Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Bride Day

Y'all, the struggle is real today. And by "the struggle" I mean "the struggle to keep a rational head and remember my grateful heart while trying to make wedding decisions." Yeah, I think I'm transitioning into stressing-over-nothing-for-no-reason mode.... Which is stupid, because I have so much to be thankful for, and stressing over something so minute is selfish. 

My dad reminded me of this the other night, as I lamented about limiting our guest list and the process of registering...  If these are my only worries, I am lucky. I mean, yes, these things like flowers and entertainment are EXPENSIVE so I want them to be just right, but ultimately? This wedding is one day. The family John and I are creating, along with the family we already have, is forever. 

Just because I'm keeping perspective doesn't mean I can't share my planning successes and lamentations with y'all! Here's a list of things we've done so far:
  • Decided on a budget
  • Picked and secured a venue
  • Set a date
  • Found and secured our officiant 
  • Found photographers
  • Found and booked videographers
  • Found entertainment
  • Started our guest list
  • Created wedding website
Honestly, even though I feel like I've gotten so much done, there's a bazillion more things left, and I am determined to get the majority of the big things done before school starts! Here's what's happening in the next week:
  • Meeting with photographers to sign contract
  • Meeting with potential caterers
  • Meeting with a potential florist
  • Checking out the venue again- John's already seen it, so he's probably going to stay home while I go with my mom and cousin. I can guarantee an excited post with pictures after that!
  • Dress shopping!!! There's a designer consignment bridal shop near our venue, so I have an appointment after looking at the venue! So excited for two of my favorite women to be there!
  • Blocking out hotel rooms- Not as glamorous as the first two things we're doing while we're in the area, but it's a necessity! 
  • Pick out a color scheme- I can assure you: all three of my top ideas heavily feature PINK! ;) 
  • Skyping with potential DJ- You can definitely expect a full post on my DJ vs Band thing soon... I never thought I'd end up leaning towards a DJ, but this guy seems great! 
  • Finalizing the guest list- I'm kind of cut-throat, surprisingly... Not family? Haven't seen or talked to you in years? Very little chance we'll keep in touch after the wedding? Probably not number one on the list... (Kidding, sort of.) 
  • Finish asking wedding party- one flower girl, ring bearer, and bridesmaid (well, kind of two...) to go!
  • Registering- Can't. Even. Talk about it. Seriously, this is what stresses me the most. 
Basically, anything and everything on this list will get its own post. I love reading about other people's planning journeys, and I certainly find it therapeutic to write out mine! As overwhelming as this to-do list seems, I'm going to remind myself that while it may suck figuring out the guest list, you know what doesn't suck? Having so many (healthy!) friends and family who support John and me.

Do y'all have fun weekends ahead?! I sure do! My cousin and her precious baby are visiting from Michigan, and I cannot wait to squeeze them as soon as I get home this afternoon!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Whirlwind Week and a Warning

Y'all, I've been wanting to blog for days now, but it's been such a crazy week, I just don't know what to start with! I guess I'll start with this whirlwind week thing!
Last week, I attended a PLL viewing party, went to Carowinds with John and two precious Clemson couples, had dinner with my family and two other families I've known forever, attended a surprise birthday party in Charleston, celebrated a wedding in North Carolina, moved out of my old Clemson apartment, and celebrated my cousin's tenth birthday. 
Whew! Here are a few pictures of said fun events:

Birthday girl Sandwich with Christine and Leslie- the other two in the Early Childhood Three Amigas!

If the beautiful birthday girl looks familiar to you, it's probably because she's a blogger, too! Christine started her blog Seashells and Magnolias this summer, and it is as precious as she is. Christine's mom texted me a few months ago and asked if I could come to Charleston and surprise her on her 21st birthday, and I've been looking forward to it ever since! Her mama is adorable (which should come as no surprise, because Christine had to get it somewhere!) and she and her husband, Christine's dad, planned the whole evening perfectly. 

