Engaged [Wedding Wednesday]

Hello, beautiful readers! Happy hump day, and welcome to another wonderful wedding Wednesday!

I hope you all have had an amazing start to your weeks; mine has been a hectic race towards Thursday, so with just a day between me and that fateful occasion, my Wednesday has become a very happy day. Zach and I have had such a busy past few months with school starting (two different full time jobs and two different class schedules – YUCK!), and unfortunately we have had no time to slow down. This month is no different! I had two huge papers to write and turn in this weekend, so I pretty much holed up in the bedroom with my laptop, and ushered my man out of the room each time he got bored. You have to do what you can to keep focused on boring papers! This coming weekend is a working weekend for Z, and then we’re celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday on Sunday afternoon. Then, the weekend following, my best friend and her fiancé will be here (!!!) for the weekend. I am SO EXCITED! Best birthday present ever. Twenty three is looking good already.

With such a busy month ahead, there is one day in particular that both Z and I are looking forward to – albeit, my reasons are different than his. He took the day off for my birthday in order to spend some extra time with me. I took the day off because, well, it’s my birthday, and I want to spend time with him as well! The added bonus? We both found a day during the week where we had a free afternoon and evening. So, like any clear-minded bride would do, I found a spectacular photographer, and booked her for my birthday evening. Engagement photographs, here we come!

I can’t even begin to explain how stinkin’ excited I am to have these photographs taken. Here’s the brief gist of it: Zach hates taking pictures. Ta-freaking-da! I would fall head over heels for the guy who stares off into the distance (on purpose) when I try to take a picture of him. Selfies? If you ever see one on my Instagram, just keep this in mind: in order for me to take said selfie, there were at least five prior attempts where I’m smiling and he’s making a face, I’m making a face and he’s smiling, he’s staring into the distance like there’s an alien in the sky, and any variation of the aforementioned poses. All I ask for is a picture of us that looks like we love each other. It doesn’t have to be cheesy, it doesn’t have to involve throwing me in the air or twirling me around; I just want something that will look good in a frame on the wall.

With less than two weeks to go before the session, I have been freaking out over what I should be wearing. I think I have the outfits planned out (with the exception of shoes; I just want some short brown boots!), and to be honest I don’t care about the poses. I chose our photographer for a reason: she knows what she’s doing, and I think her photography is breath-taking. So I’m leaving the rest of it up to her. My big issue at hand? Where to take the pictures! It’s going to be mid-October, and the weather has ranged in the past week form the high-70s to it’s current 60 degrees and pouring rain. As any like-minded person would do, I referenced the online “Bridal Bible”…

Pinterest.

[prepare yourselves for a photo-heavy moment here. bear in mind these are not my property! visit the tags below the images.]

I’ve come up with a few different options that work for indoor and outdoor locations, and with areas we can get to quickly locally. First up is the typical country outdoorsy field photos. I don’t mean typical in an offensive manner at all; rather, I think that these are absolutely beautiful and a definite great option for us considering our location!

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The second option for the outdoors is a downtown location. Thankfully, we live in a somewhat big city, so we have a gorgeous downtown with both tall skyscrapers and tiny brick historical homes.

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I am really thankful that we live in a nice sized city because not only do we live minutes from downtown and minutes from the farms, but we also have a ton of really cool local joints that would be amazing to have our engagement photos taken at! The first indoors option I have is…a bookstore. I can’t help it! I was an English major for a reason! To me there is something romantic hidden in between the stacks of books…

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Another idea that goes hand in hand with the bookstore is the café. We have a great selection of both in town, and I mean really, how cute is this picture? I think quirky pictures are going to be abundant in our session.

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The last idea I had for the indoor area would actually go best with the outdoor pictures. While I love the open area and the no-nonsense background of the fields, I also think that engagement pictures should have a little kick to them! If we get the chance to do outdoor pictures, I would really like to find a building or location that has a funky feature that we can use in our pictures.

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I really love the quality that each of these photographs brings to the story around it, but I think that the most important thing of all is the two people captured. The most astounding thing about each of these photographs is the emotion you can see from both of the people in the photograph! I really can’t wait until I get to have some unique photos of Zach and I that I can go back to again and again and get giddy about how lucky I am.

And it won’t hurt to finally get a picture of us up in my office. It’s been looking a little bare.

As usual, linking up for another Wedding Wednesday!

Wedding Wednesday

I guess now that I’ve gotten a few of these wedding posts up, I can start a collection down here! If you want to see any other part of my planning so far, feel free to click the link and read away!

