Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Best of Weddings.

There are certain friends of mine who have seriously found their perfect counterpart in their husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend, and it's just an absolute joy to spend time with them because they're just fun together.

This past August, I went to the wedding of my friend Sandy, who married the perfect guy for her. Sandy is easily one of the sweetest, most genuine people I've ever met. She's the type to send you a random text just to let you know that you're on her mind, or that it's been a while since we've last spoken. Her now husband is also one of the sweetest guys in the entire world - whenever I see him, I'm always greeted with a huge smile and him asking how work/life/etc. is going.

When the two of them got engaged, everything moved very quickly, thanks to Sandy's love of Pinterest and being extremely organized. We all went out to celebrate with the two of them a week and a half after their engagement, and Sandy had already found her two dresses (they had two weddings - one here and one in Switzerland, where a lot of her family lives), came up with color schemes, and had potential venues scoped out, with appointments that would be completed by the end of the month.

From the engagement on, every time I saw Sandy, she seemed 0% stressed. She insisted that she knew she was making the easiest and best decision for her life and she refused to get stressed and have that ruin any part of the planning process.

She also said the only thing that would ruin her wedding would be if people wore black dresses - she'd rather someone wear white than black to her big day, which immediately put me into full-on panic mode, since the basis of my closet is black everything.

I had my heart set on a teal or green dress to be extra summery, but since I put off dress shopping until the day before the wedding, the picks were very slim as most stores I went to were eliminating their summer clothes and bringing in fall clothes (read: dark colors).

Eventually I settled on a very hot pink Ralph Lauren dress (found at the LAST place that I went to try things on... naturally), and texted Sandy telling her that I hope she liked highlighter pink, because at least it wasn't black.

The ceremony space was lovely, even though it was a pretty rainy day.

I'm typically not a crier during weddings, but the two of them were just so damn cute and their personal vows were so touching, that I kept crying throughout. Instead of a unity candle or pouring sand into a jar, the two of them wrote each other letters, put the letters in a box (along with two bottles of wine), and nailed the box shut together. The purpose is that if they ever fight and it gets to the point where they can't remember why they ever got married to begin with, they're supposed to open the box, go into separate rooms to read the letters, and then come back, drink the wine and talk it out. I thought that was the sweetest thing I had ever heard of - and perfect for them.

The gorgeous (and fun!) newly married couple.

From there we went to cocktail hour,which was insanity. Cocktail hour is one of my favorite parts of weddings, and this one was honestly exceptional. Think, sushi bar, oyster bar, mashed potato bar, vodka station with an ice luge, sake bar... it was absolutely crazy and ridiculously delicious. 

After the cocktail hour and food, we did not stop dancing for a second. It was seriously the best group of people because almost everyone of every age was on that dance floor.

I missed the bouquet toss, due to a photobooth that seemed much more appealing, and it's good I missed it, because the girls were going HAM for that bouquet.

During a housewarming party at Sandy's (that included homemade apple moonshine, which is insanely dangerous beyond repair), Edwin and Sandy had a push-up contest, and they both said they'd have to do it at the wedding. I thought they'd forget, but they did not (Sandy also teaches CKO Kickboxing classes, so she is crazy in shape).

The two runners changed into new kicks during the ceremony, which was too perfect for them.

We seriously did not stop dancing (or drinking) all night.

Honestly, every wedding I now go to is going to be compared to this one. There was so much love all around, and it was contagious (there was also a lot of drinks flowing freely, which made the love flow even more).

What is the best wedding you've ever been to? If you are married, what was your favorite part of your wedding?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus.

I'm the biggest baby who ever lived, so I typically shy away from scary movies (though my favorite TV shows are The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, so riddle me that). There's something about fall/Halloween season though that makes me crave certain movies and TV shows - scary and campy, so this is my list of Halloween favorites for even the faintest of heart.

1. Misery 

This movie has about 5 characters, if that, but is so mesmerizing and gripping. Kathy Bates is one perfectly deranged woman in this minimalist horror movie about a famed author and his "number one fan."
I have a picture somewhere (taken on a disposable camera, no doubt) of Tonya and I watching Misery, and her covering her eyes and mouth during the infamous sledgehammer scene. Why my parents let us watch this movie at a young age, I will never know.

2. Hocus Pocus
There cannot be Halloween unless there is at least one full viewing of Hocus Pocus. It is the 90's at best, and teaches you that you should never allow a virgin to light a candle - ever.

