Friday, June 27, 2014

This week on Marlborough 6.27

^ summer's in full bloom!

Happy Friday! Today is the last day in our current Wayfair office, so most of my afternoon will be spent packing up the contents of my desk (that currently looks slightly hoarder-esque) into moving crates. Then, on Monday, all of my belongings will magically have moved to my new desk in our new office. It's strange thinking that after today I'll likely never step foot in this building that has become my second home again, but I'm so excited for a change and all of the space that our new office has to offer. From the blueprints and photos that I have seen, I'm expecting to walk in to something pretty awesome on Monday. And for all of you UVMers - we're hosting an alumni event on July 16th in our new digs, so be sure to come check out the space!
Here's some fun links from around the web this week...
  • Wishing I could have gone to this.
  • Kids after their first year in college.
  • Such a magical little gathering.
  • The prettiest macarons I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot).
  • Josh and I sadly just finished season 2 of Orange is the New Black, so I guess behind the scenes photos like these will have to get me through until next season.
  • How cool are these thirfted DIY oars (made be a colleague at Wayfair)?
  • For a cool $11k, you could rent Jonathan Adler's famed beach pad this month.
  • My favorite childhood book, The BFG, is going to be a movie!
  • One of the most beautiful, real moments in the history of advertising. Thanks Skype.
  • Jessica Alba's home is gorgeous, obviously.
  • The cutest 4th of July dessert buffet (shot on my patio!)
  • The 14 craziest Airbnb rentals from around the world. I'm obsessed with the Tuscan treehouse!

Have a great summer weekend! I'll be celebrating the end to single life with a certain Bachelorette this weekend. Hopefully many (funny) photos to come! 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Favorite 4th of July DIY Ideas

Summer's main event is right around the corner! And if you've been on Pinterest lately, you've probably noticed that red, white and blue have taken over. This summer holiday is a great excuse to get crafty and express your patriotism through your wardrobe or home. Here are a few of my favorite 4th of July DIY ideas that I've seen this year! 

1. American flag mason jar vases from Maison de Pax
2. Patriotic cupcakes from Spoonful
3. Dip dyed American flag shorts from PopCosmo
4. DIY ring toss from Hostess with the Mostess
5. Firework drink stirrers from Studio DIY
6.  Sparkler cupcake topper from You Are My Fave
7.  Mini red, white & blue berry pies from Julie Blanner
8. Dynamite party favors from Oh Happy Day
9. DIY American flag converse sneakers from Free People
10. Festive medallion wreath from Wayfair
11. DIY 4th of July drink toppers from Wayfair
12. 4th of July marshmallow pops from Wayfair
13. USA flower letters from Wayfair
14. Patriotic fabric banner from Wayfair
15.  Star-spangled ice bucket from Wayfair
16. 4th of July burlap table runner from Wayfair

*Psst do the last few look familiar? They were all created and shot on our patio! 

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th! 

Friday, June 20, 2014

This week on Marlborough 6.20

Well, we made it through the hottest week ever! Unfortunately the AC in our apartment isn't working, so most of my weeknights were spent at on our patio, at splash pads, on rooftops, or at restaurants trying to find AC or a cool breeze. It was definitely a "sleep on top of the covers" kind of week, but I'm not complaining. I'm so glad summer is finally here and am going to soak up as much sun as I can get - doesn't it feel like summer is flying by already?
Here are some fun things I saw on the web this week...
  • A really cool dad.
  • A much-needed vision for Boston's Back Bay station. 
  • How Airbnb is changing San Francisco's rental market. I am a huge Airbnb fan. If you missed it, I shared a little bit about my experience with an Airbnb rental in Bermuda here
  • Facebook tries to compete with Snapchat.
  • The song I'm playing on repeat this week. 
  • The song I'm playing after that song on repeat this week. 
  • Holy ducks!!
  • Can't decide whether I'm terrified or intrigued by the "self-rescue" children's swimming method I have been hearing so much about. But these photos taken during the process are stunning. 
  • How top style bloggers are making up to $1 million a year (a statement that Erin Gates has since commented is grossly overestimated) but still an interesting article nonetheless. 
  • Obsessed with these prints. 
  • Does anyone else watch Lifetime's "Dance Moms" religiously? Probably not. But if you do, you'll be equally excited to see Maddie kill it in Sia's new "Chandelier" music video (one of my favorite songs of the summer). 
  • I don't think our patio's roof is strong enough to hold this, but I'm in love. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful summer weekend! Stay cool! xx

