Top 6 Most Used Bridal Shower Gifts

Hi friends! Happy Thursday. Can you all believe May is already coming to an end? Some days it feels like time is moving faster than ever. It has been a short work week, but I am really excited the weekend is just about here. I have a bunch of things to do around the house on Friday. There’s nothing better than knocking things off to-do list in my book. We have really been focusing on sprucing up our yard and patio area. I am planning on getting things started early, so I can end Friday with a mani/pedi in preparation for our besties’ wedding! I have been reflecting on all of excitement I felt during the week of my wedding, so I feel extra excited for them. Fun fact, the bride used my wedding planning check list (click here)!

Today I am sharing some of my most used bridal shower gifts. We have been married for about a year and a half, and I have been using gifts from my bridal shower for almost two. Whether you are looking to create your own bridal registry or spruce up your kitchen with some new purchases, keep reading. Here are my most used bridal shower gifts!

Although it took us weeks to finally open our new Keurig once we did it quickly became our most used gift. Initially, I was unsure if I wanted a Keurig machine of this size for two reasons. I wasn’t sure if we actually needed a large Keurig with a water reservoir {previously had a single serve} and I like to keep our counters on the bare side. I decided to leave it out on the counter for a few weeks to give it what I like to call a, “visual test run.” Once we started using it, we were hooked. Making at least 2 cups of coffee per morning, it definitely gets a lot of use. We also like that this model came with a carafe. This gives us the option to make enough coffee for a small crowd {requires a different pod} without having to break out the percolator.

Making its way to a very close second place is our Nespresso machine. I would say that I am giving it the #2 spot because only my husband uses it everyday {usually more than once a day} where as we both use the Keurig. As you can tell, we love our coffee! When I registered for my shower, I didn’t envision adding an espresso machine, so I went with a basic model. Had I known how much use it would get, I would have definitely consider registering for something a little fancier. Our machine came in a bundle with a milk frother. I thought I would get tons of use out of this, but the truth is, I don’t. It always seems like one more thing I have to clean. My husband only drinks espresso, so the frother really only gets used on the occasional weekend that I make a latte.

Another most used and must have gift {in my opinion} has been this Cutting Board. I use it just about every time I cook. I like that it has rubber grips on the bottom to prevent it from slipping around while I am chopping up ingredients. A few times a month I will clean the cutting board with baking soda and vinegar or lemon to eliminate any odors that may get trapped in there {think garlic and onions!}.

If you follow me on Instagram {and if you don’t, please do!} you know how much I’ve raved about my Le Creuset Dutch oven. I have the 5.5qt round Dutch oven in white. It was a “splurge” item that I added to my registry and was thrilled when my co-workers surprised me with it. I have a whole blog post dedicated to the top 5 reason why you need one! If you’re not looking to spend a few hundred dollars on a pot or aren’t sure if you will use it enough, there are some other options you can consider. For Christmas, I got an awesome deal on a Martha Stewart Dutch oven for my mom. I was able to get her a bigger size than I have and so far she loves it. Sometimes you can also find Le Creuset and similar products by Cusinart at HomeGoods.

I really enjoy cooking {if you haven’t figured that out already}, so the Calphalon pots and pans set I received gets a lot of use. Overall, I am pretty happy with this set with the exception of one pan that always burns. I love being able to transfer pans from the stove top to the oven. Regardless of the number of cookware items you request on your registry, be sure to include a high quality oven safe pan. This comes in handy when searing steaks, pork chops, one pot chicken dinners or want to broil shrimp.

It took me forever to pick out a flatware set, but I am so happy with the set I finally chose. Flatware was actually one of my most needed kitchen items prior to my shower. I knew I wanted something of very good quality that would last for years and years. Also, the style needed to be something simple and timeless. I love that this set is big! It has 12 settings including steak knives plus 3 extra serving utensils.

Would you like me to share my least used bridal shower gifts? Let me know in the comments!

Wedding Welcome Bags with North Fork Potato Chips

Hi friends! The summer and wedding season are quickly approaching, and I could not be more excited. Today, I am thrilled to share a local company that I incorporated into my own wedding day. This is a great way not only to support local businesses, but it is also a fun way to add some unique touches to your wedding.

As you may know, I got married a little over a year ago. Sometimes I still have to remind myself that my wedding day has come and gone. I am the type of person that enjoys anticipating a big event like a holiday or vacation. Although I hit a few bumps in the road during wedding planning {or as my husband says, “the fews weeks I lost my mind,”} I really did enjoy everything about our wedding season. That being said, I know wedding planning can be overwhelming, so I thought this would be a great time to share some planning ideas with you all.

In this post I am giving you a better look inside my wedding welcome bags. These bags were placed in the hotel rooms for our guests the night of our wedding. There are so many reasons I love living on Long Island, so I really wanted to incorporate something special into these bags. A few months prior to my wedding I was in Southhampton with my parents looking at wedding bands. We stopped for lunch where I opted for a side of chips — North Fork Potato Chips. This was the first time I had heard of these chips, but instantly fell in love with them because they had such a good crunch! Then it hit me; these chips were the perfect addition to my wedding welcome bags. I knew these would be a lot more special than a regular old bag of Lay’s.

With all of the crazy details that go into a wedding, we opted to keep our welcome bags pretty simple. Sticking with our theme, I purchased craft paper gift bags, white tissue paper and a tag from Etsy which we simply tied with twine. Along with the North Fork Chips, we added a couple bottles of water, a few gluten-free [salty & sweet] snacks and Advil packets. For more details on my wedding planning, click here.

