Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekending: A Southern Stables Wedding

I've said it before: it's the month of the weddings for John and me, and so far, I'm loving it. This weekend's plantation wedding was about as different as can be from the Philadelphia wedding last weekend! I'll be honest: as much as I enjoyed the big party up north, there's just something so charming about a southern wedding! 
Even when we look fancy we act silly! My mom had to snap a few shots (including John's favorite: the "prom pose") before we journeyed to Morgan and Kevin's wedding. 

A little background: I've known the bride, Morgan, since we were just little ones; she was my kindergarten BFF! We reconnected at Clemson, and her (new!) husband, Kevin, is an electrical engineer- just like John! We were thrilled to get an invite to their special day at Lindsey Plantation. I'd never heard of this place, but it was quite the well-hidden gem! The ceremony took place on a hill overlooking the mountains, and the reception? Well, it took place in some stables. 

If that sounds amazing and beautiful and unique, that's because it was. Here's a closer look inside: 

Those lights!

We ate some yummy food outside at picnic tables since the rain held off the entire night (yay!) and hung out with some horsies (and humans). 

Fields for days.

This picture cracks me up. It totally looks like John is gazing off into the distance thinking some deep thoughts, but I promise he had no idea I was taking his picture! He's just a great model like that ;) 

I got the opportunity to talk with lots of Morgan's family and introduce them to John before we watched the couple's first dance, cake cutting, and all that jazz!

The precious bride and groom- isn't her dress stunning?!

Sadly, we had to leave before the party ended, since the wedding was two hours away and we didn't make any hotel arrangements (read: we're two college students with three weddings in a month... gotta save money where we can!). I'm so happy for this beautiful couple who kept God's love evident throughout their whole wedding. I thought this addition of a Family Scripture Frame was such a special idea that really represented their idea of marriage: 

Although the pastor didn't explain this during the ceremony, the bride's family and the groom's family picked out scripture for the couple to keep displayed in their home and wrote prayers for the couple. 

Just looking at those pictures brings a smile to my face. What a fun weekend! I hope yours was just as wonderful! 

Linking up for the first time with Biana and Meghan!
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Five Essential Pairs of Shoes

Happy Friday, everyone! I warned told you earlier this week that I'd be blogging about shoes again, and I didn't want to disappoint! Here is my top five essential pairs of shoes list- in no particular order! 

1. Jack Rogers. I love, love, love my Jacks. Jack Rogers are a southern staple, and they can be dressed down, or dressed up. I currently have a black and gold pair, from when I was a Wofford Terrier, two pairs of platinum (I just can't get rid of my first pair, no matter how ratty they are!), and a pair of cork wedges I can't decide whether I should return or not (but I'll save that for a different post). If I had to pick just one, the platinum pair are definitely the most versatile- you can wear them with white, black, gold accents, or silver! I know some people say Jacks can be uncomfortable, but I generally don't have a problem with them, unless I'm taking a hike, or something! 

2. Running shoes. If I was actually taking a hike (since I do that all the time.... not.), I would definitely opt for my running shoes. Even if you're not a runner, I have a good feeling you need shoes for when you're active, whether it be working out in the gym, gardening outside, or chasing your little ones around on the playground. I think a good pair of tennis shoes or whatever you want to call them (I just can't do "sneakers") is a staple in every closet. I think my next pair will probably be some form of the Mizuno Wave Riders

3. Wedges. I am kind of in love with these wedges. I searched for the perfect brown, leather pair with jute sides for-eh-ver. Seriously, I've been on the hunt for a new favorite since my last fave pair from American Eagle (yep) died in high school. These Gap wedges are just high enough to add a little bit of sass and dressiness to the more rustic jute on the heel, without making me feel like I'm going to fall and break my neck. So much fun with a sundress and also casual-chic with some white jeans! If you're digging these, you're in luck, because they're actually on sale right now! Lucky ducks! 

4. Riding boots. Kind of like my wedges, I was on the hunt for some riding boots all year last year. Thankfully, I found some Sam Edelmans I love right before Christmas! Now, I'll be honest: I've had problems with the accent buttons falling off, but I think that's just with my pair I got. I've been meaning to exchange them for a new pair, because other than that, these are fabulous! They're pretty plain, which I love (I don't want four zippers on the sides with flashy buckles!), and they're not outrageously overpriced. These are fabulous with skinnies, leggings, or even dresses! 

