Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Recap

Ah, Christmas. This year it was particularly lovely, I must say. This post may be a bit boring for anyone who isn't family, but like I always say, it's more for me to look back and remember than anything. And besides, it's a nice change of pace to talk about something other than the wedding, which is now, you guessed it, only five days away. Eek!

With my handsome fiance in tow, we headed south to Alabama on Christmas Eve morning, with the car filled to the brim with Christmas presents and suitcases. Upon arrival in Tuscaloosa, we stopped in Midtown Village AND the University Mall, which were both complete and utter madhouses. It was actually a little scary seeing that many people on a misison to find last-minute gifts. We truly could have gotten trampled at one point. Like Billy Currington says, people are crazy.

For a nice change of pace, we made a pit stop to see the Lawsons (and to give Lilly Lawson, our flower girl, her gift for the wedding - an ivory fur stole, just like the one I'll be wearing!) and got to chat for a bit before heading on to see our dear family friend, Mattie Jackson (a precious lady that not only helped raise me, but also my dad). She has the biggest, kindest heart of anyone I know and I love her more than words could express. Mr. T has heard me talk about her a lot and all the fond memories I have of her from childhood, and it was so wonderful that I could finally introduce him to her.

After hugging Mattie goodbye, and watching her wave from the door for a solid five minutes, love her, we headed home to pick up my parents for the Christmas Eve service at their church - a tradition that dates back as long as I can remember. There's something about those Christmas traditions that I just love and hope to pass on when day when we have kiddos. I was a little bummed they didn't pass out the candles and dim the lights to sing "Silent Night" like I remembered, but we got to do that at the candlelight service at our church here in Nashville, so at least I got my fix. And by the way, can I just say that I LOVE our church, Cross Point. I can honestly say it is hands down the best church I've ever been a part of, and it has truly rocked the way I look at religion. Our pastor, Pete Wilson, did a great series called "Rhythm" in December that focused on how we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas and lose sight of the joy. He had great visuals that could be used as reminders throughout the season - like every time you see a lit-up house or tree, say to yourself "May I shine." Or everytime you see a gift, say "Life is a gift." Simple, and yet so very true.

Anyway, so after the Christmas Eve service we headed over to a family potluck dinner for all the folks on my Dad's side of the family (my mom's family lives in Louisiana). My Aunt Margaret, who is all of 82 years old and is the definition of a pistol, took pride in introducing Mr. T to all the family, and telling everyone how handsome he was. She thinks it embarrasses him, but he secretly loves it. We headed home and opened some wedding gifts that my mom had been collecting, and while Mr. T watched football, I proceeded to make a fudge pie for the Christmas feast the next day.

On Christmas Day, my brother and his family came over to open gifts before the larger crowd arrived at noon to eat. I have four beautiful nieces, both inside and out, and all but one of them (the eight year old) is taller than me now! It's crazy how much they've grown over the last year. They're all pretty excited about coming to Nashville for the wedding, so I got them pretty patterned travel bags they can put their cosmetics and toiletries in. Buying for girls is so much easier than buying for boys, I think! I just think back to what I would have wanted at their age. My favorite gifts were the the hand-carved wooden frames my brother and the girls made for Craig and me, and one of them had our wedding invitation already mounted inside - so beautiful!

After all the family arrived, we sat down to a feast fit for a king. I was proud of two things this year - one, I finally got to sit at the adult table (guess that's what bringing a fiance gets you), and two, that I was able to limit myself to small portions and no second helpings, but I did enjoy a tiny bit of everything on the table. I hope my wedding dress doesn't hate me for it. And if it does, well, there's always Spanx. Once everyone left, we laid down on the sofa to watch - you guessed it- more football, which turned into the best after-Christmas nap I have ever had. I'm talking a solid two hours of the deepest, coziest, most satisfying sleep and it. was. heavenly.

Rejuvenated from the nap, we decided to head to the movies and catch this movie, which had just come out and seemed like the go-to choice.

Umm, I give it a B minus. I mean, it held my attention and all, and the action sequences were awesome, but I like a little more plot to keep me interested. And perhaps a bit more love story. Robert Downey Jr. is an incredible actor, though, and his English accent was perfection. I should mention that the first showing of the movie was sold out, so Mr. T and I had about 45 minutes to kill before the next one. We knew there was nothing that would be open on Christmas day, until a neon orange light beckoned us from across the road. What could it be? Nothing other than ye ole' Hooters, beckoning with the promise of fried pickles and buffalo wings. Did I feel a teensy bit icky walking in there on Christmas Day? That's an affirmative. But was a cold beer and a plate of fried food with my man the perfect ending to the day? Most definitely. We got to decompress a bit after all the chaos of the holidays, and just enjoy talking. You kind of forget how good it feels to talk about something other than the wedding in those last few weeks. The one thing we both agreed on was that if we had to change anything about this process, we would have made the engagement about two months shorter. Ten months was just a little too long for us!

We headed back to Nashville on Saturday morning and spent the evening unpacking all of our goodies and putting together the wedding programs - yes, it is an exciting life we lead, people. But we wanted to reserve our energy for the next night, because Santa had brought me what I had my heart set on - two tickets to see the Zac Brown Band at the Ryman on Sunday night!!! And it was stellar, my friends. Truly one of the best performances I have ever seen. I am now President of the Nashville Chapter of their fan club. Kidding. But I'm considering it...

Wow, now that is some recap. Can you tell I'm procrastinating all the last-minute wedding duties I have yet to do?

Oh, and a question for all of you ladies that are knowledgable on facials - is it wise to get one two days before the wedding? I thought it would give me a fresh, clean slate for the makeup gal, but I'm worried I'll end up with a gigantic breakout session on my hands. Don't facials tend to bring everything to the surface? For all of you who are recently married, let me know what to do!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Early Christmas Gift

My fiance rocks. In a fit of frustration a while back after my camera took two photos on a fun night out before deciding to hibernate, I shared with all parties in attendance how badly I needed a new camera. I even pointed out one in particular to Mr. T at Target that I thought we should buy with any gift cards we received after Christmas, then thought nothing more about it. Oh how I love how that boy pays attention! Lo and behold, as we opened our first gifts last night (I say start early, and extend the gift giving a couple of days - no need in all that fun being bottled up for one morning!) here is the little beauty that greeted me...

