Brunch Wedding at The Belmont

Well, after nearly 8 years of dating we finally made it official!  Now, let me spill the deets!

 

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We did it!

 

 

We decided to get married in Dallas at The Belmont Hotel.  The hotel has a super chill vibe and the property is breathtaking.  Tons of succulents and a gorgeous view of my favorite city!  Not to mention, having a wedding at one location makes things a lot easier.  I am all about making things easy for myself!

Next priority for us was the food and drinks.  Right next to The Belmont is a restaurant called Smoke.  They are known for their smoked meats and amazing brunch.  Since brunch is our favorite meal we decided to have our wedding at noon and keep the food brunchy.  By having the ceremony earlier in the day it also kept the vibe a little more relaxed, which we were totally for.  We had Hypnotic Donuts and cocktails of course, for the cocktail hour.  For brunch we served scrambled eggs, some of the best pancakes ever, super thick smoked bacon, biscuits and gravy, fruit, and ham smothered in Dr. Pepper gravy(since we are in TX!).  We served Bloody Mary’s, Micheladas, mimosas and Lone Star Beer.  We thought if we are going to go all the way to Big D to get married we better make sure everyone gets the real feel of Dallas.  The food was fantastic and we made it a point to be the first ones in line!

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Hypnotic Donuts

 

Next on the list of importance was music.  Funny story…. my hubs met a guy on the internet and he ended up djing our wedding!  Long story short, he started listening to a radio station out of Seattle(his hometown) way back in college.  He formed a relationship with THE dj, John Richards, at KEXP by emailing and requesting songs.

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John and Amy Richards and the bride and groom

Eventually he asked him to play Fantasy Football and when it came time to find music for our wedding we thought…. why not ask?  Fast forward to our wedding day and we had one of the world’s best dj’s and his wife set the soundtrack for one of the most important days of our lives!  Crazy, right?!  Yeah, life is weird and awesome sometimes!

 

My dress was custom made by Linh’s Bridal in Oklahoma City.  I was having a tough time finding a dress that wasn’t a huge pouf ball and there was no way I was going to have to have help using the restroom.  How can I feel like a princess when it takes a small army to help me go potty? Um, no thank you.

My Mom decided that we should have some Wedding Day ‘surprises’!  One of them being that she chose our cake design.  I did the tasting and put the baker at Panini Bakery and Cakes in touch with my Mom and she did the rest. I will admit, there was some anxiety at first, but I am so glad I did this.  It was really fun to see my cake for the first time. There was an olive branch on our cake since we got engaged in Greece.   Flowers were done by Lane Florist.

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Cake by Panini Bakery and Cakes

 

I did get a little bit sentimental and booked the same makeup artist that did my makeup on the shoot that we met on seven years ago!    That is a whole other story, but we met on set of a TV show that was filmed at a casino.  Weird things, right?!
But anyway, if you are in Dallas and need hair and makeup, check out Samarica at SASA.

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The Final Touch!

 

Photos were not a top priority for us so I definitely waited until the last minute to book a photographer.  Fortunately, someone was recommended to me and everything worked out perfectly.  We used Tanner Ellison and were so happy with the photos we received.  We didn’t want to spend a lot of time taking photos while our guests were waiting.  She seemed to be in every place at once.  So many people said “I didn’t even see the photographer’.

All in all, it was a day surrounded by people we love, creating memories we will cherish our entire lives.  I know everyone says it, but it was an absolutely perfect day!!

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where have i been?

It’s been forever since I’ve blogged and I’m making it a priority….starting now!!

Since it’s been so long you may be wondering what I have been doing for the past year.  Well, its been one of the most eventful years of my life.

I spent the first half of 2015 planning a wedding!  We had a perfect day at the Belmont Hotel in Dallas.  Our families joined us as we got married at a noon ceremony overlooking one of my favorite cities.  We served brunch and listened to amazing music!  Look for more wedding related blogs in the future.  I can’t wait to share all the details!

For our honeymoon, we traveled to Bali, Indonesia.  It was a trip of a lifetime.  Definitely the longest travel day(s) we’ve ever had.  But so glad we decided to go!  Look for a full report on this trip and our travel plans for 2016. I’m giddy just thinking about a vacation!

I spent the rest of 2016 celebrating holidays and transitioning to life as a wife.  I’ll admit, that was a tough one for me.  I felt a lot of emotions I never expected and am so thankful to have married such a patient man who allows me to get through them on my own terms.

