My Bridal Shower!

What a wonderful day!

bridal shower 027

My sister (who is also my maid of honor) and my mom have been working for months to plan this special day for me. I’ve seen the two of them whispering and I’ve been shunned out of various rooms in my parents house the past few times I visited my family in St. Pete, so it was wonderful to see all of their hard work and planning come to fruition!

bridal shower 015

They planned my bridal shower at the Tuscawilla Country Club, located in Winter Springs.

FL_winter_springs_tuscawilla

Ryan’s mom and I headed over to the country club together just before 11 a.m.

After hugging my mom and sister hello, I immediately noticed these delicious lookin’ little beauties.

bridal shower 003

My mom made these devil’s food cupcakes with whipped pink frosting which were light and delicious!

My sister was quite crafty when planning the event and clearly spent a lot of time on the cute little details.

bridal shower 020

bridal shower 012

Her little table markers were oh-so-Martha Stewart! 😀

My mom and sister also handmade the favors for all of the shower attendees.

bridal shower 014

Not only were their cookies adorable, but they were also very tasty!

They even made a special bridal one for me which I absolutely loved.

bridal shower 009

Aside from my sister, Laurel was my only bridesmaid who was able to make it to the shower (everyone else lives in Chicago, Texas or Iowa) and she showed her true bridesmaid prowess when it came the the “How Well Do You Know the Bride” trivia game.

bridal shower 016

bridal shower 011

Laurel and I lived together our sophomore through senior year in college, so it was no shocker she had nearly every answer down pat!

The trivia game was one of four games my sister planned for the shower. We also had a great time with a purse scavenger hunt, name that famous duo challenge and a trivia game involving questions she asked Ryan ahead of time that I had to guess the answers to.

Of course a portion of the shower was dedicated to present opening.

bridal shower 005

If you can believe it, that was the gift table before my friends arrived! Clearly my mom, Ryan’s mom, Ryan’s grandma and my aunts took this shower seriously. 😀

bridal shower 021

I received some seriously amazing gifts (Hello, KitchenAid Mixer!!!). Everyone was so unbelievably thoughtful and kind to bring something for me and Ryan before our wedding and I felt very blessed.

We had quite a time loading everything into my car!

The funniest gift was saved for last…

bridal shower 006

What in the world???

Well, it’s Jezebel, of course!

bridal shower 026

Isn’t she awesome?

Jezebel was made completely of handy household and kitchen items including an ironing board, mop, spatulas, sponges, a colander, apron, dish towels and more!

In the midst of all the game-playing, chit-chatting and gift giving, we also enjoyed a delicious lunch.

bridal shower 018

bridal shower 017

I had a turkey and hummus wrap with fresh fruit which I inhaled! Apparently my morning run with Sadie sparked my appetite!

I also sipped on a mimosa before lunch which was fantastic.

bridal shower 013

Mimosas should be an evening staple if you ask me! They’re too good to only enjoy in the morning.

bridal shower 023

I was sad to say goodbye at the end of the brunch, but I was so thankful for the love I felt from my friends and family all afternoon.

bridal shower 024

(Thanks, Minda, for driving all the way from Jacksonville!)

Once everyone was gone, Ryan’s mom and I drove back to our apartment to say hello to Ryan and his mom’s boyfriend. I had to head out pretty quickly because my mom, sister and I had an appointment at the bridal boutique where I brought my dress to pick up my sister’s bridesmaid dress!

I absolutely love my bridesmaid dresses!

My sister tried hers on and it looks amazing. I don’t even think she’ll need any alterations made! Sch-weet!

I’m finally back at our apartment and it feels amazing to be chillin’ on the couch. I have a feeling that’s exactly what the rest of the night will entail. Present unpacking can wait… 😉

See ya bright ‘n’ early in the morning!

My Wedding Shoes!!!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may remember my tweets of frustration a month or so ago as I tried, unsuccessfully, to locate this pair of Badgley Mischka pink pumps in my size for my wedding day.

Badgley Mischka Xango Pink Pumps

According to the woman Badgley Mischka referred me to when I emailed the company about the shoes, the pumps I wanted first became available in April and the pink ones sold like crazy.

Great for Badgley Mischka. Bad for me.

I searched all over the internet and in local stores that carry Badgley Mischka shoes without avail. The woman I spoke with encouraged me to call my local Nordstrom and ask for their assistance in locating the shoe.