3. The Shining
I have never been able to look at Jack Nicholson the same since this movie. He is a legitimate creep and is absolutely terrifying as he slowly unravels. It's a classic for a reason.

4. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
I used to not be allowed to watch this show - my parents said that if I watched it, I'd have nightmares and that they had no patience for dealing with me crying all night. That stopped me 0%, so I would continue watching this show from 90's Nickelodeon, and I would continue to have nightmares because my parents actually did know best. You can now find full episodes on YouTube, and even the opening sequence is still one of the scariest things ever.

And in case you want to be transported to the 90's again..

5. 28 Days Later
This is one of the most terrifying zombie movies I've ever seen. Apparently Walking Dead got the idea of Rick waking up after being comatose in the hospital and coming out into a post-apocalyptic world from the opening of this movie. The zombies are scary and they move pretty fast too - and it's just a very well-done movie. Plus, it's by Danny Boyle, so you know it'll be well-made.

6. The Crush
I've always thought that movies where someone becomes obsessed with someone else are some of the scariest, because this happens allll the time. Alicia Silverstone hangs up her short plaid skirts to act as fourteen year old Adrienne, who becomes obsessed to the fullest with the man renting her parents' guest house. It's Misery-esque, but with a vindictive teenage girl versus a middle aged crazy cat lady. Equally creepy and unsettling.

7. Double Double Toil and Trouble
Another 90's masterpiece with a very young Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. In this cinematic wonder, they go searching for a mysterious moonstone, but they have to battle their evil and awful aunt. Also starring Eric McCormack, aka Will from Will & Grace as their very straight (and very sarcastic) father.

8. The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
Ugh, creepy. A woman is sexually assaulted by her obstetrician and files charges against him, prompting him to commit suicide. The obstetrician's wife miscarries due to the emotional stress of his death, vowing revenge upon this woman and her family, so she decides the best course of action is to pose as a nanny for the family to take out the mom. Unbelievably eerie.

9. The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror episodes (all)
These are always so good. Obviously it's The Simpsons, so they're not scary, but they're just a good time and are always creative and very well done. I look forward to these every year and used to love watching them with my brother every Halloween.

10. The Blair Witch Project
You guys - it was not until my sophomore year of college until I learned this was not actually a real documentary (I know, I know). I saw this movie when I was in 7th grade (so years after it came out), and it scared the shit out of me. I thought it was brilliant when I heard about the marketing that went into it - the cast actually hung up "missing persons" fliers in towns near where it filmed. Apparently the police were involved at one point, and the actors all had to prove that they were in fact alive afterwards.
This movie is so minimal - their budget was about nothing, but it's still so freaking creepy - and it still gets me when I watch it now (even though now I at least know it's not real).

11. Orphan
I thought I knew what Esther's secret was going into this movie. When I saw it, I was like, "Okay, she's possessed by Satan, as all these creepy children are in the movies." Uhm, I could not have been more wrong.

12. The Addams Family Values
True story - when my parents first bought the vacation house at the Cape, we had very few movies to watch up there. One of the ones that my parents thought to bring up was The Addams Family Values (and Dumb and Dumber). Patrick and I now know every single word to this movie. And really, you can't have Halloween without The Addams Family, and in this one, including Uncle Fester dating a gold digger and Wednesday and Pugsly going off to summer camp, you just can't lose.

13. American Horror Story (Seasons 1-3).
The first season of this show hooked me immediately and has had me ever since. I love that each season is an entirely new story, with the cast in completely new roles (Jessica Lange proves she can handle it all). It's just good, and the first season especially is so freaking creepy that you never know what to expect (what is found in the basement crawlspace is definitely a game changer and left my jaw on the floor).

14. Halloween
Because Michael Myers WILL get you. You can be sprinting, he will walk, but make no mistake - he WILL get you. Oh also, he'll never die. You'll think he died, but nope.

15.  The Walking Dead
Marathon it. From season one (which is a heart pounder and anxiety provider) up to the most current season.. which is still a heart pounder and anxiety provider. It just keeps getting better and better.

Those are my fifteen picks for the week + before Halloween!

What are your Halloween must watches or movies that you watch every year during the Halloween season?

Currently listening to: Iron & Wine - Woman King 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall (2013) Favorites.

I'm all about the fall (as evidenced in my post that was dedicated solely to fall fashion). There are things this time of year that are especially perfect and that no matter how difficult work or relationships get, there's that extra push from the perfection of fall.

