Wedding Anniversary

I can’t believe my husband and I are coming up on our fourth wedding anniversary!  We had way too much fun planning the BIG day! And by ‘we’, I really mean my mom and me.  Don’t get me wrong, my husband had voting power on all things but he ultimately trusted us in making our wedding weekend one to remember.  My mother is also an interior designer and we are both extremely detail oriented so we found this came pretty naturally to us.  We definitely learned a few things along the way but really enjoyed the whole experience. I thought I would share some of the behind the scene details that made the weekend such a success.

We had a destination wedding (Santa Barbara, CA) but nowadays all weddings are really a destination for most people.  Even if you have your wedding in your hometown, odds are most people don’t live there any longer.  So first things first.  Save the Dates!  People are busy and have full lives, they need notice about your big day so they can plan accordingly. With the Save the Dates you should be thinking about the overall look of your wedding but keep them simple with pertinent information only- date and website information.  Keep the website link either very simple or catchy.  Most people will still forget and ask you for the information again but this way maybe not everyone will forget.

Next up- Gather your team! Wedding planner, on site event coordinator, photographer, florist, band, lighting, makeup, hair, seamstress.  Some people may not think a seamstress is necessary but I found it absolutely essential.  Our seamstress Mercedes was there to fix any last minute issues. One bridesmaid got lipstick on her dress and another one ripped the hem before the ceremony and she fixed it all!

Lighting is one of those things that people think, eh, is it really necessary?  YES! It highlights the centerpieces and also creates a happening dance floor.  Without spot lighting, key items that you have put time, energy and money into go unnoticed.  Without appropriate lighting it lacks that extra sparkle.

Having a strong team is so important in the outcome of your event.  So chose early and carefully! Do your research and interview people before hiring them.  You will pick up on their vibe and know if they are a right fit.  I met with my photographer, Elizabeth Messina, and her lovely daughter while they were in New York for a project.  We met at a Cuban restaurant downtown and over some amazing corn on the cob I immediately knew she was one cool chic.  I felt the same way with Mindy Rice, she did the floral arrangements for all of the weekend’s events and really made the whole wedding come to light.  She is the one who coined ‘tailored bohemian’ for our wedding and I just responded, YES! She just got it and that is how you want to feel about your team!

Gift Bags- I am pro gift bag in a big way.  Since our wedding was in Santa Barbara we were able to use such fabulous local vendors for our gift bags.  We used a Santa Barbara longitude latitude burlap bag we found at one of the shops in town and filled it with all local treats, chips and salsa, chocolates, lavender, Herban Essentials, the current Santa Barbara magazine, and itinerary for the weekend’s events.  No matter how many times you tell people where to be, what to do and what to wear, they forget. Listen, I get it, I have been there! So I made sure to put this information in as many places as possible.

Another important item to put in the gift bags is water!  I have been to a lot of weddings and I know it may seem small but receiving a bottle of water in a gift bag is huge to me!  You have traveled a long way and they charge like $50 in the mini bar for a teeny tiny bottle of water, if there even is a mini bar.  So yes, I think water is nice in a gift bag. It says thank you for traveling all of this way now hydrate, because I care.

Last note on gift bags, if the majority of people are traveling in and out try and be mindful of what they can put in their carry on.  Most of the things in the gift bag we provided were to be consumed or used during the weekend. Otherwise, people may have to throw out something that took time and money to create, because of its size or liquid amount.  SB Gifting Suites was so unbelievably great to work with. They listened to every idea and made it happen.

If it is going to be a true destination for most of your guests and people are making a weekend of it, it is nice to set up a little something else for your guests.  We had a welcome party the night before the wedding at the San Ysidro Ranch and then an after party at the Four Seasons (Our wedding was at the Four Seasons as well but a different event space).  We also provided picnic lunches for people to pick up the day before the wedding if they were in the area. Anything to say thank you so much for coming! It doesn’t have to be extravagant or super pricey just something to bring people together.  Plan a beach day, yoga in the park, a day of skiing, something that people can join if they want and meet the other guests while spending some extra time with the bride and groom.  The wedding night goes by too fast so this extra time is special.

