City Chic 

 Ever have one of those insane weeks where all you can think come Friday all you can think is, “I need a drink”? I don’t even really drink except for on occasion in social settings and even I felt that way after this week. So yesterday my husband called me from work, told me he was getting off early, and instructed me to use that fancy app thing I have (it’s just open table, he’s not so tech savvy) to make reservations at our favorite restaurant in Winter Park, The Ravenous Pig, because he was taking me on a date.

So I picked out one of my Gwynnie Bee items that’s a little on the sexier side, I’d been saving it for a night like this.  

Before I hopped in the shower, I even made some fast pass reservations at Magic Kingdom for after dinner. I figured since we’d already be in Orlando and it’d been a while since we went, it would be a nice surprise for the butcher, who loves going to Disney World more than anyone I know. 

That’s something I really like about our relationship, we give and take. Last week my husband won first place in the weight loss competition they had going at his store. The competition came right around the time he decided to make some healthier life choices anyway, but being the fiercely competitive person that he is (still a good sport though, and always ready to cheer on the losing team) it gave him the extra boost he needed. After eight weeks of healthy eating, 20 mile bike rides, and lots of willpower, (working every day within smelling distance of the Publix bakery cannot be easy) he was down 34.4 lbs and won the contest by a mere .01% body mass index decrease!!! Everyone who entered the contest threw in 20 bucks so the prize was a nice little chunk of change. I know what I would have done with my prize money! But what did he do? He went to Sam’s Club and used his winnings to buy me two of the jumbo deck boxes I’d been wanting for storing our patio cushions, they had previously been stacked in our dining room and it was driving me nuts. Some guy huh? So the next day I got him a Fitbit (or magic exercise bracelet thingy as I call it…guess I’m not always that tech savvy either…) that he’d been wanting for a long time and was what he should have bought with his hard earned weight loss money to further him on his fitness journey. See, give and take. 

Just to give you a little more background info on my loving but somewhat impatient “photographer” husband…he basically just stands there taking a million pictures and I move around hoping at least one turns out good and then I sit poring over them to find that one suitable shot. Here’s what’s really happening in these three pictures… 


1. “I’m not ready why are you taking pictures already?”

2. Trying to look cute but really looking more like Bill Cosby in a Jello commercial…

3. “Ok take it already, I think this might be the money shot. Did you take it? It’s starting to rain!”

But sometimes the outtakes are actually good takes because they remind me of my favorite picture of my beautiful mama… 

 But this post was supposed to be about a dress, so let’s get back to it. I loved the way I looked and felt in this City Chic (hence the title of this entry) Frill Wrap Tunic Dress from Gwynnie Bee. It came with this great belt, (which looks silver but was actually gold) was comfy, and great for a romantic date night, even if that date got crashed by two of our besties, which actually made it even better! Plus, it transitioned perfectly when I threw on a polka dot headband and my Croc flip flops, I was Disney ready! Time for fireworks!  

Headband Forever 21 Lipstick Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Bella Dress City Chic Frill Wrap Tunic from Gwynnie Bee Gold hoop earrings from my own collection 


It’s wedding season!


“To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the loving cup, whenever you’re wrong admit it, whenever you’re right, shut up.” – Ogden Nash

So, not sure if you know this about me but weddings are kind of my thing. I love everything about them and always have. That being said, they can be extremely stressful and a lot of work. After planning my own wedding as well as serving as wedding coordinator for several friends and family members, I put together a list of helpful wedding tips that I send to all my girlfriends who are planning a wedding. And since its June, the most popular month for weddings, I decided to share them with you too!


Assign the following duties;

  • Master of Ceremonies
  • Prayer at Ceremony (if someone different from Officiant) & Reception Prayer
  • “Go-To” Person (if you do not have a wedding planner) This is very important. This person will handle any and all problems the day of the wedding. You should not be running around stressed on your wedding day. Once they are assigned, give them your wedding notebook so that they can handle everything and introduce themselves to vendors, notifying them that they will be their contact should any problems or concerns arise. This person can also be at the rehearsal to help the bridal party, it’s difficult for the bride to be orchestrating her own rehearsal and, again, you want to be de-stressed and enjoy yourself as much as possible. Even though walking down an aisle seems very simple, there is a lot more involved and people will need direction, more than once, trust me.
  • Someone to tell bridesmaids when to go to keep in time with music
  • Guest Book Attendant-someone personable to greet guests, make sure they sign guest book, hand out programs and/or maps to reception, etc.
  • Ushers- ushers can also be groomsmen and their duties are to escort guests to their seats, making sure family aisles are properly reserved, rolling out aisle runner, and making sure chairs are moved back after ceremony or any other breakdown that is necessary.

