Friday, January 15, 2016

5 Boston Restaurants to Try Right Now

Trying new restaurants in Boston is one of my absolute favorite ways to explore the city. I definitely have a few staple places where I like to think of myself as a "regular", but I also love getting recommendations from friends, following Eater religiously to stay up to date on new openings, and trying to continue hammering away at the long running list of "must try restaurants" I have on my phone. I may be biased, but Boston has pretty great food. And today, I've compiled a list of five spots I've visited for the first time in recent months that I would highly recommend. I also realized when pulling this together that they all have sort of the same vibe - cozy, dimly lit, and mostly underground. I think that is largely a result of the season, so I'm calling this my "winter" top-five-to-try list. I'll be back in the summer with some warm-weather spots to check out!
1.. Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar, South Boston
I think it's safe to say I'm obsessed with this place, and have spent my fair share of time there since discovering it a few months ago. South Boston isn't an area of the city that I'm generally too familiar with, but this place makes making the trek there 100% worth it. I think my love affair with Loco has a lot do do with the ambiance, which feels much like a fiesta being held inside a barn, but also the grub. Mexican and seafood are my favorite two genres of food, so when you combine them in a space that is exactly how I would design a restaurant (complete with brick walls, barnwood booths, farm tables, a tin-coated bar, and a canopy of string lights), it feels pretty much like the restaurant was created for me. If I had to pick my favorite menu items, I would choose the street corn (omg good) and the fried oyster tacos, accompanied by one (or two) of the many lovely margaritas on the menu. See you again soon, Loco.
2. Boston Chops, South End
I've been here both with a large group from work and also on a date night with josh, and WOW, the steak is good. I never order steak when going out to eat, but when you look a this menu, it just feels wrong not to get steak. The presentation is impeccable - popovers are served in metal measuring cups to each table in lieu of bread, napkins are wrapped in stamped leather cuffs, and all-you-can-eat "frites" are delivered to your table in a huge hammered copper bowl. The frites, of course, only arrive if you order the steak frites, which I would highly recommend. With this option, you choose your cut of meat and a sauce from a lengthy list, and then your steak is accompanied by a salad and fries. The side dishes are perfect for sharing, with my favorites being the pork belly mac & cheese, charred brussels sprouts, and sauteed baby bok choy.
3. Wink + Nod, South End
This place is the coziest! Nestled underground off Appleton street in the South End, this is one of my favorite places to meet up with friends after work for dinner or drinks in the winter. They are known for their libations, but the restaurant's resident chefs are constantly changing so I love that the menu is always different. Last time I visited the restaurant was occupied by Akinto (who's pad thai was the best I've ever had), but I'm excited to stop by again soon to try the new Pelakasis menu, which is primarily Greek-inspired. And if your a Scotch lover, you'll be excited to learn that they host a Scotch club, where you can sample hand-picked varieties every Tuesday night.
4. Yvonnes, Downtown Crossing
Named Boston's most Instagrammed new restaurant, Yvonnes is definitely the place to see and be seen. With multiple fireplaces, tons of lounge seating, and old world details like textured wallpaper, tufted chairs, bookcases, and an array of chandeliers, the interior just begs to be photographed. What I love most about it is that my parents used to hang out there all the time back when the space was Lock-Obers, and now my friends and I (including several with parents that also frequented the restaurant) are also regulars. Started by the same owner Back Bay's "Lolita" as a "modern supper club," the food is just as cool as the scene at Yvonnes. I've tried almost every item on the menu at this point, which are all meant to be shared socially, and every dish is better than the next. Plus, their spicy cucumber margarita "Grande Dame" might beat mine, which is hard for me to admit. If you haven't been here, you must go! But don't try to get in without a reservation - Yvonnes is a speakeasy that prides itself on being exclusive, so make sure to call in advance.
5. Liquid Art House, Back Bay
When dining at liquid art house, you almost feel like you are more so in an art gallery than a restaurant. Whether it's their food or their walls, which are decked out in abstract artwork from local artists, Liquid Art House definitely doesn't play it safe. Their menu is small and extremely experimental, but what the menu lacks in size it makes up for in flavor. Their seasonal dumplings, which are more like gnocchi, are delicious and their "young green" salad is one of the best I've ever had. The whole vibe just feels really hip, and I think the Boston Globe says it perfectly when it describes the space as a "mix between Boston and underground Berlin." I have only been there for drinks/dinner, but have heard that their brunch is also incredible!