And. I. luhhhhve. it. Hello, 10.0 megapixel resolution! Hello, face detection technology! Hello, red eye removal (which I always have)! And HELLO beautiful blue color! Doesn't it kind of remind you of this...

Me too. And that is a picture of exactly where we will be lounging in about oh, 11 days. Yes, that sound you hear is me singing the Hallelujah chorus.

Let me just tell you, my other camera was a piece. As in, it literally just quit working a few weeks ago. And when it would work, it would only last for about a nano-second before it ran out of juice. And need I point out that this is one of the most fun times in my life that deserves documentation? What timing. All these fun pictures you see on my blog? Well, they're not from me. Thank goodness I have camera-happy friends, or there would be no evidence of my bachelorette party, the 80's shower, or the Tacky Sweater Party for your viewing enjoyment (and also for posterity purposes - I do plan to look back on these in ten years and have a good, nostalgic laugh). So I plan to use it HEAVILY over the next week to make up for some serious lost time. Consider yourself warned, family members and photo-loathing friends. It's coming.

Speaking of photos, how about this for an early Christmas gift? The super-fab Evin sent me the images from our bridal shoot at Cheekwood last night, so without further adieu, here is one little bitty sneak peek...

Since you can't see my dress AND my hair will be different, it really isn't spoiling anything, right? And really I just want to showcase that gorgeous bouquet of fall flowers and give Caprice mad props for making magic like that. It was too perfect for that early November day, and as you can see, sunflowers really do make me smile.

Know what else makes me smile? Picking up the programs, direction cards, and pocket timelines yesterday from Midtown Printing and having them turn out perfectly. If you need to have anything printed at the last minute, Jan is your girl. She is just lovely in every way, and even gave me a "Christmas discount" that absolutely made my day.

Now all we have to do is find the right ribbon for tying them (I'm considering silver rope cord I found on clearance at Michael's last night-if you need ribbon for wrapping some last-minute gifts, that is your place), putting the little "Lillian and Craig" design on the cover, and we're done!

Tomorrow we're Alabama bound for Christmas with my family. I'm so ready to see everyone. My poor mother has 17 people to cook for on Christmas Day, so I've offered to make a dessert. I don't have a lot of confidence this will turn out as pretty as I'm envisioning in my mind, but the good news is it's a lot like a brownie, so we can put ice cream on top and no one will know the difference. Sneaky, yet smart.

And finally, because I'm clearly sharing every thought in my brain today, guess who fit in their skinny jeans this morning? Yours truly. You should have seen the happy dance I did. They are my favorite pair of David Kahn's and oh, how I've missed them so. I'm enjoying them for the day because after the Christmas feast, I'm sure they'll be right back to the back of the closet where they have resided since the summer. It's like my little clandestine love affair - we meet, I fall in love, purchase them on the spot, wear them happily, gain a few pounds, get unhappy, can't wear them, lose a few pounds, get happy again when I put them on and they FIT, feel pretty good about myself, then pretend they don't exist next week when I'm sure they'll be snug again after a few home-cooked meals. Still worth it for this very good day I'm having, though. I can live on islands of designer jean happiness. :)

May you all have the best Christmas ever! See you next week, the WEEK OF THE WEDDING!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dear Weather Channel

Dear Weather Channel,

You are such a tease. Since we're now at the 12 day mark before the wedding, I thought SURELY your extended forecast would greet me this morning with the promise of good weather next weekend. But sadly, just as my mouse scrolled downward and stopped at December 30, three days short of where I need it to go, I realized you are just having fun with my emotions.

Deep in my heart, I'm secretly hoping for a white wedding. If you could make that happen, I will never talk trash about you again. Yes, I might freeze in my strapless dress and have my teeth chatter between takes, but this is the price we are willing to pay for some great photos.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C: (they do look a bit happier inside, huh?)

This is a wedding that took place in Colorado, and was shot by the amazing Charlotte Geary. And I'm pretty much in love with every detail. Now you know why we decided on a winter wedding...they just seem to make everyone snuggle a little closer and find warmth in the food, drink and merriment around them, which is exactly what we want for our friends and family. And besides, what better way to start a new year than with everyone you hold dear together in one room. That nearly gives me goosebumps just thinking about how surreal that will be.

We are SO excited that nearly 200 guests will be joining us next weekend (yes, that means all RSVP's are in!) as we become husband and wife. In a season of so much to be thankful for, I have truly never been more grateful for all the great things in my life. It's almost overwhelming how much joy you can find as the final days approach, knowing what an amazing thing is about to take place. Even though I still toss and turn some nights thinking about those pesky little details, the one thing that puts me at ease is the thought of seeing Mr. T at the end of that aisle, and knowing that as fun (and stressful) as the wedding planning has been, it will all culminate in a little chapel next Saturday. Preferrably with snow outside. Just saying...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

License to Wed

Wow, that sounds like a really bad romantic comedy from the 80's - License to Wed. Anyway...

Look at what we did yesterday! That would be Mr. T signing the ole wedding license form. It's getting real, people. Look, he even has a little smile on his cute face. Probably because he was making fun of me for taking a photo of documentation at the county clerk's office, but whatever, I found it blogworthy... :)

It's official! See our pretty little signatures?

And the best part? Our sweet little minister, the highly acclaimed Ralph Griggs, gave us a certificate for completing pre-marriage counseling (which actually consisted of watching The Story of Us, one of my favorite movies of all time - you can't beat that kind of homework) which got us a whopping $60 knocked off that $99 marriage license. $40 bucks later, we're practically married...

16 days!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My 50th Post...and Exciting News!