5. Nude pumps. Kind of like running shoes, every gal needs a pair of sensible nude pumps. They slenderize your legs, and they match everything. Case closed. If you haven't noticed already, I'm pretty picky when it comes to picking out shoes. When I looked for nude heels, I wanted what all girls want: the Kate Middleton look (minus the $325 price tag). I did not want super-chunky platforms, or that weird elf-toe-thing on the front, AKA anything like these shoes. I'm glad I didn't settle, because I finally found the right pair of Steve Maddens at Nordstrom Rack, which meant I also got a great deal! 

Now that I got those new pairs of shoes this week, though, we'll see if these 5 shoes can stay in my essentials... I think I may just have 7 essential pairs now, because Hunters and Chacos serve totally different purposes than these shoes. (Okay, I guess technically Chacos could be replaced with running shoes, but they're so much nicer to wear outside all day in the summer!)  What do y'all think? Did I miss your favorites?

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Shoes are the Best.

As you can see from my post title, I'm obviously in a super-creative mood tonight... Just kidding. This post is indeed about new shoes. 

Alright, now I'm going to warn you: I already started my Five on Friday post before writing this one (I mean, am I on top of things, or what?!), and it's kind-of, sort-of about shoes... Oops. If you're new to my blog and kind of confused (because my blog title doesn't really allude to a shoe obsession),  you're not alone. I'm a little bit puzzled too, because I'm no Carrie Bradshaw, but I'm just gonna roll with it. 

Now back to the post! This week I got not one, but two new pairs of shoes! Score! Technically I received my first pair on my birthday over a month ago... Except when John ordered them the first time, they sent him one black boot (what I wanted) and one navy boot (which wasn't exactly what I'd asked for). Now I'm finally the owner of some Hunter boots! 
Here is one in all its matte black beauty... Thankfully, I now have two of these! In the same color! Woop woop! 

I was super excited about these lovely wellies, and then it was like the shoe fairy saw my excitement and was like, "Oh that's nothing! Haven't you been wanting some Chacos?! Well here's a pair on your doorstep! Ba-bam!" (Sadly, that's not what happened. I used a gift card from John's parents and added some of my own money and then gave it to Nordstrom and ordered shoes and they showed up at my house... But how great would a shoe fairy be?! That'd be way cooler than a tooth fairy.)  
My Snapchat from this afternoon says it all. 

I was conflicted about Chacos; I didn't want to feel like a wannabe. I'm far from earthy and cool and hip. I'm not a serious outdoors(wo)man. I'm also not a girl who wears a Kavu backpack and knows every single person who walks into FCA every week (that is not even close to a diss- just a generalization based on my time at Clemson). Therefore I do not fit into any of the typical Chacos-wearing categories. However, I dig that they're comfy and sporty and perfect for when I want sensible shoes in summer. As much as I love my running shoes, they are pretty miserable to wear all day walking around Carowinds with the girls I nanny. I need shoes that will "let my feet breath a little" and also be exposed to sunlight so I don't have a farmer's tan on my feet (although I do not plan on getting Chacos strap tan lines, either!). 

So what do y'all think: are Chacos and Hunters good additions to my closet? 

The Hump Day Blog Hop

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Delicious Dish Tuesday: Easy, Cheap, and Tasty Mushroom and Cheese Ravioli

Hope everyone has had a terrific Tuesday- tomorrow is Hump Day, and saying I'm ready for that is just a little bit of an understatement! In the meantime, here's a recipe John recently discovered and whipped up for us one night! It took me a while to find the exact recipe on the internet, but apparently it's via Southern Living in 2008. How John found it is beyond me... 

Sautéed* Mushroom and Cheese Ravioli 

  • (25-oz.) package frozen cheese ravioli
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  • *Don't let the word "sautéed" fool you! It isn't hard; it's just a fancy way of saying you chopping something up before stirring it around in a pan with some oil. 

  • Directions
  • 1. Cook ravioli according to package directions in a Dutch oven (or a normal large pan, AKA what John did); drain and keep warm. Wipe Dutch oven clean.2. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter with oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add mushrooms and next 3 ingredients, and sauté 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 3. Reduce heat to low, and stir in ravioli and remaining 1 Tbsp. butter, stirring until butter is melted.4. Add parsley, and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with cheese, and serve immediately.

  • Voila! It's that simple. When you're done, it will look something like this:
Yum! Especially with a light cider on the side! :) 

Looks good, right?! I'm pretty lucky to have a guy who likes to cook, although it's kind of a bummer since both of us would rather cook than clean up dishes... That's a different story for a different post, though! ;) Thanks to Mary, Amanda, and Alesha for another week of Delicious Dish Tuesday! They've inspired me to join in a couple more linkups, too! 

