My Best Friend’s Wedding

I’ve waited a long time for the perfect chance to reappropriate this movie title, and I think the opportune time has finally come. I am en route home from 5 weeks working at camp in California, and I finally feel like I have the time to work a blog post about the event of the summer: my best friend’s wedding!

At the end of May, Noah and I went to New York for three glorious days to celebrate one of the greatest people (and a wonderful couple!). The wedding was held at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club, and since I was in the wedding party, Noah and I stayed for two nights at the Club, making it super easy to get to all of the wedding-related activities.

We left to drive to NY during the late morning on Friday and arrived in the early afternoon. We checked into an adorable room with a very cute welcome note and goody bag:

IMG_9240 IMG_9244 IMG_9243

Between wedding guests and golfers, the parking lot was starting to fill up:

IMG_9241

Before too long it was time to head out to the lawn for the wedding rehearsal. Noah and I went over a little early to check out the beautiful views of the Club and golf course:

IMG_9245 IMG_9246 IMG_9247

Smilin’:)

IMG_9250

Set-up of the grounds was underway and we went through the choreography of the ceremony pretty quickly:

IMG_9248 IMG_9252 IMG_9256

Next up…the real fun started with the rehearsal dinner!

IMG_9258

Dinner was fabulous: delicious food, a very sweet slide show that the father-of-the-groom put together, and many smiles.

IMG_9259 IMG_9264 IMG_9265

We got back to the Club pretty late and wedding preparations were scheduled to begin quite early the next morning, so I tried to go to sleep right away once back at the room.

I met up with the bride and other bridesmaids bright and early, and we headed to Vaza Salon to get our hair and makeup done.

IMG_9269

While we were waiting to get started, Becca (very thoughtfully) gave me a banana bread cake – it happened to also be my birthday.😉 What a great friend.❤

IMG_9271

Once the appointments started, we were all being shuttled through hair and makeup stations pretty quickly. Although we were there for hours, it honestly was a ton of fun and didn’t feel too tedious.

IMG_9272 IMG_9274 IMG_9275 IMG_9276

They went bold for my lipstick…

IMG_9279

The cutest sisters in the world (giving me sister envy!!!):

IMG_9280

Eventually, our transformation at the salon was complete and it was time to head back to the Club for lunch and to change into our wedding clothes! Lunch was a buffet of fruit, mini-sandwiches, and assorted beverages (primarily, champagne).

IMG_9285 IMG_9287 IMG_9288

Dressing was an adventure unto itself:

IMG_9292 IMG_9295 IMG_9299 IMG_9300

Once the wedding dress was out in the free world, the photographer went to work:

IMG_9303

And we all swooned over the beautiful bride:

IMG_9310 IMG_9312

Stunning, right?!?!

IMG_9321 IMG_9323

We laughed…

IMG_9326

We cried…

IMG_9327

We hydrated…

IMG_9330

And then it was show time! The ceremony itself was beautiful – everything went on without a hiccup and several family members and friends were involved with the ceremony in some capacity. It was truly beautiful, and I think everyone in attendance cried at least once.

After the ceremony, the reception was an event all its own…

IMG_9332 IMG_9333 IMG_9336

Noah and I sat at the bridal party table and were right across from the VIPs – best seats in the house.😉

IMG_9345 IMG_9350

I don’t have that many pictures from the reception because I was too busy dancing with extreme enthusiasm – but I managed to snap a few pics of the blueberry cake and dessert cupcakes!

IMG_9355 IMG_9360

Wedding favors were fill-your-own candy jars. So cute!

IMG_9358

And like any good party…there was an after-party! Once the band (which was great, by the way) played their last song, all those who still had energy walked over to the bride’s parents’ house for more snacks, smores, and a night-time pool party:

IMG_9363 IMG_9364

Yep. It was basically the best. day. ever.

