Weekend Recap [Working Weekend]

…I was going to say “Good Monday morning”, but honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever met a good Monday. Specifically not this one. Happy moment, though, is I get to leave work at noon today! YAY! (My paycheck is saying otherwise…). Let’s go ahead and hop on into this quick weekend recap!

Friday, right after work, I decided it was time to continue to make the house a home. Looking back, I am so glad that I chose Friday to start this because…HOBBY LOBBY HAS ALL WALL DECOR ON SALE FOR HALF OFF. If you haven’t done so yet, GO GET YA SOME! I made out like a bandit for half the price the décor would have originally set me back, and I made out with new wall-hangings for a command center in the kitchen, a beautiful pallet for our entry, and some odds and ends for the rest of the rooms.

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On Saturday, Zach and I set off to see UK play against Mississippi State! It was our first game of the season thanks to some free tickets from my dad, so we were excited for a fun Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. While we did lose, we really played a great game against the number one team! That night, we had Zach’s best friend over to the house, and while they played video games all night, I did some homework and slept like a baby!

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Sunday brought the least exciting but most beautiful day of my weekend! I spent the majority of the day inside working on a group presentation for a class next week (can’t you feel my nerves through the computer?), and was so happy when I wrapped up my section and headed home with my windows down and sunglasses on! After a nice dinner out with my guy, we headed home and relaxed for the evening!

Now, while it is Monday, I have to say, I have gotten some touching responses (personally and on the blog) about going for my dreams, and all I can say is THANK YOU! I mean really, it touched me to read it all and inspired me to keep trying to go for what I want in life. I’m so very lucky to be surrounded by the love and support of my friends and family!

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Now, go on out there and kick this Monday’s butt!

Linking up with Bianca and Meghan!

Weekending
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Surprises Around Every Corner [Wedding Wednesday]

Hi there, beautiful readers! I hope you all have had a fantastic week already. Mine feels like it’s just starting; between a four-day weekend (Friday-Monday was a nice break), most of which was spent with my BFF and her man, and then two days of time spent with my love, it was non-stop fun! While I’m sad to see it all go so soon, I am even more excited to start my 23rd year of life. I get married during this year, I get to plan a wedding this year, I get to (almost) finish grad school this year, and I get to spend extra time with the people I love! I think 23 just might be my best year yet!

Anyways, barring any more tangential speeches, I think it’s time to get started on this lovely Wedding Wednesday. Why, you ask? Well, dear readers, besides the fact that (duh) it’s Wednesday…

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via.

WE SET A DATE! AND WE HAVE A VENUE! AND A CATERER! AND A PHOTOGRAPHER! Whoa, I need to cool it with the caps, but I am just so dang excited! I can’t believe it all came together so well – and so quickly at that! Yep, all it took was a few phone calls and everything was ready to g- JUST KIDDING. What would life be without a few twists and turns? On Wednesday last week, as I was beginning to stress over our lack-of-date, I decided to email the remaining venues and see what dates they had available. Venue number three was very quick to respond, but with some dismal news; all but one September 2015 date were gone, swept up by those a bit more pulled together than my fiancé and I…but, not one to get too down on myself, I said thank you, and I told the event coordinator I would email her soon to see if we could come see the space again. I sat waiting for the other venue to email me back, but heard nothing (I later learned that said event staff is off on Wednesdays to make up for their weekend work…doh!).

On Thursday, I opened my email to…nothing. So, I sent another nice email, this time a little more urgent sounding, and got an immediate response. In the available dates, I saw it there. The dream date! It was free!! It wasn’t free the last time we had spoken to the coordinator, yet there it was! I just about fainted, but instead, I quickly replied that we would be there to meet her that night. Five o’clock came around, and my mother and I were wandering around, peeking into the windows of the venue. As it turns out, my email did not go through, so the coordinator had already gone home! I was more than a little dismayed, but after a kick-butt workout, I felt a bit better, and set up a meeting with the coordinator the following evening at 7.