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Designing the Idea Bus

Today marks the end of Idea week in Boston! For those of you that are unfamiliar with this event, it's a week dedicated to bringing together "the region's change-makers, creative thinkers, entrepreneurs and cultural enthusiasts in order to foster, collaborate and celebrate new ideas. It will serve as a platform to challenge the everyday normal by experimenting with new ways of activating, interacting, collaborating and marketing Boston."

As part of the week and in the spirit of "thinking outside the bus," Wayfair teamed up with Boston's MBTA to turn a regular city bus into a funky living room. So with about two week's notice, we were challenged with coming up with a design plan (for a fairly awkwardly shaped space), ordering products, and then outfitting the bus. This started with a trip to the MBTA's Everett office (aka the bus hospital) to see what we were working with and take some measurements. Here's what the bus looked like after they removed all of it's seats for us.
^ a couple of my colleagues with our amazing MBTA helpers. Probably not used to seeing women (in heels) in their garage! :)
Challenging, right? The space was a blank canvas, but had tons of tricky areas from a decorating perspective, such as the radiators, huge back wheel hubs, and various built-in bench seats. But we were up for the challenge, of course, and I got to work right away creating some Pinterest and mood boards.

Our first idea was to create a literal "Wayfair Beach Bus" with a blue and coral color palette, nautical accents, wicker furniture, and breezy outdoor curtains. You can see the picks we had in mind for that idea here. But when we presented it to the MBTA team, they thought it was a little too "safe" (which I actually kind of love that they said, given that they are transportation people), and it actually was pretty safe. They wanted to appeal to a younger crowd, and given that at work I am usually designing things and coming up with ideas for an older demographic, I was pretty excited about that. So we came up with this.
I call it: turquoise and orange with a Moroccan/bohemian flair. It's bright and fun but still comfy and on brand. Once they MBTA team gave us the OK (exact words were "now your talking!"), we got to work ordering items (while checking measurements to a tee) to be shipped to the Everett station. And things started to look fairly promising once we started loading everything in.
While a couple members of our team loaded everything onto the bus, my colleague Kelly and I headed to Home Depot to take care of our plant needs. Furniture and decor are great, but plants and flowers can really make a difference in transforming and filling out a space. Luckily, Home Depot's plant options did not disappoint and we were able to find lots of pretty things for our bus (and in our color palette)! We made a quick stop to my patio to re-pot our new beauties into some turquoise, gold and hot pink planters before meeting the bus at South Station, where it would remain open and parked for the weekend.
Ok so back to the bus! The unwrapping, velcroing, rewiring, steaming and decorating begins (can you sense the excitement/exhaustion in my voice yet?). The bus officially opened to the public at 5pm so we were scrambling...but it came together.
^Luckily the bus windows are huge so we were able to fit that couch in! 
 ^We spray painted those pots. Had to get a little DIY in there. :)

And that's the Idea Bus! Such a fun project. If you were at South Station this weekend you may have seen it parked right outside but if not, you can check out the #ideabus hashtag on Instagram to see some great photos of the bus in action (and people hanging out on it late night over the weekend). And if you love any of the items in the bus, you can find all of them (and more) here!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Our trip to Bermuda

I'm finally sharing some photos from our trip to Bermuda! I looked through them on the computer last night and sighed a few deep nostalgic sighs. The water, beaches, colorful houses, and vegetation are so beautiful that it's hard to capture it all in photos. The island is just breathtaking - I still wake up most mornings saying "josh, can we move to Bermuda?"

