Our first home // Inspiration

she’s a beaut!

We close on our new house TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY! Crazy to think that in just the two months since we’ve been married, we have moved in together, put our money together, I’ve changed my name, and we’ve gone through the home buying process to move in to our first house.

I love to decorate and search online for home decor ideas – of course I have several lists of what needs to be done in each room, what items I’d like to buy, or at least the look and feeling I’m going for. The new house has 4 bedrooms, so we have plenty to work with! The downstairs is all completely open concept with a covered back porch and a big back yard for the doggies. We already have a lot of items and furniture, but when you think about filling a house, it helps to take it room by room to try to figure everything out.

The big change will be our living room! Like I said, the downstairs is open concept, so it’s the living room/dining area/kitchen all in one. I love it, but I do want to try to make sure it feels like there are different spaces, which I think we can do. We already have a kitchen table with bench chairs and a rug to go under it to kind of divide the space, so that part is done. But we are purchasing basically a whole new living room, which is SO exciting! The couch and chair that we have now have been handed down and are very old, the dogs have lived on them, several different people and houses have had them, and I’ve had them for about 5 years now! So we are getting a new L-shaped sectional with a chaise lounge (yay!!!), all new coffee tables and end tables, and a TV stand that all match. We also got a recliner that looks really nice and comfy, and a large ivory shag rug to put on the wood floor underneath all of that, so that part can feel like a completed room! I can’t wait to get everything in there and see how it all looks!

I really love a cozy room with everything in its place – I am a little bit of an organization freak so when I think about decorating a room, I am also considering functionality in addition to comfort and visual appeal! I guess I would classify my decor style as industrial farmhouse or modern farmhouse – I love the comfort and softness of the farmhouse style, but I like to bring in a little edge with metal and wood accents for things like side tables, wall decor, lamps, or other accessories.

So without further ado, here are my inspiration ideas for our new home! I also had to google it to make sure it wasn’t “further adieu” rather than “ado,” but it turns out I was right. Feeling pretty good about that.

coffee table/end table set with tv stand, couch, recliner, table lamp, plant, floor lamp, mirror

The coffee table set is currently out of stock but Wayfair offers similar styles underneath it! We got it on super sale. Furniture is expensive! But these pieces are sturdy and will last a long time with any type of decor. The couch has wonderful reviews and was a GREAT price. I did a LOT of research on items and prices and compared before making any decisions, so I hope this couch is all it was cracked up to be! We also got a shag rug from Amazon for the space, and the cream sectioned mirror (or something similar) will go above our fireplace! Love the gold lamps and plant, but haven’t pulled the trigger on those yet.

lamp base + shade, bench with storage, standing mirror, dresser, plant, map

We already have a set of furniture for the bedroom, but if we need an extra dresser, the white one pictured is affordable and looks similar (from IKEA). Our bed is a navy upholstered platform bed like the one pictured, and we already have a floor standing mirror from the wedding that we’ll use! We want a storage bench but I know Home Goods has them all the time so it may be less expensive there.

rose chair, cube storage

I LOVE this rose chair and first saw it when Lauren Bown posted it to her blog. I’ve been obsessed ever since! We have a gift card to World Market from the wedding, so if it’s okay with Andrew I really want to use it for this chair! I can just see a cute little pillow on it with a blanket tossed carelessly meticulously across. I already have a white desk and chair almost exactly like the picture, and we already have the white cube storage, too. And it will be nice to finally have a functional space to have my white filing cabinet so I can do some real adulting 🙂

side tables, bench, lamp, mirror, plant, wall sconce

I LOVE the feeling of all of these items together. The dresser in the picture is VERY expensive, but we will paint a dresser we already have that was my grandmama’s. I think we’ll paint it a similar minty color, which will be much less money with the same vibe! I am loving the round mirror for above the dresser, and the gold accent tables and accessories will be a nice contrast to Andrew’s wooden bed frame we have that his great grandfather built! So our guest room will have items from both sides of our family 🙂 I like this neutral gauzy bedding because it looks clean and cozy. I put a lot of thought into making the guest room somewhere that I would love to stay, with any needs covered. Our family and friends will be staying here – people we love the most – so I want to make sure it is a cozy retreat with storage for all of their things and the comforts of home.

So those are some of my ideas! Obviously it will take time, and that’s   r  e  a  l  l  y   hard for me because I really  just want everything to be done immediately. We have a lot of work to do on the yard, we will have to decorate all of the walls, etc. and then little things need to come into place like the guest bathroom and downstairs bathroom, garage and laundry room and pantry storage…the list goes on! But I cannot wait to be settled into our new home and working on all of these projects!

Our Wedding // Details

I’m writing this post as we wait in our apartment for hurricane Florence to hit NC – super scary! So I’m trying to keep myself busy by reliving our big day!