We surprised Christine and had dinner at High Cotton- a beautiful and delicious restaurant downtown. After thanking her parents for such a generous dinner, fifteen to twenty of Christine's friends and I headed to the bars. I think my favorite was the Pavilion Bar on top of the Market Pavilion Hotel. I mean, look at this gorgeous view: 

See that pretty white building? That's the Customs House! I just love Charleston's history.

I left early the next morning to get back for two of my dear friends' wedding, which was held about an hour away from home at the beautiful Dennis Vineyards. I've known the groom since we were kids in Sunday School together, and the bride was my freshman roommate at Wofford. Knowing how genuine these two are apart, and then seeing how genuine their love for one another is... Well, let's just say the waterworks were flowing that night. 

Since the bride and groom graduated from high school with John and me, we got to experience a little class reunion! So fun! 

On Sunday, it was another early morning. John and I drove to Clemson so I could move all my stuff out of my old apartment. Like most people, I hate the process of moving. So tedious and annoying. Thankfully, John's dad helped move all the big stuff, like my couch and bed! Yay for future in-laws! :) 
After successfully getting everything into my storage unit, we headed to Spartanburg and celebrated another birthday- my cousin's tenth! His party was Hunger Games themed, and wow was it thorough! Everything, from the food to the tables were labeled and themed! I love how dedicated he is to party planning; even when he was little he loved to go "all out!" 

Most of our "cousins club" plus our significant others! 

If you've made it through that recap, I applaud you! Gosh, it wears me out just thinking of all that! Thankfully, I've had a bit of a slower week this week, so I've had time to work on wedding stuff... 

Which leads me to my warning! After lots of contemplation, I decided I'm definitely going to keep y'all in the wedding loop! I read one of Sarah's posts where she mentioned this post from Kay, and everything clicked. 

I wouldn't be my authentic self if I didn't post about wedding stuff; I LOVE weddings! Gosh, now that John and I are planning our own, I need to seize this opportunity to talk about weddings and not sound crazy!!! In fact, I'm actually connected to a community of wedding bloggers, through Southern Weddings, AKA my favorite of all favorites. 

So there you have it. Expect a lot more wedding posts in the super-near future. About how John and I have picked a venue, set a date, and found our ceremony officiant. (All of that? True stuff. Told ya I've been busy!) 
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Oh Hey Friday!

When I found out Five on Friday, my favorite linkup, was taking a break, I was pretty bummed. Thank goodness for Karli and Amy's new linkup, Oh Hey Friday! Don't let the farmer thing fool ya- these women are stylin' and profilin'.  Let's do this thing, shall we?!

1. I'm still engaged. What what?! 
In case y'all somehow forgot, John and I are engaged! It's officially been a week now, and I still can't believe it. So weird, in the best way possible. Cannot believe I get to spend my life with this man. 

Ow oww! Hottay! 

2. Our proposal was featured on How He Asked!

If you love proposals like I do, you need visit this site! Like, yesterday. 

I was just a little excited to see our proposal up on How He Asked! It's pretty much the story I told here, but if you're new around here, it could be a good introduction to how John and I met, since that was part of the post! 
Just a couple of HowHeAsked's tweets about us! So glad everyone gets to see John's thoughtful proposal!

3. I died and went to preppy heaven. 
Maybe you noticed one of those tweets from HowHeAsked tagged Lilly Pulitzer... The people at Lilly Pulitzer noticed, too. Yep, that's right! They retweeted that tweet to their followers, and then FOUND ME AND GAVE ME A SHOUT-OUT. 

Then, because my life wasn't already made enough, this happened:

Lilly Pulitzer follows me on Twitter. Excuse me while I squeal forever and always. 

I've been a Lilly lover since I was introduced to the brand, because it is the epitome of everything I love: southern, stylish, sweet, sassy, and colorful. To get well wishes from them was pretty priceless! Lilly Pulitzer times infinity, basically. 

