Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thanksgiving, Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Party Recap (finally)

Oh, hey. It's safe to say blogging has pretty much disappeared off my to do list lately and I'm gonna go ahead and say it's probably only gonna get worse. I sent an email to my clients this morning letting them know the dates I'll be out of the office for my wedding which is happening in oh, about two weeks. This made me realize I should probably attempt to get caught up on my blogging because things are getting crazy around here and I don't know when I'll have time as we get closer to the big day. I guess I'll start with finally filling you in on one of my most wonderful weekends in recent history...Thanksgiving weekend, which also happened to be the weekend we celebrated my bachelorette party and bridal shower.

Thanksgiving is already my favorite holiday and adding to that, my bridal shower and bachelorette party were the same weekend. To top it off, my sister and Matron of Honor was here to celebrate all of this with us and even brought my niece and nephew along. Thanksgiving was perfect and full of family time and an abundance of things to be thankful for. My bridal shower was so absolutely lovely and perfect. My mom and bridal party worked so hard putting it together and I loved every minute of it.

My bachelorette party was an absolute blast and I had the time of my life. I'm even proud to say I didn't puke, fall or cry that night and if you know me at all in real life, you know this is quite the accomplishment. As my gift, My Maid of Honor hired a photographer friend to take professional photos at my shower and I can't wait to share some of those shots as soon as I get my hands on them. In the meantime, here are some snapshots of a truly magical weekend, one that I will never forget.

My nephew, Ashton, the major contributing factor to my baby fever as of late. 

My niece and flower girl, Alyssa. It was so special having her here :)

I could have stayed at this table forever!

My niece absolutely fell in love with Jonathan and it was the cutest thing ever. I can't blame her, really.
My bridesmaids surprised with a stay at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Downtown Orlando. The hotel is gorgeous and it was so fun to get ready together and not have to worry about getting back home after celebrating all night.
My get-up for the night. Reason  number 23,657 I love my bridesmaids: they know me well enough to avoid all the typical bright pink bachelorette party attire. Here with my homemade sash and veil. It's safe to say everyone knew I was the bride to be all night. 

Yes, there were penis straws. And yes, my sister (middle) was poking men in the face with hers at one of the bars. #penisstrawsuccess
I looooove this picture of us getting ready to go out. The funny thing about this is I was posing even though I didn't even think I was going to make it into the photo. I just love it.

So glad these ladies all came out to celebrate with me!
This concludes my Thanksgiving recap less than a week before Christmas. I guess if I stay on track my Christmas recap should be up sometime by Easter. We have quite the list of things to do this weekend including basically all of our Christmas shopping, lots of Christmas baking and attending a potluck Christmas gift exchange with our friends on Sunday. I also may have convinced Jonathan to wear matching footie pajamas with me on Christmas Eve, so I can't wait to scoop those up this weekend, too. Now that I think of it, I may want to get a few beers in him before we get to this point!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: 23 Days

Hi and happy Wedding Wednesday!

There are just 23 days until we say "I do" and although I feel a tad bit overwhelmed by everything we still need to do, I really am just so excited to see everything come together and celebrate with our loved ones. I think we did a really good job of getting as much done as we could earlier on so this last month wasn't quite so stressful, but it still amazes me how long our to do list is. Just yesterday we applied for our marriage license so I'm happy to cross that off our list!

Photo by Lora Rodgers Photography

Here's what we have left:
  • Finalize our music selection and send it to our DJ
  • Put the finishing touches on our vows.
  • Finish preparing gifts for my bridesmaids
  • Wrap groomsmen gifts
  • Finalize the cupcake order and display with the bakery
  • Submit a final headcount to our caterer
  • Decide on the table layout for our reception
  • Seating chart for our reception (I am kind of dreading this one so I've put it off as long as possible)
  • Buy beer for reception (we've already purchased all other alcohol, so this should be an easy shopping trip)
  • Have my final dress fitting (this weekend!)
  • Finalize the wedding day plans and photo schedule with our photographer
  • Schedule an appointment for a haircut/highlights the week of the wedding
  • Schedule nail appointment week of wedding
  • Develop wedding day timeline
  • Pay for our wedding night hotel
  • Send rehearsal dinner information and wedding day schedule to wedding party
  • Shop for our honeymoon (I'd love to scoop up a new swim suit, floppy hat and maxi dress for our trip to Punta Cana, but this is if and only if I can find some extra room in the budget)
Now that I have a visual of our to do list, I have to admit I'm feeling a slight sense of panic. I'm hoping I can get a lot of these crossed off before next week so the next few days are going to be busy, that's for sure!

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday

Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday! It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in our house and after this weekend, we now have the most adorable Christmas tree in our living room! Here's what else we were up to this weekend:

Saturday morning my momma and I had our hair and makeup trials for the wedding. It was the most perfect mother/daughter time and we were sooooo happy with the results. Side note: this will not be how my hair is for the wedding. I obviously couldn't have Jonathan see the actual style so I had them take it down before I left. After our appointments, we met up with my sisters and brother for a super fun lunch, then did a little shopping. It was SUCH a great day.

