Wedding Wednesday {10 months!}

Have I mentioned that I love Wedding Wednesday? Yes? Well….again…I love Wedding Wednesday. I really enjoy reading what everyone shares about their wedding, and also catching others up about where we are in our wedding planning journey so far.

I can’t believe that (hopefully) 10 months from today I will be walking down the isle to marry my best friend. 10 MONTHS! And what do I have done so far…hardly anything. The whole venue situation is really making me nervous, and literally giving me nightmares. I hate when things are out of my control and I need to wait on others to get things together before I can move forward on something. We found out that the zoning is wrong for the venue and now things are in the hands of politicians. grrr.

While I wait for those things to work themselves out, I have been looking at other venues and don’t exactly love any of them. After working in the industry for 3 years I have seen practically all of the water front venues, and nothing has totally caught my eye. I’ll keep looking, but maybe things will finally be sorted out soon.

One thing I can almost check off my list is finding a caterer. We have a tasting in September and I have already met the head chef, she is really nice, super willing to customize things, and she is fun! I want all of the vendors to be more than a vendor during our wedding day and I would love them to enjoy the experience.

Something I need to add back to my list is engagement pictures. Our photographer had something come up and we are now scrambling to find another one. We had a great deal on ours, but we may have to suck it up and pay more but it needs to get done. I know in the end it will be worth it, but our budget is so tight at this point I wish we could wait a little longer.

Our engagement party invitations went out this week, and according to our wedding checklists we should have already have a registry. We didn’t, so when our engagement pictures were cancelled we decided to head to Target instead. We don’t really need many things since we already live together, but we do have some wants. We are also working on getting a honeymoon registry together, which I might rather people buy from instead of  a new set of knives or some bath towels, but it is nice to have both.

I have heard horror stories about making a registry, so I made sure we were having a nice dinner with friends afterwards (Crab Tuesday!). When we started going down the kitchen accessories aisle we may have started bickering a littler about the difference between wants and needs. That was quickly figured out and everything after went pretty well! There are few things we need, but there are several things we would like to have so we added those as well. Dave also thought it would be funny to add an XBOX One, but that was deleted ASAP. Sorry, Dave.

Between all of the things we don’t have finished, I am trying to get some small things finished. Such as the 800 wine corks we are collecting, I started purchasing all 3 (or 4) types of our guest favors, and we have started our music list! I am pretty excited for our grand entrance song.

Hopefully, great news to come next week!

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Hopes & Plans

Manic Monday. This week is starting with me working from home (my old home actually) and babysitting my siblings while my parents take a mini vaca for my moms birthday. I try to stay away from babysitting these monsters as much as possible, but it was for a good cause, so why not.

Every week I think about linking up with Amanda from Marry Mint on her Hopes & Plans link-up, and this week I am finally going to start! Since I have a busy week it will keep me more accountable in I have a few things in writing.

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Hopes & Plans: August 18th

1| Clean Eating- I have started using the meal plan from the 21-Day Fix again, and I have been doing really well sticking to it! I am going to do my best to 99.9% stick with it for the next 26 days until we leave for Jamaica!

2 | Finish Our Bedroom- We are pretty much done rearranging and moving all of Dave’s things in to the house, but a few areas need some final touches. My main goal this week is to have our bedroom finished. We need to hang some shelves, get a cord management system, and get rid of my old side table.

3 | Engagement Pictures- We were supposed to have this half finished last week, but the Maryland weather is nuts this summer and it stormed all day long. Because of that we now have pictures tomorrow and Thursday, I am so excited to finally have these done! We are going to have one more shoot later in the month on the beach, and then we will be able to pick our Save The Dates.

What are your Hopes & Plans for this week?

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You’re Free, Genie

I wasn’t going to write this post because so many people already have, but it has really been pulling on my heartstrings, so I am going to write it anyways. Most of us were affected by the death of Robin Williams. It was unexpected, I thought it was one of those silly internet hoaxes at first, I had really hoped it was. Growing up in the early 90’s, Robin Williams was a large part of my childhood, into adulthood.

Aladdin came out a year after I was born, and it is one of the first Disney movies I remember watching. I was probably about 3, and I loved the songs and the flying carpet the most. I also thought my mom was Genie because her name is Jeanne. I also distinctly remember Flubber, I watched that movie over and over again. It was such a funny movie, and I of course wanted a Flubber of my own. Looking back on these movies that captured my imagination and have stuck in my memory since I was so young, make me all the more sad about the loss of Robin Williams.