I tried to be really thoughtful and intentional about all of the little details of our wedding. My jewelry, my something borrowed/blue/old/new, etc., gifts that I gave bridesmaids and other important family members, you name it. I love to give little gifts, and I love meaningful touches, so those were all throughout our wedding day.

My jewelry was an Elisabeth Ashlie crystal bar bracelet and a dainty gold chain necklace with a diamond my mom let me wear – my something old (and also borrowed)! I like simple and classic, so they were perfect. My earrings were the Virginia drop earrings from Anthropologie, and that was special to me because my grandmama’s name was Virginia, and it just felt right! I mentioned a long time ago that my engagement ring was Andrew’s mom’s 30th anniversary gift from his dad, so that was already very meaningful to me. Our bands came from Etsy; mine is thin and dainty and his is wooden, which I thought was so cool! But day to day he usually wears his silicone bands for coaching!

For my something blue, I had a handkerchief from my granddaddy that my mom saved for me with a blue emblem on it, and I also asked Andrew’s mom if I could use one of his dad’s old blue handkerchiefs. I sewed a heart from his old handkerchief into the back of my wedding dress and inside her gift that I’ll describe later, and I sewed a patch on the inside of Andrew’s jacket. For honoring Andrew’s dad, we had a memory table with photos of all the family members that couldn’t be there with us, and we laid a rose on the chair next to Andrew’s mom. We also listed Andrew’s dad as honorary best man on our wedding programs, and Andrew didn’t have an official best man. I know that there is nothing we could do that would come close to him actually being by our sides, but we tried to honor him every chance we could.

My real something borrowed was Whitney’s cathedral length veil – she wore it in her wedding in April! And for something new, I had lots of those things! Probably my shoes 🙂 I got them before I even got my dress because I knew what vibe I was going for! They are from DSW but no longer available. My aunt found a note from my granddaddy before he died and he had set aside a sixpence for all of the girl cousins’ shoes for their wedding day! It is supposed to be good luck. That was so special, and I taped it in my shoe on our wedding day. I also bought a new perfume for our wedding day which everyone suggests so that when you spray it, you’re reminded of that day.

Our flowers were just gorgeous! We used Amy from Knots ‘N Such, and everything turned out so perfect. She decorated our pergola that my dad built us for our ceremony backdrop and all of the colors were amazing together and complimented everything else perfectly. We repurposed my bouquet and the bridesmaid bouquets for the head table, sweetheart table, and our family tables. Otherwise, the tables just had greenery garlands and candles for centerpieces. Simple and pretty!

For signs, we had our talented friend Lisa from Bull City Ink create several for us! She had done the signs for Whitney’s wedding, too, and is so great at what she does. I knew I wanted a big mirror for the seating chart so we could keep using the mirror in our home as a memory and for functional everyday use. One of the teachers in my department at school also does beautiful hand lettering, and she had made us a “happily ever after” sign for our wedding shower at school last semester, so we were able to use that, too! Everything tied in to our accents of gold and wood. We also rented mixed metal votives and wooden and gold candle lanterns from Green House Picker Sisters! For pictures, we rented a LOT of these simple gold frames from IKEA…and now we have plenty to use in our new home! Our guest book was a polaroid station with props, sharpies, and washi tape.

For gifts, I spent a lot of time looking on Etsy! That’s my favorite place to get unique gifts, and I always rely heavily on the reviews of the shop from other customers. I also used my favorite go-to for shopping online, Elisabeth Ashlie.

I got my bridesmaids matching jewelry to wear for the wedding. They each got these bracelets with a clear jewel and these blush stud earrings to match their blush pink dresses. I also have the earrings and love them, so I hoped they would too, and would wear them again! I wear my bracelet that Whitney got me for her wedding every day and I love it. For their gifts, I also included a frame with some favorite pictures of us inside of it, and a mug (also from EA, I can’t help myself), and these really pretty pouches with their names in gold foil. I had already gotten them these robes in champagne and personalized champagne flutes when I asked them to be my bridesmaids back in January! We also all wore the nail color I gave them on our toes – a sparkly gold called “To have and to GOLD.” Andrew got his groomsmen their blush pink ties and these really cool baseball bat mugs with their names engraved on them!

My aunts threw me a beautiful afternoon tea for my bridal luncheon, and that was one of my favorite things from the weekend! And of course Andrew’s mom threw the rehearsal brunch after our morning rehearsal, which was delicious food from Flying Biscuit Cafe in Raleigh and was such a nice event. It was just such a special weekend all around. So for the aunts and for my mom and Andrew’s mom, I got these great candles in different varieties – “aunt,” “mom,” “mother of the groom,” and I also got a “sister in law” one for Andrew’s sister in law! The owner of the shop was so helpful and I ended up going back to that shop to add on orders throughout the process. They had really nice packaging, were high quality, and smelled wonderful!

