Friday Favorites

Cheers to Friday! I don’t know about you, but this week has felt like the longest ever. I think it might have had a little to do with my anticipation about heading back down to Richmond for the first time in forever. I can’t believe that I haven’t been down there just to go since New Years. I’m looking forward to a weekend of indulging in some of our favorite local spots, which you will hear more about soon!

To kickoff the weekend, I thought that I would share some of my favorite things that I have been obsession over lately. Since this blog is designed to focus on the most blissful moments in everyday life, I figured showing off what has been putting a little skip in my step might be something that you’d enjoy as well!

1) Favorite Dish: Everyone who knows me knows that quiche is one of my favorite meals. I used to have my mom make it for my birthday each year, and even had a variety of quiches at my bridal shower! So when I found this crustless zucchini and corn summer quiche, I just had to try it. It is so light so it doesn’t leave you feeling sluggish on hot and humid summer days. It is filled with everyone’s favorite summer veggie that is ever so plentiful this time of year. It’s also easy to make too! I’ve already made it twice this month.

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Photo by The Skinny Fork

 

2) Favorite Drink: Last weekend, Jody and I went visit Nassau Valley Vineyards with a couple of people. I never have tasted their wine before, and I was please with the tasting that I chose. I ended up buy a bottle of their Chardonnay (Dry) because I loved how different it was from your typical Chardonnay! I kept saying it tasted like flowers (those of you who have experience Lavender flavored ice cream in Nice know what I’m talking about!), and it was so crisp and light that I could picture myself having a glass on a warm summer evening.

3) Favorite Quote: When I first saw this quote, it really made me sit a minute. I’ve never thought about why we laugh, or the science behind it, but I just love this thought! It makes me smile whenever I read it.

4) Favorite Flowers: Okay, I understand I’m a bit partial here but I cannot get enough of our wedding flowers! I remember feeling a pang of sadness when I left my bouquet in the car when we left for Jamaica. I knew when we got back it wouldn’t be the same beautiful, soft, full arrangement that I left. However, it dried perfectly (thanks Mom!) and makes a beautiful centerpiece on our table for the time being.

Photo by Laura’s Focus Photography

5) Favorite Song: Bits and pieces of this song have been stuck in my head for a consecutive two weeks, but it wasn’t until I realized it plays every morning on my way to work that I decided that I liked it! Kenny Chesney’s latest single, All the Pretty Girls, landed an even softer spot in my country-loving heart, when I found out that the video that won his Music Video Directing contest filmed their video in Richmond! If you look close enough you can see Belle Isle. 🙂

MEP to MEC: Our Welcome to Town Dinner

Happy Wednesday, friends! This Wednesday seemed as good as any to have a Wedding Wednesday post. Over the next months, I’ll be sharing more details from our big day, so I thought that I would start with the event the kicked off the weekend’s activities!

Because so much of our guest list were out-of-towners, we started having guests arrive on Thursday before our wedding. I had been feeling guilty for months about bringing so many people to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and not serving them true Maryland seafood (We actually had seafood as an option for our rehearsal dinner, but due to the size of the venue, we kept our group to a minimum). It wasn’t until my uncle asked what seafood I’d be serving that I had the idea to have a dinner for all of our guests that arrived a few days ahead of time. I wanted to keep the event very casual and laid-back, so I chose my favorite crab shack to invite our guests to join us! Harris Crab House has been a staple in my family for years and I couldn’t think of a more perfect place to kickoff our weekend. The restaurant is location right on the Narrows, near Stevensville, and has breath-taking views of the water that surrounds this part of the world. It is right off the highway exit, making this a place our guests could literally jump off before continuing on to the hotel.

Ironically, a few others decided this was the perfect location for their gathering as well. We arrived right behind two parties of 18 people each, so when we asked for seating for another 19 people, I’m fairly certain the poor hostess panicked. Luckily enough, our guests had gathered down by the dock bar, and Harris’ didn’t seem to mind when we asked if we could sit out there.

