Life Lately

Life lately has been a real whirlwind! Still coasting on the engagement high, it's been really fun to celebrate with friends and family who are genuinely happy for us. I still am in a little disbelief every morning when I put my ring on….but I'm slowly getting used to this beautiful addition to my everyday jewelry ritual (you know what I mean, the pieces you wear every single day.) 
Current mani color that I'm crushing on right now is Essie's Fiji. It's like the perfect shade to show off when people ask to see the ring.
A few weeks ago D's family took us out to celebrate the engagement and we ended up going to dinner, drinking on the pier and ending our night on a roof top bar. It was the perfect night and I'm so excited to officially call all these people my family :)
 The "cousins" having a photo shoot on top of a life guard chair down at the pier.
Me and one of my besties celebrating over fruity cocktails :)
Since I have some time off of work right now (the perks of working in a public school) I've been able to get away and visit my parents in PA. Our dog tiki LOVES going there because she gets to "help" my dad in the garden. Sometimes I feel bad because she's a city dog cooped up in an apartment, but when I bring her back home she is seriously loving life!! She's such a cutie :)
I cannot resist a good Panera lunch!
As a school counselor I get to order my fall school supplies before school let out -- and look what came in!! Who remembers these awesome markers?? Just thought I would share these sweet bad boys. Watermelon was always my favorite scent.

xo Steph


Late Summer

By this time in the summer as August rolls around I have two things on my mind: my birthday, and then back to school/fall shopping. I know, I know, there's still sooooo much summer left but I just can't help myself! So I start dressing myself in "late summer" wear, which is slowly incorporating jeans back into rotation and wearing darker colors (like this adorable green color tank) and swapping in dark nail polishes (though I haven't quite gone that far yet.) 

Late Summer

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Love Lately: Summer Edition

The thing I love about summer most (other than my birthday) is that things just move a little slower. Everything is approached with an easy breezy laid back approach. I guess I could say the same thing for me and blogging lately….I must be in summer mode! Anyway, I wanted to share some of my current favorite summer things that help me enjoy this blissful and worry free season.
1. Detox Spa Water. This is my favorite go-to drink for the summer, and I drink it alllll dayyyyy loooong. It's simply water infused with lemons, cucumbers and fresh mint leaves…..but the result is so incredibly refreshing and hydrating, you can't help but guzzling it down by the gallon all day. To make it even easier (for those who hate drinking water) make a huge pitcher for the whole day and leave it on your kitchen counter or somewhere else you pass by frequently. Make sure you keep filling up every time you pass by. For me, using straws always makes me drink more too. So find a fun adult sippy cup and get to hydrating and feeling like you're at the day spa :)
2. Summer brights. I am obsessed with this bright coral/turquoise scarf I picked up on clearance at Old Navy. It looks so cute with my black maxi dress here, or even a crisp white tank or tee, jean shorts and flip flops. I also love when my mani inadvertently matches my outfit. It's the little things people.
3. Nail Polish Rotation. Being newly engaged, I have been loving getting fresh manicures even more. People are always asking to see your ring, so you can't have your nails and cuticles looking like a hot mess. Plus it's fun for me to see which colors look best with my ring (hmmm, pretty much all the colors) but these are my current favorites in rotation. All of which look pretty with a tan. 
Deborah Lippman Break 4 Love // Essie Fiji // Essie Go Ginza // Deborah Lippman Tip Toe Through the Tulips
 4. New Planners and Organizers. I have always been a nerd when it comes to getting new school supplies, and especially getting my new planner every year. I am a planner at heart. D usually tells me I plan to much (ex. already getting excited about fall) and that I need to live more in the moment. He may be right, but old habits die hard. I am very particular about planners (it has to have the perfect layout and function just-so for me) so often times I can't find what I want. I finally splurged on the  Day Designer, which does just that, designs your day. It was created for creative entrepreneurs in mind. I mean look at the black and white stripes? So me! In particular, there is a full page each day for you to map out your day and maximize your productivity. I got the August edition since I'm a school counselor and always function on the academic calendar and I am OBSESSED. Once I start using it I will definitely be doing a full tutorial. Also, got a pretty yet functional pink rubber case for my iPad mini. The OCD person in me even organized all my apps on different pages including personal, blogging, school counselor, and wedding planning. I feel so organized and alive my friends!
 5. Summer Gear. I can't wait to use this adorable crocheted top from F21 for my next beach trip. Paired with little denim shorts and it's just too cute. Along with the outfit includes my bronzer and bronzing shimmer from Victoria's Secret, Frederic Fekkai's summer hair, and Eternity Summer perfume (last years edition). Still haven't gotten around to smelling this years bottle. 
 6. Summer scents. I love doing one big summer scent haul at Bath & Body works to get my apartment smelling like my own personal beach paradise. My newest favorite is this Peach Cilantro Twist scented candle. Not only does this smell fresh and amazing (cilantro fan here!) but the pretty packaging, font and colors will always win me over. 
 7. Summer flip flops. I usually treat myself to a new pair of flip flops every summer, not so much because I want to, but because last years are so beaten up and worn out I have to. My pick this year were these gold Tory Burch studded one and I adore them because they pretty much go with anything. They are neutral yet have some shimmer to keep them interesting. 
8. Mojitos! Did you know last week there was National Mojito Day? Yeah, me neither until I was at happy hour in the city and drank 3 of these bad boys. I'm also a weirdo who doesn't like rum, so I always ask to have my mojitos made with vodka. Don't judge, it's just my thing. I also got a watermelon flavored one…..and I'm pretty sure this is my official summer drink :)

