Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have a wonderful day with friends, family, football and food! I am so excited that this will be my very last holiday without Dave, yay for getting married in 7 months!

Also, if you are one of the crazies Black Friday shopping, maybe I will run into you ;)

Enjoy the day (and the wine!)

wine

Wedding Wednesday {Getting My First Bouquet}

Ever since I started working for a wedding flower company 3 years ago, my favorite part of the job has been delivering the bouquets. I love walking into a room full of excitement, happy tears, and best friends to deliver such a special part of the big day. Most of the time I leave with tear filled eyes and a sense of excitement. It is such a cool experience for me and I start to get butterflies just thinking about that moment during my wedding.

When we had our engagement photos taken, I had asked if I could have a small bouquet made for the pictures. The designers were more than happy to put something together for me, and that Friday seemed to take forever because I was so excited to receive my flowers! When I walked in the front door of the shop and my bouquet was handed to me I practically melted. The bouquet had MY name on it. I was overjoyed. Dave said I was going crazy because I talked about how much I loved the flowers for half of our 2 hours drive to the beach.

bouquet 3 bouquet 2 bouquet 1

I don’t know how I will handle it when my bouquet is delivered on my wedding day, all I have to say is I should probably wait for make-up after they arrive. Now if I could just decide what type of bouquet I want!

Did you have any unexpected big moments throughout your wedding day?

wedding weds

Linking up with Chits and Giggles (as always!)

Wedding Wednesday

Wanderlust pt. 2

To go along with my top 7 places to visit outside of the United States from last week, I want to share my top 7 travel destinations from my bucket list within the United States. It’s pretty hard to pick only 7 because there are so many beautiful places within a 6ish hour plane ride. We are very lucky to be near so many airports, and I fully take advantage of that as often as I am able.

alaska

Firebanks, Alaska- Can we all agree that the Northern Lights look amazing? I would love to experience first hand the beauty from under the stars and I have heard Firebanks is the #1 location for viewing. I would also like to visit other areas of Alaska and this would be a great reason to go.

charleston

Charleston, South Carolina- This area of South Carolina looks incredibly charming. I love the older streets full of quaint shops, the nicer weather and the nautical feel of the restaurants. This would be the perfect getaway from Maryland for a weekend.

seattle

Seattle, Washington- The culture, arts, and rainy days all seem to go together perfectly with a cup of coffee. I can also relate with the “12th man” that is the fan base for the Seahawks. I love how the fans really mean something to the players and the organization, as Ravens fan, I can relate ;)

portland

Portland, Oregon- The main reason for this one is the fashion style. I love the look of gals in vintage dresses and guys in skinny ties as their normal attire, and it looks like Portland has that going on. I have half planned a trip here many times and there are so many things to do outside, and then inside for the evening.

dry tor

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida- If you want to escape to a national park about 60 miles from Key West, this is where you need to be. You are only able to arrive by boat, but once you get there prepare to experience magnificent blue waters, Fort Jefferson and coral reefs.

california-wine-country

Wine Country, California- This one speaks for itself I think. Out of the list this one is probably the most likely to happen within the next year. I would love to soak in the vineyards with good friends, great wine, and probably delicious cheese as well.

hawaii-wallpaper-09

Hawaii- I would be fine with just about any area of Hawaii. Every island has something nice to offer and I wouldn’t mind touring each of them for a few days. My number one reason for wanting to travel to Hawaii would be learning to surf, I know I could do it in other parts of the US but who wouldn’t want to learn in the beautiful waters on this coast.

 

It’s That Time Again!

Holiday traditions

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Christmas is right after. I can’t even believe it. There are about 45 days left of 2014…wait, really?! Is it just me, or does every year seem to go by faster and faster as we get older? Since this will be my last Holiday Season being “Single” I am going to share the traditions I have had since I was a child, and what I expect to change this time next year.

Thanksgiving always starts with me and my mom enjoying a cup of coffee while watching the Macy’s Parade and reading the Black Friday Ads, I love having this time to start the day and I can’t wait to do it again this year! As I was growing up we would rotate between my Grandparents on my Mothers’s side and my Grandmother on my Father’s, we did this until about 5 years ago. Then my mom decided she would start hosting Thanksgiving and whoever wanted to attend, would come over to spend the day.

Within the last 5 years we have developed the tradition of my Mother’s family all coming over in the early afternoon, eating a wonderful meal (Turkey, Ham and all of the sides), playing some football, watching some football, and playing charades. It is one of my favorite days within the year, and even though I see my family practically everyday, but knowing that we are all together, drinking, eating, playing and laughing is the best way to calm my heart.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we normally go to 34th Street in Baltimore to look at the lights. There is an entire street covered in lights, and people from all over the state come to visit. It is really awesome to see a dozen neighbors come together every year to spread the Christmas Spirit. In recent years we have cut down our own tree, but there is a small complication (I will get to this later) with that this year so we plan on buying one from a lot.

