Wedding Highlight Video

Standard

Andrew and I have been reliving our wedding day all weekend by re-watching this video! We are SO excited with how it turned out! It perfectly captures all of the details that made our wedding day so special to us. I haven’t yet watched it without tears in my eyes. We both lose it watching my dad and I see each other for the first time. Andrew and I’s first dance was one of our favorite parts of the whole day – so we love getting to see it in the video! Watch how the bridesmaids dip when Andrew dips me – it’s so cute! It was also really fun for me to see the boys getting ready since I obviously wasn’t there. I could go on and on about how amazing this is!! (You can go here to watch it in full screen.)

When I watch this video, all of the emotions I felt on wedding day come right back to me. It’s so incredibly sweet and captures the day exactly how I remember it. Thank you Mark and Chris at Simply Love Films for such an amazing video, better than I could have ever imagined! We can’t wait to see the extended version :)

Moscow Mules

Standard

Have you heard of this drink? I LOVE a good Moscow Mule, any day of year! So does my family now – I’ve got them hooked! It is an incredibly refreshing vodka cocktail with a kick of ginger and hint of lime. These are so easy to make at home with the right recipe and ingredients. Why not mix up something a little different for your next cocktail hour? I know we will definitely be making these at Thanksgiving in a few weeks :)Moscow Mule / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

Ginger beer is a less sugary version of ginger ale and it is not interchangeable here. Over the last year, we have tried several different ginger beers and have found that Gosling’s is the best. There are some really bad ginger beers out there and because there are only 3 ingredients in this cocktail, it’s important that the ginger beer is good!Gosling's Ginger Beer

At our wedding, Andrew and I served our two favorite specialty cocktails. One was our all-time favorite: a freshly made margarita. We named it the “Maze-a-rita”, for my new last name – Maze! The other cocktail we served was this Moscow Mule, which we renamed the “Milwaukee Mule” that night.Moscow Mule

Wondering why drink a Moscow mule out of a copper mug? Mainly, because they are fun! But I have read that the copper keeps the drink cooler and enhances the flavors. Copper mugs can be found all over these days. I like these smooth mugs and this hammered finish. Are you looking for a fun hostess, wedding or Christmas gift? Put together a Moscow Mule basket with copper mugs, vodka, ginger beer, and maybe a lime juicer! Turns out I am behind the times here because Oprah had this Moscow Mule kit as one of her favorite things in 2012.Moscow Mule

Moscow Mules

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 shots vodka (2 shots if you like a strong drink!)
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (about ½ a shot)
  • ½ cup ginger beer* (1 can makes 3 cocktails)
  • ice

Directions:

In a glass or copper mug, combine the vodka and lime juice first, and then pour in the ginger beer. Add a big handful of ice and stir. Serve right away.

*If using copper mugs, stick them in the freezer an hour before serving so that they are frosted.

*I’ve tried several different ginger beers and some of them have been awful (don’t buy Reed’s)! The Gosling’s brand is my favorite and the most widely available. Depending on what city you are in, you might be able to find a great local or craft ginger beer. Because there are only 3 ingredients in this drink, a bad ginger beer will make a bad cocktail.

Cheers!!

Our Hawaiian Honeymoon

Standard

A few people have asked “How’s married life so far?” Well, we spent 2 of the 3 weeks in Hawaii, so I can easily tell you it’s the greatest thing ever!! We left for our honeymoon adventure Sunday afternoon, the day after the wedding, to keep the party going. We spent the first night in downtown Chicago at The Drake and then before we knew it, we were on a flight to Hawaii Monday morning. After a full day of travel, we were wearing leis and kukui nuts!Maui / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

Our first week was spent in Maui, staying at The Grand Wailea. It was a beautiful start! Especially when we got to the room and found champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us – thanks mom and dad! We made it just in time for our first of many sunsets.Wailea, Maui / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

My favorite day on Maui was spent driving the “Road to Hana”. It is a twisty, windy narrow highway, passing over 46 one way brides and about 620 turns following the coast around the island. The drive itself would take about 4 hours without stops – but we spent 11 hours doing it. There are so many fun places to stop off along the way to do short hikes, swim under waterfalls, or visit beaches, that we ran out of time to do everything we wanted to.Road to Hana, Maui / www.sarasfavoritethings.comWe used this great iPhone app called “Gypsy Guide – Road to Hana” that uses GPS to locate where we were and narrate the trip with facts and recommendations on where to stop. We felt like we were on a treasure hunt because most destinations are unmarked so it’s exciting when you find the next stop! We saw a lot of these eucalyptus trees that look like they belong in a Doctor Seuss book:Maui / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