Jody and I greeted everyone down by the dock (adorned with Bride and Groom buttons :)), and did our best to do introductions, while hugging each person that arrived next. It was completely overwhelming, in the most wonderful way, to reach the realization that all of these wonderful people were here, ordering the best seafood, in anticipation of our wedding, in just two short days.

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We laughed, drank, ate, caught up with family and friends until after the sun sunk into the bay. All throughout dinner though, I kept taking a peek at my soon-to-be husband. I couldn’t wrap my head around how on earth I am lucky enough to marry my best friend that I met on the tennis courts four years prior. Even though the stress had caught up to me that day, all of the worries I had disappeared because now, I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, or my light at the end of the aisle. In two days, the wedding would be over, but our lives would be just beginning.

After the crab cakes, soft crabs, salmon, hushpuppies, and cornbread were all had, we said goodbye for the night as I headed home to finish up some last-minute details on the decor that we would be delivering to the venues the next morning. I knew sleep in the next 48 hours would be scarce, but our wedding weekend was finally underway. I could not wait.

August Goals

Now that we are (mostly) adjusted to newlywed life, I am excited to dig into some goals during the last full month of summer! Everyone knows that summertime is my favorite season by far, so I’m planning to take full advantage of every second I have left! We had some fun in July, mixed in with a little chaos, but we are looking forward to getting a few more things checked off of our list in August.

We had a blast celebrating our first month of marriage back at Harvest Ridge Winery where we got hitched!

July Goals

  • Get back into a workout routine, choosing to be active at least twice a week
  • Officially change my name I’ve taken care of the big ones, just need to change the smaller accounts now!
  • Research places to get my wedding dress cleaned
  • Begin tackling my porch project
  • Go on a day trip to somewhere new
  • Celebrate one month of marriage!
  • Finish our porch project
  • Try a new recipe once a week
  • Enjoy a trip back to Richmond to visit with family and friends
  • Read a new book
  • Complete two craft projects
  • Find a new-to-us local attraction and go visit it!
  • Work out our new budget (Accepting all advice when it comes to creating a newlywed budget!)

Wedding Gift Etiquette for Guests

As wedding season is in full swing, purchasing wedding gifts may be at the forefront of your mind. Being on both sides of the gift-giving and receiving this year, I thought I would share a thing or two I’ve learned about gift etiquette that I’d like to share with you today!

Zola Card 1 The Registry

As I have shared in previous posts, registering for gifts as a couple during your engagement is such an exciting time! For someone who tends to lean on the more practical side of things, it was a bit challenging for me to realize what we could have to build our home, versus only registering for the things that we needed. However, it was so wonderful to stroll the aisle (and virtual aisles online!) picking out items that we could imagine in our home. Most brides and grooms spend quality time picking out items to put on their registry, so if you are looking for a gift that you want the bride and groom to love, stick to the registry. However, I don’t think that means you can’t buy something off of the registry for the newlywed couple. We received an engraved pizza cutter as a gift, and it was one of the cleverest gifts that we received! If you do choose to not purchase an item off of the registry, be sure that you get a gift receipt.

As a bride, the biggest tip I would give those who either don’t have a lot of wedding experience or someone wanting to get the happy couple something that they’d like, don’t ask the bride or groom want they want. The couple took the time to make the registry for a reason, where they handpicked items they’d like, so they would be pleased with anything from those lists. In addition, often the bride and groom are so distracted by planning their wedding, they can’t remember what they even registered for in the first place. Don’t be that guest that bothers the soon-to-be newlyweds only a few weeks (or days– it happens!) before their wedding.

Zola Card 2 How Much To GiveWith the amount of weddings Jody and I have attended in the past year, while planning our own, I know firsthand how it can financially add up over the course of a few months. I do my best to plan ahead – either I purchase both the bridal shower and wedding gift at the same time, or I make sure I note at the beginning of each month in my planner what gifts need to be purchased for that month. Even during the months where the money is tight, I do the best I can to at least cover my plate. If finances are tight (or it’s a very busy wedding season), I think it also a wonderful idea to go the meaningful route. That could be a handwritten letter with marriage advice, a sweet Mr. and Mrs. Picture frame, or a bottle of bubbly for the couple to share on their first anniversary!

