we’re engaged!

The past month has been the most beautiful whirlwind. Connor and I went to California in October, and he proposed while we were in Napa! We have been so overwhelmed with love, happiness and excitement — and it is just the beginning!

Our date is set, our venue is booked, but I still cannot stop thinking about how perfect the day of our proposal was.

October 21, 2019 will forever be one of my favorite days.

Connor and I spent three days in San Francisco before driving to Napa on October 20th, our seven year anniversary. While our San Francisco itinerary was packed with places to see, food to try and things to do, the Napa portion of our trip was meant to be much more relaxing (a full travel guide is coming soon!).

We heard about how beautiful Stags’ Leap was, and knew it had to be part of our Napa trip — after all, it is rated one of the Top 5 Most Romantic Winery Destinations by Sonoma Magazine! Unfortunately, when we were booking our trip, there were no available tastings and tours for the day. A few days later, Connor said he checked the website again, and there was an opening. I was so excited! I later found out that the open spot was created for us as part of a much bigger plan.

On Oct. 21, we went to Boon Fly Cafe for the most delicious breakfast and mini donuts before heading back to our hotel to get ready for our tasting and tour at Stags’ Leap Winery. While at Stags’ Leap, we toured the beautiful Estate and sipped on several different wines throughout the afternoon. After the tour was over, Connor and I had planned to stay to enjoy some more wine before heading to dinner — it was our last day, so we wanted to soak in all that Napa has to offer before flying home!

We went out to the porch that overlooks the vineyard and had a glass of wine. Connor wanted to get a picture together before we left, so we walked through the vineyard to find the perfect spot (little did I know, Connor had this all planned out!). We turned down one row, and Connor took a selfie of us,  put his phone down and looked at me.

“This has been really great,” he started. I jokingly interjected (as we do when one of us unintentionally says something that sounds so “final”) and said, “Please don’t tell me this is where you leave me — right in the middle of a 240-acre vineyard!” He laughed, looked me in the eyes and said, “I don’t want to leave you, I want to stay with you forever.”

In that moment, I realized what was happening, and I just couldn’t believe it. I was crying, shaking and smiling as the love of my life got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was such a beautifully intimate moment that I will treasure forever.

Best Proposal Wineries in the Napa Valley - Stags Leap Winery, Yountville - CA

Best Proposal Wineries in the Napa Valley - Stags Leap Winery, Yountville - CA

Best Proposal Wineries in the Napa Valley - Stags Leap Winery, Yountville - CA

After I said yes, he sprung another surprise on me — he turned me around and pointed to a photographer that he had hired to take our proposal and engagement photos! I could not believe all of this was happening! Our photographer, Christophe Genty, captured one of the best moments of our lives together, and I am forever grateful for that.

In between our engagement photos, Connor told me all of the details of the proposal — from how he asked my dad for his blessing to designing my ring and coordinating the day with Christophe and the winery. The start of our forever was one of the best days, but our best day ever is going to be in just under a year! I cannot wait to marry my best friend!

love is in the air

Love is in the air, as Galentine’s Day (thank you, Leslie Knope) and Valentine’s Day are fast approaching. Whether you are spending these holidays with your best friends or your significant other, there are plenty of ways to celebrate! Instead of going out for a night of dinner and drinks, consider these options to help you celebrate love, friendship or togetherness this month!

  • Take a class: Do something that is outside of your comfort zone by trying something new with your partner or friends. Whether there is a dish you have always wanted to learn to make or a SoulCycle class you have been dying to try, take the leap and sign up! Look up local classes in your area for some ideas.
  • Cook a three-course meal: Getting wined and dined at a restaurant is great, but it can be even better at home. Plan out a menu to cook together that includes an appetizer, main course and dessert. Pour the wine and get to cooking!
  • Travel somewhere new: Sometimes last-minute trips are the best trips. Hit the open road and plan a quick weekend trip to somewhere you have never been before. Exploring a new city, whether it is in your home state or a neighboring state, is bound to bring you a weekend of adventures!
  • Host a party: Who doesn’t love a good excuse for a themed party?! Have your guests come dressed in red or pink, throw on some classic love songs, serve some festive drinks and let everyone mix and mingle! Spread the love by asking guests to bring red or pink sweets for all to enjoy!
  • Simply Local recommendation: Bury the Hatchet: If celebrating Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly your thing, try a different take on the day. Grab your friends and head to Bury the Hatchet for some good, old-fashioned axe throwing. Bury the Hatchet has locations in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Kansas.

No matter what you choose to do or who you spend the day with, I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day filled with love, laughter and fun memories!

sweet dreams

On an absolutely frigid day like today, the last thing I want to do is leave my bed. Those who know me personally know that I rarely make time to stay home and relax, but when the temperature falls to single digits, I tend to bend that rule a bit.

