Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Break!

^ a snowy Lake Champlain

Merry Christmas guys!! I can't believe it's already that time of the year again. What a crazy, awesome, memory-filled year it has been. Thanks so much to everyone who has stopped by this little blog over the past year to see what we are up to on Marlborough. We are so, so, so glad you are here!

But for now, I am signing off from the blog for a little while to spend some holiday time with my family, friends, and my fiance (it still sounds so weird saying it!). We not only have our first Christmas together to look forward to, but also a big engagement party thrown by my parents, which we are really excited for.

I hope everyone has the merriest of Christmases, and I'll see you back here next year! xx

Friday, December 19, 2014

This Week on Marlborough 12.19

^ holiday traveler

It's less than A WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!! But who's counting right?

This week we were in full holiday swing here on Marlborough. I made a list, checked it twice, wrapped all of our gifts, and even made some myself. We will be celebrating the holidays with josh's family this weekend and then with my family next week, so we had to be super prepared in advance on the gifting front this year. But I am really happy now that we have all the gift-buying and wrapping done so that next week we can enjoy relaxing around our our Christmas tree, hanging stockings, and listening to holiday music after work instead of racing around trying to find gifts before Christmas Eve. What about you - do you buy Christmas gifts all year long or are you more of a last-minute shopper? I also think I really started to hone my wrapping skills this year, so thanks to that and some amazing paper I scored at HomeGoods, our presents are looking pretty great, if I do say so myself.
And here's a few fun links from around the web this week...
  • The prettiest gift wrapping ideas
  • In love with these woven stockings. 
  • A Beautiful Mess regrammed my photo and I got pretty excited about it. 
  • Impressive DAD reflexes
  • John Krasinski & Emily Blunt owned Jimmy Kimmel in a holiday prank war. 
  • My favorite holiday ad of 2014. 
  • UPS grants a holiday wish for the most adorable little boy. 
  • Since it looks like none of us will be seeing "The Interview" anytime soon, here is a complete recap
  • Josh introduced my to K. Strass on Youtube this week - have you heard of him? He basically tricks news stations into letting him come on their morning shows to talk about teaching kids in school how to yo-yo, but then he's just a weird guy that can't yo-yo. So funny! Watch this video and this video
  • The Skimm raises over $6.25 million in financing. Easily my favorite (and most useful) newsletter. 

Have a wonderful holiday festivity-filled weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Last Minute DIY Holiday Gift Idea

I have so much rope leftover from this copper wall hanging that I made (you can only buy craft rope in bulk), so I was so excited when I came across this trivet project, made from exactly the same cording! Finally, a great idea for putting all of that extra rope to use AND a pretty DIY holiday gift idea for all of the kitchen-lovers, tea-drinkers, and bakers in my life.

For my first attempt at the project, I chose a turquoise blue paint. I was planning on trying gold and silver paint for the holidays, but it just didn't stand out enough against the white rope. I am definitely planning on picking up some bright red & green craft paint this weekend so I can try the project again in Christmas colors!
^ Photos and tutorial via Momtastic

Here's what you need:
- paper/plastic cups, scissors, paint brush
- craft paint in desired color
- upholstery cording (I got mine at Jo-Ann's fabric)
- glue gun

And here's how to make one:
Step 1: Roll up the cording as a test and then cut it to your desired length. Our in my case, roll it out from under the bed. This photo shows you just how much we have leftover!
Step 2: Fill cups up about half way with water and then mix in paint until the color is fairly strong. I just did one color for this first trivet, but feel free to use multiple! Just dip the cording into the paint in spaced-out increments to give it that color-blocked look. Fill in paint with a paintbrush where necessary.
Step 3: Once the entire rope has dried, start at one end and start rolling the rope together, making sure to glue every 3 inches or so to keep the trivet together. Luckily, hot glue dries fairly quickly so this part is a breeze!
And that's it! You have a pretty, colorful hot plate to rest your tea kettle, coffee pot, or warm pots and pans on. I love how it came out and I can't wait to experiment with other colors.
Oh and I STILL have so much rope left. And I'd rather not put it back under my bed. So if you are in the Boston area and would like to try this project, shoot me an email! I have plenty of rope to go around... :)

Happy gifting~!

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Christmas Wish List

What's on your Christmas wish list? Today I'm sharing what I asked Santa for this year, as well as last-minute gift ideas for those you still haven't crossed everyone off your shopping list!

