The Travel Itch: From the “Minni” Apple to the Big Apple

Hello, friends and happy Thursday!  Right now I’m hunkered down at the Minneapolis airport, waiting to board my flight to New York!  I can’t express how absolutely excited I am to head out east for a few days.  My cousin [aka bestie] has lived in Brooklyn for the past two years going to school for sonography and I’ve been saying since the day she left that I would go visit… well now is my time!

I went to New York around 8 years ago with one of my girlfriends from college.  We went during the summer and stayed at her grandparents house in the Upper East Side.  It was super hot summer so we spent a lot of our time inside or at Jones Beach [and I wasn't 21 yet] so I’m thinking this time will be a completely different experience.  For the past couple of weeks I’ve spent my time cruising the internet trying to figure out fun places to see.  I’ve packed my DSLR camera and plan on taking tons and tons of pics [that'll make for a fun blog post later].  So, if you’re interested – here are some of the places I plan on checking out.  Also, if you follow me in Instagram you can see what I’m up to in real time.

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Places to Photograph

Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Pomander Walk
Little Red Lighthouse at George Washington Bridge
Central Park
Battery Park

Places to Eat

Eatly
Dylan’s Candy Bar
Magnolia Bakery
Sprinkles
Macaron Parlour
Lombardi’s Pizza

Places to Shop

Zara
Century 21 [I have to check it out!]
Gabay’s Outlets
O.N.A.

Touristy Places

Smorgasbord
Williamsburg
Chelsea
Soho

As you can see, I have quite a few places I want to see, eat and shop while I’m in the Big Apple.  I’m only there for a few days so it’s a lot to cram in, so a Minni Apple to Big Apple Part II might be in my future.

What places would you recommend I visit in NY or the surrounding boroughs?  What are you favorite places to eat? To photograph?  To shop?  I’d love best kept secrets!

Xo,

Cammi

Nearly to Newlywed: Choosing your Vendors – Part 4

Happy Hump Day, friends!  Do you ever have those weeks where it feels like the week is flying by but dragging on at the same time?  That’s kind of how I’m feeling.  I feel like I have way too many things to get done and not enough time to do them (hence the week flying by) but then I also don’t have the energy to get to them all so I’m just waiting for the weekend to arrive (why the week feels like its dragging on).  Friday night cannot get here soon enough!

Wedding Vendors

Anyway, on to the important stuff, like Wedding Wednesday.  Today’s Choosing Your Vendor post is about picking your florist.  This service is a little more unique to each wedding since not everyone chooses to spend a lot of money on flowers, if any.  I’m going to be quite honest with you right now:  flowers are expensive… and they die.  So with that out of the way, here’s a couple of questions to ask yourself before you start reaching out to florists for meetings:

  • What’s my budget?
  • Where do I want to use flowers throughout my wedding?
    • Bouquets and boutonnieres, centerpieces [all tables or just some], alter flowers, etc.

Once you determine the answers to these two questions, it’s time to start your research.  First, I would highly recommend you hold off on booking your florist until you have booked your ceremony and reception venues.  There’s two reasons for this:  you can search for florists who are closer to your venue site(s) and you can have a better vision of how many flowers you want/need to decorate your space.  We used a florist who was within 10 miles of our venue and they had worked at that space plenty of time so they were very familiar with all of our contacts and had an understanding of where they could set up without being noticed.

As you determine florists you want to contact, begin putting their information into a spreadsheet [document, document, document!].  Because pricing can fluctuate based on product [flowers], a lot of florists don’t including a pricing model on their sites so you will likely need to reach out to quite a few.  Also, it’s best to have an idea of how many corsages, boutonnieres, centerpieces, alter flowers, etc. when reaching out to get a better estimate.  Below are some standard questions you can ask in your initial inquiry:

  • Do you have my date open?
  • Can you please provide me with some general pricing for bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, centerpieces
    • If you have an idea of how many of each you’ll need, include the number here
  • Do you have a delivery charge?
  • How many other events will be scheduled the same day as mine?
  • Do you provide the vases in the cost of the centerpieces will they need to be rented?
    • When do they need to be returned?  Is there an additional cost for them to be picked up from the venue location?
  • How many weddings have you done?
  • Are you familiar with my venue?