Eat Drink & Be Mary

Martinis & Bikinis

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekend Update

You may recall that on Friday, I took a little trip to Philadelphia with John and his family. Sadly, his dad wasn't able to come, but his mom and older sister Kathryn made the trip and we had a blast! John's cousin Julie got married to Matt- her fiance of 741 days  (Matt counted!). After a long engagement, they were anxious to finally tie the knot! 

Friday night, a shuttle dropped us off at the rehearsal dinner, where we went into a giant private room. I have to admit, we were all a little bummed we didn't get to sit outside in these super cool gliding booths that looked something like this: 

If you're thinking that looks awesome, it's because it is. This picture isn't of the exact ones we saw, but it's the same concept. So cool- especially when the weather is as nice as it was that night!

It's no glider, but at least we got a big yet cozy booth with plenty of delicious food and drinks! 

During the dinner, I had a chance to sit around John's family and catch up with them, which was nice, since they are spread out across the east coast. I especially enjoyed getting to know Brayden, John's adorable second cousin. He's almost three years old now, and he made my night by inviting me to sit next to him and "watch trash trucks" with him. Who knew Youtube videos of garbage could be that exciting?! 
I'm sorry the picture is a little (a lot) blurry, but I was just excited to see someone captured Brayden's sweet kiss on my cheek! 

Sadly, Brayden's interest in me faded when he met Sophia- the flower girl to his ring bearer...

Can you even deal with how precious this picture is?! Here are the kids when they met pre-ceremony.

The bride and groom were the only couple there that could compete with that kind of cuteness:

Thankfully, Julie and Matt didn't kill me when I ambushed them for a picture- right after they thought they were done with all the photographer's posed shots! 

Somehow, my handsome date and I managed to snag the best seat outside for cocktail hour! 

As much as I love swings, I didn't hesitate to give my spot to Brayden. I love seeing John play with kids! He's just so good with them. 

 If you can't tell, Brayden loved playing with John as much as I loved watching them! He snuggled up to John as he ate his (much anticipated) wedding cake! 

Here's John with all of his cousins on one of the pretty spiral staircases- loved this venue's setup! 

After spending Sunday with the family, it was time to head back to the South. We were greeted with this view from the plane:

Welcome home. 

Do y'all love wedding weekends as much as I do?! Seriously, there is something about weddings that speaks to me. There's something so beautiful about promising forever commitment to someone in front of your loved ones and God. I don't categorize myself as an easy crier, but I am the first to admit I'm "that girl" when it comes to weddings. I have to will myself not to cry when I look at the groom looking at the bride walking down the aisle... It's just so sweet! What about you guys? Any favorite wedding moments?

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Five on Friday: See Ya, Spring!

With the crazy humidity and high temps here in SC, it's hard to believe we're just now about to officially enter the summer season! I mean, it was in the upper 90s here all week, for crying out loud! I'll be honest: true southern spring weather is definitely my favorite (sunny, low seventies are perfection in my book!), but there are plenty of redemptive qualities about summer! Who cares if I'm disgustingly sweaty glistening a little two seconds after walking outside, when it means I can layout by the pool reading?! For Five on Friday, here are a few more things I'm looking forward to this summer: 

1. More family time. 
Earlier this week, my sweet mom celebrated her birthday (you may remember her birthday cake from Tuesday's post), and we celebrated my dad on Father's Day the day before. I can't imagine two people more worthy of celebrating! My parents are just the best, and summer means living at home and spending time with them. I know it's rare for a girl in her early twenties to enjoy living with her parents and little brother, but I'm a fan. I know it won't be like this much longer (oh hey, real world!), and I'm soaking it all in! 

Love these peeps. 

2. More Pinterest time. 
Okay, so I'm sort of joking. But really... Today I spent an absurd amount of my morning organizing my Pinterest boards, which is a maddening yet highly satisfying thing. I currently have 49 Pinterest boards, which is probably excessive, but in my defense, my education/school boards are highly specific. For example, math, science, ELA, and social studies each get their own board, because let's face it: I'd never want to hunt for an idea I sort of remembered pinning if I had to scroll through one teaching board with 650 pins. On top of that, all of my boards are in alphabetical order, with all my teacher boards at the bottom, also in alphabetical order, because why not? Some of you may think I have too much time on my hands, but others of you understand, and God bless ya. 