We loved seeing all of the lava formations along the coast:Maui / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

This is one of the little pools we stopped off to swim in. To my horror, Andrew jumped off the rocks to the right of the bridge here.Maui / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

This is the black sand beach where we stopped for a swim:Maui / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

And a little while later, hiked this narrow path to get to a red sand beach!Maui / www.sarasfavoritethings.comMaui / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

We had the best dinner of our lives, hands down, at Mama’s Fish House. Andrew said it perfectly when we walked out – “Never have we spent more on a dinner, but my only regret is that I didn’t have room to order and eat more!” When we got to our table looking out over the ocean, our friends Elaine and Antonio had a bottle of wine waiting for us. It was so special!Maui / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

After a week on Maui, we hopped on a quick plane ride over to Kauai. Wow, this island is stunning! Within an hour of landing, I knew this island would be my favorite island! It’s just so lush and tropical and picturesque. We stayed on the north side of the island the first 4 days in a VRBO, with this view from our balcony. It was absolutely dreamy sitting here for eating breakfast in the morning or sipping champagne in the evening.Kauai / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

Our favorite beach on the north side of the island was Hanalei Bay, which is surrounded by Jurassic Park looking mountains. We did some great boogie boarding – my favorite!Hanalei Bay / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

Kauai is famous for the Na Pali Coast – it was unbelievably gorgeous! We first saw it hiking along the Kalalau Trail:Kalalau Trail, Maui / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

To really take in the coastline through, you need to go out on a boat (or helicopter!!) ride to see it all. Unfortunately, it rained most of the time we were out on the boat, but it was still gorgeous in a mystical kind of way.Na Pali Coast, Kauai / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

If it had been sunny, this is what we would have seen:Na Pali Coast, Kauai / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

We spent our last 3 nights on the south “sunny” side of the island at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, relaxing luxuriously and soaking up the last few days of the honeymoon. Discovering the multiple pools and beach front at the Hyatt, we canceled our remaining excursions to just unwind.Kauai / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

Have you heard of post-wedding depression? Turns out, it’s a real thing! I’ve been so sad all week that the best two and a half weeks of our lives are over! I have almost started crying several times, wishing we were either back dancing to the band at our wedding reception or lounging alligator style in this salt water lagoon…Kauai / www.sarasfavoritethings.com

Our wedding was dreamy and our honeymoon was pure heaven. I couldn’t have asked for anything better! It was amazing to spend 2 full weeks swimming, snorkeling, hiking, relaxing, and having fun with MY HUSBAND! Still getting used to calling him that :)

*A special thanks to Ginny Wagner for helping us plan our stay on Kauai and to Kelsey Stapp, Matt Weinberg, and Kiki Lyons for the Maui tips!

 

Wisconsin Wedding Whirlwind

Standard

It has been a whirlwind around here! Andrew and I have been to 3 weddings in Wisconsin over the last 3 weekends….and will cap it off next weekend with our own! Sitting in yesterday’s ceremony, it really hit us: we will be the ones standing up there in exactly 7 days!! It was a very emotional and surreal moment.

Our Wisconsin wedding series kicked off for us September 6th in Milwaukee when one of my best friends and roommates from college, Rachael, married a tennis friend of mine, Ryan. I’ve never felt so much love in the air or seen such a stunning bride!Rachael Buck Wedding

Their photographer, Carl from Front Room, will be photographing our wedding as well. I love his great action shots!Rachael - Champagne Picture

Last weekend, we had a wedding in Lake Geneva for our friends from California, Betsy and Greg. Most of my bridesmaids were in town for the event as well, so we all went to work on crafts for my wedding. Even my brother jumped in to help decorate the votive candles. He came up with the best technique – finger painting the mod podge on!

Mike and votives 2

My parents’ house is basically dusted in gold at this point, you can tell there is a party brewing!Votive Candles

My mom got the “dancing shoes” ready, so there are no excuses for leaving the dance floor early!Wedding flip flops

Then we all headed to Lake Geneva for the wedding!betsy wedding group

The ceremony was outside looking over a lake – it was so beautiful!! Afterwards, Betsy and Greg drove off in a golf cart. I’ve never seen Betsy look so happy!!