Hopefully this will give you an idea of a few florists that interest you for your wedding day.  Your next step is to set up a meeting to discuss the details.  It’s a good idea to print of some photos of bouquet and centerpiece ideas prior to your meeting.  This will give your potential florist a good idea of what your vision is.  Also, if you have a photo of you dress, bridesmaid dresses, tuxes/suits, etc., it will give your florists an idea of your wedding style.  Below is a list of questions to bring when meeting with these potential florists:

  • What flowers are in season during the time of my wedding?
  • What kind of flowers can I get that fit within my budget while also matching my wedding vision?
  • When will the flowers be delivered?
  • Will you be doing my arrangements or will it be another floral designer?
  • When does my order need to be finalized?
  • When does a contract need to be signed?
  • What’s the down-payment?
  • What is your refund policy if I need to cancel my order?

Hopefully you find some amazing florists who just knock your socks off.  Martha Stewart Weddings posted a great article about what flowers are in season by region.  This is a good place to start, as well as spending some time on Pinterest, as you plan this piece of your big day.

Xo,

Cammi

Glam Squad: Ipsy’s March Glam Bag

Happy last day of March, friends!  It’s hard to believe how fast this month flew by… can you believe we’re already 1/3 of the way through 2014?  Life needs to slow down a little bit so I can enjoy while I’m still young.  Does anyone else feel that way?

With how crazy life has been, I haven’t had a chance to share [or test] this month’s Ipsy Glam bag.  It came in a super cute bag this month; super spring-y!  The only complaint I have for this month was that I only received 4 products instead of 5, which is what I’ve received the past three months I’ve subscribed.  Nonetheless, it was still an exciting mail day and I look forward to testing these products out and hopefully finding something to add to my regular make-up routine.  So let’s jump in, shall we?

 

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NYX – Love in Rio Eye Shadow Trio
[offer:  25% off NYX Butter Lip Balm]

Pixi Beauty – Flawless Beauty Primer
[offer: 25% off any purchase]

Chella – Indigo Blue Eyeliner
[offer: 25% off any purchase]

bareMinerals – Marvelous Moxie Lipstick
[offer: free lash domination 10-in-1 volumizing mascara sample plus free shipping on any purchase]

 

I’m not sure when I’ll be able to use the blue eyeliner because it’s a little bold for my taste.  Maybe I’ll have to plan a night out just so I can try it.  I am excited to try the primer and eye shadow trio though.  If you’re interested in signing up for your own Ipsy bag – head to their site to check out all the details.  It will be one time during the month that you’ll LOVE checking the mail!

Xo,

Cammi

 

Book of the Month Review: Gone Girl

Happy Sunday, friends!  I hope the weather is just as enjoyable wherever you are as it is here in Minneapolis.  It’s crazy how many people come out of the woodwork here in Minneapolis when the thermometer hits above 50 degrees.  And even though I’m holed up in a little coffee shop a few blocks for our house, I can honestly say that it feels ah-may-zing to walk outside the house without a coat, hat and mittens.  This is what true Minnesotans live for.

Anyway, today’s post is different from the typical Sunday post [ok, typical Sunday post from a few weeks ago since the radio silence on this little blog has continued the past few weeks.  Eeep.... sorry about that].  Because of the radio silence I have some other posts I wanted to catch up on instead of sharing my favorite blog posts from the week.  So instead of blogs we’re talking books today – hopefully that’s not too disappointing.

You may remember that one of my goals for the year was to read a book a month.  Well, in late January some work colleagues and I decided we wanted to start a book club that meets once a month.  We’re on our third month, so starting book three.  The first book was The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty; I thought it was tough to get in to.  I was only able to get about 3/4 of the way through before our group meeting and found that most of my colleagues felt the same way.  Needless to say, I didn’t end up finishing the book – which is totally unlike me.  And with that in mind, I’m not reviewing it because I don’t think it’d be fair.  Month two was Gone Girl.  This book had been read by many of my colleagues already, but those of us who hadn’t read it, it was all on our lists to read.  [It was actually on my to read list for 2014].  Because I actually finished this one, I decided it should be reviewed… and why not let you all know that I thought! :)

Gone Girl

Synopsis [taken from Amazon]:  On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary.  Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River.  Husband-of-the-year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worth daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on the edge.  Under mounting pressure from the police and the media, as well as Amy’s doting parents, the town golden boy parades and endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior.  Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter, but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love.  With his twin sister, Margo,  Nick stands by his innocence.  Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife?  And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Targeted audience:  Anyone who loves a good mystery [I'd say this is likely a read for women but guys might enjoy it, too].  Not ideal for anyone who may cringe from some bad words or how don’t like to be messed with psychologically.

