Thursday, December 14, 2017

Staycation with Courtyard Pittsburgh Downtown

Between the holidays, our fast approaching wedding, house renovations, and just general life stuff, the past couple months have been pretty hectic. A season that is usually one of my favorite times of the year has been stress-filled and anxiety-inducing, for both Nick and myself. Unfortunately Nick's birthday also falls right in the middle of all of this, and seeing as I'm pretty big on birthdays, I didn't want it to get overshadowed by everything else going on.

When I started brainstorming ideas for his birthday, I kept coming back to the idea of a staycation here in Pittsburgh. It was a win-win: Nick LOVES staying in hotels, plus it would be a nice break from all of the chaos going on in our lives. I partnered with the Courtyard Downtown Pittsburgh to make it happen and we truly had the best time.

The Courtyard is in the heart of the cultural district in downtown Pittsburgh, perfect walking distance from many downtown attractions. Living in the east end of the city, Nick and I don't often spend time downtown. So while this was technically a staycation for us, it really felt like a vacation to a different city where we visited new-to-us bars and restaurants and saw Pittsburgh through a different lens.

I kept this birthday surprise a secret from Nick until the morning of our stay, so after taking care of some errands around the house, we headed towards the Strip District to get our staycation started. We grabbed lunch at our new favorite restaurant, Ironborn Pizza, located in Smallman Galley. (If you haven't been - you MUST go order the white pizza.) The Strip is situated at the entrance to downtown, so we walked off a bit of that pizza and headed straight down Penn Avenue until we reached the Courtyard for check-in.

The Courtyard is located in a historic downtown building, which used to be home to ATCO Trousers. When we arrived in our room we were so excited to find that it had floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Penn Avenue. We got ourselves settled in and enjoyed a staycation beer or two before we were off to check out some other spots downtown. The Courtyard is directly across the street from Sienna Mercato, which houses two of our favorite spots in PGH: Emporio, A Meatball Joint and Il Tetto, a rooftop beer garden. But since we've frequented these places many times, we decided to check out some new places downtown.

We first went to Or, The Whale, which I'd been dying to visit since they opened a few months ago. While the menu there isn't suited for vegetarians, it was a great place for us to grab a cocktail, enjoy the decor, and plan the night ahead! Next we headed to Market Square, which is home to Pittsburgh's Holiday Market, annual Christmas tree, and ice skating rink. This year it was also home to the pop-up Christmas bar, Miracle, which we headed into next!

Miracle was so much fun - if you make it to downtown Pittsburgh at all this month, be sure to visit this bar! The space is covered floor-to-ceiling with holiday decorations and all of the cocktails are Christmas themed. It was a blast! For dinner we went to nearby NOLA on the Square to try their vegan/vegetarian menu (the food was okay, but we probably wouldn't go again.) After dinner we decided to head back to the Courtyard and just enjoy some time relaxing in the comfort of our room. The Courtyard is a just hop, skip, and a jump away from the Market Square action, so it was nice to make the short walk back to the hotel instead of needing to call for a ride.

It's amazing how great it felt just to be away from home for the night - away from the partially finished centerpieces for our wedding, a pile of dirty dishes from the previous night's dinner, a bedroom closet that needs to be patched and painted, and more that I don't even want to think about. Something as simple as laying in bed and watching HGTV with no distractions felt like a luxury to us. (A super cozy bed without any kitties waking us up at a the crack of dawn was an added bonus.) Taking this one night staycation was just what we needed to ease our minds of wedding stress and we are so thankful to the Courtyard for hosting us for the evening!

If you are looking for a place to stay in downtown Pittsburgh, whether you're a local or an out-of-towner, the Courtyard is your place to go! A big thank you to the Courtyard Pittsburgh Downtown for partnering with us. We received a complimentary stay in exchange for this post - all opinions are our own!

Sarah & Nick

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

DIY Mid-Century Inspired Door

We are so excited to share today's post with you! We recently collaborated with The Home Depot to update our bedroom door as part of our overall bedroom makeover! You may remember wayyyy back when we shared our bedroom design inspiration and ideas. We haven't forgotten about that post, and in the past couple months some of these changes have finally come to life!