For the moms and also my step mom, I got these lovely clutches that you can personalize with a photo on the inside of it. I loved that idea and loved that I got to include a picture of Andrew’s dad in his mom’s clutch, too. Look how cute Andrew was as a high school baseball star 🙂 I did the gold color for my mom and Andrew’s mom, and the dark purple for my step mom because I knew her dress was lavender and she loves purple!

For cards, I ordered a bunch of cards from this Etsy shop that said “to my mom, dad, brother, husband, sister,” etc., some with names, and some that just said thank you. I used these for vendors, my bridesmaids, and anyone I wanted to thank on our big day for being there for us along the way. The print was lovely, and the blush pink matched our color scheme! For calligraphy and for wedding invitations/RSVPs, programs, and place cards, we used Tiffany at Raleigh Calligraphy and she was such a dream to work with. She helped design everything and answered my millions of questions. I ended up going back to order matching thank you notes from her!


I love the way everything turned out. Our reception turned out so much prettier than I imagined and I loved all the greenery and simple accents! The Merrimon-Wynne house is already so beautiful that you really don’t need much to decorate it – just a few personal touches to make it feel like your own!

We had a southern comfort menu from Donovan’s Dish with bourbon meatballs, fried green tomatoes, and chicken and waffle skewers during cocktail hour. For diner, it was a summer salad, pimento cheese stuffed chicken breasts, roasted potatoes, the most delicious shrimp and grits, and bundles of asparagus wrapped with prosciutto. Our dessert was cupcakes from the Cupcake Shoppe with a lemon cutting cake on top! 

I still am so excited that my dad built us the pergola and bench that we get to keep at our new home. Like I said in my last post, my mom helped me with all of the planning and was so excited with me as Andrew and I were making decisions on linens, plates and silverware, and everything else. I couldn’t have done it without her! Whitney and some of my girlfriends decorated our car for our sparkler send-off and getaway, and my brother and dad helped pack everything up afterwards and get it back to our apartment for us. We had such a special day surrounded by family, friends, and little touches that made things so special and memorable for us!

A lot of LIFE

it’s fine, i’m fine, everything’s fine

Overwhelmed is a feeling I am starting to expect and identify with. I keep having these moments where I’m like, “I think this is just life now!” We have so much going on, and it seems that things just keep getting added to the pile rather than being taken off, and with the beginning of the school year falling in line with all of this, I am feeling like I need to just take a beat and decompress – but there’s no time! DO YOU FEEL ME?! I recently told a friend that I just feel like there is a lot of LIFE hitting me right now. And some of it is in a very good way – but it is just overwhelming.

We will close on our house (!!!) right after my birthday, so soon that will be “over,” but really it has just begun because that just means all the papers will be signed. I am SO excited to be moving into a HOME with my husband and to be starting our life together in the first space that neither of us has lived in before. But with that excitement also comes a lot of work and expenses. We have been looking at living room furniture, trying to decide on decor, I have only packed TWO boxes so far, and we have to figure out and set up building a fence for the doggies. Adulting just seems like a lot of stuff you don’t really know about but you just try your best and then hopefully the next time you can do better.

Along with getting married, moving in together, getting my name legally changed and all of our money stuff joined together, ordering new cards with my new name on them and changing all my account profiles, buying a house, school starting, and Andrew’s busy coaching schedule, we also found out right as school started that Bruno has diabetes. I know to some people it is no big deal, or “he’s just a dog,” but he is my little buddy that I love more than anything in this world. I was really devastated by the news and I’m still trying to navigate the new routine and need for giving him two shots of insulin a day at the same time for the rest of his life. It has been a huge shift for us that we’re still all getting used to, and I know that there will be other complications later from him having diabetes that we will need to prepare for, like cataract surgery or whatever else may come. He’s only 5 so this was a huge shock, but I know we can’t control these things. He seems to be doing better with his insulin shots, and we’ll go back to the vet Monday for some tests to see if his levels are more stable, unless we can’t make it due to the storm.

the sweetest little derpy corgo

So even on top of everything else, hurricane Florence is heading right for us here in Raleigh. We have tried to prepare the best we can, but all of the gas stations are out of gas and all of the grocery stores are out of water. We have food, flashlights, candles, etc. and we will just fill up all of our containers with water before the storm comes, just in case. Mostly I’m worried that if the power goes out, we won’t be able to keep Bruno’s insulin chilled long enough. I am hoping for everyone’s sake that it isn’t as devastating of a hurricane as what everyone is predicting.

I usually do well with a lot of things on my plate at once, but this is big stuff. I’m trying to be positive and focus on the wonderful things, like the new house, being married, having really sweet students this semester, etc. And we are also lucky that we are currently living in a 2nd floor apartment, so if there is flooding, we should be okay. I know that even with terrible circumstances, there’s always a reason and something good that can hopefully come from the struggle. So I will just keep trucking, keep packing up this apartment box by box, keep focused on the good things that are to come as soon as life settles a bit and we get used to this new normal.