For the actual wedding itself.  Something I learned- I wish I had packed a little tiny purse.  People had told me before the wedding that I didn’t need one but afterwards I felt I could have used one. I would have put my lipstick, burt’s bees lip moisturizer, mints, eye drops and a little blush stick in there- just for some touch ups along the way.  I would have just left it on my chair so I knew where it was and didn’t have to track someone down for a tic tac.

Something fun- At the end of the wedding night we did a late night snack that was passed around on the dance floor – mini hotdogs, grilled cheese, little French fry cups.  This was just a fun note to end on.

Something I did do during the night, and I’m so glad I did, I stood back a couple of times and took a few moments to take it all in.  Watch your family and friends dancing, laughing and enjoying themselves.  The night will be over before you know it, so this is important!

And lastly, have your planner or bridesmaids have the kitchen or caterer put a plate together for you and put it in your room at the end of the night.  Along with some dessert, a slice of cake, champagne and a little floral piece from one of the tables.  It was a nice surprise to see this in the room when my husband and I got back. We were able to enjoy some of the food while laughing and smiling about our favorite parts of the night.

We had so much fun that we said we would do it all over again for our five year anniversary, so we better get on it!!

The Team

Photography: Kiss the Groom | Wedding Planner: imagine…Weddings & Special Events, LLC | Floral Design: Mindy Rice | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Wedding Cake: Four Seasons Catering | Bride’s Shoes: Valentino d’Orsay | Makeup: Flirt Makeup | Hair: sheila stone | Lighting: Peterson Event Lighting | Officiant: Rev. Jon Ireland | Transportation: Executive Limo | Venue: Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis | Church Pews: Found Vintage Rentals | Custom Save-the-Dates + Welcome Bag Inserts: Lazaro Press & Design | Furniture & Dance Floor: Town And Country | Invitations, Programs, Menus: Ceci New York | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Musician: Laurie Rasmussen | Reception Dress: Jenny Packham | Reception Music: West Coast Music | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Seamstress: Mercedes Trump

More photos to be seen at Style My Pretty: Blushing Black Tie Affair 

Summer Entertaining

I love to entertain, I truly love it. I get enjoyment in coming up with the décor and setting the tone, it’s really fun for me.  Summer entertaining is second only to holiday entertaining for obvious reasons, I mean the magic of the holidays is unreal, the snow, music, presents, the decorations, the parties and the food!  But back to summer, I grew up in New England and spent the summers in Southern Maine. So the season for me means chowdah (no bacon people!), steamers and lobster, in that order with buckets of butter.  It means getting too much sun during the day and freezing your buns off at night while sitting around a camp fire roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.  Living in NYC for the past 12 years hasn’t made it so easy to recreate this theme.  Two years ago I flew in lobster from Maine and made lobster rolls to order in our tiny apartment.  I served them with those throw away cartons with red and white paper to absorb the grease while looking cute.  By flew in I mean ordered from Luke’s Lobster so not so fancy but technically correct.

This year, as I have mentioned, we will be in Nantucket and I am soo excited to have a real New England extended fete.  Before we had our baby we would take a big ole summer trip to Europe.  With Logan still being so young we felt it would be more relaxing to rent a house and stay on American soil. When we arrive on a Saturday afternoon to begin our two week stay I have asked Petite Travelers of Nantucket to stock our fridge with some first night essentials.  Cheese, crackers, local jam and wine of course.  We will go for our big grocery shop on Sunday morning.  I hate roaming around a grocery store aimlessly.  I love getting in putting on a cardigan and getting down to business.  So of course I need a plan and a list.

The Plan

For the first week with family and friends we will have mostly brunch/lunch out and dinner in.  Second week it will just be me, my husband, and Logan with a babysitter for some date nights out.

You don’t ever want your guests to feel like they need to ask permission to eat something while in your home (whether rented or not).  Ask ahead of time any preferences people may have, how do they like their coffee?  Any particular juice or beverage?  Any other must haves?  Some people may be too shy to respond honestly or don’t want to put the host out.  So I just make sure to have everything basic on hand.