  1. I've been on the hunt for a great case for my iPhone 6 for a while now. I love the pattern on this one and the fact that it's clear so it still shows the pretty gold color of the phone!
  2. A Michael's gift card. An endlessly useful gift for craft supplies and DIY projects.
  3. Box of blowouts from Dry Bar. Getting your hair washed and blown dry is such a luxury!
  4. Fujifilm Instant Smartphone printer. Such a cool gift for any photo-loving friends.
  5. Lace dress. After struggling to find dresses to wear to holiday parties this year, I feel like I could really use something simple and timeless like this in my closet for almost any event.
  6. Gold Earbuds. Because honestly, shouldn't everything be gold? These would also make a great stocking stuffer.
  7. Indigo Dye Box. I've been wanted to try some dye projects for a while and this gift would provide the perfect starter kit!
  8. The Stelle Audio Pillar, my dream speakers! Easily one of the best quality wireless speakers out there (while also looking pretty stylish and unobtrusive in your home).
  9. Magazine subscriptions! Decor magazines are so inspiring and are always a welcomed gift.
  10. I love these matching lucite and gold desk accessories from Kate Spade, including a stapler, a paper tray, a tape dispenser, and a pencil holder. Such a great gift for anyone that ever works from home.
  11. A chunky wool blanket. These look so cozy and would be an awesome gift for anyone on your list!
  12. A long down jacket. I've had my beloved black Calvin Klein down jacket for nearly 4 years and it's had a great run (and kept me SO warm through some really cold winters), but it's getting a little tired. I've been eyeing some of the new styles that Michael Kors has this season.
  13. L.L. Bean slippers. I've literally started to wear holes into the bottom of mine. And I guess I could technically send them back and get a free new pair, but I love supporting such a great company.
  14. Velvet pants. I've been seeing velvet pants everywhere this year and they look so comfy.
  15. Clay classes! My mom got me pottery classes in Boston last year and it was such a great gift. I posted some photos of the clay pieces that josh and I were able to make while at Feet of Clay here.
  16. Bruins tickets. Even if they are terrible seats, just being at the Garden for a live game is the best time. 
  17. Restaurant gift card. This is another gift that would be perfect for almost anyone on your list! My parents gave me one of these for my birthday last year and it was such a treat to have it on those nights when you are just too tired to cook or want to get out of the house. We had so many nice meals and experienced some new restaurants that we probably wouldn't have otherwise. Some gift cards like Phantom Gourmet and the Columbus Group work at tons of restaurants around Boston.
  18. A cooking class! I love this gift idea for a significant other, because it involves a whole memorable experience rather than just a physical gift. Classes at places like Flour and Sofra look like a lot of fun.

No matter what's on your wish list this year, I hope that everyone enjoys a wonderful holiday with family and friends. Merry Christmas, all!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

This week on Marlborough 12.12

Happy happy Friday. We will be getting all dressed up tonight for the Wayfair holiday party in the Seaport! With 1,000+ employees in our office now (plus their dates) I can safely say it's probably the biggest party I'll ever go to. And if last year was any indicator, it's sure to be a GREAT time.

In other news, last weekend was our annual girls getaway to Webster, NH, which is always one of the winter weekends I look forward to most. There is always lots of great food, great wine, snowy woods walks with the dogs, lounging by the fire, more wine, and not much else. Which is just the way we like it. It's always such a relaxing winter escape from the city and this year was no different. Except that we tried to be super ambitious and make gingerbread houses from scratch. NOT as easy as it looks!
Here are some fun links from around the web this week!

  • In honor of our company party tonight, this hilarious list. 
  • Bean boots are apparently all the rage this year!
  • I loved this cozy Midwest home tour.
  • Instagram surpasses Twitter!
  • In Boston for NYE? You could ring in the new year at this dueling bash. 
  • The perfect gift for your seafood-loving foodie friends.
  • I showed a photo of this last week but totally forgot to link to it! A yummy chicken recipe we tried. 
  • A gingerbread B&B!
  • If I was having a winter wedding, I'd have a cake like this
  • Loved looking back at Emily Henderson's living room over the last 5 years! (2013 is my fave)
  • The prettiest Christmas table

Have a wonderful weekend! Be sure to check back next week for some fun holiday posts, including my Christmas wish-list and a easy last-minute DIY gift idea!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Refreshing a bedroom for winter

Last April I wrote a post about giving our spare bedroom a fresh new look for summer, so I thought I'd also share the winter version! Switching up things like your bedding is a must in Boston you want to survive the chilly nights, but here are some other little decor updates we made to get the room ready for winter guests.