Life doesn’t wait for you to be ready for it, so I’m working on letting go of the things I can’t control and just figuring them out as they come at us. We will get through this stressful season and hopefully settle into a new one that allows for a little more down time. There will always be a next thing, so I need to get ready for all the LIFE that will be coming our way in the future. The best part and the biggest comfort is that we get to do it together!

sending lots of safe wishes and thoughts to those who may be affected by hurricane florence this weekend. 

Our Wedding // Overview

mr. & mrs. mcclannon!

Our wedding seems so long ago in some ways, and in others it seems like it was just yesterday that I was waking up to marry my best friend! I finally have had time to adjust to our new busy schedule with school, coaching, and house stuff, so I’m excited to share some details from our big day!

We got engaged December 5, and I knew I wanted a summer wedding since I adore the heat  even though Raleigh summers are torturous. Since we are both high school teachers and with Andrew’s coaching commitments, it didn’t seem very doable to have a wedding during the school year, much less a honeymoon, and I never wanted to have a Christmas wedding because it’s already such a busy time. So summer it was! We went with a Sunday wedding because the venue we both loved was PERFECT, but also came with a nice price tag. Sundays are always less expensive, so that’s what we could afford. We settled on the Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown Raleigh because it was just gorgeous, but mostly because they had a beautiful indoor space with air conditioning for the ceremony – a must for a Raleigh July wedding.

the main house and carriage house where we had our ceremony + reception

Since I’m already an organized person, I wasn’t terribly worried about taking on the planning itself. I knew I would have the first part of summer off to be able to focus on all the small, last minute details before the big day. Still, planning a wedding is very stressful. It is just so many decisions – and I’m pretty good at making decisions – but when it came down to a final guest count, who to invite, where to seat everyone, etc. it became almost impossible at times. I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and no matter how many people tell you, “It’s about you and Andrew, don’t worry what anyone else thinks,” you still worry that you’re upsetting someone at every turn. I made several lists and edited them along the way. I had a master list when I first started planning, then I made a 3 month, 2 month, and 1 month list, and then I counted down by the weeks! There was just so much to do that keeping everything in an organized list saved me. I also set a lot of reminders on my phone and made a separate email folder for wedding stuff. My mom was helping from Asheville, so being able to send her emails of all of the confirmations from vendors was really helpful! It also helped that my best friend Whitney got married a couple months before me, so I was able to ask her advice on a lot of things or write things down as they came up for her so I wouldn’t forget this or that.

Our colors were blush pink and accents of gold and wood. There was also a lot of greenery and then pops of color in the florals throughout. I guess for a theme I’d say we went with just classic and elegant, but not too over the top. It wasn’t glam or blingy because that’s just not my style or taste, and the wedding wasn’t super formal, either. A couple of my favorite details were that my dad built our arbor/pergola that we stood in front of for the ceremony, and he also built our bench that we sat on at the head table! We will get to keep both of these things in our new home and I can’t express how special it was that he built them for us! He surprised us with a music box built in underneath the bench that plays the wedding march and has A + J carved in it – I cried when he told me! My dad builds beautiful handmade guitars and has built many things in his life, but these two items are the most near and dear to me.

my brother & dad both walked me down the aisle; when my dad gave me away he tripped on my train and it was comic relief! that’s the pergola he built us!

The day of the wedding, I woke up and got in my soft clothes and packed everything I needed for the day – so much to remember! I called Andrew and talked to him to just check in and calm my nerves. The girls spent the day in the bridal suite which was amazing, getting our hair and makeup done, taking pictures, having snacks, and just being girls! Andrew’s mom got ready with us, too, which was so nice! The guys arrived in the afternoon after all of our photos were done (that way Andrew didn’t have a chance of accidentally seeing me!). We didn’t do a first look because we are both very traditional. Andrew and the guys got some time to hang out in the groom’s suite across the hall, with a TV and foosball.

Right before it was time for the ceremony to start, the venue planner came to get all the girls and I had a moment alone to myself. I listened to “Found a Heart” by Emily Hearn – look it up! The perfect song to listen to before getting married. Our first dance song was also by her: “Like Ships Need the Sea” – the acoustic version.  My bridesmaid Lindsay who works in the music industry GOT EMILY HEARN TO MAKE A VIDEO OF HER AND HER HUSBAND PERFORMING THIS SONG for our wedding gift!!! So incredible that we will always have that video to cherish of our first dance song.

Our vendors were incredible, and I loved working with all of them! The only bad experience was with the person I selected to do my hair – but we got that worked out and I am listing the salon that actually ended up doing the bridal party hair for the wedding, which I was so delighted with! I can’t say enough good things about these people and the way they made our vision come to life! Guests have continued to rave about how delicious the food was, how beautiful the flowers were, etc. and I’m just so glad everything came together for Andrew and I to be married without a hitch! The day went by in such a blur so I am forever grateful to Erica and her second shooter Zoe for capturing these amazing moments throughout my favorite day of my life!