Eventually, Noah and I walked home – exhausted! – to our room at the Club. In the morning we stopped by the bride’s parents’ house again for the after-after-party. There was a delicious smattering of salads and snacks:

IMG_9366IMG_9368 IMG_9367

More pool time:

IMG_9371

And (the best part!)…a grilled cheese food truck:

IMG_9372

Wut. ?! Noah and I shared two types of grilled cheese – both were delicious and I was too busy eating to take pics. Needless to say, it was such a joy/blessing to be part of this wedding celebration. Love you, Becs!

 

Purim Review: Noah and the Ark

I know I only recently posted about Passover, but I’m obviously pretty behind the times for this blog. That said, Noah and I had pretty (in-my-humble-opinion) GREAT Purim costumes this year, so I didn’t want the opportunity to show a few pics of them to pass.

Purim is a holiday of “turning things upside down,” so silliness, unusual outfits, and general ridiculous are encouraged. Something I love about Purim as opposed to Halloween is that everyone is expected to get in on the fun – adults are more likely to get a look if they’re not dressed up than if they are! A couple weeks before Purim, Noah and I started talking about what we should dress up as for the holiday. We came up with the idea that it would be funny if one of us were *Noah* and one of us were the ark (pun intended). I would be Noah, obviously. The grand vision for the project required a couple trips to Michael’s to get the necessary supplies, and then the crafting began…

IMG_9008 IMG_9009 IMG_9011

Noah’s outfit was definitely the more labor intensive one, and it came out great!

IMG_9015

And just like that, we were showing our costumes off at the KI Megillah reading…TADA!:

IMG_9013 IMG_9012

Like any good holiday, we also made time for some good eats. The weekend before Purim, we had some friends over to make hamantaschen (traditional Purim cookies shaped like Haman’s – BOOO! – hat) and mishloach manot (lit: sending portions – one of the four mitzvot of Purim). It’s customary to give mishloach manot to friends and neighbors as a way to build community and the holiday spirit – essentially they’re little snack/gift bags with at least two types of food in them. We got a mishloach manot delivered to our apartment by the religious school kids at our synagogue – it was extremely cute. Anyway…for our party we had lots of snack foods, fruit, candies, and – of course – the freshly baked hamantaschen for people to use as materials inside their mishloach manot.

IMG_8997 IMG_9003 IMG_9004

Some folks even got into decorating the bags….

IMG_8998

It was a lot of fun to bake and pack bags with everyone. And there was, of course, the added bonus of having all the mishloach manot made, and then we only had to give them out the rest of the week.

It was a great holiday and a lot of fun to celebrate with friends – I’m already wondering what my costume might be next year…!

 

Date nights around Boston

Although school things have made me feel quite a bit busier, I’ve still managed to find some time to go out and about. And – of course – I can always make time when the situation really calls for it, such as this 3-weekends only performance of Rent by Fiddlehead Theatre, honoring the show’s 20-year anniversary.

IMG_8943 IMG_8947IMG_8948

This was my 19th time seeing Rent…but now I’m wishing I’d gone twice since it would have been 20 shows for the 20th year. Oh well.

We also went downtown to the Rowes Wharf Sea Grille for afternoon tea.

IMG_8949

First we took a few laps around the (small and family-oriented) ice rink outside – pictured in the left background of the photo above…

IMG_8952

…and then we went into the Sea Grille for afternoon tea. Yeah, we felt fancy! We selected our tea varieties and then it came out with a neat timer to let us know when it had steeped:

IMG_8955 IMG_8956

The tea also came with a variety of pastries, finger sandwiches, and biscuits (I forgot to take a picture because we were eating…). All in all, fun but a little pricey. It was an enjoyable afternoon out, but I doubt we’ll go again.

