Monday, November 24, 2014

Hostess With The Mostest? No. Definitely Not.

Most of the time I am very smart. On occasion, I am a total idiot. Like the time I offered - no, INSISTED!!! - on hosting Thanksgiving for my family and Ram's family this year, ONE MONTH AFTER MOVING INTO OUR NEW HOUSE THAT HAS ZERO FURNITURE AND IS STILL FULL OF UNPACKED BOXES.

I think I naively thought that not only would the house be fully unpacked but also magically full of furniture (which is a joke because I can't even find anything online I like enough to go see in person, let alone actually purchase), and also I think I was really excited to use all our new beautiful china and tablecloths and runners and silver? Which, may I remind everyone, IS ALL still in boxes? And when I say we have no furniture, I am not exaggerating. Our living room is empty. Our dining room is empty. Upstairs bedrooms... empty. We have no kitchen table or chairs. I am PRAYING our couch (ordered 2 months ago) comes before the holiday!

So yes. I'm a total moron. We will be hosting TWENTY FIVE family and friends on Turkey Day and I will be seating everyone on rented tables and chairs, like the classy girl I am. I better come up with a real cute tablescape idea to distract everyone... the more glitter, the better, I think. #lifemotto

In the meantime I'm just focusing on the delish dishes I'm planning on serving everyone! My mom and my uncle will both be bringing the turkeys (25 people = multiple turkeys), and I think Rami's mom is going to handle all the desserts (I ain't no baker) so I want to really bring it with the appetizers and side dishes! I took Wednesday off work so that I can spend the whole day in my new kitchen cooking with my sister... I actually can't wait :)

Here's what I'm thinking... warning, half of this stuff is from Martha's website. What can I say? I JUST TRUST HER.

Appetizers: Goat cheese stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates. Bailey's favorite! I'm drooling just thinking of them. Plus a fresh baguette and some killer dips - maybe a charred onion dip and a spinach-artichoke dip? And then, of course, a cheese plate - I make the BEST one. I have to blog about it someday.

Veggies: Rami has requested roasted brussels sprouts - I'm considering this recipe, although last week I made an Asian-inspired version that was so good! Definitely a green bean recipe. This cauliflower gratin looks insane, too. CRANBERRY SAUCE, of course, but my secret is I like it best from the can :) And maybe my favorite thing ever, creamed spinach?

Carbs -AKA, the reason why I love Thanksgiving (turkey does nothing for me): Definitely mashed potatoes - you can't have Thanksgiving without them! Sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top... yum. I am also debating either a delicious, traditional mac & cheese casserole, these adorable little muffin-pan potato cakes, OR a savory bread pudding, maybe this one with mushrooms and gruyere?! And of course, stuffing... I like stuffing with cornbread and big chunks of chicken apple sausage. OMG. YUM.

Mmmmm.... Thanksgiving is just a few days away.... I can't wait!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our Mini-Moon!

I am trying so hard to be a better blogger lately.... I missed writing on here! It drives me crazy to go "out of order" when I have a million things about the house and the wedding to update everyone about, but for now, "out of order" is better than nothing, right? :)

More wedding updates will come soon (I think subconsciously I'm delaying writing them since I'm hoping to get our photos back from our photographer to accompany each post) but in the meantime, let's talk about our MINI-MOON!!!!

Since we knew our big honeymoon wasn't going to be until two months after the wedding, we wanted to go away for a couple of days right afterwards to be alone before heading back to "real life." I'm so glad we did - it was so nice to have this little vacation for just the two of us, especially right after the craziness of the wedding weekend! 

We wanted to go somewhere relatively close-by - we didn't want to get on a plane, and we didn't want to go somewhere where we would want to sightsee and explore... all we wanted was to lay around! Since I was a little girl, I have always loved the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (I even briefly considered it for the wedding), and when Ram reminded me he had never been there, I knew it was the perfect place - relaxing, beautiful, and only an hour drive away! 

We drove up the Monday afternoon after the wedding and stayed until Wednesday night - just two nights, but it was so nice! When I made the reservation, I mentioned it would be for a little honeymoon getaway, and when we checked in, the hotel had graciously upgraded us to a beautiful suite, and left us a little surprise!

I took some photos of the grounds, but they do not do it justice - it is STUNNING there. Everything is so green and lush, the buildings are just impeccable - I stole a few photos from their website to share. Look how beautiful!

We basically spent our entire time there laying by the pool. Since it was the middle of the week, the pool was virtually empty and the weather was PERFECT - 75 degrees and sunny with a gorgeous breeze. #godblessyoucalifornia. We read books and swam and ate fruit & melon skewers. It was heaven.

On Monday night, we went to one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Suzanne's. It's the best restaurant in Ojai and everything was delicious. The OVI concierge had made our reservation for us, and when we walked in, the hostess greeted us by saying "You must be our newlyweds!" and took our picture on the patio with all the lights!

We ate shrimp dumplings and mushroom soup to start, followed by chimichurri-marinated steak (Ram) and goat-cheese stuffed shells with grilled shrimp (mine - yum). We were so happy!

On Tuesday night, we visited their world-famous spa - Ram got a massage and I had an Orange-Honey Blossom Body Wrap. Afterwards, we were driven by golf cart back to the restaurant area (I was literally still wearing my spa robe!) to partake in the hotel's "S'More's Package," We sat by their beautiful fire-pit on the patio and were brought an enormous platter of marshmallows, graham crackers, Hershey's, and Reese's! It was heaven. I literally told Ram that I had died and gone to heaven. 


While we were there we also visited the main town area and walked around, bought books at a GREAT bookstore our friend Rachel recommended called Bart's Books, ate dinner our second night at a little Italian spot called Osteria Monte Grappa... it's just the cutest little town.