Amazing vendor team

Photography: Erica Akroyd Photography

Makeup: Michelle Clark

Hair: The Parlor Blow Dry Bar

Flowers: Knots ‘N Such

Dress: Lana Addison Bridal

Catering: Donovan’s Dish

Cupcakes: The Cupcake Shoppe

DJ:  All Events DJs

Linen & Dish rentals: Party Reflections

Decor rentals:  Green House Picker Sisters

Those are all of the main points, but it was such a fantastic day and weekend – and I can’t believe we have already been married for over a month! I hope to post about all of the little details soon, but here are some photos to hold you over until then!

School days + Friyay feels

I say it every year, but I cannot BELIEVE we are already back to another new school year! The summer flew by and we have had so much going on that I feel like this school year came out of nowhere and is already knocking me on my butt. BUT (see what I did there?) I am so excited to get back into a regular routine and tackle some major goals this year!

This year, I am going for my National Board certification! I have 2 friends at school doing it with me, and 1 friend in another county who will be going through the process, as well. I am anxious and scared but excited for the challenge. In addition to that huge undertaking, I will have a student teacher this year for the first time ever! I am incredibly excited about that because I had the most wonderful cooperating teacher when I was in college, and I hope that I will be able to give some meaningful experience, advice, and confidence to another future educator. Lord knows we need them! All that on top of being Department Chair again, leading a club, and serving on a few other teams/committees for the school and county. It’s a lot! I got this dress from Old Navy for the first day of school and I am excited to pair it with some blush suede heels that Whitney let me borrow! I got the dress in black floral. I’m sure I’ll also rock my wedding date bar necklace because it’s one of my favorite daily accessories!

In other news, WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!! Well, we haven’t bought it yet, I guess – but we will close at the end of September. Just in time for my birthday! I am ELATED to be able to finally have our own HOME with a big back yard with a fence for the doggies to run around in. More details to come on the house later, as things progress and as we navigate all the extreme adulting that needs to occur between now and having it finished and ready for living in! I can’t wait to decorate and start making everything cozy! I know Andrew is dreaming of all the things he can do with the yard.

our little slice of heaven 🙂

Another exciting piece of information this week is that one of my favorite bloggers of all time who I have been following for FOREVER is opening an online shop on Monday! I cannot WAIT to be able to stalk check it out! Her style is so classic and easy and I can’t wait to check out all the everyday goodies coming my way for an AFFORDABLE price!

That’s about it for me! There’s a football game tonight so I’ll go watch our school play and Andrew coach (he’s QB coach this year and will continue to coach JV baseball in the spring). Saturday my sister will be in town (!!!) and that’s fun since I haven’t seen her since she moved to Charlotte! Then going to Whitney’s for some girl time and yummy food cooked by her talented husband Romain. Hopefully a lazy and relaxed Sunday!

I will be in school/life/marriage/football coach wife/house buying/decorating mode for the next little bit, so things are going to be crazy…I think maybe we’re at the point in our lives where things just are continually crazy and you just keep saying how crazy they are and asking yourself if this is what life is like as an adult?! Haha! But all good things 🙂 Happy Friday, happy weekend, and happy first day of school to all my teacher friends starting up a new year on Monday!

FriYAY feels!

cozy weekend vibes

Friyayyy!

This has been a big week for the McClannons! On Wednesday, Whitney and I headed to the Social Security office to get our names officially changed! She got married a couple months before me, so she needed to get her name change going, too. I’m trying to make sure my  new name is ready for the new school year so kids are slightly less confused – but I’m sure they’ll be calling me Ms. Weaver for a while, anyway!

Today, I am going to try to go to the DMV for a new license…but if the lines are as bad as they are saying they are this summer, I may just have to wait on that. But the biggest news is that we went to the bank this week and got pre approved for a home loan! So we are starting the process to become home owners and hopefully soon our three little blonde monsters will have a fenced in back yard to call their own! Scary but very exciting. I’ll keep you posted!

Last night, Andrew and I went to the Dierks Bentley concert with Brothers Osborne and LANco! One of my really dear friends Dymphna got us tickets as our gift at my bridal shower, and it was such an awesome idea! We went to the pub to eat first, since that’s how I know Dymphna, so we got to see her and hang out before heading to the concert. It was so much fun and nice to do something fun after all the craziness of wedding planning and moving!

I made this Romano chicken with lemon garlic pasta for the first meal as a married couple in our apartment! (We keep saying, “this is the first time we’re doing xyz as a married couple!” Nerds.) The recipe was delicious and I will definitely be making it again! I followed it exactly but doubled the chicken part – I ended up with a ton of leftover parmesan cheese that I had to throw away because of the raw chicken, which is a tragedy. But other than that, it was delectable and easy to make, and Andrew loved it!

