Erin & Jack's ICA Boston museum wedding is on newsstands everywhere in The Knot! 😍 These superstars earned themselves a 3 page spread - they planned out every little detail from the menu, to their vendor dream team, to the best dance floor jams! ⚡️ The cherry on top of a wedding day is getting published - but I'd say this is the whole banana split! 🙏🏻
Thank you so much to Martha’s Vineyard Magazine: Island Weddings for my first COVER!!! AHHH!!!
"The best part of the wedding," said bride Ana, "was the fact that it happened at all.” A series of unfortunate events, from the bride being hospitalized for kidney stones three days before she was supposed to travel to the Island from her home outside of Boston, to missing a ferry, to getting readmitted to another hospital for a kidney infection, and then finally making it to the Island only to be on the receiving end of a hit and run after dinner one night, nearly upended months of planning.
READ ABOUT THE COVER STARS AND TO SEE HOW THEIR WEDDING TURNED OUT HERE!
And check out their LM blog post here!
Amanda & Vinny's exquisite @castlehillinn wedding - "grandeur by the sea" as told by @blisscelebrations!⠀
Thank you to all the INCREDIBLE vendor team that made this day happen. We braved a bit of rain and fog, huddled under blankets in JUNE, and watched with pride as Amanda & Vinny started this new chapter of their lives together.⠀
See their full blog HERE
HOLD THE PHONE EVERYONE THIS IS BIG!!!!!!⠀
Ana & Adam's wedding is live on Bridal Musings - but this isn't just any old feature. They broke down every piece of the wedding, talking about their favorite moments, what they danced to, their style choices, inspiration, planning, proposal story... AND THEIR FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPHER!
Most in-depth wedding feature ever - you get to learn SO MUCH from Ana & Adam!!!
the sweetest excerpt from the article…
“Ana actually started stalking Lena’s social media years before we were engaged. When Lena launched her wedding business, Ana reached out and confessed that she loved her style, her website, and her eye and was 100% calling her when she got engaged.
Lena was the first vendor Ana emailed when she got engaged. In addition to her pure, raw talent Lena is a gem of a human. She is incredibly bubbly, positive, fun and makes any situation behind the camera feel completely natural. She has a way of making you feel completely at ease while she works and makes every moment fun. She captured the whole spectrum of raw emotions throughout the big day because it felt far more like hanging out with a friend than being photographed. I would say that is what makes working with Lena truly special. She has a wonderful gift of capturing people as they are, in the most beautiful of ways, in what results in the most gorgeous photos I have ever seen. She is a wonder to work with and a true joy to have accompanying you on your big day. In fact, we have become great friends as a result of the process.”
See their full blog HERE!
2018 WAS AN EPIC YEAR…
There was laughing, happy tears, hilarious speeches, rainy days, hot days, CAKE, boutonnieres pinned, trains bustled, dancing floor grinding, sore feet, Dunkin Donuts fueled road trips, early mornings, late nights, and HUNDREDS of sneak peeks.
I took 78,338 photographs and edited + delivered over 31,000.
Thirty. One. Thousand.
I worked my buns off, so you better believe it was a kickass year. Got my own health insurance. Took a bajillion selfies. Made pasta in Italy. Shot 22 weddings both big and small. Got published in 11 different magazines and blogs. Traveled to 18 cities. Drank over 300 bubble teas.
Ok but where is Lena pulling these random numbers from?
SURPRISE, I have been keeping track ALL FREAKIN YEAR for the sole purpose of blogging about it.
B R B pouring myself a drink....
