Thanksgiving Wrap Up

First of all, DID YOU SEE THE BIG GIVEAWAY that’s happening NOW?! A donation of $10 tiny dollars gets you entered to win over 25 items!!! I am super grateful for those folks who donated items for the giveaway and want to highlight them over the next few weeks. I’m starting with the “Love Never Fails” prints. There are THREE of these to giveaway and any of them would look just lovely framed in a bedroom, or a hallway, or anywhere to give you a sweet reminder that true love, never fails.

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I ordered the first one from Southern Weddings for our very own wedding, and ordered a second one for this giveaway! The black version pictured, is from Lovely Little Paper Co. and is STUNNING. This would stand out on just about any wall! The third one is classic with it’s black and white look and is from The Stationary Boutique. All three of these prints are $16-20 each, so by donating just $10 and having the chance to win one of these, you’re still coming out on top – and you get something pretty out of it!

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Now, for our Thanksgiving Tour wrap up. We started in the triangle area of NC with my in-laws and spent 2.5 days with them, eating ourselves silly

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….and playing tons of games.

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I made some special treats to take with us, including Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mini Sweet Potato Pies and Apple Butter Cookies (with my Paw Paw’s apple butter). They were all delicious but the Nutella Cookies obviously took the cake, or cookie.

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On Friday, we hopped in the car (with the dogs!) and headed to Virginia for time with my family and to celebrate my cousin’s recent marriage with a Hokie themed reception!

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Our niece and nephew loved spending time with the doggies…

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On Saturday, we went to the Pete Dye River Course and celebrated my cousin and his wife, Katie.

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The Hokie themed reception was so much fun – especially the photo booth. All of the little ones loved putting on moustaches and crazy hair. It was so nice to catch up with everyone and see how happy Alex & Katie are together. And now that wedding season is over for us (whew!), it’s time for everyone to start having babies (except us!).

How was your Thanksgiving? What was your favorite part? For me, it was definitely the sweet potato casserole. I think I could live off of that!

 

Wednesday Wish List

Can you believe Christmas is right around the corner? 43 days away, to be exact! While I’m not sharing a “Christmas” list, I am going to share some things that I’m loving right now. Since we’re still in our first year in our new house, we’re still figuring out some things we want/need and where they’ll go once we have them. One thing we can definitely agree on is a firepit.
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I am smitten with this dormat from Lulu and Georgia that says “You & Me,” and is the song we danced to at our wedding. I would love to put it out on our screened in porch. Isn’t it darling?

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While we’re on the topic of Lulu and Georgia, I LOVE this book shelf. It’s so different from traditional book shelves and would look great separating our dining room and living room.

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I have also been swooning over bar carts but haven’t made a purchase yet. Society Social has a great one, but is definitely high-end.

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This vintage-chic one that I found on Etsy is also quite charming:

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Target also has a couple, one which is very simple but I do love that price!

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The other is gold bamboo which is unique, plus it has places for your wine glasses:

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We still want bikes so we can ride around our adorable neighborhood, but with winter quickly approaching (Friday’s “low” is 25 degrees! Brrr!), I doubt we’ll be riding bikes ANYWHERE in the near future. I’m not much of a jewelry person but occasionally I will find items that I love (mostly staples). I sent my husband this Kate Spade watch recently. I have a watch that I wear almost every day to work, but I think this one could be more of an every day and night kind of watch!

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I also love this simple gold bar necklace. I saw a similar one in Monkee’s when shopping with my BFF Amy. This one is less than half the price (I know, I know, you get what you pay for!), but it’s just as cute!

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I rarely splurge on high-ticket items for myself, so this baby will have to wait but I am definitely in need of a David Yurman Pearl ring. I have looked at this for years and just can’t ever seem to suck it up and buy it. Maybe for a push present when we have a baby (don’t get excited moms, Baby E and Baby L are still a long ways off!).