Review:  This book is a little hard to review without giving away too much of the plot line, so it might be a little general without too many details [if you decide to read it, you'll understand why after you've finished].  Overall, I thought the book was pretty good.  I thought the beginning started off a little slow and I thought parts of it were a little predictable… but then there definitely were parts that I didn’t see coming.  There were parts of the book that messed with ones mind psychologically, getting a little dark, but I was told that would likely happen.  I think I’m in the majority when I saw the ending wasn’t great; I’m not sure how I would have liked it to end, but I did not like the way Gillian chose to end it.  I am definitely excited to see how they make it into a movie later this year – I’ve heard that they’re changing the ending so I think I’m intrigued to see what happens.

Overall grade:  B+  |  There’s been a ton of hype about this book since its release in 2012 and has been on my book list for the past two years.  With the beginning not being super engaging, it was a little tough to get started, but after reading about 1/3 of it the storyline became more interesting.  As I mentioned above, I wasn’t a big fan of the ending but it wasn’t like it spoiled the whole book for me.  I definitely think it’s a book to read if you’re interested in suspense thrillers… but beware: it might play with your psyche a little bit!

Next month I’ll review Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight; it’s another suspense book so be sure to check out the review at the end of April if you’re interested in hearing about it.

If you have any great books that you’ve read lately, be sure to leave a comment!  It will be my turn soon to make the book club selections and I would love to share some book selections from you all!

Xo,

Cammi

100 Days Until Summer – A Fitness Goal

So, if you haven’t heard the news already, there is only 100 days until the first day of summer!  I realize it seems kind of silly to be setting summer timelines when we haven’t even celebrated the arrival of spring [which is next week - yay!] but there are so many great things that come with summer so I really need the reminder!  I think of wearing shorts, and sundresses, skirts, and the dreaded bathing suit and I realize I need to desperately think about this countdown as if my self esteem depended on it [and it does].

So, why is this such a big deal you ask?  Well, starting today I’m kicking off 100 days of physical activity.  Yep – I’m saying it here so it must be true and I must be held accountable.  So, let’s set some parameters around said goal, because obviously the body needs rest and working out hard for 100 days just isn’t realistic.  So pretty much what that means is that I need to get up off my ass and do something!  I’m talking going for walks, doing crunches during the commercials of the TV shows I’m watching, going on a bike ride, taking a new workout class I haven’t tried before or trying a new at-home workout if I can’t make it to the gym.

Source

So tonight I’m starting light [way to make an impact, right?] so I’m finding a quick at-home workout that I can do before heading to bed for another long day of work tomorrow.

What are you doing to get your body summer-ready?

Xo,

Cammi

Nearly to Newly Awarded – The Liebster Award

Happy, happy Saturday! As much as I hoped to squeeze in a few more posts this week, it just didn’t happen.  Much like last week, it’s been crazy [although not quite as crazy] and it’s just so hard to post after work when it’s all I can do to keep my eyes open long enough to make dinner.  I have to do my domestic duties, ya know!

I was super excited to log-on a couple of weeks ago and see that Amanda from Notes from a Newlywed nominated for a Liebster Award I got really excited.  I think I was most excited to learn that someone other than my co-worker and cousin are reading this little blog of mine.  Of course I didn’t follow the rules and repost the questions that went along with the award so maybe I didn’t really deserve it?  Then I logged on again on Monday and saw another blogger, Vanessa from Burn Bright also nominated me.  You ladies are just too sweet.

For those who don’t know what the Liebster Award is [to be honest, I didn't until I was nominated], it’s awarded from bloggers to other bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers. It’s pretty much a great way to get to know others and recognize and share other up-and-coming blogs.  Super cool if you ask me!  So what are the rules?  Each bloggers asks 10 questions to their nominations, posts 10 random facts about themselves and then nominates 10 other bloggers and asks 10 new questions to them.

So, are we ready to get to know me a little bit better?  Let’s do this.  Oh, and be prepared for a lengthy post! :)

10 Random Facts about ME!

- My mom, sister and cousin are my best friends
- I love setting goals [I love more when I achieve them]
- I’m obsessed with stationery and my dream job would be to start my own stationery line [and blog all about it, of course]
- I used to hate the color gold and now I’m obsessed with all things gold
- I’m a super picky eater
- My dream job used to be an event planner but after planning my wedding I realized I liked my weekends too much to give them up
- If I went back to school for anything it would be for graphic design
- I’m a firm believer in lists – to-do lists, bucket lists, travel lists, grocery lists… you name it, I’ll make a list of it
- I love to sleep… it’s one of my absolute favorite things to do
- My favorite outfits consist of skinny jeans, an oversized sweater and a cute scarf

Now – to my answers from each blogger who nominated me.  Let’s start with Amanda from Notes from a Newlywed:

1. What makes you happiest?
Being with my family, friends and dog, Pebbles.  Also, spending time doing things I love, like reading, blogging, photography, etc.