4. An inner dilemma on blogging wedding stuff. 
I'll be honest: if any of the blogs I follow starting posting wedding stuff, I'd love it. For example, Robyn at Living Colorfully is engaged, and I adore her blog all the more now! I've always loved hearing about love, proposals, color schemes, tablescapes... All that good stuff! However, I know not all people are wedding fanatics like I am, and I don't want people to get annoyed with my blog if I post too much about it. I know it's my blog, and I can write whatever the heck I want, but I don't want to seem obnoxious, ya know?!

5.  Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Holla! 
It's here, y'all! Yay for the biggest Nordstrom sale of the year! Maybe later I'll post my favorites, but for now, I'm just scrolling through like a mad-woman. Hope y'all have a fab weekend- it's a busy one for this girl! 
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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Proposal

In case you missed my post on Saturday, I shared some kind of sort of SUPER exciting news....

John and I are engaged!

If you're anything like I am, you love a good proposal story. Seriously, most little girls dream of their wedding day. I dreamed of the day I got engaged. I can tell you that truthfully, this surpassed all my fairytale hopes and dreams. 

For the majority of my life, I insisted that one day, my fiance would propose to me at Disney World in front of Cinderella's Castle. However, when I dreamed of that photographer-documented, fireworks-filled proposal, I didn't really ever consider who the mystery man proposing would be. Until I fell in love with John. And I realized that proposal would not even kind of be "us." Now, I won't lie: I still dream of going to Disney World with him, because I adore the place. However, I slowly let go of my original proposal fantasy and started a new dream: somehow becoming engaged to my best friend.

Luckily, John likes the idea of forever with me too. Enough to research diamond specs, buy a ring, and talk to my parents about marriage before our weekend getaway to Harbor Island. 

Because I have a special place in my heart for proposal stories, I can guarantee mine will be painfully detailed and a bit long-winded... Just a warning! Now, let's start on Friday morning, when John and I left for Harbor Island. Harbor Island is about twenty minutes away from the charming coastal town of Beaufort, SC. It's a small, private barrier island, and it was the perfect place to escape reality for a couple of days. 

My mom insisted on getting a picture of us before we left... Our last picture as boyfriend and girlfriend!

Once we arrived, we decided to check out the beach. Very normal, because it's a beach trip. I brought John's super awesome camera out with us, which worked well into John's plan. This is, once again, very normal, because a. I'm a blogger, and b. I'm my mother's daughter, and that woman takes pictures of everything (hence the picture of us taking my luggage out to John's car). John insisted on bringing the big cooler with us. A little less normal. Especially since we had a smaller cooler, and this was our walk out to the beach: 

It was a loooong walk across these pretty dunes...

Past this soft sand, which John had to carry the cooler across...

 And down the beach a suspiciously long time... (Our last picture before he proposed!) 

Like I said, things got a little fishy. I knew normal John hates walking like that for no purpose, and he seemed to be on the hunt for a certain location. I later realized he was. He had looked at the satellite view of Harbor Island on Google Maps, noticed a big sandbar, and made that his spot. He then researched the high and low tide schedules, because in high tide, it would have been impossible for us to get to the sandbar without getting wet. (John knows me well enough to know there's no way I'm getting my clothes gross!) 

Here's a picture of "our spot" we took the next day from the top of a lighthouse! See that little sandbar in the center of the picture? That's where John popped the question! 

Once John saw his destination, he suggested we park our cooler and go check it out. I was game, since I saw some pretty pelicans and herons hanging out on the sandbar (and also because, hello, I thought my boyfriend was about to propose to me!). We waded across some shallow water to the island, looked around, and then John asked me if I knew how long we'd been dating. I kind of smiled and told him the rough estimate (two years and a few months), and he told me the exact answer (two years, three months, and fifteen days, for those of you who care). After that, he said a bunch of sweet things that he'd memorized but also written down on a notecard in his back pocket, in case he got too nervous. At some point while he held my hands, spoke to me, and looked at me while doing his adorable I'm-laughing-so-I-don't-tear-up thing, I started crying. I wish I could be a pretty-crier, but I'm definitely more of a Kim Kardashian in the tears department

Honestly, this surprised me since I'd braced myself, and I never saw myself crying in that moment. However, with just the two of us on the sandbar, the moment was so incredibly intimate and precious, and I just could not believe this was real life. Before I knew it, John was down on one knee, pulling a box from his pocket, and asking me to marry him. After bending down to give him a kiss, I managed to say yes before he put the prettiest ring I have ever seen in my life on my finger. 

