Get Friendly!

One of our goals this year was to make more friends and do more with the friends we already have. It might sound silly but once you’re outside of college (and grad school), it’s rare that you’re in social settings with tons of people who are your age and share similar interests with you – so making new friends can be a little tougher than it sounds. As far as the “doing more”, well, we (and I’m sure we’re not alone in this) have a bad habit of doing things with just the two of us. And while we love doing things as a couple, sometimes while we’re out and about (at a museum, at a park, hiking, etc.) we think, “man, so and so would probably like to do this, too!”

We said that we wouldn’t said “no” if asked to do something. We haven’t help completely true to that, but we’ve definitely been better (and even given up our 9:30 bedtime!). Recently, I emailed a group of friends to see who would be interested in starting a book club. Surprisingly, everyone said they were in and had always wanted to be part of a book club. We had about 12 people for our first meeting a few weeks ago and we read The Book Thief. We plan to rotate houses each month to as not to overwhelm any one host, and to give everyone a chance to put their own spin on the evening. It was fun to discuss the book, but also so nice to spend time with friends and meet new friends, too!

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This past weekend, we hosted “Drinktoberfest” instead of going to the Oktoberfest event here in Charlotte. We invited over our friends + their kids (and my brother’s family) to hang out, enjoy bratwursts, drink some pumpkin beer and play corn hole. The kids had a blast running around and playing with their Tonka trucks and the adults enjoyed catching up. It’s so nice to have a backyard where we can do these kinds of things!

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I’ve recently said “yes” when asked to go to Yoga on Tap at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery but someone I only knew online (no worries, we had plenty of friends in common and went to the same university for undergrad). And I had a blast, even though I’m far from being a yogi and was there with practical strangers.

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And made 3 new friends at NoDa Brewery run club (also gals I only knew online up until that 3 mile run). And I’ve also said yes to 3 miles with my friends Valerie and Katie. Friends and fitness? That’s right up my alley!
photo 3 photo.PNG-2 photo.PNGA group of grad school friends got together one night to hang out and catch up at Heist Brewery. These folks inspire me with their lives and the work they’re doing. I miss being in class with them and having 3 hours of intellectual conversations (or at least having them make me laugh all through class).

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Our fun friend Stacy joined us for Science on the Rocks at Discovery Place. A night where adults get to run the place, while drinking fun things like liquid nitrogen wine slushies. Oh, and it was 90s night!

photo 2Last time I was in the triangle area, I got to sit down for coffee with my most favorite college roomie and BFF. I had recently blogged about it being 2 whole months since I had seen her, but she’s the kind of friend where we can literally not speak for weeks and pick right back up where we left off. Most of the time we don’t go weeks without speaking, we send each other silly texts on the regular. I was pretty sure we were going to get asked to join a sorority while we were walking through Chapel Hill since it was apparently rush time for UNC.

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I feel like I have a pretty good friend base (even if they are all having babies and we’re the no-kid family). Not to say that I couldn’t have more. And not to say I don’t miss my friends who chose to remove themselves from my life just before my wedding. I’ve recently talked with a few of them, which was nice but it’s clear that things will never be the same. How could they? No need to re-hash the story here, if you want to read it, you can find it somewhere back in January 2013’s posts; we all made decisions that ended our friendship.

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It’s hard losing friends at any age, but I think probably harder to lose friends that you’ve had for so long and thought you’d have forever. I never really let myself get upset over it, I think I was so stunned that they just left. But now I see that we won’t go to anymore weddings together, we won’t watch each other’s kids grow up, we won’t plan summer beach trips together or ring in the new year together. Birthdays will only be celebrated with some, and only through text messages. Grad school graduations won’t be acknowledged. Rival football games won’t be mentioned. These things all make me a little sad. Those are things i expected to share with each of them. Occasionally, my husband will ask about one or all of them: have I talked to them, do I miss them, etc. The answer to the first is sometimes yes, the latter, always yes. I grew up with these girls, and guys. We did practically everything together. Some of my fondest memories are with them.

But I’ll make new memories with new friends…. life goes on. I’m so thankful for the friends that I do have here in Charlotte and the BFFs that I have sprinkled around. I’m grateful for the friends we have across the country who we may only see on occasion but are so special to us. I’m definitely more aware of who I spend time with and I try to avoid those one-sided relationships. I’m excited for us to continue building “our friends” as a couple and hope we get to spend lots of time with new and old friends in the coming years.