Next are some tips that will make your day go a lot more smoothly. I always say, the more detailed you are the less mistakes there are to be made. You will thank me.

  • Make a spreadsheet (landscape size not portrait) of everyone on the guest list. This will not only be helpful to have everyone’s name and address at your fingertips but also will help you when getting a final RSVP count, keeping tracks of gifts and amount of money received, and sending thank you cards. Even after the wedding instead of searching for everyone’s addresses you’ll have everything on one sheet. Also, give a copy to your maid of honor so when its time to plan your shower she won’t have to ask you for a guest list. Trust me, DO THIS, YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.  
  • Always compare prices. Even though you may meet with one vendor and fall in love with that person’s ideas, keep looking because someone else may be cheaper and may give you more for your money. Some vendors will be very attentive to your needs, and the level of their devotion to your wedding will be outlined in their proposal, and during your initial consultation. When you see a vendor who is willing to go the extra mile for a client (like staying later than necessary during the day of,  is always prompt when returning your calls, listens to your concerns), you know this is the person you can count on for the big day. Also, make sure all vendors are paid before the wedding day so it’s less stress on you or your bridal party. You never get anything you don’t ask for, so if you want something, ask for it. You might be surprised what you get!
  • A piece of advice that should not be ignored is to get everything in writing. From your vendors, to your reception location, it is in your best interest to have your wants stated in a contract or agreement. It’s always important to have your desires written to avoid any confusion with your vendors regarding your dreams, and it also acts as an insurance policy if they do not comply with your ideas in the end. Also, if you are planning on doing something unique (using unusual flowers, for example), it is most important that it is written so everyone is clear and understands what his/her responsibilities may be. A contract enables both the client and vendor to know exactly what they both need to do in order to make the day a success.
  • Keep a “wedding notebook” filled with clear plastic page protectors and all your information including guest list, sample invitation, vendor contracts, all receipts, and pictures from Pinterest, magazines, fabric/color swatches and honeymoon information. Bring it with you everywhere you go.
  • When meeting with your photographer give him a detailed shot list of specific poses and shots you would like him to take. Look through pinterest, magazines, or other photographer’s websites for neat ideas. That way you can be sure you’ll be happy with your pictures and they will have more of a journalistic feel than just the standard “smile and pose” shots. See if he can come to the rehearsal dinner. This is good for many reasons, you’ll have captured memories of the rehearsal and dinner, and it gives him a chance to find his way to the ceremony site, meet the Officiant, and get to know important family and bridal party members so he can be sure to look for them to take their pictures on the big day. Also make sure to confirm times with him the day before to make sure he knows when he needs to be where. Decide if he will be taking pictures of the guys at their location and then going to the bride’s location so he can get shots of you getting ready. You may want to consider being ready early so that he can get some of the shots of you with your bridal party and family out of the way. If you are having a videographer, you may want to ask them to set up a screen outside of the banquet room where people can give a message to the bride and groom in the camera. Also, if the ceremony is in a house of worship, you may want to discuss with both the photographer and videographer about proper conduct and dress, asking them to dress appropriately and to respect the arrangement by not filming during the prayer or getting on or too close to the stage and therefore disrupting the ceremony.
  • Make an itinerary with specific details and times for all parties involved in the wedding including family, bridal party, photographer, Officiant, etc. Start with any pre-wedding activities such as spa appointments, rehearsals, etc. This way everyone will know where they need to be and when and there will be no excuses for being late! With such a large event it really helps to be extremely organized in order for things to go smoothly. This is especially helpful with a destination or out of town wedding when there may be several days of activity.
  • When meeting with the DJ, once again, specification is key. Give him a list of songs including those you like, those you DO NOT want played, and of course, the important songs such as your dance, father daughter/mother son songs, cake cutting song, intro songs, etc. Decide who will be making the announcements at the reception. Some assign it to the DJ and some leave it to the Master of Ceremonies. Whoever may be doing it meet with them ahead of time. Go over somewhat of a script for what will be said at the reception and when, like when you will be cutting the cake, doing your first dance, etc. Let them know how you want everyone to be announced; ex: “and next the brother of the bride…is escorting cousin of the groom….”. Make sure he knows how to correctly pronounce everyone’s name in the bridal party so all can be properly introduced.