The Engagement

Starting a Budget

Venue Hunt-Venue Number One

Venue Hunt-Venues Number Two and Three

Venue Hunt-Venue Number Four

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The Wish List

Hello again, friends! I so wish I could tell you this post was coming to you from a beautiful, peaceful summer place and that I was one hundred percent loving Summer 2014. But, life has its own plans, and why should it stop going on just because of the warm weather? Alas, the past week has brought on mourning, sadness, sleep deprivation, the celebration of a wonderful Mimi, and an unexpected car accident. My first actually, and it landed my bum in the ER late last night, followed by two pain-controlling medications prescribed in my name. The past seven days have been, quite literally, hell. My loved ones have been hurting, I have been hurting, and life is just not ready to give us a break yet. I know there has to be a reason why this is all happening, but I guess I won’t figure that out for a while. Until then, I’ve been rolled out on my bed, ingesting muscle relaxers (any typos can refer back to this point), trying to occupy my mind with anything other than the reality that is surrounding my summer. The one thing that always gets me feeling good? Planning. I planned my new (and VERY improved) big girl budget, I figured out my student loan and future cost plans, and I have some fun plans that hopefully go off without a bang mid-July. But the one thing that has me feeling really good? Making my wish list for the summer. This list is mostly comprised of some fun gadgets and things I need (and some that I just want) to transition from college kid to the new employee/student stage of my life.

The Wish List

[one] Mophie Juice Pack Helium

One thing that comes along with the longer working days is a dead phone before closing time. Unfortunately, when I start school and the days get longer, I will need the extra battery time something fierce. I would carry around a charger cord with me, but I am just not the kind of person who is good with keeping an eye on things. Insert the Mophie Juice Pack. A phone case/battery pack combo? I’m in. SO IN.

[two] Luxe Acrylic Modular System

This beauty will be mine. I swear upon it! My dresser top is looking quite frazzled lately. And by frazzled I mean it is covered in crap and I keep knowing my deodorant down to get to my lotion. (Yes, I keep it all in my bedroom thanks to a bathroom two floors down). This beauty (which comes in multiple pieces) seems to be the answer to my problems. And I can’t wait until it comes home to me!

[three] Lenovo U430p

This should be pretty self-explanatory. The laptop I am currently using, and have been using for four years, has come to its end. The screen goes black more than it says “Welcome!”, it beeps, burns, and breaks down more than a car in a junkyard. So, it is time to bring new life to my life. Enter this beautiful ultrabook by Lenovo. Loving it, so it shall be mine.

[four] Reebok Skyscrape Runaround

Have you all seen these shoes like…everywhere? The commercial is on every two seconds, the ads are on every magazine, and to be honest…I’m loving them! They look so light and comfortable, and I could really use a stylish pair of cute, comfortable sneakers for the home and office. These may be my “back-to-school” purchase!

[five] Valspar Paint

This is, like a few others among the list, also quite self-explanatory. The boy and I are starting to change up the homestead. I’m ecstatic, Zach is less than. But he’s agreed to help, so painting time it is! I’m loving the Central Park palettes.

[six] Remington T/Studio Silk Ceramic Dryer

I have been keeping an eye out for a decent hair dryer for the past year. I don’t know why I have been putting it off (maybe because of the short haircut), but I think it’s time to invest in a great tool. I have been looking through a number of reviews, and this seems to be a fairly affordable and highly rated hair dryer. I have until the fall to worry about this, but it is definitely on my wish list.

[seven] Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes

If there is one type of makeup that I try to swipe on each day as I head out the door, it is mascara. No matter what, it always makes me look put together, regardless of the effort (or lack thereof) that I put into my look! This mascara has seriously been ALL OVER the blog world lately, and with so many rave reviews from so many different women out there, I’ve decided I’d like to give it a try. If I’m putting money into any type of cosmetic, it should be the one I use daily, right?

[eight] Starbucks Verismo Milk Frother

As I have adapted to my adult schedule, I have realized just how much I covet my Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Lattes. Or, well, any Starbucks Lattes. However, my grown up budget does not exactly account for a $345 (and rising) latte five times a week. Enter this lovely milk frother! I already have my own delicious vanilla flavorings, and an espresso-style coffee (made in my Mr. Coffee machine. Oh, Keurig, where art thou?), so all I’m waiting on is a reliable milk frother/steamer. I’m thinking this is the one for me!

