Sunday, January 4, 2015

#jessbachbash

I may be biased but I had the absolute best bachelorette party of all time.
It was legen-wait for it..-DARY!
 (any HIMYM fans out there?)
Anywho. I was expecting a very low key weekend with my best girls at my bridesmaids beach house in Carolina Beach (a huge thanks to Grace & the Hutaff's for letting us use it!!!) but what I got was BEYOND.
We headed to the beach early Friday morning. The guest list was composed of my sister, Andrew's two sisters, two of our close cousins, three of my bridesmaids, and a couple more of my nearest and dearest friends. This would be the first time some of the girls would be meeting and I was a little nervous to say the least. I was scared some people may not get along or that some people would be bored and deem it the worst bachelorette party ever. Looking back, I feel so silly for even letting that bother me because it was anything but boring and all the girls got along just fine!
Friday afternoon when we pulled up to the house we decided to head to the beach and wait for all the others to get there. The forecast on Saturday basically read torrential downpour, so we wanted to get in our beach time while the sun was still shining. Once everyone was there we decided to play some fun games- most involving their knowledge of the bachelorette which was interesting to say the least. After that we stayed up to the wee hours of the evening playing Head's Up and laughing our butt's off.
Saturday morning we woke up way earlier than anyone should be waking up during a bachelorette weekend to head to Britt's Donuts for some breakfast. If you are from North Carolina or have ever been to Carolina Beach you know of Britt's. They are basically the most delicious melt in your mouth donuts of all time and you also probably know you must stand in line for sometimes hours to get your hands on one.
Saturday morning was spent in our pj's, eating donuts, and praying for the rain to stop. A little after noon, we got our wish and the sun came out so on went our bikinis, donut guts hanging out in all their glory, and off we went to the beach. We spent hours on the beach taking silly pictures and playing ladders- the ultimate beach game where you have to throw two balls tied together by a string on a set of ladders. It's so entertaining and slightly hilarious.
That night we got all dolled up for dinner at my favorite restaurant in downtown Wilmington, The George. But not before a giant party bus pulled up and we discovered we were about to have the ultimate form of transportation all night. #divas
After dinner we went to one of Wilmington's clubs- Level 5. It is called Level 5 because it is located on the fifth level of a building downtown and basically has no roof. It's pretty amazing because you can see the Cape Fear River and entire Wilmington skyline. Add 9837403 gallons of rain to the party and 10 girls who have completely given up on looking cute for the night, and then you have a party. Seriously, I am so glad it rained on my parade. It would not have been nearly as fun if it hadn't.
We woke up Sunday morning and headed home. The weekend was amazing and I was so glad I not only got to spend time with my favorite girls but they got to get to know each other better which made our wedding weekend and all the showers so much more fun.
A *HUGE* thank you to Grace and my sister, Lesa, for planning the party and for all the girls there for making it a seriously amazing weekend. I could not have asked for a better time.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bridal Showers 3 & 4

I’m tellin yall- getting married can really make a girl feel like a princess. Granted, there are definitely times when I act like one but it’s not every day that people actually humor the idea. I had FOUR showers yall- FOUR! I’ve already shared one of my bridal showers but today I want to share the two Andrew’s family threw for me.
Andrew’s mom, his sisters, and his aunts threw me a gorgeous shower at their church and it was seriously pinterest perfection. It went right along with our beach theme perfectly and I wanted to take all the décor home with me to put in our house (no matter how many times Andrew tells me coastal décor does not coordinate with where we live- I just love it!). Aside from the décor it was really nice to have all the ladies in Andrew’s family in one place and it gave us another opportunity for the ladies in my family to get to know them. Once again, it was like we were all one big happy family. I think that’s what is so great about bringing two southern families together- we can all talk to just about anyone and everyone is so sweet and laid back that it just clicks.
We received so many special and thoughtful gifts and we were honestly blown away by everyone’s generosity at both of our showers. More than anything, what will forever stick out in my mind from that shower were the kind words that were spoken. Andrew’s mom and a few of his aunts said some of the nicest things about our marriage and about Andrew and I as a couple that warmed my heart and made me feel really welcomed. It is so nice knowing that our families are supportive of our relationship and that we have that support system. Family means the absolute world to us so to hear those thoughtful words aloud was something I hope I can hold on to.   
Andrew’s family also hosted the most amazing lingerie shower for me. There are not many pictures from this event that can actually be posted but I did not want to go without saying that it was perfect. This was one of those times where I felt like all my friends and family could relax and joke with each other and I think those moments are important. That’s when you feel like you really get to know someone and it’s just plain fun. There was a mini fashion show, a few embarrassing games, and so many good laughs. I am so grateful for those moments during our engagement. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

