Category Archives: Delightful Little Things

Ultimate Bridesmaid is 4 Years Old!

Ultimate Bridesmaid 4th BirthdayThat’s right, Ultimate Bridesmaid has been around for 4 years! I feel like the blog has come full circle because four years ago I was writing about my experiences as a MOH planning a bachelorette weekend in Savannah. And tomorrow I’ll be hopping on a plane for my own bachelorette weekend in Charleston! I am beyond excited for this weekend, firstly because I did not have to do anything. Seeing the bachelorette weekend from the bride’s side has made me appreciate maids of honor even more. There are so many moving parts to planning a wedding that it’s just an absolute relief to have one aspect of it that you don’t have to worry about at all. So I’m just full of pure excitement for this weekend, no anxieties about planning or what to bring! I can’t wait to spend a relaxing and fun weekend with my girls! ALL THE EMOTIONS!

So what were some of my favorite posts of the year?

Will You Be My Bridesmaid Box

My Will You Be My Bridesmaid Boxes
I loved sharing this DIY for my “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” gifts, with a handmade photo card and travel-themed gifts for my destination wedding in Maine.

Bachelorette Travel Guides
I was able to add lots of new bachelorette city guides this year (including Key West, New York City, Savannah and Disney World) and created one spot where you can find them all. And I have plans for lots more in the coming year. One of my favorite growing areas of the site.

50 Simple & Stylish DIY Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Decor Ideas
Researching and writing huge roundups like this can be incredibly time consuming, but I think it’s so worth it in the end because it gives you so much inspiration and content all in one place. And you seem to think so too! It’s one of your favorite posts of the year.

My Whole30
This was a very personal post that deviated from our usually scheduled programming, but one I’m really proud of and glad I wrote. Health and weight loss are not topics I usually feel comfortable discussing, but my January Whole30 experience was incredibly positive and made me feel empowered and ready to share. I did a second Whole30 in March on the DL, and have been eating about 80% Whole30 in my daily life: 100% Whole30 on weekdays with some wine and off-plan dinners or treats on the weekends. And when I go on vacation (like my bachelorette tomorrow!!!), I feel both in control of decisions about what I eat and zero guilt about my indulgences. Since January, I have lost 30 lbs. (!!) and am back down to my healthiest weight, like, ever. But for more on all the things I love about Whole30, you can read my very long (and very real) post.

Plus, I got to share some truly gorgeous real bridal showers and bachelorette parties. I am always blown away by the creativity I see in these parties. I try to choose events that go outside the norm, that truly show the personality of the bride and just show real women having a kickass time together. Thanks to all the photographers who shared their amazing work with me this year!


Top row: Winter Girls Getaway to Lake Louise, Pastel Garden Boudoir ShowerFlower Crown Crafting Bridal Shower
Middle row: Midcentury Modern Garden Party, Key West Bachelorette, Modern Geometric Gold Bridal Shower
Bottom row: Green & Gold Favorite Things Bridal Shower, 70s-Style Wonderland Bridal Shower, Madonna Inn Bachelorette

My Favorite Reads of 2015

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I had a book review blog. And then I started this blog and it was just too much. Though I was still reading just as much as ever, I couldn’t keep up with Ultimate Bridesmaid and work a full-time job and have a life and blog about books. So my book blog fell by the wayside, but I certainly didn’t stop reading and I definitely didn’t stop having opinions about what I read. I even tried to write a really long recap post of every book I read last year, but it was exhausting. So finally I just decided to share a selection of my favorite reads from last year with you. 

My Favorite Reads of 2015

If you’re looking for something totally different, try The Bees by Laline Paull
Tired of reading about how messed up we humans are? Take a break from the cares of the human world with this book told from the perspective of a lowly worker bee. You immediately get sucked into the captivating but alien world of the hive as Flora 717 struggles to find her place. Born a sanitation worker, she stifles an unnatural urge to have a baby, the sole duty of the hive’s Queen. I ended up learning a lot about bees while also being totally engrossed in the Handmaid’s Tale-like struggle of one bee to rise above her birth.

