Wedding Video

The Wedding Video

Our one year wedding anniversary is a month from today and we finally got our wedding video so I thought that it would be the perfect time to share it! This will be the first of my wedding day posts. I haven’t been able to do them until now because I haven’t had my digital images from the wedding day. Apparently, in my contract with the photographer, it stated that I would only have access to the digital images once my album was ordered and FINISHED. I guess they do this so that you don’t print your own images but it seems crazy that I can’t get them until the album is completed, even though I paid for  and ordered it monthssss ago. Anyway, it’s something to look out for in your contract because I had no idea about this rule until the wedding was over. Once I get the pictures, I’ll be continuing the wedding day blog posts! I plan on giving any and all advice that I can think of, sharing all of our day of details and invitation suite, and walking you through the amazing day!

The video is the perfect thing to show first anyway because it makes you feel like you are really there on the day! I know that video is something that people cut from the budget first and I have to say that I think that it should actually be one of the last things that you cut. That’s just my personal opinion, based on my experience and having 20/20 hindsight. Watching it is the closest that I can come to reliving my wedding day over and over again! I’m so grateful to have it as a time capsule of sorts. When I’ve had hard days, I’ve pulled it up and watched it (along with smelling the essential oil that I bought in Bora Bora haha) and it brings me to my happy place! Jay and I also received all of the raw footage from our wedding (it was just automatically a part of the package) and it was fun to watch that! We had it waiting for us when we returned from our honeymoon so it was nice to have something to immediately watch. Its cool because you see parts of the day that you missed since you can’t be everywhere at every moment with every person.  Plus, the dancing scenes are THE BEST and our friends and family crush it. In full disclosure, the first time we watched it, I just loathed myself so much that all I could focus on was hating my voice, watching myself cry, and all that but then we immediately rewatched it and I was able to get over myself and enjoy it. I’m the most grateful to have our ceremony, first look, speeches and first dance captured. There were also a lot of special moments that I’m glad we have on the raw footage that didn’t make the trailer, like Jay crying opening my gift (he HATES that part and I LOVE it haha). I kept a journal throughout our engagement and wrote him notes during milestones throughout it, reasons I wanted to marry him, song lyrics, and things like that. It was long so he only read some of it on camera but watching his face change as he scanned the words is something that stuck with me. People have asked if we were able to select the clips that were included in the trailer and we were not, which was fine. The editors selected the clips and voice overs and compiled it all but we were able to select the songs.

I've always considered watching wedding videos a hobby of mine so its so fun to get to share my own! After my accident, I would lay awake all night in pain and go down a tunnel of watching random people's wedding views and crying as I felt the love that these strangers on the internet were showing. Jay always says, "you love love" and it's true. I am a romantic at heart so wedding videos are my jam.

The Where

We got married at Bonnet Island Estate, which is located on the bay, right as you’re coming onto Long Beach Island over the causeway. I’ve been going to LBI my whole life and in 1999 my parents built a house there. They named the house Tranquility (it was featured on the map of the island in our invitation suite, which I will include in one of the upcoming blog posts)! I thought that it was so embarrassing that my parents put up a sign outside the house calling it Tranquility as a kid but I quickly grew an appreciation for it. It truly is my happy place and my home where I feel the most Tranquil. Nine winters ago, Jay and I had our first little getaway alone at the house and it quickly became his happy place as well! The fact that he LOVES it down there so much makes me love him even more. We have had so many memories down there, both good and bad (I recover down here from most of my surgeries) throughout our relationship. The first time that our families met was 8 summers ago down in LBI and we have continued to spend time down there, all together, every year since. It was also fun to go down to LBI with our parents throughout our engagement to do wedding planning tasks and create all of those new memories. My (and Jay's) friends and I also share SO many memories from down here (some of my bridesmaids and I have been coming down here together since we were 3 years old)! We had too many party weekends down here (throwback to after prom), a million slumber parties as kids, sorority pledge class “reunions,” couples weekends and more down here with friends so it was suiting to have the biggest party of our lives here. Yes, my parents are the most generous creatures on Earth! Needless to say, it was a special destination to celebrate our love, officially blend our two families and party with our friends.