First of many ring pictures I took that weekend.... Sorry! 

I tried to stop crying, but it took a while... I think I finally stopped when we got back to our cooler and I realized we hadn't even taken any pictures together yet! 

Our first picture as an engaged couple!

 I love my fiance (and I love calling him that!). 

 We celebrated together with a special bottle of champagne John brought, which explained his insistence on bringing that particular cooler with us.

How lucky am I?!

So sweet. 

I about melted when I saw this.

It started sprinkling, so we sipped on our bubbly while walking to our condo (after a couple of "Cheers!").  I'm so glad John and I chose to spend a few hours soaking in the excitement with just the two of us; it gave us time to celebrate and time for me to ask a billion questions, like "What did my parents say? What did your parents say?" and exclaim how beautiful my ring was, over and over again. It also gave us time to get ready for dinner; we were both pretty yucky after our long and humid walk on the beach.

After a fabulous dinner at Old Bull Tavern in Beaufort, where the entire staff was incredibly helpful in making our evening special, we sat on a swing by the water and called and texted all of our closest family and friends.

I love this picture. So much happiness!

Once we got back, we took a deep breath, and posted the news on social media... It was out there for the world! I absolutely adored getting excited, supportive messages from my sweet friends, like Christine
When I read this snap, I broke out into a smile. Can't even believe I get to be Mrs. Whitten! 

We ended the night cuddling and eating Ben and Jerry's Half Baked ice cream. If that isn't a fairytale ending, I don't know what is. 
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Just popping in...

To say John popped the question! 

That's right, y'all! As of yesterday afternoon, I'm engaged to my best friend!

Just a few minutes after the sweetest moment of my life... And John even has a sandy knee to prove it! 

Right now we're just soaking in all of the happiness and taking advantage of our last night on Harbor Island, but expect more details come Monday! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

What's in my Beach Bag?

Happy Friday, friends! I don't think I've ever meant TGIF more than I do today, because this weekend is finally beach weekend with John! I am so thrilled to spend a weekend with my best friend, without anything we have to attend or do. As much as I've loved the weddings and occasions we've celebrated so far this summer, I simply cannot wait to just be with my guy. 
I took the day off, and John has the weirdest work schedule ever, so we're leaving bright and early today (AKA this blog post was scheduled; look at me thinking ahead of time!). Since we're going to be spending the next few days on the Carolina coast, I've packed my trusty Lilly cooler- and not with drinks! Yes, my friends, I use an insulated bag as a beach bag. I realize this is probably not kosher, but what's a girl to do when it's her favorite nautical pattern and the perfect beach bag size? 

Ready to see a couple of the items that made the trip to the island with me?! Now, not all of these will actually be in the beach bag, but I consider them beach essentials. 

1. Comfort Colors Monogram Tank. I ordered this on Etsy recently as a casual tank to just throw on with some Norts. This laid-back look will be perfect for when John and I want to explore the neighboring islands! 
2. Chacos. I've already lamented about my feelings on Chacos here, but I think I'll be especially glad I have them this weekend! 
3. Beachy book. My sweet friend Christine recommended I read some Dorthea Benton Frank if I was looking for a good summer read. As soon as I brought home one of her books, my mom raved about the author's southern style, so I knew I was in for a treat! After reading The Land of the Mango Sunsets, I was pleased as peas, and I decided what better place to read a book about the low-country than... the low-country?! 
4. EOS. Does this stuff even need an explanation? I think not. 
5. Raybans Wayfarers. These sunglasses have lasted me a good four years, and that speaks for their durability!