Later that night, I was looking so fab that I told Jonathan we just needed to head out on the town to take advantage of my fancy hair and makeup. We went out for a few drinks, just the two of us and it was wonderful. After a few drinks, we headed home to camp out on the floor and watch Elf. I may have spilled red wine on our beautiful carpet less than 3 minutes into the movie and we both proceeded to pass out not even 30 minutes in. This was a perfect night and I have zero photos to prove it which is totally okay with me.

Sunday we overslept quite a bit but were able to watch church online. After that, we pulled ourselves together and headed out to run what felt like a thousand errands. We had gotten a Bath & Body Works gift card from Jonathan's aunt and uncle, so first we headed to the mall to stock up on soaps and whatnot for the house. About 30 minutes and one $50 gift card later, it was safe to say we wouldn't need to buy soap for our house or any goodies for our guest bathroom for quite a while.

Funny story: We sent this photo to Jonathan's aunt to thank them for the gift card and show her all the awesome goodies we bought. She responded saying she thought she had gotten us a Bed, Bath & Beyond gift card...oops! Either way, we were able to put it to good use and this made me laugh because Jonathan originally thought what they gave us what a gift card for BB&B!

Our next stop was Target to buy some Christmas ornaments and some lights. Also on our list: Santa hats. Reason #64,503 I'm marrying the perfect man for me: When I broke the news to him that it is really important to me that we wear Santa hats while shopping for and decorating our Christmas tree, he said "Absolutely I always do that!" It only makes sense to follow that up with this photo:

I do have to say shopping for a Christmas tree when it is nearly 90 degrees out isn't exactly ideal, but we live in Orlando, so that's life. After just a few minutes of searching, we found the absolute perfect tree. It's like a lot of things in life, when you've found the right one, you just know. We scooped up our adorable tree and headed on home to decorate! 

But first, we had to visit our neighbors house so Jonathan could show me his chicken coop. Yes, that's correct. My fiance' has recently become obsessed with getting chickens of our own and has been trying to sell me on the idea for weeks. I'm actually not totally against it as long as we  Jonathan builds a nice coop and whatnot. I just don't want chickens running rampant all over our yard because God knows I won't be able to get them under control if they try to run away. So yeah, our neighbor has three chickens and Jonathan was dying for me go see what was going on over there.

First of all, they have three chickens and call them "The Dixie Chicks" which I just love. I'm starting to come around to the idea seeing as we go through eggs like it's nobody's business in our house, so this would make sense for us. Plus, Jonathan says we would get them really young so we can raise them from little chickies. How cute! Chickens I'm just okay with, but little baby chicks...that I love.

After hanging around the farm our neighbors' for a few minutes, we finally went home to decorate and cook dinner. I can't even tell you how much it melted my heart to watch Jonathan setting up our tree. I was cleaning up the kitchen a bit and preparing dinner and I couldn't help but stop and take in this view.

Once our beautiful tree was finished, we sat down for the most amazing dinner, grilled chicken with the most delightful wedge salad and a glass of red wine. By the time 8 p.m. rolled around, we laid down a bunch of blankets and pillows in the living room and snuggled up for Home Alone next to our first Christmas tree.

Days like yesterday are the days we'll always remember. I'll always remember picking out our first Christmas tree, watching Jonathan string the lights and adjust the tree until it was just perfect, standing there when it was all done with his arm around me "soaking in the moment" and crying the happiest tears because this is all I've ever wanted in my life.

This concludes the longest post in recent history. How was your weekend?

Linking up for Weekend Shenanigans.

Friday, December 6, 2013

So much to do and I've decided tonight, I won't be doing any of it.

Life has been nonstop lately and while that does have a lot to do with wedding planning and the holidays, I'm quite sure that with Jonathan and I's personalities, this is just the way our life is and will always be. We both love to stay busy, but lately I feel like we have so many things we need/want to do and not enough time to do any of it. Or we make time to do everything we need to do and we don't carve out enough time to just hang out and relax together or alone for that matter. Jonathan was hired to DJ a Christmas party tonight and I was invited to join him. Normally, I would be all about tagging along, but I decided against it. After being away last weekend and never really getting back into the swings of things this week, I wasn't really up for the party. Immediately I started thinking of all the other things I could do instead.

I could try to get together with my sisters or friends I have absolutely sucked at making plans with lately. 

I could knock a thing or two off our wedding to do list.

I could get some of my holiday baking done early. 

Those all sounded great until I stopped myself and decided that those things can wait. What I really need is some downtime to do absolutely nothing by myself. I'm going to pick up a bottle of wine, make myself a light dinner, get comfortable on the couch and find myself a movie to watch. I'm not great at forcing myself to just chill because I always change my mind and find something to keep my busy, but this is absolutely necessary. I feel like with just a few weeks left until our big day, I need to relax when I have the opportunity. I don't want to wear myself out and risk getting sick or anything in the next few weeks. My night of rest can't get here soon enough.

This is absolutely necessary and deserved, if I do say so myself! Now I just need to figure out how to navigate our television/Apple TV/Netflix situation because holy cow finding a movie can be so complicated these days. Happy Friday, everyone. I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wedding Planning Survival Tips

Heyyyyy....remember me? I've clearly been spending too much time living my life to and not enough time actually writing about it. Oopsies.