Have you been to all five of these Boston spots? Do you have any new restaurants you've enjoyed? I would love to hear!

Happy Friday. xx

Monday, December 28, 2015

Our Wedding Video

This Christmas we got the best present of all... our full wedding video! Curling up in bed with josh and reliving our wedding day nearly 5 months later was the BEST. Seeing all of those moments I remember fondly - crying at every single rehearsal dinner speech, locking eyes with josh as I walked down the aisle and feeling my heart explode, driving up to our cocktail hour and seeing all of our friends and family for the first time - really took me back to exactly how I was feeling in those moments. However, in the whirlwind that was our wedding day, there is also so much that both josh and I missed, so we loved watching some of the comments, laughs, and seriously impressive dance moves that we didn't get to witness that day. The Blue Kite Boys did such an incredible job of capturing every part of the weekend, and I'm so happy that we have that little piece of time recorded to look back on forever. 

People often ask me if it was worth it to book a videographer and my answer is always absolutely yes, hands down. The photos capture a lot, but there is so much that happens in between those photos - all of those heartfelt speeches, our wedding party's funny entrance, our first dance, our teary vows etc. - that we likely would have become distant memories over time if it weren't for this video. So to all future brides-to-be: my one piece of advice is to hire a videographer (specifically Blue Kite Cinema). ;) Not only do Nick + Colin do an amazing job of capturing the memories so that you can relive them forever, but they also become part of those memories. Josh and I probably spent just as much time with those two as we did with each other over the course of the weekend, and we genuinely loved having them around (and miss them)!

So when you have 30 minutes to spare, feel free to take a look back to August 15th. Thanks to all our loved ones that shared the day with us, you are the ones that made it so memorable. xo

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Home for the Holidays

I think this year more than ever, I have really made an effort to make our home a little bit more cheerful and warm for the holidays. Maybe it's because it's the first year that Josh and I are truly a family or maybe it's due to the fact that I work in an industry where Christmas pretty much starts in August, but either way I'm loving how festive it looks around every corner these days. This time of year can get crazy, but my favorite nights have been those spent at home next to a fire and our tree watching old Christmas movies. There really is something magical about the holiday season.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Marlborough, so today I'm sharing a few festive peeks into our home for the holidays (according to my iPhone). Enjoy!
How do you add cozy touches to your home for the holidays? Our method this year was just buying a few feet of white pine garland to scatter throughout our house. It smells amazing and oddly doesn't shed or brown quickly!

And not only have I had  fun decorating our own home, but I've also been so inspired by some of the Christmas decor that I've seen across Instagram and the blogosphere. Here are some of my favorite 2015 holiday home tours from some majorly talented bloggers - one day I WILL go all out like this!

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

My 2015 Holiday Wish List

The holidays are right around the corner! And while I much prefer picking out gifts for all the loved ones in my life, it's also always fun to pull together my own favorite gift ideas of the season. So just like my gift guide last year, today I'm sharing what's on my 2016 Christmas wish list, as well as some gift inspiration for anyone that's still left on your shopping list!

For the Home


For the Home (click images to shop)
  • Row 1: I've been eyeing this Kismet rug from Caitlin Wilson textiles for so long - I just love how bright the colors are! And have you ever fallen in love with a chair? I can safely say I'm obsessed with this rattan side chair, which would look great in our bedroom corner. 
  • Row 2: Ornaments & candles make for great hostess gifts, and I love how unique these yarn wrapped ornaments and these gilded pear candles are. I may or may not have already gotten one of these ornaments for josh's stocking ;) 
  • Row 3: When it comes to the kitchen, I'm always drawn to natural wood & marble. I'm currently eyeing this oversized cutting board and this marble mortar + pestal. 
  • Row 3: My iPhone case is officially shot, and above are two new styles that I'm loving!
  • Row 4: I lived by my hanging wall calendar last year but it's sadly almost at its end! I am in need of a new one for 2016, and have my eye on the two options above. 
  • Row 5: You can never have enough gold! I am in a huge margarita making stage right now, and this gold cocktail shaker would make a great addition to our bar collection. I'd also love this pencil pineapple holder for my desk!
For the Cold