As many of you know, josh got me this trip for my birthday back in January, but it also was a celebration of our 5 year anniversary of dating. The past 5 years have been such a learning experience for both of us. We've made some incredible memories, had our share of ups and downs, and come to the realization that relationships can never be perfect. But when you're traveling together, I'm a believer that that's the closest to perfection your relationship can get. All the stress from your everyday life just fades away and you are just left with feelings of relaxation and stripped down to your raw, happy self. Going new places together always makes me appreciate him more, in that raw, carefree state, and reminds me of why I love him so much. And after a very long winter and somewhat non-existent spring in Boston, traveling to Bermuda was the perfect warm escape we needed.

So here's all the details on what we ate, where we stayed, what we did...all that good stuff.

Day 1
After a quick hour and a half flight from Boston, we landed in Bermuda around 11am and hopped in a cab to head straight to the Pompano Beach Club on the south (Southampton Parish) side of the island. My family has been staying there for years and are good friends with the owners, so they were kind enough to invite us over there for lunch and to use their beautiful private beach before we could check into our Airbnb rental at 2pm. Our jaws understandably dropped when we stepped inside the hotel and saw the views of the bright blue water from almost every angle. We were changed out of our travel clothes and into our swimsuits in 5 minutes flat.
After a few hours at the beach, we begrudgingly left the beautiful Pompano beach club to head to our Airbnb rental, not sure what to expect and fairly confident that it wouldn't be as luxurious as the hotel we just were treated to for the day. Our cottage was right up right road from Pompano beach, so we were able to just walk up the hill with our suitcases and were greeted by the homeowner's (Sabrina's) mother with a key. We were pleasantly surprised that our room was clean, cozy, and perfect for what we needed. Plus, it was less that a quarter of what we would pay at a hotel!
Day 2:
On our second day, we walked down to Pompano beach club in the morning to have breakfast and rent a scooter. A scooter really is the only good way to get around on the island - cabs are super expensive and the bus system is a bit hard to rely on if you want to explore a bunch of different areas. So after josh was able to prove he could drive in a circle on the scooter (nope no license or previous experience required, kind of terrifying) we were given a map, a couple of helmets and the scooter and were free to start cruising. Josh was a great driver, but the hardest part was remembering to stay on the LEFT side of the road. After doing something one way for your entire life, it was actually a really confusing switch to make and I found myself constantly reminding josh to do the opposite of whatever he thought he was supposed to do. No more right on red folks, LEFT on red. :) Luckily, all the scooters that rental companies give to tourists are bright red, so locals know to take caution when they come up behind us newbies.
Our first stop on the scooter was to the local grocery store to load our basket up with food and beer. We did eat dinner out every night of the trip because we really wanted to try some great restaurants, but we made breakfast and packed lunch every day to save some money. The fact that our rental had a kitchenette and fridge was so helpful!
After packing some sandwiches and consulting our map, we scootered over to Horseshoe Bay beach (about a 10 minute ride) to visit arguably the most famous beach in Bermuda that we had heard so much about. And it was even more beautiful than we could have imagined. We stayed for a quick picnic but vowed we would come back for a full day later in the trip.
After the beach, we headed into the island's center of Hamilton to meet up with Jonelle, my mom's college roommate who has lived in Bermuda her whole life. We took a cab into Hamilton since we weren't sure our map skills were good enough to navigate there and knew we would be staying well into the night. That afternoon was so much fun! Jonelle showed us the entire island by boat, including some of her favorites waterfront homes and restaurants, before taking us to her home on one of Bermuda's small islands for a tour. After an amazing sunny afternoon sipping Dark n Stormys (which come in cans there, by the way) on Jonelle's boat and patio, we went ashore to dinner at Harry's overlooking the marina followed by drinks at the Frog and Onion pub.

