Friday, October 31, 2014

Five on {Halloween} Friday

You know what I love? Halloweens on a Friday! I remember feeling this way when I was younger too, because you still got to go to school to share your excitement with your friends, but then you also didn't have to worry about homework and school the next day! (I am, and have always been, a planner. Yes, I think about these things.) 

As if Halloween isn't enough to be happy about, it's officially my FALL BREAK! Y'all, this semester has been a loooong one without a break, since Fall Break is usually mid-October. However, Clemson tried to be sneaky and only give us one extra day off, since Tuesday we'd technically have off anyways for elections, but whatever.... We're on to you, Clemson! Here are five things other than Halloween and Fall Break that are making me smile today. 

1. Ain't Nothin' But a Fang. 

I know I don't talk about them much on here (since I'm pretty much never here, but whatever), but I. Love. My. School. Kiddos. They're seriously so dear to me, and I just had to fix them up a little something for Halloween! However, I didn't want to go overboard, in case my teacher didn't want me to do anything, I didn't want to get them candy, and I also didn't want to spend a fortune. (Still a college girl, technically.) Here was my solution: 
"Thanks for being a FANG-tastic student! Love, Miss VerHage"
 (I saw the idea here using "Have a FANG-tastic Halloween!" but I didn't want to mention Halloween in the little note, since some of the students' families don't celebrate Halloween.) 

Bonus? They came in so many cute colors! I got a pack of 25 for just a few dollars at Target. 
2. Stamp Situation

Speaking of cutesy teacher stuff, I'm currently debating what bookplate design I want to ask for for Christmas. I'm accumulating a pretty great library for my future classroom,  and I want to make sure these books don't get lost or stolen! If my name's in there, a student (or another teacher!) can't take mistake the book for their own! 

There are some really cute stamps on Etsy, but I'm debating whether or not I want to go super teacher-y or not. I mean, who knows if I'll be in the classroom forever, or if some day I'll wind up doing something different! Hey, some day, I might want some of my school books to come home and stay on my (way off in the future) kids' bookshelves.

With that being said, I've been contemplating whether I want one like the one on the right (via Swoozies) or left (via Etsy): 

The left is adorable, but definitely for a teacher, and the right could be customized to be for a family. Obviously, I would change the text on the right side one to say "From the Library of the Whittens" instead of mentioning putting on your"Big Girl Panties..." 

I've also contemplated just getting a custom stamp made with my name on it, so it doesn't have to apply to just books. It's cheaper than you'd think to get a stamp made, so I'm not ruling it out! Here are some fonts I'm looking at: 
Do any of these look cute to y'all? Confession: they all look cute to me because they're with my future name! Eeek! 

Anyone have any advice or preference on this? (At this point y'all probably think I'm a psycho for spending this much time on a stamp to go in the front of books, but THIS IS A REAL DECISION, PEOPLE.) 

3. Engagement Sneak Peek!

While we're on the topic of name-changing and whatnot, can I show y'all a picture from our engagement session?! Our photographers are super fabulous and gave us a sneak peek of the goodness to come when we get all of our pictures back! Here is one of the five pictures we've seen so far (and this one isn't even my favorite!): 

4. Technology Reboot

One of my good friends recently pinned something about a technology detox. The concept was to slowly but surely wean people off their phones, one day at a time for a week. Now, truth be told, I'm pretty good at forgetting about checking my phone. Almost to a fault (at least in others' eyes!).  Now, I could rant about how much I hate being connected to others and pressured to be available 24/7, but that's another topic for another day.
Anyways, I was inspired by the pin, not necessarily to detox, but to clean and organize my computer. I need to organize pictures and documents into folders and back everything up on my external hard drive. This definitely isn't going to be a quick task, but I find organizing so relaxing and satisfying, so it'll be 100% worth it! If anyone has any tips for organizing files and folders, please let me know, because I'm definitely not tech savvy!  