The entire time we were away (and most days since then, if I'm being honest), we have kept just holding our left hands up to show each other our wedding rings. It feels CRAZY to be married - everything is exactly the same, but also so different :) 

It was a fabulous mini-moon and we can't wait to go back! So happy Ojai is just an hour away!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Our Wedding Photos... A Sneak Peek!

Last week I woke up to the BEST EMAIL. It was from our wedding photographers, Amy & Stuart, with a link to some sneak peeks of our wedding pictures!!!!

I had emailed them last week asking if there was any chance they would send over a couple images of the two of us so I could put one on our holiday cards - we have NEVER done them before but I figure if you can't do it the year you get married and buy a new house then when can you!?

I had honestly figured we would get two, maybe three pictures to hold us over til the rest of them were ready... but our photographers sent over more than 50! In his email, Stuart wrote, "I was only going to do a few, but once I started, I was so stoked about how good they looked that I couldn't stop." Um, I'm not complaining!

Let me now just quickly gush about Amy & Stuart. I can't even begin to tell you what artists they are. Truly, their photos are like works of art. Living in LA, we had the option of hiring many, many talented photographers, and indeed, we met with quite a few while choosing who to hire for the wedding. I took this decision very seriously - after all, you never wear the dress again, the food is only eaten once, nobody but the bride cares about the linens... but the photos? The photos last forever! I personally love taking pictures (#onceasororitygirlalwaysasororitygirl) but Ram can sometimes be shy in front of a camera... we wanted to pick a photographer who made us feel comfortable, someone who would put us at ease and make us laugh the day of the wedding when we were feeling nervous or overwhelmed... and in the end, it was only ever going to be Amy & Stuart.

They're a husband and wife team (and they actually did my friend Merav's wedding five years ago) and from the moment we met them, we knew they were the ones! We loved chatting with them, we loved their sample albums they showed us and the pictures we stalked on wedding websites, and then a few months later when we did our engagement shoot at the movie theater, we knew we had made the right choice, 100%! They were funny and sweet and creative and just so great. The day of the wedding, we spent three hours straight taking portraits with each other, with our wedding party, with our families, and they were amazing the entire time. I couldn't recommend them more....

And I couldn't be happier with these pictures! They TRULY took my breath away. See for yourself!!!

:) :) :) !!!!!!! :) :) :)

One of these babies is going on our holiday card this year... which one would you choose?! I would seriously love your opinion, I am having a hard time narrowing them down... After I send them out I'll post it here so you all can see!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bash, Please: A Thank You!

There is no way that I could begin blogging about our wedding without dedicating an entire post to the amazing team who helped put it together - the extraordinary women of Bash, Please.

From the moment Rami put that ring on my finger, I knew that I would be kicking off wedding planning with one very specific phone call - and sure enough, less than 48 hours later, I had myself an appointment with Kelly and Paige, the talented owners of BP, which is a full-service event planning and production company. I met with them in their studio at Culver City and it was love at first sight - for me at least! (I think maybe my talk of glitter cannons and sparkle bridesmaid dresses may have scared them initially...) :)

Why Bash, Please? Truly, there was no question as to who we were going to hire to be our wedding planners. Long before we even got engaged, I had started reading wedding blogs, and consistently found myself struck by certain weddings that just had IT - that certain special something, that attention to detail that made the wedding SHINE. When I'd scroll down to read the vendor list for those very special weddings, I saw the same name over and over again listed under "Planning & Coordination" - Bash, Please.

After our first meeting, Paige and Kelly connected me with their Event Producers Melissa and Sydney, who became our partners for the wild ride of planning this shindig - and truly, throughout the year, they also became our friends. I will always treasure and truly appreciate the many times they shlepped out to the valley to meet with us in person, discussing details over snacks at my mom's kitchen table, and the countless patience they showed while answering my BILLION AND A HALF insane emails. I even dragged them to SoulCycle with me one day. They sent me a rainbow sprinkle birthday cake at midnight on my birthday, for gods sake! 

BP's attention to detail is unparalleled - they do it all, and they do it with a smile on their faces. They created our invitations and helped us tie perfect bows and stuff every single one of them, they came up with the idea for our place-card wall and our awesome dance-floor decals, they sat with me and showed me how to craft paper flowers for our DJ backdrop, they negotiated and haggled with every single vendor, they found back-up options for rental chairs and couches and tables, they shlepped heavy tablecloth linens to every single floral mock-up... I mean, the list is unending. They were the best investment we could have made at the beginning of the planning process and the smartest decision I think we ever made. 

Their taste is impeccable, their suggestions unique and absolutely genius... I wanted our wedding to be different and special and sparkly and colorful and very US, and they immediately understood our vision and set out to make it all happen. The day of our wedding, I didn't have a single moment of anxiety or doubt or hesitation that it would all unfold spectacularly - I trusted them implicitly and knew they would make everything look spectacular. And in the end, it was better than I ever could have imagined. 

I write this in part so that I can send it to them and hope that they truly understand how much they mean to me and how talented they truly are, but also to remind myself - months or years from now when I reread this - how grateful I am for EVERY SINGLE THING they did to help make this the wedding we always dreamed of.

It has been almost two weeks since the wedding and the phone has still not stopped ringing with friends and family calling to tell us how extraordinary it was. I love, love, LOVE hearing every single compliment, but I really can only take part of the credit - even when it was my idea, it was Melissa and Sydney and the BP team who made it happen for us. 

Bash, Please, and especially Mel and Syd - Ram and I love you and will always be grateful for all your hard work. Thank you for making us the wedding of our DREAMS!