The owners built Bonnet Island Estate when I was a kid and as I watched it get built from the ground up, I would always say, “I want to get married there when I’m grown up”. I can confidently say that the majority of plans that we have in life don’t actually end up happening the way that they thought they would...it’s a reality I’ve faced many times and constantly have to work on making peace with. The fact that this dream came true is something that I will forever be grateful for! I’m so insanely thankful towards my parents for making that childhood dream of mine come true and to my groom for being even more than I could have fantasized about! Luckily, Jay was/is totally obsessed with it as well so it was easy. Of course, as a kid I didn’t know that I would hate the carpet so much haha. But the reality is no venue is perfect (I hated the decor inside, the barn where we got married was way too small and didn’t have AC, I disliked the table and chairs, and the list goes on). However, I LOVE it there so much, to the point that it felt like a second home. I genuinely miss it and can’t wait to go back there this summer and every year to just walk around and hang out. It just felt right. We plan on going back every summer to hang out (the people that work there are super encouraging of that). We rented out the estate for the night as well, which was PERFECT. We were able to get ready there in the morning in the salon (the guys had a separate hang out area), do a first look by the dune grass, take photos on the property, have rest time (I needed to get out of my dress and lay down in bed before the ceremony so I was glad there were beds on site), have the guests arrive via shuttle from the hotel and then go straight to the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. Then, we had an after party (with food from The Chicken or The Egg aka CHEG brought in) on the deck and our families plus some bridesmaids and groomsmen were able to sleep over. We woke up the next morning and went back onto the deck for brunch with everyone, which included our favorite doughnuts from Ferraras Bakery and breakfast from the Cheg. I love that it was a ‘one stop shop’ and that it was so seamless. It was also great to be able to just walk (or in my case take the elevator up one flight haha) upstairs and go to sleep in the bridal suite.

The Basics

We had 197 of our friends and family members filling up that property with so much love. Our ceremony was in a little barn on site., with doors that opened on one side to the bay and to a garden on the other side. The entire venue is set on the bay with marshland in view. That’s why our wedding hashtag was #CarlyAndJayByTheBay!

Jay’s sister, Renee, was our officiant and it was SO special to have someone so close to us marry us. We didn’t include any religion in the ceremony (I’m Jewish and Jay is Christian but neither of us identify strongly with our religions), so we just created the ceremony along with Renee, from scratch based on what felt the most ‘us’. It was very personal and we both cried a lot during it (but my ugly crying face is the one they chose to show more in the video haha). I will do a blog post all about creating a non-traditional wedding ceremony but I already wrote one for Style Me Pretty that you can find here as well!

Attire

My dress was made by Inbal Dror and purchased at Mark Ingram Atelier in Manhattan. I actually went there specifically for this dress because I had seen it online and nothing else that I was finding while dress shopping was measuring up in my head. It’s funny because I had a lot of self doubt when I purchased it because I pulled money from other areas of the budget to cover it and it felt selfish. However, it ended up being one of the decisions that I was the happiest and most confident about. The alterations were not easy though. Apparently I have a really short torso and they couldn’t alter it short enough to not show my butt crack so I eventually had to find underwear that was close to my skin color (not an easy task) to wear under the sheer mesh backing of the dress, among other things. It’s supposed to be ‘made to measure’ but we had to change a lot but it all worked out in the end! Jay LOVED it, which made/makes me really freaking happy. He still talks about it and every time he does I’m like “tell me more”! I felt like myself in it, just a better version haha. I bought little block kitten heels but only wore them during the ceremony and first look. Besides that, even during photos and our first dance, I wore white Nike ID running sneakers that said “Jay’s Bride” on the back of them. I wanted to wear cooler/trendier sneakers, but they just weren’t as comfortable for my joints and I needed anything that would help my endurance in getting through the day. Going into it, I was self conscious about it (I mean, everyone looks better in heels, period), but so many people were coming up to me saying how hilarious and awesome it was that I was wearing running shoes and they were relatively hidden by my dress. That is, until Jay stepped on and broke my bustle after our first dance aka 5 minutes into the reception haha. The bridal attendant tried to sew it but after 20 minutes of missing my reception, I begged for her to just let me go and held my train the rest of the night. I’m SO glad that I wore the running sneakers because the wedding day was truly equivalent to running 2 marathons on my body and I needed all of the help that I could get!