Since last year was the first year of being in my own space, Dave came over and we decorated the tree. I was constantly away during the first few weeks of December though so when I finally made it home 4 days before Christmas, he had surprised me and decorated the outside and inside of the house. I was so excited to see everything so lit up and beautiful. How did I get such a romantic?

This will be the last year of this tradition for me, but on Christmas Eve my siblings, parents and myself read Twas The Night Before Christmas, open 1 present, and then go to sleep to be pulled out of bed at the crack of dawn by my brothers who are impatiently waiting to open their presents. We all wait for the videocamera to be rolling and go downstairs to open presents. I am really going to miss this tradition, but can’t wait to start a new one with Dave next year!

The day after Christmas is a favorite of mine as well. For years me and my mom would wake up, get Starbucks and head to the mall, Target and a Christmas store called Valley View Farms to buy Christmas things that go on sale. Lately, my sister has been joining us as well, and it is a wonderful way to savor the holiday spirit for a few more hours.

New Years Eve used to be all about staying home, enjoying amazing food that my dad has made, and watching the ball drop as a family. But they I turned 21 and wanted to go to fancy parties to bring in the new year. While that is all fun and exciting, I am going to stay home again this year with my family, and Dave will be joining us as well. I am looking forward to sharing an old tradition with my family again.

Other smaller traditions for us include collecting an ornament from a special event in each year, the lighted boat parade, and watching Santa drive by the house on a fire engine. I am so blessed to have these times with my family, and I can’t wait for them to begin again.

What are some of your holiday traditions?

 

A Bad Review: Marley Lilly

In July I shared my experience with Monday Dress which you can read about here. Well today I am here to share a quick story about their sister company, Marley Lilly. I really don’t like publicly giving a company a bad review, but I am really upset that these two companies have the terrible customer service that they do. I feel like others need to know which companies to look out for when it comes to getting what you are looking for.

In the spring I started looking for a duffel type bag that I could use in place of my backpack on quick trips. Most of the time I use my backpack and a carry-on, but there are times that all I need is my laptop, charger and a change of clothes so I wanted a cute medium sized bag for this. I found what looked to be the perfect bag on Marley Lilly’s website. It was purple (all of my luggage is purple #sorrynotsorry) and I could have it monogrammed.

I loved it when I received it and couldn’t wait to use it! I didn’t need it for about a month, but the very first time I did use it, the zipper broke. This was pretty frustrating since it was the first use of the bag. I continued to use it a few more times though because it did hold everything I needed to carry. But after those few uses the handles started falling part! The bag is still useable, but I won’t be using it anymore because of the way the bag looks and I fear the bottom may just fall out. The threads were continuing to come loose and the handle keeps loosing material.

I decided to email ML just to let them know of the poor quality of the bag and their response was “sorry you had trouble with my order”. I feel like the staff they have running the customer service department has never worked with the public before. It is quite a shame they have responded in this way twice because they seem to have a lot of competition in the online boutique world these days.

Glad all of that is off of my chest…Back to normal happy and excited Macy tomorrow!

Wedding Wednesday {Tips To Pick a Venue}

choosing a venue

I am so very happy that it is already Wednesday, lucky for me the end of today is the end of my official workweek since I am at a conference. I only have a few updates from this past week, but I am looking forward to lots more for next week!

Since last Wedding Wednesday we have changed our minds twice about the Save-The-Date images. We are finally settled and will be ordering them as soon as we are reunited on Thursday. Along with choosing the images and layout, we decided to address them by hand. As much as I love calligraphy, we just can’t afford to spend $400 on it for the Save-The-Dates. I am also hoping to be better at it myself by the time our invitations go out. It’s a shame that even having them printed in so expensive!

Another big thing we have finished is the rental company for tables, linens, etc. I have looked at so many options and to say we finally found a great company is such a relief. I am still deciding on buying or renting drapery for the tent, but I still have some time. I have a perfect vision for everything but not the extra time to sit down with everyone and go over everything.

Since I didn’t have too much to share today, I am hoping this list will help any future brides. When a couple is trying to find their dream venue, it is easy for several things to be overlooked. I put this list together of 15 things any couple should look for, ask or check on the contract. The list could be longer, but to me these are the most important to stick to.

1- If your event is being held outdoors, what is the back-up plan in place at this venue if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Most venues won’t allow you to change areas if it’s raining the day of without an extra added fee, and some won’t have a backup space available. A way to avoid this is to already plan on having a tent either through the venue or an outside source.

2- Are you able to host ceremony and reception at the venue. This may not be a big deal for all brides because of the ceremony being held at a church, garden, etc. but it is nice to know this information moving forward.

