December Goals

I always have the best intentions for the month of December, but it doesn’t always work the way I have in mind (ahem, post December Goals a week late). This Christmas season, rather than getting overwhelmed and frustrated when something doesn’t go the way I anticipated, I’m trying to embrace the change rather than letting it ruin the whole season. More so this year than years past, I want to wholeheartedly enjoy everything this season has to offer, which sometimes means letting go of the things that could be different.

Here is an example for you. Every year, I help in the process of the Christmas cookie baking tradition in my family. It usually takes place the day after Thanksgiving, but because Jody and I were celebrating with my in-laws, my contribution of the baking had to wait. The other night I mixed up my favorite Spritz cookies and when I went to mix the food coloring in, I realized my dyes got lost in the move. Admittedly, this was nearing 9:30pm and I was not thrilled about having to run to the store that late. After throwing my boots on and not-so-gracefully yanking my coat out of the closet, I made it to the sidewalk when I asked myself “Why are you doing this?”

“Because,” I thought, “We ALWAYS have colored spritz cookies”.

In that moment, I (thankfully) realized how silly that statement sounded. This is a different year, a different Christmas than before. I get to start new traditions with my hubby this year, and maybe that doesn’t have to include colored Spritz Christmas Cookies. It doesn’t have to include watching the same Christmas movie on Christmas Eve as I have in the past. All it has to include is family, my husband and celebrating the birth of Christ.

I shared that with the hope that my story helps to simplify your Christmas season. Rather than focusing on the materialistic wishes and unrealistic goals, I hope you focus on those around you and taking time to cuddle up on the couch with some hot cocoa (apple cider for me!) and watch every cheesy, beautiful Hallmark movie every created.

Of course, I can’t end my last goal post of the year without sharing some of my “potentially attainable” goals for this season ūüėČ Happy Christmas Season friends!

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November Goals

  • Keep a list of what I am grateful for each day this month
  • Go to church, either a new to us one or one we‚Äôve attended before
  • Pray over our Operation Christmas Child shoebox and send it off¬†
  • Get all of my Christmas shopping done (I only have a few things left to purchase so I consider this a half-success!)
  • Host friends for our Housewarming Party
  • Get back to the gym at least once a week

December Goals

  • Mail our first Christmas card
  • Stay active throughout this busy month
  • Start our Christmas ornament tradition
  • Love our friends and family well this season
  • Remember the real meaning of Christmas (this requires watching “The Nativity” at least once!)
  • Celebrate Christmas with our family
  • Celebrate six months of marriage in Charleston
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Christmas Gift Guide: For the Newlyweds

Happy Friday and Happy December, y’all! If you’re anything like me, you had planned to be done with your Christmas shopping by now, but if you’re anything like me, you probably aren’t (hey, we tried!). So on this beautiful first day of December, I am sharing my last of my gift guides for this holiday season — for the newlyweds!

Shopping for newlyweds can either be super easy, or a little more challenging depending on what’s left on their registry. You may feel completely out of ideas, especially if you’ve been to more than one of their wedding events this year, but this list includes some other items that may not be on their registry. Of course, taking a look at their registry (most places keep the couple’s registry live for a few years!) is a great place to start.

