Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Emmy Review: Loving Red, White, & Blue!

Last night we had some pals come over for pizza and salad and Emmy-watching on my couch on my mother's couch (since she is my roomie and landlord these days while we wait for our remodeling to be done). The show was blah, sort of predictable, but the clothes were pretty good so I'm happy!

Before we chat about the fashion let me just say I HATED that the Emmy's were on a Monday. Like, the red carpet started while I still had an hour of work left. I rushed home in traffic and didn't even get to do my usual elaborate award show preparations, AKA, make a sick cheese plate. #bringbacktheSundaynightEmmy's 

Anyway, I did my usual perusal of InStyle mag's red carpet coverage to determine my Best Dressed of the evening and you know what? This year, there was a THEME! Every dress I loved was either red, white, or blue-ish... what a delightful patriotic coincidence! #godblessAmerica

Enough hashtags and enough blabbering. Let me show you what I loved!


Claire Danes, Kaley Cuoco, and Sarah Hyland are pretty in pinkish red! Of these, I like Sarah's look the best - it's SO young and fun, it's making me re-think my dislike of crop tops. I also like Claire's side cut peekaboos, in a similar vein. Kaley's dress is a little wacky but you know I love me a poufy ruffle with a hot pink detail. Cute ladies!


Maybe it's cuz I'm in permanent bridal mode but I was really drawn to white on the red carpet this year! Padma Lakshmi is always dressed impeccably and this gown is stunning - minimalist and chic and sleek. I love me a huge-ass bow so I am all about Julianne Hough and I bet Ryan Seacrest is feeling sad he kicked her to the curb right about now. And finally, Allison Williams, who I actually HATE, is wearing maybe one of the most beautiful dresses I have ever seen - I LOVE that full white skirt and the  yellow band around her waist with the black velvet tie. 


Navy is REALLY having a moment now, isn't it? It looks fabulous on redheads, as Debra Messing is demonstrating for us - I love the asymmetrical cut-outs on her gown. I also am loving Natasha Lyonne's short mermaid/peplum-esque lace dress - the length is perfect! Just wish she had worn cooler shoes. And finally, my beloved Julia went and surprised us all in a very edgy, funky beaded number - I'm also loving the length on this one. Another all-time fave!

Okay I cannot lie... I have one more, and it DIDN'T fit in with my theme... Samira Wiley in BRIGHT NEON YELLOW!

Girlfriend is killing ittttttt. She's my favorite OITNB character and my favorite of the whole red carpet! That florescent yellow is seriously perfect with her gorgeous dark skin.

That's a wrap, folks! See ya'll back on the red carpet at the Golden Globes, which, on that subject, MINDY KALING BETTER BE NOMINATED FOR AT LEAST ONE. That's all, I'm done.

PS. Two posts in two days! Aren't you proud?! Cross your fingers this momentum keeps going.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Uncommon (But Amazing!) Goods

Hi friends - Happy Monday! I had some free time this weekend - a VERY rare occuence around these parts lately - in between picking out bathroom tile and doing our wedding tasting and sat down to do some blogging... YAY!

Anyway - a couple of weeks ago in the middle of all this craziness, I got an email from the kind folks at Uncommon Goods, who wanted to partner up so I could share some of their lovely wares with all of you. 

How could I say no!? Their site is AWESOME. It's such a good resource to buy different, funky, out-of-the-box things - stuff you don't see everyday. With the wedding coming up, Ram and I have been getting amazing gifts from our generous friends and family to help make our new home really ours, but part of me still wants to buy every single thing from Uncommon Goods. They're also a great resource that I've got to keep on my brain for the future - tons of options for anniversary gifts! Here are some of my favorites:

ONE: Um.. a Mobile Foodie Survival Kit with tiny packets of sea salt, garlic, ginger, dill, and more TO TAKE ON THE ROAD!? This is freaking amazing. I can only imagine how delighted Ram would be if I whipped this out at a restaurant :)

TWO: I love the look of agate and have purchased agate coasters and serving platters before, but I've never seen an agate nightlight before! This is freaking gorgeous. I want one for every room in my house!

THREE: Did I ever mention that I collect salts? (That's a story for a different time, I guess.) In the meanwhile, I'm VERY intrigued by this kit - the Flavors of America Salt Collection!

FOUR: Obviously, I've got weddings on the brain... This custom "last name street sign" print is so clever and would be a great engagement or shower gift for a new couple. I love the pop-art feel!

FIVE: Look at this personalized cutting board - I definitely have "housewarming" on the brain but how cute would this be to give to a friend as a gift to use in their new home?! Actually, all their personalized pieces are great.

SIX: My mom has one of these cool long bud vases that she keeps on her vanity filled with little flowers - I've always wanted one for myself, and now I know where to get it :)

The other thing I really like about UG? The company itself prides itself on giving back to people in need and being just an all-around good role model to the community in general :) They treat their employees with dignity and respect, offering them health insurance (even some part-time employees!) and providing a living wage;  they are committed to selling products that are "socially and environmentally responsible"; and best of all, they have the "Better to Give" Program, which allows customers, at checkout, to select a non-profit organization that receives a $1 donation from every single purchase on their website. Very cool!