My Thanksgiving was absolutely perfect and was followed by my bridal shower and bachelorette party on Saturday. I want to tell you all about it but I feel a bit overwhelmed with my to do list now that we are just a few weeks away from our wedding. I'm hoping to have some down time later in the week to fill you in on the fun and happiness that made up my Thanksgiving weekend. In the meantime, I'm linking up for Wedding Wednesday today!

We're less than a month our from our big day so we are busy wrapping up the last few details. Being in the home stretch of this whole wedding planning business, today I want to share a few tips that have helped me deal with the stress that comes with planning a wedding:

1. Don't go crazy on Pinterest. I know you're probably thinking I'm crazy seeing as most of us ladies start pinning to a wedding board well before an engagement is on the horizon, but hear me out. There is such a fine line between using Pinterest for wedding inspiration and being completely overwhelmed with ideas. Pinterest is such a great place for finding inspiration and helping you plan your wedding, but there is soooo much out there. Yes, there are great guest book ideas on Pinterest, but if you over-do it, you could end up making it more stressful on yourself having to narrow down your ideas and settle on one. So yes, use Pinterest. It has been super helpful in my planning, but once you have most of the big details figured out, I recommend scaling back a bit so you don't start to overthink and re-evaluate every decision you've already made.

2. Focus on the marriage more than the wedding. It was pretty early on in our planning when it occurred to us that the wedding can start to seem like something you are doing to appease everyone else but yourselves. At the end of the day, you know it's going to be an amazing day for the two of you, but it's easy to get frustrated making decisions that seem so insignificant to you in the big picture. My only advice is when the little details start to seem completely stressful and overwhelming, slow down and focus on the marriage part...the part where you say your vows, the part where you walk down the aisle, the part where you are announced as husband and wife. Those thoughts will bring you back to the most important thing, you as a couple. Your marriage and the life you're about to start together. Focus on that.

3. Take a break every now and then. Especially in the early stages, there are times you'll feel like all you do is discuss wedding stuff with your fiance'. No matter how excited you are about your wedding, there are times when you just won't be in the mood to talk about it. As much fun as wedding planning can be, it's a lot of mostly expensive decisions to make and tiny details to think about. It's absolutely necessary to purposefully take time off from anything wedding-related. What we've tried to do is have an overall goal of the things we want to talk about or accomplish each week and try to plan ahead what days/nights we are going to tackle those items. This way you have time together to just be together and enjoy some down time and not let the wedding take over your life.

4. You can't please everyone. The sooner in the wedding planning process you accept this, the better off you'll be. After getting engaged, it won't be long before you encounter the many, many opinions people want to share with you. For the most part, everyone of these people have the best of intentions, but there's just no way you can make everyone happy. There's also the possibility of people you weren't able to invite being upset with you and a million other things people might not be thrilled about. All you can do is show appreciation for input from others, be apologetic and straightforward with people who may be unhappy and move on from it. At the end of the day, this is your day and you have to do what's right for the both of you, even if others don't understand it or agree with it.

5. Keep it in perspective. It's just one day out of the very long and happy life you'll have together. In the very beginning of planning our wedding, I realized the chairs our venue provides aren't exactly the style chair I would prefer on our big day. After looking at how much it would cost to rent fancier chairs, I quickly came to the conclusion that I don't think when I look back on our wedding many years from now, I will even remember what the chairs looked like and I made up my mind to not worry about it again. I wish I could say I've been that laid back about everything throughout the process, but I do try to keep in mind that at the end of the day, we are going to be married and the little things that seem like a big stress aren't really going to have a huge impact on the happiness of our life together.

What would you add? Is there anything that has helped you remain cool and collected during the wedding planning process?

Next week I'll finally be back with an update on what we have left on our to do list!
Linking up for Wedding Wednesday!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Random Friday Thoughts

Happy Friday!

My mind is a little all over the place today. I'm also quite sleepy and I'm psyched to be getting out of work early today, so here are the random thoughts I feel the need to share with you all today:

Why are people so judgmental about others decorating for Christmas early? If you don't agree with decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving, don't do it, but there's no need to criticize anyone who does. Good Lord I'll never understand why so many people get so upset by something that has absolutely zero effect on them.

We picked up our wedding bands last night and I honestly couldn't be happier with what we chose. We each tried our rings on and in that moment, it really started to sink in that we are getting married in just over a month. I also had a really difficult time convincing myself to take the ring off. It's too beautiful. I just wanted to sit there and bask in its beauty all night.

Today marks the end of my third week of morning workouts and I can't believe I'm about to say this, but waking up at 4:45 a.m. is starting to feel...normal. I'm on track to run 40+ miles this month and considering last month, I believe my total was 8 you could say I finally got my shit together. I have a ways to go before I'm back to where I want to be, but I'd say this month is going pretty well so far in that department.

Just two days of work next week and Jonathan and I will be off to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. What could possibly make this better? Oh, yes, the fact that my older sister and her beautiful kids will be there, too. What could possibly make that better? The fact that just a few days later is my bridal shower and bachelorette party. It's safe to say next weekend will be completely overwhelming and full of joy. My heart just might explode.

Black Friday...I can't even go there. All I'll say is I'm quite sad about the fact that we live in a world where stores like Target are open on Thanksgiving. The Black Friday business is crazy enough and now it's going to take over the actual holiday it's centered around. Good grief.