Friday was a very, very busy day. Zach and I were cleaning the house basically from the moment we woke up until our guests arrived around 3:30. As soon as they got there, we started to get excited. Zach had to work, so my matron of honor and her guy were tagging along with me (and my parents) to see the venue! I was so stinking thrilled that I got to share that moment with my BFF of 13 years, I could have cried. Except I was just too happy. So I just smiled instead. We all piled in my car around 6:30, just in time to make it to the venue with some minutes to spare…or so I thought. As soon as we got closer to town, the interstate slowed to a crawl. We got off on our exit – and it just stopped. I had no clue what was going on, but I did know we only had 20 minutes to get to the venue – it was only four miles away! We resorted to our smart phones to figure out what was going on, and then we discovered that a popular event was going on – Big Blue Madness. Now, if you know anything about the University of Kentucky, you know that our basketball team is the best. Don’t deny it; U Conn can try to have its midnight madness, but it’s just not the same when you’re imitating greatness. Which leads me to my next point about the Cats – basketball is a religion down here. So, this traffic jam was basically a spiritual pilgrimage.

I was sitting behind my steering wheel freaking out because we weren’t going to make the meeting on time; we were pushing five minutes, and then it was 7 and we weren’t there…then the heavens opened up (not in a raining way). A lane of traffic disappeared and we were off. We were charging full speed (35 miles per hour…) in the direction of destiny! We made it at just ten minutes late, and as it turns out, my parents were running late, too. Thankfully, the coordinator is AWESOME and she was still hanging around. She was setting up for a wedding the next day, so we got to see what it would be like for our 200 guests to sit in the space; we saw what it would look like at night, felt the weather and it’s effect on the space, and my dad (who walked into the venue saying he was “along for the ride”) asked just about fifty-two questions. No joke. I just walked around the place in a daze. All I could say to myself was “This is where you’re going to have your first dance”. “This is where you hug and cry and laugh with your best friend”. This is where you will stand and look down on your family and friends as they celebrate love and life and the unity of you and the love of your life”.

Let’s just say I was getting sentimental, and I was sold.

As my father wandered off to try EVERY PART of the facility (bathrooms? they run well. upstairs? it’s just as large as the downstairs, just without the center!), my mom looked at me, and we knew that was it. I looked the coordinator in the eyes and said “I want that date”. I really wasn’t a hard sale, I’ll tell you that much. As my dad rounded back down the stairs, he said “Well, despite the convenience factor (I, of course, had a dream wedding date that just so happened to be the same day of the rival football game…) it is pretty nice”. We just told him the decision had already been made. We arranged for the contract to be emailed to me on Sunday morning, along with a payment link. And that was that.

rmrbThat was how I chose…venue number four! I absolutely was IN LOVE with venue number three, and while venue number two was amazing, it was a little too bare-bones for us. However, when it came down to it, venue number four was just about downright spectacular. It is the cheaper (but more characteristic) version of venue number one. So much of the rentals are included in the price, and the catering is run through the event coordinators; it was just perfect. It has it’s own character, so we don’t need extravagant décor. We can just work with what we have – and I LOVE that. LOVE LOVE. This venue is just spectacular, and I absolutely cannot wait for the day (just under 11 months from now!) when I get to dance the night away with my husband.

Everything is falling into place – rapidly! And with that comes some good and some bad. I think I’ll wait for another Wednesday to talk about that. In the meantime, look out for a raving review of our photographer (we took engagement pictures on Monday), and some more little details that will pop out in the near future! Thank you all so much for coming along on this journey with me. It really is great to have a community of women who have or are going on the same adventure – all of the advice and stories are just blowing my mind while also helping me take each step at a time.

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday

Where We’re At [Wedding Wednesday]

Howdy, howdy, howdy! Welcome to, yet another, Wedding Wednesday!

