January 27, 2012

random musings friday: 01.27.12

Here we are already at the LAST full week of January. Where is the time going?!?!? Let's jump right into Random Friday Musings, thanks Shana for hosting this each week!

  1. When it comes to planning dinners at our house Mike and I do a half and half thing each week. I pick about 3-4 meals to purchase and prepare and he picks 3-4 as well. This week I was feeling a bit uninspired we eat the same stuff all. the. time! Then while browsing on pinterest I found a recipe that Kallay had pinned that sounded not only healthy but amazing! It was Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli. Let me just tell you, I'm a sucker for roasted vegetables and this recipe knocked my socks off. Thanks so much Kallay for pinning and sharing it, AND for mentioning in your pin you'd like to add garlic in the mix. The idea was genius and put the meal on a whole different level. This will definitely be a new staple in my meal rotation!
  2. I'm back on my Green Monster kick again. I've been doing my best to eat as clean as possible. I decided to rethink my resolution and instead of just trying to workout to lose weight, I'd try to eat better for my health. I don't want to make the common diet mistake I've made for years where I tell myself food is off limits because it's "bad". That just makes me want it more. In the end I figured if I can eat at the least 80% clean each day if not more then I'll be doing right by myself and hopefully see results in not just my weight but feeling better as a whole. I'm tired of the "diet" food they market. Low calorie this, and low fat that. Why not just eat whole foods with vitamins instead of always trying to count all my calories. It's exhausting. The Green Monster Smoothies I felt would be a great way to get more vegetables and greens in my system as well as fill me up in the morning. So far so good. I've had one for the past 3 days for breakfast and instead of being SO hungry by 10:30-11:00 am I'm ready for a simple snack. My monster recipe right now: 2 huge handfuls of spinach, half cup plain greek yogurt, 1 cup fresh orange juice [or apple], 1 banana, honey for sweetness and ice cubes. Blend and take with me to work. I want to switch it up, here and there and get some berries or kale to toss in the mix. Wish me luck!
  3. Mike has declared he wants to no longer grocery shop at Walmart. FINE BY ME! We usually go there because the prices are the best but I will be honest the selection isn't always the best and dealing with half the patrons there drives us both nuts. By the time we get to the checkout we are both stressed out, frazzled and annoyed. Who wants to feel that way after a long day at work? Not me. So he wants to see how well we can do shopping and money wise at our local grocery stores. We also sort of want to take a small stand against Walmart as well. We are currently in the process of getting a Publix here locally. It will be the first NICE grocery store chain to come to this area. We have Food World, Foodland and Piggly Wiggly but all of these seem very old school compared to what most people have in stores like Safeway, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc. A Publix would be a dream. Only issue is that construction for the new store has been put on hold due to Walmart deciding they are going to open not 1 new store in the area, but possibly two! This causes HUGE competition for Publix. You know they won't have food prices that are close to Walmart, but I tell you what I bet the quality will be 100% better. I'm over having to pick through bruised onions to find an "OK" onion. And I'm frankly really tired of having to deal with the lack of selection of meat, there is no butcher on sight and the seafood is laughable at best. Fingers crossed Publix actually opens but in the meantime we'll take our chances at the local small grocery stores. I would really LOVE to have a grocery store here that had a salad bar like the Giant did where I used to live. I'd eat lunch there EVERY DAY! Mike feels the more we buy local the more we will help our economy and I agree with him 100%. The more we can stick it to "the man" of the big corp. stores like Wally World the better I feel about where my money is going.
  4. You know how last week I told you we finally started watching It's Always Sunny in Philly... well now I'm dreaming about them. In the sense that Mike and I are living in their town and hanging at the bar. I need help...
  5. I got asked if I had Super Bowl plans this week... and for the first time in YEARS I could honestly say I didn't. Where I live I am the only one of my girl friends that TRULY is into NFL. I have a few girlfriends that root for teams but I doubt they tune in each week like I do. With that in mind it seems pointless to hold a Super Bowl party for people that A) don't care about NFL and B) don't care about either team in the running. If your team is in the running, congrats and may the best team win! {Shana I hope your boys are victorious, that's just my two cents!} 
That is all I got today - I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I'm looking forward to the sunshine in the forecast!!! I am so over rain!

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January 25, 2012

wedding wednesday: the rehearsal

So here it is wedding wednesday again and I figured I would talk to you about the rehearsal dinner. I wanted to break all of this up bit by bit not just to take it easy on myself in writing these posts but also so that you weren't taken over by a million things I wanted to talk about that happened on my big day!

I was told over and over again that I was a very chill and laid back bride. Most of my vendors would tell me over and over how thrilled they were to be working with Mike and I. This always made me feel amazing. The only time I did have a melt down other then the issue with me fearing I picked the wrong dress, was the evening of the rehearsal.