  • When registering for gifts, go around your Mom’s (or the current place your living in) and make a list of essentials that you use on a regular basis. This will help you to make sure you get what you really need. Sometimes you get “gun happy” with the scanner and may register for something cool like a chocolate fountain and forget to register for a vacuum. And trust me, people for some reason seem to always go for the silly non-essentials and you get home from your honeymoon with no forks but plenty of fancy napkin rings! So focus on the big ticket items and people can go in together to purchase them. You can go back later with the money and gift cards you get to buy smaller more decorative items. Make a special envelope for all your gift receipts, People will put them in your card and they easily get lost. Keep track of them because returning gifts (and you will return/exchange some) without the gift receipts can be very difficult and frustrating.
  • Call or meet with all vendors week of wedding to confirm time and ensure that everything is being done the way you want it. At my wedding I had said over and over again “NO baby’s breath!” and I met with the florist two days before and she had baby’s breath written down as a yes! So always check the details. Make sure the cake can be delivered directly to the reception site and that the facility has a fridge large enough to hold it. Decide where flowers are being delivered. Make sure all boutonnières and corsages for Groom’s side go to his house and Bouquets and corsages for Bride’s side go to her. Also, don’t forget to order enough corsages and boutonnières for officiant, grandparents, and anyone else who is playing a special part as a thank you and honor to them.
  • Make sure all groomsmen have followed through with tuxedo/suit measurements and orders and they all have ties, shoes, haircuts, etc. before the day of. If you do choose tuxedos, many places will give the groom a free rental if all the groomsmen order from the same place. So don’t be afraid to ask!
  • In most states you can get your marriage license a few months ahead of time but no later than ten days before the wedding. So do not wait, go get it as soon as possible. You both need to be there and you need your driver’s license and birth certificate. Some states require a blood test but nowadays they just make you swear on the Bible and sign a paper saying that you are NOT brother and sister. Be ready to spend anywhere from $30-$100. Assign someone to keep the license safe and make sure they bring it to the ceremony, it must be signed there by the officiant and your two witnesses (usually maid of honor and best man) Also assign someone (like your mom) to mail it away day after the wedding so that you’ll actually be married!
  • Give someone (again, most likely your mom) a key to your home. That way they can drop off all your gifts and make sure everything is nice and neat for you to come home to. You may also see if they can take your wedding dress to the cleaners.
  • When making travel reservations for lodging and dining do not be afraid to tell people you are newlyweds. Just by saying something simple like, “we are on our honeymoon so anything you can do to make our stay more special would be greatly appreciated”. They will put flowers in your hotel room or bring you free champagne at dinner, all sorts of great stuff. This is your only chance at being treated like royalty so enjoy it! This will go a very long way and make your trip even more enjoyable. If you are obtaining a passport for the first time to go on your honeymoon or making a cruise reservation, make sure it is NOT in your married name. Your name will not be changed until you get home from your honeymoon and you will need your current legal name on all important documents in order to travel successfully.
  • Be sure to pack for your honeymoon ahead of time so you’re not rushing around packing the night before. Brides always bring a wrap to dress up an outfit and keep you warm in a restaurant and grooms bring a suit jacket as many fine dining restaurants require one. If you are taking a limousine to the ceremony/reception then assign someone to drive your car (with the luggage in the trunk) to the reception so you can leave when it’s all over!
  • If you are decorating at the ceremony site be sure to bring everything with you on the night of the rehearsal so it’s there and taken care of. Keep it all in a box, the aisle runner, guest book and pen, ribbons for family aisles, etc. That way everything will be there and it can be set up early on the day of by the ushers without you having to worry.
  • Don’t forget to purchase attendant gifts for your bridal party. Even though you usually get the same gift for each person think about engraving the item with their initial to give it a more personal touch. If you search for bridal party gifts on the computer you’ll find tons of great ideas. A good website to go to is