Y'all. This album could have sufficed as my 1-5 this Friday, because it is that good. Let me be straightforward here: I became a Taylor Swift fan the moment I heard "Tim McGraw" on the radio for the first time eight years ago. I loved her when she was a pure-country singer, I loved her when she did cross-over pop, and I still love her as a full-on pop star. It's so much more than her genre; it's her songwriting, it's her delivery, and it's her charm. I could gush forever about this album, and I'd like to think if you've never liked Taylor, you will now. However, that doesn't mean if you used to like her you won't now, because this album is just solid. It's been on repeat since Monday, when I excitedly bought the digital copy in the morning and the deluxe edition at Target in the afternoon. (In my defense, I needed the Target one for the extra tracks, but elementary schools start before Target opens, and I was too eager to wait until after school to listen.) 

My favorites? Blank Space, Style, All You Had To Do Was Stay, and absolutely every single other song on that list. Seriously, I love listening to an album and just letting it play on repeat without having to worry about skipping certain tracks, and that's very rare for me (I've been known to listen to 15 seconds of a song and then change it). 
Okay, between my obsessive Taylor Swift rant and my thorough stamp contemplation, y'all probably think I've gone batty, but hey, it's Halloween isn't it?! ;) Enjoy it safely, friends! 
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Picking Our Wedding Theme (and Colors!)

If you're reading this, congrats- you've made it past Hump Day! The past 12 days I've been away from the blog have just flown by, thanks to several big assignments due for practicum teaching and full social calendars on the weekends. However, don't think I've forgotten about filling y'all in on wedding updates! I still haven't shared our wedding theme and colors with you!

You should know by now I'm obsessed with weddings. I'm also the most indecisive person ever at times. This makes for a bad combo when picking out wedding details. One thing I knew: there would be pink. Lots of pink. I know pink is probably cheesy to some, but I am one of the pinkest people I know, and I know looking back, I'd be mad at myself for worrying about what others thought, and not going with my favorite color. 
This summer, I wrote down my three main theme ideas for our wedding. Here they are, in the same format I wrote them down months ago: 

Sweet, Romantic, Southern
- Blush, black, and white
- Mercury glass
- Blush pink peonies 
- White anemones
- Checkered dance floor

Sweet, Romantic, Southern Wedding Theme
To view my inspiration board on Polyvore, click the image. 

Classic, Bold, City-Meets-Southern
- Pink, black+white OR navy+white
- Patterns (stripes, trellis)
- Thick grosgrain striped ribbon bouquets
- Some patterned table linens
- Peonies, hydrangeas (mini), dahlias
- Kate Spade vibe
- Gold accents

Classic, Bold, Striped
To view my inspiration board on Polyvore, click the image. 

Cheery, Bright, Southern
- Baker miller/ hot pink, white, gold, khaki 
- Bright pink and white peonies
- Milk glass, hobnail style
- Peaches and peach baskets
- Hydrangeas, tulips, ranunculus 
- Colorful flowers
- Gold accents

(Side note: I fell IN.LOVE. with this wedding featured on Southern Weddings! It's seriously my favorite Real Wedding post, and hopefully you'll see why if you read it. That wedding inspired my peach obsession, as well as my attention to small southern details. Bonus: I later realized the gorgeous bride works at Southern Weddings, so I can still keep up with her newlywed life!)
Classic, Bold, Striped
To view my inspiration board on Polyvore, click the image. 

I know this looks ridiculous, and I'm so silly, but dreaming like this helped me visualize things better. I still love all three of these general looks, but I had to decide which best represented John and me. I knew anything too fancy just wouldn't fit us as a couple, or our outdoor venue, for that matter, so the first was out.  Easy enough! Now moving on. 

I was seriously so obsessed with the idea of incorporating peaches into our wedding, since one of our hometown's most adorable traits is its Peach Stand! Plus, peaches would definitely be a cheap and yummy centerpiece on some tables, and they just scream summer in the south! However, let's remember, I wan lots of pink at our wedding, because I'm a pink girl. Not a coral girl, not a peach girl, but a true-pink girl. On top of the dilemma, I realized it would be hard to walk the fine line of southern without being kitschy, which is definitely not my style, so the third was out. 

