Weekend Recap [Date Night Every Night]

Hi everyone! This little recap will be short and sweet; I had such an amazing weekend that this Monday is just bringing me down…but hopefully a butt-kicking session at the trainers today will change that! Let’s go ahead and see just what fun I was up to these past few days…

On Friday, I pretty much hopped right on out of my office into the freezing cold, 30 degree evening it was. Cold, rainy, and gross is the best way to describe it! I wasn’t feeling up to the trick-or-treaters (or trying to corral my pup all night), so I shot to the grocery, grabbed some candy and a pizza, and when I got home, I turned off all of the lights. I shut all of the blinds, closed the curtains, baked my pizza, poured all of the candy into a giant bowl, and I went up to my room for the night. I ate too much, read a ton, and watched about ten scary movies (exaggeration much). It was awesome. I had such a great time away from the elements and everything else outside, and I just relaxed. Ahh, what I’d give for another Friday!image2Saturday called for a long, wonderful day of relaxing yet again! Zach and I like to choose a day each weekend (or preferably, the whole weekend) to make zero plans and just enjoy a day at home. Saturday was the first one of those days that we have had since Zach had his appendix removed the first weekend in August! It was long-awaited. But it was glorious! We stayed inside to stay warm, and then around 5, we headed to town to catch a showing of Gone Girl at the Movie Tavern. Easiest dinner-and-a-movie spot around! We loved the food, I loved the movie, and then we grabbed some Baskin Robbins on the way home. Which brings me to a confession: true life, I love to eat ice cream when it is below freezing outside.

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my handsome movie date being oh-so serious.

Sunday morning, I left he house around 11:30 to meet up with my family for some family photos! It was a birthday-early Christmas gift for my mom who never gets any good pictures of our whole family together, and seeing as our family will be growing next September, I figured what better time to get the gang together! Apparently they were expecting Zach to join me, but I had thought it was going to be the family minus future husband. Whoops! I felt kind of awful for leaving Zach out, but he was pretty pleased. He’s still camera-sick from our two-hour engagement session. I came home and finished up some homework, and soon after took a little daylight saving time nap. I woke up around five, and we decided to swing by and see some of our friends (and give them some baby gifts for their swiftly arriving daughter!). We lounged in Babies-r-Us (Zach says I have “the fever”. He may be right), visited friends, hit up the Whole Foods Market on the way home, and enjoyed the rest of our night with our little family.

image1Nothing like a dog snout to say “I love you humans, NOW PAY ATTENTION TO ME! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well! I am hoping for a little engagement session sneak-peak on Wednesday! See you soon!

Linking up with Bianca and Meghan

Weekending
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The Hunt Continues [Wedding Wednesday]

Hello again! Welcome to another round of Wedding Wednesday! Much to everyone’s surprise (especially mine), this post is actually on time! Insert all the shocked emojis you want, but it’s true. I’m here, and it’s time to get into the wedding mood. In the past two weeks, two more people in my life have gotten engaged! I think that, while I’ve been watching far-off friends (more like acquaintances) getting engaged via social media, it was not yet time for the people in my life to settle down…and now I’m thinking that time has come! We’re looking at four weddings in the next two years. That may seem like a small amount, but those are only the sure-thing engagements. I still have a great deal of friends who are in serious relationships, at least two of which I see taking the step towards marriage in the next few months! It makes me so happy that I get to share this time with my nearest and dearest, literally exchanging wedding-planning notes and all!

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Now, onto the more selfish topic of moi (and Zach, don’t forget about him!). I completely skipped my Wedding Wednesday post last week, which was fine. Except now I’m backed up on the venue hunt! So, today, we’re going to introduce venues number two and three! If all goes according to plan (crossing my fingers, toes, and anything else crossable), our wedding will be at one of these spots, but I’m not revealing any favorites until the contracts are signed, dotted, and crossed. Each venue is still a possibility at this point, seeing as Zach and I both really loved all of them! Central Kentucky is such a great place for amazing venues, and at such a great range of prices. It’s making this whole planning thing much easier!

