Thursday, January 30, 2014

Our Engagement Party Recap #3 - Party Pics!

As promised, I am back with some more photos from the engagement party. The more I look at them, the more I realized how quickly the night passed... it is seriously all a blur! I can only imagine that the wedding is going to feel like I blinked and it was over... I'm kind of sad about it already! :)

Hope you enjoy these pictures - I have many more, but these are some of my faves :)

This was me crossing my fingers there was a baby French bulldog in the mystery box my dad opened during toasts... sadly, there was no puppy. There WERE four fish (long story) and I wish I could give you better news but sadly, three of the four are no longer with us (even longer story). But I like the pic anyway! 

 I haven't had booze in years but I took a celebratory shot with the group! 

 The best neighbs :)
 At different points in my life I have lived with both of these ladies. Best roommates ever! 
 My future in-laws! They couldn't be cuter.
 Ram loves this pic :) my hair looks good so I like it too. Haha.

 Seven out of my eight bridesmaids were in town to celebrate. I couldn't be luckier to have them in my life!

My new family :)

 Ram's best and oldest friends!

It wouldn't have been the same without my Meem in town!

 Miller love :)

LOVE this pic of me and my sis. Framing it for sure.

The best mother on the planet. No contest.

What a boo!

Here comes trouble...

LOVE this pic. Hahaha.

 My new art :) Ram's mom makes these adorable Scrabble collages... this one is for me and has my new name, our wedding date, and a little list of things I love: sushi, AEPhi, Queen of LA, Arizona, etc. I can't wait to hang it up!!!

I hope you liked the party posts :) The following morning, Ram's parents hosted a beautiful brunch for us and all of our out-of-town friends and family at their home. It was gorgeous and I can't wait to show you guys pictures! Coming soon! :)

All photos in this post by the talented Kim Silverstein of Silver Lining Photography

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Our Engagement Party Recap #2 - More Details!

Hello friends! I'm back with more details about our engagement party... Hope you like hearing about it, cuz I sure like talking about it :)

I realized I forgot to tell you where it was! The party was held at Duplex on Third, which is this fabulous restaurant/event space right on the border of Beverly Hills. I actually went there for the first time for my 10 year high school reunion this past May, and when it came time to start looking for a place to hold our party, I knew that Duplex would be perfect - the upstairs is completely private, there's a huge area with round tables and banquets for sitting, two separate lounge areas, a fireplace, a balcony, a private bar... It was great because there were areas for lounging and hanging out, and other areas specifically designed for eating. Plus, it's gorgeous!

The other thing we liked about having it at Duplex is that it's a restaurant, so we didn't have to bring in our own caterer. We did a full open bar and heavy appetizers and the food was delicious. We served mini short rib sliders, veggie eggrolls, curried chicken bites with tzatziki, different types of flatbread pizzas, tuna tartare on plantain chips, kale & feta spanakopita... yum!

We brought in our own desserts - fruit, mini red velvet whoopie pies, and an assortment of tiny cupcakes from Yummy Cupcakes - my favorites were vanilla with pink buttercream and chocolate salted caramel. Mmmm!

Okay, on to the fun stuff... you KNOW I wanted to wear something sparkly to this shindig - no plain LBD was gonna be nice enough for this party! Anytime I have a big event I end up buying no less than 8 dresses and making a gametime decision - did it for prom, did it for both graduations, and now, did it for my engagement party. Good thing my wedding dress was a no-brainer! I bought thisthis, and this, but in keeping with the gold sparkly theme, as soon as I saw this dress, I knew it was the one :)

I wore it with my trusty Pour La Victoire nude wedges (my fave, I also own them in black), a new pair of gorgeous Loren Hope iridescent crystal earrings, and this adorable bracelet sent to me by Baublebar when they launched their new wedding line! (Thanks, Baublebar!) I felt fabulous and sparkly all night :)

In case this comes as any surprise, I am NOT that tan in real life. Despite my best efforts to build up a real base tan in Cabo, it had mostly faded a few weeks later, so off I went to Queen Bee Salon for a spray-tan. If you live in LA and feel comfortable standing THISCLOSE to someone while she sprays your whole nude bod, I highly recommend :) My manicure was Essie's Secret Stash - a true, bold pink - and I got my hair done at my favorite place in the world, Drybar. 