I am however getting ahead of myself. Friday morning I woke up ready to rock and roll. Mike and I had gathered all the items we needed to take with us to the resort in anticipation of leaving semi early in the morning. I was due to be at the resort Friday by noon. The organizers for our wedding we going to be there to meet with us to make sure everything was set up as needed in the hall for the reception and if anything needed to be changed they would make it happen. As we were loading the Jeep I felt great.... but we were running a bit late. Fast forward to a few moments after that... I started to feel horrible. Delayed hangover, such fun. Apparently we all partied WAY too hard the night of the Meet n' Greet. The only cure for this was food - when we arrived at Burger King they informed us that they stopped serving breakfast ... it was 10:15 AM!!! WTF? I've heard of 10:30 but that's just lame BK! So we opted instead for the gas station. Yes you read that right... the gas station. It was close and on our way. Thankfully this gas station was known for good biscuits and breakfast. I however had other ideas in mind, the minute I saw PIZZA I knew it was clear. 1 slice of cheese pizza and a coca cola and this bride-to-be would be set. It took me a long time to eat that single slice, lots of deep breaths but I did it!

Thankfully some of my bridesmaids had stayed at the resort Thursday night so they could be there to meet the organizers if needed. We arrived and I gave huge hugs to those that couldn't be at the meet n' greet and we got down to business. It was time to decorate. With my crew of bridesmaids and friends we got the hall all decked out within about an hour. Which was great. I never thought hung over women would work so well but we did!!!

After that we all decided naps were in order and retreated to our rooms. I couldn't sleep... instead I set up my suite so that it would be organized the next morning. I laid out all my accessories, perfume, make-up, anything I'd knew I'd need. Hung up my outfit for the evening and placed all the gifts for my girls neatly on the table. I had a huge suite in anticipation for the hair and make-up girls that would be doing all our hair the next morning, and basically it was the "honeymoon-esque" suite in the resort. I tried to lay down but was too excited... and it was strange being away from Mike. He had his own room on the other end of the hotel. I texted him to ask what he was up to... turns out he was hanging with my friend's husband and invited me down.

I spent most of the afternoon with my bridesmaid A and her husband B we all had a ball. I was thrilled to have this time with them since they weren't able to make it to the meet n' greet the night before. The hours flew by and before I knew it I was rushing back to my room to get ready.

At this point I discovered how burned I was from the tanning bed. Not brutal but it was pretty bad... needless to say I can see in my make-up it was WAY too light for my berry shaded skin [you'll see in pictures]. 

All of us met and waited at the patio for the rehearsal. I didn't have a wedding coordinator, and sort of wish I had gotten one just for the managing of this part of the big day. We asked Mike's Aunt and Uncle to help us out the day of but his uncle was ill that evening and not able to make it down for the party.

MOH T, Maid K, Myself {with the wrong shade of make-up}, Maid A, Maid K and my Jr. Maids T & R

As you can see the dress was casual, we were after all at a wilderness resort, that and it was FREAKING COLD OUT! I was originally going to wear a blazer, but the temperature had dropped so much in the days before the wedding it made doing that impossible so I opted for my back-up wrap around sweater to keep me warm.

Once the sun started to set we had everyone there and accounted for and then it hit me. I had all the important info about who was walking with who in my head but when asked how it was going to run, I forgot it all. Thankfully my MOH saw my look of distress and can always tell when I'm freaking out on the inside and she hunted down some paper and a pencil and wrote it all down for me. Once all lined up and ready to rock I felt better, but something as small as this made me near tears, the disorganization of it all. Seriously, I hate that. But everyone assured me all rehearsals are like this. Funny I've been in a lot of weddings [see all the girls above, yeah minus one I was in ALL their weddings, well not the little ones jeez!] and I NEVER remember it being THAT chaotic.

We ran through the ceremony a few times and felt like we all had a firm grip on it and decided it was time to party!!!

Mike's mother set up an UNBELIEVABLE party for us at one of the pavilions located on the land surrounding the resort. She had everything decked out in fall colors, she even brought TONS of mums to decorate the entire area. I wish, wish, wish I took better pictures, but I didn't. Martha Stewart would have been floored ya'll his mom is amazing!!!

Mike and I arrived to the party fashionably late to a loud round of applause it was a bit overwhelming and I almost cried. There was GREAT food his mom got from our favorite BBQ place in town, as well as great cake and wine! We had a BYOB policy for everyone and I planned to bring smores for the kids but forgot so they got marshmallows only - I mean I should have remembered it's like I was getting ready for my wedding or something ;)

{Mike's mom has all the amazing pictures, but I have to get them from her}

The Father of the Bride and all her maids n' friends from Maryland!

My maids totally BRIDESMAID-ED me with this gift. Between them and their husbands they made a box of memories and objects that reflected those memories. Each maid and their husband chose something that was a total inside joke to us all. Needless to say Mike's family then learned how loud I can fart, how I love to scream about Nascar when I'm drunk "LIL E IS GAWD!", how many tattoos I have [not a secret], and many other SWEET memories as well. They also learned about the time I stole a parking cone from my old home town one night while drinking and didn't realize I had done it when I sobered up the next AM and asked why there was a cone in my trunk... good times!!!