Betsy's wedding golf kart 1

Yesterday, we got to watch my childhood friend, Jenny, marry the man of her dreams, Brock. It was such a lovely ceremony with a beautiful a capella performance.

Jenny's wedding church

Andrew and I can hardly wait for all of our best friends and family to join us in Milwaukee in a few short days! September 27th, here we come!Jenny's wedding - Andrew and I 3

Wedding update – 1 month away!!

Standard

It’s hard to believe that as of today, our wedding is officially 1 month away! In 31 days, we will be a Mr. and Mrs. I don’t know if I’m prepared for that – I still feel too young to be a Mrs!! I also don’t want all the wedding celebration and champagne toasts to end :) It’s been an exciting 9 months to get to this point.

We have had so much fun getting everyone’s RSVP cards back! I didn’t realize how creative people would be – I’m fully prepared to step up my game with decorating the future RSVP cards I send in. My friend Jack’s mom even put a high school picture of Jack and I taped to the back! It was adorable. We asked people on the response card to answer “I promise to dance if you play:” and I think my favorite response so far is “Nice try!” I guess they won’t be dancing, no matter what song we play!Wedding RSVP card

Since most of my bridesmaids live in LA, I picked Santa Barbara for my bachelorette party. We had an absolute blast! My sister found this amazing house on VRBO for all 9 of us to stay in for the weekend. It was a dream to hang out in this treehouse bungalow with some of my best friends in the world. The backyard was all terraces, leading from an outdoor kitchen, to ping pong table, to bocce ball court, to fire pit…it was so cool!Santa Barbara

It was so special for me to have my mom there, as well as two of her best friends, who have known me since I was born. My bridesmaids and I loved having them with us! They actually surprised us all with the most creative lingerie gift!Santa Barbara

We could’ve easily spent the whole weekend hanging out at this house…but there were vineyards to visit! My bridesmaid Kristen made us the coolest tank tops. All the girls’ tanks said “That’s What She Said!” and my tank said “Yes!” How cute are these??Bachelorette Tank Tops

My bridesmaid Ashley made us a “Bachelorette Scavenger Hunt” to check off while we were touring the vineyards. It was hysterical! My favorite was “Get a stranger to get down on one knee and propose to Sara” – great work on this one, Abi! This guy had us all dying because out of nowhere he came up behind me and said “Sara, [long pause] this has been a long time coming…”Bachelorette Scaverger Hunt

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect weekend spent with all of these fun ladies laughing and tasting lots of wine :)
Bachelorette Party at the Winery

Last weekend, I was home in Milwaukee for a bridal shower that was absolutely magical! Everything was touched with sparkly gold, from the flecks of gold sprinkled in our champagne to the golden beach balls floating in the pool behind me, my sister and my mom:Bridal Shower

The host, Susan, who was part of the bachelorette party, had secretly ordered wine from all of the vineyards we visited to do a blind taste test at the shower! And labeled them gold…Wedding Shower - Wine Tasting

The food was over the top delicious – and dairy/gluten free for me! And the table was beautiful!Wedding Shower - Dinner

We were all laughing hysterically at this shower game, which asked the ladies to submit a question to me about Andrew. Then, they could share a “marital bliss” tip. My sister quizzed me in front of everyone after dinner and then shared the tip. I’m still cracking up over this advice: “60 second kiss at the door after work every day”. Now that’s a LONG kiss!!Wedding Shower Game

My favorite part of all of this wedding planning and celebrating so far has been all of the time I’ve gotten to spend with those that I love. I really mean it! I can’t believe that in 5 weekends, all of the people that Andrew and I love will be in one place! I get teary just thinking about it! It makes us want to jump with excitement!Jumping Wedding Picture

My Blog Turns 2!