In honor of my 50th post (I like to celebrate the minor milestones!) I have big news to share with you, dear friends and followers. You may or may not know that the two magazines I absolutely can't wait to get my hands on when they're fresh off the press are UsWeekly (it's an obsession that has begin to rub off on Mr. T - ask me how many times he has come home from the grocery store with one in hand, pretending it's for me) and the prized publication of Music City, Nashville Lifestyles.

Now I also look forward to the occasional Glamour for a long flight (reading it front to back will last me a good two hours) or Food and Wine for some cooking inspiration, but those two are my go-to's in terms of good reading.

Insert anecdote: before I moved to Nashville, I was interviewing for my current job and got put up at the Loews the night before my big interview. I crawled in my big comfy bed with the issue of Nashville Lifestyles that was brimming with new restaurant openings and must-see happenings that were going on here, and it made me think even more that Nashville should be my home one day. I read that magazine front to back and dozed off dreaming of how much fun my life would be here. And now, it's a reality. :)

Fast forward to a few weeks ago (which is actually rewinding, but whatever) and here I am at a recent private tasting at tayst, one of my favorite restaurants in town, where they showcased an amazingly cool concept called Local Kitchen Catering. Basically it's where Chef Jeremy Barlow (one of the best chefs in Nashville, truly) comes into your kitchen and cooks dinner for a group of your closest friends, using local ingredients the guests bring themselves (so they feel like they can contribute something). What you may not know is tayst is the only green certified restaurant in Nashville, and one of his claims to fame is that all of the food he serves is locally grown. He even has a blackboard listing the local farmers he has used for that day's menu, so you can rest assured you are supporting the local man, which I just love. So anyway, I'm having a glass of wine and chatting with the kind bartender about how excited we are to be having our rehearsal dinner there (they rarely do private events, but luckily Mr. T and Jeremy are good buddies and do business together, so they made an exception for us) and this kind, petite, blonde woman overhears me saying this, introduces herself as an Assistant Editor for Nashville Lifestyles, and asks if we might be interested in having our rehearsal dinner covered in their next issue of the Nashville Lifestyles Weddings magazine! Go ahead, pick up your jaw, please. Are you kidding me?!?

Now, knowing what you now know about me, you can imagine how hard it was for me to not spit my wine out all over her face in disbelief and excitement. But I tried to keep my utmost composure, casually said that yes, we would be interested in doing that, and we set up a time to meet for coffee so she could interview me for the article. We met at dose, the fab new coffee shop on Murphy Road (with the most delicious apple cider you've ever tasted) last week and chatted about what inspired us to choose tayst, and how special events are trending towards a green movement, even in the wedding industry. Now I am no tree hugger, but I do think we should be mindful of how we treat the world while we're lucky enough to use its resources, so I thought it was so very "Nashville" to have a restuarant like tayst showcased among our friends and family, to let people know that even though we're the Music City, we have some pretty amazing restaurants around as well, and they're doing some pretty amazing things.

As an event planner and now a planner of my own wedding, I've tried to be more mindful of how many times I can use my flowers (I love Perenity, a service provided through Hospice which picks them up and takes them to patients so they will brighten their rooms and hopefully their spirits) and things of that nature, but I can honestly say that my experience at tayst has truly has encouraged me to think more about what I eat, and where it comes from. And apparently, others are taking notice as well.

So be on the lookout for us in the upcoming spring issue, peeps! How excited are WE?!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tacky, Wacky and Too Much Fun

This past weekend was the 4th annual THSP for our Nashville Crew of brave friends, also known as the Tacky Holiday Sweater Party, also known as the most fun you can have in the ugliest holiday sweater you can imagine. Mr. T and I met with our videographer down in Franklin last Wednesday, and while in the area, we made a little pit stop by SteinMart to see what they had in store. You should have seen his eyes light up like this Christmas tree when he took one look at this little beauty...

Look closely, friends. Those are indeed little kitty-cats on his sweater and little balls of fur on his zipper. And you guessed correctly, this is no man's sweater. No, my man only shops in the women's section for this special occasion. More pictures, you say? As you wish...
With sweet friends Lauren, Steph and Miss Firefly :)

Dan the Man, Justin, and Mr. T. wearing their attire proudly

Posing with my four-inch hair bow, and still not even close to his height

The host with the most!

The Newly-wedded Wenzels - nice dickey, Justin.

Taking a break from the dance floor at Legends with Justin and Amber - their wedding band was playing and they are going to be awesome. "Beverly Hills - that's where I want to BE!" Favorite song all night.

Loving on some L Wade. Because contrary to popular belief, country music makes everyone happy.

A very excited Lindsey in her sassy sequined vest, posing with Steve. Too bad you can't see his sweater, he had cows on it. Between his cows and Craig's cats, the theme was animal this year.

And finally, one last look at the engaged couple before our 18 day away wedding. I probably won't be posting much in the next few weeks because quite frankly, I'm ready to stop documenting the process and for the day to just get here! And in case you're wondering, that whole theory of relaxing for the last few weeks and sitting back to enjoy the whole process is a bunch of malarkey. But Mr. T is doing his best to make me try. Which is why when I battled a migraine all day Saturday and wasn't the most excited person in the world to get dressed up and head out for the THSP, I zipped my lips, donned my attire, and took two Excedrin. Because I have never seen ANYONE enjoy the Tacky Holiday Sweater Party more than my man. He had a perma-grin all night long. And that's really what love is all about, right? Merry Christmas, all!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ravishing Ruffles

Because white felt ruffles SHOULD go on a wreath for a nice change of pace from that prickly green garland. Or perhaps a winter wedding. See the complete tutorial here. Thank me later. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pretty as a Pinecone

Don't you just love how something so simple can be so chic?

This is my kind of DIY - five little materials, three little steps.
Get the step-by-step tutorial from Twig and Thistle here.
To. die. for. And so much better than multi-colored flashing lights. :)

Can I get a ROLL TIDE?