I also found this recipe and made a batch of chocolate chip cookies – we used this option to make two deep dish chocolate chip cookies with some of the dough, and made our first batch of homemade vanilla ice cream in our ice cream maker from my sister! It was so fun, and, you know…totally healthy? The cookies are the best recipe I have found! Sooooo tasty. We used regular semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of cutting up dark chocolate chunks, and instead of rolling it into a log and slicing it, we just did it like a drop batter and used the spoon to scoop out cookies for the pan, but other than that, we kept the recipe the same! Oh – we did use a bourbon vanilla extract instead of regular vanilla extract. It just sounded like the right thing to do!

In other news, I have absolutely lived in these shorts from Express all summer long. Read the reviews and BELIEVE THEM. The best pair of shorts I have ever put on. They are on sale and out of a bunch of sizes, but I’m linking in case they re-stock! I also bought this one piece from aerie and CANNOT say enough wonderful flattering things about it. It looks so good and feels so comfortable, and has just the right amount of sass to not feel like a “mom” suit. I got it in the olive green color. I feel so confident in it which is a HUGE win for me. I ordered it in the long torso because I realized for the first time that that is even a thing and that I need a longer swimsuit to fit me right. GAME CHANGER. And it’s currently on sale!

Other than that, I haven’t been too focused on new products or makeup this summer since I had our wedding coming up and I have such finicky skin – but I did get on a new skincare routine from my dermatologist and it has completely changed my skin for the better. I feel so much better and have hardly worn any makeup this summer because I haven’t felt the need to! I have been using the Aveeno clear complexion foaming face wash in the morning, a sulfur prescription face wash at night that has been a life saver, and then the Ceravé a.m. moisturizer, well, in the a.m., and then the p.m. moisturizer at night, which I LOVE. I also have two other prescriptions of creams, but it has been nice after trying so many high end “miracle” products that didn’t work for me to just go back to the basics and have success with these gentle, tried and true products. One of my best friends Lindsey, who is a licensed esthetician, also got me this Sorella Apothecary Rosehip warming face mask and All Night Elixir, which have been so nice to incorporate in the mix and don’t irritate my skin or cause breakouts. She is just the absolute best, a treat and a half, and you can check her out at Donna Lane Day Spa in Pinehurst!

That’s it for me! Tonight, we are catching up with some friends from school before the year kicks off, and then I am keeping my weekend pretty open so I can work on wedding thank you notes, running errands, and just relaxing with Andrew and the doggies. Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

Our Honeymoon!

Our honeymoon to Jamaica was amazing! We started planning our honeymoon pretty early on, since we got engaged in December and only had about 6 months to plan everything for our wedding! We both wanted to go somewhere tropical where we could just relax and be at the beach, and we both loved the idea of an all-inclusive resort. We had never been on a trip together, and we wanted it to be fun, beautiful, and laid-back. We started looking into Sandals resorts, and we picked Sandals Montego Bay after looking at lots of reviews and talking to friends who had been there. We booked the resort and our flights, and then it seemed like something far off that would never come. After the wedding, it seemed so surreal to finally be married and to be boarding our first flight together – and as husband and wife!

We were both so pleased with the Sandals experience! Everything was so beautiful when we arrived, and they took care of everything for us, including a waiting room at the airport with drinks and sandwiches, a shuttle to our resort, and taking care of our luggage every step of the way. Our room wasn’t ready yet when we arrived, so we went out to the beach to sit and look at the views. We were so excited and felt so fancy to be at this big beautiful resort on such a beautiful island!

just arrived in the sandals open air lobby!

the view from our room and a bathtub on the balcony!

The water in Jamaica was so clear and beautiful, calm with very little waves. We went snorkeling one day and got to see so many beautiful fish and the reefs were amazing. We also saw TONS of jellyfish! They were tiny and almost clear with a hint of pink – that’s the only way you could see them. We got stung but it just felt like tiny electric shocks, nothing major. But the really great thing about Jamaica is that there are basically no sharks…my worst fear! I made sure to google about that before we booked. We spent our days having breakfast at the main buffet, lathering up in sunscreen, and then hitting the beach for a few hours! We mostly ate lunch at the beach bar and grill because we were right there, and then we would come in to the room in the afternoons to cool off, shower, and rest or nap. At night we would get ready and go to dinner somewhere on the resort – we had Italian, Asian stir-fry, and English pub food. There were several restaurants on the resort, but two required reservations and we only did that once. We loved Tokyo Jo’s, the Asian stir-fry restaurant – and it was right outside our hotel room so it was easy to get to! The English pub was close, too, just steps from our room. We went to the piano bar one night and also did karaoke! Mostly, we enjoyed the water and the sun and just spending time together with nothing to do. I read one book and a few trashy magazines, and we reapplied the sunscreen as often as we could. This skin was not made for the sun, but Andrew always gets a great tan. So unfair! 🙂

my  handsome husband reppin’ my dad’s business, ham jones guitars

We were at the resort Tuesday to Tuesday, and Sunday was the one week anniversary of our wedding! So we booked a candlelight private dinner out on the Greek Gazebo location – our dinner actually did not go according to plan, because there was a mix-up and they had reserved our location for another couple, as well. So that was a little bit of a bummer, but we still had fun and got to enjoy the beautiful sunset out overlooking the water!