  • Look through pinterest and wedding magazines while planning. You can get ideas for dresses, hairstyles, reception décor, honeymoon spots, bridal party gifts, and even interesting photo opportunities. Don’t get discouraged by some of the extravagant pricing, you can use them as an inspiration and translate the ideas for your budget. A word of advice though, once you have your final decisions made, STOP looking. If not, you’ll keep changing your mind and second guessing yourself and you’ll make yourself crazy.
  • Be sure to do a beauty consultation at least a week before the wedding so you can be confident with your hair and makeup before the big day. Just remember that your makeup needs to be a little heavier than normal, so don’t freak out when you see it. The makeup artist is a professional and knows what they are doing. Plus, you are the bride and need to look extra special and that makeup needs to last ALL day through crying, pictures, and dancing.  If you plan on getting a facial or doing a spray tan do it AT LEAST three days before the wedding. Also if you’re wearing new heels make sure to break them in because you will be on your feet ALL day and need to be as comfortable as possible. Grooms shouldn’t be forgotten either. Most spas do amazing male facials and clean up their eyebrows so they can look extra handsome on the big day. Also for brides AND grooms, clean up your nails! Even if you don’t get a manicure make sure nails and cuticles are neat and clean because close-up pictures of your hands WILL be taken.
  • Have extra favors and blank place cards at the reception, there always seems to be a surprise guest or two.
  • Be sure to have an emergency kit for everything you might need on the big day including hairspray, deodorant, lint roller, bobby pins, safety pins, needle and thread, breath spray, shout wipes, band aids, baby wipes, aspirin, nail file, Chap Stick, tissues, and a mirror. This will come in handy many times on the big day AND on your honeymoon, it’s a ready-made travel kit!
  • When deciding on processional music, make sure the song you choose is long enough. Depending on the size of the bridal party, you may need to loop the song. Decide if music will be playing as the mothers and grandmothers are escorted down the aisle or if it will begin when the bridesmaids walk down. It is extremely helpful to time how long it takes to walk down the aisle and then practice this at the rehearsal. That way the procession goes smoothly and the song doesn’t run out while the bride is halfway down the aisle. Having instructions for the person doing the music and inviting him to the rehearsal is also helpful and again, the more thorough you are the less room for mistakes! Another nice idea is if you know someone who plays the guitar or even the harp, ask them to sit at the front and play music during the procession.
  • Make a list of announcements for the officiant to make after the wedding before the guests are dismissed such as informing them that the reception is invitation only, no smoking, and where directions can be found.
  • Keep all your bridal accessories such as stockings, undergarments, hair accessories, shoes, etc. in one box and label it so they are easy to find and well cared for.
  • Don’t forget to eat the day of the wedding. You will most likely be a bundle of nerves and feel like you can’t eat but it is a LONG day and if you don’t eat before the ceremony it will be several hours before you get a chance to. This is especially important if you will be drinking alcohol, you don’t want to do that on an empty stomach. It might be nice to put some cheese and crackers and champagne in the limo or other car you are riding to the reception in. So assign someone to get some lunch for you and the rest of the bridal party that you can munch on as you get ready. You will be a happier bride for it!
  • Although it may sound funny and you’re probably doing plenty of this anyway, practice your wedding kiss. Sometimes men have a different idea of what the appropriate wedding kiss is!
  • This is a pet peeve of mine but I promise you it makes a huge difference in pictures. Teach your bridesmaids how to hold their bouquets!!! Unless it is an arm bouquet, they need to be held at your belly button with both hands. Too many girls hold them up at their chest and cover up their dress or they hold them with one hand off to the side which looks casual and just bad. So please show them and emphasize the importance of how to correctly hold the bouquet! Remember the 3 B’s, belly button bouquet!
  • Programs are a newer wedding trend but something that is appreciated by your guests, especially at an out of town wedding. They are helpful in letting the guests know who the officiant is, who is in the bridal party, where they’re from, and what their relationship is to the bride and groom. You can also include the processional song, a nice picture of the bride and groom, and perhaps their favorite scripture or quote. It is also a good place to put maps to the reception. Programs keep the guests busy while they are waiting and are a nice keepsake.

