Lifestyle

The Perfect Valentine’s Day Guide

I can’t believe how fast time is flying, one of my most favorite holidays are rapidly approaching! I know that when I tell some people that, I get a major eye roll in response, guess I’m just a romantic what can I say?! Valentine’s Day is supposed to revolve around love, so to me it doesn’t matter if you’re single or in a relationship, there is still plenty ways to enjoy the day. If you’re in a relationship, you’ll celebrate with your significant other and if you’re single you’ll spend it with the ladies (Galentine’s Day!) – either way it’s supposed to be a time of love and celebrations with the ones you love and who love you.

The concept of Valentine’s Day has actually been around since the Middle Ages but wasn’t made popular in the USA until about the 1700s, and then massively popular in the 1840s.I feel like in recent years, Valentine’s Day has gained more and more momentum, like there are some really unique ways people have begun to celebrate it. Of course I like to be wined and dined, but I am not one to turn down a nice night in. Check out some ideas for plans, gifts, and celebrations!


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Making the Plans

  • Couples
    • A Night Out
      • Make reservations ahead of time! Having roses when you pick her up may help too – hint hint to my BF is he’s reading this 😉
      • I love surprises, so when she starts asking about V-Day plans (she will), try to keep it vague, maybe just a “put on that red dress and I’ll pick you up at 8”. Hot damn.
      • I would definitely choose a restaurant that is intimate and romantic. Your gal def does not want to be taken to Applebee’s on V-Day! Perhaps one of your favorite restaurants, where you had your first date, her favorite cuisine, a place with a view, etc.
      • V-Day seems to be a day where we go a little bit more above and beyond. Treating her to a nice dinner doesn’t mean fancy, but perhaps a step above of what you two usually do.
      • Since it falls on a Tuesday this year, celebrations typically take place the weekend prior. After dinner nightcaps are always a safe bet, or if you’re at a place with a view, take a romantic stroll.File_000 (6).jpeg
        • A Night In
          • Homemade dinner + romantic playlist.
          • This may seem really easy, but making it the perfect, candlelit dinner is actually pretty hard – from the set-up, the mood, the food, it’s a bit nerve wracking!
          • If you’re not a chef, I’d say give it the ol’ college try. She will def appreciate the effort moreso than the taste (or at least she should lol). But, if you’re really just a hazard in the kitchen, maybe order some take-out from her favorite restaurant, or her favorite dish and plate it nicely. Don’t forget the candles, and spreading some rose petals is a beautiful touch!
          • Have the vino poured and the playlist in the background and the mood is set. For the playlist, Spotify has some great playlists you can choose from, or you can make your own and fill it with your favorite songs.
          • Here are some Pinterest ideas for recipes and table settings!

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  • Galentine’s Day Brunch
    • Yasssss! So the hardest part about this is going to be gathering all the girls. Once that is done, it is an absolute breeze.
    • Stock up on some wine, some bubbly, cute decorations, tapas, and get a super upbeat playlist. No sad movies and ice cream! Also a Polaroid camera can make for some great instant pictures!
    • There are little quizzes you can do, little favors like nail polish you can hand out.
    • Check out some ideas below!

Gift Guide – this is basically the most important part of the article haha!

  • For Her
    • Roses + chocolate are basically a must, oh and so is a beautiful card. I am such a mush when it comes to a card and a hand written note ❤
    • To me, V-Day gifts are supposed to reflect on the love you share and is something that is sentimental. It doesn’t have to be some lavish thing. I would suggest something like a piece of jewelry, a LoveBook, something personalized, something that means a lot to her. A gift to both you and her would be lingerie hahah!
    • Some examples below:
  • For Him
    • Well usually Valentine’s Day is a holiday for the ladies, but the guy should get some credit too!
    • Guys are pretty simple to please I have to say, and they honestly may not be expecting anything. See some ideas below:
      • Cologne – this smells so sexual and doesn’t break the bank like Creed does.
      • Watch
      • Wallet
      • 52 Reasons Why I Love You (take a deck of cards and write a reason on each one, instructions here!)
      • Open When Letters…
      • Scrapbook
      • A date of something HE wants – maybe going to a racetrack, seeing a movie he likes, a restaurant he likes, etc.
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How To SLAY Your MOH Speech

Alright so remember a few posts back I wrote about my sister’s fabulous Nashville bachelorette? Well the wedding just passed and since I was the MOH, I had to do a speech. Writing a speech can be pretty tough, but standing in front of hundreds of people can be a bit more daunting. I thought I was going to pass out walking down the aisle let alone speak in front of hundreds of people – talk about pressure! The thing about speeches is you have to include both the bride and groom and you have to make it so everyone in the room can understand the jokes, who the couple is, etc. Most importantly, you want to make it sweet, sentimental, and light-hearted. Seems tough I know, but it really could be a lot of fun! It really just comes from the heart!