The last day we were there, we rented out a cabana over the water, and that was probably our favorite thing about the trip! We spent the day covered by the shade, catching such a good breeze, and they served us breakfast and lunch out there with a private butler for the day! His name was Cory and he was so great. He talked to us all about Jamaican culture and we just loved being able to relax in the shade all day for our last full day of vacation.

We loved our experience and would love to go back for an anniversary! I would love to go back every year, but you know…teacher salary! It was hard to come back to reality but we have so many amazing memories from our first trip together as husband and wife! The only tip I would give is to pack even lighter than you think you should. I’m not a super heavy packer, but honestly I could have done without several makeup items, and could have packed wayyyy less clothes! All you really need are sunglasses, bathing suits, cover ups, flip flops, and a few dresses or outfits for dinners! Thank you to Sandals for making our honeymoon so much fun!

Hitched!

erica akroyd photography

It’s official! I am a married lady now! The wedding day and even the entire weekend went by in such a blur, and I tried to really be in the moment like so many people have advised – but it still goes by quickly and you feel like you got bits and pieces of a lot of things, but it’s hard to put everything together as a whole, if that makes sense. Our wedding day was sooo wonderful, minus my hair stylist not showing up – but we got that fixed pretty quickly and the rest of the day was smooth sailing! There’s always got to be a story, right?! And our honeymoon in Jamaica was amazing!!! Just what we needed. A week with my husband (!!!), relaxing in the clear water and white sand, getting some sun and rest, with no responsibilities and no commitments.

What a WHIRLWIND this summer has been. I thought this would be a summer where I could relax, work on the blog, lay out by the pool, run errands for the wedding…I barely had time for any of that! What it really ended up being was hours of final details, emails, and meetings for the wedding, trying to work out and meal prep so I was feeling my best, my sister was studying for her board exam to become a Nurse Practitioner (she passed and starts her new job in Charlotte TODAY!), Andrew was working on summer school and summer baseball and football coaching…the list goes on! All of that mixed up with other weddings and showers, my bachelorette weekend, and trying to pack up my sister’s things, move Andrew out of his apartment and into mine, unpack all of our wedding gifts and donate tons and tons of clothes and household items, and try to pack for the wedding and honeymoon! There was stuff EVERYWHERE for weeks and weeks and for someone like me, that’s a nightmare. So now that we are home from our honeymoon and I’ve been able to unpack every last box and make a few decor swaps, it’s starting to   f  i  n  a  l  l  y   feel like a home – our very first home together!

It has been raining since we got home from Jamaica, so that’s no fun – but other than that, I’m so happy to be back to real life, to finally have all three dogs back together with us again, and to be able to catch up with people after the hectic last few months!

So now there are about 2 weeks left until school starts up again and I am trying to just really enjoy every moment of them. I need to get my name changed, so I’m working on getting that done ASAP, and other than that, it’s mostly just settling in to our new home and finding our new routines until school begins and our routines change completely again! Haha! I’m planning on some blog posts about wedding details, the honeymoon, and maybe our apartment, as well as regular non-wedding related posts in the next little while, so stay tuned – don’t give up on me!

Wedding update // 39 days to go!

I can’t believe that in a little over a month, we will be walking down the aisle and saying, “I do!” Such a crazy and surreal feeling. All of our big things have been taken care of, and here’s an update on the few things we have left:

My dress is currently being altered, and I can’t wait for that to be finished so I can have my hair and makeup trial and bridal portraits done by Whitney! Once it is done, I’ll invite my mom and future mother-in-law for the big reveal at the bridal salon. So exciting! I have a perfume for the day of, all of my jewelry, shoes, and I’m excited to finalize a hair style soon. I’m borrowing Whitney’s veil from her wedding in April, I have something blue from my granddaddy and Andrew’s dad, and I have lots of old and new!

All that’s left now is finalizing small details and conducting final meetings with vendors. We will meet with our DJ soon, and we have our meeting with the venue planner tomorrow! We will finalize menus, head counts, the day of timeline, our ceremony, etc. We need to have some signs made and get programs printed once we have everything set in stone…and that’s about it! The rehearsal and meal are planned, and I’m so excited for the day before the wedding to see family and friends, get nails done with the girls, and have my last day as a “single” gal! I’m planning on having a little slumber party with my bridesmaids in the hotel suite the night before the wedding.