I hope these tips will prove helpful and may you have a wonderful wedding day and a successful marriage!

“Success in marriage depends on being able, when you get over being in love, to really love…You never know anyone until you marry them.”
  – Eleanor Roosevelt

He’s my person. 

“We are as perfectly matched as two imperfect human beings can be and I love him with all that I have.

I read that somewhere recently…oh right, it was here on my blog. (shameless plug) But it’s so true. As usual, I can’t sleep. And I’m sitting here, watching him snooze peacefully,  (because he of course falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow) his hands folded together, resting on his chest as it slowly rises and falls with each breath…and I just love him so much. I remember before we were married expressing concern about his potential snoring and disruption of my sleep. My mother in law shooed the notion, saying that she loves hearing Daddy snore, it’s comforting and calming. Years later, I realize she was right. You know you really love someone when the loud, rhythmic, “darth vaderlike” sound they emit, caused by vibration of loose tissue in the upper airway, is soothing. That is why, he’s my person. Here’s some other reasons…

I lecture, nag, and scold him (cut me some slack, it’s in the job description. I do lots of good things too) and he takes it and still loves me anyway. He takes it without a negative word or complaint in response, and usually with a smile on his face. (Like in this picture, where I’m pretty sure I’m yelling at him about something…)   

He’s extremely strong. Obviously physically, he’s a big guy and is seriously impressively strong. But he’s strong mentally and emotionally too. He’s endured more than anyone will ever understand but yet exudes a good natured confidence that few can manage.   

He wears whatever I tell hm to. More accurately, whatever is laid out on the bed. He knows that if I’m wearing a pink dress, he will be wearing a pink shirt, tie, socks, or all of the above. He knows that if we go to the beach we will be doing a “white shirt & jeans” photo shoot. And he’s ok with it.   

He got me a puppy. He grew up with dogs but they weren’t like the cuddle with you on the couch kind of dogs, they just sort of lived in the room behind the kitchen, so he was never attached. He didn’t understand the love you can have for a pet and how they really do become your child. Also, dogs eventually die and he doesn’t like death. But I wanted a dog, so he overlooked all of that. Now he absolutely adores Raven, is fiercely protective of her, and let’s her in the bed even when mom says no.   

He’s an awesome son (and totally his mother’s favorite but shhh…)   

My family adores him and he’s not an in-law, he’s a son and a brother. My mother brags about him endlessly and he and my dad have a special bond that makes me tear up every time I watch them together, it’s exactly what I always imagined.

The ladies love him. Three little ones in particular. There’s no one else these girls would rather have to throw them in the pool, carry them around Disney on the throne that is his shoulders, and visit them at school to eat lunch with them and intimidate all the boys who have crushes on them. He may not ever get to display what would be his amazing dad skills in this system of things, but he sure makes one heck of an Uncle Joey.   

Be it “The Fish, “Joey Bananas”, or just Joey, his friends can always count on him for a laugh, a good competitive game of epic duels or pool volleyball, and a listening ear. He considers them more brothers than friends, and they him. 

My friends love him too, I mean look at this guy, who wouldn’t?!  

Just like his father, he’s an extremely hard worker and never complains. 

He makes me laugh. Every. Single. Day. We’ve been through a lot in our eight years of marriage, so laughter has been key to survival. Having a sense of humor is essential, and I’m so blessed that I get to laugh with him for eternity. He’s my person.   

eight years ago today…

Ok well not technically today, it was actually yesterday but let’s not split hairs. I wonder where that expression came from…I bet my dad would know. Anyway, yesterday was our 8th anniversary. I really can’t believe how quickly the years have passed. We spent the day (and by “we” I mean my father, father in law, and the butcher, while I stayed inside randomly supervising, bringing them cold drinks and sandwiches…) doing yard work. So romantic. I suppose it’s a sign of old age and the joys of home ownership? Honestly, the butcher works so much and we have so much company coming these next couple of months that I’d rather get my patio finished than go to the beach for the day. (Well not rather but you know what I mean. Plus he says he has a surprise planned for me in May so I don’t mind waiting. Well I mind but I can do it!) Throughout the day I kept saying, “Honey, this time eight years ago you were putting your tux on”…or “eight years ago today we were probably cutting our cake”, etc. So I decided to do a little blog post featuring the highlights from that very special day and bring you along for the ride. 