We always try when traveling to connect with friends wherever we are but sometimes schedules don’t work out. I love my new book club, and the Stella & Dot party I hosted was fun last year. I’d love to hear your tips for staying in touch with friends from all over! Where do you go, what do you do? Does anyone else have a goal to say “yes” to all the invites they get from friends?

Countdown to Wedding: 3 days!

Y’all… it’s almost here. I can hardly sleep from all the excitement. It’s like Christmas, but better. I get to marry my best friend, my favorite guy, and the love of my life in 3 teeny-tiny days. EEEEP!

This past week has been a whirlwind. I am officially off work now and signed off too (occasionally “off work” still means checking email). Last weekend, I made a quick trip to the mountains of Blacksburg, VA for a birthday party for one of my favorite little girls – who happens to belong to one of my favorite bridesmaids and favorite best friends.
photoI also spent one evening exploring a gorgeous undiscovered park in Blacksburg with my mom and a photographer for bridal portraits. Shhh! These were a last minute decision. My groom will surely be surprised.
photo-4My favorite part of being home was spending quality time with the best Paw Paw a girl could have. Sharing little moments with him means so much. We enjoyed a homemade eclair that I brought safely in a cooler with me all the way from Charlotte. We took a walk to look at his fields and the mountains all the way in Blacksburg. We talked about life, the wedding, and my new job. And before I left we spent some time sitting on the front porch. My heart still breaks to think about not having him here with us on this earth but my heart was full of happiness for getting to spend some uninterrupted time with him and steal a bunch of hugs while I was at it.
photo-2After Hollins’ birthday party, I had to scoot back to Charlotte to celebrate the graduation of one of our dear friends from grad school! We have both worked closely with Courtney in the past and are proud of her success. She definitely has the “favorite coworker” award from me!
photo-1And after a wonderful brunch with our awesome friend Jeff who is providing the DJ service for our wedding, we spent the evening watching The Lion King! Such an awesome production – and so fun to reminisce on our childhoods. This was our last major event as an engaged couple and our next big event is THE big one!
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This girl cannot wait!
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Friday Favorite Finds!

Lots of people have asked me where I’ve found things over the past few months that I plan to use for the wedding or post wedding (such as my new monogrammed necklace!). Mostly, I can attribute my finds to searches on Etsy that started out of boredom and happened into wonderfulness. Pinterest has also had some good finds, but they typically lead me back to Etsy.

First of all, I found this amazing window-pane chalkboard a while back. We plan to use it at the bar to list out drinks/mixers for the wedding. It came from Splash of Lime, a blog created by a mother/daughter team who finds items that we all want and fixes them up and re-sells them at half the cost of which you could find elsewhere. (Special thanks to my most-specialist MOH who picked it up for me!).   chalkboardI also snatched up the sign in front of it from GroopDealz which offers items at low-cost for a short period of time (hence the “snatching”).  LW is not a huge fan of the sign, so we’ll see if it actually gets used but either way, I consider it a good find!

My next most favorite find, were hangers for my super-sweet bridesmaids. An early thank you for all the time and work they have already put in. I seriously have the most thoughtful group of girls that will be standing by my side very soon! They came from DeLovely Details (an Etsy seller) and were a hit!
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One of my next favorite finds, this this simple needlepoint framed cross-stitch. It’s message makes me smile. I do think that I’ll end up changing out the frame or at least painting it. It was also an Etsy find, and although it was one of a kind, the shop has some other items that are worth taking a peek at.
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Last week, I found a tree-stump cake holder which will proudly display our mini Bride & Groom cake (don’t worry, we’ll have delicious desserts for the guests, as well). I was shocked to find it at Michael’s and for only $14.99 when somewhere else was trying to charge almost 3 times that to RENT one. If you have the time, and ability to be crafty, it can certainly save you a pretty penny in wedding planning. I have a fear that I’m just going to end up with really full craft drawers, and have all of these pretty ideas for years to come. (Any volunteers to come do crafts?!).

cakeMy last, and most favorite find, is my new monogrammed necklace with my brand-spankin’ new initials as of 8-17-13. I am dying to wear this beauty. I had looked at more costly versions (Moon & Lola) in the past but never splurged. Thank goodness! I found this gem on Etsy for a steal!
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Happy Friday – and happy LONG weekend!