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These vegan Tieks are amazing. I have said over and over again that my Tieks were the best shoe purchase I’ve ever made. I love my gold ones, and after two years, they are finally starting to show wear. I would definitely by the same ones again, but if I were going to switch it up, these would be a close second.

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I’ve been eyeing GiGi clutches for a while now and this eggplant color is all the rage this season. Plus? I love anything monogrammed!

1gigiclutchMost of these things are just nice-to haves. I always have such a hard time coming up with lists of things I actually want for birthdays and Christmas. What are some things you’re loving lately? Would love to hear what’s on your wish-list this year!

Weekend Wrap Up

I feel like we did nothing and everything this weekend. JJ Grey and Mofro came to a local theatre that is within walking distance of our house, so we had date night there – with dinner at one of our favorite pizza places beforehand.

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On Friday we felt like we had partied like we were back in college the night before. Funny how much differently three beers impacts you at 28 versus 21. So we hung low and decided to see “Gone Girl” and recreate our first date with a movie and dinner at Fox & Hound. The movie was amazing but sadly ends just the way the book did (which I HATED). However, I loved my dinner and movie date night with him. Saturday, I got up early (feeling better) to run the Rocktoberfest 5-miler with some girlfriends.

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Official results aren’t up yet, but I’m glad I got across the finish line in less than 50 minutes (according to my watch and clock time). On Saturday evening, we got to see one of our dearest friends marry the love of her life. We both met Brandy at work (we started on the same day) and immediately bonded. She is such an amazing person, I can’t possibly tell you how wonderful she is all in one post. So when she called to tell me she and Bill were getting married, I literally squealed (loudly) in the store I was standing in. This weddnig was a long time coming and such an amazing production.

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I say “production” because there was a comedian, pianist, singer, gymnastics performance, and two one-act plays. By far the most interesting wedding reception I have been to in my life. Brandy and Bill were just as wonderful on stage together as they are off. I am so glad we were able so share in their beautiful day! On Sunday, we woke up to rain and sniffles. I made pumpkin pancakes in an attempt to make us feel better. They didn’t do much for the colds we had caught but they sure were tasty!

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Pumpkin Pancakes:

  • 3/4 c. white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 teas. baking powder
  • 1/4 teas. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/8 t. ginger
  • 1/8 t. ground cloves
  • 1/2 t. pumpkin spice
  • 2 Tbs. melted butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix butter, milk, egg and pumpkin puree in another bowl. Slowly blend in the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until well blended. Heat griddle to 300 degrees and pour out 1/4 cup batter onto griddle (or skillet). Cook for about 2 minutes or until little bubbles appear and then flip and cook for 2 more minutes. I imagine these would be delicious with some powdered sugar or whipped cream, but we settled for just maple syrup. I made enough for leftovers for breakfast this morning – still good!

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I tried to ward off my cold symptoms some more with hot yoga but instead just made myself sweaty and dizzy. It did help to stretch out my sore leg muscles after Saturday’s race but I have to admit it was a very unfocused practice. Hoping to kick this cold soon so I can get back to the gym and yoga this week. Hoping we can make it to the pumpkin patch next weekend and finish getting ready for Halloween. How was your weekend?

 

 

When to do what!

I’ve gotten some questions lately about when to send gifts, when to send Thank Yous and of course, how long can you wait to do either?

First of all, if you’re going to the wedding and it’s a reasonable sized gift, you can always take it with you (hint, hint: card with cash!). If it’s a large gift, you’re in the wedding, or you don’t want to make the bride + groom lug the gift home after the wedding, you can have it shipped to them in advance – most websites like Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Bed Bath & Beyond and Target do this for free or a small fee. Most people wait to send wedding gifts until the 2 month range prior to the wedding, or when one can assume showers/engagement parties are over. If the couple sends you a message saying they are having a small ceremony this year or going to the courthouse and plan to do something bigger with the whole family/friends crowd next year, it’s acceptable to wait until the bigger party, but certainly okay to go ahead and send them something (they did just get married!).