2016 is already in full swing and I can’t wait to see what it holds for me!

New Year, New You! What are your resolutions?

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I cannot even believe it is 2015 already!  Where has the time gone?  I am beyond excited for this year.  It will certainly be a big one!

With each new year I like to make resolutions.  I call them ‘resolutions’ but in reality they are really goals for myself for the next year.

Here are my resolutions for 2015!  Share yours in the comments!

1.  Learn Spanish

Sadly, this is one leftover from last year.  I really want to learn a second language, I just haven’t put forth the effort to make it happen.  I bought Rosetta Stone last year and my goal is to spend at least two hours a week working on it!

2.  Volunteer/Give Back at least one time per month

I want to do my best to give back to the community.  I don’t have a ton of time to give each week so I have set a reasonable goal of doing something selfless at least one time per month.  This month I have had two foster puppies.  I already have an appointment set up to donate blood in February.  I can still spend more time volunteering if I have it, but this holds me accountable to at least one activity each and every  month.

3.  Start Writing

I really enjoy writing!  I just don’t ever seem to make the time to do it.  This goal is really about me taking a few moments to do something for me and to focus on the positive.  I have decided to start my writing in a journal and only writing about the positive.  I simply write about what I am feeling, or experiencing at that particular moment I don’t want to write about anything upsetting because I don’t want to spend any time dwelling on it.  I have set a goal to journal at least two times per week.

4.  Workout 3 times per week

I am sure many of you have Nutrition and Fitness goals for 2015.  I am no different.  I hate going to the gym but I know how important it is for me to stay healthy.  I have decided I need to actually workout at the gym at least  three days a week.  I am doing a challenge in January that has me in the gym six days a week!  So I am definitely on track this month.  I will let you know more about this crazy challenge later!  Trust me, it is awesome!

5.  Get Married

This may sound like a silly resolution, but me and the bf got engaged in late September while we were in Greece.  I thought we would wait until 2016 to get married but I have decided I want to do it in 2015.  I put this as a resolution to really make it happen.  I am already on the right track with a date set for October!  Look for more wedding blogs in the future!!

Good luck with your resolutions for 2015!  Set realistic goals and make sure they are specific.  Don’t get frustrated if they don’t stick right away.  Just keep at it and celebrate every accomplishment!  Happy New Year!

Our trip to Greece! Athens and Santorini

SAMSUNG CSCLast month me and the bf took a trip to Greece!  We have made traveling a priority and we try to take one big vacation each year.  Everyone kept asking me ‘Why Greece?’  I keep thinking, WHY NOT!!!  We are very fortunate to be able to travel and we know that may not always be the case so I wanted to get this trip done now. We spent nine days total and traveled to Athens and Santorini.

Santorini was amazing!  It was everything you picture when you think of Greece.  Blue domes, gorgeous views, fresh food…. I could go on and on.  We stayed at Voreina Gallery Suites in Fira.  I cannot rave enough about this place.  The staff was so caring!  They had a driver at the airport waiting for us, super nice since it was 6am and we were jetlagged, he had the keys to our room so we could get settled in  and take a nap while we waited for the front desk to open.  They brought us breakfast to our room every morning and we had a private pool.  On our first day they arranged for our rental car and gave us details on where we should go and how to get around the island.  They were amazing!

We went to a beach and it had black sand!  It was super hot on our feet but really cool to see.  They had servers that brought us mojitos so we didn’t have to leave our umbrellas:)  We also went to a red beach that had sand even more red than the clay in Oklahoma!  We ventured to Oia one day and were blown away by the views.  The sunsets in Santorini are some of the most amazing in the world.  Once the sun sets everyone claps!  I was so glad we rented a car while we were there.  The driving is certainly different than it is in the United States but it was just another part of the experience!

If Santorini is everything you expect, Athens isn’t at all what you are thinking.  I was really surprised by all the graffiti we saw.  Everything is covered!  There was some really amazing art, but it made me think the neighborhoods were less than safe.  SAMSUNG CSC

We visited the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum.  These two are probably already at the top of your list and they should be!  We had dinner at the museum restaurant and were able to see the Acropolis lit up while eating chocolate mousse at the museum restaurant.  Not bad!  We also visited Monastirki Square in Athens.  It was really crowded, but had lots of shops and vendors where your could pick up gifts for everyone back home.