At around 10:30 PM the park ranger told us it was time to wrap up the party, which we were all OK with considering it was freezing, the fire was dying down and the food and beer were both slowly running out. We all helped Mike's mom clean up the place and migrated back to the hotel. Mike quickly piped up that he would be taking the Keg from the rehearsal dinner {our contribution} down to his hotel room and that the party was not over!!!

All of the "youngin's" and my father and his friend came down to our party. Seriously it was like when you were in high school and your older friends scored a hotel room and some booze and you'd all go party the night away... What? You didn't do that? To warn you myself and all my friends are 30+ years old. We have a few 20 somethings in the mix but everyone was legal at this hotel party. Some people just stopped by for a few drinks and conversation then left... the ones that left missed one hell of a throw down. I was supposed to duck out at midnight... tradition and all. Mike came over and kissed me and said "It's almost midnight, do you have to go?" and I whined like a 4 year old stating I didn't want to leave all my friends were partying... so we both decided to say screw it to tradition and I stayed well into the evening... I think we all retired around 2 AM! Hair girls were coming at 9 AM thankfully I didn't get wasted... whew!

{may I remind you I said we're all 30 something...}

 Groom Keg Stand... awesome!
 I had NO clue then and I still have none!
FOR THE RECORD: That boa was supposed to make it to the photobooth for the reception... annnd we couldn't find it the next morning!
 Who need strippers when you have best friends?
FINAL PLANK OF THE EVENING... but NOT the weekend!!!

Bottom line we had a BLAST!!! I can't believe we didn't get kicked out of the hotel we were extremely loud!!! Up next... preparing for the big day & First look photos!
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January 20, 2012

random musings & confession friday 1.20.12

Let's get this started the weekend is almost here no time to waste!!!

Join the fun & link up with Shana over at 
  1. Tuesday was interesting, on my way to pick-up Mike for lunch [we eat together everyday] I got to hear one of my old school songs on the radio. It's bad enough that I get excited to hear "Ice Ice Baby" on the radio these days, but what is worse I actually know every. single. lyric. to that song. No lie. I was rapping my little white heart out. Later that evening when I went to pick-up Mike after work [we also carpool everyday] as I was flipping through channels on the radio I came across another HUGE favorite in my high school years... B.B.D.'s "Poison". Truly a great day for radio play - my lesson learned "You never trust a big butt n' a smile."
  2. Oddly enough on Thursday morning while riding to work the radio decided to do a throw back on me again and play Kriss Kross' "Jump". I realized that while I was rapping the ENTIRE song word for word that my mother was right. She said that if my studies were rap songs I'd get straight A's. I don't remember a single lesson from most of my high school or college courses, unless challenged while watching Jeopardy, but I can damn sure tell you "Everything is the back with a little slack, cuz inside out is wigity-wigity-wigity-whack!"
  3. Am I the only one that wasn't surprised by the discovery that Paula Dean has Type 2 Diabetes?
  4. Alabama player Kilpatrick declared he's going to enter himself into the NFL draft... a few days later he was busted for possession of weed. Classy, dude. I hope that even though he's not under Nick Saban's wing any more that Saban rips him a new asshole, for being one! Roll Tide!
  5. I was going to save this for a "She Tried It" segment but decided I'd just share it here since it's rather random. I tried a Big Mac for the first time in my life on Wednesday. Yes I'm 35 and I had never eaten a Big Mac. It never appealed to me and I honestly had the fear that I would LOVE it to the point that I'd want to eat them all the time. It's not the worst menu item at McDonald's but it's certainly far from the best. 530+ calories no thanks. I tried it, it was alright but I think if I had a moment where I had to feed the McD's craving I'd much rather just go with the Cheeseburger, plain, basic and small w/ some small fries. So there you have it, not earth shattering at all. I'd like to thank Kathryn over at omnivore100project for inspiring me to try it, and thank my stomach for not being head over gut for it! Whew... bullet dodged.
  6. Work is feast or famine right now. Last week I was bored out of my mind this week my brain is spinning. It is what it is. I'm just thankful I have a job and that I'm busy again so please don't take this as bitching!

Step into the Confessional... man I miss Real World circa the 90's!

