30 Before 30: #26 Dye my Hair a Crazy Color

Proud to proclaim my first 30 before 30 challenge has been completed. At the beginning of the summer a very good friend of mine, who happens to also be a hair stylist, helped me complete my first challenge: Dye my hair a crazy color.

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We went with pink, both because it’s my favorite color and because it was the only bold color in the salon. Happy coincidence.

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I would have to say this slightly bold move out of my typical comfort zone absolutely paid off. Looking down and seeing the pink tips of my hair brought instant smiles to my face. As summer faded so have my pink tips, looking more like the faded strawberry blonde that once was. I will miss this bolder move in my life and certainly will be willing to do it again!

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MIA once again

Hello my pretty people! Once again I have fallen by the wayside. I’m in the process of getting myself re-organized, re-focused, re-energized, and (re)blogging once again. Thanks to all who are still following and thanks to everyone who is still happening upon this blog! So great to see.

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There are a bunch of new and exciting posts soon to come! Some items to be checked off the 30 before 30 list, way more furniture and DIY projects, and the long awaited breakdown of all the wedding details and DIY items, just to name a few.

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In the interim I have been getting rather active on Instagram. For anyone interested you can check me out @makinglifepretty. I’ve also creating the [hash tag] #momentofpretty;  would love to see the beautiful moments you are all enjoying in your little corner of this stunning world we call home. There’s always something to stop and admire each day.

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#momentofpretty

Something for Mom

Last weekend was Mother’s Day. My mom the outdoorsy nature girl she is had the same request she has every year “I just want to be with my girls and be outside”. I decided to take the reins this year and host a brunch for my family (and now extended family).

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Apparently I really enjoy brunch and may have overdone myself just a little. (Below is one of two food tables.)

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Menu included bagels (with lox), scones via Stone Gable, muffins, fruit salad, Greek salad, spinach and goat cheese frittata via Epicurious, granola, yogurt, berries, and mimosas.

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I set up a table outside (to follow with Mom’s wish) on one of the most spectacular days of the year so far. My mother is a gardener and nature lover so cut flowers are never an option. She prefers hers with roots. I went to the local farm stand and grabbed some plants for centerpieces (which doubled as mommy day gifts) and supplemented with affordable supermarket cut flowers.

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We also FINALLY unpacked our wedding china and were able to use some of it for the first time. Very exciting stuff. I did a mix match of our every day china and our fancy pants china to encourage the casual elegant feel.

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I’m pretty sure the moms were really happy and grateful for the beautiful brunch. They seemed pretty relaxed by the end of it.

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I hope all the mommies out there had an equally relaxing and beautiful mother’s day as these two did.

 

 

 

Where HAS she BEEN?

Hello my Pretties! It’s been a long while since my last post way back in May. (MAY?!?!)  Let’s just say it’s been a busy couple of months.

This happened

baby sister's Sr. Prom!

baby sister’s Sr. Prom!

Which was quickly followed by this

Baby Sister Graduated High School

Baby Sister Graduates High School

And this

(one of) My Best Friend's Wedding

(one of) My Best Friend’s Wedding

And this

Engagement pictures! (more on this in a later post!)

Engagement pictures! (more on this in a later post!) photo credit http://www.lbfoto.com/

which lead to this

Bridal Shower Tea Party!

Bridal Shower Tea Party! (more on this in a later post!)

and this

Bachelorette weekend in the country

Bachelorette weekend in the country (more on this in a later post!)

oh and then this happened

We don got married ya'll!

We don got married ya’ll! (photo credit http://www.lbphoto.com) (WAY more on this in many posts coming soon!)

Which obviously led to this

Vancouver Island Honeymoon!!!!

Vancouver Island Honeymoon!!!! (more on this in a later post!)

and some of this

tea, cookies, and kayaking in Vancouver Island

tea, cookies, and kayaking in Vancouver Island (more on this in a later post!)

oh and a lot of this

sleeping. lots and lots of post wedding sleeping.

sleeping. lots and lots of post wedding sleeping. (complete with the glow of a roaring fake fire)

phew.

With all that stated I’m happy to announce I’m officially decompressed, recharged, and ready to get this blog a-rolling again. Look forward to LOTS of new projects, recipes, and general merriment. New year, new (married) me. Thank you all for holding tight during my long sabbatical. We’re back, and prettier than ever.

A Little Cabin in the Woods for Lucky Number 8

I met the man of my dreams March 1st, 2005. Which means March 1st, 2013 was time to celebrate our 8 (EIGHT!!) year anniversary. Every year we plan a get away to escape our hectic lives, his fire pager, preferably hide somewhere with no cell service and just be us. We’ve done everything from an extended weekend trip to Montreal, to a quick 1 day overnight in Mystic, Connecticut.

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Hanging out with the Beluga Whale at Mystic Aquarium circa 2010

This year we were hurting for a magical weekend get away. And this year, for the first time ever, the future hubs did all the planning. I told him all I wanted was a quite place away from the world where I could bake all weekend. And my Pretty People, did he deliver.