If you already miss Downton Abbey, read Below Stairs by Margaret Powell.
This kitchen maid’s memoir inspired both Downton Abbey and the older television show Upstairs, Downstairs. Margaret Powell went into service at a young age and eventually rose through the ranks to become a cook. Her exploits include trying to find a nice young man to marry at any cost and her work in several houses across England gives a broad picture of the different circumstances servants endured. Her voice is so witty and fresh and she does a marvelous job of having a laugh at the goings on both upstairs and down. I sped through this book. Reminded me a lot of Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin, another really chatty and fun little memoir.

If you’re looking for a vacation read with substance, try The Vacationers by Emma Straub.
Sometimes you’re in a space where you need a certain book and The Vactioners just fit the time in my life when I read it. It’s a little bit like The Corrections lite, but with better scenery. It may have officially renewed my desire to go to Spain, but it’s by no means a fluffy beach read. Behind the stunning portrait of Mallorca is a family in crisis: Franny and Jim are dealing with the fallout from his workplace affair with a much-younger woman, their daughter Sylvia is hell-bent on losing her virginity before she heads to college in the fall and their son Bobby is trying to find a way to ask his father to bail him out of debt from a pyramid scheme he’s sunk his savings into.

If you love dystopian novels, try Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mendel.
I might have said I was getting a little worn out by the dystopian genre, but then I read Station Eleven and realized I was just tired of poor renditions on that theme. Station Eleven manages to take well-trodden territory and make it fresh. Part of its appeal is the unique premise: a group of minstrels moving through the post-apocalyptic wilderness trying to maintain their humanity by performing for survivors.

If you want a fun, light beach or plane read, try Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t read all award-winning serious literature. Sometimes I just needs something easy breezy and fun. Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians fits the bill, opening a window on a world I knew nothing about: the lives of the super-rich Asian JetSet elite of Singapore. Kwan grew up in this world, so his stories are by no means exaggerations (in fact, he claims he toned it down a little bit).

If you love historical fiction, read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.
Wolf Hall manages to add something to the conversation about a period of history that’s been absolutely papered with fiction. I’ve read a lot of books about the reign of King Henry VIII, but this is the first to be told from a perspective outside the royal family (Thomas Cromwell is the novel’s focus). It’s also the first fictionalization of this time period I’ve read that isn’t dominated by the romance, seduction and gender politics of the court. Though that’s certainly still an element of the story, both the religious revolution and feudal struggles for power are given equal weight, which forms a more interesting (and probably more realistic) picture of what was going on in Henry’s court.

If you’re looking for a tragic romance, try Euphoria by Lily King.
A really lovely book with a captivating, unique premise. Euphoria is set in the thirties at the very dawn of anthropology as a science. Established anthropologist Andrew Bankson has made a name for himself studying the Kiona tribe in New Guinea, but feels utterly alone in the field. He meets a young couple, Nell and Fen, who are just starting out in their research and immediately latches on to them in hopes of companionship and maybe more. Bankson helps Nell and Fen find a nearby tribe to study, but it become clear to him over time that Fen feels threatened by his wife’s natural affinity for working with native peoples. Fen’s professional jealousy combined with Bankson’s growing attachment to Nell leads the threesome down a dark road.  

It’s Ultimate Bridesmaid’s Birthday (We’re 3)!

Ultimate Bridesmaid Year 3 Top Posts

Photo courtesy of Aly Carroll Photography

That’s right, Ultimate Bridesmaid is 3 years old!

It’s crazy to look back at some of the first posts I wrote and then see where the blog is today. Thanks are due, as always, to the amazing friends, family and readers who have supported this crazy blog project of mine. Your words of encouragement mean the world to me. It is also such a privilege to get to work with incredibly talented and inspiring photographers and creatives—the wedding community really is full of generous, warm-hearted people.