Speaking of my bachelorette party, I ordered these beauties to twirl around in all night and I'm absolutely in love. Do I know what dress I'm wearing yet? Not a clue, but these shoes are a good place to start.

On that note, I'm off to shop around for a dress to go with that pair of sparkly goodness. Wish me luck and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

So excited and I just can't hide it

I'm pretty sure we all know at least a handful of people who just don't get excited about anything. Birthdays? They don't seem to care to celebrate. Beautiful weather? They stay inside all day on purpose. These people are the human version of Eeyore.

Thankfully, I am not one of those people. I like to think I make up for their lack of enthusiasm with my over-enthusiasm when it comes to simple things like the following:
Getting mail. I'm not talking about grown up mail like bills and bank statements, because I definitely get more than enough of those. I'm talking about greetings cards, online shopping orders, notes from family just because. This kind of mail makes me on happy lady. Lately our mail has been pretty fun. With our wedding a little over a month away, we've been getting response cards in the mail, items we ordered for our ceremony, shoes and accessories I've ordered to wear for my shower, bachelorette party and our wedding day, gifts for my bridesmaids...this list goes on and on. Let's just say Jonathan laughs at me every time we get something like this in the mail because I basically jump for joy.

Blog comments. Some days I get none. Some days I get one. Every now and then, I get four or five. It doesn't matter the number. I love knowing that people are not only reading, but they are responding and engaging. It makes me ridiculously happy when I get an email notification saying I got a comment on one of my posts.

Holiday cups from Starbucks. I know it's just a cup and it's really not that big of a deal. It's just that it is a big deal. It's like Halloween is over and everyone is whining about Christmas decor being up at Target and holiday ads on television and you start to feel kinda silly because all this stuff really excites you. Then Starbucks swoops in with their red cups and is like, "It's okay. You can totally get excited about Christmas now."

Sitting in bed for 15 minutes in the morning, just drinking my coffee and watching the news.
In the last 3 weeks or so, I've been getting up crazy early  (4:45 a.m. to be exact)  so I can go to the gym. I go to the gym, get in a good 1.5 hour work, then come home and cook breakfast so Jonathan and I can eat together before he leaves for work. I'm really starting to love those early morning workouts and I especially love having the extra time in the morning with my man. I even end up with some extra time to relax before I have to start getting ready for work. Those 15-20 minutes of sitting in bed drinking coffee and watching the news before I get going again is simply delightful. There's something about getting up early enough to have time to just sit there, see what's going on in the world and enjoy my coffee. It's so simple but makes me so happy.

Target. Just Target. I'm saying my happy heart skips a beat when I know I'm going there. Stopping at Target after work to buy coffee and paper towels? I absolutely can't wait. I know when I get in there, even if I'm on a mission to only buy one or two things, I'll be one happy girl walking through the aisles of cute holiday décor and whatnot.

When I catch a Friends re-run on TV. It's not like this is rare. You can pretty much count on finding reruns on weekday afternoons and around 11 on weeknights. Unfortunately, I usually miss these since I work 9-5:30 and I'm usually asleep no later than 10. This is why when I'm able to catch a re-run, I get excited. Too excited. Sick day? It's too bad but it does mean I will be able to catch the afternoons episodes. Even if it's an episode I've seen hundreds of times...still excited.

These little things don't make a huge different in the grand scheme of things. My life probably wouldn't be a whole lot different if I didn't happen to catch a Friends episode every now and then. I'd probably find something equally pleasurable to do in that time. If the holiday cups from Starbucks didn't exist, I wouldn't know the excitement and joy I'd be missing out on, so I'm sure life would be no different.

But I loooooove getting really excited about these simple little things. It's one of the traits I value in myself and I think it's okay for me or you, if you are like this too, to appreciate this gift we have. If we find immense joy out of the simple things in life like getting a birthday card in the mail, we are certainly able to recognize the value in the big, life-changing moments in our lives and I think being able to truly appreciate and soak in the moments, big or small, is a true gift.

What do you get super excited about?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: 8 Weeks

Earlier this week I received an e-mail from Crate & Barrel informing me that we have just 8 short weeks until the big day. That's just 58 days. 1,392 hours.

There is still so much to do, but I can't even stress myself out about that right now because it's all good. All I'm feeling is absolute joy and excitement over how close we are to the big day. Our day. The day we get celebrate this wonderful love we've found with our family friends. The day I can't picture without doing this laugh/cry combination because I am already completely overwhelmed with joy. The day I get to walk down the aisle to this handsome man.

This man that looks at me and makes me feel so supported, so loved, so absolutely treasured.

This man that brings so much love and joy to my life everyday.

This man that I absolutely, positively adore. 

So yeah, on this Wedding Wednesday with only 8 weeks until our big day, I feel more calm than I ever imagined I'd be. Is that because I've got every little detail of our day figured out? Absolutely not. But the most important detail of our day, the part where Jonathan and I vow to love each other for life, to stick together, to raise a family, to honor and cherish each other every day...we're more than ready for that part...that's what's keeping me calm.

All photos by Lora Rodgers Photography.

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Halloween Flashback

Happy Halloween!