Now, on to the venues. I would like to formally introduce venue number two! This venue is still technically in Lexington, and it is just a few miles away from venue number one. However, they are polar opposites in the looks and type category! This venue is technically a horse training facility! You may find it strange, but we’re in the Bluegrass State. Horses are everyone’s neighbor (Get it? Neigh-bor? Oh, I crack myself up). Anyways, the specific area we are looking at in this venue is an old holding area for horse sales. They no longer do the sales at this site, which is great for us; think about the smells that could emanate from the space! The area holds up to 300 guests, has a warehouse/rustic feel to it, includes a bar, and a staging area for the catering! It comes with tables and chairs to fit 160 guests, which is right in our ballpark estimate, and we also get to work with an amazing event planner to make sure everything is looking nice. We are allowed to decorate however we want, come in early on the day of (or book for the day before and day of for a reduced price!), and all of that jazz. Now, time for the round everyone loves when searching for a venue…MONEY!

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Remember our scale? Well, if not, let’s have a refresher; $ (much lower than the budget) to $$$$ (dream on, girl). Here’s a very brief overview of the things included:

  • venue space
  • tables and chairs for 160

And…that’s it! This venue is very basic; it’s an open space with some already built-in character, but it also calls for some personal touches here and there. The great thing about it is, if nobody else is hosting an event the Friday before, we can come in as early as we want on Friday to start setting the space up! For no additional cost! Here’s what we would need to bring in to the venue for additional costs:

  • Catering (outside or preferred)
  • Servers (outside or preferred)
  • Beverages (outside)
  • Alcohol (provided by venue for additional cost)
  • Ceremony space (if different from venue space)
  • Linens (outside or preferred)
  • Cake (outside)
  • DJ (outside)
  • Photographer (outside)
  • Extra tables and chairs (if needed, can be rented through venue)
  • Set up and tear down (free, but is family and friend labor)

So, as you can see when comparing venue one and two, this site is much less all-inclusive. This holds pros and cons of its own. Let’s start with the con (which isn’t all that much of a con, really): we’d have to do a lot of the work, but this means a more personalized look and feel to the wedding. Also, we’d have to crunch all the numbers for all the non-included vendors in order to see the budget. Which is just a huge time-suck, but is totally doable and necessary. Wanna hear the pros?

This venue is easily a $. Maybe even half a $. It is SO AFFORDABLE! The alcohol prices are even relatively cheap, the linens she rents are VERY inexpensive (but still great quality), and she has a recommendation or two for everything we still need. She recognized that most of her brides are trying to stick to a certain budget, so they like to find vendors who provide quality service for a low price. Which, duh, I LOVE! She was awesome, and if we were to choose this venue, I think it would be the smoothest sail of my life. The venue is still open on our date, and various other dates as well, which makes me breathe a sigh of relief.

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Now, let’s visit venue number three. We saw this venue last Friday, and let me tell you, it was THE perfect September day. It was the kind of day I hope our wedding falls on. It was just right as far as the temperature goes, and the sky was a clear blue. I pulled into the parking lot and quietly sobbed for a second, it was so beautiful. Or that could be because someone’s car spit up a semi tread when I was on my way to the venue and left a HUGE dent in my bumper. Poor car. Anyways, pulling into that parking lot and seeing the venue just made my day so much brighter! This venue is definitely one-of-a-kind. It was, at one point, a boarding school for girls and a convent. Then just a convent. Then a public site owned by the city. Now, it’s privately owned, and being used as a wedding venue among other things! There is also a Montessori school on site, as well as a senior center (both of which are closed on the weekends). It is such a unique space, but I knew going into the tour that the space I wanted to see was not the boarding school itself. No, the space I wanted to visit was the barn out back. It has been refinished to be weatherproof, include brand new bathroom facilities, and, here’s the kicker, comes with a rental of 12+ acres of land. Rolling, lush greenery is just outside the barn, and it is stunning! We both loved the feel of the barn, as it was not too country, but more on the rustic side of things. It has a concrete floor, comes with banquet tables and chairs for 160, and has a huge patio that overlooks the green space.

