A Picture Perfect Weekend

Last month my other best friend got married & it was the most picture perfect weekend imaginable. Her job is curating beautiful images and stories on IG, so it kind of goes without saying that her wedding weekend was stunning.

Aubrey is the creative genius behind That’s What She Eats. We went to high school together and she lived in Cleveland, OH before jet setting off to FL with her then-girlfriend, now-wife Megan. (I cried when they moved.) (Fortunately, they’re coming back eventually!) Since CLE has their heart (& most of their friends and family live in OH), they had their wedding up north.

Like Kayla’s wedding (when Aubrey stayed with me), Kayla and I stayed together at an AirBNB in Lakewood. Our husbands were there, too. We were in Cleveland from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.

It was the typical wedding weekend schedule (rehearsal & dinner / ceremony & reception / next-day brunch), but not also not typical at all.

Aub & Megan rented several AirBNBs for the weekend. A house in the Ohio City/Tremont area was used for the rehearsal & after-reception party, we used some lofts in Hingetown for morning-of prep, and a little restaurant in Lakewood was the setting for the ceremony and reception dinner.

After a laidback rehearsal, a few speeches, and a delicious dinner, the wedding crowd mostly cleared out of the backyard and K, Kayla, her husband Connor, and I went to work. It was our job to put the after-reception party together. With some pre-planning, we were able to transform the yard in about two hours. K and Connor hung fairy lights along the 2nd floor balcony and across the backyard. Kayla and I moved tables around, set up a little bar corner, and added the lounge furniture that we hauled from home. With only a few finishing touches to add the following day, we called it a night and went home to rest up for the big day.

The wedding was beautiful & intimate. There were less than 45 guests and I think I knew 35 of them? Haha. That’s what happens when you’ve been friends for 20+ years. Also, when you’ve been friends for that long the bride might ask you to speak during the ceremony. Which she did. So Kayla and I did. Aubrey’s mom and Megan’s mom wrote letters to their future daughters-in-law (SOB FEST) and then Kayla and I gave a short speech on friendship. Aubrey and Megan followed all of us up by saying really kind things to one another, then making their status as wife & wife official! It was beautiful ❤️

The dinner that followed was d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. obviously. Kayla and I slipped out a little early and headed to the after-party house to put on the tablecloths, centerpieces, and set out dessert. Honestly, the day couldn’t have gone smoother. We were home and in bed by 11:30pm. (WIN!)

The next day brunch was a partial ode to the newly weds and ode to the Browns game. LOL. We stayed for a bit and visited, hugged our new brides EXTRA tight, packed up the car, and drove back home to see our blonde baby. We ended the weekend with full hearts and tummies.

A&M cultivated their weekend beautifully. They kept it small, they included so many personal elements, and they made the people involved feel loved and taken care of. (Hopefully we made them feel loved, too.)

Congratulations, Aubrey and Megan ❤️ We love you SO much and can’t wait until you’re back in OH on a permanent basis!

-Aud

Happy Thanksgiving!

Does anyone read blogs on the holidays? In my experience, no. LOL

But here I am anyway. I believe this was created by Leslie at Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After but both Rebecca Jo & Tanya have posted it, too.

Will you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Football? Movies?

We’ll probably watch the parade- or at least have it on. I think M will enjoy the colors and music if she even notices the TV is on. And then the dog show; all three children will like that.

Who does the cooking? Fix anything ahead of time?

In years past we’ve had lunch at my grandparents (it’s ordered in from a family style restaurant) and dinner at K’s grandparents (made by his grandma and his uncle).
This year we’re dining with my mom and dad (food ordered in + a pie from me) and then with K’s mom and dad (food made by his mom + mashed potatoes from me).

What time do you eat the big meal?

We have two. (Yes, it’s as filling as it sounds.) One at noon, another around 4 or 5p. OOF.

Do you set a formal table or keep things casual? Place cards? Kids table?