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  1. Mr. and Mrs. Mugs: If you know the newlywed couple can’t start their day without a cup of coffee, a Mr. and Mrs. mug set is a necessity in their cupboard. These camper mugs are manly enough to make up for the hand lettering — the perfect combination of his and hers!
  2. The Newlywed Cookbook: We received this cookbook last year as a Christmas gift, and I just love it! The book is organized by type of food and occasion, and is perfect for couples look to spend time together in the kitchen. We turn to this book when our date night takes place in our kitchen!
  3. Ring Dish: Every newlywed (or even newly-engaged!) couple needs a special place to put their rings. These ring dishes come in a variety of sayings and make a cute addition to any vanity or dresser!
  4. Monogram Marble and Wood Serving Board: If your newlywed couple loves to entertain, this serving platter is just for them! It is practical enough to use at any type of party and the marble and wood design coordinates with many styles. Plus, the monogram shows the couple that you truly picked it out just for them!
  5. Personalized Wall Sign: Following a wedding, you can never have too many things with the new family name posted around. There are so many options and styles out their to match just about anyone’s design tastes, so you really can’t go wrong with one of these personalized wall signs. Any couple would appreciate a new piece of personalized decor to add to their new home together.
  6. Picnic Basket: Want to give a gift the couple is sure to remember? Gift them with an easy date idea, like this picnic basket. It already comes with flatware, plates, wine glasses, a corkscrew and salt & pepper shakers, so just add a bottle of their favorite wine and voila! They will be grateful for a reason to go on a date and are sure to think of you whenever they use their basket.
  7. CorningWare French Bakeware: Depending on what the couple had already registered for this CorningWare bakeware set is on just about every couple’s list. Durable and built to last, couples can use this set over and over again as they grow into their kitchen. While the first year may include a lot of takeout, they are sure to be grateful for reliable bakeware as their marriage continues.
  8. Flameless¬†LED Candles; Candles are one of my go to’s for making a house feel more like a home and these flameless LED candles are a great addition to any couple’s home. They are battery operated, which makes them safer than real candles, and the realistic flame flickers soft and gently which ups the cozy and romance factor, as well.
  9. Badminton Set: If your favorite newlyweds are like me and Jody, you love games! From yard games to classic board games and everything in between, we just can’t get enough of it! This badminton set would be a great gift for game enthusiasts, or any couple with a little bit of outdoor entertaining space. While it probably won’t be used until spring, the newlyweds will definitely be thinking warm thoughts with this one!
  10. Just Married Ornament: Decorating for the holidays can be expensive, especially when just starting out. Remind the newlyweds of their best day with an ornament that they can add to their tree year after year!
  11. Love Story Journal: I have always been a fan of journaling my life experiences, and I truly believe journaling your love story is a beautiful keepsake. This particular journal prompts the couple through writing how they met, their first date, engagement, wedding, honeymoon, and then every anniversary through their 70th. How sweet to fill this in and be able to pass it down to the generations to come!

 

 

Christmas Gift Guide: For the Travelers

 

I’m a firm believer in the fact that traveling is good for the soul, and thankfully my husband does too. Ever since I was little, my parents would typically use the holidays to gift us with items that would be useful on an upcoming trip. I’ve received maps, cameras, memory cards (make a great stocking stuffer!), and travel books all about wherever I was headed.¬†Travel has been such a huge part of my life since I was little, and something that I remain passionate about. If you’re shopping for a travel enthusiast this year, I hope this guide gives you some ideas, if not adds some ideas to your own list (guilty!).

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  1. Luggage Tags: This is such an easy gift for any one. There are a million options out there of different luggage tags you can get, so why not surprise your traveler with a new set that beats the paper tags from the airport. My go to would be one like this one — bright which makes it easy to spot on the carousel, but still stylish.
  2. Luggage Scale: A must for those who tend to overpack (ahem, hand raised over here). This scale provides high accurate readings of the weight of your suitcase, as well as temperature gage. It is small and easy to pack, which means it doesn’t add a lot more weight!
  3. Instant Film Camera: You definitely can’t travel anywhere without a camera. While I love my Nikon, this instant film camera by Fujifilm is perfect for anyone. It’s lightweight and compact, which is ideal for travel, and also produces bright images. They come in a variety of colors and are reasonably affordable for someone who isn’t into high tech photography.
  4. Portable Battery Charger: You honestly can never have enough of these portable battery chargers. Especially if you are using your phone as a translator, camera, GPS, etc, you’re going to need a recharge before the day is over. Travelers can easily toss this charger in their bag and pull it out whenever they need it. It makes a great stocking stuffer too!
  5. Peru: The Cookbook: One of the arguably best parts about traveling is the opportunity to experience diverse foods from different cultures. What’s a better gift than to remind your traveler of one of their favorite places by gifting a cookbook full of different recipes from that culture?!
  6. Space Bag Travel Bags: When I studied in Europe for a month in college, I used these space bags to save space in my luggage. These bags vacuum out all of the air, dust and bugs to keep your clothes as fresh as when you washed them. These are a must for anyone traveling to any cold-climate — it save a ton of space on sweaters and bulky outerwear!
  7. Carry On Cocktail Kit: Pre-flight jitters or a little rest & relaxation? That choice is yours, but either way this carry on cocktail kit comes in handy! Complete with a muddler and steel jigger, you can bring first class to economy seating.
  8. S’well Bottle: My brother-in-law got me one of these bottles as a gift a few years ago and it still is one of my favorite bottles to take with me whether on a day trip or a week long vacation. Its slim shape allows it to fit in a number of bags or backpacks (I always stick it in the outer pocket of my camera bag), and it comes in a ton of different colors and designs. I’m really loving the art on the one above!
  9. Scratch Off World Map: Between all of my family’s vacations growing up, plus the newer trips I’ve been on, I have a map of the United States that I color in when I visit each state. It has been so neat to see a visual of where I’ve been, and where I still have to go. However, since its only a map of the States, this world map may be my next purchase. I love the black background because once you scratch off the place that you’ve visited, the brilliant bright colors of the country below really pop.
  10. Travel Laundry Bags: I am all about organization, especially when traveling. If my belongings aren’t organized in tip-top condition, I am bound to lose them. I love this set because it not only provides separate bags for those random travel necessities, but also comes with a bag for dirty laundry. Now your dirty clothes won’t get mixed up with your clean ones, and your can just toss them in the washer as soon as you arrive home!
  11. Travel Coloring Book: Flights are boring to begin with, especially if they are transcontinental. Thankfully, most international airline provide some sort of TV or streaming service, but if you’re like me, that will get boring after a while too. Pick up one of these coloring books and a bag of pencils for a gift that is easy to pack and entertaining!
  12. Energizing Foot Lotion: Y’all, this stuff is the best. It is made of a cool and refreshing mint formula that soothes aching, tired feet and legs. After a day of exploring one of of the world’s oldest cities, to recovering from jet lag, this lotion is sure to be one of your traveler’s must-pack necessities!
  13. Travel Mug: These mugs by Evelyn Henson are just the cutest! Not only does she have mugs designed with famous landmarks from different touristy cities, but also from some of our favorite destinations from right here in the States! These mugs can serve as a great daily reminder of a favorite city or vacation.