Link up withe Leslie over at A Blonde Ambition
  • I need a hair cut so bad. I haven't had it trimmed since well... before my wedding. Probably three weeks before my wedding. It's horrible. I look like a Redneck trying to be Kim Kardashian. Only these aren't extensions and they damn sure aren't shining like her hair does. I just can't decide if I want to go shorter, or keep it fairly long. OH the choices!
  • I also need a pedicure, or maybe just an all over spa day. If only that shiz was free.
  • After months of living out of my suitcase [October - November I left my clothing in there from the honeymoon and then November - NOW from my trip back home to see my dad]. I finally reorganized my clothing. Let me be clear, I still did laundry, Mike did laundry, and I still had clean clothing. I just continued to place all the clean folded clothing on top of said suitcase and used that as my means as to put clothing away. Nothing has been hung since October, or before that. It's just sad. Finally the other night I had enough of it and put all my clothes away. It's amazing how much it decreases stress in the AM about what to wear when you can easily see all your clothing hanging in front of you.
  • I don't care about the Super Bowl now. None of the teams I have stock in are currently in the running so I'm done. I guess I'll just watch the commercials. That being said, you all know I like the Mannings so I guess I'll be pulling for Eli to get to the big game.
  • I still have Christmas decorations up in the house. Mike took down the outdoor ones so that we didn't look too bad to the neighborhood but the inside is still full of holiday cheer. At least in my defense we thought my dad might be down shortly after the holidays for a late Christmas. He hasn't made it yet so we are finally going to tackle that this weekend.
  • I was supposed to start Turbo Fire last week... didn't happen. After getting sick I felt it would be wise to rest and then start fresh next week. I gotta get myself motivated... apparently tight jeans aren't enough to get my ass moving just yet!
  • I jump on the badwagon late with a lot of things [tv shows, trends, smartphones, hunger games - still haven't bothered to buy it]. So this really shouldn't be a surprise or a confession but... Mike and I finally watched a few episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philly... and now I'm totally hooked. Why do I always wait so long? I LOVE IT!
via IMDB
Well there you have it folks - my confessions and musings! I hope you all have a great weekend! We don't have any plans as of yet, so I'm hoping for a mellow weekend! 

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January 18, 2012

take action!

Wedding Wednesday is on hold this week - I will double up next week and bring you the Rehearsal Dinner and Getting ready all together [possibly even first look images].

Instead I thought it was more important to pass this on in hopes that many of you will sign this petition. There isn't much to say - fellow blog pals if you don't like the idea of being censored or told how to run your blog or website please take time to sign this petition. Censorship sucks, Freedom of Speech Rocks! Tell Congress: Don't Censor the Web!

SIGN HERE: https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/
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January 16, 2012


Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. To most it's just another day off work but to me it is a day to honor a man I've looked up to since the day I learned about him in school. I always reflect on his wise words in the speech he gave on August 28, 1963 in Washington, DC. I don't have much to say other than the fact that he will always be a hero of mine and his words still ring true and while much has been done to make his dream come true we still have a long way to go, in my opinion.

via ABC News

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
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January 13, 2012

random musings & confession friday: 1.13.12

Happy Friday everyone!!! I wanted to do a few fun things today. I'm an avid read of Shana's blog Fumbling Towards Normalcy and I've been trying to stay active in participating with her Random Musings Fridays. I'm also an avid reader of Leslie's awesome blog A Blonde Ambition ! Leslie does a great Friday Confessional post each week and I decided I would jump in and join the party on that as well. So here goes folks, a 2 for 1 deal on a Friday. My musings and my confessions - I can tell you're totally beside yourself with excitement to know what's on my mind. *wink* Maybe one day soon I will do a few more of my Fixation Fridays as well, but for now I'm on a roll with this.

  1. Here it is Friday and I still feel like I'm nursing a WIN hangover from Monday's BCS Championship win by Alabama. Yeah... and I'm still talking about it. Bottom line the hangover feeling is due to lack of sleep not having fun beverages.
  2. When I went to the doctor on Wednesday I got a Cortisone shot in my hip. I've never had one of these and while it knocked the funk out of my adnoids and system I don't think I ever want another one ever again in my life. I couldn't sleep at all that night. Wide awake, making lists, thinking about tons of random things [should have made a list for this] and just overall had a piss poor night of rest. 
  3. We finally got a dusting of snow and ice here in the South. I'm excited about this but I can't help but chuckle when I see how "Southerners" behave when this happens. 1 flake = total excitement. I guess as a former Northern/East Coast girl I'm a bit jaded and tend not to react in the same way, but I do love watching it fall, even if it doesn't last.
  4. With all the money we have to pay in Alabama state taxes - I will say I really wish they'd put that money toward getting some salt trucks here. We don't get a lot of snow, but we get lots of bad ice and there roads are NEVER treated. It's horrible, dangerous and I think the State needs to recognize this.
  5. We have no set plans this weekend and I'm really excited about this. I'm still feeling the effects of being sick and run down [lack of sleep] and I think it might be a great weekend to finally lay low, and possibly watch Lonesome Dove. It's Mike's most favorite thing on earth and he's talked about it non-stop since the day we met. I guess 7 years is long enough to wait right?
  6. If we're watching a western mini-series all. day. long. I hope he plans to make some pioneer food or some biscuits to go with it.
  7. I was supposed to start back on Turbo Fire on Monday. That didn't happen, not for lack of desire either. We spent the entire weekend straightening and organizing the mancave aka workout room AND I set my alarm to get up early Monday, but was too exhausted. As the day drug on I felt more run down and worse. By the time I got home, I was miserable. I called my father for our weekly chat, made dinner and watched the BCS game. I figured I could start new on Tuesday... well my body had other plans. After feeling sick, miserable and feeling like I threw my back out. Turbo Fire was out the door. If I get enough rest this weekend, it's GAME ON for Monday.
  8. My back is still wrecked and I think if I feel up for it I'm going to do some Yoga X from P90X on Saturday to see if I can loosen up a bit. Wish me luck!
  9. My Super Bowl prediction for teams is Ravens vs. Packers. I would love to see the Saints in there again, and it pains me to say I think the Ravens will go all the way, but it's just my gut feeling.
  10. It will pain me to root for the Patriots because I am really not a fan of them or Tom Brady... but I will do so this weekend. And you all know why.