Jay’s suit was from Suit Supply in Soho. I was really happy for him that he got to have a cool, special experience when buying his wedding outfit as well! Everyone that worked there was so helpful and cool. The place looked like it was straight out of GQ and everything was such nice quality. I thought that the suit was the perfect shade of grey for our summer wedding. We steered away from linen because it wrinkles really easily and didn’t feel as dressy. His tie (and the groomsmen’s ties) along with his suspenders were from Tie Bar. He wore navy suede shoes from Zappos. His boutonniere had a ranunculus and a succulent. In my completely unbiased opinion, he could not have looked like a more handsome or studly groom! I will forever have the image his amazing smiling, eyes staring into mine with tears in them, looking extra blue from all of our beautiful surroundings. Lucky is an understatement! 

All of the bridesmaids wore Joanna August dresses. I told them the color (AKA Into The Mystic, which I thought was perfect for the venue) and they picked whichever style they wanted out of 60 or so choices. I think that they all looked BEAUTIFUL and that the dresses complimented the guy’s outfits perfectly. 95 percent of them chose wrap dresses, which was helpful during alteration time because they could adjust the tightness on their own and only worry about getting the hemline altered. We gifted them their earrings, robes from Plum Pretty Sugar (not shown) and hair appointments.

The groomsmen rented suits from Black Tux, which worked out really well. It was really inexpensive and easy because you just send in all of your measurements online. Only one guy had a problem with the fit when it arrived (that I know of haha) and sent it back but received the replacement in time. We gifted all of the groomsmen their Navy suede Sam Edelman shoes and their Tie Bar ties. Their suits were slightly darker than Jay's but Jay's suit had some of the darker color in it. I thought that it was a nice contrast while matching seamlessly. 

Unfortunately, the ring bearer and flower girl aren’t in the video and it was the one thing that we were both really upset about after seeing the video. We are really close with them (they’re Jay’s sister and brother in law/best man’s kids). I asked the editors to swap out a clip from the ceremony (and gave them specific timing of a clip to swap out that timed up perfectly for an even swap) in order to include them walking down the aisle but they wouldn’t do it. You’ll see how freaking adorable they looked once we get the photos though! I bought the ring bearer’s outfit from Janie and Jack and the flower girl’s dress from BHLDN. He was 1.5 years old so I picked his whole outfit for him and I LOVED it, especially the little starfish boutonniere and straw fedora. Our niece is older so I showed her 15 or so choices for dresses and let her pick which one she wanted to wear. She (deservingly) felt like the other bride and looked SO beautiful in it! I had the florist make her a little flower crown with silver dollar eucalyptus, which I think looked so sweet.

The flowers were all done by A Touch of Elegance and I think that they did an awesome job! Some of the colors weren’t what I would have hoped for (I don’t like peach, its too close to enemy aka orange haha) but with flowers, its hard because they’re natural things that grow from the Earth, obviously. I was in love with the idea of doing a mini flower wall to rest on the mantle in the ceremony and then get moved to behind our sweetheart table love seat for the reception. I would have loved to have some peonies but it was too late in the season for my florist to get them but I love garden roses so much so I’m glad that we were able to incorporate them! My parents surprised me with some flowers and eucalyptus on the archway in our ceremony, which I had wanted but didn’t end up ordering because it would have brought us over budget. It was such a sweet gesture and made me cry 1/100390 times on the day. I am going to include details on the centerpieces, cocktail hour flowers and all of those details once we get the photos.

We booked the Nick Campbell Band through Hank Lane music and loved them so much! They were really fun and energetic and so talented. Hank Lane is a really professional, amazing company. So many of my friends have used them and I’ve been impressed every time. They match you with a band that fits your style and budget and I think that they did a great job pairing us with the Nick Campbell Band. My favorite musician of all time is Dave Matthews band and our song has always been Crush so we decided to dance to Crush for our first dance. The band did DMB justice and were just so fun throughout the whole night!