If you check their website, you’ll learn that North Fork Potato Chips is a family owned and run business on the North Fork of Long Island. Starting their business in the 1970s, the Sidor family has grown their company to offer seven flavors of chips, and all except BBQ are gluten-free. I opted for a mix of the original and sweet potato flavor in my wedding welcome bags. If you’re not incorporating wedding welcome bags into your day, North Fork Potato Chips would make a great favor, to-go gift {often left at the door as your guests leave} or after party snack.

When I placed my order for North Fork Chips, I remember speaking with Cheryl Sidor. At the point I spoke with her, I was losing wedding planning steam — so much so that I actually called their office about 10x in a row thinking my call wasn’t going through. Turns out, it was actually call waiting, and I was repeatedly “beeping into” Cheryl’s conference call. Hello bridal brain fog! Not only was Cheryl very sweet, but she made the process so simple. To ensure optimal freshness, she also made sure that the chips shipped at the right time.

As a kid, my parents often took me out to the North Fork, and I generally referred to it as the land of “farm, farm, vineyard, farm.” These day my day-job requires me to be in the city which makes me appreciate the farm lands and beaches of Long Island so much more. My husband and I love spending time on the ‘NoFo’ for the wine, craft beer and pure relaxation. Some of our favorite places include the Bating Hallow Farm Vineyard, Briermere Farms and the Shinn Estate Vineyard. We’re happy to add North Fork Chips to that round-up.

LI brides, be sure to check out North Fork Potato Chips to add a special element of LI to your wedding day. Also, ask for information on the bridal specials and let Cheryl know I sent you her way.

Thank you to Cheryl for sending me chips to recreate my bags for this post!

All opinions are my own and today’s post was not compensated.

Wedding Planning: Checklist & Managing Stress!

Last year shortly after becoming engaged, I thought to myself, “I’m not going to be a crazy bride and stress myself out.” For the most part, that held true. However, the beginning of wedding planning felt overwhelming at times because we had also recently purchased our first home and began renovating shortly after. We picked locations for our ceremony and venue rather quickly, and were grateful for the smoothness of the process. Once that was done, we checked off the next big vendors – photographer, videographer, DJ, limos and florist {most of which came from family recommendations}. Checking these big “To-Dos” off the list felt good!

Next up was the engagement party planning and asking our friends and family to be included in our bridal party.  Our engagement party turned out perfect! It was such a fun day and I was able to incorporate my bridesmaids’ gifts into the party. I was able to use almost all of my engagement party decor for my wedding, which turned out to be a huge time and money saver.

After the engagement party, planning slowed down a bit. I found my wedding dress, secured an awesome make-up artist and picked out bridesmaids dresses. The bridesmaid dresses were harder to decide on than my own dress because I wanted the dress to be affordable, yet flattering.

At this point (February) I felt like wedding planning was cruising. I had put together a detailed To-Do checklist (download at bottom of post!) and eventually created a binder of wedding essentials. In April, we completed our Pre-Cana course for our wedding ceremony. By June, I knew I needed to start focusing more. I found my shoes, finalized our guest list and picked a suit for the groomsmen. I also picked our invitations – enter stress!

(Sidebar: Looking back, these are the things that I could have checked-off my list earlier:)

  1. Invitations
  2. Picked a hair stylist
  3. Finalized ceremony readings and music
  4. Finalized the DJ checklist
  5. Ordered Wedding Bands
  6. My Wedding Day Jewelry
  7. Order Favors

A lot of unexpected details went into the invitations. There are SO many options and styles to choose from. I ordered 6 samples from Etsy to figure out which style fit best with the theme I envisioned for the wedding. Proofreading the invitation itself seemed stressful, but thankfully I had family and friends to help me out, which resulted in many laughs in the process. Along with proofreading my invitation, I also had to proof read and edit the mailing addresses.

After many hours revising and perfecting the invitation, I loved the sample I chose. Unfortunately, the vendor changed the listing I purchased on Etsy and was not clear in communicating the change in the product. When the invitations arrived in August, they were not what I had expected, leading to a minor freak out and a few many tears.  Ultimately, I realized that if I ignored the sample they were still beautiful invitations {I actually received a lot of compliments}. I also needed to send the invitations out ASAP, so ordering new ones wasn’t a great option.

By mid-August the stress started setting in and it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. The invitation debacle threw wedding planning slightly off-course. I started to feel like I had so much left to do. By the end of the month, I wasn’t sleeping well and some daily activities that led to frustration even made me cry! I really committed to having 2-3 weeks before the wedding to relax. To do so, I buckled down and stuck to my To-Do list. I was able to get back on track, so by the end of September I was just about where I wanted to be with planning. The finish line was in the distance!

Overall, I actually didn’t think wedding planning was too stressful, but I did hit a few bumps in the road along the way. Towards the end, there were moments that certainly tested my patience. I’d wake up thinking about chipping away at my To-Do checklist.  I eventually made it through that rough period of time with 2-3 easy pre-wedding weeks, as planned! I have my checklist to thank for that. Organization is key in preventing wedding stress. I think having a plan and making daily goals are helpful in keeping wedding planning manageable.  It is important to remember to take a break when you need to and step back to soak it all in. It is such a special time in life that makes you appreciate and be grateful for all of your blessings. Try not to wish the time away! Go for a walk, get a mani/pedi, have a glass of wine or take a mental health day from work if you need to de-stress…happiness is key!

xo Miss Alyss