Please note: This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods, a website I truly like and peruse frequently! Thanks for supporting them... and this blog :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Sister Is Engaged!!!!

There is so much to fill you all in on, I don't even know where to start. This is going to be out of order but oh well! Gotta start somewhere.

So as I mentioned a few weeks ago... my sister is engaged!!!! Her boyfriend of five years, JM, proposed to her on August 1st and we all showed up in NYC to surprise her :)

Before I share the story and pictures, let's have some real talk. As a lifelong lover of the spotlight and being the center of attention, it took me a GREAT DEAL OF TIME to warm up to the idea of my sister and me being engaged at the same time. Was not my favorite idea, I cannot tell a lie. But JM was insistent that this was when he wanted to do it and I knew how happy she would be, so I got on board. What, you didn't think I was going to MISS MY LITTLE SISTER'S ENGAGEMENT, did you?! 

(Sidebar: we were at a friend's wedding together last weekend and everyone kept coming up to congratulate Bailey. One lady said to me, "Are you SO excited?" Bailey and I started laughing - my response, somewhat hysterically, was "YES!!!! IT'S EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED, TO BE ENGAGED AT THE SAME TIME AS MY LITTLE SISTER!!!! ISNT IT AMAZING?!")

Haha. I kid, I kid.

So here's how he did it. Unlike us, JM and Bailey are private people... no proposing onstage at a comedy club for them! He popped the question just the two of them, alone in their apartment, in the middle of the afternoon with flowers and champagne. So sweet. Of course, as soon as it happened Bailey started calling our family to tell them - she first called my mom, who told her that I was on my plane home from Israel and she would have to wait to tell me... Little did Bailey know this was all a ruse and our entire family had flown to NYC to surprise her! We were all hiding in a hotel waiting for the big reveal - I had landed at 4am that morning from Israel and went directly to the hotel.

So JM told Bailey that they were going to be celebrating that night at her favorite restaurant, ABC Kitchen. She had NO IDEA that months beforehand, he had arranged for his entire side of the family and my entire side of the family to be there, in the private back room, for an AMAZING dinner celebrating them. 

Almost 25 members of our family and his family stood there and shouted "SURPRISE!" as she walked in! She of course burst into tears immediately... Rami got it all on video but I don't know where it is - so here's a picture of us hugging :)

He had arranged for an amazing family-style set menu and even got them to print up these adorable little menus with their names and date on them.

Everything was PHENOMENAL. My favorite was their famous dungeness crab toast!

Some cute family pics...

The newly engaged couple! So cute. She swore she didn't know we were all going to be there - as she puts it, "I wouldn't have worn a crop top if I knew we were going to be seeing Grandma." Haha.

The next day we had more family time - breakfast at their apartment and a little afternoon snack at Shake Shack with our cousins in the park:

Me and MY fiance put on a little photoshoot and it was pretty cute if I do say so myself :)

So how does it stand now? R and I are getting married in just over two months and until our wedding is over, Bailey is on a moratorium from even MENTIONING hers :) My mother says "I can only focus on one wedding at a time" but after November, I'm sure I'll be filling you in on all Bay's wedding details. All I can say is, it's gonna be the polar opposite of mine :)

MAZEL TOV B AND JM! I love you guys so much!!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Amazing Israel

More than a week has passed since I've arrived home from Israel so I figure I better share details about my trip while it's still fresh in my mind!

I spent the better part of two weeks in Israel staffing my 5th Birthright trip. For those of you who don't know, Birthright brings young Jewish adults to Israel for a COMPLETELY FREE ten-day trip, where we travel around seeing the country, visiting important historical sites, meeting Israelis, and learning about why the land of Israel is so important to the Jewish people. The hope is that Birthright will connect or reintroduce Judaism into the lives of these young adults so that they can return home to play active roles in the Jewish community, or simply just care more about their own Jewish adult lives,

In addition to having a deep, intense love for the land of Israel, I also wholeheartedly believe in the mission of Birthright, which is why I chose NOT to cancel my trip when the war over there broke out, despite many, many people telling me I was crazy to be visiting a war zone in the Middle East. I believe it is ESSENTIAL to educate people, particularly young people, about Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, and quite honestly, I thought this would also be a valuable learning experience for me - though I have been to Israel nine times before, I have never visited in such a difficult time.

I spent these ten days learning as much as I could about the conflict, talking to Israelis young and old about the war, about their feelings about Palestinians, and about their hopes and dreams for peace. And let me tell you - no matter what you're reading on the news in American media or hearing about back home - ISRAEL WANTS PEACE. This is my blog and while I typically shy away from political posts, I cannot and will not stay silent on this. Israel is in this war to defend herself, her land and her people from TERRORISTS who want nothing more than to wipe the entire country off the face of the planet. In 2014, a mere half century after six million Jews were murdered simply because of their religion, it is my duty and the duty of every single person who believes in freedom of religion and the right to protect yourself from those who wish you harm to raise our voices FOR ISRAEL. I pray that one day, the people who live in Gaza are able to live independent lives without interference from Hamas - that is the only way the two sides will ever be able to coexist next to one another in peace. 