After being inspired by Miss Kristin's celebratory post over my Monday morning cup of coffee, I've decided the focus of this post will NOT be on the rapidly approaching, now 25 days out wedding that I'm trying very hard not to freak out over, but will instead pay tribute to my favorite football team, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Because we're headed to the National Championship, baby! This is turning into the best year of my life - engaged to the love of my life in March, bought our first house in May, and winning the SEC Championship in December! Now, if we could just arrange for a light dusting of snow on our wedding day, just for pictures sake. :)

And wouldn't you know it, the game falls on January 7, 2010, which just so happens to be Day 5 of our honeymoon in Riviera Maya, Mexico and also Mr. T's 35th birthday! So since we can't make it to Pasadena to cheer on my boys - though that would be a great wedding gift, if anyone is interested in splurging ;) - we will most definitely be finding a bar in Mexico that carries the game and hopefully watching the Tide dominate over Texas while sipping on a Corona with the sun on our back.

So just in case you're curious, here's how my week looks. Welcome to the holiday season, folks.

Tonight: Meet with Mary Alice, Wedding Coordinator Extraordinare, to finalize all details
Tomorrow: Mr. T's Work Christmas Party
Wednesday: Meet with Videographer, bring photos for rehearsal dinner montage, celebrate she is available at this late date by heading to Arrington Vineyards Appreciation Party afterward
Thursday: My Work Holiday Soiree
Friday: Staff Margarita Party, Shop for Tacky Holiday Sweaters (probably not the best idea to do this after having a margarita)
Saturday: Print Programs and Directions (really procrastinated on this one) then head to Third Annual Tacky Holiday Sweater Party

Umm, yeah. Notice there is zero time allotted for a workout (which my blah winter body is desperately needing) and let's not even talk about what kind of calorific food and drink will be served at the aforementioned functions. Not to mention I'm still recovering from my lovely recipe shower last week that my sweet girlfriends from church were so sweet to do and the Oreo truffles that I just can't seem to resist. So now I have all these amazing new recipes to try, a kitchen loaded full of wedding gifts to cook with, and a wedding three weeks away that is reminding me daily I have a wedding dress to fit into. Fabulous.

That said, I am definitely enjoying this holiday season more than ever and trying to savor every single minute of it. I don't know if it's because Christmas felt like it came early this year with all the wedding gifts and well wishes that have been arriving on our doorstep for the past several weeks or just the general good feelings that come with being surrounded by our friends who have been celebrating such a special time with us. All I know is that everyone who called me crazy for planning a wedding during the holidays can take a hike - I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. January 2nd will be the exclamation point at the end of an amazing holiday season. Can't think of a better way to start a new year than that!

Monday, November 30, 2009

For the love of letterpress!

Let's get this straight. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that I love more than to see letterpress printing. There's just something about feeling the texture of those etchings in a piece of paper that makes me smile. Which is why when I saw this post on 100 Layer Cake's super-fab blog, I did not hesitate to enter, so I could get my hands on some little letterpress lovelies of my own. So you can imagine my excitement to see this even better post last week, informing me I had won the giveaway! Out of 156 entries, folks! I am the luckiest letterpress-loving girl in the land. :)

And I mean it too. I got them in the mail already and that's exactly what I'm going to do with my first note, though they are almost to pretty to use. Those girls at Peach Press (don't you just love that name, southern gals?) know their stuff! If I lived in LA, I would most definitely be making a weekly visit to see them. That said, we can't hate on the amazing little shops we have right here under our nose in Nashville. Such as this awesomeness.

Launched in 1879, this is one of the world's oldest letterpress print shops, and their work is nothing short of amazing. The Ryman Auditorium, which you all know is dear to my heart, is one of their biggest clients, having used Hatch to design the posters for all those great country acts since the Grand Ole Opry was housed there. I just think it's so cool to know that they've been cranking out these babies all these years, and now they've become collector's items. And that is your history lesson for the day.
P.S. I think they make fabulous Christmas gifts, myself. Check out their store, housed in our very own Country Music Hall of Fame, and see if you don't agree.
P.P.S. I was lucky enough to hear Jim Sherraden, the Manager, Chief Designer, and Archivist at Hatch Show Print, speak last week at a luncheon, and it was fascinating. You wouldn't believe the jewels of history he has in his amazing collection. He's been commissioned to do designs for everyone from Johnny Cash to Louis Armstrong to Brad Paisley and he's also written this book, which would be a great gift for the music lover in your family. Just call me one of Santa's elves.
Had I more time, I would have done something like this poster below to have on hand at the wedding reception, and let all the guests sign around it instead of the traditional photo, but he informed me you need 4-6 weeks lead time to turn something custom around. Epic fail on my part, I know. But for all you brides to be out there, I woud definitely think about having it done - it's so very NASHVILLE!

In other news, we're now at 32 days and counting til The Big Day. Picture me pumping my fist and saying "yesssssssss." I am finally to the point where I'm loving every minute of it, and am ready to coast for this last month of the process. The wedding invitations are out the door, the rehearsal invitations and bridesmaid brunch invitations will be in hand this week, and the RSVPs are starting to come in! And the gifts - LAWD! Girls, let me tell you, it is feeling like Christmas every day and it so much fun getting all these fun things! My favorite gift so far has been "His" and "Hers" quilted stockings from my crazy awesome best friend/maid of honor - they are our first official Chrismas decoration! We're doing the official Christmas decor shopping trip on Friday - wish me luck on convincing Mr. T that yes, every room does in fact need some holiday love. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Top Five Things I Am Thankful For...

So my good friend and fellow blogger Marcie had a great idea to do this post a few days ago, and because A) I liked it and want to steal her idea and B) I, too, have so many things to be thankful for, not to mention C) sometimes I want to do a blog post but don't know which morsel of information to share from the thousand things that are rolling around in my head, this is an easy out. At least I'm being honest. So in no particular order, here we go...

1. God - for the amazing ways he has blessed my life in the past year. I truly had no idea when I moved to Nashville almost two years ago that the Lord's hand was orchestrating something so beautiful in my little life. Now, here I am with a wonderful fiance, a new house, a great job, and a pretty fantastic life. I never want to take any of those blessings for granted, and have the most grateful heart. My cup overfloweth.

