Archive of ‘Life’ category

This is how we kick off summer

This past weekend the family and I escaped for a nice long Memorial Day weekend at one of our favorite places. Filled with sun, water and family — we couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop for an easy, simple, and fun mini-getaway.

Between water sports, beach time, grilling, and a little R&R — we had a fun filled trip. Here are a few pics of our weekend. See all of the pics from our weekend on Instagram tagged #99summerdays.

The sun was warm (which meant I was in my happy place). It really felt like a kick-off to summer.

Cruisin’ along side the river was in the cards as well.

No long weekend is complete (in my book) without a themed drink! This one was super simple: vodka, cherry 7-up and a few maraschino cherries to garnish. Also, cute straws are a must (these cute pinwheel straws came from Target).

Grilling was a must-do. Simple all-beef hot dogs hit the spot for easy grilling that pleased the crowd. Hebrew National had us covered (and they are the best hot dog in my opinion). Good, simple, food.  Plus they are easy to make and everyone is happy. Perfect for summer get-togethers.  I love pairing it with a veggie packed spaghetti pasta salad.

Tori’s  Summer Spaghetti Pasta Salad

-1 package thin spaghetti

-1 jar Zest Italian salad dressing

-1/2 jar Salad Supreme (look in the spice aisle)

-1/2 large red onion, finely diced

-1 green bell pepper, finely diced

-2 large tomatoes, finely diced

-2 cucumbers, finely diced

To Make:

Cook spaghetti and toss with bottle of dressing. Finely dice all veggies, put in a large bowl and mix in salad supreme. Combine dressed spaghetti with veggies, nix well. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours (it gets better with time!).

 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Hebrew National via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Hebrew National.

Hebrew National tastes great because, for more than 100 years, we’ve adhered to the highest quality standards. Hebrew National Franks are made with premium cuts of 100% pure kosher beef, and contain no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no by-products, and no fillers. Premium taste and high quality every time, for any occasion. That’s our guarantee. Learn about even more reasons to love Hebrew National, and tell us why you love them, too! http://www.facebook.com/HebrewNational

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Thoughts :: Cheers to a new year

DIY Party Hat

 

It’s a new year which means many resolutions will be made (and many more broken). After ringing in a festive but low-key 2013 with close friends, the Mr. and I are enjoying a late morning of breakfast, movies, and a warm fire. Instead of making resolutions we’ve decided to make a 2013 bucket list.  We know we want to do more as a family while our girls are young and we want to live life more … be present. To accomplish this we are starting our bucket list with several “must do” and “must see” goals. So far we have volunteering together and surf lessons. A of couple amusement parks and natural wonders have also made our top 10.

So friends, cheers to a NEW year. For us 2012 was a roller coaster and we’re looking forward to a more purposeful 2013.

What’s on your list for the new year?
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Thoughts :: A trip and a life-changer

A few weeks back I had a “first” (and a pretty exciting one I might add). I visited New York for the first time! I was invited to be a judge in the Sterling Wine Ultimate Host Challenge and was flown in (with 2 other guest judges) to New York for the finale event — which I was pretty excited about!

Here’s a quick photo recap of the highlights. I only had a day and half to explore, but thanks to a friend for a “must see” list, my feet covered a lot of ground!

Sterling Ultimate Host 2012

The event itself was great! Here I am above (left) with judges Kristen of Dine and Dish (center) and Aryka of The Fab Femme. Kristen was a great pal to explore the city with! She led me to the best pizza in town and was a fabulous walking companion :). On the right is the main host and judge, Padma from Top Chef.

The first morning I was there, I woke up and decided to go explore in search of coffee and breakfast. I came across this Christmas tree in the middle of Madison Square Park. I sat there and just took it in.

Then I found breakfast. What? These can be breakfast in my book. I had to bring some home too, so good!

Next I discovered the best prop-shop I have ever seen; Fishs Eddys. If I lived in NYC I would be broke. This store has all of the vintage and unique kitchen finds a girl could dream about.

I was able to quickly spend a small fortune and have the goods shipped back home. I just wish I would have grabbed some of these vintage linens (ah, well next time!).

 

After much more exploring and a great dinner, we had to see “The Tree.” It was stunning!

 

The next morning I was on my own and I walked my little heart out. I headed to this young designer’s market to see if I could find any unique treasures or gifts (there was plenty of both).

Perhaps one of my favorite spots was Eataly. I only managed to grab only this one photo because I was immersed and taking it all in. I cannot wait to go back.

I couldn’t leave the city without stopping at Shake Shack. As I sat devouring  enjoying my burger and shake I watched this woman filming an exercise video in the park. On a workout bike. Go figure!