I could see how being in the public eye can cause even more agony on a daily basis. When your sole job is to make people laugh, but it’s so hard on yourself. Celebrities need a break too, but they just can’t get it. I am the first to admit that I follow reality TV and tabloid magazines, but it breaks my heart to think about such personal matters being such public knowledge.  Is it just me or does the media push way to far into personal lives when it involves death? The reasoning behind his death could help others, but do we need to know how exactly it happened? Does the public need to invade the families privacy in such ways? Right on Robin Williams’ Wikipedia page it says his cause of death, why must that be there? The media should pay tribute to the great man that he is instead of allowing the public into such a personal situation.

Depression IS a disease. I won’t even link to the post I read from Walsh two days ago about it being a spiritual thing. Walsh obviously has never really known someone fighting the battle of depression. It can make the happiest person do a complete 180, and some can hid it so well. It isn’t something people chose to live with, who would chose to live with the constant agony of thinking you aren’t good enough, being chronically sad, feeling completely worthless to everyone around you? It is something we can work towards helping, we can’t heal it, but there are ways to make someone realize they mean something to you, even if for just a second.

I have never personally dealt with depression, I can’t even imagine how somebody can, yet so many people do. So many people fight the suicidal thoughts on a daily basis, and you will never know about them. We, myself included, need to stop judging, bullying, name calling, gossiping, and so on. We need to be there for each other, stop holding grudges, and start helping in times of weakness. I am guilty of all of these things, even a simple eye roll to someone could ruin their entire day. I hope in the wake of this great loss people can realize how to get through to others instead of knocking them down. I know it has been a wake-up call for myself.

If you or anyone you know is battling Depression, let them know that you are there. Encourage them to write their thoughts in a journal to get the anger and sadness out. Remind them that people do care and help can always be found.

You never know what somebody is going through, so get to know them instead of insulting them. Maybe all that one person needs is a friend. I wonder if Robin Williams knew just how many people would be affected by his death, if he still would have taken the step to end his life. I will remember him as I remember my childhood, and I can’t wait to show my children his movies one day. It is going to be heartbreaking to see the movies about to come out that star him, he will make more and more people laugh as we watch and now we know he was dying inside.

Robin Williams Behind The Mask

Dave found this image yesterday and it broke my heart, what a wonderful man he seemed to be.

Rest in peace Mrs. Doubtfire.

 

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Wedding Wednesday {Bridesmaids!}

I am so happy to finally talk about our Bridesmaids and how I asked them! I knew exactly how I wanted to do this way back in the winter when we started looking for rings. I had several things pinned with ideas on how to ask each special gal in my life, but I also wanted it to be something special from me to them. I started with the box itself, and worked my way from there.

I got wooden boxes from AC Moore, bleached wood stain, felt, and scrapbook paper to make them look exactly the way I wanted them too. It was so cool putting all of these boxes together, I was getting more and more excited each one I completed. I am a terrible blogger and forgot to get pictures of the process, and I forgot to get pictures of each box but here are the ones I have! image_4-1

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Each box had either their initial or a symbol on the top, a photo, champagne that said “Will You Sip By My Side”, Essie Mint Candy Apple polish that said “You are Mint-To-Be my Bridesmaid”, and a rope bracelet with an anchor that said “Help Me Tie The Knot”. Dave also designed the perfect card to ask all of my girls to be a part of our big day.

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image-4My Maid-of-Honor is my sister, Emily. I also included a mint shirt in her box that said Maid-of-Honor, and she gets a coke since she is only 16, I’ll enjoy her champagne. I am so thankful to have a little sister that is so excited to be a part of our big day. It means a lot to me that I have somebody to turn to every time I get stressed, or need help with something.

Now about the Bridesmaids!

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Meghan is my cousin who has lived next door to me since she was 3 years old. We have grown up together and I wouldn’t have it any other way than her standing with me on my wedding day.image-1

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My best friend, Allison thankfully accepted and is planing on coming all the way from France to celebrate the big day with us. We became friends as soon as we met, and have so many memories from the first 2 years of being in the same country. Allison is such a wonderful friend to both Dave and I and we are so excited that her and her husband will be here.img_3208

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Sometimes people say that you are forced to be friends with your significant others friends, and while Rachel is Dave’s best friends wife she instantly became one of my best friends. I know that I can go to her at any time and she will help me through anything, I am SO grateful for our friendship and she is honestly one of the best people I will ever meet.