We don't have anything crazy planned for tonight...just heading to Jonathan's parents' house to hang outside, enjoy a few glasses of wine and hand out candy. In my opinion, though, that is a pretty perfect evening to me.

I might not have a whole lot to say about my Halloween festivities this year, but I just had to show up to the blog world today and share this photo with you guys.

Me, my older sister and my brother

I came across this photo as I was packing up my house last month and it may me oh so happy. It cracks me up that I was dressed as Superman considering I was the girliest little girl. It's so funny to me. I love looking back on Halloween when I was a kid. Having all that candy at one time is so exciting as a child. One of the perks of being one of five kids: when we got home from Trick-or-Treating and all of us would empty our goodies onto the living room floor. We'd sit around bragging about how much of everything we got and proceed to trade each other for our favorite candies. We were all such pals. We still are. That's why this photo is just making my day today. That, and the fact that I am looking forward to seeing all the cute kids in costumes tonight as we hand out candy.

What are your plans for this evening? Are you dressing up or just hanging out at home? 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Someday I Will...

Happy Wednesday! I had every intention of linking up for Wedding Wednesday today, but then The Daily Tay announced her "Someday I Will..." link-up and that sounded like a better idea.

The Daily Tay 

Someday I will successfully wake up at 5 a.m. for the gym for more than 3 days in a row.

Someday I will be a mother and I absolutely can't wait.

Someday I will volunteer at least once a month.

Someday I will stop quoting Friends on a daily basis. Just kidding..that's not gonna happen.

Someday I will figure out how to use a curling iron.

Someday I will finally start watching Breaking Bad.  

Someday I will attend a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

Someday I will marry the man of my dreams...and that day is just 65 days from now.

Someday I will learn to be more patient.

Someday I will learn to sit still after I finish polishing my nails long enough for them to dry.

Someday I will write something that gets published.

What will you do someday? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fall Baking: My 3 Favorite Recipes

We may not get much of a fall season in Orlando. We don't get changing leaves and chilly days. We hope for even just a few cooler days so we can break out our boots, scarves and long sleeves. We may still be wearing sundresses in October while the rest of the country gets cozy, but that doesn't stop me from absolutely loving this time of year, especially the recipes.

Every year I seem to find a new fall recipe or two that I absolutely love and this year is no different. I've been baking up a storm lately and I'm loving every minute. My favorite part of baking is sharing the goods with family and friends. All this baking and I've been able to bring treats to family gatherings and dinners with friends, not to mention Jonathan who always has some delicious baked goods to snack on at home.

Today I'd like to share a few of my favorite fall treats in case you're looking for some new ones to try this season. I can't take credit for coming up with these recipes, but I'm giving you the link so you can try them out yourself.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles
These might be one of my top 10 favorite cookie recipes ever. The smell of Snickerdoodles in the oven is absolute heaven, never mind the pumpkin spice and white chocolate chips for this recipe. These were a huge hit in our house. My only advice is to make them and give them away before you end up eating the whole batch yourself. You've gotta make good!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
I hate to say I've haven't had the chance to make these yet this this year, but I'm sure an opportunity will come up soon! I did make these last year and they were so delicious. I loved the hint of cinnamon flavor in the cream cheese frosting...absolutely perfect. The actual cupcake was super moist and I can still remember the smell of these baking. I can't wait to make these again as they were a huge hit last year with friends and family!

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread
I'm warning you ahead of time: this bread is dangerous. Cream cheese, pumpkin, mini chocolate chips and a streusel's too good to be true. But it is true. What's also true is the fact that I've made 4 of these in the past week. No, I have not eaten them all (although it was tempting). The recipe makes enough batter for  2 loaves. The first time around, I made one to keep at home for Jonathan and one for his mom. I loved this recipe so much, I needed an excuse to make it again. Yesterday we were invited to a family dinner at Jonathan's uncle's house, so it was the perfect reason to run out for more ingredients. We brought one to dinner and it was a huge hit and of course, we kept one at home for my sweet fiance' to enjoy. I will absolutely be making this again next Fall.

I don't know about you, but I'm craving something sweet right about now. I hope you enjoy making (and enjoying) these treats as much as I do!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Annoying Social Media Habits: Moderation is Key

How many of you have that person on your Instagram feed who posts a selfie at least three times a week? What about your Facebook friend that seems to do nothing but complain? Her posts show up on your news feed and you can't help but laugh at the fact that she feels the need to post on Facebook about how terrible her day was because she was stuck in traffic and Starbucks was out of blueberry muffins...of course followed by Debbie Downer's favorite acronym, "FML." And of course, we all know a few hashtag fanatics. A simple Instagram photo of a palm tree and somehow that person was able to come up with 20 different hashtags for it. #aintnobodygottimeforthat.

Anyway, what I'm getting at here is that when it comes to posting on social media, too much of anything is just not good. I'm certainly not claiming innocence here. I'm guilty of posting a selfie every now and again when I'm feeling sassy. I'm just saying that maybe, if people kept the posting of these things to every once in a while, then maybe people wouldn't be so annoyed by them.