Last but not least, we finally went to Made by Me – a paint your own pottery place that’s right by our apartment and I’ve walked by a zillion times. Basically every time we pass by I say that I want to go there because I like painting things and I remember Noah’s and my visit to Paint Your Plate in Minneapolis very fondly. Noah planned our visit to Made by Me a few weeks ago, and I was very excited when he revealed what the evening activity would be. When we arrived, we spent a while checking out all the pottery options and the paint selection:

IMG_9032 IMG_9033

As soon as I saw they had seder plates, I knew I wanted to paint one because Pesach was coming up shortly afterwards, and I thought it would be fun to have something I had created on the table! Noah chose an owl mug and then started researching feather patterns.😉

IMG_9039IMG_9040IMG_9041

Ready to be fired:

IMG_9042

One week later the pieces were ready for pick up – they get so shiny after the firing!

IMG_9056

And I got to put the seder plate to good use shortly after!

IMG_9117

Formaggio Kitchen Cheese/Cider Tasting

A few weeks ago, Noah and I went to a Formaggio Kitchen class. Formaggio Kitchen is a luxury food store (specialty in cheese) in the area, and they offer cheese tasting classes that often include wine pairings/tastings or other special ad-ons. The classes fill up fast, and Noah and I had to reserve our class months in advance! We signed up for a cheese tasting class done in partnership with Bantam Cider – a local ciderhouse that focuses on making fresh, all-natural ciders.

After looking forward to the class for weeks, Noah and I were excited to make our way to Formaggio’s class location (separate location from their store). When we sat down, we looked over the tasting menu for the evening and preemptively nibbled on some bread:

IMG_9018 IMG_9019

The first cheese was a clothbound cheddar (from Cabot in Vermont!), and it came paired with Bantam’s classic cider – Wunderkind.

IMG_9021

After round one, we received a plate with the next four types of cheese: a grand cru, comte, chabichou, and charmoix (pictured below, clockwise from the top).

IMG_9022

Each of the cheeses came from a particular fromager that the buyers from Formaggio Kitchen have a relationship with. It was fun to hear the stories about the buyers building relationships with different farms, producers, and fromagers.

Each cheese was paired with a different cider, and the various tastes were supposed to complement and enhance one another. In order, the ciders were Rojo (aged with sour cherries and black peppercorns), Hopped Scrumpy (added hops towards the end of the fermentation period), Blackberry Sour (tart blackberries give it a sour/fruity taste), and Wild One (a funky cider that is open-fermented with wild yeasts, also a bit sour).

IMG_9024 IMG_9026 IMG_9027 IMG_9028

Michelle da Silva, one of the founders of Bantam, was also at the class, and she provided lots of information about the cider-making process as well as the specifics of each cider. The evening was fun and informative, although I think I am not a sophisticated enough cheese eater or cider drinker to have fully appreciated the benefit of the pairings. I’m definitely glad we went and it was a fun date (the sort of thing that would be an ideal gift for a cheese/cider/wine fan), but it was a bit pricey and I don’t anticipate going to another class. We were, however, inspired to make a trip to the Formaggio Kitchen store recently where we bought some fresh mozzarella for Noah to try on his pizza masterpieces.

To close, I’ll share a pro-tip I learned about cheese eating…for the serious cheese eaters who want to take in the full flavor profile of their cheese, it is best to eat cheese on its own – not with bread or crackers. Since the bread has yeast, it can absorb/distort some of the cheese tastes, so the purists prefer eating cheese solo. BUT, for all of you who want to keep your crackers and bread, no judgement here. I like the bread too.:)

Bridesmaid Bonanza

My best friend is getting married!!

IMG_9086

And lucky me gets to celebrate with her! A couple weekends ago I went to NY to celebrate a “triple threat” bachelorette celebration weekend: 1) morning bridal shower brunch, 2) afternoon bridesmaid limo winery tour, 3) evening bachelorette party.