Zola Card 3 - When To GiveIn the past, it would still be considered “on time” if guests bought a gift for the happy couple within a year of the wedding. However, especially with how attainable and convenient wedding gift shopping is now with online registries, I suggest purchasing the gift within three months of the wedding. Chances are, if you wait longer than three months, you may forget about it and the bride and groom may think you didn’t think of them during their special time. While it is not required to purchase a gift, it is customary to get one for each event you attend.

While I personally didn’t use Zola for our registry, I can definitely see why so many people choose to! Not only can you add any staple branded products, but you can also include experiences, monetary funds and more in one central location. This prevents having to register at several different locations, and remember what you registered for where – I know that was a problem I had! It even makes the process super simple for guests too. There is a group gifting option, where your guests can donate the amount that they are so graciously willing to contribute to a high-priced item that you may not normally receive. Additionally, it is all online and will ship right to the bride and groom, which means not having to lug around a wedding gift to the actual event. That is such an incentive for those out-of-town guests!

I hope a few of these tips help in the midst of this wedding season! We only have two more weddings this season, but I’m sure these tips will serve as great reminders as we head to our next wedding as guests, rather than the guests of honor. I’d love to know; do you have any other tips when it comes to purchasing gifts for a wedding? Tell me in the comments below!

Our Honeymoon in Jamaica

If you remember my post back in February, you may recall that deciding on a place to go for our honeymoon was a bit of a challenge. But y’all, we just loved Jamaica and could not imagine celebrating our first few days of newlywed bliss anywhere else! The location of our resort was far from most of the touristy sites, which made it feel even more secluded. After such a whirlwind couple of weeks leading up to the wedding, it was the perfect place to relax and unwind. It was the perfect decision for us, and I’d love to share a few of our favorite experiences!

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Prior to arriving, I was concerned that I would get tired of sitting all week, especially since I was constantly on the go on my previous vacations. To my delight, I loved hanging out in the pool and heading out to the beach each day! It took us until our third day in paradise to fully feel energized again, so floating in the pool with my new hubby was just magical.  We also lucked out by having our room adjacent to the pool with the swim-up bar. Jody and I found it so convenient to be able to walk out onto our patio and into the pool. As our room didn’t have a mini-bar, it was just as nice to be able to go just as far to get a refreshing tropical drink. 🙂

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We ate so well while in Jamaica. Apparently, there is a stigma with all-inclusive resorts with the food not being all that great, but boy, did we luck out. We had thought it was delicious our first night there (albeit, we were exhausted), but after talking to several other couples who have visited other Sandals resorts, South Coast has the best food, at least out of all of their other resorts in Jamaica. We made sure we ate at all of them at least once, and then saved room towards the end of the trip to frequent some once more. Most of the restaurants reflected the resort’s European theme. There was Mediterranean, French, a patisserie (yum!), Caribbean, Italian, Sushi and Asian. While we never had a bad experience, our favorite dining experience was breakfast. Jody and I barely saw each other in the week leading up to the wedding, so to start our mornings off with coffee, small talk and omelets, these moments became one of my favorite memories from our entire honeymoon experience.

We were so spoiled as honeymooners as well! On our first night, we received a bottle of champagne in our room during the turn down service. Later in the week, we received a do not disturb honeymoon sign for our door, a congratulatory note, and breakfast in bed. The staff would often ask how our honeymoon was going and give us their best wishes — it was so fun to be pampered all week! We also enjoyed a couples massage, which was singlehandedly the best 60 minutes of my life (after our wedding ceremony, of course!). We giggled that as it was designed to rejuvenate our love, it was only the beginning for us. Nonetheless, a little pampering can make you feel like true royalty.