Every bride needs a custom made t-shirt…

2007 (213) 

Didn’t I have the best bridesmaids? We all wore our shirts for rehearsal the night before. Boy was Jackie mad that we forgot to tell her to wear jeans!2007 (208) 

Rehearsal dinner was a luau at the in-laws…coconut bras were a must!2007 (222) 

Always been a daddy’s girl…this was an emotional walk. Also I would like to say that even though I loved our wedding I hated my hair and makeup (or lack thereof, and would change everything about the way I looked if I could, even my dress) 2007 (77) Eight pretty maids, all in a row…2007 (108) 

As Abba would say, “I doooooooo, I do, I do, I do I do…..”2007 (125) 

The new Mr. & Mrs! IMG_1589b The fam…2007 (154)Time for a limo ride! Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 657 limo couple 

I loved my bridesmaid dresses. They were ridiculously expensive and I truly regret making them pay so much for them but I was young, dumb, and they were pretty!Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 617b 

This is one of my favorite wedding photos ever. 2007 (205) 

Jumping for joy and testing out the veil the Butcher’s grandmother made.Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 322b 

We took some family photos…2007 (182)b 

Then some group shots….Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 332 

Then we walked through the Villages town square and got cheered on by hundreds of senior citizens!Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 339 Before dinner we watched the obligatory embarrassing photo slideshow…Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 313

Then we danced…Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 438 

Played Cinderella…Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 446 

Did the chicken dance….Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 294b 

And the tarantella, a traditional Neapolitan folk dance that is mandatory at Italian weddings…Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 280b Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 276 

And no reception (in my opinion) is complete without a little Frank…”start spreading the news….”Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 430 

Then we cut the cake(s) mmmmm cannoli filling…IMG_1702 

Took some family photos…IMG_1651_edited-1Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 346 

Danced a little more…Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 398 

And then passed out from exhaustion! Boy am I glad I wore flats! Joey & Lori's Wedding 031007 447

If I had to do it all over again…I’d do everything different (not what you thought I was going to say huh?) I mean we didn’t even have PINTEREST then! But it was our wedding day and I loved it all the same. The one thing I wouldn’t change? The man I married. 

“You should do this for a living”…

Anyone ever tell you that when they see that you’re really good at something? It’s a compliment for sure, but it always gets me thinking.
“You should plan parties for a living.”
“You should do this professionally!”
Although flattered, several things come to mind when people say these things. I think about how much work it is and how I enjoy it and I know that if I did it professionally, for people I don’t know or love, was taken away from my family every weekend to throw parties for strangers, just to get a check at the end of it, I know I wouldn’t love doing it anymore. But the thing I think of first and foremost?
“I just want to be a mom for a living.”
Parties, for instance, are a favorite thing of mine to plan. The bridal tea last week was for my best friend’s little sister who I really don’t know that well but since my best friend is like a sister to me that makes her little sister my little sister too. I wanted to do it for her because I love her, I probably won’t be throwing her a baby shower in this century, and she’s already got so much on her plate. She fought me in the beginning and didn’t want it to be too much on me, just like she fights me when I throw them an anniversary party. So I told her to be quiet, and I let her in on a little secret.
“I plan parties because I can’t have a baby.”
Maybe it sounds silly or hard to understand, but it’s the truth. There’s something about decorating a room, planning a menu, cooking, making things so pretty that people gasp in surprise when they walk in the room, and doing something for someone I love that just brings me so much joy. And in a very tiny but meaningful way, it fills the void of decorating a nursery, buying sailor suits or hair barrettes, and presenting a little cooing trophy wherever we go.
Of course there are other things that fill my time as well, most importantly my faith and my ministry, and of course my wonderful husband and family.
And I cannot even express the love in my heart for the sweet, adorable ball of fur {albeit shedding all over my house} that is our puppy Raven. She has given us someone to lay in bed and cuddle with at night, someone to take pictures of to show off to people, someone to fuss over and worry about when she gets sick, and someone to call our baby.
After many failed attempts via many different avenues, the butcher and I made a decision this week to officially “close up shop”. {drop dead gorgeous movie quote…can you tell I use humor to diffuse an uncomfortable situation?} The decision was not made lightly, and it has come with great pain and disappointment. But because of the associated and inevitable risks, there also comes some relief. Relief of no longer wondering every single month, “Could I be?” or “Can we handle losing another one?”
I know that someday every desire will be satisfied and I eagerly await that day. But until then, I’ll keep throwing parties, just for fun.