And thus ends the wish list. Some may come to be with me in the next few months, while others may remain a simple dream; regardless, this list has helped keep my mind off of the hardships that have come around. Sometimes you just need to avoid reality in order to just stay calm and roll with the punches. Life goes on, so I will, too!

Growing Up Means Staying True to Yourself

This post has been sitting pretty in my drafts for two straight months. I can’t say that I am any more ready or understanding of the topic, but I can say that the past month has thrown me into a whole new world (“a dazzling place I never knew!”), and I am learning something new every day. Upon graduating in May, I can honestly say I had no clue what I was going to do. Obviously I’ve talked about graduate school before, but even in May I hadn’t yet received my clear admission.

Since then, I’ve gotten the clear, but I can’t say that my mind has gotten the same. I still don’t think I know what I want to do with my life. Yikes! It scares me to say that out loud, especially when I know I’ll be paying twenty thousand big bucks for another degree (double yikes…). I think that one thing has become more clear in my mind, though, and I wish I could say it doesn’t scare me, but it does. It also excites me, and intrigues me, and sometimes confuses me, but mostly it helps me understand why I still don’t truly know what I’m meant to be doing. I think I just want to try everything. Until the past few weeks, however, I didn’t really know what everything was. But then I realized that I want to be a birthing doula. I also am in love with my contracting desk job! Who knew! I also want to write a book. Maybe fiction; possibly even poetry! I want to be a musical manager. True to my bookish self, (and thanks to my entrepreneur dad), I want to open a coffee shop/bookstore. I want to do it all, and I really mean it all!

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I know that I really need to take one bite at a time rather than taking it all in at once, but graduating and realizing what all I can really do with my degree has given me such a sense of freedom. I can make my own decisions; I can stay up until one in the morning, or I can go to bed at eight (guilty). I can drink as much Starbucks coffee as I want, even though my budget tells me otherwise. I can work out when I want to, and I can read what I want to, and I can truly be whatever I want to be.

With all of these new-found freedoms, however, came about a million new responsibilities. I am financially independent for the first time in my life. Thankfully, I am still under a rent-free roof (graduate school is literally taking every penny I make at my new job, plus I’m paying off my undergrad loans immediately. Can I get a “triple-yikes”? However, I literally have to watch every. Damn. Penny. I wish I had worked at living on a budget more seriously through the last four years, but I didn’t. I won’t look back and regret so much, though, because the time is now. I have to learn as I go along. I’m sure I’ll make a number of mistakes, and I’ll learn from every one. It’s scary, I’ll tell you that much. I am an adult. There’s no more putting it off and saying I’m not quite there. I am there, and I really need to embrace it and learn as much as I can.

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Office. I have an office!

I have two awesome parents who are mentoring me through it, as well as my older man (thanks, Z!), but this is also a new chapter that I really need to author – on my own. No editors here. This is a me and me alone kind of thing. My next chapter will more than likely include the addition of a “fiancé” or “husband”, and when the time comes, I’ll embrace that too. Until then, I am Rachael. I am a recent college grad. I am a contract administrator for a local company. I am a master’s degree candidate. I am a creative, open-minded young woman who is creating her path. Right now, that path has about fifteen tentacles rolling off each side, and I plan to traipse down each and every one of them. I may be forty-five when I get to the end of this particular path, but I’ll also be starting (and ending) others at the same time.

If I don’t start to try it all now, when will I?

Love is in the Air [June Goals]

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Y’all. Can we just take a second to see how amazingly adorable my best friend and her fiancé are? Really though, this picture is just too much for me to handle. They are amazing, and I can’t wait to get more time with them this fall to take some more pictures in a little bit better lighting (hopefully!).

This summer seems to be the summer of love; new relationships, engagements, marriages, and babies galore. Seriously about the babies part though. I swear half of my Facebook friends are expecting. How weird. Anywho, realizing how much love is flowing through this summer makes me realize that this time next summer, I will be running from state to state to celebrate this love all over again! So, I have now declared 2014-2015 the year(s) of love. And I am so ok with that.

