Coffee Conversations

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Hello, hello, hello! 

I unintentionally slept through my alarm this morning, so I'm already feeling behind the curve. Then I remind myself that I'm "at work" before most people are who have to travel to their jobs, so I relax a little. If I had it my way, I'd be up at 5am every morning starting work. However, staying up until 11 something the night before doesn't exactly make waking up before the sun easy. I've got some "in studio" work to do this AM and then I'm hoping to head to a coffee shop to work on some computer stuff this afternoon. Apparently, it's national coffee day, so maybe I'll get some free drip coffee out of it! 

I'm not so patiently awaiting the arrival of our headboard! It took me over a month to find one that I even liked and then it was supposed to be delivered Wednesday. Now, when I check the tracking information, it's just sitting somewhere with Fedex with no update. Once I get this beauty in our home, the last thing left to do is the wall with our wedding photos! 

I just started listing to Malcolm Gladwell's, Revisionist History podcast yesterday. I only listened to one episode, but I'm enjoying it!  

If you are a fan of chili and you haven't tried this recipe, YOU MUST! I added celery and halved the recipe, which was the perfect amount for 6 servings. I can't wait to make it again! Also, it pairs really well with this skillet cornbread, which is amazing. 

There are three new candle scents for Elisabeth Ashlie this week, did you hear? Vanilla Latte, Warm Tiramisu, and Cozy Cabin

I'm in the market for a new book and considering starting this one this weekend - I've heard so many good things!

My goal this weekend is to talk Mike into going to a pumpkin farm to get some pumpkins and apple cider donuts.  

Have a great weekend! 

All Things Wedding Q&A, Part One

How did you stay organized during the wedding planning process? Did you use a particular wedding organizer/app that you found helpful?
Staying organized during the planning process is key - there are a lot of moving parts, whether you're planning a small destination wedding or a huge wedding in your hometown. My mom and I decided very early on that we would be hiring a wedding planner to take care of a lot of the details. I knew that I wanted to choose each of the vendors and have a lot of say in the style of the day, but I didn't want to deal with contracts and emailing back and forth and coordinating every little thing that goes into a wedding day. Our incredible wedding planner took care of almost everything, leaving just the fun stuff for me! She and I communicated a lot through Google Docs -- guest list, vendor list, payment schedule, etc. Even if not working with a planner, this would be a great way to have all the information in one place for your family, fiancé, bridal party, etc. Any paper items that I had, I kept in a simple expanding file folder that was separated out by vendor.


What wedding detail did you love the most/was the best investment for your wedding? What did you do that didn't make as much of an impact? 
This is such a difficult question to answer because I truly loved every element of our day! On a very personal level, my favorite detail of the day was the fact that it was held at our family's home, which has so many precious memories from my childhood. That is something I will never forget. On a grander scale, having a wedding planner was the best decision that we made. It took every bit of stress, responsibility, and expectation off of myself and my mom and allowed us to simply enjoy the day. My one piece of advice would be to make room in your budget for a wedding planner, and a good one, at that! 

During the entire planning process, I made sure to keep everything in perspective. Yes, our wedding day was going to be one of the most important and special days of our lives, but it is still just one day.  Whether everything worked out exactly as it was planned to, or everything fell apart, we would still become husband and wife and celebrate with our nearest and dearest and that was the only thing that truly mattered. Because of that, I really didn't throw my energy or time into much that didn't end up playing a significant role in the day. The one thing would probably be our "guest book". We did a version of the polaroid guest book (more to come on that in a future Q&A post) and not too many people used it. It wasn't something that I spent much time on (in fact, I just ordered a few items from Amazon and that was basically it), but it was something we probably could've left out altogether and nobody would have noticed.



What are some subtle ways that bridesmaids can be most helpful leading up to the wedding day and on the day? 
I love this question! My best advice is to know the bride. Does she get stressed out easily? Ask her what needs to get done and what you can do to take some things off her plate? Is she prone to bridezilla-ness? Try to step in and simmer any tension, when appropriate. Is she forgetful? Make a list of everything she needs to remember for the day of and have it on you. My sister, in her infinite wisdom and perfect matron-of-honor-ness, asked me the morning of my wedding day what would be helpful to me that day. It gave me a chance to think about how I can have the most stress-free and joy-filled wedding day, and her a chance to fill that role! I can't even remember what I told her, if anything, but I so appreciated being asked.

Some practical things that are fun and helpful would be: (1) make a getting ready playlist for everyone to enjoy, (2) volunteer to do any ironing/steaming/prepping of any clothing or accessories to be worn, (3) take photos to document the day! (as a bride, the last thing on my mind was taking photos or having my phone on me), (4) don't, for the love of all things, tell the bride anything that may be stressful to her. Keep the vibes light, joyful and fun!