“X” is for…wait for it…(dad will be proud)…XENIAL!

Of course you know what that word means so I shouldn’t have to explain…right? Ha, it’s ok I didn’t either, but I have to say I was pretty excited that when looking for words starting with “x”, I found one that suits me pretty well.
Xenial adj. (ZEE-nee-uhl) : hospitable, especially to visitors.
There are definitely many things I wish I was more (or less) of. But I really do pride myself in being hospitable, or, xenial. So today’s example of my “xeniality” (yup that’s a word too!) is a small anniversary dinner we had for our best friends. I don’t believe that you have to wait for a “landmark” anniversary year like 10 or 15 to have a little party, any and every year that someone stays married (especially in this day and age) is something to celebrate! So our dear friends Stuart and Angela were celebrating their 12th anniversary and I decided to help them! I love a good dinner party and seriously have so much fun setting the table, decorating, making invitations, and planning the menu.
My first step was the invitations. Obviously I have an inside track to a good greeting card and invitation source (wink wink shameless plug to my etsy site but I decided to mix it up and try this cool new app I got called “Makr” where you create a lovely invitation (along with coordinating place cards, menus, etc. if you’re interested) and can order a hard copy or for a super low price, buy the PDF and print it yourself. Here was my result…

Nice huh? Since yellow and grey is one of Angela’s favorite color combos I decided to make that the color scheme for the party. As far as dishes and table linens, I already had everything I needed from my growing dish collection. A few folding tables, candles, a cake from my favorite local cake lady, a delicious Italian meal (with much assistance from the butcher), and 10 of their favorite people, voila, we had a party! Check it out!


yummy caprese skewers with balsamic glaze for an appetizer



the curtains doubled as a backdrop for my little dessert table complete with white chocolate truffle pops, chocolate covered oreos, assorted candies in yellow and silver, lemon meringue cookies, mini panna cottas, and of course their delicious cannoli filled cake!



The lovely couple posing before they cut their cake.They don’t look old enough to be celebrating their 12th anniversary right?!



This was a little bit of last minute decorating to fill the empty table space, a cardboard letter covered in silver scrapbook paper, a small vase of fresh flowers, and a matching frame with some cute pictures of the couple all on top of a yellow chevron scrap of fabric I had that worked as a makeshift table runner.



I set the table with my vintage yellow tablecloth and contrasted it with a velour metallic runner from tj maxx. Little mercury glass votive holders scattered around the table added to the ambiance and each table setting had a silver charger, white plate, napkin “bow”, personalized candy favor, and a striped straw/placecard.



I found a cake I liked on pinterest, gave the picture to my local cake lady and she created this, so much easier than making my own, even though I could, but with everything else going on it was a big help.



the table!



Each guest received a little favor of either lemonheads or Hershey’s kisses with a little photo sticker of Stu and Ang.

Stay tuned for my next act of xeniality coming in May!

my beefcake


This man. I love this man. My husband discovered the true definition of “shop till you drop” yesterday and did not complain once. We went to kohl’s, (where this photo was taken…he wouldn’t actually try it on, you can only push someone so far!) old navy, sports authority, the Gainesville mall (and many stores inside of it), trader joes, Walmart, SAMs club, Publix, and finally, target. Oh and four thrift stores one of which he saw and just pulled into the parking lot without me even having to ask! It was a lot even for me and I consider myself to be an expert shopper! We are leaving for vacation Saturday and so I had a list and purpose for each store we went to which I think helped him feel a little better about it all but he truly was a trooper. Is there a greatest husband in the world award? If there is, this guy should get it, and yesterday’s shopping extravaganza was only one of the many reasons why.