Friday, September 22, 2017

our wedding // getting ready

I am pretty sure all wedding days go something like this: "oooh we have so much time... let's relax and have a mimosa"......... then all of a sudden, it's "oh crap, y'all go-go-go we need to leave in 5 minutes!!" I am fairly certain all the weddings that I've been a part of have gone like this and mine was no different. that last hour of getting ready is STRESSFUL, especially if you have to travel to the venue after getting ready.

the lovely ladies from rolland's salon in seaside did a great job with our hair and makeup. they are the best and so easy to work with.

the groom's house was closer to the wedding venue, so maybe they weren't as stressed as our group... in fact, I'm certain they weren't since I know they were able to get a game of croquet in before getting ready HAHA.

this is right around the point that I started to get anxious about time. I wasn't even thinking about our photographer, I was thinking about getting in that dress and grabbing all my things. of course, we ended up with plenty of time once we got to the venue.

my mom's hair stole the show...

one thing's for sure... we all needed a drink to calm the nerves pre-ceremony!

Monday, September 18, 2017

vegetarian chili cheese dog bake

do you sometimes find yourself scrolling facebook and somehow end up totally drawn in to a cooking video? usually they're only like 20 seconds long and totally entice you into thoughts such as "this looks easy enough" and "wow I'm so hungry now"... well, this definitely happened to me when I stumbled upon a video for these buzzfeed chili cheese dog boats on facebook.

so what's a vegetarian to do?! I made a few tweaks on this recipe and swapped the hot dogs for veggie dogs, this bake has become a staple in my recipe book and I love to make it on a sunday and take my chili dogs to work for lunch all week.


-8-pack of hot dog buns
-¼ cup butter, melted
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
-8 slices cheddar cheese
-15-ounce can of vegetarian chili
-8-pack of your choice veggie dogs (or hot dogs)


1. preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.

2. place the 8 hot dog buns in a 9x13 baking dish, then cut a rectangle in each hot dog bun, making sure to stay 1 centimeter from the edges.

3. push down on the bread cut-out and compact this portion of the bun tightly into the bottom of each bun, making sure to press down on the bottom edges as well. this will help create a larger space for the fillings and reduce mess.

4. mix the butter, garlic, and parsley in a small bowl, then brush the buns and their hollowed insides with the garlic butter.

5. bake for 5 minutes to toast the buns as well as help the sides of the buns firm up so they don’t collapse under the weight of the fillings.

6. place a slice of cheddar cheese inside each bun, then spoon a bit of chili inside each one.

7. slide the hot dog snugly on top of the chili, then top with more chili.

8. bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and the chili has started to brown.

9. slice the hot dogs boats along their connected seams, then enjoy!

these dogs reheat extremely well so feel free to pack leftovers for the week.
*recipe adapted from buzzfeed

Thursday, September 14, 2017

our wedding // paper goods

one of the first things I did when we got engaged was buy vintage stamps, which I realize is not normal. you can read all my thoughts on vintage postage here, and the second thing I did was go to swoozie's with my mom to pick out our invitation suite. I love paper goods and I wanted the look and feel of our wedding to flow from the invitation to the wedding day. in many ways, picking our stationery helped me plan the actual wedding.

b.t. elements was great to work with for stationery, they let us customize and mix patterns to create something totally unique across our invitations, reply cards, menus, and thank you cards. we also purchased the monogram from the invitation and used it on the programs and other details. as I write this post, it looks like b.t. doesn't offer wedding suites anymore, which is so sad because their pieces were just beautiful. 

if you are in the market for calligraphy, I highly recommend checking out diane at calligraphy expressions. she is also doing a piece for us with our vows in calligraphy which will later be framed with the preserved flowers from my bouquet.


as the wedding got closer, I started to really worry about whether our guests would have a hard time finding the location. I contacted debbie at snappymap and she was a breeze to work with - I even sent her one of my invitations so she could match the paper type. they offer all different fun types of colors and cuteness, we went with black and white.


by the time I got picking wedding programs, I was assuming that b.t. elements would be a no-brainer but they didn't have a program template. of course, we could create one but it turned out to be super expensive for something that people would use for 15 minutes during the ceremony. I hopped over to and designed our programs using a simple template and uploaded our stationery monogram to match. I can't tell you how much easier and cheaper this route was, it was also nice because zazzle has short lead times - programs were one of the last items I did since we were still finalizing some of the ceremony details.