That leaves us with style 2, or what I'd originally thought of us "Classic, bold, city-meets-southern." Now, while I love the black and white stripes, bold and bright Kate Spade vibe, I leaned more towards the navy and white. I can't quite explain why, but I just thought it was more "us." Navy and white has a classic, preppy feel that I love. 

Ultimately, I decided to combine aspects from all three styles: the checkered dance floor from the first (because, swoon), the stripes and colors from the second, and the southern details of the third. We're still figuring out details and making lots of little decisions, but here's the overall look we hope to achieve:
Wedding Style Inspiration
To view my inspiration board on Polyvore, click the image. 

Our venue (bottom right picture in the board above) obviously calls for southern details, but not bushel baskets like the peach theme. Antique silver and julep cups are my dream flower vases. The picture of a dinner jacket is just because I adore men in dinner jackets, especially just the groom, because it feels so Rhett Butler to me! Alas, John doesn't feel the same way, so all tuxes it is. Luckily, he's handsome in anything, and I guess settling on a tux isn't too bad... ;)

My one concern: how bad do will navy and white stripes be in contrast with the black and white checkered dance floor and the groomsmen tuxes? I appreciate honesty, so tell me what y'all think! Be back on Friday- I'm hoping to have a special picture to show y'all (possibly from our engagement shoot....!)! 
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Two is Better Than One: Five on Friday + Oh Hey Friday!

We made it to Friday, y’all! Woohoo! That’s reason enough to smile, but here are five more things that are making me happy right now that I’d love to share:

1. Winner Winner 
Well, I can no longer be one of those people that says "I never win things!" because I just found out that I won the most fabulous BaubleBar prize! I can hardly believe my luck, and I am ecstatic to have won the entire BaubleBar BRIDES collection and a year-long subscription to BRIDES Magazine! I know it can seem silly sometimes to repost pictures on Instagram, but this is proof that those contests are worth a shot! I can’t wait to show y’all some of my new pretties!

 The gorgeous picture that helped me win! 

2. Field Trip Fun
This week I experienced my first field trip “on the other side” as a teacher, and let me tell ya, it was about as exhausting as I thought it would be! I cannot tell you how many times I counted the number 17 (the number of kids who went from our class) in my head that day. It was a huge responsibility, but it was so neat to be there as many kids saw an apple orchard for the first time in their lives! 

Here's one of the most precious first graders in the whole, wide world. Can you tell who was more excited to take this picture?! I promise he loves Miss VerHage too! ;) 

On top of the little baggy of apples I picked, I bought some homemade, no-sugar-added apple butter, and it has been delightful! So far, I’ve spread it on toasted Ezekiel Bread and used it as a dip for graham crackers as a treat!  

3. SheReadsTruth Plan Reveal
 I know SheReadsTruth was on my 5 last week, but I am still just loving their plans, and I’m super pumped because they just announced their final four plans for the year! Eek! SheReadsTruth offers the most beautiful study packs for their plans, and I’m especially loving the next study’s set from Ashlee Proffitt! 
How beautiful are these?! I'm looking forward to seeing Hospitality in its true light, as more than the cute place settings and parties we traditionally think of. 

As if that plan wasn’t pretty enough, they also released their advent series…

I’m not afraid to say I got giddy when I saw it, y’all. It’s beautiful, functional, and it comes with so many extras.... I’m trying to convince myself I do not need it, but Advent is such a special time I feel like it might be worth the splurge. What do you think, friends?

4. Sensationail Kit
 A couple months ago, Corey’s girlfriend, Morgan, let me borrow her at-home-gel-nail kit, and I was seriously impressed. I’ve used it twice since that first time, and today I decided it was time for me to invest in my own! Here was my reasoning: the mani lasts around two weeks, and this way, I don’t have to keep bugging Morgan to borrow hers! I found it decently priced (AKA around the same price I’d pay for one good gel manicure at a salon) on Amazon, and I can’t wait to get it next week! Sidenote: some people have complained about the removal process, but it’s been super easy for me, and I’d highly recommend Sensationail to anyone!
All of this for 40% off its original price? Yes please!  