We ripped out the old trim in the bedroom, swapped out the light fixture, added new outlets, skim-coated the walls, added a fresh coat of paint, and installed wallpaper. Whew! It was a lot. But the one thing we couldn't get over was the awful, old door. All of the interior doors in our house are in rough shape from 65+ years of wear and tear. We knew we needed a completely new door and luckily Home Depot came to the rescue.

To add some dimension to a flat, slab door, I decided I wanted to mimic the three-window design on our original 1950s front door - carrying the mid-century theme throughout the rest of our house. We couldn't be happier with how it turned out and can't wait to complete this process on all of the doors in the house (... over time, ha. Nick is ready for a break right now.)

So click over to The Home Depot blog to see the finished product and be sure to let us know what you think! We still have some finishing touches to put on the bedroom, but we're definitely going to share a full before & after post in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Door Knob

Sarah & Nick

Monday, December 4, 2017

#MeetTheMeowburgs: Table Numbers, Place Cards, & Favor Tags

This post is in collaboration with Minted. Thank you for following along and supporting the sponsors that support our blog! All product choices and opinions are our own - we love our wedding paper goods and we hope you do too!

Hey friends - we're back with another #MeetTheMeowburgs update with Minted! We've been working with Minted throughout our wedding planning process and have LOVED incorporating their products into our big day. If you missed our save the dates or our invitations, be sure to check them out!

We're approximately one month away from the wedding (someone pinch me!), so we're starting to nail down day-of decor and table settings. We still have a lot of DIY decorations on our to-do list, so we wanted to simplify the process of adding table numbers, place cards, and favor tags as much as possible. As usual, we turned to Minted. They have so many offerings when it comes to day-of decor - even dinner menus, programs, and customized cocktail napkins!

We started off by looking for table numbers. We wanted something with green in it, which will match our centerpieces and the chairs in the reception room at our venue. There are hundreds of options to choose from, but you can filter by style, color, and printing type in order to find the design you're looking for. We filtered by classic printing and botanical style and quickly spotted the Simple Pine Branches design and knew it was perfect. The name pretty much says it all - it's simple, but incorporates the greenery we're looking for.

When customizing table numbers, you can change the font, add text, and move text around. While we simply added our names to the front, some of the examples on the Minted website show the wedding date or random facts about the couple (which is such a cute idea!) The back is also fully customizable - we added our wedding date, our wedding hashtag, and a little note thanking our guests for attending. If you wanted you could even add a photo to the back!

Now that we had our design selected, it was easy to add coordinating products. When you select a product on the Minted site, it shows you all of the other items you can create in the same suite (the Simple Pine Branches suite has 18 other options to pick from!) So next up, we created customized place cards so that our guests can find their table when they arrive. The cards come either flat or folded, with your choice of paper and color. When it came to customization, it was super easy to enter guest names and table numbers into the site (the hardest part is figuring out who gets seated together before you place your order, ha.) If you don't want to type all of the names into Minted's site, you can also use their template to upload them.

Finally, to round out our day-of decor, we ordered matching favor tags to attach to gifts for our guests! These tags are small and cute with our just our wedding date and initials on the front. The back of each tag is blank, so we may use this space to add handwritten notes to our guests. The tags are already hole-punched for easy tying, but for an easier option you can purchase favor stickers.

When any package from Minted arrives (only a few days after ordering) we are always so excited to open it up. We ordered both our place cards and favor tags in recycled paper, which is truly excellent in quality. We love that Minted offers recycled paper for most of their products - we seriously can't get over the look and feel of it, so we're always going to choose that when it's an option.

At first, deciding to go with the flat name cards instead of the folded name cards had us a little worried. We didn't want the cards to seem cheap, or like we were skimping to avoid paying the higher cost for folded name cards. (Our typical perception of name cards are folded, but something about the simple flat cards spoke to us!) In the end, cheapness isn't even in the equation. The thickness and high quality of these products make for such an impressive result. We will be so proud for people to see them at our wedding.

Ordering all of these items crossed a major to-do off our list and we couldn't be happier with how everything turned out. Every step of our wedding planning process with Minted has been insanely easy and every product has exceeded our expectations in both speed of arrival and quality - if you're in need of any paper goods for your wedding, be sure to check out Minted!

Sarah & Nick