Bring It On

The last part of 2013 was such a non-stop whirlwind, I started to wonder if it would ever end. I wanted to leave the rough spots of 2013 behind me and jump head first into making 2014 the best year yet. But when I had time to stop and think about it — while vacuuming water out of our basement — it occurred to me that we did a lot last year. Most of it was great, some of it was tough, but it was all time well-spent.

We started 2013 on top of Camelback Mountain in Arizona.

Camelback Mountain, AZ, New Year's Day 2013

I bought Mickey Mouse sunglasses at Epcot.

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Roadtripped to Charleston with a bunch of girlfriends.

Matching tees!

Hosted a bridal shower.

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Got peer pressured into running the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.

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We celebrated our first wedding anniversary with an afternoon at the batting cages where Hugh proposed.

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I cried through our best friends’ wedding.

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We spent my grandpa’s birthday with him in the hospital.

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Packed Memorial Day weekend full of outdoor adventures with friends and both of our families.

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We carried on an annual beach tradition with friends.

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We reunited with family in Virginia.

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And in Oklahoma.

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And vacationed in Isle of Palms, SC.

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I spent an incredible girls weekend in Nashville.

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We got to attend Lucy’s baptism.

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We bought a little house.

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We celebrated the life of one of my most cherished family members.

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Dressed up our home with Hugh’s very first live Christmas tree.

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And rang in the new year in New Jersey with old friends.

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Yes, 2013 taught me a little about loss and change and wet basements, but it also taught me that I can run and that Hugh and I make a pretty good home improvement team. It also reminded me that we are surrounded by incredible friends and family who helped us through home-buying, moving and maintenance and who are generous with hugs when you need them.

And as for 2014, well it’s already off to a big start. I began [yet another] new job on January 2nd, and Hugh is becoming a master landscaper as I type this. I don’t like to make resolutions, but I do like to make goals and set milestones to look forward to.

In 2014 we will:

  • Dry out the basement, once and for all, then tackle our two-page project list
  • Run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler together
  • Celebrate two anniversaries and a big birthday in Key West with great friends
  • Not let work run our lives, but strive to be great at our jobs
  • Watch my brother graduate from our alma mater
  • Spend time vacationing with both sides of Hugh’s family
  • Never lose sight of how fortunate we are

Bring it on, 2014. Bring it on.

A Surprise Party For a Bride Who Hates Surprises

What do you do when a great friend of yours is getting married soon but does not want to be showered or celebrated or surprised? You throw her a surprise brunch shower to celebrate her pending nuptials.

Elizabeth and I pulled off the impossible a few weeks ago — we surprised Devon with a brunch in her honor without her disowning us. We had egg casserole, pimento cheese, hummus, fruits & veggies, homemade bloody mary mix, and of course a mimosa bar. And the six guests showered the bride with booze instead of bed linens.

I think she liked it.

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Throwing a Bridal Shower in the Age of Pinterest

For the last two years, Pinterest has been improving our crock pot recipes, filling our imaginations with decor plans for our future homes, promising that we can DIY this and that, and flaunting inspirational exercise mantras next to pictures of tan, six-packed women. It has also been making it more and more difficult to pull off an impressive party without feeling completely inadequate. Thanks to Pinterest, a successful party now requires mason jars, pretty straws, impeccably decorated miniature foods, handmade decorations, and lush, themed tablescapes.

Daunting, no?

I’ll admit that since Jessie got engaged (maybe even before) I’ve been compiling a ‘secret’ board of pins to help fulfill my Maid Matron of Honor duties. I browsed for inspiration for bridal shower invitations, recipe cards, flowers, and favors but I always ended up more overwhelmed than when I began. The Pinterest pressure was just too much.

Eventually I just walked away from the pin boards and began planning a bridal shower based on what my best friend would enjoy: something simple, not too fussy, with good food, some beverages, and a few surprises for good measure. It didn’t have to be any more elaborate than that.

So on Saturday I threw Jessie a bridal shower. I made some food I knew she’d like and a punch she’d enjoyed in Charleston, we ate a leisurely lunch outside in the long-awaited sunshine, played some games, and opened some gifts.

Jessie looked beautiful and happy, and even though there was a distinct lack of themed tablescapes, I think she had fun.

A Hometown Bridal Shower for Jessie Lynn

This weekend, Jessie’s mom and Aunt Missy threw her a bridal shower at the historic Allam House in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Mom and I embarked on a little road trip North of the Mason-Dixon to join the party.

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The house, built in 1710, was beautiful and quaint and well-maintained. I mean, check out the old stove in the back of the living room.

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When Jessie’s mom brought the cake out, I nearly cried. Not sure why — I promise I’m excited for April 27!IMG_1599

Jessie is clearly happiest when filling a plate of food.

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I made these recipe cards for Jessie’s friends and family to start filling her recipe collection.IMG_1610

I searched for months for the perfect recipe box, and voila! I’m not telling you where I got it though because they didn’t have many and I need to go get myself one.

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Watching Jessie struggle with Crate & Barrel’s expert wrapping was so fun.IMG_1626

It’s a pitcher!

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And a homemade toilet paper cover.

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I was working hard to write the most illegible list of gifts for thank-you notes while Momma Reynolds attempted to fill her Gift Bingo card.

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Jessie’s cousins constructed the ribbon bouquet for her rehearsal.

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A hand made blanket from Mommom.IMG_1707

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I’m including this sad blurry picture of us to encourage Mom to send the non-blurry one she took!IMG_1720

After the shower, the light was SO pretty. But of course Jessie was being a jerk about letting me take her picture, so these were my best efforts.

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