More details to come in future posts but for now, click play on this video and join us in reliving the greatest day of my life! https://vimeo.com/248187006

 

Forever 21 Summer Finds
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I seriously hate Forever 21's name so much that it deters me from shopping there haha. Well, that and having to shift through 10000 crappy pieces to find a good one. Luckily for you guys, I did all of the digging already and am only presenting the gold. A couple of these dresses I've had since last summer and I wash them all the time (because I wear them so frequently) and they've held up fine (I hang dry them). It's great to have some inexpensive options for summer to add to your wardrobe. I even found a dupe 'save' version of the free people, which maxi dress that I wore in Malibu! There are only 6 items here because I only wanted to show you guys winners!

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Wedding Guest Dresses for Summer
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Wedding season has officially kicked off. I'm going to my first wedding of the season this upcoming weekend! I rounded up all of my favorite dresses here in case you also have summer weddings or events. All of these dresses are under $300, most of them are much less than $300. I broke it down into two categories, long dresses and cocktail length dresses. As always, hover over an image to see the price and click on the image to shop it. 

Long Dresses

Cocktail Length Dresses

Malibu Travel Guide
El Matador State Beach
Some of the grounds at Malibu Wine Safari--a great activity for the bachelorette party I was on!
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It's hard to visit Malibu and not fall in love with the views from every cliff, cute restaurants and slower pace right outside the city of busy Los Angeles. It has a relaxed feel that is still chic enough to attract celebrities and other socialites who work in LA. It's on the quieter side so it provides the perfect escape from busy life. The cliff side views of the ocean make it easy to see why people are willing to spend what they do in order to live there. It's laid back-surfer town feel and sweeping views are hard to beat! 

Here are my recommendations for where to stay, where to eat, and what to do! Reach out to me to plan your next trip to Malibu (or anywhere!) via email at carly.robinson@smartflyer.com. You can also visit the Cozy Traveler website to learn more about how the process works and fill out this contact form to get in touch. 

Malibu Farms Cafe
El Matador State Beach

Stay

Malibu Beach Inn: Perched right above the beach, you can hear the waves crash from your room. It has a laid back, simple aesthetic with a small hint of coastal decor. Great restaurants are really close and the beach is right at the hotel so the location can't be beat. Still, the rooms are quiet and it provides for a relaxing getaway. In line with that, there is of course a spa! There are 47 rooms, all super serene!

Perks Amenities When Booking With Me:

  • $80 breakfast credit per day, per room to be used in dining room, room service or beach
  • $100 USD equivalent Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Upgrade upon arrival, subject to availability
  • King Pier View or Queen Ocean View categories will receive an automatic upgrade at time of booking

Nobu Ryokan: As in the hotel that houses the restaurant that every celebrity & their mother (okay, maybe just the Kardashian's mother) is posting on Instagram. This hotel has Japanese inspired decor that is simple and sleek enough to work beautifully in this beach town. It is located right next to Malibu Beach Inn, with tons of restaurants and the beach right there as well. If you somehow get tired of the beach, you can hang out in the garden by the fireplace as well. It is a small property with only 16 guest rooms. Eating sushi there is almost a requirement! 

Added Amenities When Booking With Me:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Two eggs, Bacon and Apple Pear Salad Breakfast for two daily for duration of the stay
  • $100 USD equivalent Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

The Ranch MalibuIf you're not necessarily looking to explore the area and just want a retreat in a beautiful destination, then definitely consider The Ranch Malibu! Its a luxury fitness retreat in a stunning place. The Ranch offers three acclaimed results-oriented, fitness and wellness programs, each designed to recalibrate the mind and body through an intense fitness and wellness regimen paired with a highly structured nutritional diet. This is not your typical spa or resort vacation. This luxury boot camp is dedicated to improving the quality of one's life by improving their health.

Added Amenities When Booking With Me:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests (Given the nature of our program, all meals and snacks are included in the fee and guests are served a set menu for the week.)
  • Choice of one of the following services: additional daily massage, acupuncture, chiropractic treatment or cholesterol testing.
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi (in bedroom only)

Villa Rentals: Did you know that travel agents can book villas (aka nice houses)?! Malibu has a ton of amazing rentals that can fit your needs. These are perfect for large group gatherings with friends or multi generational family vacations!