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I have known Jenn since 9th grade and we have been through it all together. During the highs and lows of everyday life we have stuck through it all. Jenn is the strongest person I know and such an amazing person inside and out. She is also getting married 3 weeks before me! Going through this planning journey together is going to be so much fun, and the anticipation for both of our weddings grows daily!

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Kaity and I have been friends since 8th grade. We have taken part in countless shenanigans during the 10 years of our friendship and I have no doubt that will continue. This girl even got me to love cats, but never as much as she does. I am so thankful to have Kaity along for this journey with me.

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My Bridesmaid-of-Honor, Brittney. We met about 2 years ago and once she moved to Maryland from California we have gotten really close. Brittney was just married last year and knows all of the in’s and out’s to everything I am dealing with (even the venue problems…booo) so I am incredibly thankful to have her assisting me with all of my crazy questions.

Thank you all for accepting the challenge, and I can’t wait to constantly be around all of you nor the next 10 months ;)

 

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From Here to There {Brooklyn, New York}

I’m back for another installment of from Here to There! It’s been about a month since I last posted, but I have fully been enjoying NOT traveling for an entire 30 days! As I have mentioned, June was nonstop. I was gone for all but 7 days of the month, and it took a bit to get things back together at home, only to be off again. So as I enjoy my month off, I will reflect on what was a few day stint in Brooklyn, NY.

I have been to Brooklyn before and I can’t say I loved it, so I wasn’t totally thrilled to be going back for 4 days in June, but I did and it wasn’t totally terrible. My first day there I was exhausted from my few days spent in San Antonio, which you can read about here, so I didn’t want to venture too far from the hotel, only to make my way back. I walked around the hotel to find something to eat, but I wasn’t very impressed with my surroundings and settled for Potbelly Sandwiches. I grabbed my lunch/dinner and headed back to my room to watch more Nashville and take a nap, which turned into sleeping until the next morning.

The next morning was the beginning of a conference, I knew I wouldn’t have much time to explore that day so my colleagues and I decided what we would explore the following day. After a long day of conferencing, we went to a really cool bar called The Green Building. It was beautifully built, and had a great outdoor space, it would be the perfect location for a wedding reception. I stayed for a few drinks, great food and retreated to my hotel for some more Nashville.

The next day was a short one, and we decided to walk to the Brooklyn bridge, then find some food. It was a nice walk to a nice view and then some great dinner. I love hole in the wall restaurants, I feel like they always have the best service and awesome food, I wasn’t wrong about this one. The sushi was great, the drinks we’re better and the service was quick. If only I could remember the name!

For being in a more calm area, it was still a nice visit to Brooklyn. I don’t think I would vacation there, but I wouldn’t mind another conference in the area…maybe next time a little closer to shopping.

 

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SHARK WEEK!!

Did you know that it is finally SHARK WEEK? This is my favorite week for TV. As most of you know, I am obsessed with Sharks, so I basically DVR the entire week of shark filled fun, and watch as much as I can at night. I also save some on my DVR for when I am going through withdrawal.

I hope you all enjoy Shark Week as much as I plan to! Happy Shark Week and may the odds be ever in your favor :D

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When A Heart Breaks

I have typed this post many times, and I think about sharing this story all the time, I just never have the strength to actually finish it and I move on. This is going to be the most emotional post I will most likely ever write, so I hope you stick around but I understand if you don’t. I feel like this is a time when I would most like my Uncle around, and since he isn’t maybe writing about him will help a little. So as the 15th month without him is over the weekend, I’m going to let it out now.

I have mentioned my Uncle John, aka Jughead, several times on this blog, but I have never been able to fully tell his story. Today, I want to do that. My uncle was one of my best friends, I have countless memories with him from the first 22 years of my life, and they are irreplaceable, but the lack of memories over the last 15 months is heartbreaking. You see, my uncle had Cancer, and the hospital didn’t figure it out until he had had it for 8 months while being treated for an infection, causing him to have an extremely rough final year. It is estimated that he lived with the cancer for 5 years prior to finding out, based of of the size and area it was located.