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Now, here is our Big Problem. This specific venue only holds up to 160 in the barn, and can fit an additional 100 seated on the patio. This is a bit of a concern for both of us; we already have a guest list topping out around 200, and even when we were visitng the venue, we were afraid that the inside of the barn looks just a tad bit small to fit 160 plus guests, a cake table, gift table, our couple’s table, the food, a DJ, and a dance floor. As much as I wanted to disagree with Zach, he was right. The interior is just a tad bit smaller than our guest list would need. But, there are options with this venue. We can use tents anywhere in the green space, and we can also use tent flaps on the sides of the patio. There are also two huge doors on either end of the barn that can open up to two parking areas. If we rented a dance floor and put the DJ out there, it would open up more space for seating. Basically, with this venue, we will either have to get creative, or get our guest list back down to the 120s. Both of which are options I am completely comfortable with.

Let’s hit the dollar signs at this point. I’m pretty sure by my discussion above you can guess what this venue includes:

  • venue space
  • tables and chairs for 160 (banquet tables only)

…and that’s it. Right on par with venue two, this venue offers only the bare minimum, which is not entirely a bad thing. As I’ve said, the only real con for this space is that it may not be big enough, and we both really wish it was. It is literally the perfect venue, gives us exactly the casual, rustic feel we want, and…its only a $-$$ price! It is right at the low to perfect end of our budget. We can’t come in the Friday before to set up, even if there aren’t events going on (unfortunately), but, we can rent the venue for the Friday before for half the price of the Friday price, which is already discounted! It really hits the nail on the head as far as our budget goes. Just for reference, here’s what we’d need to pay for in addition:

  • Catering (outside or preferred)
  • Servers (outside or preferred)
  • Beverages (outside)
  • Alcohol (provided by us, requires liquor liability license)
  • Ceremony space (if different from venue space)
  • Linens (outside or preferred)
  • Cake (outside)
  • DJ (outside)
  • Photographer (outside)
  • Extra tables and chairs (if needed, can be rented through venue)
  • Set up and tear down (free, but is family and friend labor)

It’s still very open, and although I thought the lack of a staging area for catering would be an issue, I’ve found a great number of caterers who are OK to cater to this venue. Which is good to hear for me. I think one huge pro for this venue with both Zach and my dad is that we can bring our own liquor. We have to get a liquor liability through the venue’s insurance, which is basically just a temporary liquor license, but it’s very cheap, and would help us save money on alcohol and also allows us to bring whatever drinks we want!

These last two venues are definitely exciting for us, because they have a bit more of the casual feel we both like for the wedding. It would be great if we could get the all-inclusiveness of venue number one in these two venues, but beggars can’t be choosers! We’ll have to see where we end up in a few weeks, when the date is chosen (!!).

For now, I’d love to hear your advice! Are there any unconventional venues that we wouldn’t have thought of that maybe we should try to find? Did you find any way of keeping the costs (and stress) low when you had to put together your entire team of vendors? I’d love to hear about it!

As always, I’m linking up for Wedding Wednesday!

Wedding Wednesday
Wedding Wednesday

Five on Friday

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TGIF! I am so excited that in t minus 2 hours, I will be heading home for two relaxing days. Spring break starts next Wednesday, too, so there is extra excitement after having gotten this long week over with! Today, I am linking up with the wonderful women at The Good Life, A. Liz Adventures, Carolina Charm, and Hello! Happiness for another round of Five on Friday! This week has had me revolving around the thought of health and overall wellness, and after reading this post from Katie at Katie Elizabeth, I’ve gotten some inspiration and found five ways to improve my health this week!