Here goes my first stab at confessions for this week....

  1. Due to my lack of sleep I've been staying up a bit later than Mike. While he's asleep next to me I channel surf and I will be honest there isn't jack on that late at night. The past few nights I've found myself actually watching the Jersey Shore. Ugh - I know when it first came out I thought it was fun and comical but now it's just down right redic! I am SO over these douche bag kids thinking they are celebrities. They truly drive me crazy now. In watching the past two episodes of the new season I am convinced of one thing - there is nothing positive they add to this earth and Vinnie is a baby. Get over yourself dude. He's full of #firstworldproblems for sure. I know you miss your family but you are getting paid to live at the beach, party and do whatever you want for how many weeks? Get over it.
  2. I am totally jealous of Mike's new smart phone. He and I decided to get on a family plan after the first of the year because well, we're family now. I am not due for an upgrade until June and I'm dying to get a new phone. Neither of us had a smart phone until now and I was on the fence about going iphone or droid... I'm still a bit on the fence but after seeing all the great stuff that his android phone can do, that iphone keeps claiming is exclusive to them only I'm almost 99% convinced I can tell the iphone to take a walk off a short pier and get a phone like his.
  3. I ate fried food 3 days in a row this week. So much for getting healthy right? I've had fried chicken, fried pork chops and left over fried pork chops. Thank goodness last night's dinner was made up of baked chicken [no skin], sweet potatoes and green beans! I need a detox.
So there you go - my confessions and my musings. I will try to give you more dirt next week.
I hope everyone has a great weekend. Good luck to all my friends that have teams in the playoffs still! I myself and happy I don't have to "stress" about football until next year.

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January 11, 2012

wedding wednesday: meet n' greet

It's that time of the week again. Wedding Wednesday! I almost didn't post this today because I'm feeling under the weather, but I'm on a roll with posting so far in the new year and didn't want to lose my steam.

When we set out to plan our wedding we knew we wanted it to reflect our personalities and be rustic, but fun, even a bit old fashioned. We tried to show this not only in the Save the Date Cards [see below] but also the other invites we sent to all our guests.

SAVE THE DATE... OPPS too late it's over, sorry folks!

I originally wanted it to say "Are Gettin' Hitched" but I thought I should stick with a semi formal "getting married." Yeah, I chickened out. All invites/printed items were designed in partnership with Mike. We are both graphic designers and it seemed silly to pick something out of a book. I was foolish and decided to have our Save the Date card drilled at the top to allow for ribbon to be connected. It was adorable but let me be the first to say that if you are doing most of your invites and assembling alone - DON'T do this. We sent out a little over 100 invites to friends and family and let me tell you I was SO sick of ribbon I could have died! We chose a slightly pale sage-ish green ribbon, and the invite was printed in deep brown ink on kraft paper stock - which had bits of fleck in it and is a bit imperfect which is JUST what we wanted. Mike is always helpful with projects I take on but I didn't want him to be bothered with having to tie all the ribbons even though I KNOW he would have helped me and offered at great lengths to do so. I took his offering of help and used 100% in creating our invites [more on those in future posts].

Our wedding was by no means a destination wedding for Mike and I but it was for most of our family and friends. We had it here, close to home and close to the majority of his immediate family. My family is very small it consists currently of myself, my father, 2 cousins and their families and my Aunt and Uncle, all on my father's side of the family. As many of you may know my mother passed away a few years ago, and most of the family I knew personally from her side have since passed as well. Knowing that the majority of my guests were friends made it a bit easier to plan an in state wedding. We had considered going to Maryland to have the wedding but I wanted things to be as easy as possible not only on Mike and I in the planning process but his mother and father as well. His immediate family is huge, and I'm sure adding travel to the amount of money Mike's family was going to spend for our big day would only add to the lump sum they were going to have to spend.

Knowing we'd have so many friends and family from out of town coming in to celebrate, and most of which would be there early Mike and I devised a plan to have a "MEET N' GREET" night before wedding formalities were in full swing. We picked our favorite restaurant and bar to be the meeting place and reserved the patio for our fun evening of drinks, dinner and socializing. I'm not sure where I got the idea for the Meet n' Greet but I am glad I did. Most of my friends from back home hadn't met Mike's family yet, and my father had only had limited time to socialize with them as well. My best friends, ARE my family so I wanted time for them and Mike's family to get familiar with each other before the formal festivities!!! We had excellent weather for weeks leading up to the wedding weekend. It was warm, comfortable and most guests would be pleased. However, right before the wedding weekend it got colder locally and we were forced to take over the back room at the restaurant instead of the fun patio. It was simply, too chili to be out there for an extended amount of time.

