The Surznick Common Room

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Couples Costumes Through the Years

October is finally here and we are in full-blown Halloween mode. It's no secret that we love fall and Halloween, and this year we're especially excited because it's our 10th Halloween together! So in the spirit of the best season of the year, we thought we we'd take a trip down memory lane and share our couples costumes through the years.

With 10 years together, there have been quite a few couples costumes. There's a few years missing where we flew solo, and in fact, this year we're not coupling up (I've had my costume in mind for awhile and there's not a good pair for it!) While I'm a little sad to not have a costume partner, looking back at all of these couples costumes is getting me inspired for next year's looks.

So without further ado, here are some classic Surznick couples costumes. Let us know which is your favorite in the comments below!

2009 (Our first Halloween!) - Bill and Sookie from True Blood
- We bought bottles of True Blood from the HBO shop. It was a delicious blood orange soda.
- I still have this Merlotte's shirt and wear it regularly!

2011 - Danny and Sandy from Grease
- It's not uncommon to find us dancing to the Grease soundtrack in the car. This costume was a natural fit for us!

2014 - Margot and Richie Tenenbaum
- "I think we're just gonna to have to be secretly in love with each other and leave it at that, Richie."

2015 - Spaghetti and Parmesan Cheese
- Nick was spaghetti the first year we met in college (and were not yet dating.) I have always LOVED this costume, so I new I had to make a pair for it!
- We shared a tutorial for this here.

2016 - Agatha and Zero from Grand Budapest Hotel
- Back on the Wes Anderson theme! You can see more this about costume here.

2017 - Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
- With all of the wedding planning going on last year, we didn't really do anything for Halloween, but we dressed up to hand out candy!
- Nick (not surprisingly) bought nothing for his costume. The lumberjack attire is pretty normal.

You can see more of our Halloween/fall related posts from prior years here, here, here, here, and here!

Happy (almost) Halloween!

Sarah & Nick

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Our Best of the Burgh Favorites

This summer marks five years of Pittsburgh living for Nick and I. We're pretty big fans of this city we live in, and over the years we've accumulated maaaaany favorite restaurants, bars, shops, and more. We're not alone either - earlier this spring thousands of Pittsburghers cast their votes for Pittsburgh Magazine's Best of the Burgh 2018 picks. The winners have been announced, and this week is the celebration!

The annual Best of the Burgh party is happening Thursday, July 19th at Stage AE from 7-9:30 PM and we are STOKED to go celebrate! This event brings together over 30 Best of the Burgh winners to share their products, food, and drinks all under one roof for over 500 guests. It's a really fun and unique way to see some of the great things Pittsburgh has to offer. So in honor of this week's party, we wanted to share some of our favorite Best of the Burgh winners this year! Without further ado...

B52 Cafe - Winner of Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly
Conveniently located down the street from us, B52 is one of our absolute favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh. Their entire menu is vegan and so, so good. I LIVE for their seitan shwarma wrap and cashew cheese toast with raspberry preserves.

La Gourmandine - Winner of French
Just a few blocks down the road from B52 is La Gourmandine French bakery. For a quick bite and a coffee, this is a go-to spot for a morning walking around Lawrenceville. My order - a brie tart and almond croissant.

Burgatory - Winner of Burger
Any place that has a build-your-own burger with endless vegan options is an A+ in our book. Make sure to go on Tuesday - that's their specialty vegan milkshake night!

Piccolo Forno - Winner of BYOB Restaurant and Italian Non-Chain
Piccolo Forno is where Nick and I celebrated after closing on our house two years ago. Their wood-fired pizzas are so mouthwatering - our leftovers usually don't make it all the way home. My order - the quattro formaggi pizza.

Point Brugge Cafe - Winner of European
A new discovery, but one we're going to keep going back to for sure. Word on the street is that they have the best fries in Pittsburgh and we would have to agree. Their Brugge Frites are the best we've had outside of Belgium.

Millie's Homemade Ice Cream - Winner of Dessert and Frozen Treat
You can't have the Best of the Burgh without Millie's. Their scoop shop in Shadyside is one of our favorite places to visit in the summer. With a dozen or more homemade flavors on the menu, Millie's is killing the ice cream game. We can't get enough of their vegan dark chocolate - it's like a pudding cup!

