Fall Foliage & Pumpkin Picking

Every year, James and I enjoy doing fall things- both in Upstate NY when we go to visit my parents and here in New Jersey. Over the years, at these fall events we’ve pet baby goats and cows, ate our weight in apple cider donuts and fudge, and even got to hold baby bunnies (they were so tiny and warm and you could feel their hearts beating right against your hands). Here are a few snaps from the weekend we got engaged and this past weekend. You can tell which photos are from NY/VT and which are from NJ- the closer you are to New York City, the less beautiful and colorful the trees are. Sorry city dwellers, but it’s true. Although I live in a rather rural area of New Jersey with lots of trees, it still isn’t as beautiful as Vermont and Upstate New York where I grew up.

 

Vermont & New York

vermont pumpkins

foliage

james and trees

vermont foliage

vermont trees

New Jersey

couple eating

corn maze

perfect pumpkins

fresh veggies

indian corn

tiny pumpkins

vintage truck

weak fall foliage

BHLDN Bridal Week Bash- Blogger Happy Hour

bhldn mannequin

This past Thursday I was invited to a blogger happy hour by BHLDN, which was held at the Anthropologie Showroom in New York City. If you’re not familiar with BHLDN (pronounced be-holden), they are a sister brand of Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters that specializes in everything bridal. They feature a similar aesthetic to their sister brands (in my opinion), which is somewhat eclectic, vintage and actually affordable. In addition to selling their merchandise online, they also have a few stores in cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago and a new one in NYC.

The event featured a first look at some of their Spring 2015 pieces, including bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, decor and more. They had some delicious appetizers via Poppy’s Catering (the pretzel bites were amazing) and a nice bar, where I chose two glasses of a white wine. Dry Bar NYC was there to pamper everyone, Bracken Floral was there to help us create our own floral crowns and Shutterbooth New Jersey was there to snap all the smiles. As a parting gift, I received this gorgeous floral robe (perfect for getting ready and lounging in the morning) that I can’t stop wearing.

As a side note, I was so hesitant to go to a blogging event alone, knowing no one. I’m a natural introvert so events like this aren’t really my strong suit. There were a few “bigger” bloggers there, which made me chuckle that I was invited as well. In typical blogger fashion, most people were very cliquey with their own groups, not even paying attention to someone like me, but the 4 ladies of BHLDN who attended were the sweetest. So, this is a big shout-out to Ashley, Jessica, Rebekuh and Danielle for putting on a great event and being so nice. I loved getting their personal engagement and wedding advice since this newly-engaged girl needs all she can get!

 poppys catering

Pretty flowers & apps

bhldn food

I had about 5 of the pretzel bites. Nom nom.

BHLDN back of dress

How gorgeous is the back detail?

bhldn wedding dress

This was my favorite dress of the night

bhldn photobooth

That’s me on the right in the blue- BLDN posted this snap on their Instagram!

bhldn bridal gowns

Loving the sleeve details

bhldn bridesmaid

A few bridesmaid dresses. Should I choose short or long?

bhldn centerpieces

Spring-y floral centerpieces

bhldn decor

Cute ideas for centerpiece decor

bhldn flowers

More pretty flowers

bhldn sparkly dress

Pretty. Shiny. Sparkly.

bhldn spring dresses

Some slinky dresses that require a wedding diet

Fall Wish List

fall wish list

Just a few things on my fall wishlist…

Kate Spade New York ‘Hanover Street- Charee’ Leather Satchel- I’m not a huge bag girl- meaning I’d rather spend my money on a nice pair of jeans or a dress than the newest ‘it bag’- but this one caught my eye. Since I mostly carry around a neutral bag in brown, black or taupe, this red satchel would be a welcome addition to my color-less purse wardrobe. And how adorable and ladylike is that bow?

C. Wonder Evil Eye Applique Loafer- Whether you call them smoking slippers (so random) or loafers, these shoes look so comfortable. I have a weird obsession with all things evil eye (mainly jewelry), so it’s no surprise these are on my wishlist.

Sole Society Mini Fox Print Scarf- My college mascot was a red fox, so naturally I want this scarf. Maybe wearing it would transport me back to those days?

Frye ‘Lindsay Plate’ Boot- I’ve never splurged on Frye boots before, but boy have I wanted to. Their boots are always perfectly weathered and I love that this pair is the perfect brown- not too dark or too light.

Stella & Dot Somervell Necklace- I love everything Stella & Dot puts out, but it’s hard to find good silver options since it seems that they cater more towards gold offerings. I’m a silver girl, through and through. This necklace would go with any outfit and adds a little toughness while still being feminine.

Forever21 Classic Car Coat- Ah, the pastel coat- so pretty online, but always ends up making me look like a puffy Easter bunny. But this one actually looks like it might fit me and keep me warm during late fall and early winter. Now the real question is pastel pink or blue?

J Crew Merino Wool Mixed Media Sweater- Yes, this sweater is overpriced, but it doesn’t mean I still can’t say I want it. I love the sweet floral print mixed with the wool houndstooth pattern.

We’re Engaged!