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We escaped to the Catskills in the great state of New York to the most perfect little cabin in the woods one has ever seen. He even pulled some strings with Mother Nature and had a constant gentle snow fall all day. It was like living in the happiest little snow globe for the weekend. The cabin was originally built in the 1950’s, and recently lovingly restored. The owner, a contractor, didn’t overlook a single detail.

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The little square windows in the bathroom were by far my favorite

The cabin is brand new, spotless, and design wise it was perfect. Being a designer myself I appreciated every hand selected antique detail he added back into the cabin to fill the old/new cabin with some nostalgic charm.

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We definitely relaxed and recharged (much needed to gear up for wedding planning). I also baked some yummy treats so stay tuned for some easy and delicious recipes!

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Wedding Venue: Arrowhead Park.Monroe, NY

Arrowhead Park is a country estate built at the turn of the 20th century by Julia Cooper and Schuyler Schieffelin. It depicts classic Arts and Craft period details and sits on the banks of a semi private lake.

Photo by Arrowhead Park

This venue hit a lot of points on our check list. The main house can be rented out for the weekend with enough room for most wedding parties. The owner can provide full breakfasts for an additional fee and if desired the rehearsal dinner can be held on the main floor of the house. The Arts and Crafts details were stunning and the bedrooms have been restored with care and beauty. (**note the venue was off season when we did the walk through, please excuse any mess/construction equipment/etc**)

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Some rooms are the old servant quarters, they aren’t as grand, they aren’t as large, and they share a common bath BUT the price reflects their short comings and if it means your closest most important people get to be there with you all weekend it’s not a bad set up at all in my opinion.

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Arrowhead is only 15 minutes from Woodbury Commons (a top notch outlet mall that many New York City-ers flock to on weekends) It’s close to the “Big City” for anyone who happens to be visiting and wants a break from the concrete jungle. Expect roughly a 1 hour drive depending on traffic.

There is a separate building where one’s reception can be held. It’s design hearkens back to the film “Dirty Dancing”. It’s simple, rustic, has a stage for a band if desired and can be set up the day before, always nice if you’re DIYing your big day.

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Ceremony sites include a cove right on the lake. Very magical and apparently has perfect lighting in the afternoon/evening hours. It was even stunning in the fog and mist of the day. Just imagine all those trees firey with Fall colors. mmm.

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Another ceremony location is the garden area. It’s right next to the reception building and features tiered gardens which creates a more formal/grand location to exchange vows.

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*picture taken post Nor’easter. Please excuse fallen trees.

The park is opened during the summer months offering row boat rentals, lake swimming, and picnic areas. A fee of $10 per person is all you need to spend to let the stress of the city melt away on the shores of the lake.

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For more information please check out Arrowhead Park’s website. The woman we met with was very accommodating and willing to work with most any group.

The Happiest Day of Our Lives…?

Hello Pretty People! I have the deepest apologies to all of you for totally flaking on my blog for the last few months. As I believe (most) of you know Future Hubs proposed way back in August, 2010. We always intended to have a long engagement (so we’re right on track) with a goal of an Autumn 2013 wedding.

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Needless to say I’ve spent the last 2 year stalking wedding blogs, drooling over pictures and fictitiously planning the ideal day for the two of us. Flash forward to December 2012 when we realized 2013 was knocking at the door reminding us we had 10 months until “W” day.

Late December and January turned into a frantic search for venues, dragging my groom as well as good friends all over the greater Hudson Valley area in search of “The One”. I can now calmly and happily say we’ve found it. (Right when we were ready to give up hope and elope, funny how that works.)

More details to come on that as most of our family doesn’t even know. To any family reading this we are still waiting on a final date and once that happens we will let you all know.

I plan to make a few posts about the venues we’ve seen for those brides in the NY/NJ/CT area who, like me, don’t want the typical catering hall, dinner/dancing wedding. I’ve found a handful of places after what could potentially be hundreds of hours of research that are comparable to all the Oregon/California/Washington weddings us East Coasters drool over.

Wedding Blog Summer Camp Wedding

Photos by Jessica Velarde

woodsy mountain wedding

Photos by Logan Cole

Early apologies to anyone who could care less about wedding anything. This has unfortunately been my life for the last 2 and a half months and really living in a diverse area as greater NYC it shouldn’t have been this hard. I truly hope my reviews help any bride stuck in the same boat I was. Plus, bonus, most sites I visited are county and state parks so it won’t be all wedding banter. so if you like the great outdoors and Mama Nature yay!

What I Bought on my Summer Vacation

As mentioned in a previous post, we ventured to the center of New York State for a family reunion. On our way home through back country roads, we happened upon a little antique shop on a corner, a corner that held my ‘chair destiny’. Wrapped around the building was a multitude of dining chairs on display. Big ones, wood ones, ladder backs, 50’s vintage, and 2 mid century modern beauties. As my head craned and almost detached, eagle eyes locked on my dreams quickly moving out of view I shrieked at my future hubs, “aahhh! Stop! Reverse! U-turn! Chairs. Dream chairs. Please U turn. About face! HUURRRYYY!” I think I straight up stopped forming sentences mid way through my spazz out. A U-turn he did make and chair destiny we did fufill.