Well that's all I've got for now. I can't believe my birthday is only 2 weeks away and I haven't planned anything yet….I'm totally off my game this year! Maybe we'll just be playing things low key since we're currently trying to save our money for some bigger expenses coming up!
So what are the summery things you're loving lately?

xo Steph


Our July 4th in Photos

How was everyone's July 4th weekend? Wonderful I hope! Surprisingly enough, D and I did in fact make it down the shore to his mom's beach house. Somehow there wasn't much traffic on the roads....I guess we were the only crazies who thought driving to the jersey shore on July 4th during a hurricane was a good idea. But we made it, only to have our first day there spent in doors, hitting up the local diner, drinking wine and playing many, many games of Trivial Pursuit to pass the time!
rocking my stars and stripes -- love you America! xo
We finally got some quality beach time -- pretty much all that next Saturday. The beach was mobbed with people everywhere since July 4th was spent in doors watching Hurricane Arthur put a damper on things.
One of my FAVORITE things to do in LBI is stopping at Pinky's. Their seafood is a staple for me and D every year. Their fresh snow crab legs are ahhhh-mazing and one of those little things we look forward to every summer. They are a little on the pricey side, so they are certainly a treat. And of course the place looks like a little hole in the wall joint, but those places always have the best food. Ammiright?

there is simply nothing better than fresh snow crab legs, fresh jersey corn and an ice cold Corona with lime -- all enjoyed while sitting on your shore house deck. #heaven

fireworks were the next night (again with stupid Hurricane Arthur) but it was so cool because we didn't even have to go into town to see them. We got the best seats in the house (aka the shore house deck). It doesn't get any more perfect than that!
On the way home we stopped at one of those road side farmer's market stands to get some fresh fruits and veggies. There is seriously nothing better than Jersey corn or Jersey tomatoes.
D as he carefully inspects each ear of corn. Me on the other hand was just throwing them in the basket!
Gotta support our local farmers -- always eat local when you can! 

I hope everyone had an awesome weekend -- here's to many more weekends at the beach! 
xo Steph


What No One Ever Tells You About Getting Engaged

It's been almost 2 weeks since the proposal and the shock, I think, it's finally starting to wear off (in a good way might I add) so now we're realizing….we're getting married!! We're getting married? So what are we supposed to do now? So far we've been content just calling each other "fiancé" and that has been enough to amuse us so far. As avid Seinfeld aficionados, we are constantly quoting this very funny video clip where clearly, Elaine is not impressed. Don't worry guys, we're not THAT bad.
So we've got engaged. Now what? Everyone and their mother has asked me, "do you guys have a date yet?" No, we do not have a date yet, I've barely been able to think straight let alone book a date. We're engaged, let us savor this moment for a moment! That, I was not prepared for. But what I did do was indulge myself by buying my first wedding magazine (I'm allowed to read this now?!) crack open a bottle of wine and started flipping through. I hopped online and found this great article which made me chuckle and I totally wanted to elaborate on.

10 Things No One Ever Tells You About Getting Engaged

1. You'll have a big zit on your face the day he proposes. Or you'll be in a piss poor moody mood. See previous post for the details. My bad!

2. You won't be able to stop staring at your hand. Or taking pictures of it. Or changing your nail polish color to see what goes best with your new ring. Which by the way, the above color is Essie's "Got Engaged" so I just had to. Found here. Some cons to this include staring at your ring while you're driving, which means I need to get my act together and stop distracting myself from traffic signals.

3. You'll have to tell your proposal story a million times. And I have. And now I have it in a blog post to share with you all :)

4. People will ask you "have you set a date?" before you even had a chance to think about it. I mentioned this before but, YES. This will happen. But no reason to get annoyed, people are just genuinely happy for you and eager to set the date. I've learned to graciously tell people, not yet, we're just enjoying being engaged right now.