2. Mr. T - that incredible fiance of mine. I've had my fair share, scratch that-plenty of bridal meltdowns over the past few months, and this man has been so patient, so thoughtful, so understanding and so very kind. He truly knows me better than anyone else, and sees all my stubbornness and sassiness in full effect and yet somehow, he still loves me and never lets me forget it. I absolutely can't wait to walk down that aisle, say our vows, and marry my very best friend.

3. Family - Which just so happens to include my own and the one I'm about to inherit. Mr. T and I are so fortunate to have such amazing models for marriage in our parents. Mine encouraged me to chase every dream I ever had, and go whatever direction I needed to, even if that meant away from home. His raised him to be a man of character, integrity and purpose, and brought him up with a solid standard of morals and downright good sense. Not to mention his mom is one heck of a cook, and I'm hoping she'll share some recipes with me while we're visiting over the next few days. If we grow up to have half the marriage they each have, I'd say we'll be doing okay.

4. Nashville, my new home. This may seem like a silly thing to be thankful for, but ever since the first day I arrived in Nashville, it has truly felt like home to me. And somehow, deep in my heart of hearts, I knew it would, if I could ever just get here. It's not just the fact that I found it VERY cool that the CMA Awards were taped about two miles from our house, or that I am so proud to take friends to the Loveless Cafe while they're visiting. It's not even the fact that everytime I see that stinking skyline, as cheesy as it is, I smile a little, because I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be. It's really just the sense that I've found my place to land for a while, and it just feels right. Nashvillians unite.

5. Friends to "do life" with - near, far and everywhere in between. I really believe that friends are the family you pick. And I feel like I have picked some amazing people to be in my lifeboat. Some I've known for years and are like sisters to me. Some I've met since I've been in Nashville and already feel close as kin. And some have been placed in my path to share one experience or another at different points in my life, and will never even know what their friendship has meant to me. I hope they all know how much they are cherished. Life just wouldn't be the same without their sweet spirits, and I am better for having them around.

So in the spirit of thanksgiving, I urge you, dear readers, to pass it on and post what you're thankful for this year. Chances are, there is plenty! Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

For the Love of the 80's

Without further adieu, here are the much-anticipated photos from our fabulously fun 80's themed wedding shower last weekend, hosted by sweet friends of ours Lauren Wade and Stephanie Delcambre, aka the hostesses with the mostest. These girls thought of everything - starting with an 80's themed invitation with a splatter paint border to announce the party, a subtle threat to all invitees to dress up or not be admitted, an 80's soundtrack that rocked all night, a fire pit, Firefly, and glow sticks as party favors. Seriously, how could you NOT enjoy that?

So behold my handsome fiance...

The man is clearly not afraid of a dress up party. I was flipped over drying my hair getting ready (the bigger the better, right?) and when I stood up, there he stood in the bathroom in all his 80's glory. I screamed for a solid five seconds. And then I laughed hysterically.

I actually love him a little more for his willingness to go all out. P.S. Please forgive the smoky effect on the photo - that fire pit was putting out some heat! I think everyone should have one of those things...too bad Craig and I have already burned our deck using the one we just bought. :(

So this is the adorable Amber and Justin (yes, that is a Joan Jett t-shirt he is sporting) and they are the next in line to get married in July. Um, maybe the best female costume all night. You can't tell as much from this picture but this was a pink romper complete with shoulder pads.

Dear friends and recent newlyweds Elizabeth and Adam. She opted for the sparkles and neon colors, he opted for the high waist jeans, mock turtleneck and blazer look. Nicely done, you two.

Lovely hostess Lauren (in full Jane Fonda gear), her main man Steve (Top Gun - natch) and Baby Layla Delcambre - wondering why the heck we all look so weird. She literally started crying the moment she saw my fiance.

Our other lovely hostess, Stephanie, rocking out her belly band as a miniskirt. Way to get maximum usage, my dear. And seriously, you don't even look like you had a baby! I like that her feather earrings match my hair. :)

The ladies, from left to right: Lindsey, Lauren, Amber, Steph, Me, and Liz

And the fellas: Justin, Chris, Steve, Adam, Mr. T, and Dan

After we moved inside to open our awesome gifts, Mr. T stood up to say a few words about how much we appreciated the party. I'm not sure if anyone could take him seriously in that get-up, though. Please note how I'm smiling at him in support and trying to keep a straight face - won't I make a good little wifey?

We had a blast at this party and are so appreciative to have people in our lives who like to throw pride to the wind, dress up, throw down, and have a little fun. In the spirit of Thanksgiving (and my new blog design, thanks very much) I'd just like to say I'm pretty thankful to have such awesome friends. Enjoy the pictures, folks. They'll probably stay up all of two days before Mr. T asks me to take them down. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...

Christmas! Can't you feel it coming right around the corner? I sure can, and I have never been more excited about it. For many reasons, really. Which include the fact Mr. T and I will be buying a REAL Christmas tree for the first time very soon. No more artificial ones for me. I am converting and I'm not looking back. AND I just added the cutest pair of quilted stockings to our Pottery Barn registry, just because. AND I got entirely too carried away at Michael's this past weekend perusing their decorations and finally settled on a basket for the guest bathroom that simply has "Happy Holidays" embroidered on the mint-green fabric lining. It's the little things, people.

And speaking of little things, please hop over to this blog and check out this fabulous giveaway from A Paper Lane on Etsy. I think these personalized recipe cards would make for a very fabulous Christmas gift, don't you? My new kitchen would be very happy to make their acquaintance. The giveaway runs until Thursday, November 19th so get cracking!

Speaking of recipes, my mom gave me her "Easy Pot Roast" recipe a while back and I've been waiting on just the right time to bust out the crock pot and try out this bad boy on Mr. T. So I put a shoulder roast, a packet of Lipton's onion soup, a can of Golden Mushroom soup, and a can of Cream of Mushroom soup all together in my pot about 10 a.m. on Sunday morning. Around 4 I added red potatoes, carrots, onion and mushrooms. And at about 6:30 I served it up with Mary B's biscuits and high expectations after I had been smelling the lovely aroma all day. And at about 7:00 p.m., Mr. T. and I were both licking our plates clean. I mean it was DELICIOUS. And I don't feel bad bragging about it since it's not my own creation. Just a handy recipe that I will definitely be making again on the next cold winter's day. I highly suggest you give her a try.