This one is easy. I make an effort every day to look decent, but that doesn't necessarily mean I feel the need to document those looks everyday. To the ladies who post selfies on the regular: first of all, how do you always look so pulled together? Second of all, I totally get it. Sometimes you're just in the mood to snap a selfie and share it with the world. All I'm saying is, people won't hold it against you quite as much if you try to keep this to a minimum. Me, I typically only post a selfie if I feel like I actually resemble someone with a sense of style, if I'm doing something I find particularly exciting like drinking wine at work or eating , or if I'm showing off new sunglasses or something.

Exhibit A: This was one of those rare days where I really felt like I had my shit together. I was wearing the most adorable new top from LOFT and drinking out of my favorite coffee mug (which has the word "smile" written on the inside bottom of it. It appears as though I even have lip gloss on which is pretty uncommon. Clearly, I was on top of the world and needed to document.

Exhibit B: Drinking wine at work. No further explanation needed.

Exhibit C: Earlier this year right before I ran The Color Run. If you know me, you know I couldn't wait for this day to arrive. To say I was excited would be a huge understatement.

Cheesy Facebook Posts
People who post sweet updates about their family, significant other, how wonderful their life is, etc., typically get a bad rep on social media. I don't really think that's fair seeing how many people use social media to complain and argue about politics. With all that negativity, I personally like to see a little positivity. There is, however, a fine line with this one. A lot of times, it seems like if someone is constantly posting about how much they love life and how happy they are, I can't help but wonder if maybe they are compensating a little bit. Too much of anything isn't great and too much positivity can actually end up coming across a little braggy or disingenuous. Like I said earlier, I am absolutely guilty of a sappy post every now and then. I've been through a pretty serious illness in my life that totally changed my outlook on life and I've recently met the absolute love of my life and I'm getting married to him super soon. So yes, you could say that I've got some positive, cheesy, sappy things to say sometimes. But again, I try to keep it to a minimum. 

Exhibit A: 

Exhibit B:

Gym Check Ins/Selfies/Motivational Fitness Quotes/etc.
Alrighty now I can pretty much guarantee you'll never see me post a photo of myself while working out. It's not pretty. I get this "red in the face, is that girl about to die?" look going on and why would I ever want to share that via social media? I feel bad enough that Jonathan has to witness this when we work out together. I'm not about to put it on blast. Just recently I stopped following someone on Instagram because no lie, they posted at least one working out selfie AND motivational fitness quote per day. This is just out of control if you ask me. I hardly feel like I have enough time to work out as is, nevermind finding time while I'm there to snap a selfie of me doing squats and browse the web for a motivational fitness post.

To anyone who posts these, I need information. When do you look for the motivational quote/photo? Is it while you're at the gym or before you leave the house? Do you just have an album on your phone full of these so you can just grab and post one each day? I'm so curious. And how do you not burst out laughing at yourself in a crowded gym taking a mirror shot of you flexing your arm muscles? I can't even flex my muscles without laughing at myself in private. Tell me your ways. Anyway, I think you guys get my point. I can totally see how posting a progress photo on Instagram every now and then might be appealing. It will help motivate you and others, which is all good. I can even get down with sharing a motivational fitness quote on Facebook every once in a while, especially if you've gotten off track a little and want to get back into a diet and fitness routine. But with these, a little bit goes a long way.
And with gym check ins, in particular, I don't have a huge issue with this, although I don't know if it's really necessary to tell us every time you are at the gym. Even I will check in if I'm trying out a new gym or trying a different group fitness class at my yoga studio. When it comes to fitness apps like Map My Ride or Nike +, I say if you want to share those updates to social media, go for it. I think sometimes it's more the commentary you add to these posts that can get annoying to people. For example, if every time you share your Nike + stats after a run, you say "What did you today?" I can see how that would get annoying to your followers. Nobody wants you making them feel bad because all they did so far today was get out of bed to move straight to the couch and eat a carton of ice cream while watching "Say Yes to the Dress."

Maybe I'm just not very creative, or maybe I just already take forever to edit and choose a filter for my photo, but by the time I post it on Instagram, I'm lucky if I remember to include a hashtag. When I do think of it though, I do like to include a few hashtags that I think are (1) relevant or (2) funny (to me, at least). Hashtags are great. They help people find your photo, they come in handy for weddings so you can see all the photos your guests took by looking up the hashtag, they can be funny and add a little something extra to your caption. But 20 hashtags for a photo of your Starbucks coffee cup? That's just crazy talk.

What do you guys think? What social habits are you guilty of? Which ones do you think are okay every now and then?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Can't Stress: a Miley Remix

I think we can all agree that planning a wedding is stressful. While we try to stay focused on the bigger picture and not let the planning and details stress us out, that is much easier said than done. There are so many times during wedding planning it seems you are really just planning the day for everyone else. Jonathan and I tend to be people pleasers by nature, so it's been difficult at times to accept that we can't please everyone and focus on the fact that it is our day.

On an unrelated note, I've been listening nonstop to Miley's new album and even though I hate to admit this, I kinda really love it. As I was running on the treadmill last week listening to "We Can't Stop," I couldn't help but think of my own wedding planning version of this song. This may be a sign (1) that I've completely lost it or (2) that I have too much time on my hands, but I bring you my wedding planning version of "We Can't Stop."

Feel free to play the music video as you read my lyrics below.