2. What’s your favorite musician or band?
I love Eric Church!  He’s such an amazing artist and entertainer.

3. What guilty pleasure TV show do you watch?
Sadly enough it has to be Teen Mom 2 on MTV.  It’s only that season though [not the cast of Teen Mom 1 or Teen Mom 3].

4. In high school, who were you? [nerd, athlete, etc.]
I’m not sure what I would classify myself as?  I hung out with all different groups of people… so I guess you could call me a drifter?

5. What is a little known fact about you?
I’m one of the least athletic people you’ll ever meet.

6. What do you think is your best quality?
My work ethic.

7. In three words describe your everyday style.
Laid-back, comfortable, understated

8. All time favorite restaurant?
Oh, that’s a toughy because it consistently changes.  I’ll say Ichiban’s is one of my favorites. [it's a Japanese Steakhouse in downtown Minneapolis - a must try for anyone visiting the Twin Cities]

9. What is the ultimate date for you?
Something that involves a little adventure or activity.  In all honestly, I’d rather be in jeans and t-shirt than dressed up in a dress and heels.

10. Do you cook?  If so, what’s your go-to, favorite recipe?
I’m trying to cook more, which means trying new recipes.  Right now I’d say my “go-to” recipe would be Chicken Wild Rice soup… it’s the perfect winter recipe!

11. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
Another tough question! Right now I would probably say Australia or the Greek Isles… or really anywhere that’s a warm climate sounds wonderful!

And now to Vanessa from Burn Bright‘s questions:

1. Who is the biggest influence in your life, and why?
I’d say my mom.  I look back on how young she was when she had three kids and how hard she and my dad worked to make our lives so great growing up.  She didn’t have a college degree and is one of the top employees at her work.  She’s also the nicest person anyone will ever meet – she has a heart of gold.

2. If you could sing one song, and sing it incredibly well, what would it be?
Can I just say I wish I could sing every song well?  I have no musical talent. Period.

3. What do you most want to learn how to do before you die?
How to live for today instead of always thinking about the future [I spend far too much time focused on the future instead of always being present in the now].

4. What is your most prized childhood memory?
Boating on the St. Croix River every weekend in the summer.  That is my absolute favorite pastime and I hope that I can offer my future children the same type of memories.

5. What’s your favorite meal to make, and your favorite meal to be served?
My Chicken Wild Rice soup recipe is my favorite to make… I also like making my grandma’s barbecues.  Favorite meal to be served?  The perfect steak with mashed potatoes and fresh, steamed veggies. Yum!

6. Describe your perfect day.
Sleeping until I wake up without an alarm and getting out of bed when I’m ready… followed up by a stroll through the farmers market, exploring the city and taking tons of photos… enjoying a coffee at a cute little coffee shop and blogging for a bit. Taking in a bike ride and then cooking dinner on the grill, eating on the deck with a glass of wine and ending the day with a good book before calling it a day and heading to bed.  Aww…. if only every day could be like that. [can you tell I'm excited for summer to get here?]

7. What was your last dream about?
Sadly enough it was a work dream.  I can’t recall all the details but I remember waking up in a panic that I forgot to do something.

8. Why did you start blogging?
I just love the idea of having a creative outlet and writing about topics that interest me.  I’ve always loved writing so a blog was the perfect way to keep me encouraged to write.  Plus I LOVE the design aspects of blog and hope to eventually meet with some other bloggers.  It’s such a fun community of people who blog!

9. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done on purpose? [skydiving, asking your crush out, etc.]
Sadly, nothing scary or crazy comes to mind.  Skydiving is on my bucket list so hopefully that gets checked of in the next summer of two [it'll have to... I only have a little over two years before I turn 30].

10. What’s the one question you would never want to answer honestly?
What my worst trait is! ;)

So here’s the list of blogs I want to nominate for this award:

Live More, Love More
Our Detroit Wedding
Must Have Boxes
The Party Girl
Idyllwild Designs
Ashley Ella Design
Melissa Faye
Chelsea and the City
Kory Woodard
Love Grows Design Blog

My list of questions are:

1.  If you could have any career in the world [regardless of money and any skill you have] what would it be and why?
2.  If you could have lunch with any person [living or deceased], who would it be and what would you ask them?
3.  If you could live in any city in the world, where would it be?
4.  What are your 5 favorite blogs to read?
5.  Why did you start blogging?
6.  What’s one skill you wish you had?
7.  What’s your favorite recipe to make?
8.  What’s your favorite book/series?
9.  If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
10.  What’s your favorite topic to blog about?