My Uncle John was one of the happiest people I will ever meet. He was always joking, laughing, smiling about something, and it was contagious. I am sure some people thought he was a little crazy with his skull with a top hat tattoo, or those crazy bandanas he wore to work, but to all of us he was the best. Him and my grandfather were the first people to take me crabbing, and I was addicted. He was also the first person to flip me off of the tube while pulling it behind the boat. And he was the first person I could talk to if I had gotten in trouble, he had his fair share of run-ins with the law while he was a teen, so he always understood. Since I was about 18, we always talked about how fun my 21st birthday was going to be, especially because his 50th was just days before. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to celebrate like planned, but I still enjoy looking back to us talking about what we would have got into.

Time and time again I would go to my uncle about something, and he would never judge. He always told me to go with my gut, even if it got me into a little trouble, but he was the most honest person around. Every Christmas morning me and my siblings would open our presents, go to his house next door and play with our cousins while he made us breakfast. I have memories like that to go on forever.

I remember when my uncle first got sick, the doctors kept saying it was an infection and sent him home with antibiotics. When that didn’t work, they would try a different medicine, meanwhile he was only getting more sick. Over and over his pains were ignored until one day the doctors finally decided to run a few extra tests. Cancer. It was all over his liver, and emergency surgery was done right away. We were all scared and helpless because we hadn’t even grasped the idea of Cancer before they had to take him in for a surgery he might have not made it through.

I remember sitting in the waiting room for hours, not knowing anything just pacing to find out what would happen next. The following months were full of Chemo, Radiation, other surgeries, nights in the hospital, holidays in the hospital, and many, many tears. While my uncle didn’t look the same, he acted the same whenever he could. He would crack a joke, make us all smile, and tell us it was going to be alright. How was he the strongest out of all of us while this was happening to him?

While I can’t put the blame on any one specific thing, I can put a good bit of the blame on Johns Hopkins Hospital for the lack of care he had received. My uncle had worked for Hopkins for over 15 years, yet received the worst care imaginable. They didn’t think to do any types of tests for Cancer for several months after he had started care, the nurses and doctors never communicated with each other, let alone communicate with my uncle or any of us, they never seemed to have the right equipment on hand when it was needed, and so many other things went wrong that you would think it would be malpractice. Week after week we would call, email and leave messages for his care team during the last year of my uncles life, and never did we receive a response. How can such a well known hospital be so irresponsible? I know they have plenty of patients, but I feel like since my Uncles case couldn’t be of any research to them, it wasn’t looked at with the same amount of importance. At least we all were in it together.

There were plenty of times he needed us, but in the end, it was us that needed him the most. We were all happy to surround our lives with being around him, it was all we ever wanted. There were trips back and forth to the hospital, hospice care, another hospital, another doctors office, and so on, but nobody ever complained about being by his side. We truly 100% needed him, and we still do. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how things could have been different.

A few months before my uncles final day we moved him to a different hospital, where he was fully taken care of and he was always comfortable, it was the best decision we could have made at the time. If only we had made it sooner. One of my favorite memories of my uncle was in that hospital, my mom, Sister and I had just ran the Color Run and went to visit my uncle afterwards. We were all covered in colors and he was so happy to see us when we arrived, if I could relive that day over and over again I would love to. No matter how sick he got, he would always light up when we surprised him.

In the end the best thing for our family during that time was to stick together and make the best of the situation. The number one thing for us was to make memories outside of the Cancer. All 13 of us would go to the hospital to have family dinner on Wednesdays with my uncle, we would take walks to look at the birds, visit him and watch Nascar races, and just be around him wherever he was. When I look back on how everything went, I am sad yet happy to have known such an amazing man. I am extremely blessed to have had every moment with my Uncle that I did, and I will never take those memories for granted.

One of the last conversations I had with my uncle was about Dave, and how much he loved him. He said that I needed to hold onto him because he couldn’t have picked a more perfect guy for me. They would have been the best of friends, and I wish more than anything that my uncle was going to be here for our wedding. I know he will be watching, but nothing will compare to seeing him bust a move on the dance floor.

I will miss him forever, and my future children will probably be sick of hearing stories about him, but it is true, only the good die young. The very last thing he said to me was “Love ya, Mace” and I will hold onto those words in my heart forever.

I love you too, Jughead.

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One day while I was visiting while Jughead was in Hospice, April 2013

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My cousin, Jordan’s Senior Prom May 2010

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My 21st Birthday, February 2012

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My cousins graduation, May 2011

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During the Super Bowl, February 2013