Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Friday

Five things I'm loving this Friday...


One | Valentines day is right around the corner and I'm super excited!! Tyler and I started dating exactly one week after Valentines day and this year marks 6 years of being together!! I know it's not a true anniversary anymore since we've gotten hitched but I still think it's still something worth celebrating. Plus it's the perfect excuse to avoid sharing a date night with the rest of charlotte - we usually do a belated valentines day and "anniversary" date all in one!! 

Two | I hope everyone enjoyed the snow fall this week!! It was fun to watch Smoke (our german shepherd) tromp around in the snow, however besides that I do try and stay as clam-like as possible. Thankfully our office did close due to numerous patient cancellations. Something about North Carolina drivers and snow just does not mix, me being included in that infamous group. Driving to work the following day I was still in driving miss daisy mode with my chin pressed to the steering wheel and all!!  

Three | I finally bought my first big girl watch!! I've been eyeing this boyfriend watch from fossil since Christmas but couldn't quite pull the trigger on this $125 purchase. Last week I was browsing TJ Maxx and found this at a steal of a deal - 60% off, hootie hooo!! Hello my new rose gold beauty!!


Four | Our kitchen is getting a makeover!! Since moving in our ugly blue countertops have been, well ugly and I am so ready for an updated look. Tyler and I are almost done picking out what we want so stay tuned for all the details!! 

Five | This week I expanded my cookbook with two new recipes!! This might not be much of an accomplishment for some but to find meals that Tyler and I can both agree on is tough work!! I don't wanna say my husband is a picky eater, but sadly he is just that. I say sadly because I do love to cook and experiment with new recipes. Thankfully he loved the new menu items!! Couldn't have done it without Des from Life's Ambrosia. Check out her awesome recipes, I'm sure you'll find something delicious!! OUR favorite was the shrimp tacos with cilantro-lime sour cream, sooo good with a big wedge of avocado!! 

Thanks for the link-up Christina, as always!! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and enjoys the rising temperatures to come!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Goodmorning Jack


Can anyone else agree with me that it's a zillion times harder to get up in the morning when its cold outside?! It seems like I hit snooze twice as often when freezing temps are right outside my window. It's a habit I definitely want to break because that goes hand in hand with no makeup and crazy hair for work. 

Not only do I end up looking like a grizzly but it leaves me with little to no time for my morning devotional. I'm super excited to start my new devo but more often than not I end up reading with a distracted mind during my lunch break - not exactly the "quiet" time I had imagined for my daily walk.

I will admit that setting time aside for Him is a new effort for me. I'm not completely blind to the concept but I never realized the gravity behind starting each day with Him. I recently heard someone speak to the importance of daily reflection, "one's morals and values can be easily defined in how they spend their time, talents, and wealth." It was a simple statement, yet so convicting!! 

Proverbs 8:34 | Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my door, waiting at my doorway.

So far I've come up with a few ideas to help motivate me, aka the hibernating bear...

Coffee, naturally this should come up first when brainstorming because that's how I start every morning. Though, I think I need to tweak my delivery method and probably start using a brewing timer. Then... if I hit snooze one too many times and I'll have cold coffee waiting for me downstairs.

I'm also thinking that a good robe and slipper combo are going to be the key to a smooth transition from cozy bed to what's waiting on the other side. So besides that and a candy trail of chocolate leading to a hot shower every morning I'm out of ideas... Oh wait not true, big girl panties, I could always try and put those on ha ha!! 

But in all seriousness this is a commitment I want to make to Him. My heart has been pulling me towards this no matter how much I try and ignore it. I've realized there will always be an excuse, "I don't have a devotional, I don't know where to start on finding a good one, it's too early, I stayed up too late last night..." but those are all thoughts encouraged by satan, who I've realized I just need to shush!! 
So wish me luck and say a little prayer for me!! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crouching Tiger Hidden Photog

I've been wanting to do some wedding posts for awhile now and I think it's finally time...