For the Morning Beverage

Coffee (decaf and regular), cream, milk, sugar in the raw, white sugar, stevia.  Also, an array of tea options- Green, English Breakfast, lemon zinger, sleepy time (don’t forget honey!).  And because it is vacation your obligatory Bloody Mary Mix (and vodka), Fresh OJ (and champagne).

For the DIY Breakfast

Everyone wakes up at different times and likes to start their day a different way.  You don’t want to make a formal morning breakfast every day but rather have more of a ‘choose your own adventure’ feel to the morning.  I like to provide the tools for people to do what they want.

Things I like to have on hand: Eggs and the fixins, various cheeses, fresh Chives, bacon, sausage, peppers, mushrooms, Pillsbury biscuits, pancake mix, maple syrup, and fresh whipped cream. With these items stocked, instead of a formal breakfast it usually becomes more laid back and impromptu. Someone usually takes the lead with making a big batch of scrambled eggs or omelets to order.

Some other easy breakfast items to have handy- granola, yogurt, bread (a thicker bread like challah as well in case someone wants French toast), English muffins (raisin and regular), butter, peanut butter, bananas, fresh fruit, cottage cheese.

Whenever we are hosting a longer stay I like to go out the second day and pick up some local breakfast and dessert treats to just have on hand. Donuts, cinnamon buns, whatever is local, fresh and good. Desserts usually fudge, a pie- again whatever is local fresh and good.

For the DIY Lunch- so you can say, hey let’s grill, hey let’s make some sandwiches, hey let’s pack a picnic and go to the beach.

Burgers, hotdogs, cheese (sliced American, swiss and provolone), buns, fixins (ketchup, relish, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes)

Salad fixins – a few different lettuces (romaine, arugula, spinach, bibb), various veggies, cheeses, croutons, and dressings (can also make your own vinaigrette)

Sandwiches- a couple different sliced breads whole wheat, rye, white, deli meat- ham and turkey

The DIY Snack- for just hanging around the house

Things to have stocked so people can help themselves- chips, salsa, nacho fixins (who doesn’t love an impromptu nacho fix!), nuts, and kind bars

Easy Apps-The after beach pre dinner time

Cheese, crackers, grapes, charcuterie, jams, pears, Pillsbury crescent rolls (brie), almonds


Dinners do need to be a bit more mapped out.  I like to write out a little list of the nightly events, either on a chalkboard or on one of Emily Ley’s Printables, that way people can get excited about the night and/or voice any opposition and give special requests early.  Some of the dinner ideas planned for Nantucket so far are- Lobster Bake, Steak tips and Grilled Chicken, Seafood/pasta night, and Pizza Night.

Pizza night is always a hit and if I am hosting people that don’t know each other very well, I do it on the first night of the trip.  I usually pair up couples or friends to each make a pizza and everyone chips in with getting all of the toppings ready.


Always, always have a well-stocked bar! Various white and red wines, beer and hard liquor depending on what your family and friends drink.  Also, always good to be stocked with lots of fillers- flavored sparkling water like la Croix, Pellegrino, etc. and of course, lemons and limes a plenty.  I also like to have fun straws or cute drink decorations depending on the season (American flag, plastic monkey, whatever – it’s fun!)

Fun Food

I like to have some fun items on hand for people to make if they want. Cookies (ice cream sandwiches), make your own doughnut kit, ice cream and everything to make an awesome sundae.  I also always have graham crackers, Nestle Chocolate (easy to melt) and Marshmallows for s’mores!

Some nights I will leave open for leftovers, or if people want to do their own thing.  Sometimes guests will want to come up with their own idea for dinner and cook for everyone. The plan is to be well stocked and have suggestions on hand but not too rigid that there isn’t any wiggle room for some vacation fun!


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Entertaining Essentials

Ina Garten Parties is always a great reference! • I think aprons are as fun as they are practical! This Eat Cake for Breakfast is cute! • Always need a good cocktail napkin for every occasion. These Caspian Splatterware Cocktail Napkins are perfect for summer. • McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix is a bit elevated and always good. • William Sonoma’s Doughnut Mix is a must. They have a lot of great DIY kits that can be geared towards guests’ interests. • Simon Pearce’s breadboard makes for a perfect charcuterie board.  • Lobster Placemat Pads are easy for adults or children.