Wedding Show Wednesday!

This past Sunday, I made the trip back to my hometown to attend a bridal show with my Mom and high school best friend, Brittney at The Inn at Virginia Tech.
Bridal1It was a smaller show than the one I attended at the Carolina Inn back in January. And by “smaller” I mean… a lot smaller and different. There were maybe 20 booths set up, including photo booth rentals, caterers, photographers, Mary Kay, a nutrition store. I was surprised that there weren’t any hair salons with booths. Only one store showed off gowns (and suits/tuxes) and it’s the same store I bought all of my homecoming/prom dresses from growing up.

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I was excited to try delicious treats and champagne while we explored the booths but there were actually very few treats to try, and no champagne to be found anywhere. I did stumble across some ah-mazing macarons – I seriously might have to have these at the wedding.
bridal4Originally, we had planned to go to the bridal show for me – and so I could spend time with these two special ladies, but Brittney got ENGAGED on Friday night, so we were able to celebrate with her and help her get some ideas and information to begin planning her perfect day! Although the bridal show was slightly disappointing, I had a blast with these two ladies! Take a moment to wish Brittney congrats!

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Happy Hump Day & Congratulations Brittney & Josh!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOH!

Today is my BFF’s birthday. I luckily, although unexpectedly, got to spend last weekend with her eating cupcakes, drinking wine and watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It was her idea of a perfect evening and those cupcakes were darn good!
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It got me thinking about all of our college birthdays that we celebrated together and boy were those fun! 3-night celebrations or full blown wear-a-costume-or-get-out parties. Sarah and I have spent the past 6 or 7 years laughing hysterically with each other and hugging it out when one of us was crying. Someone once described us as “Hard to handle alone, unbearable together” … I’d like to think we were just the life of the party in college.

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Regardless, we have lots of memories over the past 6 or 7 years and I am still totally excited about her being my MOH. I have several BFFs but only one MOH!
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Now… take a second to leave a comment wish this pretty lady a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

The Wedding Planner

I have been a bad blogger for the past few days and I’ll attribute that to 45+ pages of papers that had to be written for grad school and a reorganization at work that I somehow got a promotion out of when I wasn’t sure I’d even have a job. More details to come on this as I’m able to share but let’s just say a HUGE weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I am one very happy bride-to-be!

My “little cousin” as I call her, has dreamed of being Jennifer Lopez’s character from “The Wedding Planner.” I asked her if she would be willing to be our coordinator on the day of the wedding and also help me with some details along the way. Based on the fact that both her mom and my mom have told me she wants to get a headset for the big day, I’m going to assume she’s excited.

My “little cousin” is not actually little. She’s been towering over me for years (I’m short, she’s not a giant) … and she’s almost 25, which is a mere 2 years younger than me. I should probably stop calling her my “little cousin” but that’s what she’s always been to me. Plus if she’s still little, I can pretend I’m not almost 27 (ugh, late 20’s!).

We have spent loads of time together over the years, some of my favorite memories include playing Power Rangers and arguing over who was going to be Kimberly, the Pink Power Ranger. Going to the movies after Thanksgiving dinner and having sleep overs. The bird-cat-dog-owl-bug thing Halloween costume that my other cousin made for me one year that still brings Katie to tears when she thinks about it (there is no photographic evidence of this costume to be shared). Katie’s 21st birthday, which fell on Easter, and ended with us taking leftover casserole dishes to bed with us and a rude awakening the next morning when we were told to clean up our 3-am feast (You’re being disrepectful to the birthday princess – photo above). And of course, our cousin spring break trip to Cancun in 2008:
I love her SO, SO much and am so excited that someone who is super organized and designed to be a wedding planner, will be helping us with the details of our big day. While I somehow imagined her being a bridesmaid for my entire life, I think she’ll be the perfect helper. I also think we’ll be able to make some more hilarious memories to carry with us and share with our daughters one day. (Remember when I tried to pierce your ears with toenail clippers? Ouch. So sorry!)
Now… I just have to find a way to tell her that she doesn’t need a headset because she’s going solo on this mission and would only be talking to herself…