My Pre-Wedding Workout Inspiration

Over the past two years, I’ve started to keep track of my monthly goals that I’ve learned to set for myself. I’ve been setting New Years Resolutions for years, but before I started writing them down, it became easy to forget what my goals for the year even were. My weekly planning includes a goal setting section at the beginning of each month, which has been a fabulous place to keep me focused on what I’d like to accomplish each month. If you have been following with my monthly goals, you have learned a little bit more about what I’m currently working towards, one of which being the process of developing a healthy lifestyle.

I want to preface this by saying I am in no way an expert when it comes to eating healthy and workout out religiously. However, I started to make some changes in my diet and workout routine in the past year, and I love how much better I feel! Without getting too personal, I am still working towards my overall goal of learning to balance a healthy lifestyle so I thought I would share a couple of things I’ve learned with y’all.

  1. Develop a Routine: I am all about a routine, but sometimes I need to switch it up. When I first attempted to start working out (relatively) consistently, I had to find a way to get myself excited about getting a workout it. I tried a couple of barre classes in Richmond, which I loved, but the closest studio to me now is 45 minutes away, which is just too far to go after work. I started biking, and once I started to notice how much better I felt when I got a workout in, it become easier to motivate myself to go to the gym. I even schedule workouts in my planner, which holds me accountable to go on the days that I would rather go home.
  2. Only Eat When Hungry: It has taken me a long time to wrap my head around this one, especially as one who schedules so much of their life. But I’ve also noticed how much better I feel when I don’t force myself to eat if I’m not hungry. My go to is just a quick smoothie after a workout — just hits the spot!
  3. Find Your Motivation: Luckily, right now, my motivation comes easy since we are getting close to our wedding date! However, when the date still seemed like a year away, it was sometimes hard to find the motivation I needed to push myself through a workout. I began to use my time while doing cardio to watch wedding videos (it becomes an even harder workout when you’re trying not to bawl on the elliptical!) and videos of our resort in Jamaica. I also have a playlist of songs that we plan to use at some point during our wedding day, so I usually listen to those when I am making my way through the weights. Not only does it keep me motivated through the workout, but energizes me with all that is to come.

That’s it! These small changes have helped me feel so much better, I’ve had a lot more success working towards my goals.What tips or tricks have you tried? I’d love to hear more ideas of how to balance a healthy lifestyle, especially when I don’t have a wedding to motivate me anymore!

 

MEP to MEC: My Bridal Shower

I have not been able to stop thinking about my beautiful bridal shower that was thrown for me last weekend! It was so surreal to have so many family and friends all together in my little hometown to kick off the first wedding event. Especially after all of the other wedding events I’ve participated in this year, my shower was the first time I actually felt like the bride.

My mom, sister and wonderful bridesmaids all worked together to throw such a fun celebration full of all of my favorite things. We started the party with brunch themed menu, complete with a variety of Quiche, fruit and a biscuit bar! I had mentioned back when I had first started planning our wedding that I wanted to incorporate a biscuit bar into the day, but we later decided it wouldn’t have worked with our menu, so I was excited to see it at the shower! We played a few different games, my favorite being “How Old Was the Bride?”, which had ten different pictures of me displayed and everyone had to guess my age when each picture was taken! Come to find out, Jody actually had a role in picking those pictures out.

Each guest brought a recipe with them for my to add to my collection, which was such a fun and thoughtful idea! I loved reading through some of my family and friends’ favorite recipes and am looking forward to making them! There was also a cute display where the guests could write down date night ideas for Jody and I, so we can keep dating each other, even after the wedding!

I had such a wonderful afternoon surrounded by so many of my favorite people. I loved every minute of my shower, and the day made me even more excited to celebrate with everyone again on June 24th!

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April Goals

Happy April, friends! April is usually one of my favorite months of the year, and this year is no exception! Between pre-wedding celebrations, Easter, and hopefully some weekend bonfires, this April has a lot to live up to!

But before we look ahead, March was a pretty solid month in accomplishing some of the goals I had set for myself. While most of them are being carried over through April, I am happy with what I did choose to focus on this month. Most importantly, Jody and I took time for ourselves and our relationship, which definitely helped alleviate some of the pre-wedding jitters and stress!

