FriYAY feels!

cloth & paper notepad, feyoncé mug was a gift!

FriYAY!!! The weekend is upon us. This weekend, I’m at the beach with some of my favorite people, celebrating my best friend Whitney for her bachelorette weekend! She’ll be getting married in about a MONTH – I can’t believe it and I can’t wait to stand up there next to her while she marries the love of her life! Her bridal shower was in February, which was a ton of fun, so I know this weekend will be grand. I’ve really been looking forward to it!

I’m so ready for spring and Whitney’s wedding has kind of been that stepping stone for me – like, by the time she gets married, spring will be HERE. And then before you know it, the 100 degree, 100% humidity days will start rolling in just in time for mine and Andrew’s wedding in July! I especially love the warmer weather for when I go watch Andrew’s baseball games after school. At the beginning of the season, it’s frigid by the end of the game, but by the end of the season, I’m getting sunburned and sweating. Either way, I still love it!

Speaking of Spring, all the florals are out in stores in full fledged glory. I’m loving this dress – and you can’t beat a price like that for a nice dress from Loft!

I’ve been using Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer for a couple of months now and have COMPLETELY fallen in love with it. I’m still using my Bare Minerals BarePro foundation, but once it runs out, my next purchase will immediately be the new Shape Tape foundation. I can’t wait to try it! I’ll have to decide on either the matte or the hydrating.

I’m starting to think about the honeymoon in July, and I realized I don’t have a matching set of luggage. When I graduated high school, I got a nice set – but that was 13 years ago! That makes me feel old. I’m l-o-v-i-n-g this set and daydreaming of my new monogram – but this one is probably a more affordable and realistic option!

That’s about all that’s going on with me! Celebrating huge life events like my best friend getting married, preparing for mine and Andrew’s wedding, my best friend Kelly having a baby in May…and our high school’s spring break and Andrew’s birthday are in just a couple of weeks! I’m so looking forward to that week off so I can take care of things I really need to do – like deep clean, de-clutter and donate things I am no longer using, and do my taxes (fingers crossed!).

I’ll be sharing photos and insta stories of Whitney’s bachelorette weekend for the next couple of days, so follow along on Instagram! Enjoy the weekend!


Valentine’s Day

our amazing engagement pictures by j parker photography

Happy Valentine’s Day! I know this is a late-in-the-day post, but it’s still February 14th, so it counts. I had a meeting off campus today so I’m just popping in here between that and my shift at the pub tonight to write a quick little love note.

Whitney delivered our engagement photo gallery yesterday morning, just in time for me to obsess over our pictures and pick my favorites for a Valentine’s Day post!

I love love love these photos for so many reasons. First of all, because all three of the doggies are in them! Secondly, Andrew and I have had zero professional photos before and these are such BEAUTIFUL photos of us. Third, I love to have so many pictures of us laughing together, because that’s our favorite thing to do. Finally, these are so special because my best friend in the entire world took them for us and I couldn’t be more thankful for such a wonderful and beautiful gift.

Tonight, Andrew and I are apart because I’m at the pub and he’s got baseball tryouts after school. If I get off work early we may get to see each other, but we are going to celebrate tomorrow night. Our tradition is just to stay in with the doggies, order take out, and spend time together – that’s what it’s all about! I hope everyone enjoys some time this week with people they love.

So here’s to the man that I love, my best friend and partner in crime, the person that keeps me laughing and balanced and happy. I cannot wait to marry this man.

Here are a few several favorites from our engagement session!


FriYAY feels!

view from my window

We are still covered up in snow in the Raleigh area – no school for 3 days! And it’s supposed to be 50 degrees today. That’s NC weather for you. School is open today for teachers, so at least I can get some much needed work hours in!

I meant to do a FriYAY feels last week and it just totally got away from me (in addition to any other posts)! There are so many things going on – Whitney is getting married in April, our best friend Kelly is having a baby in May, and our other friend Jordan is getting married in June. Then Andrew and I are getting married in July! My sister is graduating from grad school in between all that, and there are showers and bachelorette parties and luncheons galore. There are about to be a lot of events in my life in the upcoming months. So exciting, but definitely something that takes up blogging time and brain space!

