Caffeination is an art that many people take quite seriously, and treating a couple to a new coffee-making device is sure to make you an all-star friend. Take it to the next level by combining the [coffee maker / French press / coffee bean grinder] with some world class coffee beans.

Here are a few of my favorite choices for coffee beans:

Cafe Grumpy, one of my first coffee loves in New York, now available to be shipped nationwide. Buy by the bag or a 12-month subscription. (They also have one of the most amazing logos, so feel free to throw in a logo mug for good measure.)

Citizen Bean offers  3-, 6- or 12-month subscriptions. They emphasize sustainable roasts from small-batch roasters across the country, and they donate a portion of each month’s sales to a charity designated to each roaster.

Intelligentsia Press has a wide variety of single origin and blend coffee options. Staff from this company actually work directly with growers from around the world to establish better protocols on their farms.



These weddings have convinced me of two ingredients that make a beautiful event: bridesmaids clad in blue and animal motifs. (I’ve always been partial to a squirrel.) Be sure to check at the complete posts here and here: they are truly stunning.

Happy Friday!

Sorry for the lack of posts. It’s been one of “those weeks.” Going to a wedding this weekend, so I will have lots of fodder for next week. I promise.

I have been derelict in my duty to provide you a comprehensive view of a bridesmaid’s responsibilities by nearly completely ignoring the bridal shower (i.e. the one event where it is not only appropriate but encouraged to include the couple’s registry information in the invitation). There are lots of reasons for this, of course, but mainly, it’s because I don’t typically think of them as much fun. The classic games are not my style, and they are usually squeaky-clean, day-time events (read: no alcohol).

(Granted, the showers I have attended have been fantastic. It’s really more about how I imagine showers would be.)

Recently, I came across these three examples of bridal shower themes, which just might overwhelm my hesitation of showers by appealing to my primary love: good food. I want to share these with you, and I will keep my eyes peeled for other fabulous ideas on how to liven up the often-stale shower.

Donut-themed shower

Tea party shower

Pancake shower (brilliant!!)

What shower ideas do you have? What’s the best shower you’ve attended? Is there any way to make the classic games more fun and engaging?

Ever since a recently-engaged buddy of mine mentioned that she envisioned her bridesmaids in navy, I have been besotted by the chic color palettes that navy evokes. Navy is a perfect balance of classy and casual; all the bridesmaids featured here are wearing their hair (mostly) down, and yet they still look so very elegant. Here are a few of my favorite examples of the subdued hue — first in the same shade, and then mixing things up.

I love how these girls make the color their own by accessorizing with different colored shoes.

These ladies embody effortless class with universally flattering navy blue shift dresses.

Each of these bridesmaids was tasked with picking her own dress, and one of them actually made hers from scratch.

I love how seamless these girls pull off different shades of navy blue. Effortless and fabulous.

Summer technically ended with the autumnal equinox on Friday, September 23, but with 70 and 80 degree temperatures in New York City, I’ve been happily living in denial. That comes to an end this Saturday with the start of October. I’m afraid I will have to face reality.

As an ode to the last days of summer, I thought it would be fun to highlight two sets of bridesmaids with fabulous floral dresses. The first, featured here in full, includes maids with different floral patterns (from Sohomode); different florals could be a train wreck, but the patterns all have the same color intensity, which allows them to complement, not compete with, one another.

The second is from a quaint event in England. These maids all wore the same dress from Oasis, a British retail shop. I love how effortless and chic they all look.

Street style is a major phenomenon in fashion right now. I don’t have the eye for it personally, but I do know a well-dressed wedding guest when I see one.

I snapped this picture at my friends,’ Sarah & Kyle, wedding, asking the lady in stripes if I could feature her on my blog. I love her easy style, which was perfect for this Labor Day weekend wedding with a dress code of “uptown, but now uptight.” (Please pardon the sub-par photo quality. It was dark, and all I had was my phone’s camera.)

Here’s how you can make this look your own.

  1. Pick a stripey dress that suits your body type. (I like this one from Max & Cleo.)
  2. Use a navy blue belt to cinch the dress at your natural waist.
  3. Keep jewelry to a relative minimum, adding a single statement piece like this bracelet.
  4. Finish the look with a bright pop of color. (These shoes are waterproof, and oh-so-comfortable.)

Brides wearing “something blue” is a pretty well-established act of good luck. After seeing this picture from this beautiful Malibu wedding, I started thinking about “something blue” for bridesmaids, too.

Given my love for bold nail colors, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’m in love with this maid’s manicure. After looking to the guru of nail polish,, with an emphasis on her blue swatches, I picked three favorites.

Orly Blue Suede

OPI Ogre-The-Top Blue

Chanel Riva

Would you dare to wear blue fingernail polish? Would you play it safer and paint your toes instead?

My friend Danielle drew my attention to this fantastic article on in which five women share their bridesmaid budget. These ladies represent quite a range, from spending (in total) less than $400 to more than  $1,500. I thought it might be interesting to tally my own experiences, which illustrate quite the range as well! (Note: I’m not including the expenses incurred as a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding. I was 16. All costs were covered by my fantastic parents.)

Bachelorette party ($100 – $2,000)

This probably represents the most significant range of costs. Not including bachelorette parties that I was unable to attend, the least expensive was a low-key event in the bride’s hometown, where I was also living. Pedis for myself and the bride, followed by a home-cooked meal with the whole gang, followed by a bar crawl. The most expensive was a glamorous get-away to Miami: flight + hotel (Mondrian) + margaritas by the pool during the day + dinners at high-end restaurants + drinks and dancing over 3 days.

Bridal shower ($50 – $400)

Not including the showers I didn’t attend, the least expensive was when the bride’s mother and sister planned the whole thing, so all I had to do was show up with a gift. The most expensive was my sister’s, which I planned (although a family friend agreed to host it at her home, which seriously cut back on costs). The theme was “happy hour,” which meant fun hors devours, tasty petit fours, and one signature cocktail. (All the guests were asked to bring a bottle of wine to start the happy couple’s wine collection.) Besides the cost of flying back, I covered the food and drinks, and also bought a gift.

Bridesmaid dress + extras ($11 – $230)

Two of my six dresses were from Target: $11 (on sale) green halter and $40 purple shift, respectively. For each of those weddings, I wore shoes I already owned and jewelry gifted by the brides.  The most expensive dress was still quite a steal, $150 peacock-colored strapless dress from Jessica McClintock. The bride asked us to wear silver heels, which I didn’t own, so I spent roughly $80 on those. (I probably could have found a pair for less, but they were so cute!)

Wedding weekend costs ($50 – $500)

Costs for the wedding weekend vary significantly depending on the wedding location. Not only does that dictate the price of hotels but also (1) whether or not I need to purchase a flight, and (2) whether or not I also need to rent a car once arriving. The price range for this starts with a wedding held in the town where I was living (i.e. no hotel, no flight, no rental car, only costs were incidentals) and runs to a wedding held in a different city (i.e. hotel for two nights, flight, rental car, and all meals/incidentals).

Although being a bridesmaid can be an expensive endeavor, it is also a highly rewarding one. I consider it money well spent!

A good friend of mine wore this dress to her rehearsal dinner last September. I love it equally as a bridesmaid dress. Patterns can be tricky if you have a big wedding party, but with a 2-person party, this dress looks like a winner.

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