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Our friend Jackie snapped this picture of Jody holding Tiki while we attempted to sing “Happy Birthday” through the giggles. 🙂

March Goals

  • Observe the Lenten season by prayer journaling 3 times a week and following this Lenten devotional series. While I didn’t get as much prayer journaling completed as I had hoped, I did end up getting my devotional series emailed to me everyday, which made it way easier to complete because I always am near my email.
  • Continue devotions with Jody in our preparing for marriage devotional
  • Celebrate Jody’s 26th Birthday Both weekends surrounding Jody’s birthday were packed with event, but we were still able to celebrate! I had some of our Richmond friends meet up at a brewery to surprise Jody when we were passing through after a wedding the weekend before his birthday and on the big day, he and I went to dinner at a place we had been wanting to try out and completed the day with cake and a few friends!
  • Finish reading ‘Grace Not Perfection’
  • Take a wedding trip to Virginia to celebrate the marriage of Olivia and Matt; yay! Y’all, this was one of the sweetest weddings I’ve ever attended. I was so honored to be a part of the festivities!
  • Order wedding invitations
  • Complete at least two barre workouts, in addition to regular gym time

April Goals

  • Stay consistent with my eating and workout plan
  • Finish reading ‘Grace Not Perfection’ (I am determined to complete this so I can move on to other books!)
  • Go through clothes and get rid of things that don’t fit or I don’t wear anymore
  • Continue to observe the Lenten season by prayer journaling 3 times a week and following this Lenten devotional series.
  • Continue devotions with Jody in our preparing for marriage devotional
  • Take time to enjoy simple moments in the midst of this busy season

MEP to MEC: Three Months to Go

There is no way that we are only three months away from the big day! Where has the past month gone?! It seems like the closer we get to June, the faster the days pass by. Admittedly, we didn’t get as much done as I wanted this past month, but Jody and I set aside some time to spend together, away from the wedding talk, which was much needed!

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Taking a night off of the wedding diet to enjoy drinks and steak to celebrate less than 100 days to go!

Completed in March:

  • Designed our invitations
  • Book our rehearsal dinner venue
  • Picked our hair and makeup artist
  • Book our Wedding night hotel
  • Decided on wedding favors — We are down to two options, just waiting to see how the budget pans out
  • Began planning our ceremony
  • Had our first marriage counseling session
  • Celebrated less than 100 days until “I do!”
  • Received our passports (!!)
  • Began a list of all things we still need to buy

Need to Complete in April:

  • Officially book hair and makeup
  • Schedule hair and makeup trial
  • Complete our marriage counseling sessions
  • Mail our invitations
  • Celebrate with family and friends at my Bridal Shower
  • Pick out our ceremony readings
  • Schedule my first dress fitting
  • Decide on table centerpieces for the reception
  • Start collecting decor pieces

Flower Inspiration

Happy Spring, y’all! While I love every season, spring is by far my favorite one. The weather finally warms up, everything that was dead for winter comes to bloom and the world is painted in a sea of pastels. And for those of you who have seen my closet, you know my wardrobe is celebrating too!

Nothing says Spring more than fresh blooming flowers, so I thought today I’d give you a peek at my flower inspiration for our wedding! While I haven’t found a picture of what I exactly want, I have a relatively good idea of what I’m looking for our bloom team to create. I met with several wonderful florists while search for a vendor who understood my vision, and I ended up choosing Robin’s Nest Floral and Garden. As an added plus, I’ve seen their work for years — they decorate my church every Easter and Christmas!

I love peonies and immediately knew I wanted them to be a part of our floral design. However, they are just ending their season when we get married, and tend to be on the expensive end, so I knew I needed to come up with additional flowers to fill the bouquets and arrangements. I am also a big lover of all types of greenery and think it has such a romantic look, especially because every arrangement won’t look exactly the same since greenery tends to have a mind of its own.

Lastly, I love the soft appearance of these bouquets. I don’t want our flowers to look too stiff; to have some life and personality to them, while remaining small enough that me or my girls are hidden behind the bouquet of flowers.

I still have to make a couple more decisions in regards to our floral arrangements. Thankfully, I trust the knowledge and experience of my floral team and cannot wait to see it all come together in just a few months!

The Details

We attended a wedding late last summer that had the cutest placecards at their reception. They named each table after a location or event that the bride or groom knew that table of guests from. Our placecard said “Andy’s Bar”, which was a local bar in the town we all went to college in. It was such a simple detail that allowed all of us to reminisce on fun college memories together.

My favorite weddings are the ones with personal details that are meaningful to the couple and when I think of meaningful wedding details, that wedding from last summer is the first to come to mind. While I still plan to keep most details of the look and feel of our wedding a surprise for our family and friends, I thought I’d share a couple of sweet details that we are planning to incorporate into our day!