And if you're needing a kickstart to get in the Christmas spirit, head on over to Etsy for a little look-see. The first day I discovered it I thought I had died and gone to handmade heaven. I've found gifts for my bridesmaids, jewelry galore, and even cupcake toppers all in a day's time. But my newest obsession are all their Christmas-themed items, like holiday cards, address stickers, and gift tags. I am that girl who obsesses over these things, and I'm not ashamed. And if you say your heart doesn't race when you get an adorable card in the mail, then you are not my friend. Kidding. A little.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake! Or not...

So it's time for another quick poll, blogosphere friends. I've pretty much decided to axe the traditions of the bouquet toss (to my single girlfriends' delight, though I do think it's pretty cute to play Beyonce's "Put A Ring On It" while they all scramble for the prize) due to the fact that I always despised participating at others' weddings. Partly because of the pressure if I actually caught the thing and partly because a bunch of women grasping for a bouquet because of some silly symbolism that they will be the next in line is just a little ridiculous. We've also scratched off the garter toss (to the delight of Mr. T's friends, who would probably have to be bribed with a beer to even participate) because to be honest, I don't like the idea of my 82-year old aunt seeing Craig dive under my wedding dress for a piece of lacy ribbon. Now for any of you who chose to do these things, don't hate. I totally support your decision and I hope you rocked it out. It's just not our style. And the beauty of getting married at 29 and 34 respectively is that those little "musts" just don't seem quite so important, especially as the number of single friends begin to dwindle. Just imagine, if it ended up being you and one other person out there, that would be a bit of a buzzkill.

The other decision I'm wrestling with is the beloved wedding cake. See exhibit A:

Now this is one of my favorites. She looks beautiful and delicious, the way the frosting is whipped all over. Yum. But underneath all that beauty, it's just wedding cake, and that doesn't get my engine going. Now I've seen some pretty cool updates on the classic cake from Martha and the like, from an over-the-top cupcake tree to a display of several homemade cakes and pies that are passed down family recipes. But my heart longs for something a little different. Something like this!

Melt in your mouth, perfectly drizzled and positively delicious Bananas Foster! No other dessert compares, in my book. So we're thinking a Bananas Foster Action Station, complete with an attendant who can flambe the dish right in front of you!How cool will that look on a cold winter's night? Quite.

Mr. T learned about my love of this dish early in our relationship and took me to the Mad Hatter for our three month anniversary, where we finished off a lovely dinner with one of the most divine versions I've ever had. I almost turned the plate sideways and licked it clean. I also hear Valentino's does one tableside, so it's next on my list. And any other suggestions will be duly noted.

So the question is, should we add a groom's cake or even a small supplemental wedding cake to make the traditional folks (and my traditionally-minded mother) happy? She said some people would be expecting it, and I would hate for them to be disappointed. And also, I realize not everyone loves Bananas Foster like I do, so maybe another option would be nice. Ah, the decisions we brides face...

(Oh, and we do have one other small surpise planned in the dessert department. Let's just say it goes quite well with our coffee bar. And policeman like them a lot. And it rhymes with schmosmut.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend Recap

So I'm back from quite a whirlwind weekend in the 'Loosa (my lovely hometown of Tuscaloosa, that is) that consisted of a second round of bridal portraits shot by the phenom Scottie Jones, not one but two totally fun showers, and perhaps best of all, a chance to see my Tide win the SEC West for the second year in a row! Clearly I like having things in "twos." :)

Scottie lives on an amazing farm with all this unbelievable land about thirty minutes outside of Tuscaloosa. You already know I have a soft place in my heart for this type of location from our engagement shoot at Southall Eden. Something about being out in the middle of nowhere just makes you breathe easier, I think. Well of course I was having one heck of a hectic day (after driving the four hours from Nashville into town, picking up a bouquet that was NOT my favorite - white roses that were already wilting, seriously Mr. Tuscaloosa Florist? - and having hair and makeup done in 30 minutes each) and my dear friend Candice came to meet me at the salon to serve as Stylist Extraordinaire at the shoot. Word to the wise for those of you planning your bridal portraits: bring a friend. It makes everything so much easier in terms of getting in the beloved dress, fixing stray hairs and wind-whipped veils, and giving just the right number of "oohs and aahs" that make you feel all special. Even better, when you and said friend get caught in the middle of a funeral procession just as you're leaving the salon and stay behind them for the entire 25 mile drive to the farm going 30 mph down old country roads (I kid you not), it gives you someone to laugh with. Props to you for keeping me sane, Candice!

Next up my little dear hearts from my church back home threw a lingerie and lotion shower for me at one of my favorite restaurants, Cafe Venice. It was so great catching up with them and hilarious that each of the first four girls to show up was preggers! Something must be in the water down there, so I'm glad I'm drinking the no-kiddo water in Nashville! For now at least. :) I got some amazing little things that I can't wait to bust out in Mexico, and it was the perfect way to start off the weekend. The crazy thing was that the restaurant was so packed from all the football fans in town, the kitchen ran out of food just after we were served. Talk about perfect timing!

Saturday morning I headed over to Belk to do a little exchange on the 12 piece corningware set that arrived on my doorstep with a broken dish on top. Sad day. That simply wouldn't do for this domestic diva. So I exchanged it for a brand-spanking new set and decided to splurge on my new winter signature scent on my way out the door. It takes major willpower to walk in a mall and leave empty-handed, people. Introducing Lola, by Marc Jacobs...

It is SO me. I seriously love it! They didn't have a sample (which I always try to get first, to make sure I like the fragrance on me) so I bought the body creme, but it is so heavenly, I'm definitely going back for the perfume. It is fabulous, and I will fight you for it.