Speaking of weddings, I went to a bridal showcase at our venue two weekends ago and it was the first time where I really felt like, okay, this is happening. We are really getting married this summer!!! It is going to be here so fast. My mom, my future mother-in-law, and some of my bridesmaids went with me and we had a crew! It was overwhelming but really lovely, and it was so fun to look at everything and feel like a bride! We have three tastings with three different caterers in the next two weeks, so we will have that booked soon. We have a florist, photographer, and a few other big items booked, but we still have so much to do. Our photographer Erica shot one of my best friend Kelly’s weddings a few years ago that I was in, and Whitney has done a couple of shoots for her family, so it’s really a great full-circle kind of feeling and I am so excited to have beautiful pictures of our big day! Whitney will do our engagement and my bridal session. And Andrew has been so good! Helpful and patient – and reminds me when I need to just give it a rest and come back to it later, which is not easy for me.

I have also been sticking with my new year resolutions! I have been hitting my 4 workouts a week by going to the gym with my sister, which has been tough! I’m sticking to my eating goals, too, and I’ve been doing my nightly skin routine. I bought some new skin products, but I’m waiting to see how I like them before I post anything about them. I also went lighter with my hair last weekend and started using TIGI’s dumb blonde shampoo + conditioner; I hope it will keep my hair healthy! It smells so good and makes my hair look so soft. I got mine at Marshall’s for a little less!

I had mentioned my hunt for a nice puffy coat now that it is getting really cold in Raleigh. I ordered this one on Amazon in the merlot color and I am absolutely loving it. It is so warm and I feel like it looks nice even though it’s puffy! Definitely a keeper and has been so helpful these last few days in the snow.

I really want to get back into my yoga practice, especially with so much going on in my life. I need it to stay sane! And with all the work I’m doing with my sister in the gym, I’m staying sore and need some stretching and relaxation. I plan on checking out this studio sometime soon and supporting my friend Josephine who started her own studio!!! I have been meaning to go and it keeps getting away from me.

That’s all I got! I’ll be starting up a shredding for the wedding series, hopefully next week! And you can follow along with my fitness goals there…it’s a great way to keep me accountable if I know I’m sharing it with everyone! Enjoy the weekend; I’m going with Whitney to try on her wedding dress for the first time since it came in and I CANNOT WAIT to see her in it and cry my eyes out.

FriYAY feels!

Friyay! I still can’t believe we’re engaged and I am still just so happy and excited! My friend Lindsey got me this mug as an engagement gift. I also had a couple of students who got me little engagement gifts, which is so sweet. We are working on securing a venue and date right now, and I just signed up for an account with The Knot to help me keep track of all my wedding planning and details!

Other things I still can’t believe include the fact that Christmas is in THREE DAYS. What?! I feel like such an old fuddy-duddy saying this, but it seems like it just comes faster and faster each year (I also feel like a fuddy-duddy for even actually saying fuddy-duddy…blame my future husband for that lingo).

My Christmas gifts are all wrapped up and ready to be delivered. I won’t see some friends to celebrate until after the new year, so that’s always a fun thing to look forward to once everything else has quieted down. I got everything ready last night for heading home:  Laundry, wrapping gifts, last-minute cleaning before leaving, packing up myself + the doggies, etc.

One of the best Christmas happenings is that one of my very best friends had her baby girl this week!!! She has the sweetest face and name, and I can’t wait to hold her and love on her as soon as I possibly can. A lot of the people I care most about are having babies, getting married, and making big life changes that are all exciting. It just feels like a happy – yet hectic – time in life.

Finally, yesterday my department at school had a Christmas party and it was a pot luck. I brought my “famous” banana pudding. Everyone raves about it, so I thought I’d share it here! I actually got it from my dad’s wife Kathy, but it is always a HUMONGOUS hit and it is so delicious. It’s adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe, and I think the difference is in the pudding mixture, lemon juice for the bananas, and the type of cookies that you use. Literally every time we have a department function, everyone wants the banana pudding. Give it a try this Christmas and see how delicious it is!