The bridal shower honestly could not have been more perfect. Everyone helped out to plan different parts of the day, and it was so touching to see how much everyone there loved the bride, chipping in to make it an extra special event. From personal experience with my parts of the planning, however, I can say that the real planning star was the bride’s sister who put in a huge amount of effort to make everything absolutely wonderful. Such a labor of love and so, so beautiful. If you can’t tell, I got a bit emotional!

IMG_9073 IMG_9071 IMG_9070 IMG_9068 IMG_9069

After time for eating and drinking, we played a few games together as a group (there were a lot of female family members present as well as the bridesmaids/friends):

IMG_9075

After many stories were shared and laughs enjoyed by all, it was time for the limo to arrive! The gals grabbed our bachelorette goody bags (complete with brightly colored lipstick, party beads, crowns, and “team bride” wine glasses) and headed out for an afternoon of wine tasting:

IMG_9058 IMG_9078

The first winery stop was at Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery. The winery was seriously crowded, but the area was huge and there was a lot of open grass to spread out on.

IMG_9092

In addition to wine, Warwick Valley also had beer, cider, pizza, and live music that people of all ages seemed to be out enjoying. After having some lunch outdoors on blankets, we went to the bar for our first wine tasting:

IMG_9093 IMG_9094

I loved the Harvest Moon wine from the list above!

Wine me:

IMG_9096

Stop two on the tour was Clearview Vineyard. Clearview had a completely different feel from the first stop – it was much smaller, much less crowded, and had a much more intimate feel. The owner greeted us when we arrived, seated us, and personally introduced each of the wines in our tasting menu. He also gave the bride a special cork – very sweet.

IMG_9101 IMG_9104

There were originally plans to go to a third winery after Clearview, but we were all exhausted and had been at it for almost 5 hours already, so we decided it was best to go back to the house and relax a little before the bachelorette festivities continued.

After a rejuvenating dinner of pizza, everyone headed upstairs to reveal the super-secret party room to the bride:

IMG_9063 IMG_9059 IMG_9110 IMG_9066 IMG_9067

Her reaction was amazing when she saw all the decorations – and I can’t blame her because I had the exact same feeling when I first saw the room. It looked incredible! She was immediately instructed to put on her new “feyonce” shirt…

IMG_9064

…and then the games began. Don’t worry though, the games were pretty tame – mainly involving a “guess who bought the lingerie” game, bride trivia, and some B-grade karaoke:

IMG_9065 IMG_9111

But just in case you think things didn’t get rowdy…don’t worry. There were penis cookies.

IMG_9109

 

Pesach is over…and now PIZZA!

Hello dear friends and family – surely the only folks who are still reading this blog after such a long hiatus. I really love blogging and sharing life’s adventures in this format, but my time for advertur-ing (not to mention recounting those adventures) has been so low during this first year of grad school – it’s been a real challenge to find time to write. You know what they say, “all work and no play makes Mollie bad at blogging” – or something like that.

Anyway, I am back with a vengeance and feeling eager to give recaps of everything that’s happened since…sheepishly looks at old postsJanuary.

Pesach (Passover) has recently ended, and as Jews everywhere have metaphorically left Egypt, we now get to celebrate freedom by eating chametz (leavened wheat/spelt/barley/oats/rye products – forbidden during Passover) again. Noah and I marked the joyous return of bread with pizza tonight.

And if you are thinking we went out for pizza, think again! Because Noah’s pizza-making hobby is stronger than ever and I am reaping all the benefits.

 

IMG_9129

He is the greatest.

IMG_9131 IMG_9130

I don’t want to complain about Pesach though – it’s actually one of my favorite holidays. In large part, probably, because of the two seders involved. Seder literally means order, and the seder is a ritual dinner held on each of the first two nights of Pesach (one night in Israel). The traditional text (preserved in the haggadah) as well as many of the seder rituals derive from thousands of years ago. How cool is that?! The seder is an important family/community/educational tool, and many find it to be so impactful and joyous that contemporary Jewish population studies show that even families who are uninvolved with other Jewish activities/events during the year still often participate in a seder (and light Chanukah candles).