As for the makeup... a friend of mine's little sister recently graduated from makeup school and did my makeup as a trial for the wedding! Lauren also made-up Bailey and my mom and it was a great experience - she came to our house and we schmoozed while she made us up and gave us false lashes - so glam! I also highly recommend her for your professional makeup needs :)

So those are some more fun details... I guess all that's left is showing yall more fun pictures, so I'll be back in a day or so with some of those!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Our Engagement Party Recap #1

So I basically spent all of last week recovering from our engagement party :) It was SO much fun!!!

The party was absolutely fantastic - we ate, we drank, we shmoozed, there were speeches, we became the proud owners of FOUR new fish (don't ask)... it was a blast. I got my photos back from the photographer a few days ago and am sorting through so I can share them here! 

Lots of people have asked about my dress, the food, the details, etc, and I want to share all of it... so let's start at the very beginning, shall we?! 

It ain't a real party without a fantastic invitation, am I right? (YES, say lovers of paper goods everywhere.) Ever since we got engaged, I have been all about black & gold (minor spoiler for the wedding), and I knew I wanted the engagement party to incorporate those colors as well. 

Originally, I chose this invitation from Paper Source, but could not find a font that worked well and made it look festive enough... so it was on to Plan B. Of course, before I realized the invitations weren't going to work out, Rami and I hand-embossed 100 black envelopes with gold polka dots (does anyone want a tutorial on how we did this? YES, I NOW OWN AN EMBOSSER #crazycrafter), so we needed to find something that would go with our existing envelopes.

Enter Etsy. Not sure why I didn't look there in the first place. After a few minutes of searching, I came across an adorable little shop called Punch Paper and loved their chic and quirky designs. I emailed Gigi, the shop owner, and she immediately responded - after a couple days of back and forth where I emphasized my intense love of gold glitter and polka dots, here's what she came up with:

I LOVE IT. It's exactly what I wanted - fun, sassy, sparkly, yet sophisticated. I am obsessed with the font she used, plus the gold polka dots were raised and 3D! Incredible. They fit perfectly in our hand-embossed polka dot envelopes, too. 

After I sent out the invitations it occurred to me that I'd need some matching thank-you notes, too. Gigi created a custom design for us that matched our invitations - spoiler alert, they were adorable :) I'm slightly anal-retentive and have already sent out the thank-you notes, so I feel okay about showing those, too :) Are they cute or what?! I highly recommend her shop if any of you need a custom invitation for an upcoming party or event!

Moving on to other sparkly things... approximately 12 minutes before the party (I'm kidding but really it was only like five days before), I decided I wanted to hang a little banner at the top of the stairs, so people could see it as soon as they entered the party. If I had more time, I would have made it myself, but instead, I ordered it on... you guessed it, Etsy! It was made by Amy of Confetti Design Shop and it was perfect - large and sturdy with sparkly gold glitter! I can't wait to use it again for another wedding-related event :)

Another fun detail... fully on board with the gold idea, my beautiful mama went out shopping and came home with nearly a dozen different gold picture frames of all shapes and sizes and patterns. We printed out some of our favorite pictures of me and the Ramster and she arranged them all over the party! It was so cute. She also hired a florist to do these gorgeous colorful arrangements in mercury glass vases (also sourced from shopping trips all around town by mi madre) that we had on all the little tables and bar areas. 

Rami and I were so touched by how many of our amazing friends and family came in from out of town and how many people were there to share in the first of what is hopefully many more fabulous wedding celebrations this year. We are so very lucky and we know it.  

The countdown to October 25th continues!!! And I will be back tomorrow with more fun details :) 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Engagement Celebrations Begin NOW!

So this is very exciting and I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned it until now. Saturday night is our engagement party!!!

This is our first OFFICIAL wedding-related event and I am very excited. I can’t believe we have been engaged for almost five months! Crazy how time flies.