The day of the Meet n' Greet:
My bridesmaids had been texting me all morning long on Thursday. The best was from my oldest friend, she and I met in middle school when she was new to our town and school. We've been friends ever since. We lost touch after college and thanks to the magic of facebook reunited and it truly feels like we haven't missed a beat. She texted me that she almost missed the plane. She and her husband had been taking their time to get to the gate and decided they wanted a Bloody Mary before the trip. Needless to say they made the flight when someone came searching for them but it made for a great story because the rest of my bridal party that was flying in for the big show were on the same flight!!! HA!

All the girls and their hubby's took separate rental cars from the airport due to staying in different locations that night and thus leading to different arrival times. My phone was buzzing NON-STOP! My girls were excited and so was I. I had told the girls that it may be fun to meet at the Marriott for lunch. Mike and I had been there a few times for happy hour and while the price of food is a bit over the top, we knew it was the perfect place to meet since a few of the girls were staying there for that evening. I wanted to make it easy on them since they had just flown into town.

Once at the hotel, I could hear them in the dining area - always a great sign right? Then again when you've been sippin' on cocktails all morning on a flight there's bound to be some loud talking! It was so great to see them all!!!! I almost cried. This marked the first time all my friends had come to Alabama [NOT counting the Maid of Honor and one of my maids making it for my bridal shower, a couple weeks before, as a surprise!!!]  But this marked EVERYONE I loved the most being there with me!!! Talk about wanting to well up!

Introductions were made as needed once a few other friends showed up with their husbands - Mike has met nearly everyone but at the same time there is always one or two people he has yet to meet properly.

Bless our server's sweet little heart... and all those around us!
MOH & Groom to Be!
Drinks were flowing, conversations were loud, enjoyable [at least for our table] and it was like old times! A happy hour style lunch for sure!!!
Dear friends, P, T {MOH} myself laughing while picture is being taken, and K {Bridesmaid}
Bridesmaid & MOH take over the Marriott Lobby! Heaven help the staff!!! And yes, she's planking!
After Lunch Mike and I finished up other things we had on our to-do list. Which mind you was pretty difficult with the buzz I had caught while eating lunch with my girls and their hubby's. Maryland KNOWS how to party!!!

Before I knew it, it was time for dinner at the Meet n' Greet. I realized by this time I had gotten a bit PINK in the tanning bed and wasn't pleased about it. I hadn't tanned in over 10 years!!! I was against it and fearful for skin cancer etc. Well I dropped that for 3 days so I could have some color on my big day and got too much on the final day. Thankfully it toned down but that is why I look like a ROSEY WOMAN in all these last pictures! 

MOH & I at dinner
K, My dad & MOH, T • Everyone loves this man!!!
We have quite a few pictures from the dinner but I figured I wouldn't bore you with the images. Let's just say dinner was great, delicious, we filled the entire back room with bodies and laughter and I had about 3 of those drinks in front of me {Captain n' Diet}.

We then decided to let the responsible adults take the kids home.... and the rest of us went out to our favorite watering hole downtown to continue the party. Joined by both FRIENDS and FAMILY!

Yes, she's planking... K started a trend this weekend passed down from her cousins. Needless to say it was a bit hit!!!

Mike, myself and my new family - 3 of my brother-in-laws, my Father-in-Law & My Sister-in-law
{I have 2 other SIL's and one more BIL as well - SEE HUGE FAMILY!}

LOVE this picture - we had a blast!!!

And we paid for it... trust me Friday morning I ate Gas Station Pizza for breakfast on my way to the resort!  Yes I said Gas. Station.  - classy!

I hope you enjoyed it I know we did - next up! The Rehearsal dinner!
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January 10, 2012

we did it!

Lucky #14! Well done Crimson Tide and Saban!!!
BCS CHAMPIONS 2011       Alabama 21 • LSU 0
via google • Saban is one happy camper for sure! RTR!
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January 09, 2012

the good, the bad and the ugly.

I was going to save this post for my bi-weekly posting over at From the Sidelines but I just couldn't hold it in any longer. Plain and simple, last night sucked, big time. The Steelers lost to the Broncos and my worst enemy, Tim Tebow. I brought this on myself I was the first to say last Friday that Tebow will knock my team out of the playoffs and take the Steelers down, it would be just my luck for this to happen. And you know what... it did. GRRRR!

My only mental saving grace is that A) our team wasn't at 100% with our line-up and B) Now I can relax. Sure I wanted my boys to go all the way but let's be realistic, we aren't operating with a full starting line up, we are battered, beaten and would still have to make it through New England AND my best guess would be the Ravens in order to make it to the big game. Yes that is my prediction as much as I hate to see it happen I think the Ravens have a great shot of making it to the Super Bowl this year.

Tim Tebow. Even if I think he's BAD, he's still good. The world's golden boy. There is no denying that Tebow is a good kid. I'm just not a fan, the boy gets under my skin. I can't say anything more positive than that he's a good kid so I'll stop there. [You do realize this is killing me not to go all word vomit about him right?]