If you’re on the receiving end of the gifts, it’s in your best interest to write those thank yous as you receive the gifts – I promise you will be glad you did later! If you just can’t bring yourself to write thank yous before the wedding, keep a detailed list of who sent what so that when you do have time, you’ll be able to write detailed notes. In the event you don’t receive any gifts shipped to your home pre-wedding (doubt this will happen), you have up to 6 months to write your thank yous after the wedding. I would advise you not to take the full six months. Sit down each evening for a week after your honeymoon and split the list with your hubby and bust out 10 a piece each night, you’ll have it done before you know it and guests will appreciate the quick acknowledgement of how much you loved their gift. The Knot has a great guide for Thank You notes that will help you with this task.

As with everything else in life, you’re better off being early than late 😉

 

One year anniversary!

Yesterday marked one year of wedded bliss for me and my handsome husband. We’ve had a crazy busy year (new job + travel, buying a house, becoming landlords, personal travel, etc.) and it’s been pretty amazing.

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However, we discuss quite often that marriage is not all cotton candy and candy apples (not even in the first year). But marriage, as a committment you made in front of family and friends and most importantly, to each other, is a job. And it should be the job where you focus most of your energy. Not saying that it should be your toughest job, because if you’re with the right person, a lot of it comes easily and naturally. But it’s work to not snap at your sig-o when you’re hungry (or hangry, as I sometimes get), it’s work to step away from what you’re doing sometimes and focus on what your other half wants to do, sometimes we forget to put the phone/iPad down and listen to the other, sometimes we are preoccupied with our own thoughts, or sometimes we just want to be alone. But it’s important to remember that your other half is your partner, not your enemy. They’re on your side. They want to spend time with you, talk to you, and listen to you.

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My husband and I met as co-workers and I’m glad he’s still my co-worker in marriage. Working together is incredibly important. I know how much it bothers him when I slip my shoes off at the door instead of putting them in the closet, and while it seems like a REALLY LITTLE thing, it’s easy to get caught up in really little things that annoy you. It’s a really little extra step for me to walk over to the closet and something that I should do because I KNOW it bothers him. It’s important not to get caught up in the little things and to focus on the big picture.

Taken by Sarah Photography
Taken by Sarah Photography

Ever since we started dating we’ve talked about goals for our life and our future and we continue to fous on those. We love to travel and continue planning out trips to places domestic and international. We made a list of our Top 5 destinations for each and cross matched (3/5 on both lists were the same). We’re managing owning two houses, although it’s not ideal, and I never wanted to be a landlord, it’s working. The plus is that we’re building equity in our other home and when we DO sell, we’ll be better off. We’re working on making our new house very homey and enjoying spending time in our yard, our rocking chairs and screened-in porch. We’re both very career focused right now and fortunate to be with a good company and doing what we love, or at least what our degrees are in. And we get to spend plenty of time with friends and family (including our new baby niece!). And yes, kids are in the future just not right now.

Taken by Sarah Photography
Taken by Sarah Photography

We don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have a darn good one. We’re still falling in love with each other day over day, laughing until our bellies hurt and there for each other when there are tears. I try to focus on the good, be happy and cherish all the little moments. I saw a quote this morning that said:

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

How true, and how very bad of us. What people post on social media is not them at their worst, it’s laughing, smiling, happiness. Try not to compare yourself, or your relationship to that of others. Try to focus on how to continue, every day, making your relationship the best it can be. Your marriage is yours and your husband’s and you’re the only ones responsible for making it work. Social media has us questioning things that don’t need to be questioned. Spend time in reality, loving the most, focusing on what matters and sticking to your vows. Spend time cultivating a marriage that other people desire. You have your own highlight reel that is by far the most important one in the world.

My Best Friend’s Wedding(s)

This is definitely the year of weddings for us. We have been invited to 7 and have already attended 3. At this point, I would consider us professional wedding guests/party members.

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Two of the three weddings this year were for my best friends from high school. I’m lucky to be able to still call these girls friends and that we have maintained our friendship over the years. Amy had a blissful beach wedding in Ocean Isle and Brittney had a rustic chic farm wedding just outside of Blacksburg, VA. Both of them were stunning and amazing and absolutely perfect.