We have had four – FOUR – showers thrown by the most kind people who have made us feel so loved. We have one shower left and it will be an around-the-clock themed shower thrown and hosted by my sister and best friends. I can’t wait! Then, a bachelorette weekend with my bridesmaids and favorite ladies at the beginning of July, and after that, it’s just a final countdown until the wedding weekend! I’m trying to stick to a fitness routine and skin care routine, and just make sure I’m taking time to relax so I don’t get stressed out or overwhelmed! I am mostly just thrilled to be marrying Andrew and starting our new life together (with the three doggies, of course).

I may check in once more before the big day, but I definitely plan to share more details afterwards, like pictures and details from the day itself, the gifts I selected for the people I love, how I handled the planning process, etc.! I have enjoyed planning our wedding for the most part, and we’ve done it in about 6 months! I know the day will be a blur, and I know everything will NOT go according to plan. So I just plan to soak up and enjoy all of it, and forget about minor issues. At the end of the day, we’ll be married – and that’s the whole point!

FriYAY feels!

at the rally for teachers and students in downtown raleigh this week! #redfored

Friyay! This week, I joined 20,000+ teachers, parents, students, and supporters in the march downtown to demand more funding for students and classrooms, more resources for mental health, class size changes, and better working conditions. It was cool to be part of something bigger than me, and to come together with thousands towards one common goal.

This weekend, my sister is having a graduation party and I can’t wait! I’m so proud of her for busting her butt the last 3 years to become a Nurse Practitioner. She’s going to be amazing! Andrew and I also have an end of the year party at one of our friend’s houses from school, so it will be really fun to kick back and celebrate!

I said I would report back on my Tula skincare purchase. I ordered the discovery kit to see what I thought – and once it was empty, I re-ordered the full size face wash, this exfoliating mask to try, and the pro-glycolic resurfacing gel toner. In hindsight, I would swap out the face mask for the probiotic day &  night cream next time – the moisturizer is amazing, but I didn’t order it because I still have my Murad moisturizer from my Spring FabFitFun box that I love! The face wash goes a long way and it cleans my makeup off really well without a lot of scrubbing or effort on my part. I can’t say that my breakouts have cleared up 100% because that’s just my luck in life, but I do love the way it makes my skin look and feel. We’ll see how it continues to go!

Still loving these slides and wearing them at least twice a week. SO comfortable.

This week I got to the gym as many times as I said I would! Huge feat for me. I feel great, sore, and ready to keep this up! My wedding dress should be here soon, so I want to feel my best when I get it on!

New favorite affordable mascara (still holding onto this one as my other all time favorite) and the lip I’ve been rocking constantly (in the color Baci). I’ve loved the Stila stay all day liquid lipsticks since my college years, but this color is so good.

I’ve been stacking this necklace stamped with our wedding date lately, with this “A” necklace that I always wear (Andrew got me the “J” necklace for Christmas last year, and it broke one morning at school. I ordered the A thinking I could slide on the J charm with it, and I couldn’t get the J back on due to the clasps…so now I wear his initial instead!).

my necklaces!

I got to meet my friend Kelly’s little man Jacob last Sunday. He is only a week and a half old and he is perfect! He came a few weeks early but he is healthy and doing great. I am so happy to have another friend with a baby – my other friend Kelly had her baby Kate in December. So many baby snuggles in my future!

Two things I’ve been practicing with for wedding events and the actual wedding day after INTENSE research and review reading:  This sunless tanner (use the application mitt!) and some hair extensions so my thin hair can be on fleek. No shame. My legs are white, white, white and until I can lay by the pool (with SPF, of course), I’m trying to look a little bronzed in my white dresses for showers and events surrounding the wedding. I don’t think I’ll use it for the big day because I would hate to risk being streaky and I would never forgive myself if I stained my dress! But it has been working really well so far! The extensions are real hair, high quality, and matched my  hair really well. They are just a few inches longer than my real hair. They just give it some life and fullness, and whatever I decide for my wedding hair, my hair stylist suggested them to just give me a little more oomph! I ordered them from Bellami Hair in the ash blonde color.

I ordered this tote way back in April (it was a definite splurge, a treat yoself item I bought when I finally got approved for my Master’s degree extra pay!). It was on backorder because I got the petal pink color – I guess it’s all the rage this season! I have had my eye on this bag since about a year ago, but couldn’t bite the bullet. My best friend Whitney got one for Christmas and I decided I just had to have it. I haven’t gotten a purse since this bad boy last summer which I’m still carrying, and I haven’t gotten myself a NICE purse in……..ever? So it arrived yesterday and I’m just delighted.

That’s it for me! Everyone enjoy the weekend 🙂