“We Can’t Stress”
It’s our wedding we can plan what we want
They’re our vows we can say what we want
It’s our day we do what we want
We can invite who we want 
We can serve what we want

It’s our wedding we can plan what we want
They’re our vows we can say what we want
It’s our day we can do what we want
We can invite who we want
We can serve what we want

Open bar and mason jars everywhere
Hands in the air like we don’t care
‘Cause they came to have so much fun now
 Bet somebody here might drunk now

If you didn’t get an invite
Can I get a “Hell, no”?
‘Cause space is gonna be real tight
‘Til the end of the night, alright

So la da di da di
We’re trying to party
Spending money on all the things
To make sure you’re all happy
This is our night
This is our life

And we can’t stress
And we won’t stress
Can’t you see this is our night?
Can’t you see where about to start our life?

And we can’t stress
And we won’t stress
We’re planning our wedding, not yours
Can’t please everyone and no, we’re not serving Coors
Yeah, Yeah

It’s our wedding we can plan what we want
They’re our vows we can say what we want
It’s our day we can do what we want
We can invite who we want
We can serve what we want

To our friends hurt by no invite
Mad about it like they want a fight
Remember the venue has a limit
If we didn’t want you there we’d just admit it
And everyone who didn’t get a plus one
Don’t cry at least you get to come
We’re so stressed out here
Getting so stressed out here

So la da di da di
We’re trying to party
Spending money on all the things
To make sure you’re all happy
This is our night
This is our life

And we can’t stress
And we won’t stress
Can’t you see this is our night?
Can’t you see we're starting our life?

And we can’t stress
And we won’t stress
We’re planning our wedding, not yours
Can’t please everyone and no, we’re not serving Coors
Yeah, Yeah

It’s our wedding we can plan what we want
They’re our vows we can say what we want
It’s our day we can do what we want
We can invite who we want
We can serve what we want

It’s our wedding we can plan what we want to
It’s our day we can do what we want to
They’re our vows we can say what we want to
It’s our life we can celebrate how we want to
Say yeah, yeah, yeah, ehh

And we can’t stress, oh
And we won’t stress, no
Can’t you see this is our night?
Can’t you see where about to start our life?

And we can’t stress
And we won’t stress
We’re planning our wedding, not yours
Can’t please everyone and no, we’re not serving Coors

Brides-to-be, please tell me you can relate to this. How do you keep calm and not let the stress get to you? I promise a Wedding Wednesday post next week giving you an actual update on our wedding planning!

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday

Monday, October 14, 2013

Our Weekend in Photos

I'm going to keep it simple today. I'm having a hard time staying focused, so here's our weekend in photos:

Friday we got out of work early and headed to Daytona Beach for a wedding. The weather was absolutely perfect and it was nice to get out of town, even for a few hours.

We were up bright and early on Saturday to participate in the Armageddon Ambush mud run. I have to admit, I'm a bit out of shape so running 3 miles was a challenge in itself, but add obstacles and stinky, wet, squishy mud to that and I'm just glad I survived. Jonathan was by my side the whole time, even though I definitely slowing him down quite a bit. I was a pathetic mess most of the way, but he was encouraging and patient with me. Love him. I did at least attempt most of the obstacles and it really was a fun day. I may have injured my knee during the race and the heat gave me a major headache, so needless to say I was in bed by 7 p.m. that evening and it was glorious.

Sunday consisted of marriage class, laundry and baking. It was the relaxing day I needed after a stressful and busy week. I love the days I feel like baking even though I don't have a particular occasion to bake for. I'm in no rush, I can bake whatever I'm in the mood to bake and it's just the perfect way for me to relax. I was in the mood to bake my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and we may have ended up with about 80 cookies when all was said and done. You can bet I'll be bringing cookies to anyone and everyone this week!

How was your weekend?

Linking up for Weekend Shenanigans!

Monday, October 7, 2013

What's making me oh-so happy lately

The last few weeks have been so wonderful. I feel a sense of peace and calmness I honestly can't put into words. There are a few specific things really adding to the joy lately, though. Things that are making me super duper happy these days:

{one} cooking dinner
I've been on a roll lately with my cooking attempts. I'm happy to say I've successfully made the following recipes in the last few weeks, not to mention the fact that I've also made chicken cordon bleu and chicken Parmesan without using recipes. The best part is, I'm really enjoying it! Who am I?

Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie 
Skinny Chicken Pesto Bake
Vidalia Pot Roast
(two) waking up with early with Jonathan so we can have breakfast together
This is such a simple thing, but it makes a big difference in my day. Jonathan typically leaves for work before I even get up. This means I'm usually rushing to get ready and don't get to spend any quality time with him before our day. We've started getting up together so we can cook and eat breakfast together and it's been so wonderful.

{three} barre fitness classes
Okay, this is a love/hate kinda thing, but I started taking barre classes once a week at the beginning of September and I'm actually liking it. If you haven't heard of barre before, it's an exercise method using the ballet bar. It's basically a combination of ballet, yoga, pilates and is based on small movements meant to lengthen and tone your body. If you're interested in learning more, I'd read up on it here. While you don't have to have been a dancer to take these classes, I'm sure it's a lot easier. I'm not very flexible, so while the workouts are really challenging for me, they are still super beneficial. I don't know, something about doing squats on your tip toes until your legs start to shake really does something for your behind. Anyway, it's a love/hate relationship...hate mostly because it's pretty expensive and I get really frustrated in class when I can't touch my toes as easily as everyone else seems to. Love, because it's something different compared to my typical gym visit and I can see the benefits after only taking a few classes.