Usually for our blogiversary, I share what you loved the most (check out our top 10 posts from year one, many of which are still some of your all-time favs + our year two milestones here). But this year I decided to share some of my favorite posts from this year—ok, and yours too.

What’s in Your Cell Phone Game: This party game, with versions for both a bridal shower and a bachelorette party, debuted just a few short weeks ago, but it’s already edging into the daily top 10, which is fast in blog world. Usually a post has to gain momentum over time or have a really big surge due to some influential social sharing, but this baby is just knocking it out. I hear you—you like games, more games!

Bridal Shower 101: This is one of those posts that took forever to write—like, weeks. Because I really tried to cover every basic and not-so-basic question you could have about a bridal shower. From who is responsible for planning the shower and who should be invited to what to serve (is alcohol allowed?) and what to do (does the bride have to open her gifts?), this post will answer many, many of your questions. A great article to peruse for new bridesmaids!

MOH Speech Writing Prompts: As evidenced by our all-time favorite post, The Ultimate Maid of Honor Speech, writing a great maid of honor speech is a topic on many a MOH’s mind. Since I already tackled the basics of speech writing and some major do’s and don’ts, I decided to focus on one of the hardest aspects of writing any speech: getting started. These speech writing prompts will give you ideas for exactly what to talk about during those three minutes in the spotlight.

33 Spectacular Bachelorette Party Ideas: Following the success of 21 Spectacular Bridal Shower Themes, we had to bring the same treatment to the bachelorette party. Ideas include a nude drawing classes, belly dance lessons, river tubing and so much more!

What’s Wrong With the Bachelorette Party (and How We Can Fix It): Writing this post was a bit like writing Ultimate Bridesmaid’s manifesto. I really wanted to express my thought process for the aesthetic choices I make on the blog and the mission behind it, and the bachelorette party is the perfect microcosm to express all that. In a nutshell: Down with pink boas and penis-shaped straws, up with parties that reflect the bride’s personality and style!

Plus, here are a few of my favorite real bridal shower and bachelorette parties from this year!

birthday collage

Top row: Donut Bridal Brunch, Poolside Bridal ShowerCooking Classy Bachelorette
Middle row: New Orleans BacheloretteLondon Tea Party Shower, Garden Bridal Brunch
Bottom row: Bridal Crafting PartyLowcountry Bridesmaid Luncheon, Peacock Blue Bridal Shower

Personally, this was an exciting year for me because I got engaged! Andrew and I have decided to have our wedding in Maine, which is a place we fell in love with together and now visit every year (see past recaps of our trip and the places we love here and here). Originally I was going back and forth on whether we should get married in Brooklyn or Bar Harbor. Before Christmas, I was pretty much set on Brooklyn and had even scoped out a couple venue—and then all of the sudden I totally switched directions and landed on Maine.


So what happened? Well, I realized that when I thought about planning a wedding in Brooklyn, it stressed me out—there’s so much competition for venues and vendors, and don’t even get me started on the prices. But when I thought about getting married in Maine, I felt relaxed. Once I realized that, the decision was simple. Plus, as my awesome future sister-in-law pointed out, New York weddings can be a bit scattered. Guests want to go off and explore the city, and hotels may be far from the venue, so you get to see less of the people who have traveled so far for the event. At a more intimate destination, everyone will stay close and you’ll get to spend more quality time together.

Next week we’re taking a trip to Maine and will choose our wedding venue and finally set our date (eek!)! I’m trying to decide between late May and September or early October. Any advice from those familiar with the area? We always go in May and love it, but fall is my favorite season…plus, it would give me more time to plan. If anyone has gotten married on Mt. Desert Island, let’s talk!!

I’ve got big blog dreams for the coming year as well. I’ll share one with you in the hopes that putting it out on the Internet will help hold me accountable: I think I’m finally ready to tackle a site redesign. I’m in the process of looking at designers right now and trying to find the right fit, but I’m really excited about this. And nervous! So nervous. I want to improve functionality and navigation and add new features and photo galleries and spruce up our look a bit and I just need to find the right dream-vision partner to make this all happen.