I can’t wait to get to know some of these ladies a bit better and I hope you have a chance to check their blogs out, too!

Xo,

Cammi

Blog Me: A Week of Good Reads

Well, another weekend has come and gone and we’re staring at another work week.  How is it that those two glorious days off can go by so quickly?  Last week was a real doozy at my full-time job – like a 70-hour doozy, which is why things were pretty quite around this little corner of the internet.  I’m anticipating it to be another crazy week so today I’m parked at a cozy local coffee shop trying to plan out the upcoming week’s post.  I find that I’m most productive when I’m away from the distractions of home [cough, cough, Pebbles and the hubs].  Does anyone else feel this way?

I didn’t do much beyond work this past week so I don’t have much to share for fun life updates.  I did, however, treat myself to a massage yesterday.  After working that amount of hours in a week I felt it was well deserved AND needed.  I couldn’t help but notice through my 60-minutes of heaven that there were some points that I just kind of tensed up and wondered if the massage therapist questioned who was on her table.  Let me caveat this by saying that I pretty much rolled out of bed, threw on some yoga pants, a t-shirt and sweatshirt and drove myself to the appointment.  So that made me think – what are those parts of the massage that jolt me out of relaxation?  Here are my top 5:

1.  Unshaven legs. OK ladies, I know you all know what I’m talking about.  It’s winter and I’m not wearing anything that exposes my legs so why not wait a little bit longer between shaving my leg days?  Well, it’s fine until you make an impromptu massage appointment and you all you think about during the leg rubdown is if your massage therapist thinks Chewbacca is on their table.

2.  Being Ticklish.  I’m not overly ticklish by any means, but there are certain spots that if massaged just right make me jolt and twitch until it’s left alone again. Usually these spots are on my back and feet, which is an area that I need massaging the most. [I blame it on the high heels and my 5'2 height.]

3.  Love handles.  Nobody, and I repeat nobody, likes to have their love handles pushed in ways that remind them they’re there.  Maybe mine are just getting bigger than in the past because I don’t think I’ve ever noticed how awkward and wide-awake I became when my masseuse started pushing my muffin top around.

4.  Unwashed hair.  Because this week was crazy, I hadn’t washed my hair for a solid three days [let me tell you how thankful I am for dry shampoo], so when it came to the head massage I wonder how much gunk got caught on her fingers.  This brings me back to point one and whether or not she thought Chewbacca was on her table.

5.  The awkward ending.  I’m not talking about happy endings here, folks [um... ew.]… but that awkward time at the end where the massage therapist asks how everything was and just kind of stares at you.  Toward the end I’m so relaxed that my brain isn’t usually firing on all cylinders so my answer may or may not make 100% sense.  It’s like suddenly getting woken up and being given a pop quiz; it’s best to wait a few minutes.

I hope I’m not the only one who has these thoughts/experiences.   Have you had an awkward experience during a massage?

Source

:: I’m still trying to tackle some DIY projects soon and this tutorial for a mini leather wallet on Wonder Forest has made my list.

:: I’m trying to decide what to do above the bed in our guest room and think this starburst mirror would look perfect!  The tutorial is on the Sarah Hearts blog and can be done for less than $40!

:: I’m pretty obsessed with grilled cheese sandwiches paired with tomato soup; it’s been a staple meal in our house this winter.  With that said, it should be no surprise that I love this post on Style Me Pretty made it to this week’s favorites.

:: I really liked this post on Notes from a Newlywed on the things she does differently to feel more grown-up.  It makes me think of all the things I do differently today than I did 5 years ago.

:: You read above about my lack of hair cleansing for a few days, so I’m thinking this hair trick posted on Stripes & Sequins is a must-try one night this week.

:: Do you ever talk yourself into buying something because the packaging is so pretty and irresistible?  I totally laughed about this post on From Roses because this girl is also an advertisers dream.

:: So spring is supposedly right around the corner [although Minneapolis' forecast must not realize it] so it’s time to jump start that summer workout, right?  FitSugar posted 13 tush-toning exercises that I’ll be working into my weekly routine.  And even though I despise cardio, FitSugar also posted a good cardio workout for new runners.

:: Apartment Therapy posted these great tips on keeping your home guest-ready even if you hate to clean [I think this post was written with me in mind].

:: Even though I just talked about getting my body in bikini-shape, I can’t help but post a couple of yummy-sounding recipes.  I really want to try out these 4-ingredient brownies posted on A Cup of Jo and these brownie batter cookies posted on The Girl Who Ate Everything.

What were some of your favorite blog posts from around the web this past week?

Xo,

Cammi

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