Alright, y'all, now it's time to tell me what I left out! Any beach must-haves beside the obvious sunscreen and towel?!

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gift Ideas for an Early-Twenty-Something

This morning on the radio, the hosts were doing a funny little "Favorite Things" segment, complete with Julie Andrews' song playing and everything! It got me thinking about my favorite things, which include handwritten notes, which reminded me of recipe cards, which reminded me of my birthday.... Let's just say after a long chain of thoughts (which happened quite quickly in my mind), I decided to share some of my birthday favorites! You know when you have something you love so much, and you just want to tell everyone?! Maybe that's just me and my QVC personality... Regardless, all of these gifts were so delightful to receive, I'm going to share them with y'all! Who knows when you'll need to get a gift for a friend or family member! 

Linking this picture to my Polyvore for those who want links to these items! 

Hunter boots: I think maybe I won't hate the rain and sludge as much with these classic wellies! John knew these had been on my list for a while, but I would never just buy them for myself. If you know someone wants something but won't buy for herself, that coveted item is the perfect birthday gift!
Kate Spade tortoise studs: These are super versatile (I'm a big tortoise shell girl) and I love their size. Big enough to notice, yet small enough to not rip through my weak ear lobes (yes, that's been a problem in the past). 
Monogram studs: Y'all, how cute are these earrings?! I just can't wait to sport this orange and purple pair to Clemson games this fall! My aunt and uncle (who know me oh-so-well!) got me two more pairs as well, in tortoise (like I said, love!), and pink! The pink pair is especially adorable because the earrings match a pink bracelet my little cousin picked out for me in Disney World. So sweet! 
Recipe tin: Like I said earlier, I think handwritten notes are just the best, and y'all know I love baking and cooking, so a full tin of handwritten recipes? I die. Morgan (my brother's girlfriend) just knows me so well. She even had some of my favorite recipes and her family's favorite recipes already included! Now that, my friends, is a thoughtful gift. 
Wedges: So, funny story... My mom got the cork Jack Rogers wedges at Belk's Annual Charity Day Sale, where they have super crazy deals on everything, including their high-end brands. I had no idea my mom was buying those, so I picked out a pair of wedges I wanted from Gap, which were on sale. Ultimately, I knew it would be senseless to keep both, but I still haven't decided what to exchange for my Jacks... I'm kind of thinking about a pair of regular Navajo sandals, but we'll see!
Acrylic makeup organizer: This may sound dramatic, but this thing has revolutionized my life. Okay, that may be a liiiittle exaggeration, but really, I'm a big fan of staying organized, and this has made my makeup table so much cleaner! Another genius little Container Store gift? An acrylic bracelet stand. 
Garmin Forerunner 10: Saying I was excited when I opened this would be a huge understatement. This was another thing I'd been dreaming of for months, but I wouldn't buy for myself. My parents knew that, and with this watch, they also gave me motivation to keep running- that's a pretty great gift all by itself! 
Alex and Ani bracelet: I was super happy to add a second bracelet to my small but growing collection of Alex and Ani bangles- especially because it had the sweet Daughter charm. 

Of course, I can't forget the handy-dandy gift card! My favorites are Simon Malls (for you Charlotte people, this includes South Park, which is definitely my favorite- I spent mine in Nordstrom), Amazon, and of course, the beloved Target. 

Now that I've shared my favorite gift picks, I want to know yours! What are your favorite kinds of gifts?! Do you prefer actual items, experiences, or gift cards so you can pick out your own present? 

Vodka and Soda

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Weekend Winding (and Wobbling) Down

Happy Sunday, friends! This weekend has been quite the bizarre one for me; it was my first weekend without a wedding to attend in a while and my first without John to boot! I feel so pathetic saying that, but so far this summer, we've been busy with our plates full of fun activities together, so it was weird for him to be working this weekend! 