Here's my list of things that keep pushing me and that I'm absolutely loving at the moment.

1. The return of The Walking Dead.

Seriously, the previews for season four look unreal and I cannot wait to have some more Daryl Dixon in my life. I didn't hate the season three finale, but feel like so much was left unsaid/unanswered, and now that the group is down to so few people, it's going to be an interesting season!

For real, writers - you leave Hershel, Glenn, and Daryl alone.

2. Braids

I'm all about braids lately, and always have been, but there's something about braids, beanies, and flannel during fall months that makes it that much better. All the braids seen at various fashion weeks around the world made me super excited to experiment a little (to the best of my ability, which is next to nothing).

3. Pumpkin flavored everything.

I met someone the other day who said, "I hate pumpkin!" I immediately thought, "Well I hate you."
Seriously, I will take pumpkin in my coffee, bread, beer, ravioli, cheesecake, etc. I went to Trader Joe's for 4 things the other day.. once one of the workers told me that they had over 30 pumpkin items in the store, I ended up spending $107. Oops.

Pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin Greek yogurt, pumpkin bread mix buried in the cart, ingredients for soup... I love you, Trader Joe's.

Seasonal Magic Hat and Baked Pumpkin Ale to cheers my cousin Tim who started for Georgetown football (as a FRESHMAN) and scored a touchdown!

4. Soup season.

There is something so beautiful about a delicious bowl of soup.
Now that I have my own kitchen and don't have my mother (who means well) hovering over me telling me that I'm doing xyz wrong while I'm cooking ("Oh Al, you used that pan? You should have used the bigger size"), I cannot wait to experiment and try to make my own soups.

5. The start of holiday parties. 

Halloween parties, birthday parties (I have a lot of friends born in the fall), and friend Thanksgiving dinners/get togethers.. I love every aspect of dressing up, cooking, and spending time with the people I love.

6. American Horror Story: Coven.

God, I love American Horror Story. I've watched it since season one (which was my favorite season of all and where I developed a serious love affair with Evan Peters, who I still refer to as "Tate"), and after the season premiere yesterday, I already know it's going to be a ridiculously perfect season.
I mean, you have Kathy Bates, who totally proves that she doesn't just have to be shattering legs to be terrifying.


7. Wine tastings.

Now that it's chilly, it's the perfect weather to walk around a winery (post on that coming soon!) or a new town that has a kick-ass wine shop with Friday tastings. Such a cool way to try new wines, spend time doing something inexpensive (read: free unless you buy a bottle - I always make sure to buy SOMETHING so I'm not just mooching free wine, even if it's not the bottle we tried), and get a little buzz going.
Plus, if you make friends (read: are nice and polite) to the people who are giving the tastings, they will give you lots of refills and sometimes promotional deals!

8. Fall running

Fall could not be more perfect for running, especially trail running. I went on my first run in a new (to me) park the other day and found a trail along the park. It was so beautiful, and thanks to my "Zombies, Run!" app, the Dr. Scholls Active Series insoles that I got courtesy of Influenster, and the beautiful weather, I was able to kick some pretty serious ass and just enjoy taking in all the sites (I did have to stop to take pictures though). The insoles seriously did make my run SO much easier and more fulfilling - my sneakers are probably at that 300-350 mile point, so I need to trade in, so I'm thankful these can tide me over in the meantime!

I think I could totally outrun a zombie, if need be.

9. Reliving childhood favorites.

I'm making  a "birthday movie night basket," which features popcorn, candy, etc. as well as a bunch of DVDs. It was so much fun to order her so many of my favorites from when I was her age (and a little younger). Here's to hoping that she'll love The Parent Trap, Hocus Pocus, Richie Rich, and Matilda as much as I did when I was her age!
Within the same week, I was at my parent's house and found a TON of my old DVDs - think, 1990's Mary Kate & Ashley movies including (but not limited to) Passport to Paris and Our Lips Are Sealed. While Edwin was working one day, I secretly marathoned two MK&A movies in a row and have absolutely no shame about this at all.

10. So many days off during fall, so I can curl up and read.

Seriously, I've been devouring books lately and no part of me is upset about this. More days off, please!

I think you mean pumpkin coffee - because that wins.

What are your favorite things this time of year?
Any great fall recipes you want to pass on?

xox, loves!

Currently listening to: Architects & Engineers - Guster