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One of the highlights of our time in Athens was the Hamman Baths.  It was a super modern bath house near Montasoukis square.  You walk inside and are given Turkish towels to cover up with.  Then you go into a steam room with marble seats and basins.  You are given a bowl to pour water over yourself and to bath with olive oil soap.    After relaxing in the steam room you are taken to another area where you lay on a heated marble table and are washed, exfoliated and massaged.  It was amazing!

All in all we had an amazing time!  I will definitely be back to Greece, but will probably spend as much time as possible on the islands.  Until then I will keep looking at pics and day dreaming:)

What my 20’s have taught me.

Me and my twin a few years back!
Me and my twin brother a few years back!

Just about a month ago I took the dreaded steps into being a thirty year old.  I really didn’t mind it so much when it actually happened, but now that I’m thirty I blame everything on my age.  My neck is sore, nobody complimented my skin, I got bad service at the restaurant….You name it and I’ve blamed it on my new age.

To celebrate this accomplishment I spent a long weekend filled with cocktails and dancing in Austin, Texas.  This is a city I’ve been to several times, but never as an almost thirty year old.  It got me thinking about the differences in life at twenty and then at thirty.  At 21 I took a trip to Austin in my Chevy Malibu with my best friend. We both had the weekend off work and an extra hundred bucks so we packed up and went.   I remember getting there and trying to find a hotel, only to learn they were all booked up for an event.  We hadn’t thought to look into that.  We learned the hard way the importance of always having a guaranteed  place to lay your head.  To this day I insist on making the travel arrangements!   This time around we stayed in a nice (clean) hotel, Lone Star Court, and ate at some amazing restaurants.  (Check out Uchiko if you are in town) Things were certainly different.  With my new coming of age, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned about life and more importantly myself during the last decade.

1.  Time is both your friend and your worst enemy.

When you are in your twenties you have a built in excuse for all your bad decisions.  You may have stayed out late and showed up an hour late for work.  Fortunately, you are in your twenties and waiting tables at a restaurant.  The managers there knew the risk when they hired a twenty something for $2.18 an hour.  Your twenties are a perfect time to take risks.  Your parents are way more okay with you changing your career path five times in your twenties than they are at thirty.  But don’t use this excuse for too long.  Eventually you have to grow up.  Yes, you have to!  Nobody wants it to happen but eventually you begin to realize your relationships are no longer only going to last a summer.  You begin to think about long term careers, relationships, and hobbies.  If you don’t you will miss some great opportunities.  But do use this excuse for as long as you can.

2.  Don’t take all criticism to heart.

In my twenties I worked as a model.  Sadly, social media was also a thing and my picture would be plastered on people’s pages.  It’s really cool to see someone using your image to promote their brand.  It’s not fun to see some of the comments people post about said images.  I will admit, it took a long time for me to learn how to cope with this.  But then I remembered that these people would never have said these things to me directly.  If they had I would have blown them off and not thought about it again.  People will always have something negative to say.  Consider if they have a point that you can learn from.  If not, move on!  You have precious time here on this earth.  Don’t spend it dwelling on someone’s mind that you cannot change.

3.  You are not the most important person in the world!

This is a hard one to learn .  Being young we see ourselves as being ‘special’.  We assume that we are different and we have something amazing to offer to the world.  We do have something amazing to offer to the world!  Your world is just smaller than you think.  You will have a tremendous impact on the people you interact with every day. If you are fortunate you will find a way to impact more people than most.  You will never reach everyone.

4.  Take risks and don’t be afraid to fail.

Being in your twenties allows you the opportunity to meet a ton of new people.  In your twenties you will be out and you will meet some interesting people.  Undoubtedly, if you are passionate and you are around new people they will offer you some great opportunities.  Take them!  Use your judgment and don’t put yourself in harms way, but jump at these risks.  They may not all pan out, but you have that built in excuse of being young.  You will meet some amazing people along the way and do your best to learn from all of them.  Even if your take away is that you don’t want to be like them.

5.  Nobody is perfect.

We all already know this, but we tend to forget it when we are younger.  We look at our friends, our parents, celebrities, and everyone else we come into contact with and assume they have it all figured out.  Truth be told nobody is an expert at life.  We all get one shot and we are figuring it out as we go. Certain people learn from their mistakes faster than others but we all make them.  Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes.  Learn something new every day and keep on going.