1. Added some cozy accents.
Anything furry or fuzzy can instantly give a room a winter feel. We added a large sheepskin rug I found on the sale rack at HomeGoods, a cozy pillow and one of my all time favorite blankets (this faux fur throw from Resto) to the bed for some extra warmth.
2. Switched up the bedding.
Down is a MUST in the winter, so we traded out the lighter quilt for down comforter that josh had stored away and happened to be a pretty festive shade of hunter green and seemed to go much better with the room than the bright blue one I have. Noted on the fact that we definitely need a duvet cover. It will be on the registry. :)

3. Added some seasonal touches.
To bring some holiday cheer to the room, I made a DIY pennant banner using some fabric scraps we had leftover from our HFTHBoston event to hang over the bed, as well as added a gold gourd to the nightstand. And then there's my rope and copper wall hanging, which is still one of my favorite things that I've ever made.
4. Brought some of the outdoors in.
Incorporating living plants into our home even in the dead of winter reminds me that there will be life after all the ice and snow melts away. Plus they make me smile, and I hope they do the same for our guests. We brought the hanging succulents from our patio inside and strung them up in the guest room corner as well as added a sweet succulent planter that my sister gave me to the bedside table.
So we're officially in hibernation mode here on Marlborough and ready for winter sleepovers. How do the rooms in your home change from reason to season? Whether your updates are big or small - I'd love to hear!

Friday, December 5, 2014

This Week on Marlborough 12.5

Happy Friday and happy December! Josh and I spent last week celebrating Thanksgiving in Vermont, as well as our first day of the season on the Sugarbush slopes as official season pass holders. Even though there were only a few trails open, it was a beautiful sunny day and was so nice to enjoy a few leisurely runs (and lodge beers) without worrying that we had to "make the most" of our expensive lift ticket. I'm excited for many more days like that this winter.

And when we got back to Boston, josh and I didn't waste any time when it came to getting into holiday mode. We decorated our mantle on Sunday, got a tree on Monday, decorated that tree while listening to Christmas music on Wednesday, and hung a wreath on our front door last night. If you can't tell already, I really do love this time of year.
Here are some fun links from around the web this week...

  • Real life mario cart
  • A really awesome holiday gift guide
  • POTENTIAL for New England's first cat cafe.
  • Cactus Christmas trees!
  • A great article about the power couple behind Houzz. 
  • These father/daughter photos are totally fantastic. 
  • Your weekly dose of cute
  • The first-ever Boston T restaurant map
  • A great advent calendar idea
  • If I celebrated Hanukkah I would definitely make this

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday Shelfie

Well, it's officially December, which means it's finally not too early to start decorating for the holidays!!

I have been working with 7 bloggers over the last few months to decorate a mantle, shelf, or little corner of their home with festive products from Wayfair. The idea was to take the popular "shelfie" hashtag on Instagram to the next level and create a "holiday shelfie." The resulting photos are so fun! You can see the full slideshow here.

And I was so inspired by these gorgeous shelfies that I decided to give our mantle a festive makeover and take a few "holiday shelfies" of my own. It's starting to look a lot like Christmas at casa de Marlborough! I think Mac really liked the new look.
^Gold striped vases: DIY // Gold branches and faux garland: Michaels // Pear figurines: Target // Gold animal ornaments: DwellStudio // Modern white trees: DwellStudio //  Gazelle horns: HomeGoods // Brass fireplace set: Ebay // Brass magazine holder: Thrifted //

What do you think of the white/gold look we went for? Do you have a similar festive shelf or corner in your home? Share a photo on Instagram this month with the hashtag #holidayshelfie for the chance to win a $500 Wayfair gift card!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Break!

Happy almost Thanksgiving! Josh snapped this photo of mac and I on Marlborough this week, bundled up for a walk. It's really starting to feel like winter, especially now that this stoop will probably be covered in snow soon!

Anyway, I am taking some time off from work & the blog this week to enjoy Thanksgiving break. There will be lots of family time, hopefully some skiing, and tons of delicious food, of course. I hope everyone has a wonderful Turkey Day!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The week on Marlborough 11.21

Happy Friday! It's been a cold one. Last weekend we had an equally chilly day-long bar crawl/scavenger hunt in celebration of Ayla's birthday, which was so much fun. The crawl started at 2pm at the top of Boylston street at Dillon's and ended on the end of Charles street at Beacon Hill Pub, with a formal list of things that each team had to find, photos we had to take, and bars we had to stop at along the way. Yes, that is Maria getting a shoulder ride from one bar to another, Claire giving a complete stranger a foot massage, Ayla & team chugging beers with more complete strangers, and Maria getting her nails painted by yet another random stranger. It was so funny to see how each team started out so strong and competitive, knocking challenges of their lists left and right, and then slowly lost track of their scores and lists all together and were just having fun. I don't think there was ever a clear winning team (cough team 2 cough), but either there were smiles all around at the end of the night.