On Sunday I had a bridal tea to attend at my parents' church, which I'll be honest, I wasn't looking forward to all that much just because all I could think about was how I'd be getting on the road at dark for the drive back, which I absolutely despise. Thanks, Daylight Savings! I get all out of sorts when it gets dark at 5 p.m., like slam-your-brakes when you're approaching a curve because you can't see where the road is going anxiety. I bet the people behind me hate me. Oh well, anyway the shower. It was actually a LOT of fun. There were so many women from the church I grew up in that came to hug my neck and drink tea and fuss over all the pretty gifts I received, and I'll be honest, I loved every minute of it. We got so many great things it was like an early Christmas! And the little women were so cute all dressed up for the occasion. I'm such a girl sometimes, I know. And to go completely girly on you, I had a fabulous new purple dress that was just perfect for the occasion. Why do I blog about that? Because I want to remember how when I was getting ready to leave for the shower, I came in to tell my dad bye and kiss his cheek, and I loved how it made me feel when he said "Oooh, look at my pretty pumpkin." So I guess I'm not just a girl, but a bit of a Daddy's Girl, and I'm actually quite okay with that. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Two Months Out!

OK, we are officially at two months and counting, people! And no, I am not freaking out. I'm very proud of that fact. In fact, after having my bridal portraits done yesterday, I'm feeling more ready by the day. And I discovered what it felt like to be a celebrity...for an afternoon at least. I had my bridal portraits done at the unbelievably gorgeous grounds of Cheekwood (you must go if you live in Nashville) by the adorable and uber-talented Evin Krehbiel of Evin Photography. Just look at how cute she is. Don't you want her to be your friend, too?

What's even better is that about five years ago, I rushed this sweet little chic at Samford, and basically told her I would threaten her life if she didn't "go Chi O." I wasn't really into the whole sorority rush thing, but I would get these little "rush crushes" and pounce on them from the minute they walked in the door. So imagine my delight when I move to Nashville, find out she's making a wonderful little life for herself as a Franklin-based photographer, and get to have her shoot my bridal portraits? I was stoked, people. And then the most glorious weather EVER decided to showcase itself yesterday for our session. Thanks to the Big Guy for doing His thing.

But back to being a celebrity. Before I could flash my first smile for the camera I had the pleasure of getting completely pampered and primped by the super-fab Alicia Keagy (of the Rodney Mitchell salon - love her!) She actually came to my house so I could just be lazy on Sunday morning and have her fix me up in the luxury of my own bedroom. The girl worked some major magic on my hair and makeup and I felt like a very put-together and fancified version of myself before I walked out the door. We had done a little run-through on my mop on Thursday night, so we could practice using the little lovely Chelsea made for me. And oh is it tres chic! I heart it. But no previews of it just yet, you'll have to be patient. So we got all finished and made sure Mr. T left the premises so she could stuff me in the back of the car and drive us to Cheekwood. Word to the wise: be SURE to bring a friend, and preferrably even a stylist friend, to your bridal shoot. She was able to fix that out-of-place hair, apply that last bit of lip gloss, and fluff the train just so before Evin snapped the shot. I could really get used to that kind of treatment. I'm not gonna lie, I kind of love having people fuss over me like that.

And before I could get completely primped I had to get a bouquet for the shoot, of course. Well I say "of course" but I actually forgot about that little detail until the week before. Awesome. But I had the best little appointment with Caprice of The Enchanted Florist at Fabu, where we got to pick out lots of fun items for the ceremony and reception decor. Mr. T even came with me and nodded helplessly as we talked about pin-spotting the centerpieces and such. What a troooper! And at the end of it all, I walked away with this beauty!

Forgive the picture quality, but this was taken with my iPhone. And yes, it looks like Heaven is beaming through my window. One of the perks of having lots of natural light in the house!

Want to know just how good Miss Caprice is? Here is the picture I gave her to show what I liked...

Dead on. Love her! It was so perfect with all the fall colors - I even put it in water after we were done to see if I could savor it for a little longer.

Oh and the best news! I found a veil! The lovely ladies at The Bride Room let me bring in my dress and try on almost everyone they had so that we could match it perfectly. There were several that I liked, but only one that gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling. Now you know I can't show a photo, but like my dress, I put it on and immediately knew it was "the one." I just love when that happens.

And let me just add a plug for Amy, the associate who helped me. Not only was she wonderful to work with, she also discovered I had left my phone behind after we took some photos of me in the veil, and then even tracked down my parents (she must have called "Home" - good to program that in I guess) and delivered it to Mr. T at the Vanderbilt stadium on Saturday afternoon so I wouldn't be without it all weekend. Now THAT is some customer service, folks. So thank you, Amy! You are a lifesaver, and I love you for doing that. I would have been a nutcase without my cell phone all weekend.

I'm heading to DC tomorrow for a work event, so I'll be MIA this week. But I will get to see my lovely MOH and BFF. And because I enjoy ending with a photo, here we are. As you can tell, I love that girl.
60 days and counting!

Friday, October 30, 2009


Cutest. Halloween Card. Ever.

Melissa, you win my "most creative friend" award!

Happy halloween, friends!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I escaped at Escape!

Now that is just some marketing genius, right there. Clearly I'm in the wrong profession and should be an advertising copywriter. Can't you just see a bumper sticker with "I escaped at Escape Day Spa" on it? I guess you need a little background though, right?