3- Is there a noise restriction past a certain hour? If your wedding is in a hotel or outside, there will most likely a 10 or 11pm noise restriction. If you plan on partying all night long (woohoo!) make sure you don’t have a certain time to cut off the jams, or just move the party to a nearby bar.

4- Are there other events (weddings or otherwise) being held the day before, day of, and day after my event. This will give you a chance to think about rehearsal dinner scheduling, set-up day of (for your vendors, not you!), where you will be getting ready, timing of your wedding, and brunch the following day. Even if you don’t plan on having any of these at the venue, it is nice to know what you are working with.

5- Is there a space for the bridal party and groomsmen to get ready on site? Are they far enough away from each other that there is no chance for the Groom to see the Bride before she is ready?

6- What is included with the cost of venue? Catering, tenting, chairs, fireworks, etc! When working on your budget it’s easy to know what is going to be a part of each aspect. Having a caterer included in venue has its positives, but also it’s negatives if you plan on hiring someone else or want a certain meal.

7- Are outside vendors allowed? Is there an extra charge for using vendors outside of a venues preferred list?

8- What is the payment schedule? Some venues don’t need final payment until a week before the event, but others want it 3 months before.

9- When will the venue need the final headcount? If the final headcount is lower than the original estimate, will you be charged for the estimate or final number? Some venues will charge you based on the original headcount and it will not change if the final number is lower.

10- Will there be a provided point of contact day of the wedding? Even with a wedding planner this is important. They will be an aid to the planner in many aspects and have experience with the site.

11- Are there alcohol limitations? For example, many parks won’t let you serve alcohol or you need to get a special license for the day of your wedding.

12- Are there set-up fees? If tables, chairs, linens, place settings, etc are provided, is there an extra charge for the venue to set these up?

13- Who is in charge of clean up? Depending on the venue it could be their staff, rental staff or each individual vendor.

14- Is guest parking available? Is it included in the price? Most couples wouldn’t want their guests paying $50 for parking while they attend your wedding, so add this into the contract if you can. If there is no parking, see if there is a recommended shuttle service.

15- Are taxes, fees and gratuities included in the final quote? Don’t let the vendor slip in extra charges once you have signed the contract.

Hopefully this will be able to help some Brides-To-Be’s out there!

I am not hosting my link-up this week because I am co-hosting with Kristyn and some other lovely Wedding Wednesday Bloggers. I have loved following along with Kristyn’s Wedding posts and really enjoy her blog, Chits and Giggles. If you don’t already follow her blog I suggest you check it out!

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Hopes & Plans {Wanderlust}

wanderlust link-up

First let me say I am loving the idea of a themed Hopes & Plans to talk about my Travel Bucket List! I have posted about this before, but it is always fun to talk about it again, and a few of my destinations have changed a bit. My list is endless, so I figured I would share my top 7 places outside of the US today, and then next week (since the Hopes & Plans link-up is becoming a monthly thing, I will share my top 7 within the US).

dublin

Dublin, Ireland- I have some Irish heritage in my family, so that is one of the main reasons, but in general I would love to soak in all of the history in Ireland. I want to stroll through the castles, drink for a few hours in a pub, hear stories being told is adorable Irish accents, and see places I could only imagine in my dreams. Every photo of Ireland looks magical, and the movies portray it as a fairytale land. I would love to experience that first hand.

venice

Venice, Italy- Luckily, I will be spending 3 days in Venice next summer during my honeymoon, but until that day arrives it will continue to be on my bucket list. I can’t wait for the canals, romance, history, food, wine, and everything in between. I want to wander the streets until it’s dark and wish I could live in a place as beautiful as (anywhere) in Europe.

bali

Bali (Thank you, Eat, Pray, Love)- Have you watched Eat, Pray, Love? If not- I highly recommend it, if you have, I am almost 100% sure you want to go to Bali now too. has such a life changing experience while she is there. I want to learn about the culture, soak in the sun, and eat foods I would have never thought about trying. A room over the water would be an added bonus.

sydney

Sydney, Australia- Australia has been on my bucket list since I was 7 years old. Then the Real World went there and I just about died. The beaches, people, accents (can ya tell I have a thing for accents?), animals (minus the spiders-eeek!), food, etc all seem amazing. It is also pretty cool that the seasons are opposite ours, so for the first time ever I could have a pool party for my birthday.

blue lagoon

Iceland- A few of my friends have taken trips to Iceland and it looks amazing! It also helps that Kaelene from Unlocking KiKi shares so many wonderful stories from her expat life there. One day I will visit The Blue Lagoon, waterfalls, and explore Reykjavik.

tok

Tokyo, Japan- Tokyo is one of Dave’s top destinations and since talking to him about it, it has become one of mine as well. He wants to experience it for the cars, but I want to visit for the nonstop happenings. The photos make it seem like New York City to another level. I also wouldn’t mind having Japanese food everyday all day.

What is on your Travel bucket list?

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