This weekend we are continuing the fun with a big Friendsgiving. Josh and I are going to be contributing these and also were planning on making an apple crisp, but then I saw THIS and it was kind of a game changer, so now I'm not sure. Either way, knowing our friends, it will be filled with delicious food and good cheer. This Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for my friends. I may be bias, but I think I have the best ones.
Here are some fun links from around the web this week!

  • The best ads of 2014. The #2 spot (devil baby) kills me everytime! 
  • Another great laugh - celebrities read mean tweets about them. 
  • So cute (and so much face paint), that you just can't get mad. 
  • They noticed a glass box and went inside but they never expected this
  • One of my fave bloggers, Design Lovefest, designed the new Meghan Trainor video and it's so cool!
  • In LOVE with this DIY vintage trailer makeover.
  • The kid rendition of "Baby It's Cold Outside" is so cute!
  • A pretty fall cocktail I want to try. 
  • Ellen and Portia's 2014 Christmas Card.
  • If you need me this Saturday, you can find me here.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Creating a (non-traditional) wedding registry

^ image via Domaine Home

When my mom told me to start thinking about a wedding registry in advance of our engagement party in December, my first thought was "but we don't need anything!" Like many modern-day couples, josh and I are already living together and have a lot of the items a typical wedding registry includes. We are settled in an apartment that we've loved completely decorating and furnishing together, and also has absolutely zero room for more "stuff." It gives me anxiety just thinking about where I would keep a standing mixer or a turkey pan. All of those typical registry items would be amazing for when we move out of the city one day, but for now I feel like I am already always looking for creative ways to hide clutter and maximize the (already full) storage space we do have.

Which brings my to my next point! When josh and I began talking about what would be the most helpful and special gift to us at this time in our lives, we both jointly landed on a home. And when we started looking into registry options, we came across an awesome site called Hatch My House, which allows wedding guests to contribute towards a down payment on your first house. And even though the site is set up in a way that feels more like a registry (you can buy a window, the staircase, or even the roof!), it is still definitely alternative and we worried about meeting some opposition by those with more traditional registry views. We thought about it a lot - is it inappropriate or tacky to ask for money? Would we be horrified if we were invited to a wedding and the couple asked us to help with a down payment? Do people just really love giving physical gifts? Obviously the site gets these questions a lot, because they have a whole FAQ page about them. :) But I think they pose a great question: What comes first, the dining room or the china for the dining room? In the end we decided that most would understand that after living together for two years, josh and I have a lot of things but the next step and most important shared goal for us is saving for a house to put them all in!
So what we ultimately decided on is a happy medium, a main Hatch My House registry and then a small gift registry using MyRegistry.com (I love how it allows you to register for items all across the web in one place!) with household items that we may not have room for now, but we really will need or would love to have in the future. Most things will be shipped to my parent's house (thanks for clearing out the garage, mom & dad!) and stored there until that time comes. As someone who loves home products & decor, my worry was that if we didn't register for some gifts, we'd end up with a load of things that didn't fit our style, we didn't need, or maybe even that we already had! So we think that this combination is perfect for us - it allows us to register for some products we really love while not making us feel "forced" to register for a bunch of items we don't need.
^ Photo via the EveryGirl

Obviously every couple is different and has different needs at the time of their wedding, but josh and I just started this process and wanted to share what we've learned so far in case it's even a teensy bit helpful to other couples who are in a similar situation to us down the road. I'll report back in a seperate post about what types of gifts we're registering for, what we've found are the best sites to find unique items, and how our "house registry" is resonating with people. It seems like no wedding topic brings out peoples' "real" opinions like the registry!

Oh and P.S. - here are some other "alternative" registries that we came across while researching and I thought were really cool.

  1. Honeyfund: allow guests to help contribute towards an epic honeymoon.
  2. CSA box: Register to get monthly fresh veggies! 
  3. Card Avenue: If you aren't quite sure what you will need, register for gift cards to buy items down the line!
  4. Bottlenotes: A great gift idea for the wine-loving couple. Yes, you can register for wine.
  5. I Do Foundation: Allow guests to donate to the charity of your choice! 

And for more wedding posts, click here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

This week on Marlborough 11.14

^ bathtime for mac this week!

Happy Friday! This week was a bit confusing after getting so ready for the holidays in preparation for this event, and then coming back down to earth and realizing that it's not even really that close to Thanksgiving. Josh had to tell me it was TOO early to get a tree, but all I want to do is start breaking out the string lights and stocking and ornaments and get the Christmas party started. I guess for now I'll just have to be content with some hot cocoa and a warm fire (we had our first one this week!), but I am very eagerly awaiting Christmastime this year.