  • Row 1: Two cozy pink items I have me eye on this season - this overcoat and this sweater. 
  • Row 2: A Moroccan wedding blanket is something that's always been on my wish list, and I'm also loving vests this season. 
  • Row 3: My hat + mitten collection took quite a beating over last year's freezing Boston winter, so I could use a winter accessory refresh. I love this hat and these chunky mittens from Free People. 
  • Row 4: More winter must-haves! A white snow bunny hat and a reliable pair of duck boots
  • Row 5: I've actually never owned a pair of heavy duty winter boots, but again, after last winter I think I need to upgrade in preparation for that again! I'm really hoping for either these shorter Sorel boots or these taller Pajar ones. 
  • Row 6: When in doubt about my outfit in the morning, I tend to just wrap myself in a scarf. I love these plaid gift picks from Jcrew and Asos

What's on your wish list this year? There's something so fun about shopping during the holidays, and finding that perfect gift for everyone on your list. But no matter what you are gifting this year, I hope you have a wonderful holiday spent with family! xx

Friday, December 4, 2015

This week on Marlborough 12.04

Happy Friday! It's officially been a month since a last updated this little blog, and I apologize for the radio silence. It's been a busy month with a lot of travels and transitions, but I do hope that this post marks my return to weekly blogging. I've been great at updating you guys on details from our wedding and honeymoon, but not so great at recapping how it's been returning to a more normal schedule, settling into married life, and just regular happenings in our lives. So here is a little peek into what I've been up to since my last update!

     - I switched jobs (again!). I'm back at Wayfair, heading up social media & PR initiatives for our flash sale site, Joss & Main.
     - I traveled to Pensacola to visit one of my best friends, Emily! It was so much fun exploring the area with her and seeing the place she called home for so long. 
     - Josh and I flew to Florida again to stand by one of my best friends' as she got married! Lucy was such a beautiful bride.
     - We hosted our first Friendsgiving. It was delicious.
     - We booked flights to Denver for New Years! I will be turning 27 while there, we will get to see lots of friends, and it will be Josh's first time skiing out west, so we are pretty excited to say the least. 
     - Our wedding photos were featured on Style Me Pretty! You relive #joshandlusayido in part one here and part two here.
     - We celebrated Thanksgiving day with my family this year, and then headed up to Vermont for Thanksgiving with Josh's family. The best of both worlds.
     - One of my best friends Erin had a baby!! Welcome to the world, little Leo Tefft. You are already so loved. 
And to add to all of the excitement, it's the holiday season! It truly is one of the most wonderful times of the year, and I hope to have some fun Christmas content to share here shortly, mainly some DIY gift ideas, a gift guide, and possibly a holiday home tour. The photo above is of the tree that josh and I picked out and decorated this week, which has become one of my favorite traditions that we've started together since living together on Marlborough. Each year goes a little something like this...

1. spend way to long picking out the "perfect" tree
2. get tree into house, bicker about who is making more of a mess dropping pine needles
3. go back and forth for 20 minutes trying to stand the tree up "straight"
4. realize we've been staring at the tree so long we no longer know if it's straight and settle on it being slightly crooked
5.  josh lights a fire
6. I turn on our favorite Christmas tunes
7. put on LLBean slippers
8. pull our ornaments out of storage, look at each one adoringly like they are long lost friends
7. the decorating begins!