I ordered table numbers from our stationery company as well and I just love how the colors match the florals. I was nervous it would be too matchy-matchy, but I love how they turned out.

when we had our very initial planning meeting with our event designer, I described my vision for our wedding as "coastal secret garden." I think some people that live in florida have a tendency to steer away from coastal looks since it may feel a little cliche to some people. I will just say that no one was as pumped about "coastal secret garden" as I was. when we received our concepts from the event designer after our meeting - they didn't include any references to coastal or beach at all. I felt like while our wedding wasn't on the beach, we all were still traveling to the beach and I didn't want to lose that. so basically, I made my own plan to incorporate subtle beach vibes without the event designer, such as the escort cards and the table number holders.

the escort cards were definitely a labor of love and I was so glad I did them. my mom got me all the small shells in florida and I hot glued for days. we put them in white trays with white sand at the base. finding these trays was a huge pain and also pretty miraculous at the same time, oddly enough, they were really hard to find.

invitations, menus, table numbers: swoozie's atlanta - b.t. elements, ashton wedding [no longer available]
calligrapher (envelopes and escort cards): diane at calligraphy expressions (she's awesome!)
map: debbie at snappymap (also awesome!)
programs: custom rackcard using our b.t. elements monogram on zazzle
table number holders: etsy
photographer: dear wesleyann

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

what I read in august

the one good thing about time flying around here is the monthly book link up with steph and jana! ok so you may remember back in september of last year, I sent a copy of in a dark, dark wood to all the girls attending my bachelorette party in the mountains of highlands, north carolina. so you know I love a good themed book club.

in july, stephen took me to savannah for the first time and I discovered midnight in the garden of good and evil: a savannah story. you guys, I couldn't wait to get home to read the book. we toured the mercer house {which by the way, doesn't touch on the book at all} and that just spiked my interest in the book even more. so if you must know - yes, I toured the house, read the book, and watched the movie. my mom read the book ages ago so we had my parents over and set out our byrd's cookies from savannah to watch the movie... seriously nerdy and right up my alley.

midnight in the garden of good and evil: a savannah story by john berendt
shots rang out in savannah's grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of may 2, 1981. was it murder or self-defense? for nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. john berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. it is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in savannah; the aging and profane southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; and minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the old south with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case. {}

my take: A
do you ever finish a book and just smile to yourself? this book left me totally content, not wanting or wishing for anything more. I loved the ending. that being said, there is a ton of character development in the book, probably the first 70% of the book is dedicated to storytelling. the movie cuts to the chase of the trial much quicker. after reading and watching them both, I have to say I enjoyed the character development in the book. this book reads like a warm afternoon on a southern porch, with some spiked lemonade to keep you company. kevin spacey and john cusack star in the movie, which is fun - but I liked the book better.

have you ever taken a trip that was inspired by a book or vice versa, read a book that was inspired by a trip? how about reading a book then watching the movie? it always seems like the book is better and definitely was in the case.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

our wedding // beach day

we finally received our wedding photos over the weekend! I am so excited to share the details of our big day on the blog soon. since our wedding was in florida, we had several days of activities planned leading up to the big day - including beach day!

since we had many friends from far away travel in for our wedding, I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to catch up with everyone or have enough quality time with the friends I rarely get to see. we decided to have a beach day a few days before the wedding to make sure we had extra time to spend with our far away friends.

Friday, September 1, 2017

butternut squash enchilada casserole

happy friday and happy september, everyone! today I'm updating an oldie but goodie post from a couple of years ago when I was using my iPhone for photography. I originally found this recipe on pinterest and decided to make it because it looked filling, which is always a good aspect to consider for stephen. as it turns out, I completely gorged on this dish myself and we both had seconds. 

this is hands down the most delicious vegetarian meal I've made yet. so delicious that I brought some for a coworker for lunch and let another coworker try a bite of my lunch leftovers. she went home and made it that same night! garnish with avocado and serve with spanish style rice, heck - throw in a margarita too. you will not miss meat in this recipe at all.

Monday, August 28, 2017

mini office reveal

recently, my company has enabled us to work from home more often. in atlanta, that's pretty much a requirement due to the traffic. everyone thinks their city has bad traffic, but you don't understand until you hit LA or atlanta. in fact, it often hinders weekday social plans since you have to allot one hour in transit time to get to happy hour only 4 miles away. anyway, woe is me but I won't bore you with traffic tales.

with this new work from home policy, I definitely needed a second monitor for the creative work and spreadsheet work that I do. I found an awesome one at best buy, yes, in person at the actual store versus online - for about $100. I still have a lot of organizing to do eventually, but I thought I'd share the current state of my work from home office!

Friday, August 25, 2017

southwestern stuffed portabellos

don't you love it when you find the perfect dish that is super easy and worthy enough to be put on repeat! I have been making these stuffed portabellos non-stop and stephen loves them as a side to his steak or whatever meat he's eating. for me, they're plenty filling enough as a main dish, especially since I added ground veggie sausage to the mix.

Monday, August 21, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: top 10 things to do on the big island

if you read often, you know that I've been writing frequently about our hawaiian honeymoon adventures over the past two months. our trip to hawaii was truly amazing and even though I posted a lot about our trip, we experienced even more that I didn't post about, including amazing wildlife such as seals and sea turtles up close in the wild. the aloha spirit is alive and well and revolves strongly around nature, which is why hawaii is so special to me.

if you are planning a trip to kauai, check out my top 5 things to do in kauai. and if you are planning a trip to the big island, you are in the right place! these recommendations are in no order - we experienced all of these firsthand and I've blogged about many of them so you can refer over to the post for more detail.

this was probably the best thing we did on our trip to hawaii... words can't really describe the experience. be sure to book this early in your trip since sometimes the companies cancel due to tides or weather. if you book early, you'll have to likelihood to be able to reschedule.