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We went on two excursions — one of which was a wedding gift, and the other came with our package when we booked our trip. And y’all, we had more fun than I ever imagined. Our first excursion was the Black River Safari tour and trip to YS Falls. We didn’t know much about it, other than it was the closest excursion to our resort, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. But after cruising on the Black river, spotting crocodiles and Jamaican wildlife, and then jumping OFF OF A WATERFALL CLIFF, we were blown away by how much fun we had! We lucked out with an amazing driver and tour guide, who gave us a glimpse into Jamaican culture and we had such a blast facing our my fears, especially when it came to the falls. I honestly thought that all we were doing was taking pictures of it and playing in its natural pools, but am so glad that we had the opportunity to climb up the falls, and then jump off of the cliffs with my new hubs. It was such an adrenaline rush!

Our other excursion was a sunset catamaran cruise that left from our resort, and sailed along the coast until sunset. We dropped the anchor shortly into the cruise, which gave us an opportunity to (again) jump off of the side of the ship into the Caribbean waters below. Even though that excursion was towards the end of our week, it was still the first time we had been in the ocean since we had been there. We enjoyed drinks and snacks, once back on board, and we sailing into the sunset, when we experienced another surprise — a torrential downpour! Our captain did a great job keeping everyone’s spirits up while we were all damp, and for surprise #3, the sun came back out as we were sailing back up to the resort. We loved that the staff were such happy people. They love to laugh and everything was “no problem, mon”, which was such a great environment to be in. It is hard to complain when you are surrounded by so many blessings!

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In the evenings, we typically would wind down after dinner by attending the entertainment on the resort that was provided to us. We attended a Newlyweds Game Show, Jamaican night, White night, and live music out on the terrace. My favorite moment was when one of the musicians started playing “Wagon Wheel” and Jody and I join other couples and danced. It was so surreal to be dancing with my husband to a song we played all of the time in college, danced to a number of times in the kitchen and dancing to surrounded by our family and friends just days before. It was one of the moment when it hit me that I have the rest of my life with my best friend.

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After seven blissfully wonderful days in Jamaican paradise, we couldn’t believe that our honeymoon had already come to an end. We weren’t ready to leave, but anxious to begin married life back home. We were excited to visit with our families, open wedding gifts and settle into our new apartment together, but we wouldn’t be lying if we said that we were sad to leave Jamaica. Although, after being greeted to a welcome home goodie bag in our car at the airport, champagne at our apartment, and of course, Jody carrying me  “over the threshold” and up the stairs when we arrived home, I began to realize that our time in paradise wasn’t over, it was only just beginning. And from what I can tell so far, it’s going to be pretty great.

My Bachelorette Party

 

Three weeks before the big day, I piled in the car with my sister, Madison, and my friend, Jackie and headed towards Wintergreen Resort, tucked away in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains for my bachelorette party. I didn’t know the plans of the weekend until I arrived, but I was so excited to spend the weekend with some of my closest friends. I was the perfect escape in the midst of wedding craziness!

Since I knew all of my wedding party would have to take off work to come to town for the wedding, it was important to me to not have them have to do the same a few before. A lot of my friends were in other weddings this year, I knew how hard that can be, especially when working. With that being said, the Friday night of the weekend was rather low-key, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My (at this point) soon to be father-in-law so graciously let us stay with him on Friday to break up the drive. We arrived in Richmond around 8pm, which allowed us some time to head downtown and take a trip to one of my favorite bars, 3 Monkeys. Unbeknownst to my friends, I had been seriously homesick from RIchmond the past few weeks, so being able to walk around and see so many familiar sites was more therapeutic than anything else. Needless to say, a few drinks in RVA made me even more excited for the festivities that were to come.