  1. Jody says that he first noticed me by the ribbon I’d always wear in my hair at tennis matches during college. We often think back to those ribbons and attribute us getting to know each other by that introductory ribbon. On our wedding day, ribbons will be incorporated throughout the day — with flowers, on pew decor and on the tables at the reception– as a sweet reminder of when we met.984a6df98de27b08724e5ac96571ad9a
  2. We love the outdoors, especially on warm summer nights. We love having bonfires, or sipping on something sweet on the back porch. Although we decided on indoor venues for our ceremony and reception (my track record with rain on big event in my life is not promising), we love the fact that our venue has an outdoor option! Just like we spend many summer evenings, our guests are going to enjoy sipping on their drink of choice, and munching on some hors d’oeuvres during our cocktail hour on the patio of our reception venue. They may even enjoy competing in some fun yard games throughout the evening as well 😉
  3. Photography has been one of our favorite hobbies to do together! Between exploring Richmond, taking pictures as we go, and starting a small photography business together, pictures have consistently been there throughout our relationship. We plan to reflect this by including pictures and picture frames through decor and our guestbook. It will so surreal to be surrounded by pictures of where the past four years has brought us!

There will be many more details at our wedding, but you will have to wait until after June 24th to hear about them!

Choosing Our Unity Ceremony

Tonight, Jody and I sat down to start brainstorming some pieces of our wedding ceremony! We want to create a meaningful ceremony that includes readings, scriptures and symbols important to us as a couple that will describe the love we share and will cherish the promises we will make to each other on that day. One of those symbols is the Unity Ceremony, which is a wedding ritual visually symbolizes the act of coming together as one. This ritual is important to us to include as the verse we chose to keep on our hearts over the course of our engagement speaks of uniting as a couple.

“Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
   If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.” –Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

With that being said, we haven’t been able to choose one to add to our ceremony! We want the symbolism to be strong, Godly, and unique. Here are some of the favorites that we’ve found:

imagesLove Letter Ceremony: This ceremony includes both bride and groom penning love letters to one another to secure in a box with a bottle of wine. Jody usually always includes a short letter to me in each card I receive from him, and I have been leaving him little notes since before we started dating. I love how this ritual involves a love letter that can serve as a time capsule to open over a bottle of witree_ceremony_wedding_3ne on a later anniversary. How romantic!

Tree Planting Ceremony: I love this one! One of my friends did it at her wedding last fall and I thought it was such a cute idea. I love the idea of taking soil from the bride and the groom’s childhood home and combine it as one to represent their newly formed family tree.

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Unity Cross Ceremony: My mom showed me this one a couple of months back. The outer cross represents the man, the inter cross the bride and the three pins that secure them together represent the Holy Trinity. The two crosses fit together to become one, as do the bride and groom in their covenant before the Church.

Hand-washing-Hand Washing Ceremony: I originally saw this as a foot washing ceremony, which I thought was beautiful if the ceremony was to take place outdoors. This humble ritual washes away any previous wrongdoings of their new spouse and purifies them to begin their new life together. What a wonderful way to start a marriage– by serving each other.

There are so many more that we could choose from and I am anxious to see what we decide on! Give us some ideas– what did you and your spouse do to commemorate unity? Have you been to a wedding where they did one you particularly liked? Let us know in the comments below! 🙂

 

 

Our Honeymoon: What to Pack

I don’t know about y’all but I live for summertime. When we decided to start from scratch to pick a honeymoon location, I knew I wanted to be somewhere warm — I’d rather be in sandals and a light top or dress over boots and pants any day. So you can imagine with the teasing spring-like days that we have had recently, combined with the potential threat of snow coming this weekend, I am trying my best to think warm thoughts.

In the spirit of making Spring happen before it probably will make its official appearance, I decided to get a little head start on gathering outfit ideas that I’ll need to pack in a few short months!Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 12.01.37 PM

I already am a firm believer in “if it isn’t moving, monogram it”, and the excitement of getting a new monogram only add fuel to the monogramming fire. I have a pair of monogram Jack Rogers on my list, as well as a necklace to wear as well. Add that with the super adorable “wifey” shirt, and that will make the perfect outfit for a short flight to Jamaica. It may be evident that we will be honeymooners, but that’s the point of the honeymoon, right?