We also had some fun taking photos under the circular moon gates that are all over the island. 
Day 3
Our third day was the best weather-wise so we decided to head back to Horseshoe Bay beach for the day. We got there early before the cruise ships rolled in, so we were able to get our own little private nook within the rocks on the beach. We spent the day relaxing, swimming, hiking up the rocks, and admiring the huge parrot fish you could see from above. After we had our fair share of sun, we headed back to our room and get ready for dinner. There was something so fun about just hopping on a scooter in nothing but your bathingsuit and sandals, holding on tight to someone you love, and feeling the sun on your face and the breeze blowing through your salty hair. That ride back from the beach was when I most appreciated this island life that we were living and thought...I probably could get used to this.
^our own little nook!
After the beach, we hung out with our host Sabrina  back at the cottage for a little (she lives in one part of the home and rents out 3 other side units) before she headed over to the Fairmont Princess for a project she was working on. She told us we had to see the hotel while we were on the island, so we tagged along with her to grab a drink before dinner. And she was right - the hotel was so quintessentially British, with huge ornate chandeliers, bold oriental rugs, and these incredible velvet pink chairs that I wanted to bring home with me. After exploring the hotel, we drove over to the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse for dinner, which has some of the best views of the island and really yummy food. We made sure to make a reservation early so that we could scooter back before it got dark and enjoy some drinks on our patio under the stars.
Day 4
On our last full day in Bermuda, we decided to explore Bermuda's Royal Navy Dockyard, which is on the far west end of the island where all the cruise ships come in. It was only about a 10 minute ride from where we were staying, but took us about an hour together because of all the stops be made at little beaches along the way. :) When we got there, we did a little touristy shopping in the Dockyard mall and gawked over the size of the massive cruise ships. On our way home, we stopped at the Cambridge Beaches resort for lunch at Breezes, which is a little restaurant on the beach that both Sabrina and Jonelle recommended and apparently only locals really know about. I had just bought a sun hat at the mall that I was wearing at lunch while sipping my iced coffee and eating my caesar salad with grilled shrimp and thinking again that I could definitely get used to this. 
After our morning adventure, josh had a tee time at the Port Royal golf course, which was the course that were were essentially staying on. The course has breathtaking views and also where the PGA Grand Slam of golf is held, so needless to say josh was pretty excited to play the course and I was pretty excited to drive the cart. This certainly wasn't the cheapest part of the trip (regular rates are $180 per person), but luckily Sabrina was able to get us a deal through her personal connections and the course did not disappoint. 
After golf, we headed back to our cottage and Sabrina took us on the tour of the other larger units in the cottage in case we ever wanted to come back with a bigger group (which I hope we can do someday!). She really made us feel so welcomed and was our best advocate on the this trip. We went into the vacation with very few plans, so we were so thankful to have a door to knock on at any time with questions, as well as have an expert there giving us great tips, directions and making reservations for us. After golf on our last night she asked us if we wanted to go to one of her favorite spots on the island before dinner and we were in, naturally. She took us about a mile down the road to this adorable little chapel (one of the oldest in Bermuda) right at sunset to take some photo of us, and then pulled over on the side of the road so that we could see the sun set over the water. 
Afterwards, josh and I enjoyed our last dinner at Coconuts, which is a beautiful waterfront restaurant at the Reef's resort. If you make reservations early enough (we didn't) you can even get a table directly on the beach! Dinner against that stunning blue backdrop was the perfect ending to our trip. 
We've sort of made it a pact to spend our money on an experience rather than a gift for every holiday and this is exactly why!  This trip was a trip I'd like to remember for a long time. Josh did, however, get me this little print as a gift (which we need to frame). And I couldn't agree more. Josh, thanks for being the guy that helps me discover new things and places every day. I can't wait for our next adventure.