5. Wedding weekend
 John and I are actually on the road to a wedding as I type! His cousin is marrying her long-time boyfriend, and I’m so excited to see so many members of my future family-in-law! (Plus, yay for cake, dancing, and champs!)

The lovely Five on Friday ladies are doing a giveaway this week, and obviously, I'm feeling lucky! Go check out Darci, April, Christina, and Natasha's blogs to see more details! 

Also, I got the sweetest email from Karli of September Farm (AKA one of the cutest mama blogs out there) last week, and she reminded me of her Oh Hey Friday! linkup, and I just had to join! Why limit myself to one fab linkup when I could be part of two?!

Anyone else have fun weekend plans?! Whatever you’re doing the next couple days, I hope you’re making what matters happen, and enjoy every second of this precious weekend!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Five on Friday Fall Return

I was pleased as peas to see my favorite weekly linkup was returning- especially because it coincided with my returning to the blog world! 

Yay! Let's see if I remember how this goes...
1. Happy Fall, Y'all!
I try not to complain about warm weather, because I know as soon as it hits the upper forties, I'm going to be whining (and freezing!) my hiney off... However, we're officially 10 days in to Autumn, and I'm ready for some sweater weather! I'm not asking for snow or blustering winds or anything- just that crisp and cool fall weather that makes me feel like sipping some cider! Thankfully, even if the weather is a bit warm, we can still pull out the pumpkins and pour out some candy corn, because it's October! 

Love this delicate yet fun calligraphy print- and the Anne of Green Gables quotation, of course!

2. Target
How "basic" do I sound right now? Fall, Target... Don't worry, Pumpkin Spice Lattes won't be next, I promise. ;) I'm just coming down from a major Target-trip-high! Y'all, I meandered the store for over an hour, and I scored some great finds- some of them from the dollar section! How cute are these little page flags?! 

I'm just a tad bit excited to use these in my gorgeous Whitney English starting in January... (And yes, planners can be gorgeous!) 

3. SheReadsTruth
Since school has started, I've decided to devote the first thirty minutes of my day to some one-on-one God and Chelsea time. I know thirty minutes isn't very much to some, but when it means I need to wake up at 5 AM on student teaching days and 6 AM on class days, it seems like a lot! In the past, I would "commit" to a devotional and then put it off because I didn't want to wake up early. Pushing myself to suck it up and just get up earlier has been crucial. I start my day off on the right foot every day, and I feel "blegh" now if I don't set aside that time... It's the most amazing thing. Honestly, I cannot remember a time I felt more connected with God, and while putting in more quiet time helps, the devotionals I read are also key. 

I know lots of people like Jesus Calling, but the language isn't really my thing. The intentions of the content are good though, and I like using it as a "warm up" to get me focused on worship. My favorite devotional right now is from SheReadsTruth- a women's devotional blog, with free, daily posts. I really like the community aspect of it, with lots of women reflecting on the day's material.  I could ramble about this for an entire post, because the benefits from this have been tremendous. I encourage all of you to check out SheReadsTruth!

4. One Week Without the Wonder Dog
A week ago, my parents made the tough decision to put our family dog to sleep after a tumor was affecting the quality of her life. We adopted Bess 11 years ago from a rescue mission. When the mission found her, she was on the side of the road, pregnant. My parents decided we were not going to get a puppy, because they were much more work to train. I was devastated to learn we were going to take home the fat mom dog instead of one of her precious puppies, and equally upset that the rescuers named said fat dog Bess! Over the years, Bess took on many nicknames, such as Bessie, Bessie Lou, Lou Lou, and my dad's favorite: The Wonder Dog.

I took this picture, one of my all-time favorite of Bess, this summer.   