 

On my route back to my hotel I grabbed a few souvenirs for my girls and a cupcake from this adorable sweets truck.

And then it was time to head home. After a whirlwind day and a half I looked out my car window to catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty. I felt so in the moment and grateful for the experiences I had just enjoyed.

Eager to get home to my family and share my awesome trip with them, I landed on the west coast only to get life shattering news (I’m okay). The kind that grabs a hold of your gut and threatens to never let go. I almost did not share these photos as I felt the trip was “tainted.” However, I realized that would do nothing to change things. I am thankful I was able to enjoy the trip and look forward to the future when I feel that same joy and gratefulness.

I hope you enjoyed these photos and I hope to share more travel pictures soon. xoxo

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Update your space for fall

 

Fall has arrived! As the season changes from summer to fall, it’s the perfect time to freshen up your living space. Personally, I don’t like to really decorate the inside of my home for fall (or any season really), but I do like to add little seasonal updates and subtle touches throughout our space. For fall decorating, I like to add a couple warm-toned throw pillows and definitely a chunky and cozy throw blanket. Are you with me? A warm cozy space feels so inviting, especially as the weather begins to cool.

fall decorating

above: hurricane vases wrapped with simple twine add a rustic texture that’s perfect for a fall update

For that final seasonal touch — bring the scents of the season into your space. I’m loving Glade Expressions® Oil Diffusers and added one to finish off our living room. They smell wonderful and the design looks great in our space.

 See, nice touch right?

Why you will love it too: Glade Expressions® Oil Diffuser releases a long-lasting fragrance for up to 30 days without the hassle of electricity. The spill-proof oil diffuser infuses layers of true-to-life scents throughout even the most open living spaces. The trendy holder matches décor perfectly, making it a convenient and stylish home-fragrancing option.

How will you update your space for fall?

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Glade via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Glade.”

 

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Show Your Colors with My Colortopia

 When it comes to home decor and those projects around the house — I’m definitely inspired by color. It’s amazing how you can completely change the look of a piece of furniture or even a picture frame just by applying a fresh coat of vibrant paint! Awhile back I shared with you a cool interactive tool from My Colortopia that helps you select the perfect paint colors for your next project and today I’m happy to share their newest tool, Show Your Colors (you’re going to love it!).

My Colortopia

If you’re like me, you find inspiration by checking out other people’s before and after photos (it’s complete motivation for me). Just scrolling through these submitted projects has me geared up to start our living room painting project. Show Your Colors allows you to submit your “before and afters” of your home painting projects. This site is a great place to visit for color inspiration and ideas for your next home project.

Go ahead and check out the interactive widget below. Browse before and after photos of recent home projects, I bet you’ll feel inspired. Be sure to submit your completed project, I want to check them out!

 

–I have been sponsored by Glidden brand paint to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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A look behind scenes (wedding + coffee, lots of coffee)

I’ve been quiet lately, but certainly not bored. My plate has been more than full … sort of like a buffet exploded on my lap, actually. I apologize for the lack of posts — though you seem to have kept occupied reading about summer cocktails, circus parties (an oldie but goodie) and how to make tissue paper pom poms — so that’s good :).

Here’s a few snapshots on what’s been keeping my busy and a little sneak peek at one very gorgeous wedding.

FLOWERS. They occupied my life for 3 straight days. Non-stop. My air conditioner that was set at 50 degrees can testify (dreading that bill!). I played wedding florist (first time for everything, huh?) and it was no small feat. With 150 guests and a large venue… we had a TON of flowers. Just picture, 11 bouquets as a starting point. Boy, I’m glad that’s over!

DIY galore. Painting, staining, building, crafting, gluing …. pretty much up until it was time to get hair and makeup done. Oh, did I mention I was the Matron of Honor? Wedding planner, florist, Matron of Honor, and Sister-in-Law to the beautiful bride … yep, told you I was busy :).

FUEL. This is how I survived. Between all of those roles above, I was still playing the usual: mom, wife, cook and also  keeping together my full time day job.

It was WAY worth it though. This stunning couple are the best Brother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law one over-worked gal can ask for. They deserved a perfect day!

I had so many wonderful vendors help me pull this day off… I can’t wait to show you all the pictures!

And that pic of the rings? It almost killed me. Yep, heart attack. I kept it on the inside though because a frantic sister/Matron of Honor/wedding planner is the LAST thing a happy bride needs to see on her wedding day. Can you guess what happened after this photo was taken? Go ahead, guess.

More, regular posts coming next week (I promise). Thanks for hanging in there with me. I’m going to relax and get rid of my wedding hangover this weekend and then … I’ll be baaaaaack!

the last two photos courtesy of Tracy Dodson Photography

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