How do you tackle bridesmaid dress shopping? How do you choose flattering dresses that fit within your vision that don't break the bank for your girls?
Bridesmaid dress shopping can be a task, especially if you have even the slightest idea of what you want. When I first started looking around, I had a different color in mind for my girls. Once I realized I wasn't finding the right shade, I had to change my idea a bit to find dresses. The first thing you need to decide is if they will all be matching, coordinating, or mismatched. Aside from finding something that would make sense at our venue and with our aesthetic for the day, my main concern was finding dresses that wouldn't break the bank. I have too many friends that have spent $300+ on a bridesmaid dress never to be worn/looked at again. Listen, when you're the bride, you do what you want. If you know your bridesmaids will be okay with spending a lot on a dress and it's the dream vision you had for your day, do your thing. (If you are going to choose expensive dresses, I recommend having a conversation with your girls first to make sure everyone is okay spending a bit more.) While each of my bridesmaids could have purchased an expensive gown, I just didn't see the need for it. My goal was to keep the dresses at $100 (or less), so that getting them altered wouldn't be an extra huge financial burden. I also really liked the idea of picking out a dress that they could wear again, if they wanted to. I found their dresses on Lulus.com and they worked out great! They were great quality, a good color, AND $85. Can't beat it! Plus, they were maxi dresses, which are flattering on just about everyone. They were able to each get them altered to fit, as needed. They were comfortable and super easy to wear, so they didn't need to be fussing at all during the day. 

If you want every girl in the exact same dress, find a silhouette that looks good on everyone! Depending on how many bridesmaids you have, you have have to choose two silhouettes. Consider the color, as well. Some girls look great in blush pink, others get washed out. Try to be as cognizant of how each girl feels in the dress. Are they comfortable? Do they feel good? You'll feel incredible on your wedding day no matter what, so why not let your girls feel great standing beside you, too?

For more on Bridesmaid Dresses, read this
How did you pick a photographer?
Our photographer, Jordan, has been a friend of my sister's for a few years now. I've gotten to know her through spending time down in NC at my sister's, so it was a pretty easy decision. She's a incredibly talented! Mike and I aren't the most comfortable people in front of a camera, so I knew that it would be helpful to have a friend shooting us that day. Plus, did I mention she's incredibly talented? I remember telling Mike, well before we were even engaged, that we had to get married somewhere that Jordan could travel to so that she could shoot our wedding. I had to have her! 

If you don't know a photographer, I'd utilize websites like TheKnot.com, to see if you can find one in your area and budget that has great reviews. 
What music did you use in your ceremony?
We had our DJ put together a collection of instrumental love songs to use while our guests were entering and being seated. My bridesmaids walked down the aisle to an instrumental song, my dad and I walked down to Pachelbel's Canon in D (piano version). Mike and I recessed to, "Every Little Thing" by Russell Dickerson! 
Did you have a strict budget? How did you stick to it?
We had a top line and an ideal number in our budget, with a bit of leeway in between. We stuck pretty well to it, but it is real easy to make that top line move. Once you start making decisions and choosing things, you realize how quickly everything starts to add up! My best advice is to make a list of what is most important to you, the non-compromise elements, and choose those first. Then, whatever is leftover in the budget can be used for smaller details.


How did you decide on the color scheme?
I talk about that a bit in this post, but I just kind of knew what I wanted. I tend toward neutrals in every other part of my life, so it made sense to keep our wedding day true to that, too. Being that the wedding was outside, I wanted everything to flow really well, which meant lots of greenery, crisp white flowers, and natural wood elements.
Where did you splurge and was it worth it?
This answer would probably vary for a lot of brides. We were lucky enough to have a free venue, so that wasn't something we had to consider in the budget. Outside of that, what was really important to us was having delicious food. When you're throwing a party, the most important things are food/drink and atmosphere. We knew there would be a lot of joy and happiness in the air, so the next most important thing was the food! And it was totally worth it. 
How do you make sure everyone stays happy and feels heard without compromising your vision?
This is kind of a subjective question, depending on who you're dealing with ;) In general, I would say to be open to other people's ideas, especially your fiancé, parents and in-laws. If it's something that you hadn't thought of and don't necessarily love, but wouldn't change much of your vision, consider compromising and including it. If it's something that would not work with what you had in mind, think of another way that you could incorporate it into your day. Tread lightly, wedding planning can be a very emotional and sensitive thing for people. Remember that it is just one day and you will have the best day ever no matter what - you're getting married! Don't let small details stress you out - it's unlikely you'll even notice them that day, anyway. 