The gentlemen I spoke with from Nordstrom told me the shoes sold really quickly, but that he would call around other stores and let me know if anything turned up.

Well, it did!

Woohoo!!! My wedding day shoes should arrive in 5 – 8 business days.

(For those of you who are wondering what happened to the shoes I originally wanted… Well, I decided against them because they were more than 5 inches high. Though this would work fine with Ryan’s height (he’s 6’2”) I am already taller than all my bridesmaids and didn’t want to look like Sasquatch on my wedding day. Sooo, I opted for a more modest heeled shoe. Still pink, though. 😉 )

Lunch

I wish my lunch was as exciting as my wedding shoes, but as a serious shoe lover, that’s basically impossible.

Well, unless lunch was an ice cream sundae from Houston’s.

My lunch was still delicious though, and that’s what really matters.

Using leftover taco-seasoned ground chicken from last night’s dinner, I made myself a taco salad that included:

  • Spring mix greens
  • Broccoli slaw
  • Frozen sweet corn (It thawed by lunchtime)
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Taco-seasoned ground chicken
  • Crumbled hard shell taco
  • Salsa

Taco Salad

Salsa

Using salsa as salad dressing is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the slightly spicy tomato-based sauce. It adds so much flavor!

Frozen Corn Close Up

Okay, kids. Fun’s over!

Back to work I go! 😀

There’s Only So Much Crafting I Can Handle

Though I typically enjoy being crafty, there is only so much crafting one person can handle.

invites 009

That, my friends, is not even one quarter of our wedding invitations.

Ryan and I have been formatting, gluing, stickering and stamping for hours. We have a little more than half of our invitations stuffed and are calling it a night.

I am so grateful for Ryan’s help. He was the computer whiz and figured out the templates for our invites, and also helped me stuff all the envelopes with the actual invitation, reply card and wedding website card.

While working away on the invitations, we both enjoyed two big bowls of soup for dinner which went unphotographed in the invitation madness.

I also took a quick baking break and made us a coconut-scented vanilla loaf bread that included a cup of light coconut milk in the batter.

invites 001

I’d share the recipe, but I basically winged it and it wasn’t overly amazing. Still, we both enjoyed a couple of slices smeared with a bit o’ buttah.

invites 002

After plugging away at our initiations for another hour or so (and going through 2 bottles of super glue!), I declared it was time for dessert and ran to our local grocery store to nab some goodies.

Ryan is a huge fan of Oreos, so I decided to make a semi-homemade bowl of cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream.

I blended light vanilla bean ice cream with mini Oreo cookies in a food processor until I had a thick, somewhat soupy mixture, chock-full of Oreo chunks.

invites 004

invites 007

invites 006

The above bowl is Ryan’s serving. I actually ate a lot of cookies and ice cream in the process of making the mixture that my portion was much smaller since I was already feeling a bit ill from eating so much of  the vanilla loaf before downing more sugar in this bowl. Ooof!

I’m off to clean up some of the crafting madness now because our apartment looks like wedding invitations just threw up all over the place. 

G’night, friends. 😀

Wedding Day Hair and Makeup Trial

What a whirlwind of a day!

Our wedding invitations are all printed. Hallelujah! Now it’s time to get crafty with the glue gun and make some labels and get these bad boys in the mail.

Though getting the invites printed felt like a great accomplishment, one wedding-related decision that has been stressing me out was officially settled today, as well… My hair!

I’ve been flip flopping back and forth as to whether to wear my hair up or down on the big day. I like my hair better down but it doesn’t hold curl or waves for very long, which concerns me. I didn’t want my hair to look overly hair sprayed if I wore it down and had it hair sprayed a lot in an effort to keep it curled.

I also really love the look of romantic and “un-done” up-dos, and Ryan loves my hair up. I love when brides wear their hair up because I think it shows off the neckline of the bridal gown, so wearing my hair off my shoulders also seemed like a good option.

I headed out to my hair and make-up trial with a make-up free face and five pictures of different hair styles I thought might look good for the big day.

make up & hair trial 004

No make up… AH! 😀

Once there, I sat down and explained my thoughts about my hair to the hair stylist. She suggested we try styling it down, and then see what it looks like swept up so I could see both options.

My hair is really, really thin, so when I saw it in loose waves, it looked almost stringy.

When we moved on to the up do, I fell in love.

The woman did an excellent job of following the picture I brought along with me.

In the end my hair resembled this picture a bit, but looked slightly less “loose.”