5. There might be a few sours….. as in people who aren't happy for you, or who did not give you well wishes. Hey, it happens. And it's happened to me. But I'm committed to focusing on the people who ARE happy for us rather than those who aren't. At the end of the day it's about us and our happiness, so that's all that matter. Haters gonna hate!

6. But your best friends will be there for you! Yes, they will :) And that will show true friendship shining through.

7. Married friends will all of a sudden become wedding planners and offer (sometimes unsolicited) advice. Yup. "I wouldn't wear a dress like that" "You shouldn't get married there" "You should…." You get the picture. Take everyone's advice to heart, and at the end of the day, your wedding day should reflect two people, you and your other half.

8. You'll watch wedding movies and wedding shows differently. GUILTY. Since getting engaged I've watched Father of the Bride (old classic with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton) and may or may not have indulged in a marathon of "Say Yes to the Dress." Oh the shame. I was never the girl who had her wedding planned since childhood so I certainly never watched those stupid bridal reality shows. And now all of a sudden I'm like, "that's a really pretty dress, I wonder if I could pull that off?" What has become of me??

9. You'll have a hard time not jumping into wedding planning mode and just enjoying "engagement time." Partly true. I have to admit reading wedding magazine instead of my Us Weekly or Instyle magazine has become my new guilty pleasure. It's also been really fun bonding over this with my mom as we fold down pages of "I like this dress" or "oh this is a good idea." At the same time I don't want to rush and want to savor the moment. Plus, D might need a little break from wedding talk overload. According to this article they mention, "be sensitive to him. He more than likely just spent a lot of money and time planning out the proposal. So give him a little time to relax if he needs it. A few things you can get started on right away: planning out the guest list (at least your family and friends) and documenting your proposal story."  Great idea. D, you're off the hook for a while :)

10. Your relationship will feel different, even if you have been together/lived together for years. YES! I always knew that when D proposed I would be excited and happy, but I really didn't think I would feel "different." I mean, we've been together for almost 5 years and lived together for going on 4. We've pretty much established ourselves as a solid couples. Our families know each other and hang out. It feels like we're already married. So it really did surprise me that it felt different. I had a physical symbol of our commitment to each other, as well as a promise to spend our lives together. And now I no longer have a boyfriend, I have a fiancé! (still have to get used to that one).

And there you have it! What no one ever tells you about getting engaged. For you ladies out there who have already gone through this period, or are already married - I would love to hear your words, stories and advice on navigating this exciting time!

xo Steph


Stars & Stripes

You know I love any excuse to dress festive and July 4th is right around the corner. This look is perfect for a casual backyard BBQ, day at the beach or boardwalk, or laying out at the park. This year D's mom invited us down to her shore house in LBI (Long Beach Island) and we were pumped because it would be the perfect getaway for us since all the engagement hoopla. Did I just say hoopla? Anyway, going down the shore for a few days sounded perfect complete with lounging out on the deck, and eating fresh crab legs and drinking ice cold coronas with the ocean breezes wafting through the air…..until we forgot we had a dog and, what are we going to do with her??

stars and stripes

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With our recent engagement-moon to AC, we dropped Tiki off at my parents house for what I like to call, "Tiki's vacationing at her country estate." While she loves it there, she is a sensitive dog who is very attached to us. We couldn't possibly ship her out again. And putting her in a kennel is out of the question for this pampered pooch. She wouldn't last a day there! So sadly unless we come up with some magical solution, we will be bumming around town for the 4th. Luckily, there is always something to do, so we might lay out at the park, hit up some food truck and try to catch the fireworks over the Hudson River. I guess plan B isn't too shabby.
So what are you all planning to do for the 4th?

xo Steph


A Proposal Story

So I'm FINALLY getting around to sharing our proposal story with you all. But before that, I wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your sweet words, messages, calls, texts….it means the world to us to have so many people genuinely happy for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Also my apologies for the lack of blogging, but I've been running on the engagement high so my computer has been the last thing I on my to-do list! We finally got picks back from our secret photographer (10 million points D!) so here they are in all their glory, along with all the imperfectly, perfect details.
{The Story}
So originally I didn't suspect a thing. I knew our parents were coming to visit because we were celebrating my dad's birthday/father's day. We had plans to go out to lunch and just enjoy the beautiful day. I went to get my hair blown out in the morning (one of my personal treats to myself and now so happy I did!) and when I got back from the salon my parents were already at our place. Granted I had my hair done, but I was in comfy gym clothes, no makeup on -- not at all ready. I don't know about you, but I HATE when people come over and I'm not ready yet. I feel rushed and flustered, and automatically puts me in a bad mood. Wonderful! And then I take one good look at my parents. My mom has her hair colored and done, and my dad is wearing a crisp new polo shirt and brand new shorts  I've never seen before. Why are they so dressed up? Why are they acting so nice to me right now? Why are they here so early?? My annoyance level is rising…..