a letter to my sister

I think it's okay that I'm 26 years old and still call you sissy. Honestly, I think some of my friends even call you that. It might be because they aren't 100% sure how to pronounce your name (who is?) but to me, I call you that because that's who you are. You're my sissy and you always will be. While we are at it- I hope you don't mind 'Aunt Sissy' because I see that coming your way in the [distant] future.
Growing up, you took care of me most nights while mom was working long, hard hours to give us the very best in the world. While I quite literally tried to kill you with steak knives
from time to time you still made sure I had a nice Papa John’s  pizza delivered for dinner- bought with money from my piggy bank- that you busted with a hammer no less. You even let me sleep with you on nights that I was forced [by you] to watch super scary movies about insane clowns.
All joking aside, I write this because I don’t think I have ever told you how grateful I am that you were [are] always there for me when most kids your age were out with their friends.
Now, you have two beautiful girls of your own as well as two beautiful step daughters that you are a wonderful mother to. Those girls are so lucky to have a woman like you to raise them and to love them. I look up to you every day as you run your girls from volleyball, to dance, to school plays, to rehearsals and so on and so forth. Those girls never miss out on a thing and one day they will be as grateful for you and all the sacrifices you make as we are of our mama.
And your husband, Jay.. he's already like a brother to me. Our family is a lot to handle sometimes and he's not only handled us but he has fit right in. From all the fun trips to holden beach to always showing up to family events with a smile on his face, I am so grateful you found a man as sweet, as fun, and as family oriented as Jay. I couldn’t be more thrilled he's officially apart of our crazy crowd!
I ask you both to try to always remember that whether your deciding what to eat for dinner or deciding if one of the girls can get something tattooed.. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies but compromise that moves us along. I love you to the moon and back. Pinky Promise.
 
This was a speech that I edited a bit into a letter for my sisters wedding this past summer. Oh, did I not mention that my sister got married? Yep- we are 10 years apart and we got married in the same year! Nice try mom and dad but we still managed to stress you out! ;) I am so proud of my sister and her girls as well as Jay and his girls. They are wonderful parents and it's no easy feat- I can't imagine keeping four girls happy all the time!

Below are a couple of photos of my sister lingerie party that my mom and I threw her before her wedding. I really regret not taking more pictures but it's hard being the hostest with the mostest and play photographer!

 
And now, for a few wedding pics! Again, I wish I had more but just trust me when I say it was gorgeous, she was gorgeous, everything was just plain gorgeous.

 
 
 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Banner Elk or BUST

If you recall, last year around this time, me and 10 of my nearest and dearest traveled west to the mountains for my 25th birthday. We had SO much fun that weekend we all decided we would be crazy not to make it an annual tradition. Well, this year we planned it out, marked the dates on our calendar, andddd totally left the boys out! We decided that mountain trip 2014 should be GIRLS ONLY!
 
 Now before you start feeling all bad for the boys you have to understand that us girls live all over the damn place- a couple in Charlotte, a couple in Wilmington, some in Raleigh.. we never get to see each other! Considering for four years of our lives we all pretty much lived in the same apartment, we were in desperate need of some girl time! Plus, we were all having pretty stressful years with marriages, break ups, moves, graduate school, and career problems.. we needed each other. Anyways, now that I have made my case, can I just tell you that it was the best decision ever
 
 
It snowed, which was amazing, we went to a vineyard and tried all kind of Banner Elk vino, and we had plenty of time to catch up as we froze our booties off since not one of us could manage to make a fire *until Jackie had to get towed up the mountain and the sweet man that drove her up came in and made one in 2.5 minutes, making us all look ridiculous*.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bridal Shower #1