Getting the tree is always a big endeavor, especially when living in the middle of the city, but it's one of the traditions I most look forward to. The single most frequent question we've received since getting married is "How's married life? Is it different?" and the honest answer is....not really! For the most part, our lives are exactly the same as they were before. But what's different are the little things, like calling josh my "husband", signing documents with "Graziano", checking off the "spouse" box on our healthcare forms, and the moment when we are picking out a Christmas tree, and I realize that I'm doing it with my husband for the first time. To the blind eye, nothing has really changed. But the sense of security and happiness I feel in knowing that no matter where life takes us, josh and I will be decorating a tree together at Christmas for the rest of our lives, actually changes everything. There is a whole another level of commitment to each other now, and I so love hearing him call me his wife.
And without further ado, some fun links from around the web!

  • Some fishermen catch some...kittens!
  • Did you catch the winners of the National Geographic photo contest? The whale shot is incredible. 
  • 10 beautiful restaurants I'm dying to visit. 
  • The Everygirl always has one of my favorite gift guides, and they didn't disappoint this year! 
  • I was terrified of rain on my wedding day. But I love how this couple braved complete downpour with a smile. Don't miss the video!
  • A delicious looking way to use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey
  • The Christmas decor in our apartment this year is all about simple greens. I loved these 3 beautifully simply decorating ideas! 

Have a great weekend! xx

Friday, November 6, 2015

Our Wedding Table Design

The tables at our reception were probably my absolute favorite part of our wedding design. And the details table to table were so slightly different that many guests may have missed them, so I'm featuring some up close and personal photos of each table and the design plan behind them here today! And after seeing how much thought and planning went into our own dinner tables, now at weddings it's the first thing I notice and appreciate. Creating a beautiful tablescape is truly an art, and I can't thank Mstarr enough for bringing my visions to life.

In terms of the color palette for the florals and tables, we were going for a soft, neutral color palette of most greens, browns, dark blues, whites, and soft pinks. I described it as "natural meets coastal" with a little "boho" thrown in there too. The design was broken down into 4 types of tables and I loved the visual interest that these different elements added to the tent. And although all the tables were different, here's what they all had in common:
- Floral centerpiece arrangements or detailing from Petal Floral
- Brass candlesticks rented from 12th table with dark blue taper candles
- Driftwood votives sourced by Mstarr
- Oyster salt & pepper cellars for each person sourced by Mstarr
- White stone china rented from Petersons
- Gold flatware rented from Petersons
- Dusty blue napkins rented from 12th table
- Bubble glasses rented from Petersons
- Custom tattered menus and table numbers designed by A Fabulous Fete
And without further ado, here are all four!
(all film photos by Brumley & Wells and Iphone photos by Mstarr

1. The Farm Tables
Every other table in the tent was a weathered grey farm table rented from True North. The plan for these tables involved a large floral urn in the center surrounded by brass candlesticks with blue taper candles and a few driftwood votives. The plate detail would be a small piece of silver dollar eucalyptus.

2. The Linen Tables
The farm tables were staggered every other with linen-topped tables, which were covered with beautiful oatmeal colored tablecloths. The design for these tables was similar, except we included two other smaller floral arrangements on either side of the center urn and had individual mussels as plate details.
3. The Wedding Party Tables
Given the massive size of our wedding party, we used two super long farm tables for our wedding party, which were located in the center of our tent. These were a bit different than the other linen topped tables in that instead of flowers, they each had an long, full eucalyptus table runner instead.
4. The Head Table
The head table was a mix of all of the elements in the other tables and came out more beautifully than even my wildest dreams. Instead of the cross-back chairs we rented for guests, Josh and I opted to sit in two rattan peacock chairs we had thrifted on a trip to Vermont. The tops of the chairs were decked out in eucalyptus and the same flowers that were on the tables, which made us feel like a king and queen. Instead of traditional flowers, Mstarr designed this incredible runner that include hundreds of collected shells, large white pillar candles, and eucalyptus, all interspersed with the blue taper candles that were on the rest of the tables. With all that candlelight, I almost felt like we were sitting in front of a (beautiful) fireplace at dinner! And the actual table in itself was amazing - it was a custom distressed farm table that we rented from Patina just for the occasion.
Seeing those tables come together on our big day was magical, and has left me wishing I could eat at each and every one of them every night. Thank God for all the photo memories! Which table is your favorite? xx