Malibu Farms Restaurant (I went to the cafe)
Malibu Farms Restaurant

Dine

  1. Malibu Farms: The cutest seaside atmosphere with wooden chandeliers that sway in the wind. There are two Malibu Farms eateries located on the pier right next to each other, the more casual cafe and the restaurant. Both have a relaxed vibe that beg to be photographed. A diverse menu with some healthy, fresh options and of course frose. Malibu Farm Restaurant accepts reservations for dinner but besides that it's first come first serve. 
  2. Nobu: See and be seen! This restaurant is where Hollywood and Malibu collide. Sushi fans also rejoice! It's locate above the beach with great views of the ocean so even if you go for cocktails and skip the meal, its worth it. Make a reservation ahead of time. 
  3. Cafe Habana: Corn and cuban is how they describe their cuisine and no one's mad about it. The menu features all of your tex-mex favorites that are all simple and done well. The atmosphere is laid back but romantic with hanging lights and greenery. 
  4. Geoffreys: The go-to white tablecloth, upscale spot in Malibu. With international cuisine with coastal views its a perfect spot for a romantic dinner. 
  5. Malibu Seafood Cafe: They make fast-food seafood a cool thing. Their line proves this to be true. If you look good seafood in a super casual atmosphere, this spot is for you. Just walk up and order at the window!
  6. Malibu Burger Co: They've got all of the classic burger options as well as plant based choices with vegan cheese and various bowls. 
  7. Taverna Tony: Tzatziki anyone?! Taverna Tony serves Greek food with live Greek Music. If you're looking for it to be livelier, head there on a weekend night. 
  8. Calamigos Beach Club Restaurant: A five acre ranch with mid century decor located along the beach. It's a little further off the beaten path but you won't mind once your toes hit the sand for the beach bar! 
Some of the grounds at Malibu Wine Safari
Stanley the giraffe loved the bachelorette party girls

Play

Malibu Wine Safari: A completely unique experience in a stunning atmosphere. You can choose from different tour options but the combination of getting to see the safari animals and do wine tasting is hard to beat. You get to feed animals (the friendly ones), see some others, and taste red and white wines that they grow in their on site vineyards. Feeding Stanley the giraffe is definitely a highlight! The property is huge and has such gorgeous views of rolling mountains and cool rock formations. The tour guides are super friendly and witty. Just make sure to get a ticket in advance and show up with plenty of time before your tour start time to check in. 

Malibu Wines: The sister property to Malibu Wine Safari, where you can go to keep drinking your favorite wine that you tasted via shuttle after the safari. It's definitely off the beaten path but you can go there just for wine tasting as well. They have live music some evenings and a food truck that frequently comes on site. 

El Matador State Beach: Talk about a stunning place! Being at El Matador feels like being in Portugal or some far away place. The cliffs are massive and stunning and the rock formations that jut out of no where are so cool. Grab a blanket and head down the long and steep path to the sand, it's so worth it! 

Hike: There are lots of well known hikes in Malibu that each have special qualities. Solstice Canyon hike is a popular one with different levels of difficulty. Check out the perrenial waterfall, as long as water is actually flowing from it (sometimes it gets dried out). Tuna Canyon Park and Charmlee Wilderness Park are some other frequently hiked spots, to name a few. 

Nicholas Canyon Beach: A classic beach along a pretty U shaped section. Park at the lot up top (you need to pay) and then climb down the stairs to the put your toes in the sand. This is a great spot to surf!

Surf: Speaking of surfing, if you are talented enough then you won't want to miss out on surfing in this iconic destination. Some of the most popular surfing spots are Zuma Beach, Nicholas Canyon Beach, Surfrider Beach, Topanga Beach, Topanga Beach and County Line. 

Point Dume State Beach: A boardwalk, a beach, and sea lions all gather in this spot. It is a nature preserve that is located along a coastal bluff. Ascend the trail to the sand dune and take in the incredible views.  

Feeding the animals at Malibu Wine Safari was equal parts amazing and gross haha

 

Drink

Moonshadows: Seaside spot with great views! Perfect for a day drink and some grub.