On Saturday, we had an early wake-up call in order to make the most out of the day. After breakfast at my favorite brunch location in Richmond, (friends, if you are ever in Richmond and you need a place to brunch this is it!) and some coffee for the road, we headed towards Charlottesville. As we drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway, I was so distracted by the breath-taking views, I didn’t even realized that we had arrived! I was then met by three of my other bridesmaids, Olivia, Amber and Logan, and the cutest decorations in the house we were staying at. I especially loved the napkins, but that’s just me loving any paper product. Shortly after a quick toast, we piled in the cars and headed down the mountain to the plethora of wineries that are in Nelson County.


Our first stop was at Flying Fox Vineyard. It was tucked off of the main road, and was a small little tasting room, but I highly suggest stopping at this winery, if you are ever in the area! They have eight staple wines, but they are all very different from one another, which makes a tasting even more interesting. While we might have blown through the tasting a little fast (oops), I thoroughly enjoyed using this time to catch up with some of my best friends!

Our second stop was at Veritas Vineyard & Winery, and y’all, this place is breathtakingly beautiful. Click on the link to see what I mean — I wish I had thought to bring my Nikon with me!
We decided to grab a bite to eat on The Terrace, since it was a little after lunch time, and to forgo the tasting. Instead, we each got a glass and found a table on the porch to allow us to eat, sip, and chat. I tried to freeze that moment in time — wine, some of my closest friends, and beautiful scenery– it was the perfect snapshot! I had a glass of the rose, which was delicious, but I will definitely have to make a trip back to try the others!

We tried to make it to Pippin Hill Vineyards, but they were closed for a private event. Since most wineries close at 5pm, we only had time for one more. Our final winery of the day was at Cardinal Point Winery. We participated in a tasting and Olivia and I enjoyed a glass of wine outside, while the band was finishing up for the afternoon. The highlight of this winery (in addition to the wine) was that there was a dog in the tasting room!
I had so much fun wine tasting, but I was super excited to go to Devil’s Backbone for dinner. Jody and I had visited this brewery a few years ago but I couldn’t wait to go back. The weather was on the warm side, so we were thankful when a table opened up inside. After a delicious dinner, we headed back outside to finish our drinks and play a few rounds of cornhole before we made our way back up the mountain. Saturday night included games back at the house where we were staying. After one too many cupcakes and laughing our way to a six-pack, we headed off to dreamland before we all headed home the next day.

Before heading out on Sunday, my gals prepared me the cutest breakfast, and then we sat out on the deck and sipped on our coffee. We talked about what I was looking forward to about our wedding, and I shared some details that I hadn’t told the girls yet. It was at this point that it started to sink it that we were getting so close to our wedding. The conclusion of this weekend was the last big celebration before wedding weekend, and I couldn’t have dreamt of a better way to kickoff the biggest month of my life.

July Goals

Now that we are back from our honeymoon and are beginning to settle into newlywed life, I’m excited to see how Jody and I decide to tackle all of this newly discovered free time that we have! We’ve began to brainstorm what we’d like to accomplish this summer, and now that I have more free mental space than I did in the past 12 month combined, I hope we are in for a very productive month. Here’s a peek at what I checked off my goals last month, and what I’m hoping to work on this month!

June Goals

  • Continue with marriage devotionals We hope to continue this throughout our marriage!
  • Finish planning my wedding!
  • Make myself find time to exercise, even if it is just going on a walk or ab work on my floor
  • Finish moving our belongings into our newlywed apartment and have it set up so Jody can move in It was livable… now to get it decorated!
  • Celebrate my 24th birthday!
  • Welcome our guests to town and get married!!!

July Goals

  • Get back into a workout routine, choosing to be active at least twice a week
  • Officially change my name
  • Research places to get my wedding dress cleaned (Shore friends, I am open to suggestions for this!)
  • Begin tackling my porch project
  • Go on a day trip to somewhere new
  • Celebrate one month of marriage!

We’re Married!!

Hi Friends! After a whirlwind last ten days, I am happy to be back as a married gal! Jody and I are SO grateful for all of the love, support and best wishes that we have received over the past two weeks. June 24th was truly the best day of our lives as we’ve repeated “how did that happen so fast” and “we are so lucky” close to a million times.