I’ve heard speeches that were pages long and just seemed to jump around so the greatest two tips I can give you is to write beforehand (LONNNNNG beforehand) and keep it to 2:00 minutes or less 🙂

Check out below for some  more helpful hints and examples!


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Well first things first, you should introduce yourself and thank the guests for partaking in the couple’s lovely day. You should also start with a compliment to the couple and make note on how fabulous they look. Since my (now) brother-in-law would much rather be in a t-shirt and sweats, I also through in a little joke about that.

  • Hello everyone and welcome to bride’s name and groom’s name special day. You both look absolutely breathtaking – especially you groom’s name – I know how much you love wearing a nice tux. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is your name and I am relation to bride.

 

Now you should tell a little bit about the relationship between you and the bride. Share some of her characteristics and memories you’ve had with her and what she means to you, what impact she has had on your life, etc. You can make this super emotional yet still make it funny. Maybe she was your personal stylist from years of you borrowing her clothes and she just never knew it ;).

  • Although we are quite the opposite of each other, bride’s name has been my best friend and my other half since moment or story of how you met. Bride’s name is characteristic, characteristic, etc. Perhaps tell a favorite memory you two have. The greatest gift I’ve received is her as my sister/best friend/ cousin/etc. And now groom’s name, the greatest gift I can give you, is my best friend.

 

Next, talk about how they met or how long they have been together and compliment them on their unique love. Also this is where you will tell a story – either in relation to you, your favorite memory of them, etc. Be sure to ask the bride if any stories are off limits beforehand! This is also where I put in a little joke on the groom, see below!

  • It has been nothing short of beautiful and inspiring to watch your love grow and blossom into what it is now, and I cannot wait to see what it will be. # of years years together already is a long time, but the way you two act, it’s like you fall in love all over again with each look. Speaking of # of years years ago, I remember when all three of us story time. You guys could not get rid of me if you tried! Groom’s name, I am blessed to finally have a brother like you – now I no longer have to the “son my dad never had” – even though I could probably beat you at any sport.

 

Tie it all together now! Write about how alike they are how their love will flourish, and how they can overcome anything that life throws their way. My sister hates going into the basement alone so of course I had to throw that in there.

  • You both are alike in so many ways, and so different in others, but together I know you two can overcome any obstacle with the support, patience, and love you provide each other with always. I know you will continue to make my bride’s name happier than she ever thought possible and I am so glad you came into all of our lives. I know my best friend will ALWAYS be safe (especially when she has to go to the basement by herself), but most importantly, happy, loved and cherished.

Cheers time! Raise those glasses!

  • So please join me in a toast to the lovely couple…Bride and groom’s name, I wish you a lifetime of love, happiness and health. I love you both!!

 

If you need help writing or want to know more tips or see my full speech, comment below or feel free to email me in the Contact tab!

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Lions, Tigers, Bears – Oh My!

Lions, tigers, and bears oh my! I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to the Bronx Zoo – it had to have been at least over 10-15 years. I went back in September, and just never got around to looking at the pictures or writing about it for that matter. I love animals of all kinds and I truly wish I could be surrounded by them all day. I would love to live on a farm and have my horses and cows, etc. I know a zoo has a bit more diversity of animals, but hey if I could live with a zoo in my backyard, I certainly would.

The Bronx Zoo is this incredibly expansive space right smack in the city, it’s actually amazing to think that right in there in between the hustle and bustle of the Bronx, is one of the largest zoos in the nation. With a multitude of exhibits, animals, and displays, the Bronx Zoo should definitely be on a bucket list for all. It is also a great place for people of all ages, especially the kiddies! There is just so much to see and eat! Don’t worry, they have trolleys so you don’t need to walk around everywhere. However, I didn’t tell my BF that, so we had a nice looooong day of walking 😉 Luckily there was a lot of animals to see to keep him busy from thinking about the walking…for the most part haha!

Since exhibits are always changing and being added, be sure to visit The Bronx Zoo site and see what you can expect before you go! Below are some images from my visit!


 

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You can hear the lions roaring!

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This little peacock was on the loose haha!