Rosenthal Wine: Wine bar in a cute outdoor space. They have events, including live music so make sure to check out their calendar. 

Nobu: This spot has made this list a lot but there aren't many nightlife places in Malibu and this is a good one to grab a drink. Be warned that even they don't stay open late. 

Our safari vehicle!
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Mexican Street Corn
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Grilling season has begun! Yay! I love grilling up on our rooftop or on our patio. It's great to be able to incorporate some of my summer 'go-to's into my meal planning because I feel like I exhausted all of my winter regulars. I love some fresh corn on the cob when its grilled...doesn't it taste like summer?! This Mexican Street Corn recipe elevates corn on the cob in the best way. I usually use some guacamole on our burgers/veggie burgers to tie in the Mexican theme in an easy way. Whenever I see cojita cheese at the grocery store in the summer, I buy it so that I can make this awesome recipe!

Ingredients:

6 ears of corn, husked

1 cup plain greek yogurt (you can use half sour cream and half mayonnaise as a substitution if you want it richer)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon chili poweder

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 cup cojita cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup cilantro, minced

Directions:

Heat grill so it reaches 400 degrees or so

In a bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt, garlic, chili powder and lime juice

Grill the corn until the edges start to brown a little (approximately 3 minutes on each side)

Using a brush, coat the corn with the yogurt mixture

Top with crumbled cojita cheese and cilantro

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Blush Clothing
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What's the one thing that's made you 'blush' the hardest aka your most embarrassing moment? When I was 22, I fell naked in front of HUNDREDS of people by accident. It's a ridiculous story but needless to say, its hard for me to be embarrassed about much after that haha! I'm not someone who gets embarrassed easily but can definitely get bashful. Remember when you were a preteen and little things would embarrass you? I swear I was more embarrassed by my mom bringing my dog to pick me up from middle school one day (why is that embarrassing besides the fact that it wasn't 'the norm'?!) than I was when I was laying on the ground naked in front of all of those people! 

Anyways, in honor of that fun/not so fun little story that made me blush, here are some blush clothing pieces that I'm loving recently. See what I did there?!

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MDW Outfits
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MDW is right around the corner, which means that summer is coming! Last memorial day weekend I was on my bachelorette party in Martha's Vineyard and this year I will be on one of my best friend's bachelorette parties! We are going to be sharing an anniversary weekend so its only fitting to share a bachelorette party anniversary as well! I feel like its good luck to share those anniversaries with a couple whose relationship I majorly respect and love, right?!

We are going to Malibu and I'm so excited. I've been to the surrounding area but have yet to go to Malibu. It'll be such a fun girl's weekend celebrating the amazing bride. I will obviously do a post once I'm back with 'must dos' in the area. I am also going to visit some friends in LA before/after the bach party, which I'm pumped about. 

I've been starting to think about my outfits and make a GP. I thought that you guys may be doing the same so I rounded up all of my favorite items for MDW and other summer weekends to come!

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Making People Feel Loved
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Yesterday my grandma took my hands, looked me in the eyes and said, “You always make me feel so loved. I just KNOW how much you love me.” And while I want to tackle tons of macro level problems in this crazy world and hang my hat on wildly impressive accomplishments...making people feel loved, cared for & seen is sometimes just enough. At the end of the day, if we are making people (from our close friends to our waitress in a restaurant & everyone in between) feel cared for then we’re doing something right. #FromCarlysHeart

Sweet Potato Hash Skillet
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You guys know that one pan meals make my heart happy. My biggest deterrent for cooking is the clean up...anyone else?! That’s why I’ve LOVED my cast iron skillet and legit crockpot (linked at bottom of post). They can both go from stovetop to inside of the oven and the crockpot insert can obviously also go into the crockpot base for slow cooking. 

I’ve been making variations of this sweet potato skillet for breakfast for my guy (I don’t eat straight up eggs) and he LOVES it. It’s all real food and so nutritious. I've also added black beans and ground sausage at various times when I've made variations of this. I also recently swapped the avocado for guacamole and the hot sauce for salsa and it went over really well! Try it out and let me know how you like it! 