Christmas Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

Happy Black Friday friends! I hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of laughter, love and good food. Jody and I spent ours in Virginia with his side of the family — it was great to see family that we don’t get to see all that often.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the holiday season is officially upon us! Between now and Cyber Monday, I’ll be sharing my gift guides filled with ideas while you start, continue or finish your Christmas shopping! Growing up, one of my family’s traditions was to spend all of Black Friday in the kitchen making all of our Christmas Cookies for the season. I still continue this tradition with Jody, but I can’t resist the opportunity to find some deals online! First up is my His and Hers¬†Stocking Stuffers guide. This post is extra special as we have a guest blogger to share “guy-approved” stocking stuffers — my hubby! So give him a warm welcome and happy shopping!

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  1. Movie Tickets:¬† While this can be a little subjective, if your guy is a fan of Marvel movies, it’s quite a time to be alive.¬† Ladies, if you’re¬†feeling up to it, make a personalized voucher to gift him, to a movie of his choice.¬†¬†
  2. Shaving Essentials:¬† Shaving cream can be one of those tedious expenses, so why not have one that works well, smells and looks good?¬† I switched from Gilette to these products from Harry’s and haven’t looked back.¬†
  3. Whiskey Stones:¬† Every guy needs a solid bar accessory.¬† Whether it’s a bespoke beer mug or a James Bond looking decanter, I’ve become fond of these whiskey¬†stones my wife got me for all my fine whiskey on rocks needs.
  4. Lottery Tickets:  Big money! We hope haha! A classic in my family.  Before scratching we always loved daydreaming how to (ridiculously) spend our winnings. 
  5. Multi-Purpose Work Gloves:¬† Gents, whether you’re¬†a home auto mechanic, self-proclaimed professional house maintenance man, or just need a good pair of affordable gloves, Mechanix are proven to be a comfortable go-to.
  6. Socks:¬† Ladies, look to your man’s hobbies and run with it.¬† I personally have far too many pizza¬†socks and yet, not enough.¬† while socks were lame gifts when we were kids, every guy needs new socks. Always.¬†
  7. Ear Bud Headphones: Even though most people (maybe?) keep track of their original headphones¬†just fine, I’ve found it useful to have a few pairs here and there.¬† I have a pair for the gym, for my car (since my AUX is no more), and general purpose.¬†
  8. Bottle Opener:  The world of bottle openers has gotten creative.  As far as bottle openers go, just use the same tactic as the socks and take note of his hobbies! Cheers.
  9. Pocket Knife:¬† A good tool, safety measure, EDC (Every Day Carry) essential, whatever.¬† A Good pocket knife seems to be appreciated¬†by most guys.¬† I’m by no means a knife connoisseur, but I’ve had no trouble using my Smith and Wesson with a serrated¬†edge.¬†
  10. Favorite Snack:  Simple, effective, delicious.  Top it all off with his favorite snack.  Chances are he will munch on these while opening the rest of his gifts! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! РJody