Here’s to year 4!

Merry Christmas + An Engagement (Mine)


So, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you…

I got engaged!!!!! Did I not say that yet? It’s honestly so exciting and amazing and wonderful, but it’s kinda awkward to just shout to the Internet, am I right? So now you know. I’m engaged! Andrew and I have been together for over four wonderful years and I was so excited when he asked that I was literally like “Is this for real?” and then we picked out a gorgeous ring together that I’m both obsessed with and also petrified that I will drop onto the subway tracks, so thank god for jewelry insurance and YEAH. It’s awesome. Love is the best.

Andrew and I met about four and a half years ago—on And before you ask, no, I do not plan to go on the commercials as a success story. I love telling people that we met online though because it was such a fun experience for me all around and it led to meeting the person I love. For those who are nervous about trying online dating, I have to take a moment to encourage you to try it. In the few months before I met Andrew, I went on more dates than I ever had been on in my life, and met some very nice guys who bought me dinner and drinks and were generally interesting or at the very least pleasant. The worst I could say about those fellows was that a few were sort-of boring—although there is one I assume was killed in a tragic accident because he never called me back for a second date.

I also firmly believe that Andrew and I would have never met if not for the internet. I worked in publishing while he worked in property management, I lived on the Upper East Side while he lived in Brooklyn, we didn’t even go out in the same neighborhoods—it just would have been very unlikely. But it only took me about three months of dating on Match to meet Andrew, and we instantly clicked.

Andrew planned our first date, which impressed me because boys are usually terrible at things like that. But he took the time to choose fun, casual spots with lots of interaction, perfect for a first meeting. We started with drinks at a local watering hole in the East Village, then headed to Crif Dogs for seriously amped up hot dogs (try the tsunami dog covered in pineapple and teriyaki sauce, for reals) and finished the night at Ace Bar for a flirty game of darts and skeeball. You know how sometime you just feel completely comfortable around a person immediately? And they make you laugh without even trying? And you leave the night feeling like even though you never stopped talking there are still one thousand things you don’t know about them yet? That’s how I felt with Andrew from day one—and still do.

I could go into a thousand little stories about how our relationship developed: making pizzas at his house, the many ways Andrew tried to impress me on some of our earliest dates always to be thwarted by New York City in some way… But one of the defining moments of our relationship was most definitely our trip to Iceland. We were about three months into our relationship, on the subway taking one of the hour-long trips between my house and his when Andrew casually asked if I’d like to go to Iceland. I was instantly like, “Uhm, are your serious? Heck yes, I want to go to Iceland!” His response: a very excited “Really?” I called my friend Meryl to ask if I was being insane for committing to going on an international vacation with a man I’d known for three months, because seriously that’s what girlfriends are for, and Meryl was like, “It is totally insane. And you should totally do it.”

Iceland was either going to make or break our relationship, and it definitely made it. We had so many adventures driving around the otherworldly little country in our tiny compact rental car. We bathed in the hot springs at the Blue Lagoon while storm clouds rolled in. We let our GPS coerce us into taking a very narrow, very potholed dirt road, considered turning back for the sake of our fragile car but decided to press on only to come upon a herd of roaming ponies moments later, who then let us pet them (true story). We saw more waterfalls and rainbows than I’ve ever seen before. We drove that same intrepid car out onto the black sand beaches, and were nearly stranded there. We explored a glacier.

That trip set the tone for our relationship and some of the qualities we love and bring out in each other: adventure, laughter, encouragement, support. Also, Andrew’s tendency to make ridiculous faces in photographs.