…can you tell I’m studying Jewish community for a living grad school?!

Anyway, we had the chance to host Noah’s parents, some of his extended family, my brother, and a couple friends from Minneapolis at our house for the first seder. The table was set to impress:

IMG_9116

Cooking consumed the 48 hours before (huge efforts put in also by Noah’s mom who made a ton of the food and provided the classic family recipes!):

IMG_9115

And one of the seder plates we used was something I painted myself! I’ll hopefully recount that painting adventure in an upcoming post. Spoiler: it was part of a date night.

IMG_9117

Noah and his dad worked hard to determine the perfect seating arrangement:

IMG_9118 IMG_9119

Overall, great holiday. And now, great pizza.:)

A Weekend of Birthday Fun

I had the greatest weekend. I got to celebrate Noah’s BIRTHDAY!! We had a full weekend of activities. First, we had a couple friends over for Shabbat dinner and games on Friday.

Homemade challah and a pear/blueberry tart:

IMG_8909 IMG_8911

Saturday was Noah’s actual birthday, so we had birthday cake!!:

IMG_8912 IMG_8913

I got an ice-cream cake from J.P. Licks (Noah’s and my favorite ice cream place!) and hid it in the freezer before Noah’s birthday. This card served as the perfect intro…

FullSizeRender

…and then Noah knew just where to look because we’ve talked about wanting a J.P. Licks ice cream cake for a long time.:)

That night, we went out to dinner at Picco – a pizza and homemade ice cream place in the South End. They don’t take reservations for parties of less than 5 people, and when we got there it was a two hour wait for a table! Luckily, we were able to get spots at the bar after waiting only a few minutes.

IMG_8914

We ordered a pizza (with sauteed onions, garlic, mushrooms, and gruyere) and a calzone (with peppers, mushrooms, and spinach) to share:

IMG_8916 IMG_8915

And since it was a celebration…a brownie sundae with homemade peanut butter chip and caramel swirl ice cream was in order:

IMG_8917

Wow wow wow – so good!

Sunday was the main birthday activity (yes, Noah’s birthday lasted all weekend). Noah and I have really enjoyed having succulents in our apartments in Jerusalem and Cambridge, and I discovered an activity called Plant Nite. It’s like the paint and wine nights that are becoming popular…except instead of making a picture, you make a terrarium with succulents! I seriously couldn’t believe this activity was a real thing, but I was really excited when I saw it because I thought we would have a lot of fun.

The event was held at a bar/restaurant in Boston. When we walked in, all the tables in the Plant Nite area were equipped with terrarium bowls and green tablecloths:

IMG_8920 IMG_8918

We found a two-person table and snagged it right away because we only like talking to each other (joking…sort of). Excited to start:

IMG_8919 IMG_8921

We made “winter wonderland” terrariums – which are like regular terrariums except with more sand art. Hard at work:

IMG_8923

Once the sand art was done, we could layer some soil in the pots (succulents have very shallow roots so you don’t need much soil):

IMG_8924 IMG_8925 IMG_8926

The final touch was accessorizing with rocks, moss, and figurines:

IMG_8928 IMG_8927

Mine included an ironic rock:

IMG_8931

Plant Nite was a lot of fun, although I will say that the dudes in Boston really need to step it up because Noah was one of the only guys at this event!

IMG_8932

The final activity as part of the birthday celebration that I’ll mention is a game of X-wing that incorporated one of Noah’s birthday presents:

IMG_8935

Noah has really been enjoying X-wing lately. X-wing is a game that involves flying Star Wars ships, dodging meteors and trying to blow up the other person’s ships. As you can tell, the sophistication of my understanding of the game is still a little surface level – but I enjoy playing with Noah! I got him the play mat pictured above for his birthday since without it he needs to measure the appropriate amount of space to play on out every time. Let the games begin…

IMG_8936 IMG_8937