I must say, I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d be here this week, for a number of reasons. Zach and I are basically sitting ducks until he gets his work schedule, there really isn’t much for me to do this month that I can do without said schedule, and, to be honest, we haven’t really been in the wedding planning mood lately. It’s nothing bad, by any means, it’s just difficult to talk about what we want to do and like when, in reality, we don’t have the base to build our wedding on! So, instead of getting down on ourselves (or, really, myself), I decided to start a little baby segment that I’ll employ whenever our wedding weeks are lagging. In this lovely little chat, I’ll just go over what we have down, the ideas we’re formulating, and where we’d like to be in a month’s time. Without further ado…

wherewereat[venue] Right now, we have one thing down for certain: we are stuck between two venues. Right now, it’s the battle between venue three and venue four. Unfortunately, it is looking more and more like venue number three can’t happen…for a number of reasons. I’m kind of sad/stressed that it might not be a contender, but at the same time, we have one other top venue to choose (pending availability…). This point right here is why we have been avoiding wedding talk. It’s just gotten so down-to-the-wire as far as setting the date goes that it’s hard to think about without worrying!

[wedding party] We also have the wedding party completely chosen, including ring bearers, ushers, and readers! It was pretty difficult to choose the ring bearers because of two reasons: one, we have about…three small children to choose from, two of whom are VERY young. Two, we had to cut the flower girl because, pursuant to issue number one, we have NO girls to choose from. Seriously. None. So, we just decided to cut the flower girl, and go with two ring bearers. Totally doable! I’ve got my bridesmaid invitations just about ready to go, but I can’t share them until after November 8th. Because…

[dress hunt] We also have the day of the dresses scheduled and ready to go! On November 8th, me and my best gals (7-8 girls…I NEVER thought I’d bring so many people to the dress hunt!) will hit up three local bridal shops and, hopefully, I’ll find a dress I love! I’m not too nervous about the dress shopping to be honest. I know my price range, and I’m really just excited to experience this with my closest friends and family!

[color scheme] We have also changed and chosen our colors for the wedding, as I mentioned in Monday’s post. So, I guess I can count that as finished as well!

[engagement session] Obviously on our “in progress” side of the list are the engagement pictures! Zach now has his shirts for the two outfits, and I found some cute booties to wear. Now, all we have to do is finalize the location(s)!

[wedding party] While this is also on the finished list…Zach really needs to figure out his best man! He kind of just word vomited an open invitation to be in the wedding party, resulting in five guys wanting the bid. But ultimately, it’s up to him who goes where!

[where we’d like to be] I think we all know what falls right here. By the end of October (the 31st, exactly), we want to have the date, venue, and photographer chosen, with contracts signed. Honestly, if we get here in a little over two weeks time, I don’t think we’ll have many stressful wedding thoughts!

Although it’s hard not to worry when you have a specific month you’d like to get married in, but can’t set a date (a unique situation, to say the least!), I think Zach and I both need to just sit down, talk it out, and see where we’re willing to bend a little. I’m not so into an October wedding date (at least not any further than two weekends in), and Zach’s not keen on earlier than September (summer weddings in town are not cheap!); I think, in the end, it’s going to take quite a bit of working and wiggling in order for it to work out.

The bright side? In less than one year, I’ll be married to my best friend! I seriously can’t wait.

[But really. I think I’ve suggested eloping at least ten times…this week…]

Happy Wedding Wednesday, y’all!

Wedding Wednesday

 

A Late Wedding Wednesday [Venue Hunt]

Alright, y’all. I never promised these posts would be on time! I think less that 12 hours after the end of a Wednesday means I can still post this. Right?

REGARDLESS, here’s my wedding Wednesday! As you would imagine, it’s been a busy week. I’ve mentioned quite a few times that I’ve been at a full time job since May, and I started grad school a month ago (25% through the semester – WOO!). Unfortunately, that means the wedding hasn’t been put in the passenger side of the car, OR the back seat…rather it’s been stuffed in the trunk with some tape over it’s proverbial mouth. Yeah. It’s turned into a hostage situation. This wedding had no idea the mess it was getting itself into!

I digress…this week has been busy, not unlike the weeks since the proposal. Life is busy, and I’ve got the lemons to prove it. Here are my lemons this week:

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let’s get motivational.

[lemon 1] We can’t set a date until, at the very soonest, mid-October. THIS. SUCKS. BIG. TIME. It’s literally the only stress that I feel when I think of The Big Day. Boo hiss, job schedules.