Cutting down a Christmas tree

I could go on and on, but I guess I just wanted to share this little snippet from my life. We haven’t set a wedding date yet. I’m honestly still trying to figure out what kind of wedding I want! That may surprise you since I’m a wedding blogger, but I think that actually makes it more difficult for me because I’ve seen so many great ideas and can imagine lots of different wedding scenarios that fit our personalities. I could see our wedding happening in Brooklyn, the Catskills, the coast of Maine—even Iceland! Right now I’m taking the time to enjoy being engaged and we’ll figure out this wedding thing soon.

Anyway, Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Bar Harbor Weekend Getaway in Maine

Andrew and I first vacationed in Maine in 2013 and fell in love with this beautiful island. We’ve been back every year since and feel like Mt. Desert Island is our home away from home now. We even got married there. Here are a few of our recommendations for things to do (and for more ideas, check out Our Acadia).

Where to Stay

Cranberry Lodge at the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor, Maine

The Asticou Inn

Andrew and I love the Asticou Inn—we got married there, after all. The inn overlooks Northeast Harbor and has an outdoor swimming pool and tennis court. It has forty-eight rooms, and each room is a bit different—some include sitting rooms or claw-foot bathtubs and both water and country views are available. There are many two-room suites with sofa beds that are great for families or groups of friends who want to split lodging costs. We love the upstairs suite in the Blue Spruce house and the downstairs suite in Bird Bank, as well as the rooms with balconies in the main inn. One downside to the Asticou is that it’s not walkable to anything. Expect a 20 minute drive to restaurants and other activities.

Atlantic Oceanside Hotel

Our top choice for those on a budget! You will get a great price and not feel like you skimped at all. The Atlantic Oceanside is an oceanfront hotel with an outdoor and indoor swimming pool and jacuzzi. It’s located a 15 minute walk from Bar Harbor or a 5 minute drive. The rooms in the Atlantic View building are our favorite as each has its own little porch.

Hearthside Inn

This classic B&B is located right in the center of Bar Harbor (with parking!), which is a great benefit for evenings spent in town. The home is spacious and cozy and hosts Brian and Catherine are so warm and friendly. Our favorite feature was the outdoor patio—we ate breakfast out there every day and enjoyed a bottle of wine under the twinkle lights at night. Even though we have been to Bar Harbor many times before, Brian still introduced us to a few new things, like a very helpful app with trail maps and info that can be accessed without cell service (Chimani Acadia, a must download!).

Acadia National Park

The Ocean Path in Acadia National Park, Maine | Bar Harbor Travel Guide

This beautiful national park is what first drew us to this part of Maine. Encompassing over 30,000 acres on Mt. Desert Island, the park has something to offer for everyone. Here’s my recommendation for a quick tour of the park’s highlights, which can be done in a couple hours and is accessible for all young and old.

A drive around the Park Loop Road will let you visit many of the park’s most famous sites, including the Jordan Pond House, Cadillac Mountain and Thunder Hole. The loop was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the son of the man who designed Central Park.

Start your tour at Jordan Pond, a beautiful lake surrounded by the Acadia mountains. Lots of day hikes start near Jordan Pond and there’s also an easy path around the lake perfect for any age (though it’s 3.5 miles long, you can easily do a small portion of it and still get the effect of the lake).

Next stop: Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the Eastern seaboard and the first place that the sunrise is visible in the United States. Cadillac Mountain is one of the few peaks accessible by car, so even non-hikers can enjoy the view. There’s a short half-mile loop around the summit that you can take to enjoy the panoramic views, or embark on the complete 3.5-mile ascent if you have a half day to spare.

After your ascent to the top of Cadillac Mountain (by car or on foot), take the road toward Sand Beach to see Thunder Hole and the rocky coastline of Maine. At Thunder Hole, the waves crash against the shore, creating its namesake sound. The Ocean Path runs for 2 miles along the eastern shore of the park and the views are spectacular (the path is level and easy for all ages, but there’s plenty of opportunity to scramble on the cliffs for the more daring). If you follow the Ocean Path around the southern bend of the island, you’ll come to Otter Point, one of my favorite spots on the island and a great place to explore the tide pools or just take in the gorgeous view of the ocean and the Cranberry Islands.