Nicole & Mike's nightclub-worthy dance floor (and the hot mulled cider)
First trip to Long Island for Bevin & Steve! And seeing past LM brides there too
Loving on so many LM brides in one room at Haleigh & Adam’s wedding
Bringing tupperware to bring home goodies from Juliet & Evan’s epic dessert table
Jess & Ilhan’s wildly talented belly dancer
The unforgettable food at Hillary & Phil’s backyard wedding
Jackie screaming “If I die, just know that I love you!” to Reuven during the horah dance
Shooting in a downpour / thunder and lightning storm at a tiny backyard wedding
Having all access to a night at the museum (the ICA!) with Erin & Jack
Dancing to Pitbull with glow sticks with Cass & Chris
Shooting at the unforgettably luxurious Castle Hill Inn with Amanda & Vinny
Having TWO back to back wedding days with Eliza & John
Kristen’s father of the bride speech that had everyone in stitches
Brooke & Darren’s married singing duet
Spending an entire holiday weekend on Martha’s Vineyard with Ana & Adam’s… plus the Backdoor Donuts apple fritters
Adorable toddler Fionn in a suit at Carol Ann & Greg’s elopement
Shooting at a CASTLE with Justin & Victoria in New York
Eating cake that my talented bride Jacki made herself
SEE FOR YOURSELF!
And the beloved
I’m one lucky lady.
Thanks for an incredible year, darlings… here’s to 2019.
I didn’t know diddly squat about baking. And when I rolled up my sleeves to make my first cookies from scratch… I forgot to grease the baking sheet and they were a hot, burnt mess that fused to the pan. RIP to that pan. Apparently you shouldn’t use the random baking soda that deodorizes your fridge for your batter either. Hey, I’m no Christina Tosi yet, so bear with me here.
This is for a double batch, so you can enjoy some FRESH and freeze the rest. Go big or go home. You’re already doing the work, might as well get double the cookies!
2 cups salted butter (4 sticks)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
2 cups oats
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chocolate chunks
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup mini M&M’s
1-2 crushed handfuls of Trader Joes peanut butter filled pretzels, salted
Makes ~6 dozen cookies (yeah, you’re gonna want that many)
1) Mix room temperature butter and sugar (2-3 minutes with hand mixer)
2) Add eggs and vanilla (beat for 1 minute)
3) Combine flour, baking soda, and oats in separate bowl
4) Add dry to wet, mixing one cup at a time until all mixed
5) Add extras, mix again
6) Use a cookie scoop to dole out onto a greased sheet pan
7) Bake at 350 degrees for ~10 minutes (every oven is different so just watch them ok)
Don’t forget to grease the flippin’ pan! Or use parchment paper!
Dough is best baked when refrigerated, so after making the batter, either put the whole bowl in the fridge to scoop later, or scoop them all out onto a sheet pan immediately and chill those babies for minimum 1 hour, best 12-24 hours
I like to bake in bulk, so I save one batch for now and the rest for later in labeled freezer bags. Then, when I’m feeling like a delicious homemade cookie ASAP, I can pop them straight from the freezer into the oven WHAT A LIFE HACK FOLKS
If you use unsalted butter, add 2 tsp salt to the batter. If you use salted butter, don’t add extra salt #thanksjayme
Feel free to get creative with the toppings. Add your own mix-ins, do less of some and more of another, etc. I honestly forget SOMETHING every time I make these, so don’t worry, they’ll survive a little experimentation
The best way to store extra cookies its in a tupperware container with a piece of BREAD. Yes I said bread! White bread, wheat bread, bulkie roll, whatever. The cookies retain moisture from the bread and are even softer the day after you bake them. Replace the bread every 1-2 days as it gets hard. This is my all time favorite bake hack for sure!
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…
Was truly the theme of the whole trip. We came. We saw. We ate.
In Rome, we stayed in a super chic, glass floored Airbnb called the Rasella Loft by the Trevi Fountain in Rome for 3 days and at an Airbnb owned by the sweetest couple called Casa Perla in Positano on the Amalfi Coast for 4 days.
One of the highlights of the trip was biking through Rome with Giulia - she was the best guide (and owns a female bike co-op!) and knew all the best spots for food around Rome.
Of course, followed by our ravioli & meatball making class by Vatican City. Serena taught us how to make the most delicious food, and we got to eat it all with a glass of wine at the end!