7054182_1

I don’t want to post a picture of my hair from the front on the blog because I don’t want Ryan to see it, but here’s a picture from the back:

make up & hair trial 008

I will not have that flower in my hair on our wedding day, but I will have a pale pink large rose flower in its place.

I feel like this hairstyle will be perfect, because you can see it from the front, which makes it look like I actually have hair. I always feel like I look like a little boy in pictures when my hair is pulled back, so this option, which allows hair to show from the front, was a perfect fit. I won’t fidget with it and I know Ryan will love the fact that it’s up.

Success!

Dinner

After the trial, my mom and I headed back to my parents’ house for dinner.

On our way home we saw the most adorable doe and two little fawns!

make up & hair trial 009

make up & hair trial 010

They were so teeny and even had spots!

Once home, my mom made a delicious dinner of grouper that my dad caught in a spear fishing tournament yesterday (talk about fresh!) and steamed veggies with a little bit of butter. I also made us a batch of cornbread muffins to enjoy.

make up & hair trial 014

make up & hair trial 012

I went back for seconds of the fish and had another cornbread muffin as well.

Delish!

Heading Back

After dinner we piled into Ryan’s car and headed back to Orlando.

make up & hair trial 016

When we arrived home, a long, cylindrical package was propped against our front door.

Check out the goods!!!

make up & hair trial 020

I received this poster as a gift from Barb of The Lobster Pot, whose store on Etsy I just adore. I ordered a Keep Calm and Love Vizslas print from Barb a month or so ago and she was wonderful to work with. I love that she made this blog-lovin’ print in pink! So cute. Thank you Barb!

Now I’m off to unpack before getting in bed early. I’m exhausted!

G’night all!

Boys Will Be Girls… Bachelorette Fun: Day Two

The bachelorette party fun continues!!!

bachelorette2 002

Sorry I was out of commission yesterday and missed posting about our Bachelorette Party Weekend Day Two festivities. We’ve been busy packing a lot of fun into our long weekend!

As far as our main activity on Friday night is concerned, many of you guys guessed right.

Friday night’s bachelorette party fun led us to The Baton Club, a drag show in downtown Chicago!

We had such a great time before, during and after the show.

Our day yesterday began with an awesome breakfast casserole, made by my friends Ashley and Merri using a recipe they found from Cooking Light. (They know me so well. 🙂 )

bachelorette2 004

It was delicious and I ate several servings.

Once our bellies were sufficiently stuffed, we walked a little over a mile to spend the afternoon at the beach on Lake Michigan. Though I absolutely adore Florida, it’s so nice to be somewhere where you don’t instantly start sweating profusely the moment you step outside. The weather here is warm, not too hot, and absolutely gorgeous.

bachelorette2 001

Lunch

After fun at the beach (yes, we even brought our own boom box!), we walked home, stopping at Jimmy John’s for lunch along the way.

I ordered a turkey unwich with Provolone cheese and a giant pickle.

bachelorette2 008

Loved it!

Once home, we yet again broke into the box of peanut butter bars that my friend Leah made for all of us. They are seriously addicting and so, so delicious. They’re healthy too, and are made with peanut butter, whole grain cereal, raisins and cinnamon. I will definitely post the recipe to share with you guys when I get a chance because I have a feeling you’ll swoon over ‘em too!

Friday Night Fun

According to the itinerary created by my friends, we were to be ready for some more fun at 6 p.m. When I walked downstairs after showering and getting ready with the girls, I was greeted by a gorgeous set up and more bachelorette decorations!

bachelorette2 010

We popped some champagne and my friends threw me a lingerie party. I got some super cute gifts!

The Bachelorette Gang!

bachelorette2 015

bachelorette2 113

bachelorette2 017

bachelorette2 041

bachelorette2 044

bachelorette2 116

We sipped our champagne while enjoying some more bachelorette games before heading out to Sushi Samba, a sushi/Brazilian restaurant within a block or two of the drag show we’d be seeing.

Dinner

bachelorette2 062

bachelorette2 050

We enjoyed some wine and cocktails, my favorite being a cucumber martini that tasted fresh and slightly sweet.

bachelorette2 060

For my entree, I ordered sea bass skewers with a side of grilled asparagus that was prepared in a balsamic glaze with sesame seeds. It was really delicious and I loved the taste of the char from the grill. Yum!

bachelorette2 052

Dinner Gift from the Groom

As we were enjoying our meals, a waiter came to our table with a special delivery from someone very special… Ryan!