My sister arrives tonight. Tomorrow, a whole bunch of my extended family is coming in from New York and I have friends flying in from Dallas, Memphis, and San Francisco. My grandma’s been in town for weeks already and Rami’s grandparents are taking the train in from San Diego. We feel so lucky that so many people are coming in to help celebrate with us :)


I’ve planned several posts for next week to fill you in on all the fabulous details – the invitations! the food! the sparkly details! the DRESS!!!  I hired a photographer to come to the party so I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll have some photos back next week so I can post those too.

Hope you all have a fabulous long weekend! XOXO

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The FIFTH Post-Holiday White Elephant Gift Exchange!

Five years ago, my friend Alex and I threw a party. 

We were just a couple of years out of college, living in our first apartments, and we wanted to show off our skills as "hostesses." Neither of us could cook. We barely knew how to turn on the stove! But we decided to throw a little post-holiday season shindig.... and five years later, that party has since grown into one of my favorite annual events! (Click here for the 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010 parties) :)

I am proud to say that this past weekend, we hosted the FIFTH Annual Post-Holiday White Elephant Gift Exchange... and it was awesome! I look forward to it every single year, and so do all of our friends. More than 25 of them packed into my apartment on Sunday morning  to eat delicious breakfast foods, drink mimosas, and exchange gifts!

Speaking of gifts... here's how we play: we ask everyone to bring the WORST gift they got over the holiday season. It's a twist on the game - you should see some of the horrible gifts people bring! Ugly jewelry, crazy nail polish colors, self-help books, Olive Garden giftcards, CDs by random artists... but by far the best thing someone brought this year was a LIVE BETA FISH! And of course, guess who chose it... that's right, yours truly! It ended up getting "stolen" and ultimately went home with my friend Brooke... it's probably for the best, because she couldn't be more excited about her new pet. Me? I was mostly looking forward to texting Rami to tell him he was a new father.

Onto the food! Last year's event was a brunch, and everyone seemed to enjoy it, so we did it again.

Make-Your-Own-Bagel-Station with fresh bagels, lox, capers, onions, tomato, cucumbers, and whipped cream cheese...

Berry fruit bowl and French toast bread pudding....

Everyone's favorite... goat cheese & green onion quiche with a hash brown crust! I also made a second with a different filling - that one had mushrooms, caramelized onions, and feta cheese :)

Homemade blueberry muffins, cheesecake bites, and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies...

We also had a mimosa bar! We set out bottles of champagne in an ice bucket alongside pitchers of peach iced tea, grapefruit juice, and orange juice, with strawberries and raspberries on the side for garnish. How cute is this?!

Alex and I are best friends from high school. We take this picture every year with all our friends from the class of 2003!

More cute pics with pals :)

I can't wait for many, many more years of this party. Love you ABCY!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Golden Girls

Obviously the day after the Golden Globes means I need to write about celebrity style! I was allllllll about the red carpet yesterday - drinking iced tea, tweeting, and shouting at Ryan Seacrest for hours. We had a couple friends over for an antipasto platter, veggies and dip, and of course, some pizza :) I thought the show was great and quick and of course, Amy & Tina KILLED IT - I could have used twenty more minutes of them onstage!

Here are some of my favorites from the red carpet :)

Julianna Marguilies
I love, love, LOVE the silhouette of this dress - I love the short sleeves and the full skirt, and her waist looks TINY in this.The gold details are beautiful and her hair looked perfect.

Margot Robbie 
True story: when we went to see "Wolf of Wall Street", as soon as Margot Robbie appeared onscreen, I turned to Rami and whispered "Jesus Christ, that girl is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." She looked stunning at the Globes last night... I looooved the gorgeous sparkly beaded trim! A seriously gorgeous girl in a seriously gorgeous dress.

Lena Dunham
Love her or hate her - I love her - you cannot deny that Lena makes a statement wherever she goes. And speaking of statements... her electric yellow dress was awesome. I continue to be impressed by how she legitimately does not give a shit about her haters - she says and does and wears whatever she wants to, and I, for one, LOVE her confidence. I just wish she'd get her dress properly fitted, especially if it's going to be this vivid!

Kaley Cuoco
I do not watch Big Bang Theory so I am not quite sure what her deal is usually, but I absolutely LOVE her dress. The contrast between that severe built-in corset and then her full, poofy ballgown skirt, all in that gorgeous soft flowered palette? LOVE. That's the type of dress I would wear if I went to the Globes!

