Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ultimate Taste-Off: Shake Shack vs. Tasty Burger

As you may have heard, it was national cheeseburger day a couple of weeks ago! And I don't know about you, but that day is a big deal in our household. Josh and I are huge cheeseburger fans, but not in the sense of those big, juicy burgers like most people. Rather, we have a weakness for those thin, greasy, mouth-watering burgers from places like Five Guys, Shake Shack, Tasty Burger, and Al's and make a point to visit all those places frequently to satisfy our cravings.

So naturally, when national cheeseburger day rolled around, we were torn between two of our favorites for dinner, Shake Shack and Tasty Burger, both located about the same walking distance from our apartment. We've always loved the two  individually, so it was a tough decision that admittedly involved a long discussion and a short pros and cons list. But then we thought - what if we tried both burgers in one night, back to back, to really settle the score? And what better night for a little cheeseburger competition than CHEESEBURGER DAY! So it was settled, and we were off to eat at both locations. All I can say is thank God this holiday fell AFTER the wedding diet... ;)

*Disclaimer: we both had eaten almost nothing this day and were very hungry so the fact that we went to one before the other in no way skewed our opinions or the results.
First Stop: Shake Shack
234 Newbury St. Boston, MA
Our first stop was Shake Shack, were I ordered the basic ShackBurger (josh added bacon to his) and we shared an order of fries. What I love about their burgers is how they are tucked into a bun that is sealed on one side, almost like a pocket, so the burger, lettuce, tomato, and their signature ShackSauce are all arranged perfectly. We wanted to save some room in our stomachs, but they also have the best milkshakes and several beers on tap!
Second Stop: Tasty Burger
145 Dartmouth St. Boston, MA
The second stop was Tasty Burger where I also ordered the basic cheeseburger (josh added bacon again) and an order of fries. Tasty Burger's burgers are a bit thicker, the buns are seeded, and they don't come with any sauce but there's tons of different condiments on each table. We added, ketchup, mustard and a little mayo!
The verdict: Shake Shack Wins! After thoroughly enjoying both burgers, we both found the Tasty burger and bun to be a bit more dry, whereas Shake Shack's burger almost melts in your mouth and their bun is toasted to perfection. And in the end, there really was no way to compete with that Shake Shack sauce (I have no idea what that stuff is but it's incredible)! Plus, Shake Shack's crinkle fries beat out Tasty Burger's fries by a landslide. So, the score is settled!! Although both delicious, we'll be choosing Shake Shack for future burger date nights.

Have a different favorite burger joint? Disagree with our verdict? Feel free to share! We hope you enjoyed national cheesburger day as much as we did and if not, get out and celebrate! xx

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Get the Look: Tropical Themed Rehearsal Dinner

When starting to think about how we wanted our rehearsal dinner to look and feel, I knew that I wanted it to be very different than our wedding. So while our wedding had more of a soft and neutral color palette when it came to the decor, I also love color, so our rehearsal dinner was the perfect opportunity to go bold and have a little fun.

Enter: Josh & Lu's rehearsal FIESTA! Tropical-inspired decor and colors are some of my favorites right now, so I thought why not do something unexpected and bring some of the tropics to coastal New England. I started by choosing our invitations and creating a Pinterest board to get some inspiration and set the theme (inspiration photos above), and then enlisted some bridesmaids to help me bring Palm Beach to Westport, MA. And once josh had booked a small tent and the food (wood-fired pizzas!) for 60 people, we were left with a tight budget for decor, so were forced to get crafty when bringing these ideas to life. So here's how we made it happen and how to get the look (on a budget)!

First, I always start with an design board. This is super helpful in seeing how everything will look together. Here was mine.
Next, it was time to do some shopping! Here's everything that went into the night.
1. Monstera leaf place-mats. I absolutely love these huge leaves! We ended up getting them from a local florist, but you can also get them from a wholesale florist online or just buy faux ones here.
2. Gold Chargers. One of my best friends and bridesmaids Emily used these at her wedding, so she kindly lent them to us! You can find them online here.
3. Hot Pink Napkins. We were going to just buy paper dinner napkins, but then we found these ones that were a bit nicer and such a steal.
4. Banana Leaf Table Runners. These were so perfect to fill the space in the center of our round tables. We found them here.
5. Spray Painted Pineapples. My bridesmaids helped DIY these for me! They bought 8 pineapples, one for each table, and then sprayed painted the pineapple portion gold, leaving the leaves their natural green. So stinking cute.
6. Pineapple Centerpieces. We had a local florist make one of these bright arrangements for each table, with hollowed out pineapples instead of vases!
7. Hanging Succulents. This was another element that took a little creativity and a lot of spray paint. When browsing Michaels for rehearsal dinner inspiration, we found these cute gold stands (pictured below) and thought that they would be a great way to hang little potted succulents on each table. However, the only hanging vessels we could find were bright blue (which wasn't really working with our gold, pink and green color palette), so we spray painted those gold as well before planting a baby succulent in each one. And I am happy to say that all of those succulents are still alive and well in our apartment!
8. Colorblock Cork Coasters. The DIYing continued with these oversized cork coasters, which I found at Michaels (similar here) and then used painters tape and craft paint to create pink and gold stripes. These were a fun addition to each table and were perfect to rest the water pitchers on!
9. Printed Placecards. I had so much fun creating these on Minted not only because of how pretty the style of calligraphy was, but because I got to customize each card for each person. Instead of using real names for these, we used all our closest family and friends' nicknames, or names that were inside jokes. It made for lots of smiles and some good laughs when everyone was looking for their seats! And the placecards came out so well and were such good quality that we ended up ordering our wedding programs from Minted as well!
10. Vodka Favors. They had these mini Shady Fruit vodkas on sale at Westport's local liquor store, and they not only looked adorable, but also just happened to match our rehearsal dinner color palette perfectly. So, we scooped up around 60 to add to the place setting at each table. And they came in very handy for one of our dinner toasts!
11. Hammock. Nothing screams "tropical" to me like a swaying hammock. And josh and I have been wanting a hammock forever, so we decided that this was the perfect opportunity to take the plunge and buy the one we'd been eyeing, so that we could use it this summer down in Westport before transporting it back to Boston. And I must say, the hammock got a lot of love that night and certainly added to the tropical vibe!
12. Palm Leaf Pillows. Josh and I sewed these from some tropical fabric we found at JoAnns and then added them to the hammock! You can buy similar pillows here.
13. Lawn Flamingos. It's not a party without these guys! The Paquachuck Inn, where we had our rehearsal dinner, is already known for their kooky decor, so we thought why not add to it. :)