When I do stay home, I feel like I truly get to enjoy the space that Connor and I have created here, and I love that. While I love our apartment, our bedroom has always been my favorite room. When I set out to decorate this room, I channeled my best Joanna Gaines vibes to create a space that would exude coziness, comfort and relaxation.

I chose a light, neutral color palette for the décor in the room to match our light gray walls. I wanted the room to always feel light and airy; I wanted it to be a place we can retreat to after a long day and instantly feel relaxed.

My favorite design element in our bedroom is the gallery wall behind our bed. I had started purchasing signs here and there, from stores like Hobby Lobby, Home Goods and Michaels. At first, I was not sure what I would do with the signs, but after searching for the perfect piece to put up behind our bed and not having any luck, I realized that I could create something unique for us.

To create the gallery wall, I laid out all of the signs on the floor. After rearranging everything several times, taking a few measurements and getting some additional input, the final version of the gallery wall was created. In my opinion, it is definitely the best part of our room!

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We also found these great white shelves from Ikea for the walls and this white shelved corner piece from Macy’s to go underneath the television that is mounted on the wall. We utilize these shelves for décor items such as photos, signs, flowers and books; the pieces on the shelves tend to be reflections of us. I always try to move pieces around to change it up now and then, but most of the decorations on the shelves are year-round staples.

In addition to the décor items, I also wanted to make sure we had useful pieces of furniture in our bedroom. Aside from a mirrored dresser and two bedside tables, we also found this bench at Home Goods and mirror at Kirklands. These two items were the perfect pieces to fill space in the room that was otherwise empty. The bench has plenty of storage inside, and it is also a great option for extra seating when we have company!

Looking at the finished product, it is hard to believe that there was a point in time where we only had a mattress and blanket on the floor for several days until our furniture arrived. It is fun to think about how far this space as come from the empty room we moved into, now into a space where I would happily stay home to relax!

fall favorites

IMG_5704This past weekend, Connor and I celebrated our sixth anniversary! I feel so blessed to have someone like him by my side each and every day, and I am always amazed by how much we have done and accomplished together — being in love with my best friend is truly something special. We have shared so many memories and milestones over the years, and our anniversary is the perfect excuse to celebrate all of that!

IMG_5706In the past, we have always tried to travel somewhere new for our anniversary, but this year, we chose to do something different. Life has been pretty busy these days, and our work schedules are completely opposite, so we decided to take a step back and have a relaxing, fun weekend at home. 

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From pumpkin picking and carving to dinner and a movie, we spent the weekend doing some of our favorite things together. 
We had such a great weekend, and in the spirit of celebrating, I wanted to share some fun activities that you can add to your fall bucket list. Grab your significant other or a group of friends and hit up some of my favorite spots before the season ends!

 

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetDemarest Farms
Demarest Farms is the perfect place to spend a crisp fall day. Hop on a hayride to search for the perfect pumpkins to carve for Halloween, and on the way back, grab a bite to eat. Make sure to pick up some apple cider donuts before you leave, and heat them before you eat them! They are so delicious!

Tip: if you visit Demarest Farms earlier in the season, you can also go apple picking there! Connor and I have some apples that we are planning on baking into a pie this weekend!

Angry Orchard
This is a great place to go with a group of friends! From cider tastings and treehouse tours to live entertainment and lawn games, Angry Orchard has a great property for all-day entertainment.

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Warwick Winery
Warwick offers wine and cider tastings, as well as a distillery tour and live music. In the cooler months, there is an indoor tasting room complete with a wood-burning stove; when the weather is warmer, there is plenty of outdoor space to enjoy drinks and food with friends!

Pennings Farm Cidery
There is a variety of ciders on tap here, offering a variety for all palettes. Pair your favorite with lunch or dinner and enjoy! Starting in November, the tasting room is only open on the weekends and for adults 21 and over.



BE5945FC-8B6C-417D-85EE-B65B78C09FDE.JPGBear Mountain Oktoberfest
This is your last weekend to visit Bear Mountain for Oktoberfest (it closes Oct. 28). Grab a stein, fill it with beer or cider and snack on some pretzels while hanging out with friends!

Brownstone Pancake Factory
Brownstone is great any time of year, but it offers amazing fall-themed dishes! From Pumpkin Cheesecake Nutella Pancakes to a Halloween Ultimate Shake, you will be drooling over all of the options!

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Movie Night
Halloween is the perfect movie to get you into the fall spirit this season. Michael Meyers makes his chilling return to the big screen in this classic series, and it is definitely worth the watch. Movie theater popcorn is always an added bonus!

Netflix & Chills
Netflix has several Halloween movies available for binging, but this season, give your full attention to The Haunting of Hill House. This show may have given me nightmares for days, but it is so good. Cuddle up with some hot cocoa and light a few candles, because you will not want to watch this one in the dark!

Almost all of my suggestions are for locations that are open throughout the year, but I do love visiting these places in the fall! Let me know if you have visited any of these spots or have any suggestions of your own in the comments below or on Instagram by tagging @ livingsimplygray!