Not Your Momma’s Banana Pudding

1 (12 oz.) container cool whip – this generally comes in 8oz containers so I usually just use the leftover 4oz for low fat desserts!

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

2 cups milk ( I use 2%)

1 (5 oz) box instant French vanilla pudding mix  (I can never find this in French vanilla and just go with regular vanilla. MAKE SURE it’s instant!)

6 to 8 bananas, sliced  (dip them in a small bowl of lemon juice before layering them)

2 bags chessmen cookies  (Pepperidge Farm – I always buy 3 bags, because sometimes there are broken ones in the bag and I am extra and want it to look nice…and also because extra cookies)

Note:  Of course, you can make any of these lighter by using low-fat options.

Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using a separate large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

There it is! The best banana pudding I have ever had, seriously. The lemon juice keeps the banana slices fresh and correctly colored, and it also adds a nice something to it. On top of that, the pudding part itself really is delectable. This time my sister made it for me while I was at school to help out – she is the best!

That’s it for now! I am heading to Andrew’s mom’s house for a night, then to Asheville with my family for a few nights over Christmas, and then I’ll be back in town to enjoy my last few days off before school starts back up again. I plan to write before or on the new year, because I have a couple of resolutions I want to share! Everyone have a very merry Christmas!

Gettin’ hitched!

We are engaged!!!

I wrote about our story/how we met a little while back, and Monday was the 2 year anniversary of when Andrew asked me to be his girlfriend. On Tuesday, he asked me to be his wife! It is so surreal to even write this post, and it has only been a couple of days, but the week has been packed and full of emotion and excitement!

Tuesday at school, Andrew told me he had made us reservations for Sullivan’s Steakhouse in downtown Raleigh, and so I was already excited and looking forward to a fun evening out together. We were getting ready to leave for dinner, and he stopped me in front of my Christmas tree and said he wanted a REAL reason to celebrate, and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I was so shocked I asked him if he was serious or if it was a joke! We were so excited and all of a sudden the shock wore off and I started boo-hooing (of course!). I made Andrew tell me all of the details of how long he knew, did anyone else know, allllll the questions! We headed to dinner and he told me all the things he had rehearsed in his head all day to say – when he actually proposed, he was so nervous he forgot everything he wanted to say! We had such an exciting and happy dinner. The manager brought us a glass of champagne, and we just enjoyed ourselves so much!

at sullivan’s after our dinner!

The ring was Andrew’s mom’s. His dad gave it to her for their 30th wedding anniversary, and with his dad being gone now, it is such a special reminder every time I look at my ring. It is beautiful and exactly what I wanted! I was giving Andrew a hard time because I have been getting regular gel manicures for months, and the weekend I decided to do my own nails and stop going to get them done professionally, he proposed! That’s how it goes, right?

Hopefully soon, we’ll be picking a date and starting to nail down some details, but for now, I am just so excited and trying to soak it all in!

We’re getting married! 🙂

FriYAY feels!

Finally Friyay!

This week flew by. I was off Monday and Tuesday, and on Monday I worked for hours agonizing over my budget and how I can save and plan better next school year so I won’t need to have a summer job. Reality check. I also made a goal to really focus on being active this week, and I stuck to it! Small victories.

I mentioned my Fourth of July plans earlier this week, but it was such a great time! The food came out perfectly and it was so nice to just relax and kick back a little bit. We didn’t end up going to the baseball game, but it was nice just to stay home and be near the dogs and take it easy!

filet mignon, honey lime ginger grilled scallops (adapted from here), garlic rosemary sweet potatoes, and grilled balsamic brussel sprouts (andrew had brats and burgers like a true american)

I got my hair done last Saturday and I am loving it! It’s always nice to get a little refresher from Jamie at the Parlor. (I’ve been going to her for like 10 years, no joke).

My family is going on a beach vacation in August, which I am so excited about! I am looking at these and these. Also loving this coverup and this coverup that could also double as a cute summer dress!