Eat'n Park - Winner of Family Friendly
We know it may not be fancy or one-of-a-kind, but when you need a cheap breakfast on a Sunday morning after karaoke night at Nico's, Eat'n Park is your place to go.

Mad Mex - Winner of Mexican/Tex-Mex
Seitan wings, Pennsyltucky fried tofu, burritos options out the wazoo, margaritas, beer specials... what's not to love about Mad Mex?

Stage AE - Winner of Place to Catch Live Music
Despite the above, eating and drinking isn't all we like to go in Pittsburgh. We're big concert fans too, and Stage AE is one of the best places to see our favorite bands.

Check out of the full list of readers choice winners here! (Some of our favorites are in the Pittsburgh Magazine editor's picks too.) We're excited to celebrate them all at the Best of the Burgh party on Thursday. If you want to join, tickets are $35 and can be purchased here (your ticket gets you two drink tickets and a t-shirt!) The party is at Stage AE from 7-9:30 - we hope to see you there!

What are your Best of the Burgh picks? Let us know!

Sarah & Nick

This post is in collaboration with Revive Marketing Group. All opinions (and favorite places in the Burgh) are our own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support the Common Room!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

#MeetTheMeowburgs: The Wedding

What better time to talk about our wedding than... 4 and a half months after it happened? Yeah, we're a little behind over here, but we are SO excited to finally share our wedding with you today. It was the best day we could have hoped for and we're thrilled to relive it with you guys! There are a bunch of photos below, but we wanted to give you some details first. This post is going to be a doozy, buckle up!

When: January 6, 2018 (our 9 year dating anniversary)

Where: Ace Hotel Pittsburgh - Ballroom. Getting married in the middle of winter certainly limits your venue options, but we wouldn't have wanted to get married anywhere else. Working with the event team at the Ace made our planning process so easy and we are so grateful to them for their guidance and help!

How Many Attended: About 80 guests

What Sarah Wore: My dress was a ModCloth/BHLDN hybrid. I did not picture myself wedding dress shopping in person with a bunch of people voting yes/no. Instead, I drank a bunch of wine one night and looked at ModCloth's bridal section online. I found a dress that was cute and on sale for about $70 - it's no longer available, but this is what it looked like originally.

via ModCloth
Later I found this beautiful lace topper from BHLDN - I'm still so in love with it. My mom cut the lace top off of the ModCloth dress and I wore the dress with the BHLDN topper instead. All in, my dress was under $300. I wore dark green velvet Mary Janes, which were super comfortable - I kept them on all night.

I decided to do my own makeup and kept it pretty much the same as what I normally wear (winged eyeliner will be my legacy.) I had no idea what to do with my hair, and I rarely get it cut so I don't have a go-to stylist. Luckily my friend Jessica offered to do my hair for me, which was a huge stress reliever, and I love how it turned out (thank you, Jess!) The only jewelry I wore besides my rings were rose gold lotus earrings from Etsy.

What Nick Wore: (Hey, it's Nick!) I wore a custom suit from Men's Wearhouse. It even had my name stitched inside! It doesn't matter what your thoughts are on Men's Wearhouse, or any other clothing store, a custom suit is worth its weight in gold. You feel like a million bucks and look amazing. If you're getting married, make sure you get a tailored suit. (And pro tip: it turns out Men's Wearhouse is basically ALWAYS having some form of a mega sale. No matter the time of year, you can get a sweet deal.)

Food: Since our wedding was at the Ace Hotel, all of the food/drink was from their in-house restaurant, Whitfield. The food was INCREDIBLE. If you've ever been to the Whitfield, you know that their food is amazing (both the chef and pastry chef were recently nominated for James Beard awards!) and we couldn't have been happier with the menu.

Nick and I were adamant about having an all-vegetarian wedding, and we are so thankful to the Whitfield for coming up with the most fantastic off-menu dishes for us. The food was served family style, so we didn't need to get meal preferences from guests beforehand, which was really nice. We actually tried to kept the menu a secret (not everyone is as excited about vegetarian food as we are), but all of our guests loved the dishes.