When planning our wedding my first priority was to find the perfect photographer. I've heard of so many horror stories from friends and family about unprofessional photographer mishaps. I knew from the get go that this was something I wanted to invest in. It's what I would be showing my children and grandchildren. Unfortunately our memories do fade, but photography is what can bring us back in time.


I will preface this by saying I’m no expert on finding a wedding photographer, but as a recent bride here are some things I’ve learned throughout the whole process…

My search began by browsing through the interwebs to find photographers in and around my area. It seems everyone has a website so searching through google was simple and easy. There are also TONS of wedding websites with suggestions of local photographers so finding someone usually isn't the issue. Before sending out a zillion emails to get prices from everyone I wanted to decide whose work I liked the best. My advice is not to get hung up on the details. On most websites you will see images sampled from a lifetime of work, their best photos carefully selected to catch your eye. My advice – go straight to their company blog.  I wanted to gage their work from a collection of photos vs. their winning needle in a haystack of photos. Photography blogs are awesome for this because they are updated with real couples wedding and engagement photos, rather than a randomized reel of “I dos”

Narrowing down a list of bookmarked websites can be challenging. There were certain things I was looking for in a photographer and certain things I realized were important after the fact - let me break it down for you...

What I wanted in a wedding photographer...

Beauty | I think this is self-explanatory. I wanted beautiful, quality photos to capture the day how I remembered it.

Passion | I wanted someone who loves photography and has a commitment to their passion. For me that meant finding someone who chose photography as their profession and career. Not to say that 'weekend warriors' can't provide you with some beautiful images, but I find that most brides who were unhappy with their photos or photog experience used a friend, relative, hobbyist, or second income shooter. I just think there is a lot of value and security in investing in a professional wedding photographer.

Variety | There are so many things that happen during a wedding so I felt a second photographer/assistant was a necessity. Unless you are having a very small and intimate wedding I would always try to find a photog who works with a second shooter or assistant. For example, when 'Uncle Bob' jumps up from his seat to try and snap a photo during the ceremony, it might be nice to have a back up photog hidden around the corner with a second angle on the I dos.


What I also got in a wedding photographer...

Personality | I was so so happy to find a photographer that was outgoing and full of personality. I got a photog was able to make my camera shy husband feel comfortable in front of a camera all day. Someone who was able to remember my parents' names as well as people in my bridal party. Someone who helped me fix stray curls and fly aways on my windy day. The person you choose as your photographer is going to be involved in some intimate moments during your wedding day, you want to find someone you feel comfortable with.

Presence | My photog had some gumption. You may not see the importance until you are part of a wedding party yourself but trust me on this one. Being able to direct and organize 10-30 people in a photo takes skill, and being able to do it proficiently takes presence. She was nothing but professional and able to arrange beautiful compositions quickly and effectively. On our wedding day we were short on time with quickly approaching rain clouds and inpatient groomsmen - our photog worked her magic and captured all the images we wanted, sending us to the festivities right on time.


From behind the scenes to final product...


Planning a wedding can be a little overwhelming at times, but at the end of the day if you are married to the one your heart loves then it was a total success. I love love love my wedding photographer and I hope you all have such luck in your searches.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five on Friday

Another week is coming to a close and I feel like I haven't accomplished much. It's the first full week I had back at work since the holidays so I can't say I did much else. Let's see if I can muster up my five for Friday, hosted by the lovely Christina!!


One | I bought my first devotional today. I've been scouring the book store on my lunch breaks and just couldn't find anything that peaked my interest. My indecisive nature definitely doesn't help the situation and I was leery to purchase anything without a recommendation. So of course I have someone to thank for this find, shout out to Chelsea at The Kebs!! I was tempted to buy the kindle version for instant gratification though I have always liked having a real book to hold, turn over page corners, and highlight my way through it. So amazon shipping please hurry!!