Oh yes. And it gets better. We checked them out, 1 leg looked a little wobbly (and by wobbly I mean basically detached), the wood finish was flaking, and the seat fabric wasn’t my dream BUT the lines were perfect and exactly what I’ve been looking for for almost 2 years. I’m sure I looked extra lovingly into Mr. Fabulous’s eyes with that “I absolutely can’t live without these” look and he agreed, they were pretty snazzy. ***upon proof reading Future Hubs would like the record to state that “pretty snazzy” was not in his vocabulary that day*** As we carried them around the corner to chat with the owner, I prepared my haggling brain. “So how much are we willing to spend? I’m thinking like $20 a chair tops.” Mr. Fabulous didn’t totally agree as one was breaking, he was thinking $15 and $10 for the slightly damaged one. I heard where he was coming from but still after searching forever for chairs this fabulous I was set on $40 for the pair max.

We found the owner, told him we were interested in the chairs and asked for a price. He shifted his stance and said “oh I dunno, $10 for the pair?”
….

(pause for dramatic effect)….

….

“SOLD! I’ll grab my cash!”

I don’t know how I didn’t kiss this man. Dream chairs for $5 a piece. I kid you not the exact chairs in New York City would easily have been $20-25 each. Got to love being in the country.

I will confess the chair leg fell off as we were loading it into the car but I didn’t care. A little wood glue and all would be fine. Needless to say these beauties are my next little project and I can not wait. A play by play on the rehab is soon to come. Basic goal is fix the leg, sand down, re-stain, recover the seats, and enjoy.

Did any of you find a must have house item this summer? Freak out on your significant other over chairs of destiny? Let me know! I love hearing your stories.

Oh Sandy the aurora is risin’ behind us

Hello all! Long time (beyond ashamed to say) no post. Just dropping a line to let you all know The Jersey Girl is alive and well. My area got hit, but no where near as hard as others were. Our little apartment was out for 8 days without power, heat, or water. Some reasonably sized tree limbs fell but thankfully not on the house. I spent the week at my parents who were out of power for 6 days but did have running water, including hot water, and a fire place to keep the house slightly warmer. Mom’s mantra of the week: “never buy a house without a fireplace”.

Thankfully my family and I are the outdoorsy types which means we know how to keep ourselves busy sans electricity. My sister chopped wood, we burned calories cranking up the radio (hand crank power style, you’re all jealous I know), warmed up hand washing our dishes, and I kept busy channeling my 90 year old self with embroidery after embroidery.

My baby sister had the hardest time being 17 and having most of her life being internet based. I think everything regarding this hurricane came full circle for me when she asked “what about Senior Prom?” as pictures of Seaside’s coaster now relocated to the ocean flashed on the screen at a friends house. It’s New Jersey Senior tradition to go “down the shore” after prom, usually to Wildwood. I was crushed to tell her it’s probably not going to happen.

Awesomely bad picture of me and my good friend Prom Weekend, Wildwood’s boardwalk. Nothing says The Shore like lobster sun burn and boardwalk prizes.

Life’s starting to get back to normal which is a good thing. I will shamefully admit to you all our fridge is still empty; have yet to go food shopping to replace everything.  Please keep the thoughts and prayers coming to my little corner of the world. There are still many who are without anything and clean up is still just beginning. We’ve got a long road ahead before we all get to go “down the shore” once again.

Thank you all.

Just like Two Kids in Love

Time for a little lovey dovey super simple date night idea. Since The Fiance and myself are basically on opposite schedules most days we cherish a night together, especially one that receives the coveted title of “Date Night”.

There’s no reason Date Night needs to mean little black dress fancy restaurant and dropping easily $100 for one romantic evening together. Sometimes you want to behave like two little school kids, complete with mac and cheese and blanket forts.

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That’s right it was a pj totin’, “Goonies” watchin’, blanket fort buildin’ kind of date. (Really is there any better movie to watch in a blanket fort than “The Goonies”?) Building balnket forts as adults is basically a million billion times cooler than 6 year old blanket fort building mainly because couches can be turned on end and moved around for optimal fort awesomeness. We also incorporated Christmas lights for a more romantic ambiance.

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The Mac and Cheese was probably the best home made style I’ve ever had. Recipe was thanks to Pottery Barn. I highly recommend you all to give it a whirl. The cheeses I used included Parmigiano Reggiano, Gouda, Montery Jack, and White Cheddar. I also used French’s Dijion Mustard with Chardonnay Wine, I secretly think that mustard choice added the amazing flavor.

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It was probably one of the best dates the two of us ever had. No cares, no worries, just an excellent youthful movie and a kid favorite all grown up dinner. Did I mention dessert was brownie sundaes with rainbow sprinkles?

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Yeah that’s right. We don’t mess around in this house. I highly recommend a regress-ful date night (or afternoon). Acting like a kid is some of the most fun an adult can ever have. And best part of blanket forts in your own grown up apartment? No “Dad” shows up at 5 from work saying “alright, looks like you had fun today now take it down.” That sucker was up for easily a week of enjoyment.

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