We had a beet salad and a mixed greens salad to start. For the main courses there was a parmesan risotto with roasted cauliflower, shaved Brussels sprouts, and tomato butter, as well as roasted squash with rice cakes, kale, harissa, and lentil salad. Dessert was a bourbon pecan bread pudding and a vegan chocolate fudge (made with avocado!) There was also a cheese plate during the cocktail hour, and of course - open bar (this is a Surznick wedding, after all.)

We didn't have a cake for the wedding ceremony, but our friend Annie made us a wedding cake that we could share with guests at our house the day after the wedding. The cake was so beautiful and so delicious. If you are local and need a cake (vegan options available!) please reach out to Annie!

We had our rehearsal dinner at Apteka, a local all-vegan Polish restaurant (pierogies!) We highly recommend visiting if you haven't been before!

DIYs and Decor: The ballroom at the Ace is so beautiful on its own that we didn't really want to overdecorate. We made two backdrops - one for us to stand in front of on the stage during the ceremony, and one for photos during the reception. The paper chain backdrop is a DIY by The House that Lars Built. For our centerpieces, we used caterpillar bud vases we got on clearance from a local shop and filled them with moss and faux flower buds from JoAnn Fabric. A big thank you to our friends Jamie, Jessica, and Geoff for helping us put together the centerpieces and backdrop!

Guest Book: Our friend, Steve, helped us design the best wedding guest book ever. I knew I wanted to do something unique and I was inspired by a photo that I saw on Instagram years ago and had saved on my phone. Our guests each had a card to fill out with their name, how they know the bride or groom, favorite memories, where they traveled from to attend, and some special wishes for us. Our favorite feature was that they had to draw a photo of themselves (which made for an excellent read-through of the cards the next day). We plan to have them all bound into a book that we can look back on for years to come. Thank you, Steve!

Favors: We went back and forth over favors for a LONG time until we finally decided to scrap the idea. I don't remember ever receiving a wedding favor that I've loved and kept forever, and we figured our guests probably felt the same. Instead, we used the money we would have spent on favors to make a donation to Community Human Services, a local organization with the following mission: "To empower individuals and families to live in stable housing, connect to community resources, build relationships, and access quality food." The Ace Hotel Pittsburgh is in the former YMCA building in East Liberty, a neighborhood that has seen its fair share of gentrification over the past several years (and is ongoing.) While it's a modest donation, we hope it makes a small difference in our community.

Officiated By: Our friend, Jordan! I've known Jordan since 1st grade and he and Nick have become close over the past few years. We wouldn't have wanted anyone else to marry us! He traveled all the way from Austin, TX to legally bind us and we're stoked to travel to Austin to see him soon.

DJ & Music: Our wedding was DJed by Kevin Petted of The Best DJs. I walked down the aisle to Quelqu'un m'a dit by Carla Bruni, and Nick and I walked into our reception to Fat Lip by Sum 41 (as if there were ANY OTHER OPTION.)

I think the other song highlights of the night were Country Roads (a Mr. Nick classic) and Sugar, We're Goin' Down (EVERYONE sang along.)

First Dance: Pretty much right when we got engaged, I decided that I wanted to do a choreographed routine for our first dance. Nick was game, but we didn't even pick songs or start practicing until about a month before the wedding.

Our friend Thomas put the songs together into one track for us (thank you, Thomas!) - our song selections were:
- January Wedding by the Avett Brothers (for obvious reasons)
- Cliff's Song from the movie Bring It On (one of my favorite movies of all time)
- I Just Do by Dear and the Headlights (Nick and I declared this 'our song' at like age 19)
- 2YL by The Front Bottoms (it's perfect)

My lovely friend, Bethany, captured a video of the dance for us - you can watch it below!

Photography: Our wedding was shot by Alyssa Florentine of For Rue Photography, along with her 2nd shooter, Michael. We're sharing some photos below, but it was very hard to narrow down. We love them so much and will cherish them forever. Thank you, Alyssa and Michael!

If you made it this far, thank you for reading! Our wedding was a long time coming, but truly the best day. If you have any questions, be sure to let us know in the comments below and we'd be happy to share. If you missed any of our other wedding-related posts, you can catch them below.

The Engagement
The Plan
Save the Dates
My Bouquet
Our Invitations
Getting Healthy
Table Numbers, Place Cards, & Favor Tags

Thank you so much,
Sarah & Nick