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  1. Nail Polish: Everyone knows about my nail polish addiction, so obviously I needed to start my list off with some color! The best thing about using nail polish as a stocking stuffer is its small enough to fit at the bottom or to slip in a small spot next to something else. Also, around this time of year, you usually can find set of mini polish in holiday colors!
  2. Bracelet: I’ve had my eye on this forever! This hair tie bracelet is perfect for any girl who is stylish, but always manages to leave their hair band on their wrist. You can keep your hair tie close by with this clever jewelry piece.¬†
  3. Fuzzy Socks: If you’re like me, you probably rush to see what’s under the tree on Christmas morning and forget to put something on your feet. A pair of fuzzy socks is such a cute way to add some additional cheer and warmth to your Christmas morning!
  4. Coffee Gift Card:¬†One of the greatest gifts in life in a gift card for coffee. I have the Starbucks app, so I can easily upload gift cards right to my phone to use whenever I go to the store. Even if the people in your life aren’t coffee lovers, any type of gift card is an easy stuffer.
  5. Magazine Subscription: I love reading magazines. I could sit for hours in a bookstore flipping through various magazines from Bridal, to Home Design to Food and everything in between. A magazine can easily be rolled to fit in a stocking, and with a note about the subscription on it, it would be the perfect little gift for the reader in your life!
  6. Hand Lotion: Especially in the winter, there is nothing that feels better than lotion on dry, cracked hands. This Mary Kay hand lotion set is my favorite by far — it makes your hands so soft, which seems like such a treat in the middle of winter. Jody loves it too, so it can really be a gift for anyone!
  7. Stud Earrings: A girl can never have enough pairs of earrings, especially when they are this cute. With all of the parties that take place around the holidays, a cute pair of statement studs can be the perfect addition to any outfit!
  8. Lip Balm: Just like hand lotion, you can never have too much lip balm. I’m not particularly picky when it comes to my lip balm, but I love how soft eos¬†makes my lips. The cute container is a plus too!
  9. Face Mask: When Jody is out late or gone for the night, my favorite way to relax by myself is having a glass of wine and doing a face mask treatment. Target is one of my favorite places to shop for facemasks because they have such a variety of types and scents. 
  10. Beanie: With winter officially starting just days before Christmas, a beanie is a great addition to a stocking! I just love these beanies — for every hat purchased, Love your melon donates one to a child battling cancer. There is absolutely nothing better than a gift that gives back!

A Cozy Housewarming Party

A few Fridays ago, Jody and I hosted our first gathering at our home in the form of a housewarming party! Hosting and entertaining guests are something that has always been important to us, but we have had few chances to do so. Now that we have settled in and added more to our little home than just furniture, we were excited to welcome our family and friends into our newly decorated home! With only a few free weekends before the holiday season begins, we were grateful to find a weekend that worked for so many of our guests.

Luckily, our apartment was already decorated for fall, so we just expanded off of that for our theme. Our party was the weekend following Halloween, so I tried to find a cohesive scheme that wasn’t solely Halloween but also wasn’t a spin-off of Thanksgiving. After one glance at my new black buffalo check pillows, I thought a Cozy Housewarming was the most perfect theme for a fall party. Ironically, after two weeks of cool temperatures, it was a balmy 83 degrees the night of our party!!

We arraigned the food around our dining room table, to allow our guests to mingle throughout the room. We also had the back door to our screened in porch opened to invite our guests to enjoy the cozy views of our backyard. I made a playlist on Spotify that could be heard in any room inside. I love a good party playlist!

I chose food that coordinated with our cozy theme including Caprese sticks, bacon bowties, a pumpkin-shaped cheese ball, spinach dip, maple cider meatballs, mac and cheese bites, ham and swiss sliders, pumpkin snickerdoodles, and individual apple pies. Yum!!¬†Our bar cart even arrived in time to display our drink selection, including the Cranberry Apple Moscow Mules I made for the party! I had to opt for something cold once I realized it was going to be an unseasonably warm fall day. ūüôā

We had such a great time hosting our family and friends in our home. It was great to visit with people from near and far and entertain those we love in our first home together. The party came together seamlessly and we are looking forward to all of the gatherings we will throw in the future.

