Apartment Decorating with Modern Map Art.

Justin and I have been living in our UWS apartment for about a year and a half now (although I’ve been on the UWS, and on this very block actually, for much, much longer).  When we first moved in, we both agreed that we needed things on the walls to make the apartment feel like home; unfortunately, we weren’t always in agreement in terms of what went on the walls.

Both of us made at least one compromise but we ended up happy with a combination of pieces that came from our lives before each other and new things that we bought together. We’ve got lots of photos of us, a framed print of the restaurant we ate at after our engagement (River Cafe), and some other personal pieces.

My favorite is a gift I bought for Justin early on in our living together when we were still arguing over what to put on the walls. I told him I bought something for the entryway and that he had to trust me because I wouldn’t have bought something if I wasn’t 100% positive it was something he’d love.

One area in our apartment that was never a source of contention was the kitchen. We decided early on that we’d like all the art in the kitchen to be NYC-themed.

Even with all these in the kitchen, there was still one little wall next to the sink where I wanted to hang something but nothing we’d found seemed right… until Modern Map Art (affiliate link) reached out to me about one of their NYC prints.

Justin went out and bought a cheap frame from Michael’s and it just looks perfect on this little wall that had been bugging me for over a year. The print is extremely professional looking. It comes on nice paper and the ink is so dark that it’s unbelievably striking. I already have ideas for other maps I want to get for us or for friends/family as gifts.

Modern Map Art has a variety of prints – countries, cities, ski trails, skylines, and even an option to customize your map (this is a game-changer!). We have a few friends/family who are engaged and I’m thinking a map of the couple’s first home together might be a great engagement gift 🙂

The next few weeks are hopefully filled with less apartment updating (it does need a bit of spring summer cleaning though) as I begin training for the NYCM today! There’s also a wedding coming up in, oh, I don’t know, TWO MONTHS (gah!) and there’s still lots to do. Is it still considered wedding planning if everything is technically planned we just have to execute everything? And why does that take even more time?!?


Next up: How I plan to train for a marathon, plan a wedding, have a wedding and a honeymoon, and also not hate absolutely everything. 

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Showered with love and pizza.

What I knew:

  • That my bridal shower was on June 24th at 12pm at Umberto’s Pizzeria on Long Island

What I didn’t know:

  • Everything else.

In all honesty, I’m not a fan of bridal showers. Watching people open housewares? Yawn. Wearing a weird hat of ribbons? Cringe. Being the center of attention? Not really my cup of tea either.

There was so much I didn’t like about bridal showers that I had a hard time imagining how mine would look – but Saturday proved just how much my family gets me because it was a wonderful afternoon filled with incredible personal touches, amazing friends and family, and to top it all off, pizza.

My Bridal Shower

The Invite

Once Upon a Time themed? YES!

Not having to open gifts? YES!

From the get-go, my fam was on the perfect track for making this a day I would love 🙂

The Decor

Sticking with the once upon a time/happily ever after theme, the space was adorned with Cinderella’s carriages, sparkle, and small princess touches throughout. Also, can we talk about this cake?! My future sister-in-law (my lil’ bro is getting married next September!!!) had it made and it was delicious on top of being gorgeous (this is the baker – if you need a specialty cake made out on LI, this is THE place!).

The Menu

Umberto’s – Long Island, NY

My family does nothing small so there was A TON of food and absolutely no one went home hungry. I loved that in addition to the cake, there was little Carvel ice cream cups. I had both the chocolate and vanilla ice cream cups and a piece of cake. #sheddingfortheweddingLOL 

The Entertainment

Game 1: What did the Groom say?

Prior to the shower, Justin was sent a list of questions to answer about me. At the shower, I had to sit in a chair while my cousin asked me the questions. For every answer I didn’t match Justin, I had to chew a piece of gum. My cousin bought double bubble so THANK GOD I only didn’t match Justin for 6 questions.

My questions were:

  • What is the one thing you cannot live without?
    • He said, “Fruit.”
    • I said, “Disney.”
  • What is your favorite color?
    • MATCH! Purple 🙂
  • What was your first job?
    • MATCH! Pizza place 🙂
  • Who are you named after?
    • MATCH! Little girl in my mom’s baton twirling class 🙂
  • If you went out for drinks, what is the first beverage you would order?
    • MATCH! We both said “something fruity.” 🙂
  • Where did you have your first kiss?
    • Funny story: because my cousin didn’t say “with Justin,” I interpreted this as my first kiss ever and answered with “Kimberly W’s basement.” #Whoops
    • Once the question was clarified, I got it right – the High Line 🙂
  • What is your biggest pet peeve?
    • He said, “Dog across the hall.”
    • I said, “People chewing loudly.”
  • What is your favorite thing to spend money on?
    • He said, “Fitness stuff.”
    • I said, “Disney.” (running/fitness was my next answer)
  • What year did you graduate from high school?
    • MATCH! 2004 🙂 #onceatitanalwaysatitan
  • What was the first gift Justin gave you?
    • He said, “Olaf tank top and hoodie.”
    • I said, “Ummm I forget…”
  • What is your favorite song?
    • MATCH! Can’t choose but something by Kenny Chesney 🙂
  • When you are in a sour mood, what is your comfort food?
    • MATCH! Pizza 🙂
  • What do you do that really annoys Justin?
    • MATCH! Justin said, “Not answering as there’s no way I don’t get in trouble.”
  • What does Justin do that really annoys you?
    • MATCH! I said “omg there’s too many, I could start ranking them maybe…”
    • He said, “I could write you a novel”
  • What is one chore you really hate?
    • He said, “Redoing my chores even though they were done just fine.”
    • I said, “Dishes? I don’t know. I do them all and hate them all.”
  • What is the number of questions Justin thought you’d get correctly?
    • He said, “12.”
    • I said… nothing because I had so much gum in my mouth I couldn’t speak.