What kind of lipstick did you wear?
I wore Urban Decay's Vice Lipstick in the shade, Morning After. 

photos by Jordan Maunder

**obviously, this as all just my opinion and my advice -- take it or leave it! 

Saturday Style

There's something so nice about waking up on the first day of the workweek feeling accomplished. Yesterday was like a marathon "chore" day for me. After church, we got our groceries for the week. Then it was time to clean our house, meal prep, finish a DIY project I was working on, wash our bedding and do two other loads of laundry, AND make homemade pizza. I was tired by about 8pm, but that made it easier to wake up early this morning. Some Sundays I can kick back and relax all day, others I like to get a lot of things done. I never regret getting a step ahead on the week, that's for sure! 

Remember on Friday when I wrote that we were going to the DMV to get our VA driver's licenses. Well, we went and sat for over 2 hours and then I was told that I didn't have one essential piece of paperwork so JOKE'S ON ME, I GUESS.  When the employee behind that counter uttered those hideous words, I didn't know whether to cry, scream, yell, or laugh. I was so enraged (mostly at myself because I should know to bring every legal document I've ever been given, plus 14 forms of identification and my cat's health records) that I simply took my paperwork back from her and walked out. Mike was able to get his license switched over so all was not lost. It took me about an hour to recover, if I'm being honest. But then Mike and I went and got tacos and saw a movie, which can turn any bad day around.  

So, I find myself going back to the Virginia DMV this morning. For hopefully the last time, for a long time. And every other thing that needs to be done to get my name legally changed will be done through the mail. (P.S. I changed my name with the Social Security Administration via mail and I HIGHLY recommend. So easy and no need to sit at the SSA office for 5 hours). 

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Coffee Conversations

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Hello! I'm currently sipping my hot coffee at my desk, with my Apple Farm candle burning, watching our neighborhood slowly light up for the day. I'd say it's about time for Daylight Savings in these parts - it's hard to get out of bed when it's still so dark in our room! 

My husband and I have the absolute pleasure of spending some of our day at the Virginia DMV today. I finally got my name changed, so that means new driver's licenses all around! I'm hoping to get out unscathed, although I will be bringing snacks, books, iPads, and likely a concealed bottle of wine (kidding about that one, of course). 

This is the first weekend in several weeks that we don't have anything planned and I cannot wait! It will be so nice to not live on a schedule and be able to do whatever we want. It's supposed to be pretty toasty here, but I'm hoping to get outside and do some hiking or go to another winery. 

Did you catch my "I buy things in multiples and here they are" saga on Instagram Stories yesterday? If not, you can still watch it. It occurred to me just how many things in my closet are one of multiples, so I'm thinking about doing a full-on blog post about them. It was inspired by the arrival of this cardigan and this dress, both of which I already owned in other colors. But, they're just that good, that I needed them in another basic color, ya know?

My mom and I stumbled upon a Williams-Sonoma Marketplace at the outlet mall last weekend and OH MY GOSH. THAT STORE IS GOLD. Not exaggerating at all, we spent an entire hour and a half walking through and admiring every last thing on every shelf. The prices were so, so good with the additional discounts. I was able to get some good things for our kitchen and my mom picked up some great stuff for their new home! If you ever see one of those stores, GO IN. 

My precious, most-loved, most asked about mascara is on SALE today! Regularly $23, on sale for $10. Stock up. 

Have a great weekend! 

Our Wedding Day: Details


When it came time to actually start making decisions about decor, styling, aesthetics, and all things wedding, I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted. My desire was for the day to feel special and wedding-like, but also comfortable and fun. Being that it was hosted at our family home, I didn't want it to feel too backyard barbeque-ish, but also wanted it to remain true to who Mike and I are, if that makes sense. I wanted it beautiful, clean, and elegant. I knew I wanted to keep the color palette really neutral - lots of greenery, white floral everywhere, and natural wood. Being that the wedding was outside, I wanted the styling to flow with the setting. We added elements, like a vintage furniture, to create areas where guests could feel comfortable to relax and enjoy the evening. The gorgeous sailcloth tent created this grand space for us to enjoy our dinner and not feel like we were in our backyard. Instead of installing an insanely expensive dance floor, we added cafe lights above our patio and called it a day! Side note: once you transform a patio into a dance floor, prepare to always want to dance when you're on it 😉

I was surprisingly very decisive with everything - I knew exactly what I wanted and the feeling I was going for. Lucky for me, the team we worked with basically got inside my brain and made it all happen. In fact, they made it look even better than I imagined. They did an incredible job with everything. They turned our family home into a magical wedding venue for the day and I couldn't have been happier with every single detail. From the rose gold (!!!) flatware, to the beautiful greenery that lined our aisle for the ceremony, every element came together to create our dream day. 

If you're curious, when we first started planning, I put together this Pinterest board as my vision board. 

