 

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Our Wedding Ceremony

Happy Wedding Wednesday! I’m excited to share one of my most favorite memories of our wedding day with y’all today. Going into the planning of our ceremony, I knew the importance of it, but between all of the decisions and details of the reception, I didn’t realize that my ceremony would easily become one of my favorite memories from that day. There is just nothing to come to the feeling of joyfully becoming husband and wife!

Our biggest wish for our ceremony was to create a service that was just as meaningful and reflective of our relationship, as it was of our relationship with Christ. As I mentioned when we selected our venues, part of the reason we chose to get married at St. Luke’s was less because it was closer than my family’s church, but because it was the church I was baptized in, and spent most Sundays during my childhood. It was the place where I could envision Jody as my groom for the first time, and it sure did not disappoint. When those big wooden doors opened to view my groom at the end of the aisle, I was left completely breathless. Ribbons with hints of blush and gold lined the aisle, along with the words of 1 Corinthians 13, the pews were adorned with hydrangeas and filled with the people that we love most, and my most perfect groom waiting for me to become his bride. It gets me every. single. time.

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We also had asked my uncle, who is a pastor, to officiate the ceremony. It was overwhelmingly beautiful to have someone who was so close to us guide us through vowing our love to one another and before God.

For being someone who has spent entirely too much time watching videos of other peoples’ weddings, I knew from the start that I wanted to have personalized vows. I think it is so beautiful when you can take pieces from your story to make these promises to one another even more special and real. Thankfully, Jody agreed to take a moment to share these vows in front of our family and friends. Because we chose not to share our personal vows with one another until the ceremony, I asked to share mine first. We also chose to repeat the traditional vows to each other — they are just that good! I will never forget the feeling of staring into Jody’s eyes as I made the promises I had heard for so many years, feeling the weight and importance of every word as I vowed to cherish him forever.

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To continue our drive to keep our ceremony meaningful, we chose three readings, all which were read by close family and friends. Our two biblical readings were Ephesians 5:21-33 and Hebrews 13: 1-4A, 5-6B. We found it so important to include what God asks of us in our roles as husband and wife, the desires for our lives together, as well as the life-changing promises that He makes to us, which has an impact on all portions of our lives — including our marriage. The other reading we chose was “Blessing of the Hands”, which speaks directly to our here and now, as well as our desires for the future of our marriage. It also provided a smooth transition to our unity selection — a hand washing ceremony.

We chose to have a hand washing ceremony to symbolize the purity of beginning our lives as one, while cleansing any faults of our past. Our beginning was a fresh start, no longer as individuals, but a journey that we would embark on together for the rest of our lives. We also chose to partake in communion, just the two of us, in remembrance of the love that our Lord has for us, as we both believe that we can love each other only because of the greatest love that He gave for us. We had our pianist play “Sanctuary”, a song we both grew up singing, while we served communion to one another. That private moment for the two of us was unexpectedly one of the most emotional moments for me during the entire ceremony.

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After our first kiss as husband and wife, we walked back up the aisle to “Ode to Joy”, the same song that my parents exited to at their wedding! I loved that we were able to honor both of our parents marriages during our ceremony by using songs that were played during wedding years before. It was such a blissful moment — the chords ringing out, mixed with clapping of our family and friends, while simultaneously realizing that we were officially husband and wife — I would go back and repeat that moment every day for the rest of my life.

 

 

November Goals

October always seems like such an “in-between” month for me. The weather isn’t quite cold enough to feel like fall (ahem, 80 degrees last weekend), and it is almost, but not quite yet the seasons of thanks and giving. Apparently, the “in-between” feeling spread to my goals list too, considering I didn’t not check off nearly as many goals as I was anticipating I would. Some months are just like that.

Even so, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t spend my time intentionally this past month. We spent a weekend in Pittsburgh celebrating my cousin’s wedding (yes, third of my cousins to get married this year!), spent last weekend in Richmond for Homecoming, and still found time to explore places closer to home. And with it being almost a month since beginning my new job, Jody and I have been able to find a little more time to spend together. All-in-all, October was still a pretty great month.

Nonetheless, I am thrilled that November is here! Besides the holiday season being just out of reach, November is the month where the temperature finally cools down, oversized sweaters are mandatory, and life slows down just for a few weeks before the hustle and bustle of the end of the year. I’m looking forward to spending this month intentionally, so that when December comes around, I can indulge in all of what the holiday season has to offer.