[one] making regular appointments – and keeping them!

if you are anything like me, you have either been avoiding the dentist for a few years (yes, I brush my teeth, but the dentist and I have never been friends), or you didn’t realize that annual checkups should keep happening after you turn 13. For some reason, I didn’t know that, but after having a nice talk with my mom and being scolded for NOT seeing my primary in years (sorry, Dr. Blues), I’ve scheduled an appointment. I have a specialist who I see twice a year thanks to epilepsy, but other than those appointments, I have avoided doctors! Since I’ve grown in age and maturity, I’ve come to realize that doctors are your friends, and you should see them as often as possible. So, this week alone, I have made appointments with: my dentist, my primary, my women’s health physician, and yet another specialist (Gastroenterology. Look it up. Maybe I’ll post about it in the future, if it’s not too much of a scarring experience). Having made these appointments already has me feeling healthy and health-conscious, two aspects that my body will thank me for!

[two] skin care routines

I have already posted about my skin care routine here, but after writing that post, I made the decision to update my routine, and my makeup supply! Did you know that makeup can go bad? It seems like everyone but me already knew this, but late is better than never. With my new knowledge, I tossed over half (!) of my makeup supply, and brought it almost back to stock with some help from Ulta. I also decided to try some new skin care products, thus ridding myself of my St. Ives face scrub. I’ve added a nightly skin care routine that has honestly improved my skin SO MUCH. Ask me how many breakouts I’ve had in the past month and a half. That answer? None. Absolutely none! I love it, and I can’t wait to share it. There are some more products that I want to add to the routine, but those will have to wait until after the March spending hiatus.

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[three] wardrobe update

So the whole idea behind working out and eating healthy is to lose weight and get fit, right? One big issue with that is that my jeans no longer fit; a blessing and a curse, I tell you. Although I can’t buy anything this month, I have began to make a list of quality clothing that I can use to replace my too-big shirts and pants. Plus, with grad school coming around the bend, I figure some professional items should make their way home to me. I won’t be buying anything in the too-near future, mostly because I want to be sure my size is staying put, but I’ll start to post some outfit ideas here to get some feedback!

[four] mental health breaks

Magazines and leisurely reading have honestly gotten me through this week; midterms started this week and end next Wednesday, so my workout schedule has sucked, in all honesty. I took a break in order to stick to working on projects, papers, and exams, so in my spare time I gave myself a break and took on some light reading. I plan on picking back up next week, and making it a permanent fixture in my schedule, but it has also been nice to just watch my eating habits, and to not shame myself for taking it easy. Stressing over your breaks only makes you feel worse; accept the breaks, enjoy them, but then push right back into the routine when the time comes.

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Holy middle school, Batman.

[five] friendships

I FINALLY get to see two of my best friends next Wednesday, as we are going to Cleveland for a concert. Getting to reunite with the two people who I grew up alongside and know better than most is going to be the most amazing way to begin a long week of relaxation. There really is nothing like a great friend.

Wednesday Talk

So today isn’t really going to be coffee fueled, but it isn’t a nightcap, either. I know some of you may be disappointed (if you are, just hold off on reading this until tonight when a drink is appropriate), but you’ll just have to hang with me for this one!

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[one] This week has felt like an eternity already, and I’ve neglected to post anything so far. While I don’t feel the need to make an excuse, I feel the need to explain. My sweet pup Ezzie passed away naturally on Monday evening. I wish that I could explain why this hurt so much, and I know there are a million ways to put it, but I’ll make it simple here. We got this beautiful girl when I was in middle school, a few months after my first dog, Rocky, was put down. She was a pound puppy (my family is big on rescues), very shy but sweet, and had a helicopter tail. They told us she was just under a year old. Last November, when she began to show serious, life-altering symptoms of arthritis, we took her to the vet and were quickly informed that our baby was actually middle-aged when we adopted her. While I began to feel angry towards the humane society we adopted her from, I still don’t think I could ever regret the choice our family made. She had come from a severely abusive home prior to our encounter with her, and she would continue to be shy for the rest of her life, but having a loving family made the remainder of her life well worth it. I’m just glad she was put in our family and that I got to love on her while she was here. She had been doing much better than she was in November, and I guess that made her passing such a huge shock to me. I love this pup so much, and my heart is still breaking, but I will continue to try to remember that she is in a much better place now.