Standard

Sara’s Favorite Things is 2 years old today!! It’s hard to believe I started sharing my favorite things in this space 2 years ago. This past year has certainly been an exciting one! I moved from Manhattan Beach to Baltimore last September, Andrew and I got engaged in December, we traveled to Aspen in February, we moved to New Orleans in March, we attended a California wedding in April, I spent 2 weeks on the lake in Northern Wisconsin in July, and now we are planning our own wedding for September 27th. It’s been an action packed year, to say the least. Along the way, I’ve still gotten to share some of my favorite things with you. Here are a few of the top posts in case you missed them:

Post with the most views: It’s pretty much a two-way tie between my recipe for Foil-Baked Tilapia and The Fishbowl Game. The tilapia recipe is an amazingly quick and healthy weeknight meal. The fishbowl game is an absolute blast – you have to try it out!Fishbowl Game

Post with the most comments: After living in Manhattan Beach for 2 years with some of my best friends, it was extremely hard and sad to say goodbye. I think it will always feel like a second home to me.Manhattan Beach

Post with most views in one day: My 21 Minute Killer Interval Workout will kick your butt! It’s a great workout for when you are short on time or don’t have access to a gym. I do this a lot when I’m on the road for work or visiting my family – makes sense that the most views in 1 day fell right around Thanksgiving!21 Minute Killer Interval Workout

My favorite post: These Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls are one of my favorite treats! I could snack on these every single day, guilt-free.Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls

1 year ago today, I wrote about my first year of blogging. 2 years ago today, I sent out my first official blog post on Sara’s Favorite Things and shared this quote: “An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break. May you be open to each thread that comes into your life – the golden ones and the coarse ones – and may you weave them into a brilliant and beautiful life.” Thank you so much for connecting with me! I absolutely love writing this blog as a means to connect with all of you! I get over the moon excited to hear back from people who have tried something out from My Favorite Things :)

 

“Up North”, Wisconsin

Standard

I spent two weeks of July hiding out “Up North” at the lake with my family, absolutely relishing in the peacefulness of the north woods! It’s hard to beat a summer day spent on the lake, swimming, water-skiing, and paddle boarding, followed by an evening of cocktail cruises, grilling, and camp fires. If not for the elephant-sized mosquitoes, I just might call this my favorite place on Earth! Every summer, for as long as I can remember, my family travels up to the top of Wisconsin to surround ourselves with pine trees, lakes, wild life, and the only kind of quiet you can find in nature.

For those of us from Milwaukee, it’s a bit of a hike to get up there, about 5 hours to get close to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where our cabin is. We had a beautiful sunset to watch for a good chunk of the drive this time…"Up North", Wisconsin

When you get “Up North”, every road you travel down is lined with vibrantly green trees."Up North", Wisconsin

One first look out the cabin over our little bay and the lake beyond, and we’ve forgotten the 5 hours we just spent in the car to get there."Up North", Wisconsin

This is my favorite place to be on the 4th of July, watching the fireworks on the lake and at the local airport. I’ve never seen such a big firework show – you can’t believe how many people “come out of the woods” to take it all in."Up North", Wisconsin

This year, my mom was very popular on the air strip with these bio-degradable Sky Lanterns she brought along. When, you light the base, they slowly rise up into the sky and drift away as far as the eye can see. We were as excited as little kids lighting these up!"Up North", Wisconsin

My mom’s lifelong dream came true that night on our way home from the fireworks. Driving down the road about 50 yards from our cabin, we came across a black bear! It would be an understatement to say my mom was excited. She was crying. If I could reenact the moment for you, I would. The bear was so dark, that it felt like we were looking into a black-hole, only recognizing what was in front of us, by the outline of her body and the big paws padding across the dirt road. Needless to say, I started carrying my cell phone on my morning bike rides with mom after that!"Up North", Wisconsin

There’s nothing quite like jumping in crystal clear lake water, it’s refreshing in no other way I can describe. Even though I know that amazing feeling of fresh lake water running through my hair, I always act a bit traumatized taking that first jump!"Up North", Wisconsin

This summer, I mastered going in and out of the wake while slaloming, which was very exciting! Although truly, my brother Mike is the master, jumping the wake on 1 ski! He makes it looks so easy."Up North", Wisconsin

When you are up there, you see more wildlife than people. We have a family of bald eagles nesting and keeping watch on the island in front of our cabin, families of deer swimming back and forth from the mainland, and a pair of loons singing in our bay."Up North", WisconsinMy favorite time to be on the water is when the surface is glass, mirroring the sky and treeline."Up North", Wisconsin

Especially when you’re out on the boat with a fresh margarita in hand ;)"Up North", Wisconsin

Or when the sunset paints the sky pink and purple"Up North", Wisconsin

Contrary to popular belief, there is more to Wisconsin than cheese heads and beer…it’s a beautiful place to be!