Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Weekend Update

We are so close to Christmas morning I can smell it... literally, there is baking going on around here non-stop!
I was so looking forward to this weekend for a few weeks now.  My sister’s 36th birthday was last week so I had told her to clear here Saturday schedule because I was taking her out for the day. 
We started with our usual sister date of mani/pedis but instead of going to our usual pub for beers we picked up my younger brother and went out to a new winery they had built in town.  It was amazing, and the weather was to die for, so of course we had to eat on the patio.  Mermaid’s Winery (on West 22nd in Norfolk) had a long list of wine flights to choose from that came out to your table in perfect little wine trees.  We each tried two different wine flight pairings and shared a little cheese and cracker spread.  We ranked our wines then headed to Total Wine to pick up some of our favorites.  We also stopped in at my brother’s gelato shop to grab a quick dessert.  A perfect Saturday!

My baby brother posing as a wine snob.  He described one wine as tasting too "wine-y", he might need to stick to beer!
Sunday was spent wrapping all our Christmas presents, which I am proud to say are all ready for Christmas morning!   Brandon wanted to get one of his co-workers monogrammed towels for the firehouse, so I finally got a chance to work on those too.  My mom has a pretty sweet sewing machine that can do 100 times more than she has ever gotten around to trying, so my Sunday mission was to figure out the embroidery piece.  Not to toot my own horn, but they turned out pretty great!  (and I now plan to monogram all the towels we received as wedding present, I’ve got big plans for that little machine!)
I thankfully have this whole week off to celebrate the holidays and visit all my friends who are coming back home!  Yayy for vacay!
{and I have also started my closet cleanout mission today… I even started a goodwill pile as I was organizing my clothes.  I am excited to slim down my wardrobe}

Monday's OOTD

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Closet Cleanout

As I mentioned Tuesday we are living in a bit of a housing limbo.  I could spend my days moping about being unsettled (which I have) but I think with the new year ahead it’s time to start thinking about how I can be using this time productively and start preparing for our new life.

In our new house we will have a pretty large master bedroom closet.  I am pretty darn excited about this.  After college, I moved in with Brandon in the house he owns in Christiansburg, Virginia.  It is in a small town and the home was built in the 50’s.  Closet space in that house left a lot to be desired.  We had small closets in the master bedroom, a tiny closet in the guest room (which held the deer heads that didn’t fit in the living room), and a coat closet that fit about 2 adult coats if you wiggled them in just right, and that was it.  No linen closet, no walk-ins, not even a pantry (don’t get me started on that kitchen!).  Needless to say we are definitely moving up in the world with our new closet space, and I have big dreams for it.

The one thing I don’t want to do though is to junk up our new space with old clothes that I haven’t worn in ages and won’t ever wear again.  I have been thinking about how to have fun with my closet cleanout process.  So after staring into our current cramped closet full of clothes I decided that I would wear everything in the closet without repeating a top (I just don’t have the bottoms to cover the spread) until they had all been worn, or donated.

So I thought I would put some rules together to help me out (and anyone else that wants to play along)

·         Each top must be worn once for a day (no putting it on for 5 mins then changing, if I don’t like it enough to keep it on, donate it)

·         We are a week away from the start of winter, so strictly summer tops are exempt from the line-up (and are already in a box in my parent’s attic).

·         Cardigans and staple pieces (aka – tank tops) can be re-worn.  These are worn over or under the main top and are just more necessity than anything.

·         New clothes can be added in, but they must go into the line-up and only worn once until you have been through it all. (I am definitely guilty of getting excited about a new piece and wearing the crap out of it!)

·         Keep an extra bag in your closet for those pieces you put on and love but just don’t fit right.  Never underestimate the power of a tailor!  Google some local tailors and make those pieces perfect!

·         Be sure to keep a box in the bottom of your closet to drop in those tops that, as you look at them, you decide you definitely don’t want to wear and drop them for donation at the end of the cleanout. (and no box diving unless you are willing to wear it!)

 I am hoping this will really challenge me to come up with some fun styles and also find some great ways to wear old favorites.  And hey, I consider this a jump start on a New Year’s Resolution!