[lemon 2] I got the plague last week. That one where you get a horrendous cold complete with fever, aching, and “I’m dying” mentality. Thankfully, it is leaving my system quite rapidly.

[lemon 3] I have zero extra time or energy to take on a workout routine. This sucks more than anything. I’ve been trying to jump on this route of Fit Rachael for two years now, and it’s been on and off. Only this time? It’s just off. I feel so lazy and tired all the time, but I literally just don’t have the time to get the work in! I need to solve this one, stat. Thankfully, I’ve been in the kitchen during my spare time, so home cooked fresh meals have been the (somewhat) norm in the past three weeks.

So, with all these spare lemons to juggle, Zach and I have decided to take some proactive steps to make sweet, sweet lemonade. I won’t put these glasses in bullet form, but rather, I am going to explain one briefly, and one in detail.

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the most beautiful wedding diary of all!

My first glass of lemonade was probably the key to opening my planner’s heart: I ordered a wedding diary from May Designs! If you have never heard of or seen these beautiful beauties (redundant, but accurate), CHECK THEM OUT! Totally customizable, from the cover, to the monogram, to the 80 pages inside! They are gorgeous. And I absolutely cannot wait to get mine in t-minus 3 days! It’s kind of a mix between planner and diary, which I like. Think budget sheets, blank monthly calendars, and space for all the notes your heart desires. LOVE! I also purchased an undated calendar so that I could have day-to-day space to write out specifics in the coming months. (And an Erin Condren Life Planner. I really have been drinking the planning-juice!)

But here is where our pitcher of lemonade is really coming from (at least for me): we’ve begun looking at wedding venues! It is the most exciting thing to pull up to a prospective venue and say, “Wow, I could be marrying the man of my dreams here in one year”. Sigh…so much fun! So glass of lemonade number two was last Friday afternoon as I pulled up to prospective venue number one.

It is a beautiful resort-style hotel in Kentucky that was suggested by my father of all people. Lucky me, I had the plague setting in, so I was quite under the weather, but man, was it a blast to get to start the search! Zach and I met with the event coordinator at the establishment, C, and off we went. The hotel has multiple areas to choose from when it comes to ceremony and reception events; four to be exact. We saw each of them, because with the current number of guests on our list, we could fit in each! We both fell in love with a climate-controlled outdoor tent with a side-set patio where we could have the ceremony. It overlooks a golf course, which of course can be quite the bonus. Luckily, we were informed that they do hold off all tee times so that no golfers will be rolling by as we say “I do”. (Insert sigh of relief here). It was absolutely breathtaking, and I loved the entire atmosphere of the space. It is more relaxed than the indoor ballroom space, but has enough aesthetics so as to not require much additional décor. We both loved it (although I wouldn’t say we fell in love with it), and were ready to hear the important details: numbers, numbers, numbers!

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While I am not going to reveal total costs here, I will go ahead and say what all this venue covers in its costs. It’ll be a nice frame of reference for me, and possibly even for other brides out there looking for venues in the future! After the listing, I will rank it by dollar signs. Our scale will run from $ (much lower than the budget) to $$$$ (dream on, girl).

Venue One [resort-style hotel]

  • discounted guest room block
  • complimentary bridal suite for night of wedding (with discount for night before available)
  • reception site
  • catering
  • catering staff
  • beverages (alcohol [wine, beer, liquor], soda, tea, coffee)
  • bar staff
  • all needed china, glasses, silverware, etc.
  • tables, chairs, and linens
  • cake table
  • gift table
  • dance floor
  • décor available (if needed)
  • wedding coordinator (not just day-of)
  • complimentary parking (valet – extra cost for guests)

…and I believe that’s it. Which sounds like an understatement to me! Basically, all this venue does NOT include is: cake, DJ, photographer, attire, and favors. Unfortunately, the ceremony site at this venue is an additional cost, but it is not a ghastly amount. However…

This venue gets a rating of $$$. Actually, it is almost bordering four dollar sign status. But, after showing my parents the actual numbers, they said to keep it on the list for reference as we go on to see two more venue this and next Friday. Obviously, this venue has the clearest pros and cons. Pro? It includes almost EVERYTHING in the price of rental. Cons? It costs almost an arm and a leg. And maybe a few fingers from the other hand. So, as we go on to see the next few venues, I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is what all the venues do not include, and how much that is going to cost us in addition to the rental price.