October Goals

  • Be more consistent with Writing the Word
  • Find something new to take a picture of every day
  • Complete this¬†30 day marriage challenge¬† While I may not have followed this challenge in a specific order, having the challenge calendar out for me to see was a constant reminder to be attentive to my hubby’s needs and to make him feel appreciated.¬†
  • Explore a near to us place that we‚Äôve never been
  • Participate in two workout classes Not confident I ever made it to the gym this month. *facepalm*
  • Settle into my new job gracefully
  • Get outside more (before it is too cold!)
  • Hang pictures in our home

November Goals

  • Keep a list of what I am grateful for each day this month
  • Go to church, either a new to us one or one we’ve attended before
  • Pray over our Operation Christmas Child shoebox and send it off (you can learn more about this mission project here!)
  • Get all of my Christmas shopping done
  • Host friends for our Housewarming Party
  • Get back to the gym at least once a week (baby steps, y’all!)

A Grown Up Halloween

While Halloween may not be my favorite holiday, I’m always ready to celebrate with a party! I’ve hosted several Halloween and Fall themed parties in the past, complete with spooky playlists and treats, but have yet to host a grown up Halloween dinner party. It’s not in the works to have one this year, but if it were, I just love these arrangement of burnt orange, gold, and pops of black. Especially since it doesn’t feel like a whole season to me, like Christmas, I lean towards simplistic styling with just a few pumpkins, candles, and maybe even a skull for my husband, which I think makes it look detailed and elegant with minimum effort!

Clockwise from top left: Camille Styles; Apartment Therapy; Home Stories A to Z; Unknown; Domino; Alicia Tenise; Domino

This year, Jody and I will be passing out candy for all of the kids trick-or-treating, and then most likely cuddling up on the couch with a bowl of chili, while watching a scary movie that I will probably hide under a pillow halfway through. ūüôā

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday y’all! Today is an exciting Friday around the Cox household as we are en route to our Alma Mater for the weekend for Homecoming! It is always a treat when we have a weekend to go back to Richmond, but it is even sweeter when it includes a stop at Randolph-Macon!

For those who don’t know our story, Jody and I met in college while we were both captains of our tennis teams. While we had completely different, yet wonderful experiences in college, we are forever grateful that our paths crossed in the Center of the Universe (as the locals call it!).

In 2011, I graduated high school and moved to Ashland, Virginia — a quaint little train town just north of Richmond. After looking at colleges for the previous three years, I found Randolph-Macon just a few weeks before starting my senior year of high school and immediately fell in love. I apply early-decision and on the day I went back to campus for my overnight recruiting tennis trip, I was accepted! It was truly the best four years and I never once regretted my choice.

So in honor and celebration of our Homecoming Weekend, today’s Friday Favorites post is all about good ole Randy-Mac! I’m not sure I can limit all of my favorite things about college, but I’ll do my best to keep it under control.