The ULTIMATE Holiday Gift Guide

It is officially that time of year again! Bring on the Christmas music, the snow, the holiday cheer, and the shopping lines! Wait, what? Since this is the busiest time of year for everyone, especially retailers, isn’t it best to get a head start on all shopping? I absolutely love buying gifts for people, especially sentimental ones that they are going to actually use and love. However, I’ve learned waiting until last minute usually leaves me with zero options and more disappointment than the person actually receiving the gift. I also always find myself in a rut of what the perfect gift may be for them. I mean, I’ve only had 364 days to really listen and see what they want or need. So I hope this list is as helpful to you as it will be to me for years to come!


 

A lot of these gifts are interchangeable, so if they are under a certain section, but you know of someone else who may love it, then certainly go for it!

The Parents & In-Laws:

  • The 2-for-1
    • Dinner + show!
      • You can easily get two tickets to a Broadway show, a comedy show, a band/group they like, or any kind of show they may like and pair it with a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant!
  • I’m all about those monthly clubs! I’ve used this site many times for many different people, it is great because you can really mix and match!
  • I also love putting together baskets. Fill it up with useful items that you know they will use and it is a home-run! For example I made a basket this year with a Le Crueset dish, and filled it with dish-towels, olive oil from Italy, specialty pasta, Italian spices, and a bottle of wine.
  • If they collect anything, then add to their collection! My BF’s father collects vintage cognac, so that was an easy one.
  • Tile Tracker – no more “where are my keys?!” *I know my mother needs this.*

 

The Best Friend:

 

For the Fellas (dad, brother, boyfriend, etc.):

 

For the Ladies (mom, sister, girlfriend, etc.):

  • Spa package
  • Tickets to a musical or play that they like
  • Wristlet/clutch
  • Jewelry (we all love a little Tiffany blue box 😉 )
  • Watch
  • Hollywood Vanity Mirror
  • A weekend getaway
  • Shoes, shoes, shoes!

 

The Host:

 

 

Weed Orchards & Winery

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Fall is my favorite holiday simply because of all the food, the activities, the fashion, and it basically means the holidays are around the corner! 🙂 I recently went on an apple picking double date up at Weed Orchards in Marlboro, NY with my cousin and our boo thangs. Although we got lost once or twice along the way and then our wagon full of everything we picked tipped over (thanks Cosmo), we still had an amazing time.

Coming from suburbs right outside of NYC, we are all sooo used to the fast-pace, go go go lifestyle, houses on top of one another, skyscrapers, etc. Driving through these “country” roads (that’s basically what it is to us), was so beautiful and peaceful. Looking out the window and seeing farms, and an expansive amount of rolling hills was so different, and I loved it! It’s so refreshing to get away from all of that city hustle and bustle sometimes.

Once we arrived, we were immediately overwhelmed with everything that there was to do. There was a cafe, a winery, a kitchen, and a little petting zoo for the younger kids. They also had free hard cider tastings going on (they had a few different flavors, all looked awesome!). We were in a rush and on a mission to pick some apples so we didn’t get a a chance to taste any of them. We rented our wagon and we were off.

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We first came across the pumpkin patch (buy 3 get 1 free), where it was perfect pumpkin on perfect pumpkin on perfect pumpkin. Seriously, I kept changing my pick because every few feet I would come across another perfect one!

Then we got to the apples and the fun began. It was the boys first time apple picking so they had fun climbing the trees, and shaking the branches. Basically my cousin and I were the babysitters.

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Since we went in early October, they had 8 different apples: Empire, Cortland, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Mac, Macouns, early Fujis, and Honeycrisp. We also came across some other fruits and vegetables like eggplant, grapes, and peppers.

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As we were finishing up, our wagon tipped and everything spilled out (WTG Cos hahaha). We salvaged most of it, but we still wanted our apple bags to be filled, so on we picked. Before and after he lost his wagon privileges hahah.

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Also, Cos decided to put me on his shoulders. As you can see from below, it gives me complete panic attacks. The before and after:

We finished the day by getting some BBQ and other fresh food from their kitchen. I walked through their little store where they had fresh baked pies of ALL kinds, honeys, jams and spreads, salsas, breads, the list goes on. I was like a kid in a candy store. I bought a strawberry pie for Cosmo’s family, some zucchini walnut bread, blueberry crumble bread, and some honey. The blueberry crumble was so good I may have to make a trip back up there just so I can have it again.

Overall, amazing place that I would definitely recommend you check out if you live around the area. I would also try to get there a bit earlier so you can fully enjoy all it has to offer.

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After a successful day of apple picking 🙂

Can’t wait to show you what I do with all of these apples!

Already looking forward to coming back next year!

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