Until next time…have a great Thursday (or late Wednesday, as I like to call it)!

Wedding Wednesday

Letting Loose

As is expected from a soon-to-be college graduate, I am starting to fall a little bit behind. It’s been a hectic month, and the next (less than!) two weeks will be giving even the hectic month a run for its money! I still don’t think the fact that I am finishing up my four years of undergraduate in the next seven days, and I know that I am not quite grasping the fact that every assignment I have to have turned in is due, well, now. When it comes down to it, I am a procrastinator, through and through. And this is a problem. I get SO stressed out at the end of each semester, and while it’s not always a result of procrastination (anyone else get sweaty palms when thinking about an oral exam – in Italian?!), the little ball of fear always finds its way into the base of my throat. So, today, it is time to get down to business. And by business, I mean how to relax in a time of stress.

One of my notorious stress-cards.

One of my notorious stress-cards.

Everyone has their own little quirks and their own methods of letting the tension go, and mine goes a little something like this.

[one] Hit up the local Kroger

[two] Grab a few magazines (gossip, wedding, health: whatever you enjoy most, pick it up!)

[three] Head to the beloved frozen aisle. Grab delicious pint of ice cream. In my pre-gluten intolerant days, my go-to choice was always Ben & Jerry’s One Chocolate Cheesecake. DELICIOUS. But today I am obsessed with Talenti gelato. Good stuff.

[four] Make sure you don’t just walk out without paying. That may add to your stress-o-meter. Give them what you owe, then run to the car.

[five] SHUT OFF YOUR PHONE. Just do it. Or at least put it on vibrate. This is you time. YOU. Not mom, dad, boyfriend, best friend, email-from-my-professor time.

[six] Once you are home, pick your favorite place to go. Love your bed? Snuggle up with your favorite pillow. Have the world’s most comfortable couch? Get yo’ lounge on! Enjoy a good bubble bath (and trust yourself not to drop the magazine in the water)? Let the faucet flow and feel the tension  ease.

[seven] Forget about everything that is worrying you – a relationship, class assignment, promotion at work, what have you – and just ease into relaxation.

[eight] If you’re like me and you either read magazines too quickly or need something more mind-consuming, pop in a new flick! Check out a funny Judd Apatow film, a clichéd chick film, or resort to a beloved guilty pleasure (I mean, I’m totally not talking about sparkly vampires, here…).

No matter what you’re way of relaxing is, do it, and you will feel like a newborn babe! I swear, taking time to focus on anything but the worries at hand is one of the best natural remedies you will ever take part in. If you have a different version of de-stressing, DO IT. Out on the town with the girls? Do it. Date night in with your boy (or girl)? Do it. Jog around the park? GO. If there is one place on this planet that knows how to forget about the worries in life, it’s this beautiful city…

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Vegas! Ladies and gentlemen, this town knows how to do it. I took a trip with my grandma (coolest grandma EVER) in mid-October of my junior year of college, and it was the best time of my life. I took time to take in the sights, find new places, marvel at every palace of a hotel, and eat everything on my plate. I forgot about everything else that was going on back home, and I relaxed. The Las Vegas state of mind is always easy to find when you’re in the desert oasis, but it’s not impossible to find even if you’re sitting in your sweats at home. If you have the time and money, go to Vegas; go find your tropical heaven. Take the time to get away from your worries. One sight on the main drag of Vegas is the Aria Resort and Casino. It is a gorgeous resort complete with Cirque du Soleil entertainment, a number of bars and lounges, a salon and spa, and a gelato roulette wheel! Talk about the ideal de-stressing point. If I could get my hands on a spa stay and some of that gelato, I think I’d be on the road to relaxation in 2.5 seconds. But if you’re a broke college kid (like…me!), just find the Las Vegas mindset and let your stress go.

This post was written at the invitation of Vegas.com. I was not compensated, and all opinions are my own. If you get a chance to see this city, GO!