Steelers are out of the playoffs and I'm pissed but coping as well as a fan can at this point. As stated above, we could have done better, much better and frankly why the fuck didn't we try for that field goal to win the game? Sure all the odds were stacked against us, and it had never been done before but why on earth would you back down from a chance. Their Fear: Oh the ball might get tipped, the Broncs might run it back for a touch down - well GUESS WHAT... they did that anyway in overtime and we were hung out to dry. I am all about taking chances, and that was one I feel we could have risked. No guts, no glory.

I can't believe I'm going to admit this... but here goes. Last night before the game they were showing pre-game interviews with Tebow [my eyes just rolled as I typed this]. Tebow was discussing his excitement about playing against the Steelers and how he has watched them for the past decade and always admired them. Nice suck up Tebow, very sweet of you. In the process of watching this and trying not to get my eye balls stuck in the back of my head I started to joke with Mike about Tebow's lovely sore on his lip. Be it from a bump at practice, or an actual cold sore I didn't care - I started to bust on him wondering how his virgin ass contracted herpes. Well... I guess the joke was on me... after the loss I sulked... I watched Cleveland Show, Family Guy and American Dad and then went to bed... this morning I went to the bathroom and noticed I had gotten a sore on my lip, a blister if you will, over night. SERIOUSLY!?! I never get cold sores, blisters or anything funky on my lip unless they are overly chapped. I guess this is my payment for busting on one of the flock. Tebow got me back - divine justice for the golden boy. That makes me the "UGLY" for being ugly.

[You know where my heart lies]
via google • SEC, SEC, SEC, SEC

I guess either way this ends, SEC is a clear winner. But for me I will only be pleased if Bama takes the win to give us 14 National Championships.  For the record, I will say that normally LSU is one of my top five favorite SEC teams but tonight they are the enemy!

Now if you will excuse me, I've got to go find a way to hid my nasty lip AND get some things ready for the REAL game of the season! Alabama takes on LSU for the BCS National Championship. All I can say is ROLL MUTHA F'IN TIDE and I hope to end on a high note - after last night I don't know how much more I can take.

LESSON: Don't ever bust on Tebow... you might end up with bad hair, a sore on your lip or worse. He apparently IS the messiah and we should all bow down to him. Yeah, that isn't going to happen.
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January 05, 2012

she tried it, and...

One of my goals for 2012 was to try new foods. This goes hand in hand with not only trying new foods but also at times trying to be more healthy. I figured I'd start a new little thing of "She tried it, and...." I'll let you know what I've tried and whether or not I liked it, or hated it.

I got the year started off right - almost by accident with this goal of trying new things. I hoped to at least once a month, try a new food. After a long, emotional day on New Years Day. Saying good-bye to Mike's great uncle and witnessing the most amazing military funeral, his family and I decided we would meet up for dinner. Not many places, of the affordable nature were open on New Years Day so we opted for Cracker Barrel. Yes I realize that this isn't really healthy eating 101, but it was homestyle, comforting and nice to have the family at a table together, and for once letting his mom who usually prepares all our family meals, get a chance to rest after her long weekend of caring for her Aunt and family.

I settled on the Chicken and Dumplings and lots of veggies. Sure they were covered in butter but like I said I was going for comfort food. That being said, I did make an effort to not eat myself silly. All of the items on my plate were things I had tried before, but Mike's brother's girlfriend, B had brought his father some Black Eyed Peas from her grandmother. The tradition of pork and black eyed peas is a big one here in the South and Mike's dad was not going to be content until he had some. This also was not a new meal for me. Mike's father passed around the bowl of good faith and luck to us all who wanted to eat a bit and Mike and I took our share of a few bites on our plate. They were tasty and I could almost feel the happy thoughts for 2012 fill my belly.

B also had another bag hidden in her purse and passed that out as well. Apparently her grandmother armed her with an arsenal of good luck food to come to our meal with. Almost as if we were at the movies smuggling in our own candy we passed the bag around the table. Normally I would have freaked out when she told me what it was, but I'm feeling more adventurous these days. B explained it was hog jaw. Funny, it looked like bacon. Mike grabbed a bit and handed his brother and I the bag. His youngest Brother [he has 3 brothers and 2 sisters, big family!] and I agreed to split a piece but with a rush of courage I stated that NO I would just get my own and try it all.

Here I was sitting at a table holding a bit of hog jaw in my hand. It looked like bacon, it smelled like bacon but it was much thicker than any slice of bacon I'd ever eaten. I took one moment to think about it and then quickly took a bite. Immediately the flavor filled my mouth and it was amazing. Better than any bacon I had ever tasted. Not quite as gutsy as say eating a pigs foot or cheek but I was eating hog jaw. WOW! And I like it... a lot!

The second item B got me to try was a bite of her cooked cabbage she ordered as a side. I've never liked cabbage unless it was red, raw and in my salad as a child. I'm not a huge fan of coleslaw either but will eat it from time to time if it's tasty. I was hesitant that I wouldn't like it but after taking a bite realized it was delicious. And I started thinking something I might like to add to my book of recipes to cook. The scent of cooked cabbage far outweighs the taste for sure. I was expecting a pungent flavor but it was mild and very, very enjoyable. Eating this takes me one step closer to trying a Reuben sandwich, for which I was always fearful to eat with the tangy cabbage on top.... or SourCRAP as I called it when I was a child.