[two] While that change in my life has been the main – and let’s face it, the only – concern in my life this week, I have also had to take some strides towards my impending graduation. Today was the Grad Salute at UK, which is just a huge way of saying “we put every vendor you need to graduate in a really stuffy basement”, so, like any intelligent graduate, I went! Free t-shirt, free water bottle, UK Alumni membership, graduation registration, student loan exit counselling, The Kentuckian yearbook, yearbook picture, AND cap/gown/tassel ACQUIRED. Mission accomplished.

[three] I spent the weekend with Zach and our friends, had the most awesome time ever, and sort-of, kind-of skipped most of my homework for the week…

[four] Midterms are rapidly approaching. And by rapidly, I mean I have three papers, three tests, and two projects due by the time I leave for Cleveland (which is in two weeks as of…today). If I don’t post for a while, at least you know why!

[five] Taxes. I really, really need to file my taxes.

[six] Zach and I are trying to figure out what to do as far as housing goes. As of right now, I’m at home with mom and dad. I love the rent-free zone, but I really want to see my man more than twice a week! Certain things need to happen before living together can happen (i.e. Rachael with a sparkly ring on said ring-finger), but it’s been really fun to brainstorm about the possibilities! And by possibilities I mean spruce up the current home that Z inhabits and make it our own, or continue to try to sell it and find a new apartment to call home!

[seven] Speaking of Cleveland up in number four, can I just say CLEVELAND HAPPENS IN TWO WEEKS?! Finally. I have been waiting for this since December. Can’t. Wait.

[eight] Also on the “can’t wait” list, Grandma is coming to visit in one month! Which also means graduation is just a little over two months away. SCORE.

[nine] This week’s mantra: “You can get through this. You WILL get through this. This isn’t as bad as it seems. YOU CAN DO IT.” How many times do I have to say it before I believe it or it comes true?

[ten] I’m really appreciating the friends and family that I have this week. During a really hard time in life, where situations arise, school consumes me, and my job seems to be finding the most random things for me to do CONSTANTLY, I have been able to turn around and find someone else standing there ready to ease the burden with me and help me breathe. I must be the luckiest person around!

A Day Unlike Any Other…

Today was going to be yet another day that I skipped over the blog. Or so I thought. I came home from the cold rain outside to a house full of Valentine wishes and chocolate; I came straight up to my room, adamant about not wanting to work out, and plopped myself in front of my TV. I forced myself to start my laundry after seeing the basket spill over onto my floor. After starting the first load, I pulled out a magazine (the February Self that I’ve been neglecting), cracked it open, and popped a few Kisses into my mouth. In between pages, I looked up to watch some TV, ABC Family to be exact. Two hours later, it occurred to me. In a flash of what I should call déjà vu, but won’t because déjà vu isn’t really what it means (thanks, Psychology classes), I remembered. I remembered one of the loneliest moments of my life. And really, I wasn’t miserable or anything, and I wasn’t really alone. It was my freshman year of college and I was sitting in my dorm room. This room, to be exact.

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Whoa, freshman year. Where’d you come from?!

Well, that’s not quite as exact as I thought it may be, but lets just say, I really wish I had stayed in room 353 with my best friend (Jess, I know you’re reading this!). So this is that room. This is the spot that I was sitting in exactly three years ago. February 2011. I was sitting in my dorm room alone, which was not a rare event. I really enjoy my introversion, OK? I was sitting in my room enjoying a night alone during the week of Valentines day. My friends on the floor were scattered around; some out with friends, others with their families. The lucky few were with their significant others, in town and out. I, however, was trying to avoid a crappy ex, and was pampering myself with indulgent TV, chocolate, and some magazines. It was only a month after I decided to reapply to the University of Kentucky; a month after I decided that the life I had created – and absolutely loved – was not quite what I needed. I loved living right down the hall from my best friend more than anything, in fact, it was probably the reason why I made it a year. But by the time I had to return to Ohio after spending a month at home, I wanted nothing more than to come back.