Amy’s gorgeous beach details were simple yet classy. I love the DIY touches of painted wood and chalkboards everywhere. She even had a signature cocktail served during the cocktail hour. My favorite part was her lace dress. It was absolutely exquisite and was clearly made for her.

I couldn’t be happier for Clay and Amy as they sealed the deal 10 years after meeting. Their day was truly a decade in the making and absolutely perfect.

Brittney’s wedding was also perfect, but the complete opposite of the beachy setting Amy had. Brittney got married at Sinkland Farms in Virginia. Hilariously enough, we used to go to parties there when we were in high school. There are several spots at the farm to get married, and Brittney chose up on the hill with the mountains in the background.

10441149_10100879461768673_7720758303346916939_nChalkboards are still in style for weddings, obviously, and what great decorations they make. Brittney gave us the most darling robes for being her bridesmaids, which we donned as we had our hair and make up done.

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We each picked our own style of dress from J Crew’s silk chiffon collection in ‘Bright Coral.’

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The flower girl was Brittney’s 22-month old daughter who is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

The barn is already so well decorated, it’s an easy choice for the reception. My favorite piece is the mason jar chandelier! Brittney used coral roses and sparkly white table cloths on the tables, and whisky barrels outside also held mason jars full of roses.

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A local country band performed at the reception and guests danced the night away. I must say, early summer weddings have had perfect weather. These two couldn’t have asked for a better day to say their vows outside.

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And to top off the evening, my Hokie-loving husband and I snagged a picture with non-other than Frank Beamer. Such a special evening for special friends.

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So happy for both of my sweet friends and grateful to have been a part of their celebrations. From 15 to forever!

Tackling the Guest List

Tackling your guest list will likely take more than one night and more than one bottle of wine. Before you’re engaged (and have set a budget) you imagine your guest list will include your extended families, both of your college friends, sorority sisters/fraternity brothers, a few high school friends, those friends you’ve made as a couple, and maybe even work friends (it is polite to invite your boss).

Once you get a quote back from a caterer, your philosophy on who gets invitations will likely change. At $15-45 a head, your wedding can get exponentially more expensive as your guest list grows. And you will have to reconsider some of the people that might have made your first draft list.

We started with an excel sheet and put our immediate families, our wedding party (and their +1s), and our vendors on the list. While you don’t necessarily need chairs for vendors or invitations, you do need to feed them (although it does not have to be the same food you feed your guests*). We then added extended family members that were a must and our mutual friends. Our list quickly approached 125. We discussed other friends/guests we would like to invite on an individual basis and made decisions to add or leave off of the list. THIS WAS NOT EASY. There were easily a dozen more people we each would have invited but it would have made us go over budget, and also cramped our reception area (they cannot fit over 200 people in there!).

We took several days (weeks) to finalize our list – and even at the near end we were adding people to it. You should look at it as a work in progress (until you have to give your final counts to your vendors). At some point, you’ll consider eloping, having a small intimate wedding, or tossing your budget and inviting everyone you know – and then you’ll come back to reality. Once we made our list, we used it for everything, including invites, RSVPs, seating chart and thank yous (If you do it in Excel like we did, it’s easy to copy the tab and use the same list without recreating data!)!

Even if you have an A list and a B list, don’t tell a “B list” guest that some A listers couldn’t make it, so you now have room for them (had an ex do this to a mutual friend, very tacky – but did give us a good laugh!). There will probably be some guests that you thought were “sure things” who will end up not being able to come – and it will make room for others if that’s how you want to see it. Or it can cut down on your costs.

Just remember that you want people there that you care about and that care about you. You want people there who will enjoy celebrating the love that you have found and your new adventure. It’s not about who your parents want to invite (unless they’re contributing funds!), and it’s not about not hurting people’s feelings. It’s your day. It’s about you (and your groom) and with whom you want to share your special day. Good luck!