Ryan had arranged for us to enjoy a bottle of champagne on him, which was so thoughtful and definitely made me smile.

bachelorette2 055

bachelorette2 059

After finishing off our champagne, we scurried off to The Baton Club for a drag show at 10:30 p.m. We just made it in time!

Unfortunately photos were not allowed, but we did take a picture with one of the performers after the show concluded (if you’re looking at the below picture, she’s standing to my left). We were so impressed with how pretty she looked!

bachelorette2 066

The show got out around midnight and we took our party to the Hangge Uppe, a large bar with a bunch of separate rooms with different kinds of music playing.

Our little group was like Dance Party U.S.A. We were tearin’ it up!

bachelorette2 068

We left the club all sweaty and came home to enjoy some late night snacks before eventually making it to bed… at 6 a.m. It was one heck of a loooong night!

So much fun!

I’ll be back in a bit with a recap of today’s event… the big HALF MARATHON!!! 😀

My Wedding Band!!! ( & Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash)

First things first, I loved all of your tips and ideas about how to begin living a healthy lifestyle.    

If you’re looking for more advice on how to begin eating healthily or how to start up a workout routine, check out the awesome informational nuggets from people who have been there in the comments section.  You guys are some smart cookies. 🙂  

Wedding Bands = Done!  

After work today, I picked Ryan up at home and we headed to Winter Park to (yet again) scope out a potential wedding band for me. (We picked out Ryan’s band last weekend.)    

When we arrived, the jeweler had two bands, both with princess cut diamonds, waiting for me to check out.    

Option number one had nine smaller diamonds. 

Option Number One

Option number two I actually examined last weekend. It had five larger diamonds. 

Option Number Two

 After trying them on back to back, and then re-trying them on about a billion more times, it became increasingly clear that I preferred the second ring.  

I felt like the first ring looked like a ribbon of diamonds, whereas the second ring looked like five individual diamonds, almost like mini versions of the diamond on my engagement band, which I thought was beautiful.   

I had a hard time with the whole process because the second ring was more expensive and it feels kind of crazy to spend so much money on a wedding band. 

Ryan was amazing throughout the process and encouraged me to get the one I really loved because in the long run the price difference isn’t crazy and it’s something I’ll wear and treasure forever. I knew he was right, but it’s still hard to justify. Thank goodness I wasn’t with him when he bought my engagement ring! 

A Little Anxious!

 In the end we decided on the second ring and I couldn’t be more excited! I think it is gorgeous! I’m going to have a hard time waiting until October to wear it. 

Me and Mah Ring!

  Here is a picture of us sportin’ our bands. 

Our Rings!!!

 We were both feeling pretty excited! 

Yay!

 The woman sized our fingers (I’m a 4.5… apparently I have baby fingers???), and we will pick up our rings once they’re resized in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait!  

Wedding band shopping made us quite hungry and we hurried home for a yummy dinner!  

Dinner  

Huuuuge shout out to TrailMomma for telling me that you can make spaghetti squash in the crock pot. Who knew!?!?  

According to TrailMomma,  

“If you put a spaghetti squash in the crock pot with 2 cups of water on low for 8 hours (or a tad less) or 5 hours on high you’ll come home to a cooked and ready to use squash. Keep in mind, cook less for a more “crunchier” squash as this makes it super soft . . . mix with tomato sauce, chickpeas and lots of oregano and you have one tasty meal!”  

Coincidentally enough, I purchased a spaghetti squash at the grocery store on Sunday evening. After reading her comment, I couldn’t wait to attempt to cook the squash in my beloved crock pot.   

As she suggested, I placed my spaghetti squash in the crock pot with 2 1/2 cups of water (it was a big squash!), and let it cook on low all day while I was at work.  

 
 
 

Cooked Squash

 I loved how easy the crock pot cooking made it to slice into the squash. Cutting into a spaghetti squash is always so hard and makes me nervous. It was nice to be able to slice into the squash withour much effort.  

Sliced and Ready

 After removing the seeds, I forked out the squash and topped it with steamed broccoli, pasta sauce and Parmesan cheese.   

Dinner is Served

Close Up

Close Up of Tastiness

 The verdict on crock pot spaghetti squash? It was really good! However, I like my “noodles” a little crunchier, so next time I will be sure to take the squash out of the crock pot after four hours or so to keep the squash from becoming too mushy.  