Starting Monday Closet Cleanout begins!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Date Night

I had one of those productive weekends where, at the end of Sunday, I felt pretty good about the upcoming week.
I was playing around with hair styles and even a little bit of dress up.  I had this outfit put together when Brandon and I decided a date night was in order (I mean, you can’t leave a girl all dressed up with nowhere to go).  I grabbed my purse and off to Mexican and margaritas we went! 
and I finally got to show off my new booties from the Lauren Conrad collection!  I am in love!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Moving to the country gonna eat a lot of peaches...

{Oh Dead Presidents, you make country living sound so delicious in your songs!}
When we returned from our honeymoon, we moved my things from Virginia Beach out to the country (also lovingly referred to as Middle of Nowhere).  Ever since I had met Brandon, he had talked about how he couldn’t wait to build his own place out in the country where his parent’s had a huge plot of land.  It is only about an hour to my family at the beach (but an easy hour, I drive it all the time)
Now here we are, married couple living out that dream.  Only hiccup so far is the “own place” thing.  Oh yea, we are still in the long, drawn out, excruciating process of building our own home.  We are very fortunate that Brandon’s parent’s had built a large house just a few years ago on the other side of the property and have been letting us stay with them till our home is finished, but oh how I cannot wait for it to be done.  We have been told that building a home together is a true test of a marriage, add on the in-laws just down the hall, and I would have to say our little marriage must be made of steel.   (We could not be more thankful to those in-laws down the hall for helping us through this whole process).
If you have ever built your own place on your land, I pray that your process went smoothly, because ours has been anything but.  I hate to jinx anything now, but I am so happy to stay we have finally found a builder who can build our plans, and the bank is all straightened out with the construction loan! 
We have amazing plans that I can’t wait to see come to life.  Our wedding presents are sitting in my parent’s house just waiting to be out of there boxes and into their forever homes.  I spend hours on pinterest seeing new ideas and decorating tips that I can’t wait to use.  I get giddy over ideas of my own office space, a kitchen to test our new receipes and evenings spent on our back porch together grilling out and enjoying a beer.  I am just chomping at the bit to move in!
And so our little family country life is about to begin. 
Where did you live right after your wedding?  Has anyone else lived with their in-laws?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Fall Favorites

My grandmother's (aka- Nanie's) backyard was one of my favorite places to play when I was younger.  It was a steep hill that was perfect for sledding.  It also produced some of the biggest and best climbing trees around.

Thanksgiving day in Pennsylvania this year was beyond amazing (besides the freezing temps) and nanie's yard made for a perfect backdrop to show off my favorite fall look! 

(FYI- If Victory Brewing Co is looking for a new rep... I am all over it!  Love their lager!)

What is your favorite go to style this fall?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wedding Wednesday - Wedding Day Prep

Going through almost 900 wedding photos makes it near impossible to pick just a few of your favorites.  This wedding Wednesday I am photo dumping just a few of our morning of wedding prep! 
Our wedding day may be one of my most favorite days on record!  To spend the morning with all your closest girlfriends and getting pampered to walk down the isle to your soon to be husband… it makes for a pretty great day!
Both Brandon and I spent the night before our wedding in the hotel of our reception, in separate rooms, of course.  I had a girl’s night with some of my bridesmaids and he had boy’s night with the groomsmen.  We all woke up early, popped champagne to start a perfect day and got ready in our prospective suites.

me and my ladies in our monogrammed dressing shirts!

My beautiful sister getting primped

Almost time to get dressed

My mom helping with the last touches

Putting on my Wedding Day gift earrings from Brandon!

dressed and ready!
I may be biased... but he is a hunk!

boys will be boys! {one of my favorites of the boys!}
The boys headed out first and ffter we were all dressed and ready in was our turn in the stretch limo to head tothe chapel!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Wishlist

As December 25th draws near it’s time to whip up my Christmas Wish/Lust list!!
1.       I am loving this cell phone case. The choices at Rifle Paper Co. making picking just one pretty tough!
2.       The rolling cooler, I have bigger ideas for this one!  I lug tons of bags into the office with me every day, and would love to have a rolling catch all to make mornings a little bit easier.  And the print and monogram are just icing on the cake!
3.       These Hunter rainboots!  I lust for these!!
4.       CND Vinylux nailpolish!  These are a must.  If you have not tried this amazing nail polish rush to amazon.com to get yourself some. 
5.       Polka dot stockings would be perfect with a cute skirt and booties.
6.       A new monogramed necklace.  I loved my old one my parent’s had given me for my birthday years ago, but new husbands mean new initals!
What are you hoping Santa will bring you this year!?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wedding Wednesday - Showers and Parties