Amy Poehler
Loose, beautiful hair. Minimal makeup. And one kick-ass sexy-as-fuck tight black dress. Amy... you killed it. There's nothing else to say.

Honorable mentions: Reese Witherspoon (that color was MADE for her), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (she can do no wrong), Lupita Nyong'O (insane red, insane cape), Sarah Paulson (short and sparkly, different and fun), and Sandra Bullock (am I the only one who liked that crazy colorblocked dress?!)
All images from

Golden Globes 2014... that's a wrap! NOW BRING ON OSCAR SUNDAY!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Movie Mayhem

Before we get too far into 2014 I wanted to share a post I started writing a couple weeks ago!

As many of you know, Ram and I see A LOT of movies. He is a huge movie buff (or as he would say, "cinephile") and even majored in Film at Columbia University (so smart!) I'd say we probably go to the movie theater at least once a week, sometimes more, and he goes a lot without me... plus, he is addicted to Netflix (I can't watch a movie at home to save my life) - all in all, he probably sees 4-5 movies a week. Crazy, yet impressive. 

As I've done in the past two years, I compiled a list of every film I saw in 2013 - I beat my 2012 total (33) and tied my 2011 total... I saw 35 movies! Go me. And just as I did before, here is a list of my Top Ten Favorite Films of 2013!

10. Blackfish
To me, a documentary has done its job if I walk out of the theater and can't stop thinking about the story. Blackfish was excellent - it made me think. I was never a huge fan of Seaworld before, but I'm certainly in no rush to ever go to one again... I think the imparted the information in a clear and concise way and I appreciate that in a documentary.

9. The Heat
I am a huge proponent of comedies starring female comedians and actresses, so it's no surprise that I liked this. To be honest, the plot of this was fine, nothing special, but I really appreciated how it showed off the comedic chops of all the women involved - I'm a die-hard fan of Melissa McCarthy and couldn't stop laughing whenever she was onscreen, plus Ram and I were PSYCHED that the movie also starred Jamie Denbo and Jessica Chaffin, who played a HUGE role in our proposal!

8.This is The End
I am a big, BIG fan of the Apatow comedy crew - in particular I have a deep love for Seth Rogen and my boyfriend Jonah Hill, so I was really looking forward to this. It was the perfect summer flick - hilarious, over the top, and completely raunchy... I laughed the whole time. LOVED all the celebrity cameos, too. I want to buy this one on DVD so I can watch it whenever I'm in the mood!

7. Enough Said
I don't know what it was about this that I liked so much, but I walked out of it with a nice, warm feeling. I love Julia Louis Dreyfus and really appreciated her neurotic craziness - I rooted for her even while she wasn't doing the right thing. James Gandolfini was a wonderful actor and I thought he was very special in this - quietly tender yet powerful. It was a very sweet film and I thought you could tell they had a good time while filming it.

6. Don Jon
From the moment I saw the preview for Don Jon for the first time, I couldn't wait to see it. And it lived up to my expectations, which is always nice! I think what I liked best about this film was the plot - it was unusual and kept me wanting to know more. There were a few plot twists and unexpected characters and elements that I wasn't expecting that really intrigued me, and I thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt did an excellent job of writing, directing, AND starring in this.

5. Frozen
Um, you guys? Frozen was AWESOME. Ram had heard great things and convinced me we should go... I wasn't expecting much but it was fabulous. He says it's just as good as Lion King and the other Disney classics - I don't know about that, but I do know that I loved the female character-driven story and adorable main characters... plus I cannot stop singing "Let It Go!"

4. Wolf of Wall Street
Another movie starring my boyfriend Jonah Hill, so obviously I was gonna like it! :) I'm not gonna lie, three hours was a BITTTTTT much for me, but my attention was captured for 90% of this movie. I know it's gotten flack in the press for supposedly "glorifying" the behavior of these financial degenerates, but I thought it did the opposite - highlight their bad behavior while showing the audience how miserable they were, despite having everything money could buy. Leonardo and Jonah were excellent - but my favorite may have been Matthew McConaughey. His scenes were priceless! 