Our Amazing Vendors
photography: Jordan Maunder
videography: Imagination Designers
wedding planner: Shannon Gail
design, decor and event production: Revel Decor
DJ: Fig Media

Read other Wedding Posts

Our Wedding: Cocktails & Dancing


Aside from the meaningfulness of our ceremony & exchanging of vows, my favorite part of our wedding day was the dancing. We had about 3 hours for the DJ to do her thing and she did just that.  (Also, low-key loved the fact that we had a female DJ) From our first dance until she announced the last song of the night, my feet only left our paver-patio-turned-dancefloor one time! But, before we really got that party started, we had a cocktail hour with some of the yummiest appetizers and cocktails. Immediately following the ceremony, Mike and I snuck into the house to have a few minutes to ourselves, which was so great. I had a minor outfit change (removed  my veil, added a skirt and belt) to do and we got to just relax for a minute and soak in our first few moments as husband and wife. Our caterer brought us in a plate of all of the appetizers, so that we actually got to eat something, and the "signature" cocktails we had. We did a "his" and "hers" drink option - his being a manhattan and hers being a moscow mule. Guests could either order one of those, or make their own drink with the liquors that were used in those two cocktails. We also had wine, beer and champagne. 

After cocktail hour, we moved into the tent for dinner, toasts, and cake. We actually sat and ate our dinner, which was really nice to do. The food was delicious! The only bite of cake we had was the one we fed each other just after cutting into it. Right after that, we were whisked away by our photographer and videographer to get some sunset shots (which turned out to be some of my favorites). We returned back to the house and snuck inside so that I could change into my dancing dress. Then it was time for our first dance to Russell Dickerson's, Yours. After that, we had three straight hours of dancing, late night bites, a bon fire, cigar bar, and cocktails. It was the most fun three hours of my life, I'm pretty sure! When the DJ announced the last song, I probably could have cried because I didn't want it to be over yet! Everyone was sad to leave the dance floor, which was exactly how I was hoping it would be. 

When we thought about our day, the most important thing to me and Mike, aside from the meaning of the day, was to throw a really good party for everyone who attended. Our incredible team of vendors did just that! It was such a fun night. 

















Our Amazing Vendors
photography: Jordan Maunder
videography: Imagination Designers
wedding planner: Shannon Gail
design, decor and event production: Revel Decor
DJ: Fig Media

Read other Wedding Posts

Coffee Conversations

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It's been a weeeeeeek. I'm happy to see Friday morning, as I'm sure many of you are! Thursdays are Mike's class days, so he's gone from about 8am-6pm, which means I have these marathon work days. I always get a ton accomplished and it makes Friday morning just a little bit sweeter because my to do list is pretty short. 

My parents are coming into town for about 30 hours this weekend! It was either come for one night now, or not see them until the end of October -- they're a little busy, apparently. We're looking forward to showing them around our new home, taking them to a winery or two, and relaxing. I'm thinking of putting together a little cheese board like this for when they arrive. Also, this looks and sounds amazing. 

I pre-ordered my new iPhone this morning - I can't wait to get it! I went with the 8 plus and am so excited to have a larger phone. About 90% of my phone usage is for social media (with my job and all, that should make sense) and taking photos. So, the larger screen and double camera were calling my name. Now to find a new case...

I just got these booties in the mail. They're so cute and comfortable! Can't wait to pull them out this weekend. 

Also, I finally finished Dark Matter last night. So. Good. I'm sad that it's over, but looking forward to starting another new book tonight. 

Next week on the blog, I'll be wrapping up sharing photos from our wedding with two more posts -- our reception and styling details. I'm excited to share them! 

Have a great weekend! 

Our Wedding Day: Ceremony


Of all the things that happened on our Wedding Day, I'd say our ceremony was the most of a "blur". I remember every word of Mike's vows and I remember hearing his dad trying to cover his sniffling (it was so cute!), but I couldn't tell you much else. I'm looking forward to watching our video, so that I can see all the details of the ceremony that I didn't notice! 

Well before we were even engaged, Mike and I knew that we wanted someone we both knew personally to perform our ceremony. I'd always thought that my brother-in-law would be perfect for the job, not only because he's basically fearless, but he's played an important role in my life as a "big brother" figure. We were able to tell him what we wanted the focus of the ceremony to be - our marriage foundation being in Christ - and just how short we wanted it to be ;) It was cool to be so hands-on with the flow of the ceremony and hear him go through it a few times before the day. We skipped all the "traditional" stuff in a wedding ceremony and kept it real simple. Justin spoke on marriage for a bit, we had a reading, said our vows, exchanged rings, and that was it! We were only standing up there for about 10 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time, if you ask me. Then it was on to the party! 


















Our Amazing Vendors
photography: Jordan Maunder
videography: Imagination Designers
wedding planner: Shannon Gail
design, decor and event production: Revel Decor
DJ: Fig Media

Read other Wedding Posts