Very casual. Sometimes my grandma puts the younger folks in the dining room but the youngest kid is 13 so… there’s no true kid’s table.
Place cards were attempted at K’s grandparents house once and it did NOT go over well. Lol

Is the food place on the table or served buffet style?

Buffet style all around.

Ham or turkey? What’s for dessert?

Ham is ew. Turkey (skin) 4ever. Dessert is the norm- pumpkin pie & pecan pie. This year there will be coconut creme pie and a cookie dough tart (made by me).

Does your family have a thanksgiving tradition?

Hmm. Not really. Some years my dad and I go to breakfast. Not this year 😔

Yay or nay to leftovers? Favorite leftover recipe?

No one EVER sends us home with leftovers! I’d take ’em!

What will everyone wear? Dress up or comfy?

I prefer to look nice on the holidays. Most people wear jeans and a nice sweater or something a little more casual.

For what are you most thankful this year?

Moo, K, & the pups. Family. Our health and safety. The ample togetherness we’ve experienced this year. New leadership. Sustaining work. Privilege and luck in navigating the pandemic. God’s love & grace.


Have a Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! I hope you’re safe, healthy, and full of deliciousness.

Happy Birthday, My Love

Today is K’s 33rd birthday.

(I love this pictures of him giving his sister the business.)

Last year, when he turned 32, we had no idea it would be his last one without a child. We were on vacation- in Arizona- and we went on a long train ride through a canyon and had dinner at the MOST delicious place. Arizona was rainy and cold and expensive- but it’s one of my favorite trips ever.

Today is much less fun. K is at work & I’m home with a congested baby. Tonight we have calling hours for a very distant family member. Hopefully I can make K feel special this weekend with some fun activities and one of his favorite dinners.


It seems that at 33 and 29 we’re officially true adults. Ha. We started dating when he was 20. We’ve both changed so much over the past thirteen years and yet… we’re still the same ❤ & he’s still my favorite person on the planet.

 

Happy Birthday, my love. Here’s to many, many more.

Fall Recap | What’s New With You

For the link-up today I’m recapping some of my fall adventures! I didn’t share about my trip to Daufuskie Island in October or our Halloween party at the start of November or our most recent trip to Colonial Williamsburg. So today I am 🙂

This is gonna be a long one…

Daufuskie Island, SC

Aubrey wanted to vacation with Kayla & me at the end of October, but her girlfriend Megan was offered a free stay at an island condo that same week. We urged Aub to GO on that vacation and take advantage of the opportunity. And then Megan invited us to secretly come along!

The island was small & adorable. It was too cold to swim in late October, but we spent lots of time outside in shorts and sweatshirts. We stayed from Thursday morning to Sunday morning.

You access the island by boat. There’s a slow moving ferry (runs on a schedule/takes an hour to cross) and then there are water taxis. Megan kindly arranged for our crossing on a taxi. The ride was cold and awesome and quick- about 25 minutes- and the two different captains we had both had dogs onboard.

The island had a very small general store (a few necessities but mostly souvenir-like items), a school, a fire station, and some small businesses. We visited the rum distillery, the two little wineries, the wood shop, & Lucy Bell’s Cafe. There was also a golf course and coffee shop on the island but we never found them.

That goat tried very hard to eat my lunch.

We used a golf cart to get around the island. Might I recommend a gas powered cart over an electric one? Ours died twice. We charged it at the fire station and bummed a ride home from a fireman the first time. The second time it happened we left it at the station and walked the 2+ miles home.

We might’ve trespassed at a rundown abandoned hotel.

Aubrey is a chef & she cooked for us most of the week. (She relaxes by cooking- no one forced her.) Our food was SO GOOD all weekend. Aub even sent us home with breakfast sandwiches when we left on Sunday morning.

Our final night & the Sunday boat taxi.

It was a really nice trip. Almost everyone was friendly and helpful, we got to explore and nap, and I only came home with 56 mosquito bites. (I think I got them on the last night while collecting firewood.) I’m so glad Megan invited us along!

