: Dress, Urban Outfitters // Hat, J.McLaughlin // Sneakers, Keds // Jacket, LL Bean (thrifted). 

This weekend, I headed to my favorite borough to celebrate a friend's new digs in Brooklyn Heights. Walking through her neighborhood gave me all the feels. I was so charmed by the brownstones and tree-lined streets, and couldn't help but picture our lives if Sean and I decided to settle in Brooklyn instead of the suburbs. While I have zero regrets about Connecticut, it was fun to play hipster for a day, so I put on my most Brooklyn outfit and went along for the tour of the nabe. We walked from the pier at Brooklyn Bridge heights to DUMBO and ended at Randolph Beer, which had great vibes, food, and brews. It turns out, they have two other locations in Nolita and Williamsburg, so I will definitely be trying it again. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

A DIY Halloween Housewarming

Last weekend, Sean and I hosted our annual Halloween party. Okay, it was only our second year having one, but traditions form fast in my family. (Right, Mom?) It was our first time entertaining since we moved into our new place in May, so it was also a pseudo-housewarming. A lot of our friends were busy or out of town the previous weekend, so we decided to have our party a few days after Halloween, and it came in clutch for severely discounted candy and decorations. Plus it helped fill those awkward few weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving where I'm using all of my restraint not to get excited about Christmas just yet.

When it comes to hosting, I like to make things as easy as possible so I can actually enjoy the night myself. That means food and snacks prepped ahead of time, paper plates, and a giant throw-away tablecloth for easy cleanup. I made this Spiderweb Nacho Spread, which required minimum effort for maximum cuteness. I also made a pretty epic cheeseboard inspired by this one by Sugar and Charm and sourced from Trader Joe's. We ordered a pizza for reinforcements, and friends brought witches broom Reeses Cups and a caramel cream cheese apple dip.

For the drinks, I made a friend's go-to fall sangria. The recipe includes apple cider (I bought Trader Joe's brand from the juice aisle), Smirnoff's caramel vodka, and moscato. I used the whole gallon of cider, a magnum bottle of Barefoot moscato, and about 2/3 of the liter of Smirnoff. It was enough for a crowd but did in fact pack a punch—so make yours to taste. I plan on making it for Thanksgiving as well.

We had such a fun night, and everyone impressed with some pretty creative costumes. (But baby Dominik won, I think, on cuteness alone, sorry guys.) Sean and I were tacky New York tourists, fitting for our new status as a suburban married couple. I got the selfie stick for effect, but it actually took some great photos! Can you tell which ones they are?

Sunday, I cleaned up and put away my Halloween decorations, leaving out the more general fall things and adding a few Thanksgiving pieces. We also have a stock pile of candy so I'm going to hop off now and book a dentist appointment. How did you celebrate this Halloween?