Well. This got a little darker than I anticipated. Just goes to show you how strongly I feel about all of this. Now... shall we move on to the fun stuff? Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip :)

Like my last one, this was a CULINARY Birthright trip, meaning that in addition to all the normal fun activities and sightseeing, we also got to do a LOT of fun food-related things. Here's my adorable group - since it was a culinary trip, instead of having bus t-shirts made, we opted for APRONS! How cute is that!?

One of our first stops was to a winery... I don't drink, so I was minding my own business until the owner noticed my empty glass and offered me the opportunity to do a CHOCOLATE tasting instead!!! #itdidntsuck

This was the 4th time I have gotten to work with the same tour guide, my friend Shachar. I love that man so much. We could not be more different - his hobbies include running, hiking, rock climbing, camping, and basically living like a caveman off the land. Despite this, I still love him to pieces and treasure every trip I get to lead with him. Here I am with his adorable daughters - the oldest one is 8, when I met her she was 3! 

Whenever the bus stopped at a gas station so we could use the bathroom and get snacks, you better believe I ran for the Bisili and Bamba :)

This made me laugh so hard... I was trying to take this really artsy picture of a religious person walking in front of a beautifully lit window, and at the exact moment I clicked the shutter, a random tourist in an Old Navy t-shirt walked into my shot. Of course. 

We spent one afternoon in a Druze village having a cooking lesson! Here is some of the group learning how to make fresh stuffed grape leaves. They were delicious!

Best sandwich of my life. Grilled chicken, preserved lemon spread, toasted almonds, fried eggplant, and Israeli pickles on the best, softest bread ever. UNREAL.

My FAVORITE thing to drink in Israel is their ice caffe - basically a frozen ice blended coffee drink that is unlike anything we have here in the states. I HATE coffee and never ever drink it at home but I cannot get enough of ice caffe... and Aroma Cafe has the best ever! 

Alarmingly, I think this stray cat also agrees with my assessment of Aroma's stellar drinks... he would NOT let it go!

Did a little shopping of course... picked up this gorgeous iron welded heart bowl, and this beautiful diamond/stone bracelet...

This was about as close as I was getting to the camels this trip. I've ridden them many a time before and let me just say the phrase "camel toe" exists for a reason. No thanks.

Some beautiful Israeli street art!

Spent the afternoon at Machane Yehuda, Jerusalem's famous outdoor street market. Let me tell y'all, the amount of food there is INSANE. Some of my favorites, clockwise from top left: fresh fruit (the figs are out of this world), a gorgeous hot pink dragonfruit, the world's BEST chocolate rugalah from Marzipan, and an absolute shit-ton of bin candy :)

Ironically, I don't have pictures from two of my favorite activities... diving into the waterfall at Ein Gedi National Park after a long, hot hike and spending the afternoon swimming in the beautiful ocean at Netanya Beach (right outside Tel Aviv). It was so, so unbelievably hot in Israel the entire time that as soon as I had the opportunity to jump into any body of water, I took it!!! How beautiful and clear is the water?

Last but not least, here's my favorite picture from the trip - a shot of Jerusalem's sparkling lights on the hilltop on Shabbat right before sunset. It was incredibly beautiful and really made me feel so grateful for being there, in Israel, even during the conflict, because it reminded me why I love that country so much and how I will always consider it my home.

Israel... I miss you already. I'm praying for your safety and for peace always!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I'm Back! And I'm Busy! And Overwhelmed! But It's Okay!

I’m back! I’m back! I’m back!

Did I forget to mention that I would be spending the past two weeks in ISRAEL? Yep, just casually jetted off to the other side of the world (#nbd) and spent ten days cavorting around the best country in the world (okay, tied with the USA)! Sorry I forgot to mention that. Hope ya’ll didn’t miss me too much.

But wait… that’s not even the most interesting thing going on in my life right now! To say that I am busy and overwhelmed is literally the understatement in the century. Here, I’ll prove it!

Since I last blogged…
1.    RAMI AND I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2.    We packed up our entire apartment.
3.    We started renovations on the new house.
4.    We moved into my mom’s house (what up, rent-free livin’ while we pour all our money into the new house!?)
5.    I went to Israel for 10 days to lead my 5th Birthright trip in the middle of a war. Oh, I also went to New York. Why? Because…
7.    I realized my wedding is in 81 days. SO MUCH LEFT TO DO OMFG.
I am not exaggerating when I say I have not sat down on a couch since June. Lol. I spend my days packing and moving and making decisions about floors and new kitchen appliances and ordering kippot for my wedding and discussing the calligraphy for my invitations and I’M JUST A CRAZY PERSON RIGHT NOW.

In-depth updates on every single one of those items coming soon! But probably not this week, since it’s my bridal shower on Saturday and I have a ton of friends and family coming into town. BUSY BUSY WHAT DID I TELL YOU!?!?

Send deep breaths and positive energy my way! I am a crazy girl and I need it. Love you all!