This past week has been crazy, so the news is a week late here on the blog. But if you follow me on any form of social media, you may already know that last Saturday, October 4th James and I got engaged! We’re so incredibly thankful to all our family and friends for their outpouring of support and kind words (and a few nice cards and gift cards!) I can’t stop staring at the gorgeous ring on my finger and it’s hard to believe it’s all happening.

post engagement photo

buddy rose petals

candle entryway

candles and rose petals

congrats banner

engagement baloons

engagement cards

engagement spread

red roses

thumbs up

window engagement

Our Engagement Story

Last Friday James and I headed to my parent’s house in upstate NY for our annual fall weekend. At least once a year we visit my parents during the fall to see the gorgeous shades of the fall foliage, stuff our faces with apple cider donuts and my Mom’s pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and make a trip to the nearby farm/apple orchard. It’s a special time of year and we always look forward to it. Saturday we visited a few local places to do “all the fall things” and then started on our trip back  my parent’s house.

As we pull in to the garage, I notice lit candles and rose petals adorning the steps of the garage leading into my house. I was confused, but still not sure what was going on (I wasn’t expecting an engagement at all this weekend, so I didn’t even have it in the back of my mind). As I opened the door to my house, the candles and rose petals continued and I saw a huge “Congratulations” sign with a table full of champagne, desserts, balloons, roses, cards and more. In typical Rachel fashion, I shouted “Hellooooo. Is anyone home?” and “Congratulations? For what?” That’s when, in my confused state, James turned to me and asked me to marry him.

Without going into too many personal details and reciting every word he said to me during the propsal, the month of October holds a special place in our heart. Taking trips to visit me at my parent’s house (when we living long-distance for the first two years of our relationships) in the fall was always the best time for both of us. So asking me during our “favorite weekend” at my parent’s house meant so much to me, him and to my family. It was the sweetest and most thoughtful proposal ever and was perfect for us. We’re more of a quiet couple and neither of us wanted a huge scene to be made in public.

We immediately called down my parent’s (who were hiding upstairs after helping to set up all the candles and rose petals) to celebrate and called James’ family as well. We popped some champagne, were told we had planned dinner reservations and told all our friends and family members the news. The next day we traveled to James’ parents house for another dinner and celebration. Let’s just say I’ve had enough champagne for a few months…

halo engagement ring

instaring

pink ring

sylvie ring

The Ring

The ring is just perfect. It’s exactly what I wanted (a halo style setting with a center round diamond with a skinny band) but even better. The diamond is so shiny and sparkly that I can’t stop looking at it. You know you have a nice ring when your mother is in disbelief at it’s appearance, everyone says “OMG IT’S HUGE!” and your co-workers are constantly making jokes about how it’s blinding them. The ring is designed by Sylvie and was purchased at a local family jeweler near where James grew up. You can see the ring details and a professional photo here.

The Wedding

No, I don’t know when we are getting married yet. We just got engaged, people! I would assume sometime in 2016 in the summer or fall though. Planning weddings take a while, you have to book things wayyyy in advance, and I need to save up some money.

Health Care & Finances for Millennials

If you’ve read any article lately about “millennial”, chances are it’s about how we’re over our heads in student debt, glued to our cellphones, or not willing to pay our dues in the workplace.  One area that I personally feel millennials are far behind in is personal finance. Whether it’s how to budget for health care (which we’ll be discussing today) or something as simple as writing a check (which some people my age still don’t know how to do), personal finance is crucial to our generation.

Millennials are a valuable part of the workforce. The millennial generation (ages 18 to 33) is perceived to be more comfortable with technology, entrepreneurial and optimistic about the future than our elder colleagues. But we are also at a disadvantage due to student loan debt and not being properly taught about how to manage our finances. I never had to take a personal finance class in high school or college, and I strongly believe that this should be made mandatory nation-wide. I knew nothing about health insurance and my options after graduating college. Could I stay on my parent’s plan? What did that entail? If I received health insurance, how much would it be? Which plan would I choose?

aflac infographic

The 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report found that 35 percent of millennials have less than $500 to pay for them or a family member for out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected serious illness or accident that occurred today. Scary, right? So what can you do to ensure you make the right decisions? First of all, educate yourself on how your insurance deductible works. If those words mean nothing to you, it’s best to review your plans or meet with a HR representative to help explain it to you better. For example, choosing a plan with a low monthly premium and a high deductible may give you more money in your paycheck, but could also result in unaffordable payments if you need medical care beyond covered preventive services.

When it came time for me to choose a health plan at my job, I had to make a mental “pros and cons” list in my head. I evaluated my medical history- do I often need to go to the doctor beyond my yearly checkup? Will I need to visit a specialist this year? After looking over my options, I decided that I am relatively healthy and don’t typically make trips to the ER. While I have certain health issues and concerns, they generally were all covered by basic health insurance. With this in mind, I chose the plan with a higher monthly premium and a lower deductible. I knew what the amount that would come out of my paycheck per month was and that I would be able to budget around that and still be able to pay my bills.

pros and cons

I suggest reading this post from Aflac, “One Emergency Away From Financial Disaster“, which includes tips for dealing with the issue of healthcare.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.