What is everyone up to for the weekend? I will be celebrating one of my best friends' birthdays tomorrow on a day-long scavenger hunt-style bar crawl (think this), which should be a lot of fun and result in some hilarious photos. Then on Sunday, we will be heading down to Westport for our first site visit with the Mstarr team for our wedding. So many decisions to be made!
Here are some fun links from this week...

  • This puppy takes naptime seriously. 
  • I'm pretty excited for this new HGTV show. 
  • Kate Spade's new ad featuring Anna Kendrik is great. 
  • I love this DIY giant snowflake marquee
  • And these easy DIY ombre Christmas ornaments. 
  • 22 kids and their big dogs
  • My new cozy hat I just snagged for winter. 
  • Does anyone else subscribe to the Skimm? It's my new favorite newsletter! 
  • 4 things you didn't know about the mansion in Taylor Swift's new music video. (Ok I'm admitting it, I kind of like the song)

Until next week! xx

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Home for the Holidays Blogger Event

^ a pretty baller giant paper garland made by our talented content team.

Our first blogger event here at Wayfair last weekend was so much fun! If you were following our #HFTHBoston hashtag on Saturday, you may have seen some sneak peeks into everything were were up to. But for those of you that didn't, I wanted to share some photos from the day and a little bit about the conference schedule. Planning this event took a tremendous amount of work, but thanks to helping hands across several teams at Wayfair, our amazing sponsors, and the incredible Kate & Alison of Boston Bloggers, the day flowed absolutely seamlessly. And even though it is a bit early, it was SO much fun to get into the full holiday spirit (Christmas music, gifts, garland and all)! It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

So here's how the day went down...

(all photos via Third Eye Chic Studio)

Check-in started in the morning, and all bloggers received a nametag, notebook, and agenda designed with calligraphy from the amazing Sara of Ink Revival. The beautiful, handwritten touch she gave to all of these pieces really made the event. Oh how I wish I had those kind of skills...
After check-in, the day started with a keynote speech from DwellStudio founder and Wayfair executive Creative Director Christiane Lemieux, and Heather Armstrong of arguably the most famous "mommy" blog ever, Dooce.com. These two ladies are already good friends and have such great chemistry, so needless to say everyone was fully engaged in their conversation about building a blog from the ground up. Christiane was actually a top trending topic in Boston on Twitter during this keynote!
Then we jumped into sessions! The first was a DIY holiday gift tag session led by Kate of the blog Domestikated Life. She taught the group how to make 5 different easy and creative gift tags for the holidays, and let them go wild making some of their own to take home. We had quiet the colorful shopping cart when shopping for this session (yarn, glitter, burlap and paint chips are just some examples of the materials we used)! 
Next was a DIY pennant banner session hosted by myself and my colleague Shelby. Because who doesn't want a cute pennant banner hanging over their mantle for the holidays? And they are so easy to make that even bloggers who didn't have much DIY background came up with such pretty and creative banners.
Then there was a holiday tabletop decorating session, featuring tips and style tricks from Abby Larson, founder of Style Me Pretty. She ran this session 4 times throughout the day and every table came out prettier than the next! We had stocked shelves with tabletop supplies from each of our brands, including Wayfair, Joss & Main, AllModern, Birch Lane, and DwellStudio. And if you love any of the products you see in these photos, you can find them all here.
We also had a classroom-style session on SEO tips for blogging, led by members of our SEO team here at Wayfair. We got lots of nice feedback from this one, with bloggers saying it was the best and easiest explanation of SEO tips they had ever heard. Our SEO team did a really great job at breaking it down in a way that was easy to understand!
For the final session of the day, we gathered everyone together again for a holiday menu planning chat with Jeremy Sewall, the award-winning Boston chef of Island Creek Oyster Bar. He even gave an oyster shucking demonstration and came stocked with enough for everyone to try.
Then it was time to crank up the Christmas tunes and enjoy some vino! Luckily the lovely team over at Andegavia sponsored our cocktail hour and provided some delicious wine for everyone to end a great day with. They were definitely the prettiest boxes of wine I've ever seen. We also ended the event with an informal Yankee Swap, where everyone was able to grab a gift from Wayfair from under our (faux) tree. Are you starting to get excited for Christmas yet?

All photos were taken by our very talented photographer, Surabhi of Third Eye Chic Studio. To anyone that came, thanks for being so lovely and for making this an event that's going to be hard to top! I hope you feel inspired to create some amazing holiday content for your blogs. And to everyone reading, I hope these photos make you as excited for the holidays as this event made me. :)