INGREDIENTS: 

3 sweet potatoes

1/2 a yellow onion

1 bell pepper  (red is my favorite but do whichever you like best)

1 T olive oil  

6 eggs  

1/2 cup shredded colby cheese  

1/2 an avocado

2 green onions (can easily be omitted) 

Hot sauce for topping  

DIRECTIONS: 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Peel the sweet potatoes and then dice them into 1 inch cubes.  

Dice the onion and bell pepper. Slice the avocado into thin slices. Dice the green onion into 1/2 inch circles.

Heat the cast iron skillet over medium heat and place the olive oil, onion, sweet potato and bell pepper in it. Cool until the onions turn translucent. 

Place the cast iron skillet into the oven for 25 minutes (you want the sweet potatoes to get soft enough to eat). 

Remove the skillet from the oven and crack the eggs on top of the vegetables. Then, sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the eggs are no longer runny.  

Remove skillet from the oven and top with avocado slices, green onion and hot sauce. Enjoy!

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TV Shows I've Loved Recently
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Unfortunately, I have to spend a lot of time laying down instead of out doing stuff. Luckily, I don't mind laying on the couch at night with some candles lit, a snack, and a good show on tv though. When Jay is down to massage my feet too, that's the ultimate, but it usually lasts for a solid minute and then he just starts pulling on my toes haha. Who actually likes that?!

Point is, cozy nights binge watching a show can be awesome. I love binge watching a show because it keeps you hooked. I prefer it to watching movies or watching a show scattered, how about you? Here are the best things that I've watched recently. P.S. Billions isn't on this list because I've been watching it for a while but the newest season just started and if you don't watch it, you should definitely start it from the beggining and catch up!

Game of Thrones

I know I'm late to the game on this one but I started it late this fall and I got hooked. I watched one episode years ago and only understood who was having sex with who so I wrote it off. I have had zero issue following along with the show though since I've been watching it. Still, its easiest to figure out whose sleeping with who haha but its not hard to follow once you understand who everyone is. It's an HBO series...HBO, Showtime and Netflix are kind of my jams. It's definitely dark and on nights I'm in a lot of pain sometimes I'm just not feeling it and want something lighter so I've looped in some of these other ones. 

Grace & Frankie

This was another show that my mom and I binged on Netflix while I was recovering at her house. It's a Netflix series with short episodes and its a very light watch. The target audience is definitely older than me but I thought that it was really funny and cute and lighthearted. It's about 2 women in their 60s whose husbands tell them that they aren't actually just best friends and have actually been lovers for many years and that they want to get divorced form their wives so that they can marry each other. Their adult kids are in it as well, which I like and definitely helps bridge the age demographic I was talking about haha. 

Friends From College

This is another Netflix series that only has one (short) season so far. It's about a group of friends from college who are now in their 30s and living in Manhattan. There's affairs, job qualms, infertility struggles, marriage stuff, and all that jazz. I thought it was really funny in that dry sort of way. I really like the cast, especially Keegan Michael Key! It only has 8 episodes so far so its a really quick watch.

My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman

I'm a big fan of Howard Stern's interviews because unlike interviews on talk shows, they really take their time and dive into stuff. This series on Netflix that David Letterman is doing is the same. It feels like there's no agenda of something to promote and they really go deep. It would be such a dream (in the unachievable, I'm not even in a realm of being good enough at it way) to conduct interviews like this. I love how the conversation just takes them wherever it naturally goes and how he asks 'real' questions that provoke 'real' answers. These interviews really allow you into the guests' mind and let you see things from their perspective and hear about their story. It's almost like if therapy only involved the interesting stuff haha. They also talk on worldly topics and important issues but in a way that is far from boring. My favorite episodes that I've watched thus far (I still need to watch more) are Obamas, Jay-Z, and George Clooney. 