Again, let it be said that this post is to brag on Mr. T. I know you all are probably bored to tears by my public pats on his back for all the sweet things he does, but like I've said before, this is my blog, and my way to remember all the little moments in my life, and it just so happens that I happen to have a very thoughtful fiance that deserves to know how much I appreciate him. And truth be told, I also like to document these little things he does for me so that one day, if needed, I can use them against him when those little gestures are fewer and farther in between, so I can say "Remember how you used to do ____? Oh you don't? Well here's my blog post so that I can refresh your memory." Not that I expect to EVER have to do that. But just in case. :)

So last Friday, Craig and I both took the day off for a much-deserved mental health day after both of us had gone through quite possibly the craziest few weeks of the year at our jobs. I wanted to have no agenda, no itinerary, and just let the day fall as it may, but who are we kidding, I'm a planner to my core so I had mapped out a few errands (mostly wedding-related) for us to check off. One thing I did not bank on was Mr. T's announcement that he had something in mind of his own, and that it required my presence at 8:30. As in A.M. On my day off. And let me just say that I am in no shape, form or fashion a morning person. In fact, I have a battle pretty much every morning with myself trying to figure out how to sleep just a few more minutes and still be on time for work. So anyway, after being a tad bit of a baby about not getting to sleep in on said day off, I decided I should just shut my trap and leave the man alone about it. But when I woke up on that rainy morning that was as dreary as they come, I secretly cursed him for hatching such a cruel plan. Until we hopped in the car and drove up to Escape Day Spa and I saw this sight...

And was immediately whisked away into this room...

For the most incredibly luxurious couples massage you could ever imagine! I mean it was HEAVEN-SENT, people. I felt like I was on the Bachelor and we were enjoying a Fantasy Date or something. We each had our own masseuse, and got to lay side by side on the tables. I would have loved to look over at him and mouth the words "you're awesome" but I was literally in a comatose sleep within the first ten minutes. I'm pretty sure I might have drooled on the floor. Seriously, I have never been so relaxed in all my life! Believe me when I say they have earned their title as the Best Spa in Nashville. I am a FAN!

And just in case I haven't painted a picture that makes you want to get in your car and drive over there now, here's the description from the website:

share the bliss of massage therapy as you lay side by side…a soothing treatment for the body and mind…afterwards enjoy soaking in the hydrotherapy/ chromatherapy soak tub…a great way to spend some time together!

Like I said, I am one lucky (and relaxed) little lady. And for the record, it was totally worth losing a few hours of sleep. Starting our day off like that is something I would welcome anytime!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bridal Portraits on the Brain!

Eek! They're Sunday. Seriously, I'm not ready. But ready or not, here they come, because if I delay it anymore, I might drive myself crazy. I already got up at 1 a.m. to make a to-do list on my iPhone. Sometimes I hate that I'm so undeniably Type A.

So let's talk hair extensions, ladies. I'd like to know your thoughts on this matter, because a) I'm considering purchasing these to amp up the hair power for my bridal portraits on Sunday and b) a dear friend of mine sported them over the weekend and they looked fan-freakin'-tastic. Seriously, I would have paid money for some right then and there if she had an extra set in her purse. They looked so healthy, so shiny, so REAL. Who knew? For all Jessica Simpson does that is questionable (I have issues with her unhealthy obsession to Twitter) she IS pretty business savvy. She has completely capitalized on the fashion, shoe, fragrance and hair-extension markets and I for one applaud her efforts. The shoes, albeit a bit uncomfortable, are fabulously high, which is a great for a girl that is 5' 2" like myself, and now, I'm taking a stand and supporting the faux hair she likes to flaunt. Sue me.

Here's the dealio: I've been trying for what seems like years (okay maybe since we got engaged in March) to grow my baby-fine hair out for the wedding, and I'm pretty sure it has decided it has reached its final destination and refuses to grow another inch. So I'm thinking I'll pop a few of these bad boys in and get that extra va-va-va voom! for me to rock those bridal portraits with sass and confidence. See how voluminous Miss Jessica looks? There are no products that will do this for me. Believe me, I've tried them all! (That means you, Big Sexy Hair.)

On the subject of bridal sessions, allow me to introduce you to the lovely Alyse Woodward, a wedding planner who hails from Charlotte, N.C. and has such an eye for style! She featured two uber-fabulous bridal sessions last Friday on her blog and I love them both - so different but so unique! I love how they captured the brides personalities so well.

Which brings to my next I obviously love my cowboy boots that were a gift from Mr. T early in our courtship. We used to celebrate each month, but when we reached the one-year point, we decided we had run out of ideas (and money) to continue that lovely tradition. But they did make an appearance on our Save-the-Dates (shameless plug: which were featured on Ashley's Bride Guide yesterday - check it out here!) and man, would they be comfortable and oh-so-appropriate when we're jamming out at our wedding reception to our rock-it-out southern rock/country band, Trotline. I'm thinking we'll have the sweet and innocent ivory shoes to make my mom happy and then, just when I'm starting to get foot cramps, I'll bust out the boots! Question is, should they make an appearance in the bridal session, or shall we keep it a secret? I can't make another decision - so for the love, help this Bride in Boots out, my blog sisters!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

All Things Halloween

So after our lovely day off from work tomorrow (yay!), Mr. T and I have decided to go see our annual scary movie by watching what has been deemed one of the scariest movies in the history of the universe. At least that's what the trailer says. That's right, folks, nothing like a little movie like Paranormal Activity to kick off the week before Halloween. Last year we went to see The Strangers, and I promise you neither one of us had any blood circulation in our hands when we walked out. I doubt we will ever venture out to a cabin in the middle of nowhere in the near future. Or ever for that matter. But still, we go back for more. I can't resist!

The other highlight of the weekend is to embark on our First Annual Pumpkin Carving so that we can proudly display our creation on our new front porch for all the kiddos to see when they come trick-or-treating. After apartment life for the past six years with virtually no doorbell-ringing action, I secretly can't wait to see all the awesome costumes. Oh to be a kid again. Now I feel like the adults (especially females) who dress up these days are either total freaks or trying to be WAY too sexy (I mean, does the French Maid, Naughty Nurse, or Cheerleader outfit never get old to anyone else?) but man, I made a mean Minnie Mouse when I was a kid.

Speaking of dress up, I am 210% stoked for our next shower, hosted by dear friends who clearly know Mr. T and I quite well. It's a wedding shower with a twist - it's 80's themed! Everyone has to dress in their best 80's attire, or they're not allowed to enter. Love it! Just bought a pair of neon pick fishnets, and now I just have to get my hands on a sweatshirt with the neck cut out, some frosty blue eyeshadow, and a fabulous pair of legwarmers, a la Kelly Kapowski. You know you want to see pictures. :)
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