14. Flamingo Cocktail Napkins. We found these at Zazzle and are obsessed with them!

15. Standing Frames. To add a personal touch to our rehearsal dinner, we framed some of our favorite engagement photos to put throughout the space, as well as some of these funny "You're the Pineapple of my Eye" prints, which we simply printed from a computer.
16. Faux Leaves. Michaels has the best faux leaf and flower section, so my bridesmaids and I picked out the most tropical ones we could find to spice up the bar at the Inn a bit. They arranged them in some large glass votives and they looked great!
And there you have it! A wonderfully tropical August night in Westport, MA. For the wedding, we left most of the DIYing up to the pros so it was fun essentially pulling this dinner together ourselves at getting creative in the process. And I am a firm believer that the ambiance of a space really sets the mood, so I think the tropical vibes did contribute to how much fun we had with all of our favorite people in the world that night. From the delicious pizzas to the heartfelt speeches to all the hugs, it was such a cozy, special night that really set the the tone for the whole wedding weekend and made us that much more excited for what was to come the next day. Thanks again to josh's parents, my parents, the Gilded Tomato for the delicious pizzas, my bridesmaids for their DIY skills, and all those that schlepped pineapples, banana leaves, and a massive hammock back and forth from the Inn! It was a night that josh (the pineapple of my eye) and I will never forget. xx

Friday, September 11, 2015

DIY Bridesmaids Gift Baskets

^ photo by Brumley & Wells

One of my most favorite memories from our wedding weekend is having a few minutes alone with my bridesmaids right before our rehearsal dinner to open small baskets I had put together for each of them. I've always loved giving gifts, but this time around was extra special because it was to thank the ladies I love most for being there every step of the way this past year, and each little goody in the basket had something to do with josh and I personally, or was something for our big day. I had so much fun assembling them the week before, personalizing each one for each friend, and reminiscing on so many fond memories while writing notes to all of them. I sure do love that crazy bride tribe of mine!

To put together each gift, I started by finding baskets I loved and that I thought everyone would use again. Then I added a couple things that the girls could wear on our wedding weekend (robes, earrings, flash tattoos & hats), some all-time favorite snacks of josh and mine (lake Champlain chocolates, Lark cookies), and finally just added some "pretty" with mini bottles of rose and gold embossed cards. You can see how they came together and shop all of our basket picks below!

1. Mini bottle of Rosé! Because you need something to toast with, right?? These mini bottles were adorable, fit perfectly into the baskets, and it was pretty funny seeing everyone (male and female) carrying them around at 2am after the wedding.

2. Baskets. I really like the banana leaf baskets I found at World Market, especially since they can be used just about anywhere in your home even after the wedding. But you could use any basket or even cute bags for this!

3. Bride Tribe flash tattoos. Each of us put on one of these flash tattoos the night before the wedding and I LOVE how fun they looked and how they united us as a group. Plus seeing that flash of gold as all of them waved their arms on the dance floor actually helped me find people!

4. Thank you notes.  If you can't tell already, the theme of the basket was gold & pink, and these Kate Spade notes fit perfectly. But other than being pretty, they were the perfect way to write a personalized note to each of my best friends, all who I have such unique & amazing memories with.

5. Floral Robes. I knew I wanted to get all the girls robes to get ready in, and I immediately fell in love with these floral coral robes when I found them on Etsy. Once ordered, I was able to provide all the girls' heights/sizes so they all fit perfectly, and they all looked adorable running around getting ready in them on the morning of our wedding.

6. Lobster Hats. Lee's market (the only grocery store in Westport) sells cute lobster baseball hats, so we got one in a different color for all of the bridesmaids. Perfect for the beach and a nod to a coastal New England wedding!

7. Lake Champlain Granola Five Star Bars. If you haven't tried one of these before, you really should. They are insanely good. My family first tried them when first visiting josh and I up in Vermont, and have been obsessed ever since, so we included them in these baskets as well as the welcome bags for all guests. Plus, we loved that it added a touch of Vermont to the welcome!

8. Lark Salted Rosemary Shortbread Cookies. These are my absolute favorite cookies ever, so I was so excited to share the amazingness with my bridesmaids and all of our guests. And so many random people have texted me asking where to get the "cookies from the wedding." Well, you can get them here. And they are made right on the Northshore!

9. Earrings. With the beautiful flowers & crowns that all the bridesmaids would have for the wedding, I knew I wanted their jewlery to be simple, and these earrings from Anthro were a great find. It was a bit complicated organizing the correct letter for each bridesmaid, but I love how the letters made this gift personalized to each girl and were simple but still pretty and fun. And if you didn't notice from all the "L's" and "J's" in wedding photos already, I'm pretty obsessed with letters. :)
So the contents of the basket are obviously very tailored to you, but these are just some ideas! Happy basket making. :)