2018 Annual Halloween Party

I know everyone is in Christmas World and long past Halloween, but I wanted to share pictures of the party. 🎃 We throw one every year, and I love seeing the costumes and visiting with our friends and family!

I sucked at taking pictures this year. Food included the puking pumpkin, a veggie tray, dead man’s toes (smokies wrapped in bacon baked with brown sugar), buffalo chicken dip, & pizza.

Those dragon toes (the grapes) were a new addition. SUPER easy and a huge hit.

Soak a whole bunch of grapes in vodka for at least an hour (in the fridge).
Remove grapes and dry them. Prick them with the toothpick and partially dip them in heated caramel and roll them in crushed peanuts. Refrigerate so they firm up & serve ’em.

I made some mummy & witch cupcakes, too.

The guests that came in costume were ah.may.zing. Our friends did a duo lamp theme- she was the leg lamp (above) and he was the PIXAR lamp. We also had a bearded friend come as Paul Bunyan, complete with Babe the blue ox. We had a Bob Ross (plus his wife as a tree and newborn daughter as a happy little cloud) and a kitty and a butterfly. These were our costumes:

(HINT: )

I won’t lie. My absolutely favorite costumes were my brother-in-law and his wife. I freakin’ screamed when they walked in the door…

(You can check out our past years here: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014..)

*In between the Halloween party & Williamsburg we threw my mother-in-law a surprise birthday party. We also traveled to Indianapolis for five days on business. And I was also sick- BLEH.*

Williamsburg

My brother lives two hours south of us so my mom LIVES for holidays and family vacations. This year she combined the two and whisked us all away to Virginia.

…can you tell how tired we are? We had two days in between trips.

This was my second trip to Colonial Williamsburg. Back in April K and I visited Gettysburg for our anniversary. I really love historical sites- there’s something eerie and whimsical and humbling about them.

We split our time between Williamsburg (Th/F) and Jamestown (Sat). It was in the 40s and awfully chilly, but the holiday cheer kept us warm.

My favorite building in Williamsburg is the Governor’s Palace. I feel instantly transported back in time when I walk through that structure (above). Both Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry called the palace their home post-colonial era. And the gardens out back freakin’ give me life. I love walking through them (below).

We arrived on Thursday and explored a little, then had our Thanksgiving dinner at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern. We spent Friday morning touring the (colonial) public hospital, which specialized in mental health and chronic illness- the first of its kind in North America-, and The Art Museum of Colonial Williamsburg.


K and I love to sit in museums and talk sh*t about people in paintings. Like, honestly, who gave the creepy baby a dead pigeon to play with?!

We had the pleasure of listening to a crazed right-wing “christian” shout about how we’re all sinners while we waited for lunch. I honestly though my dad (a republican), my brother (a devout Christian), and K (just a take-no-sh*t kind of guy) were going to drag his ass behind ye old courthouse and beat some sense into him… LOL. We took a selfie instead.

If you’re thinking, “Can her brother GET more hipster?”- the answer is no.

Then we were off to explore the book bindery and the printing house.

On Saturday we ventured to Jamestown but it was p.o.u.r.i.n.g. They had a really really nice museum with a special exhibit on the women of Colonial Jamestown, though. We probably spent almost 3 hours in the museum. We skipped the outside village, though 😦 Cold and wet would NOT have been a good look on any of us.

The first picture is an incredibly accurate depiction of my family.

We ended Saturday with some outlet mall shopping and an evening screening of The Grinch (which was SO cute). Then we hit the road Sunday morning and headed home.

And with that I can now officially close the door on fall.

I’m sooo looking forward to this month. It’s a somewhat lazy month with lots of holiday parties. We’ve got no travel planned (so far… that can always change). It’s the calm before the 2019 storm. I’m very excited about it and ready for it 🎄

Tell me about your fall adventures! Is December a slow or crazy month for you?