Boiled Cabbage & Hog Jaw
VERDICT: Delicious! And while I would never make hog jaw at home, I might have to stop by B's grandma's house in the future to get my fix!

P.S. I wasn't 100% in love with the chicken and dumplings from Cracker Barrel. The rest of the veggies were tasty though. I really hate going out to eat and feeling like I could have made the meal better at home, myself. Tip for 2012, if you can make it at home, it's best not to order it while out unless you know it's going to knock your socks off.
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January 04, 2012

wedding wednesday: engagement portraits

With this Wedding Recap I wanted to start from the beginning and work my way to the final days. I realized in all the hustle and bustle of planning my wedding that I never shared with you some of our engagement shots. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to do the engagement pictures. I wasn't where I wanted to be with my weight loss and figured that since we were getting married so soon after our engagement that it might be a waste of time. The more I sat and pondered about this I realized I was being silly - this is a special time in my life and it's something important I'd like to have documented. I was and currently still am struggling with wanting my picture to be taken so this was a big leap for me. I also realized this was the perfect time for Mike and I not only to get used to having the camera focused on us for an extended amount of time but to also get to know our photographer on a more personal level.

Originally I wanted to go with a local couple that own a photo studio downtown. When I contacted them they sadly informed me that they would be busy the weekend of our big day doing a wedding in Mississippi. As I stated in a previous wedding post if you are passionate about a certain vendor such as musicians, chefs or photographers it's best to check with them for their availability before committing to a date or a location for your event. I was a bit up in the air about who to go with and a customer of mine suggested our photographer Breanna Fogg, of Breanna Fogg Photography. Her work blew me away from the moment I saw her website. It was fun, fresh and timeless. Originally I wanted to go with a bit of an old fashioned feel to the images. I loved the soft tones I had been seeing all over the blog-iverse of brides and grooms and engaged couples in the mid afternoon sun. Then the more I thought about it I remembered, hey girl, you're a graphic designer - you can make your images look however you want. It then dawned on me - bottom line is we want great shots! Not just romantic shots. Mike and I agreed 100% that we wanted to go with Breanna and we hired her quickly.

Our first engagement session was scheduled to be at the end of July. I figured it would have been the best time to get some fun shots of us at the creek, and we'd be fully tanned and looking great after our vacation over the first week of July. After returning from our vacation I was thankful that our session ended up having to be rescheduled due to weather [it was a mess that weekend]. The best thing about it was A) I didn't have to melt in the heat and B) My legs were peeling SO bad. I didn't have to have that as a lasting image of myself. I had gotten a wicked sunburn on the back of my body the second to last day of vacation thanks to not reapplying my sunblock!!!

Mike and I decided to reschedule our photoshoot for September. The air would be cooler and that suited both of us really well. We wouldn't get the fun shots we originally anticipated getting at the creek where we kayak, but in the end jeans and light shirts were way more comfortable than a sweat covered face and rings on our shirts, right?

At this point Breanna and I had been chatting via email for a few months and she was always warm, friendly and such a breeze to work with. This was only amplified in meeting her in person. She was a dream.  Breanna met us the day of our shoot - at our favorite watering hole downtown. I was starting to get nervous - the only "photoshoots" I've ever had in my life were uncomfortable class portraits and school pictures - all of which I hated. After a glass of liquid courage we were off to our first location, the railroad bridge where Mike proposed to me.

Sadly at the time of day we got there the lighting was not right so we only got a few pictures on the actual bridge - but the surrounding area made for the best pictures! It was wooded, and the shade helped since I was wearing darker colors and the setting sun was still a little warm, even in September. I do live in Alabama afterall.

Bottom line we had a blast - taking Breanna from place to place around our small town and joking and talking with her. I think she got some amazing shots and I finally felt comfortable in front of the camera. If you're a soon to be bride I truly think getting engagement shots done are worth the money and effort. Especially if you don't know the photographer and want to get comfortable in front of the camera. By my wedding day I was no longer nervous about what I was going to look like, or how I should stand [they will tell you what to do, and if you're lucky like I was, your photographer will fix your hair for you too!]. And I was able to relax and not feel like a Kardashian with a hound of photogs in my face.

So without further delay... here are a few of our favorite shots taken that day, in September before we were Mr. and Mrs.

Breanna - if you are reading thank you again! Working with you made it easy and awesome. You're the best!

All photos taken by Breanna Fogg of Breanna Fogg Photography

This is the bridge where Mike proposed to me... at the verrrrryyyyyy end of the bridge!

our favorite pictures are ones of us laughing together.

Mike thought of using the original printing type for these images I'm so glad he thought of it because it was a great touch! Being graphic designers in the print industry this worked out well to showcase our careers.

Downtown... love this place!

I wish I could remember what he was saying to make me laugh so hard!

Everyone has a "Cheers" in their lives, this is ours!

I hope you enjoyed it! Next up... Wedding Weekend Kick Off - our Meet n' Greet Night before the wedding!
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