Wanderlust Travel Series: Chic and Romantic Wedding in London (Laryssa + Andy)

Wanderlust Travel Series: Chic and Romantic Wedding in London (Laryssa + Andy)

I’ve had a lot of adventures this year, but nothing as sweet as witnessing my best friend from high school get married. A perfect London setting for the most perfect couple. The ceremony was held at Islington Town Hall, followed by a double-decker bus ride to the reception at The Prince Albert. The day was filled with joy, happiness and lots of laughs. A weekend to remember! Congratulations, Laryssa + Andy! Love you to the moon!


A Very Merry Croatian Christmas

A Very Merry Croatian Christmas

A little something that I like to post every year. I wrote this quite some time ago, but every word still rings true. Wishing you a blessed and peaceful holiday season. May the magic always find you.

A Very Merry Croatian Christmas

by Diane Kolanović-Šolaja
*some words are in Croatian

About 30 years ago on this very night,
A little girl named Diane was on her way to mass at midnight.

With festive skirt on and Mary Janes on her little feet,
She was so excited that perhaps Santa she would meet.

She sat patiently in her pew and sang her carols aloud,
While her and brothers laughed at the old men that stunk of garlic and bakalar in the crowd.

She counted the angels on the ceiling that added up to 13,
Which today reminds her of her big brother in heaven unseen.

After mass that night and getting through the NYC fashion crowd,
Her Dad carried her to the car with promises of Santa he vowed.

The memory still so vivid Diane still recalls,
The brisk December wind and the beautiful church and very big halls.

But, the drive home after took so long,
That Diane’s little eyes soon closed while singing carols and Christmas songs.

As they pulled up to the driveway in the Cadillac in blue,
She knew it was time to wake and open her eyes to something new.

Diane’s wishes all came true while she looked up at the sky,
A star shone so bright she couldn’t believe her eyes.

A shot through the darkness as a falling star tumbled in the air,
She knew, she knew that St. Nick was up there.

She jumped out of the car and said “Santa! Santa is there!”
While her mother said “Oh, my dear child, that is simply the Lord’s prayer.”

Whatever it was Diane didn’t mind,
She knew in her heart that it was special and divine.

It still sits with her today that very faithful night,
Where she knew she saw Santa, reindeer and Rudolph in flight.

A Christmas Eve memory which still rings true,
Although being adult is different it is still the center of you.

Christmas Eve is something so special some cannot describe,
But oh that feeling of joy is the greatest light and vibe.

I am proud of my roots as all of you may know,
I really do love being a first generation American-Cro.

A Croatian Christmas is more than just prayer,
It’s love, family and the intoxicating scent of frite in the air.

It is stories of old and history a new,
With thoughts and drinks for those who rest in peace that we once knew.

It kisses and arguments and discussions of politics,
Until the rakija comes out to take new photos with selfie sticks.

A Croatian Christmas is sarma and roasted pig and pasta that is handmade,
It’s also playing Briškula, drinking and celebrating the friends we have made.

It is a time to remember our parents immigrant struggle,
But, also a time to rejoice with family and a good snuggle.

It is mulled wine and spirits,
And, the hope that Sv. Nikola will visit!

A Croatian Christmas has Jaslice, wheat grass and seven fishes,
It’s also codfish, sipe and lots of Dalmatian wishes.

It’s cousins, uncles and aunts,
It’s eating so much that you need to unbutton your pants.

It is the best day of year that I know,
And, I will love it until the day I grow old.

It is too warm this year for snow and white on the ground,
But, the giggles of my nephews is a much better sound.

Let the magic of this time fill up your hearts,
It is much, much more than “add to cart.”

May the spirit of Christmas filled with love and blessings be upon you,
That is my wish for each and every one of you.

*     *     *
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Weddings and Gingerbread in Asbury Park, NJ

Weddings and Gingerbread in Asbury Park, NJ

The wedding world can be one that is whimsical and very magical. Some of that magic starts with the very people who you work with and you are lucky enough to know in life.

One of those people for me is Leah from Color Pop Events. We met at a wedding showcase in the early years of both of our careers. As luck would have it, we both started in law firms and both left to start our own wedding planning companies. Isn’t that crazy? Total serendipity that we met that day.

Throughout the years, Leah has been a voice of reason, inspiration and just an all around kick-ass friend. She has such a unique style, that her entire brand is known for her bright and bold color palettes. It’s so much fun! (She recently designed a Lisa Frank holiday party that is to die for! You must check it out.) We may not see each other as much as we like, but when we do, it’s always so nice. So, when she invited me to a gingerbread making class in Asbury Park, NJ last week, I dropped everything and made it work!

Leah gathered a few of her favorites to join her at Sweet Dani B‘s in Asbury Park, NJ. The sweetest cookie kitchen, cafe and creative workspace is owned and run by the sweetest of them all, Dani Fiori. A Martha Stewart food stylist who has a goal in life to simply make cookies as a way to spread love, opened her doors to a handful of wedding creatives that were eager to get messy, sticky and just be kids for a few hours. Dani makes things that are “too pretty to eat, but too delicious not to,” and I can absolutely attest to that.

Dani set us up with these beautifully made gingerbread houses made from scratch by her in-house gingerbread expert Diana. Not only did the entire shop smell like heaven, it tasted like it too! We were able to munch on the chopped off ends of the gingerbread houses while we decorated. It was to delicate and crunchy, but so full of taste. It was the best gingerbread I’ve ever had!

Once we were set, we were able to decorate our little houses with beautiful royal icing made by Dani herself, along with gum drops, marshmallows, graham crackers and tons of different candy that would make anyone have an awesome sugar rush.

It was so great to see everyone, chat a bit and just be in a creative space where you didn’t have to worry about a thing. If you never went to a gingerbread making class, I highly recommend it. It’s complete relaxation!

I hope you like the photos below of our little gathering. It was simply wonderful and awesome to be a part of during this holiday season.

I feel very lucky to have wonderful professionals in my life that I can call friends. It’s really not about the competition of anyone’s business, but supporting each other in the hopes that we help each other and succeed together.

That being said, let there be gingerbread and icing for every one! 🙂