3. Her
This is Rami's favorite film of the year. I was a little nervous going in - I knew how highly anticipated it was for him and I honestly didn't know how I'd feel about it, but I actually thought it was beautiful. Spike Jonze created a whole new future world that I actually thought was completely believable and not at all far-fetched. This film was the most beautifully shot of all the movies I saw this year - so many lovely frames, angles, and colors. Another film with unexpected twists and unique characters.

2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
I very clearly remember walking out of the first Hunger Games film and saying "I cannot WAIT to see the second one." A year and a half later, I finally got what I wished for and I really loved it. I think Jennifer Lawrence is just a spectacular actress and human being and I thought the new director did a great job of making the book come alive onscreen. Now I can't wait for the NEXT one!

1. 12 Years A Slave
I can't get over this film. It was so raw, emotional, and brutal - it was almost uncomfortable for me to sit through, and for that reason it earns the #1 spot on my list. Film doesn't always have to be pleasant or beautiful, something I have learned by watching several of Steve McQueen's movies. He is a director who doesn't shy away from using the most degrading, painful images in order to make his film as powerful as possible. The actors in this movie - some well-known, and some new (to me) - were all phenomenal - I'd be surprised if this movie doesn't earn many acting awards in the upcoming awards season. This true story of Solomon Northrup affected me deeply, and I know I'll be thinking about it for a long time.


So that was 2013's film anthology, in a nutshell! Wonder how many I'll see in 2014?! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back from the DFV!

Friends! We are six days into 2014 and I have yet to blog. #worstbloggerever But here I am!

We are BACK from the Dysfunctional Family Vacation and we all survived. This being Ram's first DFV, I was mayyybeee 5% worried he would not want to marry me after a week straight with my loads-of-fun-but-sometimes-insane family but rest assured we're all good :)

We stayed at the Pueblo Bonito Rose in Cabo San Lucas and the hotel itself was beautiful - I'd go back, but I would NOT do the all-inclusive again. I guess it's worth it if you're a big drinker, but we're not, and the hotel food was just not up to par. We ended up going out to dinner every night - our favorites were the Trailer Park and of course, the Office on the Beach!

We spent our days lounging on the beach, reading books, sharing magazines, and occasionally dipping into the pool or ocean to cool off. It was very nice and relaxing! I took a billion pictures so I'm just gonna do a bit of a photo dump with some highlights :) Not pictured? Our ill-fated ride on the banana boat. I was bribed into going on it along with R and all my cousins... 20 seconds in, guess who had a mouthful of seawater after she went tumbling into the ocean? THAT'S RIGHT, THIS GIRL :(

Wanna know the coolest part of the trip? For our group of 15 people, we had reserved 8 rooms. When we arrived, the lady at the front desk asked if we would be interested in moving 5 of those rooms to the "Owner's Suite." When we asked what that meant, she gave us a key and told us to check it out before we decided. Turns out the Owner's Suite was actually a 4,000 square foot PENTHOUSE VILLA on the top floor of the hotel - it had two floors, five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a full kitchen, living room, dining room, wraparound deck, library, tricked-out gym, game room, aquarium, and ROOFTOP DECK WITH A PRIVATE POOL. Needless to say, we said yes! It was a complete stroke of luck - we didn't do anything special to deserve it - but it made our trip AWESOME. Every afternoon when we had tired of the beach, we'd come up and spend another hour laying on the deck and swimming in the little pool... so cool.

Some fam members lounging by our pool :) and check out the gorgeous view from our deck! 

My grandma with all her grandchildren (and fiances and boyfriends!)


Every night, one of the couples or cousin groups hosted a "pre-party" in the suite, bringing drinks and snacks for everyone to enjoy before we headed out to dinner. Ram and I hosted on the last night - we scrounged around for cheese and crackers in the pharmacia down the street, and taught everyone a fun game!

Lots of laughs with the lady in pink! Sometimes we have fun :)

Some obligatory pictures of me and my man. See how we get progressively tanner as the days go by!?

Love this shot - the girl cousins! 

And another, minus Bay:

R and my cousin Jeff hit it off big time. Mostly over adult beverages. 

A fabulous lobster dinner one night. Mmmmmm.

And of course, the group shot. Gotta love the fam. Here's to another fabulous DFV!