6.  Decide what is important to you.

I have decided that at this moment in life travel is one of the most important things to me.  I want to see the world!  For you, it may be being the best parent, husband, or wife.  Opening a store or having a high profile career.  The thing is, it doesn’t matter, it is your decision.  This is a time where you get to do what YOU want.  You are young enough to do whatever you choose and you’ve lived enough to realize what works and what doesn’t.  Do what is right for you and own it.

This list is solely about what I have learned thus far.   I will admit there are things I have learned that I am ashamed to put on this list. (How do you pronounce that??? I’ve been saying it wrong my whole life?!) Each stage of life is different and I am a little terrified of being a real grown up but, also super excited to see what the next decade holds for me.  Cheers to being 30!

End of Summer DIY Floral Crown

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I can’t believe I am saying it, but I am ready for fall.  I am a Summer kind of girl.  I love flowy dresses and chilling at the pool with a cold drink and a good book.  But for some reason I feel like I am ready to move on to cozy sweaters and football season.  I know I will regret these words when the first ice storm hits and I’m sliding down my drive way!  Even though I am ready for fall I don’t want to rush Summer out the door.  I want to spend my Labor day weekend lingering in the warm sunshine and grilling up yummy food.  What better way to send summer out in style than with a floral crown?! DIY of course:)

I love any type of head wear in the summer.  Headbands, head scarfs, floppy hats, …you get the idea.  My biggest crush at the moment is a floral crown.  I just love the hippie, summer feel.  I knew this wasn’t a look I could pull of often so I thought I would go ahead and make a DIY version with fresh flowers!

Here’s what you will need…….

Fresh Flowers (you can use fake if you’d like)

Floral Tape

Floral Wire

Pliers

How to do it…..

Cut the wire to about 18 inches.  You will want to ensure it fits around your head, depending how you wear it this length will vary.  Cut another piece of wire a similar length and weave it around the first piece.  You will have a circle of wire that is pretty sturdy.  Wrap the floral tape around the end to keep it all together.

Now the fun part!  Cut the flowers off into small buds.  Use the floral tape to tape the buds to the wire headband you made.  Keep going all the way around.  Then go back through and tape more flowers into the empty spaces.  Store in a ziplock in the fridge until you are ready to wear!

Enjoy the rest of Summer!!

Happy Tails!!!

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Animals have a very special place in my heart!  I grew up on a farm in rural Nebraska.  This left me with an abundance of time and access to lots of furry critters:)  I no longer have access to livestock to pet and give snacks to so I have to settle for my pups!

When I first moved to Oklahoma City I got involved with the OK Humane Society.  They have a really wonderful program and are striving to become a no-kill shelter.  As part of the foster program we get to bring lots of fur babies into our homes and then they get to go on to their forever homes.  I am the first to admit that it is not easy!  I fall in love with each and every one of these sweet babies.  When they go I am always in tears. I can’t help but think with every single one ‘Should we just keep them?’.  But….our house is too small for three so we always let them go live happy lives with their new homes.

Here is a story on my most recent foster, Gilbert(all of our dogs are named after OK State).  I was driving to work and saw this sweet boy run across four lanes of traffic.  I knew he would probably be long gone by the time I turned around and got to him but I gave it a shot.  Luckily, I caught up with him.  I had a left over cookie in my car from the previous days lunch and was able to convince him with Lemon Riccota to come over to my car.  Then I lifted this massive, beat up, pit bull into my tiny car.  We went to the vet and found out he was not chipped or neutered and had no tags.  I posted to several Facebook pages and put up posters but was not able to find his parents.  He stayed with us for about two weeks and during that time he had surgery to be neutered, my amazing bf footed the bill, and got caught up on all his vaccines.  We went on lots of walks and worked on training.  One of our IT guys at work had mentioned a few months ago that he wanted to get a dog (he will probably never tell me anything again!!) so I asked him to come see my Gilby.  He brought his kids over and the rest is history.  Now anytime I want to check on my sweet Gilbert I just have to call the IT department!

Moral of this story….if you see a pet away from home stop and safety try to get it to a safe place.  I can’t imagine if one of my boys were lost and looking for his way home.  I sure hope someone would help them.  Spay and neuter your pets!  There is really no reason not to.  So many pups are looking for homes and are being put down in shelters all the time.  Please don’t shop, ADOPT!