Linking up with Kristen!

Live Your Best Holiday Life Finale

As I mentioned earlier this month, Alexandra and Shea hosted this mindful month-long challenge and I decided to participate. Their LYBHolidayL challenge was a relaxing and healing way to take on November and the holidays 🙂 Now that it’s over, here’s how I finished the month out! (Check out the first half here!)

To kick us off, here’s the second half of the gratitude log:

November 16 – Set a bedtime alarm to prioritize sleep.
We dropped the ball on the 16th because we were catching up on the last few episodes of The Mindy Project, but we’ve been going to bed around 10pm every night which has been good for us!

November 17 – Share a gratitude quote on Instagram that speaks to you, inspire others!

November 18 – Take a load of items you no longer use to Goodwill/another thrift store!
After the move I made a pile of donation items. Of course I haven’t done anything with them. Until today 🙂

November 19 – Go for a fall walk
This day was m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e. I definitely didn’t go on a hike. I went shopping. Ha. But next month I’m doing a girls’ weekend at a cabin with my friends & I’ll take my fall/winter walk then!

November 20 – Allow yourself a small indulgence this week (a sweet treat, a long bath, an item from your wish list)
I might have grabbed a Three Musketeers while checking out at the grocery store.

November 21 – Give yourself a manicure or pedicure
My nails are partially gelled (because I picked some of it off), but my toes were holding on to polish from… September? I didn’t repaint them, but I did strip the polish off my feet and give my toenails and cuticles some love.

November 22 – Unexpected color combo: pumpkin & blush
I had no blush items in my closet. K and I tried to take a mirror selfie just to record my outfit for the day, but we obviously need some practice. Lylee looks straight up lost.

November 23 – Put your phone away and just be present today… Facebook and Instagram can wait
Sooo… I kept my phone away as far as texting, IG, and FB were concerned… but Animal Crossing just released their Pocket Camp app and I’d be lying if I said I avoided that all day 😉 In my defense, I bonded with my cousins and K’s siblings and cousins over the app!

November 24 – Take a few minutes to look at old photos and reminisce
I’m in the process of setting up my office at home and every time I open a box or folder I find senior pictures of friends or prom pics of K and me. So sweet 🙂

November 25 – Have a hot cocoa date with your significant other, best friend, or other loved one
K and I woke up early to hit a hardware store. We swung by Starbucks for some cocoa (for him) and a latte (for me) before we made the trek!

The gel on my thumb is still intact so it makes for good pics 😉

November 26 – Call, text, FaceTime, etc. a friend or family member that you are not able to see this holiday. They’ll be glad to know that you are thinking of them!
As strange as it sounds, almost all my family lives near me. My uncle lives in St. Louis but he was home and we had a Thanksgiving lunch with him this day! Coincidence? I think not!

November 27 – Hand write a letter or note telling someone how grateful you are for them & why
Done!

November 28 – Discuss with family existing ideas for new holiday traditions, planning ahead will make pulling it off next month easier!
My brother & his wife live two hours away but come home for Christmas Eve and morning. This month we discussed his plan and now I know when he’ll be around and what dates we’ll have him in town for celebrating! (They head to her family for Xmas night and the days that follow.)

November 29 – Schedule 15 minutes to de-stress, break out that grown up coloring book
These are my favorite kind of puzzles to do. I can sit and fill these in for hours. De-stressing with a fill-in puzzle is the perfect 15 minute break!

November 30 – Try a new coffee, tea, or coffee creamer
I bought a new amaretto creamer! I don’t usually put anything but milk or half&half in my coffee, but it’s been a nice treat!


Thank you so much, Alexandra and Shea, for hosting this challenge! I definitely fudged some stuff in the second half, but the daily challenges were a reminder in self care and preservation. I definitely needed that this month.

Next month they’re keeping the fun going with these prompts!

I’m excited to join in when I can 🙂