Finally, I mentioned my best friend’s wedding in this post, and a couple of weeks ago we ordered our bridesmaid skirts and tops for the big day! I absolutely can’t wait to see how everything comes together. When I put on my outfit and imagined everything on the big day, it suddenly became really real to me that this is happening! I’ll be crying like a baby when Whitney walks down the aisle (what else is new?).

That’s all, folks! Happy Friyay!


Wedding day brunch!

I mentioned in my last post that I was hosting a wedding brunch, and it was on Saturday! It was the first time I have ever officially “catered” an event, and it was so great to even be asked. When I was the foods teacher, I used to help my kids cater things from time to time, and I have always loved to plan and throw get togethers. Hosting is fun for me, and details don’t make me nervous; I love all the lists, researching recipes and decoration ideas, timelines, etc. So when I was approached to take on this wedding day brunch, I jumped at the chance to see how it would go! I planned for about a week. I found a couple of recipes, went grocery shopping, got some beautiful flowers from Trader Joe’s, and used some decor I already had from throwing a surprise 60th birthday party for my mom with my siblings. I also purchased all of my serving trays and platters at Target (surprising, I know).

I think it was a big hit! The bride just wanted something easy while she and her bridesmaids were getting ready for the big day, and as the photographer and family members arrived early to the wedding they were able to have some snacks, too. The biggest hit was the cucumber lemon water, which is so funny because it’s so easy to do! It’s so refreshing and it’s literally just water, sliced lemons, and sliced cucumbers. Perfect for summer!

Here are some pictures from the day. I’ve already been asked to do this for another wedding in the fall! (#sidehustle) I really couldn’t have pulled it off without the help of my sister and Andrew! Emily was a great sounding board and finger sandwich helper, and Andrew was a wonderful taste tester. He ran out Saturday morning to get an ice bucket for me and went with me to help with all of the set up and clean up. I am one lucky lady!

I’ll do a separate post for the lemon squares recipe – they were a m a z i n g ! So easy to make, and the bride has a gluten intolerance so they had to be gluten free, but you couldn’t even tell. They were seriously delectable, so be waiting for that recipe soon!

It was great to be able to throw this brunch for the bride on her big day. She was an absolutely beautiful bride, the bridesmaids looked lovely, and the church setup was perfect for hosting the brunch. Here’s to more potential catered events in the future!

My best friend’s wedding

Most of you probably know by now that my best friend is a wonderfully talented photographer. She started her own business last year and she has really worked hard to get to where she is. Needless to say, I’m so proud of her for pursuing her dreams, hustling, and maintaining her life and other job all at the same time. A large focus of her photography sessions is on weddings, engagements, and couples – so I’m tickled pink that now the tables are turned and she’s going to be the one getting married!!! She asked me to be her Maid of Honor, and at the risk of sounding cheesy…I’m really honored to stand by her on her big day and support her through this planning process. What an exciting time!

Whitney and Romain make a great team. Romain is practical, a little Type A (like me), and really loves Whitney (that’s my favorite part). Whitney is a little more carefree, spontaneous, and they both share a love for food and exploring local events! Romain is the other half of Whitney’s photography team, and they support each other’s dreams like any strong couple should. I can’t wait to watch them tie the knot!

Plus, Romain is a f a n t a s t i c cook, so I never mind going over to hang out, if you catch my drift!


Last week, Whitney invited our friend Kelly and me over to have dinner. We are her two bridesmaids – they are keeping their wedding pretty intimate. We were excited to just have some delicious food, wine, and to catch up a little bit. Life is busy when you get older; I’m realizing that now more than ever. Little did we know, Whitney had put together a sweet bridesmaid surprise with gifts for us! This was the cutest idea, and I wasn’t expecting anything at all. Everything was color-coordinated and it was the perfect touch to an already exciting occasion.

I’m stealing these photos right from Whitney’s camera roll – my measly iPhone camera can’t do it justice!

A silky robe for the wedding day, kleenex, a candle, and champagne!

I am thrilled to be celebrating these two for the months to come (and beyond). Congratulations and best wishes to my BFF and partner in crime!