{four} getting RSVP cards in the mail
We mailed our wedding invitations just a week ago and the RSVP cards have already started coming in. It's exciting because it means we are getting so close to the big day. I've been loving going through the mail every night which is nice because mail is usually not the most exciting thing as an adult. 

{five} counting down to Thanksgiving weekend
First of all, Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday. What could possibly make it better? One, the fact that my older sister, my niece and my nephew will be here for Thanksgiving this year. My sister hasn't been home for Thanksgiving in 7 years so I cannot wait to celebrate with them. Two, the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend is also my bridal shower and bachelorette party. I'm so excited to celebrate with the ladies I love. I honestly just can't wait to this weekend to get here!

What's making you happy lately?

Friday, September 27, 2013

How Shopping & Fantasy Football Are Basically the Same

Jonathan and I are going on a wee bit of a shopping spree tomorrow. We've been planning this for a few weeks now and have just been waiting for a free Saturday to go. We even have a set dollar amount for each of us to spend so we don't go out of control. If you're like me, you typically only buy things as you need them, rather than going on a shopping spree just because. So needless to say, I've been pretty excited for this day.

We were talking about it earlier this week and Jonathan goes, "I'm not sure what I'm going to buy...I doubt I'll even hit my budget." I laughed and told him I've been prepping for weeks and I'm more concerned about going over budget!

I was talking to a friend about this at work this morning and realized the time I've spent prepping for this shopping trip is about the same amount of time people are spending on their fantasy football team. Now, I don't know much about fantasy football, but I do know it seems like quite the commitment. How could fantasy football be anything like a shopping spree, you may ask?

1. Research. I have spent the last several weeks checking out the websites for my favorite stores. I've checked out the new arrivals and I've pinned some of my favorite items on Pinterest so I don't forget about them when shopping day comes. This is much like researching the stats of the players you'll want on your fantasy team, only my shopping version was much more fun.

2. Game plan. We have a lot of ground to cover in our one day of shopping. I want this necklace from Anthropologie and after doing my research, I know the only store in our area is at a different mall than the one we're planning on going to. I also know that Target got some really cute running shorts in recently, so we need to factor a Target visit into our day. Not to mention that while we're there, we'll need to grab coffee at Starbucks, so it only makes sense to go to Target first to fuel up for the day. Considering all this and trying to plan so we're not wasting time driving back and forth, I've had to develop a "game plan" for our day. I'm not quite sure how this relates to fantasy football, but I do know the term "game plan" is thrown around a lot in sports.

3. Back ups. Did your wide receiver get injured last week? Did your fantasy team quarterback get benched for the season? You've gotta have a backup plan for this stuff in fantasy football...players you're ready to trade for and whatnot. That necklace at Anthropolgie? I realized it is on Clearance and while I've already checked online to see if our store has them in stock, that's not a guarantee. I've already got a back up plan in place to order it online the moment we leave the store if they don't have it in stock. I know what stores sell the shoes I want so I know where else to look if I can't find my size. In fantasy football and shopping, you've just gotta have a backup plan.

 4. Stress. The other day, I sat at lunch while my male coworker spent the entire hour negotiating back and forth with his friend via text about a fantasy football trade. It was stressful to watch, never mind the stress he seemed to be under trying to convince this dude to trade with him. I’ve obviously never been part of a fantasy football league, but from what I can tell it is pretty stressful. I’m half kidding on this one because in the grand scheme of things, planning a shopping spree is pretty darn fun. But when you think about it, trying to decide between spending money on shoes vs. clothes, jewelry vs. scarves, bottoms vs. tops, can be a little stressful. I mean, we’re not working with an unlimited budget here, so these are pretty serious decisions.

What I guess I'm trying to say is fantasy football people, I get it. I have a new-found respect for the work you put into this. Just like prepping for a shopping spree, it's not easy but it's worth it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Engagement Photos

Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today marks just 100 days until our wedding and I couldn't be more excited about life right now.

This past Saturday morning, just one week after our engagement photo shoot, Jonathan was working and to be quite honest, I was being a lazy bum at the house. Just as I was getting motivation to get up and go grocery shopping, I received an email from our photographer with our engagement photos. It was like Christmas morning! I proceeded to spend the next hour or so looking through them, then calling my mom and viewing them again while she looked. I couldn't wait for Jonathan to come home from work so I could show him. We sat down later that afternoon going through the hundreds of proofs we were sent to pick our favorites to share with friends and family.

I wanted to take today and share some of those favorites with you guys. I honestly never thought I'd never have photos like this. They are so fun and flattering and I think they really represent us. Our photographer did an amazing job capturing our relationship and personalities. We were able to get some really good shots at several different spots in downtown Orlando. We couldn't be any happier with the whole experience. Thank you to Lora Rodgers Photography for capturing us so beautifully!


What do you think? Did you have an engagement photo session? How did you incorporate the photos into your big day?

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday!