Belated Merry Christmas!

Well, this is VERY belated, but for the first year ever I got my act together to send out Christmas cards! It helped that we had some great engagement photos to choose from. I hope that anyone reading this (anyone still out there?) had a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!

Christmas Card 2013

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December?!?

I feel like every single year I get to December 1st and marvel at how in the world it is possible that the holidays are here again! This year I feel like the holidays are moving at even more warped speed than usual given how late Thanksgiving was. I’m not complaining, I love the holidays! I just can’t fathom how another fantastic year has come and gone.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we had an awesome one! DB’s wonderful family hosted my family in Baton Rouge for Turkey Day and then hosted an engagement party for us last Saturday night. It was such a fabulous party and I loved having the opportunity to meet so many of DB’s family and friends from Baton Rouge. We were terrible about taking pictures during the week which is so sad! We did manage to get one good one from the LSU game on Friday. I feel like the Atlanta contingency did a pretty good job of blending in with the LSU faithful, yes?

Thanksgiving 2013

I am so grateful for my future-in-laws and equally grateful that our two families enjoy spending time with each other as much as they do. This was our second joint Thanksgiving and I look forward to many more family celebrations in the years ahead.

In other news, we recently took engagement photos which actually turned out to be WAY less painful than anticipated. Our photographers are great people and are clearly very skilled at what they do. Neither of us are big fans of posed pictures, but they kept the cheese to a minimum and it really felt like we were just walking around Piedmont Park catching up with some friends who just so happened to be snapping some pictures along the way. Now that I have these photos, I do appreciate them and I would recommend taking advantage of any deals your photographer may have around engagement sessions. Also, if you are looking for a great photographer in the Atlanta area (they travel out-of-state too!), I can’t sing the praises of Greg and Sandra from Picture This! Photography. I cannot wait for them to photograph our wedding because I know they will do a wonderful job. Here are just a few of my favorites….

Engagement Photo 1 Engagement Photo 3 Engagement Photo 2 Enagement Photo 4

Well, that’s about all I have for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to update more now that the festivities around the holidays are in full swing!

And now to the planning…

I allowed myself to enjoy the post-engagement haze for about, oh, three seconds, before jumping head-first into planning. I’ve come to realize that I like planning (as in parties), but not logistics (as in execution). I was excited to get the wedding show on the road and figured there was no time like the present. The venue choice was an easy one for us, as I already knew the church and country club where we would be holding the ceremony and reception, respectively, so the Monday after we got engaged I figured I would put some calls in to see what was available. Good thing I did because apparently the answer to that question was….well, uh, pretty much nothing is available on your preferred dates.

Growing up in HOTlanta, if you will, I never dreamt of a summertime wedding because I didn’t envision myself melting into a puddle of tulle and taffeta. Those concerns went out the window, however, when our choice venues had nothing but Memorial Day available in May, nothing available in June, only July 5th available in July, and essentially nothing in September or October, either. Guess what was WIDE open….AUGUST. So, August 9th it is. Sure, it isn’t the late Spring/early Fall wedding I THOUGHT I wanted, but now that the wheels are in motion…I’m EXCITED for that date. Nothing will be held outside (unless we have an unseasonably cool August day, in which case guests will be able to mull about on the patio during cocktail hour), so that will hopefully keep the melty-ness (not a word, I just made it one) to a minimum. We will make it work and I’m so excited for it because now our wedding date is a real thing and that makes me very happy. Even more significant, August 9th is the day after Dan’s parents anniversary (August 8th), so it will be nice to kick off our wedding weekend by celebrating one of the two wonderful marriages that serve as our model for what a meaningful and lasting marriage should be.

My Mom and I have been super efficient with checking things off our list: venues (check), wedding planner (check), photographer (check). band (check). Oh yeah, and I also found THE dress, which was one of the easier decisions I’ve made thus far. I went with my Mom and close family friend just to “check things out”, but had seen a dress a few months back that I just hadn’t been able to get out of my head. I tried on about six other dresses before trying the one I had been drooling over via the interwebs for months. As soon as I put it on, all of the other contenders were completely null and void. It felt right and so I went with it. The entire process took about an hour. Signed, sealed, delivered.

We’ve gotten a lot of the big stuff out of the way, but now I’m getting to the difficult part of picking out elements that will contribute to the overall look and feel of the day. I know I want traditional, but with a sophisticated twist (is that even a thing?) I know I want the palette to be generally neutral and soft, but with some punches of color. I thought I was leaning towards a neutral palette of pinks/whites/golds/cream, but recently I’ve started toying with the idea of a lavender grey thrown in there somehow, with some other accent colors entirely. This part is where Pinterest is NOT your friend because, quite frankly, there are too many damn choices. I’m going to try to tackle bridesmaid dresses in the coming weeks, which I feel will kind of determine the color path I choose. Hopefully when I see the dresses and colors up close and personal, a clear winner will emerge. Mostly, I can’t believe I’m actually sitting here borderline agonizing over something as ridiculous sounding as “color palettes”. I’m going to make a promise to myself to relax and go with the flow. It isn’t like this is the first wedding ever in the history of man, so we aren’t trying to re-create the wheel over here. I just want the entire day to be fun, full of love and so very happy. Ultimately, the color palette won’t make or break the day, and I’m trying to keep that simple fact as a focal point to maintain some perspective.

Does anyone have any tips for the wedding planning process? Please send any advice my way! It would be much appreciated.

Happy Halloween!!

Prettttty big life update

Well, figured I’ve shouted this news from the rooftops of Instagram and Facebook, so might as well round out the social media wheel by posting the news here….DB and I are engaged!!! Forgive me for my absence these past few months, but I’m trying to make it up to you (my blog readers…aka my mother), by really making a splash with my return post.

We got engaged on Saturday, September 28th and it was perfect. I’m a pretty sneaky person and can be very difficult to surprise (even though I LOVE surprises, please see here and here), but somehow he pulled it off with the help of the nearest and dearest people in our lives. When I was little and I pictured the day that someone would ask me to marry them, the man doing the asking and the way in which he asked so far exceeded the picture of perfect that I had in my head back then that I can’t even find the words to describe it. It really was the best day ever.

Looking back, there are signs that I could have seen and things that probably should have tipped me off, but I really expected the whole engagement thing to come later on in the year. I don’t know why I had this expectation in my head, but I guess DB had done a great job of managing the situation and throwing me off course. It is funny because I think back on so many conversations I had with friends in the weeks leading up to the day of our engagement and they all KNEW the answer to their question “when do you think he’ll propose”…but I didn’t and none of them gave so much as an inkling that they knew what was up. I think about my poor mother having to keep up the charade for 8 WEEKS, telling me to be patient and “these things take time”, even though she and my Dad were very involved in helping DB plan the entire perfect day. So many people were behind it, so many people kept the secret, and I can’t express the gratitude and appreciation I feel for all of the people that went out of their way to make such an exciting time in our lives so special. Those of you who couldn’t make it for the surprise still showered us with so much love (and also kept the BIG secret), and I want you to know that you were missed but definitely a big part of such an amazing day.

The day started out normal enough….we woke up, took Henry for a walk and got some coffee. It was a perfect Fall day in Atlanta and I kept making comments on what  “perfect” day it was….little did I know just how much better it would get. I had made plans to meet up with some girlfriends just to catch up…they suggested we go for a walk or maybe we could get a mani/pedi (first clue). Nothing was planned in advance and it all seemed so spontaneous, so I wasn’t tipped off in the least bit. Next, and this is the clue that probably should have really gotten my spidey senses going, but about a week earlier the salon that I have been going to for years called and said they had some new hair/makeup products that they wanted to try out and would I mind being their test dummy? Free makeover…sure! I can make that work. I’m kind of amazed that I was still completely clueless, but I was. Our plans for the rest of the afternoon included watching the UGA/LSU game with our neighbors/good friends, so I joked that with my new makeover I’d bee the fanciest gal at the game watch party. When DB and I had discussed our weekend plans, we agreed that we would watch the game and then make it a “quiet” night with some takeout from one of our favorite restaurants in the neighborhood. We left the game watching party at some point in the 4th quarter, got our dinner and settled in for a nice quiet evening at home. After LSU lost the game, I kept asking DB (being a lifelong Tiger fan) if LSU’s loss was going to ruin his night? He said it wasn’t and suggested we take some beers outside to enjoy the perfect weather.

I know this has been REALLY long-winded, so thanks for bearing with me, but this is when the story get s really good. We were sitting on our outdoor patio enjoying our Coors lights when DB said he had a belated birthday present for me (my birthday had been almost exactly a month earlier) that hadn’t been ready in time for my birthday. He went into the house to get it and emerged with shoe-box sized package wrapped in white paper. Inside the box were a pair of sandals with my new monogram on them. I stared at them confused for a second, thinking to myself…”well that doesn’t look like the right monogram”….before I realized what was actually going on. To my right he was on one knee……and from there I started hyperventilating a bit and asking “is this really happening”. Thankfully it was and I said YES….and then I started trying to call a million people. We called our parents, family and our closest friends….most of them picked up, some didn’t…but I was so excited I wanted to share the news with everyone. DB told me that my parents were up the street having dinner with some friends and that they wanted to meet me for drinks to celebrate. He gave me a special engagement dress so that I would have something new and fun to wear for such a special occasion and tried to make me get ready while I continued to call friends. Finally he got me in the car and we started towards the country club my parents were having dinner with (meanwhile, I was still trying to call people). We walked into the club to meet my parents, who were there with about 40 or so of our closest friends/family. SURPRISE! I felt like my knees were going to give out on me….I was COMPLETELY shocked. The rest of the night was a complete blur of happiness, hugs, toasts, re-telling the story, left hand gestures, and SO much joy and love I felt like my heart my burst out of my chest. It has almost been a month since it all happened and I still get goosebumps thinking about everything.

Thanks for bearing with me as I recounted the entire day in painstaking detail, but I do want to make sure I jot down the details because I never want to forget them. Hopefully I can find some time between wedding planning and the real job that I actually have to keep you updated on all of the fun in the months ahead!

Here are just a few of the pictures from the amazing night!

Surprise

SURPRISE!

Surprise 2

Shock

Proposal 042

You guys are sneaky!

Lyndsey and Susan

Hugs
Proposal 103

Toasts

Dan post surprise

A surprise for DB too, his parents flew in for the celebration!

Kiki, Mike, Jenny, Ian and Hunter

Amazing Friends

Atlanta GFs

More amazing friendsProposal 126

Proposal 129

And yet another group shot of some…you guessed it…amazing friends!

Proposal 101

My FIANCE..ha

Fin.

Weekend in Grandfather Mtn.

Two weekends ago we traveled to the gorgeous NC mountains. Our friends R & L were kind enough to host a group of us and we had a blast. We drove up late Friday afternoon and got it around 11 pm, so we were pretty beat. The next day the boys played golf and we intended to go on a hike, but the weather looked a little ominous, so we held off. I’m glad we did because we were able to do the hike the next day with the entire group, which was a lot of fun. While the boys played golf, we did a lot of exploring of the grounds of Grandfather Mountain Country Club. I loved being able to just catch up/hang out with two of my closest friends. Saturday night we went for dinner at the country club, which was really delicious. After dinner we hung out on this beautiful porch that overlooks the grounds. Great company, cocktails, a wrap-around porch, and even a fire going in the outdoor fireplace…what more could you ask for? On Sunday we motivated and hiked Grandfather Mountain itself, which was absolutely gorgeous. I am so glad we did it! The whole weekend was exactly what I needed…relaxing and fun at the same time. I was so sad to leave because it reminded me of how much I loved our weekends together when we were all living in the same city. There were several key players from the NYC days that weren’t in attendance this past weekend, but I guess that means we just need to plan another reunion trip for this Fall!

GM 1

Reunited and it feels so good…

GM 2

Country Clubbing…

GM 3

Three peas in a pod

GM 4

Handsome gentsGM 5

GM 6

Our hosts for the weekend…

GM 7

Sporty

GM 9

Climbing

GM 10

Pensive thoughts on how sporty I am (not)

GM 8

Team.

A year full of surprises…

Well, surprise parties at least! You’ll recall that back in April, I threw a surprise weekend/party for Dan to celebrate his 33rd birthday and permanent move to Atlanta. We are all about surprise parties this year because this past Saturday we hosted a surprise party for my brother’s birthday…thrown by myself, my parents and my brother’s amazingly wonderful girlfriend. We had SUCH a blast putting it all together and the birthday boy had zero clue that forty of his nearest and dearest were conspiring against him. I always love the debrief post-surprise when the surprised person starts connecting the dots relative to all the white lies and odd behavior of those around him/her for the past few weeks.

This was the first party thrown at the new house which is an absolutely wonderful party house. We knew that it would be a stretch to host when we started planning the party since we were targeting a July 1 move date. Luckily, we were able to move into the new place a few weeks earlier and knowing the party was right around the corner was a GREAT motivation for getting everything relatively settled.

One of these days I’m going to be one of those people that hosts a party at my house and has everything completely READY (including myself) hours before guests begin to arrive. As it stands, I was literally getting into the shower at 6:30 pm as the first guests were arriving. The fact that I was only about 30 minutes late to the party I was hosting is actually pretty impressive given that I was still standing in Home Depot buying citronella candles at 5:30 pm…with none of the flowers arranged, ice purchased, or appetizers prepared. Because I am always banking the turns…I’ve never actually gotten any decent pictures of a complete party set-up. I hope to change this going forward.

Here are a few that I got…

Alan Party 3

This is what he saw when he walked into the room…everyone was below (the house is a split-level)…My Mom got that awesome banner above the dessert table made with pictures over the years…I thought it turned out so great.

Alan Party 2

Closer look of the banner/dessert table!

Alan Party 1

The patio/bar…

Oh right…the blog…

Boy do I have a lot to catch you up on! It has been such a busy few…errr…months? since my last post! Last we spoke, I was headed to paradise with some girlfriends for Memorial Day and the trip certainly did not disappoint. My friend L’s parents were kind enough to invite us down for the weekend and we had such a blast. Her parents more than succeeded in the task of keeping our group fed and entertained  the entire time we were there, which is no small feat mind you. It is hard to pick out a favorite part of the trip. We spent each day out on the boat taking in the gorgeous scenery around us, tooling around in the boat, and even got to do some spear fishing! There is nothing quite like catching your own dinner, we all felt very “one” with nature. Living off the land, if you will (in our luxury boat/sleeping in our gorgeous air conditioned condo…my kind of nature bonding session for sure). In the afternoons we would post up on a deserted island with other boats/friends of L’s parents, sip some superchargers (made by drinking a little bit of a Corona, pour in Bacardi Limon, flip upside down to mix) and marveling at how awesome our lives are. It was so nice to be completely off the grid, enjoying the company of wonderful friends. It was a incredibly hard to return back to reality once the trip was over.

I got back from my trip and things have been a bit of a whirlwind. We moved to a fabulous new house that I absolutely adore. It is in a really fun neighborhood, walking distance to fun restaurants and bars. It is also down the street from two of our good friends and around the corner from several others. So convenient! It is so nice having space and a yard and we are having a lot of fun making the place feel like a “home”.

In the past month DB has also returned to the workforce! You’ll recall that he left his job in NYC back in March. He had a much needed and well-deserved break from the daily grind (read: he played a LOT of golf), but has now landed a job that is a great fit for him here in Atlanta! He is only a few weeks in, but he seems to really enjoy the new gig and that makes me VERY happy for him.