3. Weddings!
By the time this is posted, I'll be at the airport, waiting to board a plane to John's cousin's wedding- the first of three weddings we'll be attending in the next month! Some people may think that sounds dreadful, but I couldn't be more excited! I can't remember a time when I thought weddings were anything less than magical and wonderful, and I just love celebrating love! Especially the unconditional, marriage kind of love! And especially, especially with cake and champagne and dancing! 
4. Workouts
Again, call me crazy, but this is something I'm really digging about this summer. The sweet girls I nanny are eleven, which means they're starting to wake up a little later, and they're usually not awake when I get to their house at 8 am. While I wait for them to finish their beauty sleep, I take advantage of the family's treadmill. It's the super nice kind with a fan, so that's an even bigger win. Here's my favorite little workout to do. Like the name implies, it's great for when you're not "feeling it" when you start your workout (and let's face it, not many of us do). By the end, you're sweating and your endorphins are going, and we all know endorphins make you happy! (If you didn't immediately think of Elle Woods, please reevaluate your life.) 

This blog is definitely my favorite for a mix of health, fitness, fashion, and just life!

5. Reading Seashells and Magnolias
If you like good manners, great sense of style, southern charm, and strong faith, y'all have to check out my sweet friend Christine's new blog! I've been begging her to start her own blog for a while, because she's up to date on every fab lifestyle blog on the block. Plus, she's just the kind of girl whose blog you'd definitely read, you know?! (Please tell me someone out there understands what I mean when I say some people's lives just seem so blog-able!)  I was thrilled to hear she bit the bullet, and I think you will be too! She's a Richmond girl living in Charleston this summer, and I just don't know if you could get any better than that! 

Just thinking about all these fun, summer things makes me so happy- I am one thankful girl! Hope everyone else has a fabulous weekend and a super start to summer! As always, thanks to Darci, Christina, April, and Natasha for hosting Five on Friday! 

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Chelsea's Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Can we pretend it's Tuesday? Don't get me wrong: I'm excited to be one day closer to a long weekend with John and his family, but I really wanted to take part in Delicious Dish Tuesday with my girl Mary! She and a couple other lovely ladies host a linkup where bloggers share their favorite recipes, and this dessert has quickly made it to the top of my must-make list!

Eat Drink & Be Mary

My mom's birthday was Monday night, and while she insisted she didn't want any cake (how am I her daughter?!), I knew I had to make something. Morgan, my brother's girlfriend, suggested I make the same cookie cake I made for her birthday a while back, since it was such a hit! I originally used this recipe from Life, Love and Sugar, but I've made a couple itty-bitty tweaks since then! It's a super easy, yet super delicious, dessert to whip up, and it made it even easier tag-teaming it with Morgan! From the time we got all the ingredients out to the time my mom blew out her candles, it must have been less than an hour. That's the kind of cake I like! 

Here's Morgan with her birthday cake- it was my first time using this recipe!


Cookie Cake
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (Or, if you like instant gratification and don't want to wait for the butter to thaw, just beat it for a little longer than usual! Still tasted great!)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar1 egg
3ish tsp vanilla extract (Don't be afraid of vanilla- I always add a little more than most recipes call for! I know you're supposed to be exact with baking, but I think this is one of the few ingredients you can play around with for flavor. Also, don't skimp: it needs to be the real deal and not some imitation stuff for it to taste out of this world.)
2 cups all purpose flour2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2ish cups milk chocolate chips (AKA we just used the whole bag- minus the few we ate here and there! ;) You could use semi-sweet or even dark, but milk chocolate is our family's chip of choice.) 

Vanilla Buttercream
1/2 cup butter1/2 cup shortening
4 cups powdered sugar (We just used one smaller bag from Publix, which was about 1/4 cup short, but with this kind of frosting, you can't mess up!)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract (Again, it's all preference, but a little extra splash never hurt anyone!)
2-3 tbsp water

Cookie Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Confession: when I remember to preheat the oven before I start baking, I feel like my life is together. 
2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
3. Mix in egg and vanilla extract.
4. With the mixer on low speed, add flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.
5. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick.
6. Chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.  When I made this for Morgan, I chilled it, but we were in a rush (AKA super ready to eat a slice of heaven) so we skipped this and it tasted just as divine!
7. Place parchment paper into the bottom of your cake pan to help the cookie not stick. HA, no. Totally unnecessary, unless you're the fancy kind of person who uses parchment paper regularly, in which case, go for it! However, I've found a bit of Pam Spray works just find. 
8. Spread the dough out into the cake pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool mostly in the cake pan, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Why let it cool completely on a cooling rack when I could just eat it while it's still a little warm and gooey? Yes, it should be cool enough to frost, but a cooling rack isn't really necessary for this to taste incredible. Now, if you want to make it look a little more presentable and pretty and put it on a cute tray, I totally understand. 
10. Frost cake. This dessert is rich, so piping frosting along the edges is really all it needs. Any more than that and you may give yourself a tummy ache! My "frosting gun" John gave me from Wilton is absolutely perfect for this task! 