The Amalfi Coast is famous for its seafood, views, and lemons - two of which we greatly enjoyed. Limoncello, fresh fruit from the market, giant lemons, lemon granitas, and heaping amounts of pasta and pizza from Ristorante C'era Una Volta.
We spent every single day in Positano on the beach - not at the main Spaggia, but at Fornillo beach, which wasn’t crowded and touristy. We climbed 50 flights of stairs to get to the beach and 50 flights back up. PHEW.
Scroll through our photos to get to the food + activity recommendations at the bottom!
food highlights of ROME:
Roscioli for pastries and prosciutto, grab some from their deli next door to bakery (by Campo di Fiori)
Pasta at Ai Tre Scalini - Cavour 313 - La Casetta a Monti (all in the same neighborhood)
Pizza at Dar Poeta (sit down) OR Antico Forno del Ghetto - in the Jewish section. It looks like a deli, but there’s pizza everywhere. Get the potato one and classic cheese, you order, then pay at the other counter, then grab your pizza. You’d think it’s old stale pizza but it literally changed my life.
Gelato at Origini Gelato or Blue Ice Gelato (they have kiwi flavor!!!)
Pasticceria Panificio Panella Roma for pastries, also there’s one in the Jewish corner by the Synagogue - Pasticceria Boccione it’s GREAT
Great tiramisu at POMPI by Vatican City
Best cannoli of my MF life (hazelnut) at I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza (by Campo di Fiori)
ACTIVITY HIGHLIGHTS OF ROME:
Trevi Fountain (go early in the AM)
Coliseum (go early in the AM)
Palazzo della Sapienza
Piazza Navona (great for a drink)
Villa Borghese for sunset
Campo di Fiore market
SO thrilled to be published in the spring / summer 2018 issue of The Knot New England!
HOLY BANANAS HUGE SURPRISE BEHIND THIS THOUGH!
Over a year ago, a photo of Amanda & Steve in their vintage getaway car was going to be featured in The Knot. Well, as all things editorial go, the story ended up getting cancelled and I felt so bad for getting my bride’s hopes up. So bummed! Fast forward to last night when I get a text from Amanda showing me a photo of herself in The Knot!!! I couldn’t believe it!!! SO, today we’re celebrating this AMAZING surprise and Steve’s family’s precious convertible Buick becoming famous on newsstands across New England!!
I’m on a podcast! Listen to the latest CINEMANIA episode “Entrepreneurship - Becoming Your Own Boss” for insight into running a full time creative business, deciding whether or not to go to college, going from zero to dozens of clients, my #1 secret to stellar customer service, and of course, BUBBLE TEA!
Lena's Guide to Los Angeles, California
California: utterly warmer than Boston in November, full of amazing food, lots of beautiful sunsets and mountains and everything in-between. Paul and I are coming up on our 3 year anniversary, and finally took our first BIG trip together to Los Angeles! We balled out for a week and had a blast. If you were following on my Instagram stories, you saw some hilarious videos, lots of food, and tons of bubble tea. Here's your Lena Mirisola guide to LA - including details on everywhere we stayed, ate, and visited! All photos taken in iPhone, all panoramas by Paul ;)
Hello pretty mountains!
AIRBNB #1 - SILVER LAKE DREAM HOUSE
This Airbnb was insane. No right angles in the whole thing! We climbed up tons of stairs past lemon and orange trees to our little piece of paradise - with a 360 degree wraparound porch overlooking the Hollywood Sign, mountains, and Silver Lake. The sunsets were truly amazing.
Silver Lake Ramen = possibly my best meal in LA. Look at that fried chicken. They cook their broth for 16 hours... my stomach is grumbling just thinking about it.
DesignerCon was happening in Pasadena, and our Johnny Cupcakes family was there... so of course we had to pop over and surprise them!!! We had a blast looking at all the art, seeing our friends on a different coast, and buying some art prints (bubble tea themed of course).