I also plan to stock up on a few more cute bathing suits. Over the past year, I’ve been recycling through my old ones from early college in exchange for a few more age-appropriate suits. I just love the cute scalloped one-piece, which would be perfect for a night swim in the pool.

One of the excursions we hope to do while in Jamaica is to hike Dunn’s River Falls. While they aren’t the cutest shoes in the world, I definitely will be investing in a pair of water shoes for any water adventure we embark on. I’d rather wear ugly shoes than cut my feet on rocks any day!

With warm days and cool nights, I plan to pack some easy-to-wear outfits, that will be light enough for the hot days, but also easy to pair with a jacket for the cool evenings on the beach. I hope to find a cute maxi dress to wear to the more formal dinners as well!

Ahh, I can almost feel the warm sand in between my toes. But considering it is currently 33 degrees outside, I think I’ll go curl up on the couch and dream of paradise instead.

Did you go on a tropical honeymoon or trip recently? Let me know what you packed in the comments below!

March 2017 Goals

Going into February, I was intimated knowing there was fewer days to get everything done that I wanted to complete, especially with a goal list this long, and a wedding to-do list even longer. However, I feel like I truly accomplished a lot of my goals and am anxious to see what else I can complete in March! Plus, there’s something about unusually warm days that motivates me even more to tackle some of the more tedious tasks (ahem, taxes). Jody and I were able to get a schedule going again now that his classes in full swing, which allowed for us dedicate uninterrupted time to spend together. Coming up, we are looking forward to several nights away this month; a girls weekend to attend a Beth Moore conference, and a trip to Virginia to celebrate our friends’ wedding! I’m hoping we will be able to slip over to Washington D.C. one day to get a peak at the Cherry Blossoms too.

February 2017 Goals

  • Book our honeymoon!
  • Read ‘Jesus Calling’ every day
  • Celebrate Valentine’s Day by having a no-wedding-talk date night We celebrated by a few rounds of bowling, dinner at Olive Garden, and renting a movie to watch at home. 
  • Try 3 new healthy recipes (I’m counting this because I tried two new recipes, but ended up making one of them twice!) 
  • Send someone happy mail
  • Start devotional (picking it up today!)
  • Pick out invitations
  • File 2016 Taxes 
  • Book cake baker
  • Finish reading ‘Grace Not Perfection’ Almost! I have a few more chapters to go!

March 2017 Goals

  • Observe the Lenten season by prayer journaling 3 times a week and following this lenten devotional series.
  • Continue devotions with Jody in our preparing for marriage devotional
  • Celebrate Jody’s 26th Birthday
  • Finish reading ‘Grace Not Perfection’
  • Take a wedding trip to Virginia to celebrate the marriage of Olivia and Matt; yay!
  • Order wedding invitations
  • Complete at least two barre workouts, in addition to regular gym time

Our Honeymoon! Where We’re Going

Friends, I am relieved to finally share where we are headed for our honeymoon! After much discussion and research, and comparing a dozen different locations, we are excited to announce that we are going to Whitehouse, Jamaica! Can you already feel the warm Caribbean breeze? 🙂

Initially, we had planned to go to Italy, as that is a country we are both dying to explore. However, after reviewing the itinerary and date availability, we decided we would rather save that trip for one of our anniversaries, so that we don’t run the risk of being too exhausted from the wedding to fully immerse ourselves in Italian culture. We also considered a cruise, but after some thought, we decided to go with an all-inclusive resort, where relaxation and romance was at the center of our attention.

There are so many islands in the Caribbean, so narrowing it down to which country to visit was actually a bit challenging. We wanted an island that offered more than just the resort itself; where we could have a taste of the culture but still have the ability to spend the day in the blue waters. Flight times actually ended up playing a roll in our decision making — it took an entire day to get to a lot of the islands we were considering, with most of the flight times leaving only 5-6 hours after our reception ends. Because leaving the day after the wedding is important to us, the distance and flight options helped rule out several options. So, the morning after we say “I do”, we will be heading to the airport to take a direct flight to Montego Bay. Once we land, we have a 1.5 hour transfer to our resort, and if all goes according to schedule, we should have our newlywed bums in the sand exactly 24 hours after becoming husband and wife.

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We are excited to see what Jamaica has to offer. Many of our friends have highly recommended Jamaica as a honeymoon destination, and we are eager to learn more about this country as neither of us have been. We are looking forward to tasting local jerk chicken, snorkeling along the shore, and hoping to climb Dunn Falls and explore a little bit off of the resort.But mostly, we are looking forward to celebrating our first few days as husband and wife!