Mushy squash and all, I still loved this dinner!  

Of Possible Interest 

 Bachelorette Party Countdown Begins!  

Look what I had waiting for me on my front door step when I got home yesterday:  

Bachelorette Party Goodies

My wonderful friends left me a bag full of goodies and a homemade bachelorette party countdown booklet… Only SIX more days!!!  

Count Down!!!

Bachelorette Party Countdown Booklet

What to Wear

The booklet they made was beyond adorable. As shown in the above picture, it included a list of things I need to pack, organized by each day we’re there. The goodie bag included adorable bachelorette party gear, like a tank-top that says “BRIDE,” a blinking ring, a pink feather boa and more.

I have the best friends and can’t wait to enjoy a weekend of fun with them in Chicago!

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I plan on tackling my first long run in three weeks! After being sidelined from a heel injury, I took some time off from my half marathon training plan to recover.My heel feels much better and I feel up to attempting to conquer a 10 mile run tomorrow! Eek!!! Cross your fingers for me. 😀

Registering & Ryan’s Wedding Band

Phew! Where did the day go???

Running –> Breakfast –> Mall –> Pool…

That brings us to lunch!

Lunch

I knew Ryan and I were going to be out and about for a while, so after gettin’ some sun by the pool for an hour, I came home to make a filling lunch.

Today’s mid-day meal included basil fettuccine pasta with steamed broccoli, topped with Barilla mushroom and garlic pasta sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Noodle Bowl

Parmesan Cheese, Please

This was my first time trying the Barilla mushroom and garlic pasta sauce and I absolutely loved it. The sauce reminded me of authentic Italian pasta sauce you’d get from a gourmet restaurant. Yum!

Stirred Up

Once our bellies were sufficiently stuffed we headed out.

Registering at Bed Bath & Beyond

Our first destination was Bed Bath & Beyond to register for our wedding.

Ready to Register

Our first registry experience at Williams-Sonoma was so positive, so we had high hopes for our time at BB&B.

Within two minutes of arriving at the store we met with two men who explained the registry process to us and answered our questions. Then, one of them took us around the store as we registered.

At first I wasn’t sure we were going to like someone following us around the entire time, but it turned out really well. The associate was there to answer questions, guide us toward some neat products and look up items we didn’t see in the store.  

We were there for much longer than I thought! By the time we got back to our car it was after 5:30 p.m.!

Rings: Round Two

Once we realized what time it was, we high-tailed it over to Winter Park to swing by the jeweler we previously visited to discuss our wedding bands further. I am looking for a band with several princess cut diamonds on it to match my engagement ring, but we’re struggling a bit to find the right size diamonds.

These diamonds, for example, were too big:

Bling, Bling

The woman we were working with at the jeweler is going to put out her “feelers” to see if she can locate something less showy. I am thinking I’d like a band with between five and seven princess-cut diamonds. You’d think it’d be an easy thing to find, but it’s tough! You gotta get the size juuuuust right!

Selecting Ryan’s band was much easier!

Ryan's Wedding Band

I love his ring. It’s a platinum band with etching that looks simple, classy and masculine. Perfect-o!

Dinner

We initially planned on selecting the groomsman’s tuxes today, but decided to push that back to another time since registering took longer than we expected.

With two wedding-related errands out of the way, we were ready for dinner!

We swung by Moe’s on our way home for some Mexican grub.

I enjoyed a cheesy quesadilla with chicken, salsa, black and pinto beans.

'Dilla

That ‘dilla was g-o-o-d!

Ryan and I also shared chips and salsa while enjoying our respective ‘dillas.

Chips + Salsa

Dessert

Can you believe I’ve never had a milkshake from Steak ‘n Shake? With as much as I love milkshakes and ice cream, you’d think I would’ve tried one from such a prominent fast-food milkshake maker!

After dinner, Ryan decided it was time for me to have my first Steak ‘n Shake milkshake, so we ordered a cookies ‘n’ cream shake to share.

Cookies 'n' Cream Shake

Looks pretty good, huh? Well, it was… until we got about a third of the way into the shake. Then, all the cookies disappeared and the shake was basically a vanilla shake. Meh.

Still, I dominated the shake and probably had 3/4 of it, but I wasn’t impressed. 

We arrived home a little after 7:30 and are planning on spending the rest of the night updating our registries online and relaxing!

Hope you’re having great weekend so far! 😀