 Looking back, we laugh at the fact that my parents thought Bessie would be easier to train, because that dog was a piece of work! However, no amount of potty stains could compare to the amount of love and joy she brought to our family- especially to my dad. 

When I was in middle school, Bess wasn't a fan of me (probably because middle-school-Chelsea was a bit of a diva), and the feeling was mutual.  However, as I got older, I appreciated her company more, and over the past few years, I definitely got more attached to her. It's hard to think about going back home, and not seeing her curled up in her bed, or hearing her howl at the door to come inside, but it makes me happy to know she's not in pain here. I'm so thankful our family got to experience the love and companionship of such a wonderful dog!

5. Time to Tailgate
Thankfully, even though it's been a bit of a glum week, there's lots to look forward to! I'm pretty excited for tomorrow's game against NC State, since some super fun members of the Wolfpack are visiting for the weekend! Mitch and Alyse started interning with Duke Power the same summer John did, and the three were close friends. However, John definitely wasn't as close as Mitch and Alyse... Four years later, the two are now a couple! John and I love double-dating with them, and we're looking forward to showing them why Death Valley is the place to be on Game Day! 

I hope even if you've been struggling this week, you find things to look forward to and be thankful for, too! For starters, let's all be thankful for Friday! Enjoy the weekend, friends! 

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Picking a Wedding Style

Ideally, one of the very first things a couple decides on when wedding planning is a wedding style. However, John and I may have done things a bit backwards, because we didn't really intentionally hone in on the overall style we wanted to achieve until after picking a venue (which definitely affects the style) and setting a date (which obviously determines the season, which affects the style).  

The date, my parents' anniversary, was obviously super important to me; it was kind of a no-brainer for us. Okay, technically, it was a no-brainer for me because of the anniversary thing... Honestly, John just wanted a summer wedding because he wanted to get married before football season started... Yep. 


The venue was almost as easy to choose as the date. When we visited Vesuvius Vineyards for the first time, we knew we'd found somewhere special. You can read more about how we picked our venue here

Simple yet grand house in black and white- the two most versatile colors ever- plus naturally pretty grounds? It doesn't get much better than this!

Even though John and I weren't intentionally thinking about our wedding style when we picked Vesuvius, we picked a place that spoke to both of us- a place that fits the combination of our tastes. It's the perfect balance between down-home Southern charm and Old South swank

Obviously, our venue inspired us while we thought of our wedding style, but so did all the weddings we went to this summer. We were able to go to weddings, see what we loved, and make mental notes of those things. Seeing other weddings got us asking questions like, "When we get married, will it be a big party, or a small celebration? Will it be modern or traditional? What kind of dancing will there be?" 

Obviously, there is a lot to decide on when planning a wedding. Here are the basics we decided on together:
  • We want the whole day to be a joyful celebration with our closest friends and family. Our list quickly grew with big families and fabulous friends, and it wasn't easy, but we finally settled at 200 invitees. 
  • We want our ceremony to reflect our genuine love for one another and our beliefs about the meaning of marriage. 
  • We want everyone to have a good time. To John, that means lots of food and drinks. For me, that means lots of dancing and cake. 
More than anything else, I knew the style of our wedding needed to be classic and southern. I cannot even explain how many times I've used those words to describe my vision to people. Here's my position on wedding trends, no matter how cute and genius they are: fads may come and go, but pictures are forever. I know it's inevitable that one day our wedding will look outdated, but I am attempting to avoid trendy and cheesy at almost all costs... Minus sparklers. John has warned me they're definitely trendy, but I just can't get enough of 'em! I love love love sparkler exits, and I have such happy memories of sparklers with John, so they're definitely going to be our exception to the rule. 

Figuring out our style has been an interesting process, but the bigger challenge was (and still is!) nailing down a specific theme.... Stay tuned for that, but expect a Five on Friday post first! That's right- everyone's favorite Friday linkup is back, and I can't wait to join in! One sleep until the weekend, friends!

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