Tamborine by Chris Rock

This is Chris Rock's latest Netflix comedy special. I like watching a comedy special on a Saturday night when we are staying in because it feels a little bit like you're out at a comedy show and its different than just watching something else on TV. I didn't love the beginning of this series but then it really picked up. Obviously, it all depends on what topics you like but I was cracking up all of the stuff about men versus women and relationships. He talked about why he got divorced and the things that he wishes he did differently (which I majorly respected and liked) but in a really funny way. The series is named Tamborine because he says that he wanted to be the lead singer in his relationship the whole time and that it doesn't work like that. Sometimes you get to play lead and sometimes you have to "play the tamborine mother fucker." I LOVE comedy because it takes these simple things that other people would just look right past and makes them profound. I love comedy that touches on the obvious in a way that makes you feel like "duh" and is so relatable that it's hilarious. I am not good at science or math, I had to work really hard to get a score that I was really happy with for the SATs and all of that but I am smart in a couple of ways. One of those ways is that I have high emotional intelligence, self awareness, and empathy. Comedians tend to have this kind of intelligence (combined with darkness haha) and I feel like they slam dunk it when they hit on human nature so perfectly or play on their self awareness in such a unique way. I though that he did such a good job at that with this special. I know that Louis C.K. has taken some heat for some creepy sh** that he's done but his specials always hit these things right on the nose as well. 

Brothers & Sisters

I watched this YEARS ago when it was live (and missed a lot of it because I was at college and didn't have DVR). I loved it and was upset when it was canceled. I asked a few months ago what you guys recommended that I watch while I recovered from surgery. My favorite recovery show that I ever watched was Parenthood (so much so that I watched the entire series twice, both during recoveries haha). Someone recommended that I watch Brothers & Sisters but I was like "I've seen that." After trying out multiple shows and not liking any of them, I decided to give it a whirl. Guess what, I remembered close to nothing haha. It was brand new information basically and I loved it. Like Parenthood, its one of those shows that makes you feel like you're a part of the family on the screen. Its more dramatic and extreme than Parenthood though. Its about adult children and their parents (Sally Fields plays the mom and crushes it) and all of the crazy stuff that happens in their family. Needless to say, I miss my brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, I had to purchase the episodes on Apple TV.

 

Best Tulip Fields to Visit
Holland Ridge Farms, NJ (Image by Rachel Ellentuck Photography)
Holland Ridge Farms in NJ image via Rachel Ellentuck Photography

What are some of your travel bucket list items? One of mine is to visit some flower festivals around the world. I went to Amsterdam and LOVED the city (I still think it was the friendliest city I've ever been to) but I went in February. I am dying to go back to the Netherlands in the Spring when the tulips are in bloom! Until then, this tulip field in NJ (pictured above) will have to do. Below are the top tulip festivals in the world!

Contact me if you have similar aspirations and would like to visit some tulip fields next Spring! or I love helping my travel clients cross items off of their bucket lists! Fill out the contact form for Cozy Traveler or shoot me an email at Carly.Robinson@Smartflyer.com. 

Netherlands: Keukenhof, Nordoospolder, Amsterdam, Lisse, Noordwijkerhout 

Noordoostpolder Tulip Festival (Google Images)
Nordoospolder Festival via Google Images

Canada: Agassiz Tulip Festival in British Columbia& Abbordsford Tulip Festival in British Columbia

Abbordsford Tulip Festival in British Columbia, Canada (Google Images)
Abbordsfod Tulip Festival via Google Images

USA: Skagit Valley in Washington, Wooden Shoe Farm & VanderZanden Farms in Oregon & Dutch Hollow Farms in California

Skagit Valley in Washington State (Google Images)
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival via Google Images
Margaritas with Vita Coco
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You know I love getting festive for a holiday and the obvious choice for Cinco de Mayo is Margaritas!! These margaritas are not so obvious though. They have a twist but still remain pretty classic tasting. They are made with fresh, real ingredients, which helps keep the sugary taste to a minimum. I used Peach & Mango flavored Vita Coco water not only because it tastes good but also to help avoid a hangover for everyone who is throwing these back. Coconut water is really hydrating so it helps counterbalance the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Get your tacos ready...

Recipe

Ingredients:

3 ounces fresh lime juice

4 ounces Peach & Mango Vita Coco coconut water

4 ounces silver tequila

1/2 teaspoon agave

Directions:

Juice your limes. Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker and shake to combine. Stir the agave with a spoon if necessary. Pour over ice and enjoy!