We got lost trying to find the Hollywood sign. Note: the signs that say "no access?" They're serious. We scrambled up to the Griffith Observatory instead with only 20 minutes to spare before sunset (damn you daylight savings) - and boy did we see something spectacular.
What the f.
So, the next day, we tried to find the REAL Hollywood sign trails. It said 3 miles roundtrip. HA! I can power walk that in Boston in like 45 minutes. Let's do this.
NOPE. A WHOLE LOT OF NOPE. That hike was almost 1,000 foot elevation climb in the dead sun. I almost died, like 100% fact. We had no idea the hike would be that grueling... and if you didn't know before, I FUCKING HATE HIKING.
I only smiled for 4 seconds the whole time trust me
So after coming back from the dead and showering off the 17 layers of dirt on us, we headed to Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
...and got the famous PHORRITO! Yup. A pho burrito. And yes - it tasted just like the real thing!!! We grabbed tea and mini waffles from Boba Lab to picnic on the beach with. We watch the waves and grabbed cheap hoodies from the vendors in Venice before grabbing a Frose at a rooftop bar for sunset.
And then sat in an hour and a half of bumper to bumper traffic back to Silver Lake #veryLA
Millie's breakfast was wild. That's a whole coconut! So delicious, you gotta go. Although the matcha was very Instagrammable, it was a little watery ;)
I love rocks in the ocean which is why I love El Matador State Park!!! We were killing time before checking into our Malibu Airbnb, so we packed a picnic and drove to this amazing beach.
Below right: the drive up the mountains to the Airbnb, below left: the view from the Airbnb!
AIRBNB #2 - MALIBU & OCEAN VIEWS
All windows baby. You had to drive an extra 10/15 min winding up and down the mountains to get here... it was so remote, but watching the sunrise and sunset from here was awesome.
We've arrived at Malibu Pier! Free street parking too.
Malibu Farm breakfast was out of this world. Coconut milk quinoa oatmeal?!?!? AND THAT VIEW!!! A bit pricey, but what ISN'T in Malibu?
NEW BEACH!!! Point Dume beach was incredible. You can take a tiny hike up the cliffs for stunning views, climb over rocks at low tide for a private beach (Pirate's Cove) and we even saw seals hanging out on the rocks!!!
Had the whole thing to ourselves!
Quick trip down to Santa Monica (I was going stir crazy in Malibu - it's like being out in the countryside!!! Not much to do but go to the beach!!!)
We caught the sunset, grabbed tea at Volcano Tea, and had some delicious burgers at Pono Burger.
AIRBNB #3 - Koreatown Penthouse
I definitely freaked out upon entering. The view was insane. Mountains on the left, city on the right. This is my dream home. How much is rent!?!?
Paul made us stop at In-n-out and while I'm pretty sure they haven't changed the prices since 1948, the fries and shake were A++++. We started to miss driving our little Porsche down the Pacific Coast Highway.
Sunset in the hot tub = so much yes
Quarters Korean BBQ - what an experience holy cow!!! The drinks were the best we had all trip and the food was wowwwww! The sesame marinated chicken, bulgogi, and japchae.... WOW.
Grand Central Market was SO COOL!!! SO many hipster venues, and I've been following Eggslut for so long on Instagram it was about time I had one in real life. Unfortunately I ate it on the sidewalk in 37 seconds. #sad
We visited The Broad, which is a free museum... but you have to pay $30 each for the exhibit. We lined up thinking we were buying tickets... WRONG. After an hour and a half (already committed, you know) we finally got to the front - and we still couldn't see the exhibit for another 4 hours minimum. And no, you can't buy tickets for the next day. Oh well! We came back later than night for Yayoi Kusama's show.
The dot room was wicked fun (we touched it all)
Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Koons...
Why not be tourists on the last day? (Only cared about the Disney stars and Judge Judy)
Goodbye LA, you were incredible. Until next time.... XOXO
Silver Lake Ramen
Same Same Thai
The Thirsty Crow
Quarters Korean BBQ
It’s Boba Time
Grand Central Market (Eggslut!)
Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles
(Airbnb for cars - it was SO easy, fun, and cheaper than renting esp drivers under 25!)
Hollywood sign hike
Santa Monica Beach
El Matador Beach
Point Dume Beach
The Broad Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art
Hollywood Walk of Fame
RANDOM THINGS TO NOTE
Gas is $$$
Valet parking is everywhere. Yeah, you gotta pay to park in a parking lot. It sucks. And don't forget to tip.
The traffic is bad but time things between 10am-2pm on a weekday and you'll be fine.
Make reservations when you can.
There were 30+ more places on our list to eat and drink, but you can only do so much in a week! If you have more faves when visiting LA, drop it in the comments for my readers!
Hello friends! This August, my best friend and I traveled to Paris, Munich, and Salzburg for a bit of summer fun in Europe. I wanted to share our travels, favorite things, mishaps, and more with you!
Fun fact: I bought a camera especially for this trip then took every single photo with my iPhone! HA!
Stayed in: Marais Airbnb, Latin Quarter Airbnb
Ate: L'as du Fallafel, Le Grenier a Pain bakery, Berthillion gelato, Au P'tit Grec crepes, Le Petit Marcel steak frites, Pierre Herme macarons, Bobalitas bubble tea, flan, chocolate, pho, dumplings, baguettes, tartes, quiche, and more
Must do: Sunset boat cruise on the Seine via Bateaux-Mouches, view from Arc du Triomphe
Places to picnic: Luxembourg Gardens
Sights: Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower via Trocadero Gardens, Ile Saint-Louis, riverwalk, The Louvre area, Pompadou area, Palais-Royal Gardens, Montmartre
Mishaps: Second Airbnb host a no-show at midnight, flight home cancelled and delayed over 30 hours, constantly got lost
Brought home: Chocolate, postcards, magnets, tapenade, caramel sauce
Stayed in: Airbnb 10 min from Marienplatz
Ate: Bratwurst, pretzels, Radler (beer + lemonade), apple strudel with cream, fried potato salad, sweet mustard
Must do: Shop and get sausage, pretzels, and beer at the Viktualienmarkt or Englischer Garten beer garden, climb up to the top of St. Paul's church for 360 views of the city, shop in Marienplatz
Places to picnic: Englischer Garten, Hofgarten,
Sights: Rathaus (city hall), Marienplatz, Odeonsplatz, Residenzplatz
Mishaps: All stores and most everything else closes on Sundays so that got a little boring
Brought home: 6 jars of sweet mustard, postcards, magnets, nips, a scarf
Stayed in: Day trip via train
Ate: Schnitzel, apple strudel with cream, potato salad, pretzels
Must do: Panorama Tours Lakes + Mountains (4 hours, includes boat ride on Wolfgangsee), view from Kaputzinerkloste church
Places to picnic: Mirabel Palace gardens, Kaputzinerberg park
Sights: Mirabel Gardens, the river, Residenzplatz, Chapter Fountain + Horse Pond, Salzburg Cathedral, Getreidegasse shopping, Furtwangler Park and market
Mishaps: Unknown construction on the railroad from Austria -> Germany - we de-boarded the train, got on a bus, got kicked off the bus, waited hours for another train in the middle of nowhere
Brought home: Postcards, magnets
Random things to note about Europe:
Public bathrooms are not free
Water is also not free, and expensive at restaurants
NO TIPPING AT RESTAURANTS!!!
Beware of pickpockets
Only metal detectors at airport security?!
Baguettes are super cheap
You greet store owners hello and goodbye ALWAYS
People eat dinner at 9/10pm in Paris
Some stores and restaurants close in the middle of the day in Paris
Uber is all over the world and is brilliant
Air conditioning is rare
The views are spectacular.
Thanks for reading loves! Be sure to follow all my adventures on Instagram!
Here is the spring roundup of wedding blog features! Thank you to all the amazing editors and all the vendors that made these kickass wedding days happen :)