  1. The people are so nice. I know it is a southern stereotype that everyone talks to one another, but its true, especially in this little college town of mine. Since R-MC was pretty much the biggest thing in Ashland, many locals walked through campus on nice evenings and would even let us pet their dogs!
  2. The size of the Randolph-Macon. When I started, the student population was just around 1,250 students, which about 50 students more than my high school. I knew I wanted a school that was small enough to form relationships with my peers and professors but to still see new faces each day. I was amazed how close I grew to the faculty and staff over the course of four years — I still am in touch with some of them today!
  3. Campus involvement was so easy for me to become a part of. I was in a number of clubs on campus throughout my time there — Intervarsity, Habitat for Humanity, and Relay for Life. I spent all four years as a member of that club, serving as chair of the committee for three of those years. I pour so much time, effort and planning into those events, and that experience shaped my desire for my career goals of the future and find wonderful friends. 
  4. To spin off of some of the clubs that I was in, I also had other opportunities to serve on campus… and get paid for it! I was a Tour Guide for the Admissions Office for my Sophomore through Senior Year, Orientation Leader for Freshmen during my sophomore year, and last but certainly not least, Resident Assistant my Junior and Senior year. I loved loved loved all three of these jobs, and the opportunities that resulted from these jobs. Plus, I did get a room to myself for two years, which was as wonderful as it sounds. ūüôā 
  5. Football in the South. We may not be a part of the SEC, but we might as well have been! One of my favorite Macon traditions was called “Girls in Pearls, Guys in Ties”, which basically meant that you dressed in your Sunday best for each home football game. I only missed maybe one home game in my four years at Macon, and I can count on one hand how many games I didn’t dress up for (mostly due to rain).1779881_4880520066595_5155108175497553269_n
  6. THE GAME. Y’all there aren’t any other football games that are comparable to The Game against our arch-rival, Hampden-Sydney College. Saved for the last game of the season, there is always a full week of hype leading up to kickoff. We won 3 of the 4 times we played them while I was still at Macon, including my senior year when we rushed the field after the winning touchdown!
  7. Speaking of traditions, I loved how traditional my school was. From signing the matriculation book the day we officially became members of our graduating class, to starting and ending our college career at fountain plaza, to jumping in the fountain after graduation, and having our bricks placed on alumni walkway — there were so many moments that were shaped by the traditions that had been a part of the school’s history for years, which had an everlasting impact on my career. 11119517_10155737118140595_7450399468700974786_o
  8. I studied abroad during our four-week January Term during my sophomore year. I took a class that studied Jewish culture during the Holocaust (by far, my favorite college course), and traveled to Germany, Austria, and Hungary. The fact that I was able to spend an entire month traveling throughout Eastern Europe still takes my breath away a little bit. It was one of the most thrilling, heart-wrenching months of my life and I couldn’t have had a more perfect experience.
  9. Playing Division III athletics in the ODAC conference. As previously mentioned, I was recruited and played on the Women’s tennis team for two years. After I left the tennis team, I joined the Equestrian Team, another passion I had during high school. My experience on both teams challenged me, helped me grow as an individual and cultivate relationships with my team members that I cared so much about. Which leads me to…P1120467
  10. It’s where God led me to my husband ūüôā

Last Few Moments as a Miss

I shared with y’all last week about how wonderful it was getting ready the morning of our wedding (if you missed it, you can read about it here). After the hair was done, the mimosas had been sipped, and the dresses were on, it was just about time to walk down the aisle. Before I did however, there were a few quiet moments I wanted to have in the midst of the fastest day of my life.

Prior to our wedding, Jody and I planned to exchange letters that we penned to one another along with a special gift we separately picked out. We were careful to keep these gifts a surprise, so we didn’t have any idea of what each person got the other.¬† In all of the hustle and bustle of the morning, we almost forget to exchange our gifts! While my mom and sister were helping me into my dress, I had one of my bridesmaids deliver my gift to Jody to the room where he and the guys were getting ready. Once we were both dressed, it was time to have a quiet moment to exchange our gifts.

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The only person who was aware of what both gifts were, was my mom.¬† Just days before the wedding, when Jody had asked her to help wrap his surprise, she discovered that Jody and I purchased the same thing for each other!¬† She did an amazing job keeping the secret — I’m not sure I would have been able keep the smile down and stay hushed! We both got each other compasses — his for his desk, and mine a pocket – something that speaks to a personal representation of how we would continue to love each other no matter the distance or place, and to always come back to one another no matter the obstacle. To this day, I still have absolutely no explanation for how we both chose the same gift other than our hearts are clearly meant to be one.

I love our expressions when we realized what happened! ūüôā

As much as we wanted to do a first look, we mutually desired to save that moment for when I walked down the aisle. However, we still wanted to have a moment together. I knew if I was emotional, he would be the way to calm me down, and I knew I’d do the same for him, if his nerves began to creep up. We decided to hide around the door to my bridal suite, not visible to one another, only touching hands for a few moments prior to the ceremony.¬† It was a bit more challenging to coordinate as guests had begun to arrive at this point, and me and my bridesmaids needed to be escorted to where we would wait for the ceremony.

With Laura and Rob both in my suite, I heard them give Jody the okay to come close. Similar to anticipation on Christmas Eve, the world stood still as he approached. Just seconds later, I felt his hand slip into mine as I reached around the door.

“Hi babe.”

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My entire body relaxed the second I heard his voice. After the past few hours of anticipation, I was suddenly filled with a sense of calm.¬† Jody would later tell me his heart raced from excitement during that meeting and never truly settled down, something that he fondly remembers each day.¬† Every moment of our story had led us to this moment, to the moment when we would “I do”, and to every moment after. I’m forever grateful that we decided to share just a few minutes together. The way I felt when I heard his voice, when he touched my hand, and especially a little later as I saw him at the other end of the aisle, are the moments I hope to hold onto and remember, as if it were yesterday, for as long as I live.