Some of my favorite intermediate hikes in Acadia have been Penobscot Mountain, Beech Mountain and Acadia Mountain. With 24 mountains to choose from, selecting a hike can be challenging, but the best website we have found for hiking information in Acadia is Joe’s Guide to Acadia National Park. For brave, experienced hikers, The Precipice and The Beehive are famous for their iron rungs and handrails for exposed scrambling. Beginners and kids can enjoy the Jordan Pond Loop and Ocean Path with ease. Any mountaintop you choose will afford amazing views of the mountains, lakes and sea and islands surrounding Mt. Desert Island.

Other Activities

Canoeing in Long Pond 

Canoe rentals are available at National Park Canoe & Kayak Rental on Long Pond. For reasons unknown, all bodies of water on the island are referred to as “ponds,” but this is definitely a misnomer—we paddled for four hours, surrounded by mountains and trees the vibrant green of spring and barely saw half of the lake. Look out for bald eagles!

Asticou Azalea Gardens

asticou gardens

Located right across the street from the Asticou Inn, these beautiful gardens are definitely worth a stroll.

Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf

Do you like mini golf? We do! I think it’s probably because there really aren’t any mini golf course in New York City, so we are now mildly obsessed with them. This one is especially fun, with lots of caves and waterfalls—one hole is even on a pirate ship.

Whale Watching or Wildlife Cruise

Wildlife and whale watching cruises are available daily from Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor. The Sea Princess has several daily nature cruise out of Northeast Harbor, while Acadia Nature Cruises and the Downeast Windjammer Cruise sail out of Bar Harbor.

Sea Kayaking 

Kayak rentals and guided tours are available through National Park Sea Kayak Tours, Maine Sea Kayaking and Coastal Kayaking Tours.


Beals Lobster Pier in Southwest Harbor, Maine

Here are some of our favorite spots on the island to grab a bite.

Beal’s Lobster Pier

Hands down our favorite lobster pound (and we’ve sampled many). Beal’s is located in Southwest Harbor on a working lobster pier, so you can watch the lobster boats come in while you eat on the picnic tables or covered porch. If you’re looking for a classic lobster roll or whole lobster dinner (or lunch), this is our recommendation.

Seafood pizza at Quietside Cafe in Southwest Harbor | Bar Harbor Weekend Guide

Quietside Cafe

Known for their pizza, ice cream and blueberry pie that’s absolutely bursting with fruit. Can’t imagine not having lobster at every single meal? No worries—order the lobster pizza! You can check out some of the cute artist shops in Southwest Harbor after your meal.

McKay’s Public House

One of our favorite places for dinner in Bar Harbor. The food is very fresh and the menu is creative, with lots of seasonal specials. Plus, they have a beautiful garden seating area. If the short rib nachos are on the menu that night, do not make the mistake Andrew did of eating the whole pickled habenero pepper. You will regret it.

Side Street Cafe

An all-around great casual dining restaurant with friendly staff and a nice bar. Try the lobster mac and cheese with one of their signature margaritas (daily happy hour from 3–6pm)!

Project Social

This Bar Harbor newcomer has a modern, eclectic vibe and serves a diverse menu of tapas and crepes with specialty cocktails. They have a great bar as well.


You would like a cold beverage? No problem. Maine is a great beer-brewing state. Some of our favorite local brews come from the Atlantic Brewing Company, Sea Dog, Allagash and Shipyard. Maine is also famous for its blueberries, so don’t be surprised to see blueberry beers, blueberry margaritas and more.

The Thirsty Whale Tavern

Great casual bar and grill in Bar Harbor. There’s a small back garden and the food is good as well.

Lompoc Cafe

This casual bar also regularly books music acts. Plus, there’s an outdoor courtyard with bocce ball (and great pizzas too).

Cottage Street Pub 

Cool ambiance with unique cocktails. Here’s where to try that blueberry mojito or the bar’s signature cocktail, Dirty Water.