Two | Taco Tuesday girls night is official!! My two best friends and I have a new tradition, and I am pumped for some quality time with my favorite ladies. We've been friends since high school and with us "growing up" and getting big girl jobs there just doesn't seem to be as much time as there used to be. Moral of the story, we have started going to Taco Tuesdays at On The Border!! I work right across the street from one so it is super convenient to pop on over after work and meet up with the ladies for a drink and some tacos!!

Three | I'm almost out of coffee. This may seem more like a debbie downer than I highlight but I promise the news is good!! I'm about to finish off the last of my Macadamia Cookie k-cups which were good but not great. I'm on the hunt for my next flavor and I think Hot Buttered Rum from Archer Farms is going to be the winning ticket!! One of the girls in my office brought some to work and you can literally smell the yummy goodness from a good 6 feet away.

Four | Smoke got groomed this week. He is officially a pampered lap dog, all 75 pounds of him!! I didn't think he would come back looking that different but those Petsmart ladies definitely worked their magic!! He smell wonderful and the amount of hair they combed out of his undercoat is unbelievable. It may even cut my vacuuming time in half.

Five | It's time for our 2nd annual Gatlinburg trip!! Last winter the whole gang got together for a weekend away in the mountains and I'm so excited for round two!! It's not quite time for the festivities but definitely time to start looking for a cabin. We had a nice private spot in the mountain side last year though I think a closer driver to the shopping/restaurants might be the way to go this year. Wish us luck in the search for a cabin!!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Rewind

A new year has begun and I am STILL trying to adjust to this whole 2014 thing... I must say January 3rd was the worst. You have no idea how many times I wrote 1/4/13 instead of 1/3/14 - Geez louise, I didn't even realize my flaw until one of my patient's at work pointed it out!! So before I can officially shut the door on 2013 and open the next, I feel a rewind post is in order!! 


In no particular order, drum roll please... 

I have claimed the title, college graduate!! After four long years of higher education, I am happy to say that I've found a profession that I love. After being accepted to a dental hygiene program I successfully made it out the other side with only two emotional break downs - and trust me that is definitely a win!! I love all my hygiene girls; we bonded like sisters through a grueling program. There was much learning, studying, laughing, crying, stressing, and venting (most likely in that order). I dare say we learned more about ourselves in those two years than we could have ever imagined.


Soon after graduation I passed my national boards and state boards, and the infamous clinical exam. Thank goodness I had an amazing patient that traveled all the way to Raleigh with me. After 22 years of not having his teeth cleaned he was able to trust me, a complete stranger and student, to clean his teeth a whole 2 hours away from home.

I definitely couldn't have made it to licensure without the support of my friends, family, and now husband - which leads me to my next marquee of the year...

I have a new last name!! My man and I finally said "I do" on September 1st, 2013. The day was beautiful and I couldn't have asked for a better man to share my heart with. Newlywed life has been amazing and I am continually reminded of how blessed I am.



He is my best friend, partner in crime, and stealer of ALL the covers. He is my everything and always. I can't wait to see what our future holds and the plans He has for our marriage.

This past year we also took on the adventure of homeownership!! Making a house into a home has been quite a process, but I'm hoping the new year will bring several check marks to our decorating/renovating list.


One of my favorite things about our little nest is all the privacy we have from our back porch despite being in a neighborhood with fairly small lot sizes. Since this picture, we've fenced in a good portion of the yard for Smoke (our german shepherd). We quickly learned his favorite part of the house - after several B lines to the creek running behind our house it wasn't hard to figure out. Tyler thinks this qualifies as giving Smoke a bath, though I am still less than convinced!!

And last but not least, 28 days before the year came to a close, I finally landed a full time job as a dental hygienist!! As previously mentioned this was quite a journey that left me with a valuable lesson on trusting His timing.

I'm sure there were more small victories throughout the year but these are definitely some of my favorite. I think in the life this 22 year old, two thousand and thirteen has been one for the history books!!