For over a decade, my mom has owned a hair salon right beside a cute little Greek deli. When I was a
teenager, I would work for her after school and during the summers answering the phones and making appointments. My absolute favorite part about working there (besides free shampoo samples!) was getting lunch from next door- they make some killer homemade chips with ranch! So, naturally, when it was time to plan my bridal shower, Dorian’s was the place to have it! The owners, Paul & Mary offered the space on a Saturday night and they, along with my cousin Kelly (also a bridesmaid!) and my three aunts got to work. They made the place look GOREOUS with candles and fresh flowers and the food was delicious.
 
 
This was my very first shower and I was so nervous. I have never liked the idea of opening gifts in front of people and while I am BEYOND appreciative for every single gift and the thought and effort behind it, it just makes me feel uncomfortable. ANYWAYS, it was so nice to have my first shower at a place I felt at home at with all the people that I love.
At one point during the shower, I looked around at my family bonding with Drew’s family and I took in all the stories and all the laughing that was taking place and I wanted to remember that moment
forever. Andrew and I have always said that we know we are special to have such a tight family but to see both of our really close families becoming close with one another made me feel blessed beyond words.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Engagement Photos

If I remember correctly, it was about 30 degrees and the wind was blowing hard enough to make your eyes water.. but the show had to go on. Andrew and I really wanted to have our engagement photos taken at the beach, but this past winter was a harsh one so when it got slightly warmer, we decided to go for it.
 
[photos above taken by our iphones- day before professional photos]

[photos above taken by our iphones- day before professional photos]
 
Slightly warmer, it turns out, wasn't quite warm enough. We had been in Carolina Beach with our friends Grace and Clinton all weekend hoping for a little sunshine so we could take our pictures at Fort Fisher, NC.. it rained all weekend long until Sunday- there was a hint of sunshine but dang, it was freezing, and my outfits didn't really mix with the weather. Thankfully, we had some amazing photographers that worked with us and made us look like we weren't about to turn into an eskimo before their very eyes.
 
Ariana and Brian of Silver Feather Studios met with us before hand for lunch and made us feel calm and excited which is saying a lot considering we were about to take what we had been referring to as "the most awkward photos of our lives". They were hilarious and braved the cold with us, taking photos then allowing us to run and put our coats on for a quick second before repositioning us. While I had tears streaming down my face, chills all up my arms, and my hair was blowing into Andrew's mouth 2 seconds after I previously removed it- Ariana and Brian kept us laughing- and their pictures, and the video.. let's just say- they work magic.
 
All the photos below are courtesy of Silver Feather Studios:

To Watch Our Engagement Video Click Here
(and I highly recommend watching- Brian seriously blew us away with his work!)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Engagement Party

I’m back- and not only am I alive, but I’m officially a MRS! Andrew made an honest woman out of me over a month ago and WOW- time is flying! The engagement flew by so fast I epically failed to keep you up to date. So here I am, nearly a year after my last blog post, playing catch up!
 
Back in January, my sister and two of my best friends (and bridesmaids!) threw me the most perfect
engagement party. There was yummy food, a mimosa bar- and a miller lite keg for Drew, the most
sparkly gold photo booth area, and best of all- all my favorite people were in attendance! The girls
worked so hard on this party and it definitely showed. We felt so loved and so special that night and it
really did kick of our engagement with a bang and made it all start to feel real!
 
 
This party was really special to Drew and I- it was the first time both of our families had been in one
place at one time- many of them had not even met before! We weren’t surprised at all that everyone
got along and it was a relief to get that uncomfortable meet and greet out of the way for the upcoming
showers and parties.
 
After the shower, all of us friends spent the night together. We hadn’t done a slumber party that big
since college and it was so much fun! Of course, the bed times were a lot earlier than they were in
college- a sure sign of old age!
 
HUGE thanks to my maid of honor, Lesa, and my two bridesmaids, Jordan and Alli, for making our
engagement party so special. We seriously have THE bestest friends and family on Earth and you all
make us feel so blessed!