Since we weren't actually together, I reminisced on some photo booth fun at Matt and Julie's wedding with my ridiculously goofy handsome date!

I celebrated Independence Day with my family in Spartanburg. We had a great day hanging out at my aunt and uncle's house while the guys played golf, and we all had a yummy late lunch in the afternoon!

Morgan and I hung out with my precious and hilarious little cousins. Never a dull moment with these three!

How yummy does this white cake look?! One of my mom's festive contributions to the yummy spread. 

That night, I had supper with John's family, and I was in bed pinning away on Pinterest by the time fireworks went off.... It was low key to say the least! 

Saturday was just as relaxed, with an early morning run and a Target trip- two of my favorite things! The real party happened today, post- Sunday-school.  

If y'all live in the Charlotte area and get the paper on Sundays, you may have seen an article titled something like, "What's hot: Line-dancing." For some reason, my mom really took an interest in this article- enough to actually look up the dances featured. This led to me finding her giggling in the sunroom, watchingYoutube videos of people doing the Wobble. After asking what the heck she was doing, she asked if I knew about the Wobble... I think she was a little disappointed she couldn't introduce me to "the newest dance craze" herself. Once she realized this was a party staple, she was determined to learn the thing herself; cue the Youtube tutorial videos. 

It's the silly little moments like this I need to document more often. The happy little things that happen day-to-day that remind me how lucky I am to have the family I have and the life I live! I hope y'all are wrapping up a happy, restful weekend too! 
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Longing for Long Hair

Some people blog because they have insightful fashion tips. Others blog to share delicious recipes. Still more blog to write about how much they wish they had long hair... Just me? Oh. Sorry.

About a year ago, I made the decision to chop all my hair off. Okay, not all of it, but it was short enough to be considered a bob. Like, not even a lob, really. A full-on bob. 

Here's a picture post-chop last August. If I had better posture, you'd be able to see my hair isn't even touching my shoulders. 

At the time, I didn't regret the decision. In fact, I was able to brush my shoulders off Jay-Z style when my brother said, "Oh... You got your hair cut..... Why?" Trying to redeem himself, he then said, "No, I just think it looked good how you had it in Michigan..." At the time, I thought my "Michigan-length" (seen below) was awkward. Too long to be a bob, too short to be anything cute.

Pre-chop, AKA when it was short but still ponytail-able... Looking back, it doesn't look as awkward as I insisted it was. 

Like I said, I was okay with the bob for a while. It wasn't as hot on my neck during football games in August and September, and it took way less time to dry. Alas, something changed. Slowly, I started growing a bit envious of all my friends' pretty long hair, and every time I saw a hairstyle I liked on Pinterest, a little part of me would sigh and regret my decision to cut my hair in the first place. I'm generally not a patient person, so my hair usually isn't very long, but the last time I'd had it as short as this past year was probably..... 

Here. PTL I had enough sense to avoid a bowl cut this time! 

Like I said, my hair has never been crazy-long. The longest I've had it is probably here:

Look at that handsome guy in the tux! I'm a lucky girl! 

The problem is, that long hair was two years and 15 pounds ago. I know that may cause some eye rolls, but I felt terrible about myself then. I can't picture myself with long hair without imagining myself heavier, and I don't like that picture. However, some of my favorite Pinterest finds are reminding me why I'm still growing it out: 

Not sure if I could ever get my hair this long, but how great are these lustrous locks?! Love the color on both, too! 

Goal: be able to rock this kind of look at graduation next spring!

 I think this might be my perfect length- and color! It looks so beautiful curled! 

Think I'll be able to have that length hair by next May?! I sure hope so... I also hope I don't sound crazy whining about something so trivial. I realize this is a total first-world-problem, and ultimately, I'm thankful to have a full head of hair. Sometimes I just have to take advantage of my blog- and right to free speech! If any of y'all have been through the annoying hair-growing-out thing, I'd appreciate your tips and tricks! I'm really going to try hard to resist any urges to make drastic cuts or changes! 

Vodka and Soda

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