The Art of Packing

It has recently come to my attention that for my entire life I have been packing all wrong. My husband and I had our son 10 months ago and for our first road trip with our baby boy Logan I managed to fill, to the brim, an ENTIRE SUBURBAN. I packed everything baby related we owned. My son was three months old at the time and we were traveling to Massachusetts to visit family. I packed- a rock and play, a pack and play, a bassinet, the stroller attachment (just in case!), tons of books, stuffed animals, every item of clothing we had in his size and the next size (just in case!), warm weather clothes, cold weather clothes (I mean it was November, so ambiguous!) , white noise machine- you get the picture. Yet what did I pack for myself? Well, somehow I managed to forget to pack even one single shirt and absolutely zero underwear wound up in my suitcase. Just a few pairs of pants, a sports bra and a cardigan was unearthed in my bag that was otherwise filled with baby items. I ‘borrowed’ my mom’s clothes the whole week and ran to Saks for some new Hanky Panky’s.

Yes, this was an extreme case caused by baby brain maybe but looking back I really never nailed the whole packing thing. I have traveled a lot over the years and always thought about packing in more vague terms. Going to the South of France two years ago pre baby, I kept thinking flowy dresses and big sunglasses. I wound up wearing the same thing pretty much the entire time, a black flowy dress, with black sandals for nights out and a blue and white striped shirt with jeans and mustard Chloe flats for day. Only two outfits worked and we were there for two weeks! I always seemed to do the same thing, just pack a bunch of stuff that I like but when I arrived to my destination I realized almost immediately that half the things I packed didn’t fit properly, I didn’t bring the right shoes or even the right undergarments, I would bring a purse I loved but it went with absolutely nothing, and I never ever bring enough casual shirts.

Most of the items in my suitcase always go unused because while cute they are completely irrelevant. I was always all over the place because I never took the time to really think ahead. I would be buying books at the airport last minute because I forgot my kindle while remembering that the snorkel we have had stored in the entry closet for seven years is still in the entry closet and that we will have to buy yet another one. In most parts of my life I am extremely organized but packing, frustratingly, was never one of them.

Well, since that first road trip with our son, I have vowed to ACE this whole packing thing. I have become increasingly better with each trip as I started to understand the art of packing. We have flown to Palm Beach twice to visit my family and to Boston three more times by car. Having a baby and traveling means you need to think ahead and plan ahead, while staying organized without extraneous things holding you down.

This brings me to our upcoming trip, the one we have been waiting (and training) for. The big event this summer, Nantucket. We leave Saturday and will be staying for two weeks. We will be flying and staying in a home that we have rented. This trip will have a lot of moving parts. We have invited my mom and stepdad, my dad and stepmom, my in laws, and one of our closest friends to stay for varying nights. The second week my husband and I plan to relax on our own (yay!). So we have a baby, we will be having company and therefore entertaining, we will be having cookouts, date nights and beach days, I also scheduled a photoshoot a day when all of the grandparents will be there as our son approaches his first year (Christmas gift, check!).

To start tackling this I began by visualizing the whole trip from the moment I leave the house for the airport and just started jotting down what I need as I walk through the vacation. Just freeform at first. Then I used Emily Ley’s free printables to help organize these notes into actual lists. I use her printables often and find them helpful for my lists and planning for each week, I also have her planner and family binder. When choosing items off the packing list I have found it is easier to pick a theme for each trip. Anyone who knows me knows I looove a theme. So for Nantucket the theme is, obviously, American Summer. All outfits are various tones of red, white and blue with a little bit of beige. If it does not fit into the theme, it is out. This theme trickles over to the whole family, since I pack for them as well (yes, I pack for my husband, it is just easier that way). A theme just makes your mind clear and you can be very cutthroat i.e. a flamingo shirt? NO that is definitely Palm Beach not Nantucket and so on.