I figured it’s time to start the wedding recap as the honeymoon phase ends and I am washing the hubs dirty laundry!!
My sister (who served as maid-of-honor) and mother threw two bridal showers for me!  The first in Pennsylvania so my grandmother and aunts could all join, and one in Virginia Beach, with all my close friends and Brandon’s family as well!
My PA shower was held at a local cafĂ© in my families hometown where we had the whole backroom to ourselves!  We ate some delicious lunch and cupcakes and I opened my gifts!  Aunt Cathy put together a pretty spectacular bow bouquet and hat to match! J
love my Nanie'e backdeck!

My Virginia Beach shower was at my parent’s house and was followed by a crazy bachelorette party thrown by my best friend, Holly!

For the bachelorette party we started in the hotel lobby bar and playing pin the kisses on the man!  Thankfully the place only had one other table at it, and they seemed to be enjoying our classiness!
layered up in the "bachelorette" gear!
We then had dinner and drinks in town center and then went next door to a wine bar.  Turns out my friend Lauren, who had gone to school with the Chef, told him we were coming so he made a full cheese and wine spread for us and keep the champagne coming! 

my bff, Holly!!  Can't wait to load her down with the boas in April... she is now the bride-to-be!

Holly, me and Lauren

my sister and I!
Then the night turned to crazy at the local pub where shots ensued for all!!  Holly nicely planned a short walk and hotel stay for the night to end a perfect evening with the girls!
{So wish we had taken a group photo with all the lovely ladies that came out that night!}
And my last hurrah as a single lady was a bridesmaid’s weekend to the Outerbanks {minus Holly... stupid real world responsibilities}!  The weather was windy but we got in our beach time and spent a great girl’s weekend away!!  {No Vegas trip for this crazy crowd!}
the girl's weekend gang {minus my sister, the photographer!}

I was pretty excited about this gift!

I definitely have amazing friends and family who made our engagement feel so special!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Catch-up!

Holiday Season is in full swing!!

I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving!  I traveled up with my family to Pennsylvania as usual this year.  We spent Tuesday through Saturday with my parent’s families (having parents who are high school sweet hearts makes it easy to visit all the family in one trip!)

I could go on for hours about my love for Pennsylvania (and the people in it!), but instead I’ll let just do a picture dump of my week!

My beautiful Grandmother (aka – Nanie)!

In Virginia, you can walk into a Farm Fresh and grab a six-pack of beer.  In Pennsylvania, you buy it by the case from the beer distributors (at this local shop I met some of the nicest people ever… who said northerners were rude?!)

Victory Lager.... my favorite!  A case of these came home with me!

Enjoyed some Victory from the local Brewery in Downingtown (I am obsessed with this place and their beers on tap!)

We checked out a local antique shop where I snagged a sweet hard shell travel case!  Can’t wait to use it in the new house!

my little brother needs a puppy!!

Got to meet my cousin’s new fur-baby, Paisley!  She was a big hit with everyone!

Helped Nanie set the plates for Thanksgiving with my mom’s side. (Small table this year since my aunt and uncle are off vacationing on a cruise)  These plates have been at my Nanie’s house for decades!  They always brought up so many great childhood memories.  After each of her grandchildren talked about wanting her set one day, she went out and found all the pieces to make us each our own sets to have!  I mean, that little spitfire Italian lady was determined!

Charades has become the family tradition after dinner with my dad’s family!  The uncles start to get a bit competitive!

Drove through the mountains!  Downingtown, PA is breathtakingly picturesque (though I may be biased!)

Last stop before home, we took Nanie to the Brandywine River Museum.  They were decorating for Christmas and had some amazing ornaments made from all natural items found in the Brandywine River Valley.  Also had a full size train exhibit and dollhouse showcase!  She seemed to have a great time and I loved her stories as we passed all the old dolls!

Sadly it’s time to be back home and to get back to the real world of meetings and deadlines.  No more late night games of “Things” over beers with the cousins.
How was your Thanksgiving Holiday?!
{Gotta love my quality iPhone pictures… and I had my DSLR in my bag the whole time!  My new year’s resolution may be to use it more!}