Even though he moved in April, finding this house and having him return to the working world has solidified the fact that he is REALLY here in Atlanta for good. For the first time since I moved here (over a year ago…my how time flies), I actually feel settled. No more long distance or shuttling back and forth between cities. It is a really nice feeling to just BE where you are.

That about does it for me on the update! Hopefully I’ll have some house pictures to share soon!

In the meantime, here are a few select pictures from our Memorial Weekend in paradise…

Bahamas 6

Our ride for the weekend…”May Way Too”…

Bahamas 3

Boating

Bahamas 5

More boating…

Bahamas 4

Deserted Beaching…

Bahamas 1

A lobster’s worst nightmare…

Bahamas 8

Starfish! And how incredible is that water?

Bahamas 2

Sunset cruising…

 

 

 

Gone to this place…

Bahamas

It is quite possible that I’ll be back never.

Happy Memorial Day! Though it is the official start of summer, let’s not forget the true significance and meaning behind the day. God bless our fallen heroes and their families. Never forget the sacrifice they willingly made so that we can live as free and proud Americans. Give thanks for all of those serving our country, both home and abroad.

“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example”

-Benjamin Disraeli

Sea Island 2013

A few weekends ago, some NYC friends ventured down South for a weekend at Sea Island, so we drove down to meet them. As a side note, it was so nice to actually be able to DRIVE somewhere on trip vs. fly. We had such an amazing weekend. It was a really fun crew and the cottage we stayed in was incredible. Girly side note, the decor for the place was absolutely perfect. It was a dream house, for sure.

Sea Island is SUCH a special place. If you have been, then you definitely know what I am talking about. If you haven’t been, then just picture everything that is wonderful and unique about the South/Southern culture, add to that breathtaking scenery and beauty as far as the eye can see, layer on top of THAT the serenity and peace that one associates with any beach…and you have that one-of-a-kind magic that is Sea Island. The staff and people of Sea Island take the most exceptional care in making sure your experience is beyond perfect.  I can’t really put my finger on it (and I realize how cheesy and ridiculous this sounds), but the place just kind of works its way into your soul when you are there and stays with you long after you have left the gates. I can’t wait until our next visit.

Below are several photos from our trip! Also, we ventured off the property for dinner on Saturday night (no need to do so, as Sea Island has several amazing restaurant options), but it was definitely fun to try something new. I would highly recommend Halyard’s if you find yourself in the Sea Island/St. Simons area. If you go there, definitely order the tuna tartare.

Sea Island 2

Poolside during the day sipping on my favorite Sea Island cocktail…Transfusions (vodka, grape juice and ginger ale)

 

Sea Island 1

The crew in the Cloister lobby post-dinner at Halyard’s on Saturday night! The boys stopped off for cigars at the “cigar lounge”, which is next to the River Bar.

Sea Island 7

Sunset at the Lodge…highly recommend taking cocktail hour at the Lodge one night, complete with a bag piper and s’mores by one of the fire pits!

Sea Island 11

Sunset, Cocktails and S’mores…so basically Nirvana

Sea Island 13

Handsome dudes

Some pics of the AMAZING cottage we stayed in for the weekend thanks to the parents of our wonderful hostess, TB…

Sea Island 10

Digs for the weekend

Sea Island 4

View from upstairs (and a pic of our friend, A)

Sea Island 6

Backyard, which also had an adorable sitting area to the left of the lounge chair I took this picture from which I failed to take a picture of…

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mother’s out there, but particularly to the very special one that I’m so very fortunate to call my own. Words can’t describe how much she means to me. She is my biggest cheerleader, my harsh dose of reality (when I need it), my comforting reassurance, my favorite shopping partner, my personal crisis manager, my sympathetic ear, and my very best friend. Even when I was at the height of my ugly teenage years and I threatened to revoke her best friend status because she had the nerve to actually parent/discipline, she held her ground and I’m better for it. To me, she represents everything that motherhood is all about–selfless, unwavering, endlessly patient love in the most unconditional sense. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to one of her very lucky children.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you “1,000 Infinity Very Muches”!

-Bunny