That night, I turned on The Last Song. I watched the movie in between pages of a magazine (probably Cosmo) and loads of laundry. I plopped a few pieces of chocolate into my mouth and savored my life as it was. I was probably a little down; my best friend and her long-time love were spending the weekend together, my roommate was, well, a little crazy, and I didn’t have many friends in town. I missed my family, I missed my friends from home, and more than anything, my silly heart ached for someone to call my Valentine. One year later? I met my Valentine and had the most memorable Valentine’s weekend of my life. Two years later, I can’t even recall what I did (yes, I know, this was only last year, but I really don’t remember what Zach and I did). This year? I found myself here.

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The view is pretty nice from here. 

Watching The Last Song. Reading a magazine. Switching the lights over to the dryer. Popping another Kiss into my mouth.But I am so much happier. I found my Valentine (hopefully my last one, too!). My best friend is a phone call away, but currently enjoying a night in with her guy (still going strong 3 years later). I have my family downstairs and my friends scattered around town, but I am just happy. The smallest things can change in 3 years, even if you find yourself exactly where you were before. No matter the irony, no matter the similarity in the situations, you are not the same person you were then. We all change, we all grow, we find new people, and sometimes we lose the old. And that’s ok. That’s just life. And today? Life is pretty damn good.

My Best Friend

Well, I figure that since you’re here for whatever reason (I lead a boring life – only expect the occasional surprise!), I might as well start introducing the characters in my life. Today is the day you get to meet Zach.

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Z looking quite dapper for a recent job interview.

This is my best friend, confidant, goofball, sweetheart, all-around amazing person. He’s the best person I’ve ever met, and I really would not ever want to change that. Zach hasn’t been in my life for an entirely long time – I couldn’t be that lucky – but Iv’e gotten to have him around full-time for the past two years of my life. We met online (gasp!) and have very much so defeated any stereotype that could have been set in front of us. I had just gotten over my first long term relationship and was ready to meet some new faces, and he was in the same boat…only four years ahead of me. I was just a sophomore in college and he was just rounding out 23 years. After a few horribly creepy just alright dates with two different guys, I saw Zach’s profile and decided to give him a chance. He looked sweet, piqued my interest, and his profile actually made me giggle a bit (he had some crazy curly hair when I first met him, but I loved it right away). From the first night we met, three weeks later, we were inseparable. With the exception of one weekend, I’ve spent my free days with this man and have gotten to know just who he is inside and out.

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Can you see why I giggle? Such a goof.

Lately I have found myself watching friends from my younger (much younger) years find their significant others, get engaged, married even, and I have just sat in awe trying to understand how we have gotten to these new places in our lives. We used to see each other every day, walk from our middle school to the local coffee shop and just mess around until it was time to go home. These were people I saw again when I returned to the north for college, people who I feel like I was just talking to yesterday when, in reality, it was three years ago (lets bring that up later). I sometimes find myself asking “What if…”; what if I hadn’t left? Where would I be now? Who would that affect, who would that change? Where would they be now? It’s hard to know the what if’s, because the what if’s can never happen. There is no time machine (that we know of…) that can take us back and allow us to change our decisions. We will never know what would have been.

And I am ok with that.

I love my life, I love where I am, and I love who I’ve become. More than anything, I love the people I have met. I have made and kept so many friendships from returning to Lexington, and I’ve still maintained the best of my old friendships, a true test of their strength. I absolutely love Zach, and I love having him in my life. I ask myself more than anything else “How have I gotten so lucky?!”. I feel like if I ever get too excited about my life it’ll be taken away from me, but I’m just so damn happy to be where I am. Those “what if’s” only cause trouble when they arise, but sometimes in order to truly appreciate what you do have, and those people who you are blessed with, you have to think about it.

I couldn’t want my life to have gone any other way.