Vanilla Buttercream *Note: This makes plenty of extra frosting. We only used a 1/4ish of it.*
1. Beat the shortening and butter until smooth.
2. Slowly add 3 cups of powdered sugar. Mix until combined.
3. Mix in the vanilla extract and 1 tbsp water.
4. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add more water to get the right consistency. Like I said, this is sort of an exercise of trial-and-error. You make like your frosting a little thicker, so you'll only use a little water. We used a little more because it was a little easier to mix that way, but do whatever works for you!
5. Add your favorite food coloring to the frosting and mix away! 

The birthday girl with the bakers!

Torturing our poor dog, Bess, with the sight of cake she can't eat...

Hope y'all didn't mind my little annotations too much! I just felt the need to share how easy this cake is to create! Sometimes totally homemade baking intimidates people, and this cake is so good, people will think you worked much harder than you did! I plan on participating in more Dashing Dish linkups this summer, and I think you'll find all of my favorite recipes to be no-fuss yet fabulous. I'm so excited to start sharing some of my favorite creations with y'all, and I'm just as excited to check out some tried and true recipes from other bloggers! Here's to a new linkup! 
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Friday, June 13, 2014

Five on Friday the Thirteenth

Happy Friday, y'all! It's been a while since I've linked up with Christina, April, Natasha, and Darci (before two of them were mamas to precious little girls!) so let's see if I remember how to do this...

1. Full-mooned Friday the thirteenth. 
Today someone on the radio said it was the first Friday the 13th with a full moon since the 1920s or something, but I looked it up and apparently the last one happened in 2000. HOWEVER, that's still a pretty long time (can you believe 2000 was 14 years ago?!), and the next time this happens will be 2049 (according to people who calculate this kind of super important stuff). Let's just hope nothing cRaZy happens! 

2. Nannying Fun. 
I am so excited to be back to some sort of schedule! Seriously, I thrive when I'm busy, and it's a lot easier to stay busy when you have to be at a certain place at a certain time or else you don't get paid the girls you watch are unsupervised! All kidding aside, I do love the twins I watch. This is my second year with them, and they're going to be big, bad middle-schoolers next year! It's so cute to hear them say things like, "I don't wanna go to middle school... I'm embarrassed to change in the locker room for gym!" It's been a while since those days, so it's been fun to go back and remember all the good times I had when I was eleven! 

3. Nannying Fails. 
Like I said, I've been having a blast with the girls. However, it's not all walks to the park and watching card tricks (one of the girls learned a couple on Youtube, and no lie, I was impressed). When I started last week, the girls had just taken a puzzle out of the box. A 2,000 piece puzzle. Before I'd arrived, they'd already taken the whole puzzle out and flipped all the pieces over on the table. Mind you, the table is relatively small compared to 2,000 puzzles pieces, and it was impossible to lay all of the pieces out flat on the table and really get anywhere. I suggested we start with finding the edge pieces, but the girls politely turned me down. People, it is darn near IMPOSSIBLE to complete a 2,000 piece puzzle without having the edge pieces as a frame. For the first few days, I left it alone, because eleven year olds should have the opportunity to make their own decisions and figure it out themselves and I know it probably took a while to turn over 2,000 puzzle pieces, BUT I'm impatient. After pleading my case to the girls ("You guys haven't touched it since last week because it's too difficult to work on in this state"), they gave me the enthusiastic go-ahead (AKA "I guess...") and since then, we (cough, I, cough) have made great strides with the puzzle!  

The current bane of my existence...

4. Faux Calligraphy.
So. When the girls are playing on their computers, I have time to kill, so naturally, I've taken an interest in typography and calligraphy. I realize this is probably incredibly dorky, but I've always had an affinity for paper goods and stationary. I appreciate pretty paper, nice planners, and good pens. (Side note: I recently stumbled into Paper Twist in Charlotte, and I fell head over heels in love with the place.) However, I've never had great handwriting. Sure, I have "teacher" handwriting when I am trying, but I can't do any of the fancy and cute styles naturally. My goal is to learn how to at least fake calligraphy, if not learn the real thing, over the summer so I can write on labels and envelopes with pride! These fonts are a few that inspired me:  

I especially love Sweet Love and Good Friends. 

5. Cake Wrecks. 
I don't know why, but for some reason, I rediscovered my love for the blog Cake Wrecks. Back in high school, this was one of my favorite blogs to stalk, because it always made me laugh, and it turns out it hasn't lost a bit of its humor! The site caters to the cake lover and grammar nazi in me, and if you have a funny bone at all, you'll appreciate it too. 

Since Father's Day is coming up... Enjoy the special weekend with your family! 
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