Game 2: Disney Love Songs

Because I’m, well, me, I was disqualified from winning – but the top 2 winners took home bottles of champagne! Also, our wedding song is somewhere in that list 🙂

Game 3: How Old was the Bride-to-Be?

My amazing friend (and officiant!), Jenny, set up a game with photos of me from various ages. I thought this was such a cute idea but oh boy was it difficult, even for me! It was adorable to hear people get excited when they were exactly right. I had Justin play when we got home and he guessed all of them within two years save for one photo (he thought I was 16 but I was really 12 – he followed this knowledge up with “OMG we can never have girls” LOL).

Activities: Scrapbook Guestbook & Date Night Ideas

I’ve been scrapbooking our entire engagement so instead of a formal guestbook, my mother arranged for the guests to leave me a note on scrapbook paper (I’m going to do the same for our wedding “guestbook!”). In addition to the sweet notes I received on the scrapbook paper, everyone submitted a date night idea for Justin and me. We reviewed the date night ideas on Sunday morning and were cracking up! They ranged from sweet to raunchy and it was hilarious to read everyone’s thoughts on what makes a good night out or night in.

Personal Touches

My Outfit

When I first found this dress, I fell in love with everything except the plunging neckline. I asked my mother if she could fill in the center with some sheer fabric and you know what she did? She cut the sleeve off her wedding gown and sewed the lace right into my dress. I also wore my late grandmother’s ring (adorned with a light blue heart) and a light blue pearl bracelet that my grandmother (and matron of honor) made for me a few months back. It meant so much to me to be wearing something from my three favorite women.


Family Brides

My mother did a wonderful job of arranging photos of all the brides and significant women in mine and Justin’s life.

Shower Umbrella

My grandmother made this umbrella and my mom, my aunt, and all their cousins have used it at their bridal showers over the years. It was such a special treat to have something so special and be the first of my cousins to use it (my cousin Sammy is next – she got engaged on Sunday!!!).


For Me

My parent’s had my great-grandmother’s silverware re-dipped. My babci received this silverware as a wedding gift in 1917, making the set 100 years old! I also received my grandmother’s china, something my grandmother passed on to my mother many years ago. I can’t wait until we have a larger home so we can display these and host a fancy dinner party for all my cousins 🙂

For Guests

My grandmother lives in an assisted living facility and has taken up a new hobby in the past few months – jewelry making! My aunts bought her an array of different beads and she made enough bracelets for every guest at the shower to take one home as a favor. It was so great to see everyone wearing a Made-by-Maria original!

When we got home, we spent time opening cards/gifts and arranging what we wanted to bring back to the city to use right away and what could be saved for when we have a larger home and family.

I feel so blessed for everyone who put in a ton of work to make this shower memorable and exactly what I would have wanted. I am so unbelievably thankful for those who came to share such a magical day with me as well as for those who sent their love from afar. Less than 3 months to go and feeling like the luckiest lady in the world!


Wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!


Filed under wedding

Just What the Doctor Ordered: Lasik Recovery in the Hamptons.

Over the past few months, Justin has been toying with the idea of having Lasik surgery. After so many years of wearing glasses and being frustrated by contacts, he’d had enough (wanting to swim with the sea turtles in Hawaii sans contact lenses was also a contributing decision factor lol). A few weeks ago, we got him in touch with the doctor who performed my and my brother’s Lasik surgery about 8 years ago and it was a go! His surgery was scheduled for last Wednesday out on Long Island. Bye bye glasses!

We went out to LI on Tuesday night to make Wednesday morning as easy peasy as possible. As it was Global Running Day (and I just like to drive him crazy), we got outside super early for an easy 4 miles.  After quick showers and a quick breakfast, we were on our way to the surgery center! Thanks, mama B for the drive 🙂

Lasik surgery goes so quickly and within 20 minutes, a nurse was calling me back to meet with Justin and the surgeon to talk aftercare. Within 40 minutes of arriving at the surgery center, we were on our way home so Justin could lay down and hopefully sleep for the next four hours. That first day is really the worst and once you get through that and the first post-op appointment, it’s pretty smooth sailing.

It was really nice to have some mandatory resting on our calendar. By Friday morning, equipped with dark sunglasses and many bottles of eye drops, we were ready for the best part of Justin’s recovery plan – a weekend in the Hamptons!

East Quogue/Hampton Bays

When we first got engaged, my amazing aunt graciously offered us her Hamptons house over the summer so we could have a relaxing mini-trip during the craziness of wedding planning. We asked a few of our closest friends if they wanted to join us and, to no one’s surprise, they all said yes 🙂

It was a super easy weekend with lots of barbecuing and sitting by the pool. There was some evening exploring out in Hampton Bays and Southampton but we mostly stuck to the house and enjoyed each other’s company.

Alec and I started Saturday and Sunday mornings with a short run and Justin was glad that I had someone else to run with because I usually ask force him to join me. He gets a free pass for this weekend because of the surgery but he better be ready for some Hawaii running in three months!

Weather-wise, this was the best weekend we’ve had all “summer” and it has me crossing my fingers for all the fun weekends we have planned in the next few weeks. Bring me ALL the sunshine!


Today is a special day – it’s the anniversary of me and Justin’s first date! Also, the REAL countdown starts now – 100 DAYS!

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