One-Off Pub

We never fail to make a new friend when we visit this small pub.

Shops in Bar Harbor

Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium

Delicious ice cream (including, yes, a lobster flavor) plus homemade fudge and nostalgic candies.

Acadia Country Store

This is our favorite store in downtown Bar Harbor for Maine-made goods, like blueberry jam, maple syrup and popover mix.

Albert Meadow Antiques

We are not even sure if this shop has a name. You’ll find it down a side street off the main drag, but the antique selection is excellent. Look for the house with an Antiques and Jewelry sign on the side.

Christmas Vacation Shop

For the ornament lovers out there, this is a must-stop.

In The Woods

Hand carved spoons, bowls, toys, birdhouses, chess sets, canoes, cutting boards—you name it, they have it. Plus, a giant rocking horse.

Delightful Little Things (vol. 1)

Look, obviously I love every minute of sharing real bridal showers or creating bachelorette inspiration boards for you, but I often come across other little things, either in my personal life or via the interwebs, that I really want to share. Problem: Not bridesmaid related. Solution: This column! From now on I’ll use this space to share a few of the un-bridesmaidy things I’m loving right now.

Travel Log: A few weeks ago, I took a trip to Nashville with some of my close female relatives (the same group that made illegal U-turns in surreys last year in San Francisco—still searching for that footage). We stayed in a cute house in East Nashville, so I have a few recommendations for that neighborhood: hot dogs at I Dream of Weenie (see photo above), drinks at The Treehouse and dinner at Margot Cafe. My favorite experience in downtown Nashville was hands down the food tour we took with Music City Bites and Sites, and no Music City trip is complete without cruising the honky tonks on Broadway (we liked Legends and Tooties). And guys, I saw sooooo many bachelorette parties. Like, too many. At Tootsies, the band would call a bride-to-be whenever they saw one to dance on stage, and they literally had to do this five times in the hour we were there, sometimes with multiple brides on stage at once. I would loosely estimate I saw between 10-15 bachelorette groups in the space of three bars.

Summer Reading: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. One of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. Ursula is born on a stormy evening in rural England, 1910, but the doctor is kept away by the snow and Ursula doesn’t ever take her first breath. But everything repeats for Ursula, and rather than oblivion, she finds herself back in the country room, this time saved. The book follows Ursula’s attempts to make it further and further through life, aided by intense bouts of deja vu that subtly position her to avoid her past lives’ mistakes and move her through tragedies both at home and as a result of both World Wars. An intense read, but so rewarding and absorbing.

Love, Want: This hot pink gem-shaped speaker from Hi, you! You are so adorable. (Also: Great bachelorette prop, am I right?)

New York Minute
Delightful Little Things: Governors Island
Governors Island is still a bit of a New Yorker secret, a place very few tourists know about. Situated off the tip of Manhattan, it’s a tiny little island accessible by ferry that opens in the summer mostly to host events like the Jazz Age Lawn Party, but it’s also a green escape for picnics, bike rides and a game of mini-golf. I didn’t take a trip over last year, but this article on its new 30-acre park makes me want to add it to my summer agenda again. They had me at the field full of hammocks. Photo via Brookelyn Photography.

Pinned It, Cooked It, Loved It: Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup. I’ve been addicted to cauliflower as of late, and I loved the heartiness of this soup. We made a few modifications to suit our tastes: Added chicken, substituted skim milk for the goat cheese (didn’t have any on hand and the boyfriend hates it anyway) and added a tablespoon of cumin to up the smoky factor. We make at least one soup a week and freeze the leftovers. This is such a good practice to help avoid defaulting to microwave meals or takeout. Soup heats up really quickly and you can have a homemade meal in no time on those nights when you are feeling much too tired to think about real cooking.

Bridesmaid Moment

Delightful Little Things: Bridesmaids in Rompers

In love with these coral rompers from ASOS—such a great twist on the typical. And these girls rock it out with their high kicks! Photo via Kelsey Combe Photography.