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I love this shot captured by our friend, Ben during our reception.

Our wedding day was incredible, and every. single. thing. was perfect. Our vendors were amazing and we had the greatest time celebrating with all of our guests throughout the weekend. While we will have to wait to share our wedding for a bit longer, I have a few other fun wedding related posts (including our honeymoon!) to share as well. I have also been brainstorming some other post ideas, now that the wedding is over, so let me know if there is anything you’d like to hear more about!

Thank y’all so much for the love and support. Happy to be back as Morgan Cox! xo

MEP to MEC: Ten Days to Go!

When I was at the store earlier this week, a few fellow shoppers asked who was getting married, based on the items in my cart. After I said that I was, they asked when the big day is and I tried my best to keep my cool when I said “Next weekend”,  because in actuality, I was somewhere in between “Oh. My. God.” and “Fiiiinnnnallly”! But later that night, I was carrying boxes into our new apartment with Jody, which is now furnished (yay!), I remembered that in just a few short days, my best friend for the past four years will become my husband and we will embark on a lifetime of adventures. As much as I have loved planning our wedding, it has been easy to lose focus on the days the will come after our magical day, especially in these last few days. My hope that the next nine days are full of laughter, joy and excitement for our beginning of forever.

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Completed In the Past Two and Half Weeks:

  • Finalized all music
  • Got our marriage license
  • Celebrated at my Bachelorette Party
  • Crafted wedding day details
  • Finalized menu with caterer
  • Find table runners
  • Purchased wedding gifts for bridal party, parents, and each other
  • Completed our final pre-marital counseling session
  • Attended second dress fitting
  • Ordered day-of accessories
  • Collected family pictures
  • Sent Rehearsal Dinner invitations

On the List for the Next Ten Days:

  • Make wedding favors
  • Write Thank You’s for wedding gifts we’ve already received
  • Finish all decor signage
  • Wrap gifts
  • Finalize and practice vows
  • Confirm our weekend timeline and send it to all relevant parties
  • Finalize and pack all attire and details
  • Assemble our seating chart
  • Write letters to each other
  • Print ceremony programs
  • Pack for honeymoon!
  • Go to our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner!!
  • Get married!!!

June Goals

I am contributing part of the reason that I completely forgot about my monthly goals post for June to the fact that I still believe it is April and partially to the fact that my life has been crazy these past few weeks. Without going into too much detail, I am finding so many blessings in disguise, which I am so thankful for.

But, June! It has always been one of my favorite months (it is my birthday month after all!) but this year, I’m excited for even more celebrations. I wish I could form a super eloquent sentence about how fast this year has flown by, and how I actually am unsure how to wrap my head around the fact that it is finally (or suddenly, both words accurately describe how I feel) the month that I marry my best friend. So many feelings, so little time, but nothing tops the excitement that I feel for Jody and I to begin our lives together. This month is pretty much all about the wedding, but I hope that my goals for 2017 are still represented for this month.

May Goals

  • Finish reading ‘Grace Not Perfection’
  • Sell the clothes that I have set aside to get rid of. If I don’t sell it all by the end of the month, then donate it.
  • Take the time to prepare for marriage by completing our devotional book and pre-marital counseling sessions We finished our pre-marital counseling sessions and we will continue to complete the devotions through the beginning of our marriage!
  • Joyfully attend to details that need to be planned and completed for the wedding
  • Support friends/family with their big life events happening this month! Congratulations Katie & Vasili, Amber & Kendall, Austin & Leeanne on your marriage and to Madison on your college graduation!

June Goals

  • Continue with marriage devotionals
  • Finish planning my wedding!
  • Make myself find time to exercise, even if it is just going on a walk or ab work on my floor
  • Finish moving our belongings into our newlywed apartment and have it set up so Jody can move in
  • Celebrate my 24th birthday!
  • Welcome our guests to town and get married!!!