Then it's off to lunch at a restaurant down by the water. Me, I'm still in a pissy mood for no reason other than waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Everyone else; they have perma-smiles on their face and it seems like everyone is staring at me. Why are they looking at me like that? I look over at D and my dad sitting next to each other. My dad is rubbing D's back in that "you got this boy, you can do it" kinda way. What? Why is he doing that? Oh my God……he's going to propose today isn't he? For some reason, despite the fact that I've been waiting for this moment for a solid 3.5 years - I panic. For people who know me well, they know I tend to be a high strung individual prone to anxiety, panic and overreacting. So of course I'm going to panic. He can't propose to me today….I'm in a bad mood, I'm not wearing the right outfit, I wasn't mentally prepared for this!! I turn to D over lunch and whisper, "I think I'm having a panic attack right now, don't do it today." I know guys, I am certifiably crazy. But I've been told that's part of my charm so I'm learning to just go with it and own it. D, probably having a moment of "what the hell is wrong with the girl?" says to me, "what are you talking about? Proposing? Sorry to burst your bubble but that's definitely not happening today. Just relax, lets get you a drink!" God love him for rolling with the punches. If I were him I would have flipped out and thrown the ring box in the river. But he kept his cool. So I sucked down two long island ice teas and that sustained me for time being.

After lunch we had no real plans, or so I thought. Then D's mom goes, "Why don't we take a walk down to the river next to that pavilion….right over there!!" She points to the location. Why are we walking all the way over there? Why does she want to see some stupid pavilion? She doesn't even like going for walks. Dear God…..this is happening. I could literally feel the energy and the pink elephant in the room. So we walk. And we're walking and I see my parents whispering and I see D secretly texting on his phone and continue to check his phone. Something is happening and no one is telling me anything. Then we see a group of people sitting in the park, playing guitars and signing. Not at all out of the ordinary because that's what people in Hoboken do in the park. And then I hear them singing one of our songs "I Won't Give Up On Us" by Jason Mraz. And then I spot some man with a camera taking pictures. And then I feel my heartbeat in my throat and freeze. We sit down on the steps of the park to listen and I am frozen. The moment I've been waiting for, which seems like forever, is happening RIGHT NOW. What am I supposed to be doing? Then I spot D's keyboard set up next to the group. What the? It was all such a blur. D's mom puts her arm around me saying, "hunny do you know what's happening right now?" I think I do! Then D gets on the keyboard to play and sing "This Years Love" by David Gray, followed by "Marry You" by Bruno Mars. It was all such a surreal moment. Afterwards he gets down on one knee….says some words which I can barely remember other than "I'm sorry for making you wait so long, will you marry me?" and my response is "Thank you"…..followed by the obvious YES!

Playing one of our songs "This Years Love" by David Gray followed by Bruno Mars "Marry You"
Guys, I was so done at this point. I always secretly wished that song would make it's way into the proposal so he really knocked it out of the park!!

I spotted the secret photographer…and I just sat there in shock and smiled!

Oh my gosh, look how handsome he is singing and playing piano. Who know he had this kind of talent??
My most favorite moment. I LOVE how this moment will be captured in time forever.
Seeing him down on one knee asking me to marry him still makes me melt.
and here come the happy tears…..

another one of my favorite pics that captures the moment so perfectly.
 it was so special to have our parents there to share in the moment and congratulate us.
 this shot was completely posed but I think it says it all…
FINALLY, we're getting married!!
Afterwards, because D thinks of everything, he planned a surprise engagement-moon to Atlantic City! I couldn't believe it! So he whisked me away to stay in the most AMAZING ocean side suite at Revel Resort. He really had thought of everything!
Are you serious with this view? And the rose petals :)
Also to tone down on the romance we also have the world cup on ;)
The view from our room where we got to see the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the Atlantic.
It was the most perfect ending to the perfect weekend.

I can't wait to continue sharing details about the engagement and wedding planning process with you all, but I promise not to turn this into a wedding blog! And I don't know the first thing about wedding planning so I might need your help, advice, and encouragement along the way :)
Again thank you all soooooo much for your love and support during this exciting time - I appreciate each and every message :)

xo Steph
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