Three weeks before I put together and tried on all of my full outfits including bathing suits and cover-ups. Full outfits are to include, a shawl for cool nights, jewelry, undergarments, shoes, purse, hat. I sent out dry cleaning, brought in things for alterations, and did laundry. I also needed to consider the entertaining aspect. So I purchased cutesy summer cocktail napkins from Paper Source and some summer fun treats from Sunnylife, a couple games I came across at ABC home- Ridley’s charades and movie buff, as well as our good old standbys: Blokus, Backgammon and a deck of cards. I also made a family fun playlist for the ipod and brought small portable speakers.

My mom and step dad are kind enough to be driving to Nantucket from Boston via ferry. So we sent them them our luggage last week along with a baby Amazon order with all of Logan’s ‘stay fed and get clean essentials’ (a trick we have learned along the way). We have Petite Travelers in Nantucket baby proofing the house and setting up our baby items that we are renting through them, the crib, changing table, blackout blinds, gates, etc. We also rented beach chairs, beach stroller, beach toys, and a cooler from as well. They will even be stocking the fridge with some first night essentials.

Seems like I have it all under control, right?? Let’s hope so! Now that the packing is taken care of I need to start planning some activities for the family and put together some recipes and a grocery list to tackle the day after we arrive. Since our baby’s bedtime is still super early around 6:30-7 we will be spending many nights at the house grilling. So definitely need to plan ahead for that!

Petite Travelers  •  Emily Ley Printables


The art of packing_2


Some of the items in my suitcase and where to find them

Ridley’s Charades • Sunnylife Playing Cards •  Sunnylife Radio • Simplified Planner • Cocktail Napkins • Backgammon Set • Travel Jewelry Case • Carryall Beach bag • Ralph Lauren American Flag Sweater

What’s your Style

I am so excited to finally be launching my website and start contributing to my journal!  I plan to explore interior design ideas and my projects, but also all aspects of lifestyle and design.  Entertaining, travel, motherhood, anything that touches my life and I find of importance to share.  After all, that is what design really is, the visual representation of our, hopefully full and thriving, lives. I hope you enjoy!

I get asked all the time, “So, what’s your style?”  As a designer it is sometimes difficult to describe your own style because you are constantly wearing other people’s hats.  When I am working with a client I try and think like that client and get so wrapped up in what would be perfect for them, through a designer’s lens of course.  Would I do the same thing in my home?  Most times, no I wouldn’t but that is because we are all different and lead different lives.  I don’t understand client’s when they are easily swayed by what their neighbor, cousin, mother or friend has to say about how their design schemes are coming together.  Something they initially loved can be torn down in just a few comments from another person.  I usually respond to this by saying, yes but they don’t need to like it, they don’t live here with you, you need to love it.

I do find it extremely fun to try and see interiors through someone else’s eyes.  I try and picture myself as the client and when I come home what do I want to see?  What am I coming home from?  Who am I coming home to?  What am I carrying?  What do I want to do first?  Am I home during the day?  How do I relax at night?  Do I have children? Pet? Aging parents? I do have a degree in cultural anthropology as well so I find the actual human aspect of interiors fascinating!

So what is my true style? If pressed, I would have to say modern classic with a bit of whimsy.  I like four poster beds with all the hangings but in a fresh new fabric not necessarily a chintz, however, I have learned to never say never!  I like an element of eclectic collected items.  I enjoy incorporating objects that tell a story about the person’s life (client or my own).  Items from travel, childhood, etc.  Even if it is something that many may find hideous but it is very special to the client, I will try and incorporate.  It is their space, and as the designer we just try and make it the best and most beautiful space for them to live their full and thriving lives.

Typical Design Styles- The three big ones that are referenced most

Transitional / I think of transitional as a safe bet. It doesn’t move in extremes

Transitional kitchen via pinterest


Traditional / Classic, based in historic references

Tradtitional Mario Buatta Living Room for Patricia Altschul


Modern / Using modern elements and classic modern designers.
Can be minimalist.  Usually not a layered look.

Modern Kelly Behun for Ivanka Trump