On to something a little less random (but not quite as beautiful)…let’s recap life right now. Have you all seen what happens when the biggest intersection’s lights go out at rush hour? Have you? Cause that is what LAST week looked like. This week is what happens when there’s a rolling blackout and one car really wants to get home, and fast. Friday night at 5pm is my home, and I want more than anything to be there right now. Life is crazy, beautiful, a blessing and a curse, the best and the worst, and overall incredible. How did I get to the place I am today? One month ago I was a day-old college grad. Now I am a “contract administrator”, nanny, student worker, graduate student, and girlfriend (possibly fiancée soon?!). How did I  get from that day one month ago to the place I am today. A place that, in all honesty, I had no intention of finding until late August, at the earliest! I am happy, sad, stressed, tired, and learning how much I am NOT a morning person. How delicious a skinny vanilla latte tastes at 7:30. How it feels to have my own office. How it feels for my best friend in the world to be marrying HER best friend. How it feels to be afraid of forever, but loving the prospect. How it feels to stick out like a sore thumb, but to truly feel like you’ve found the path after years of scouring the dirt roads. I am getting a glimpse at why the things in my life have happened and how it is all impacting the bigger picture, and I have to say – I’m in love.

Now that I’ve successfully started this post with a random rant and followed that with a more structured but vague rant, I think I should throw out my May to June goals, and let you all get on with your night.

Let’s take a look back at May, the fastest month of 2014…

May Goals:

Cut out all soda starting May 17th (I’m kind of doing this. Mostly good!)

Figure out where the budget needs to be, and stay motivated (WOMP. I’m disappointed at myself here)

Write those four letters. Seriously! (THANK GOD.)

Bring camera to Florida and snap away

Get back into a healthy routine starting May 19th (Womp. Started and stopped. Yay/boo life.)

Read four books

Do one Pinterest DIY (I loved the DIY planner, so I think it’s time for project number 2) [WOMP]

Begin (or finish) 3 items from 101 in 1001

(I started a photo album, wrote 9 of 50 letters, created a work wardrobe, went one week without hitting snooze, read 4 leisure books, began to create a living space with Z (!!), went on a day date, and went to a Sunday matinée. God, I love the summer.)

June Goals:

Figure out where the budget needs to be, and stay motivated

Get back into a healthy routine

Do one Pinterest DIY

Read 4 books

Decorate the office

Sort through possessions and condense

Schedule a facial and take the afternoon (or day!) to myself

Write 4 letters

Begin (or finish) 3 items from 101 in 1001

I hope you all are having a great summer month, and I look forward to talking to you all here a little bit more as I grow accustomed to this new life of mine!

x

Wednesday Nightcap

Well, here goes the idea for a recurring blog post. I never make it on here in time for coffee-drinkable hours, so I think it’s time for a nightcap instead.

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[one] I took the day off today. And I mean I took the day offff. Granted it was because I had to take the MAT, but with the sun following me south to the testing location, this was a well-needed personal day of sorts.

[two] Speaking of the MAT…I passed! This means that I am officially an EKU Colonel come August 2014. Whoa, grad school, when did you get here?

[three] I have been absolutely missing my family/friends from Ohio! I get to head that way in a little less than a month thankfully, but it’s already been too long. Is it silly to want to add a day to my trip so I can stretch out the quality time?

[four] My planner. Man, I seriously fall in love with it every time I see it. I’m obsessed and I don’t care who knows it!

[five] I’m just about thisclose to leaving my current living situation and finding a random to live with. Although Zach would probably have a mild heart attack if I did so. Lets just say I will not be the millennial who lives at home until they’re 25 because of a lacking job. I will work at McDonald’s full-time smelling like cooker grease just so I don’t have to be under the same roof as my parents again. I love my parents and their generosity; but this was just not meant to happen after three years apart.

[six] I have a love-hate relationship going on right now with my workouts. I LOVE the elliptical. I hate the weights. But I know that weight training is necessary. HALP.

[seven] I have a magazine addiction, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Problem is, it’s a hard habit to break. hence the Martha Stewart Wedding magazine sitting on my book stand. (No, I’m not getting married soon; but who doesn’t love to look at the pictures! Plus they featured Kate Bosworth’s wedding. SO AMAZING.)

[eight] I’m dying to have a puppy at home with me. But Zach says no, and the landlord (El Daddio) says no. So for now I have to live 5 days a week without my cuddle bug. Such sadness.

[nine] Eggs. They have become my go-to meal for a long day. One egg, egg whites, diced ham, and a slice of Kraft Big Slice Chipotle Cheddar. YUM.

[ten] The one thought racing through my mind today? New chapter. it’s about time for a new chapter to open up. A the same time as I am racing towards August, I want to make sure that I am enjoying the last moments of my “childhood”. Is it weird that at 22 I still think of myself as a child? I hope I feel that way until I turn 90.