Being a Bride: Leann

Leann and I met during our PR classes at Georgia Southern, and have kept in touch throughout her time living abroad!

Bride Name: Leann L.  Miller 
Groom Name: Donald E. Miller III
Wedding Date: October 18, 2014
Total number in wedding party: 23
Total guests: 150
Venue: Ceremony: Pittman Park UMC             Reception: The Hall on Vine

How you met, and the proposal: Donald and I met in 2010 when I worked in the library at Ogeechee Technical College. I like to say he was circling the circulation desk I worked at like a shark. Eventually, I noticed how cute he was and asked him for his phone and proceeded to enter my phone number as a contact and sent him on his way. A few minutes later I received a text that stated, "That is the boldest thing I have ever seen a girl do." After that, we became friends.

On Black Friday 2011, we chatted and decided that if neither of us had a date for New Year's Eve we would be each other’s date. New Year's Eve got closer and we made the date to spend the evening together and had a great time. Soon after, I realized that I was falling for Donald and had to tell him. On January 30, 2012, we made it official and became a couple.

In September 2013, my family took a trip to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and Donald and I were able to go. While on vacation, my little sister wanted to take family photos and picked a day to do so. We chose to take photos under the Rodanthe Pier and that is not only where family photos were taken, it is also where the sweet, shy, love of my life got down on one knee and asked me to marry him in front of my whole immediate family. I tried to not cry, and did not succeed, but I was the happiest girl on that day: September 12, 2013.

What was the best bridal shower and/or pre-wedding event you attended, and why? All of my bridal showers were special in their own and unique ways. I was lucky to share my happiness with Donald’s family for a joint shower, where I was made a Minnie Pearl hat from a plate and bows from our gifts. My little sister and sister-in-law and several women near and dear to my heart threw me a “Friends and Family” shower that was beautiful and full of Southern charm at a local bed and breakfast in Statesboro. I also cannot forget my church family and how they showered me with warm wishes and marriage wisdom.

One event that was specifically designed to honor how Donald and I met was our rehearsal dinner. My father-in-law and sister-in-law graciously hosted it at Chops on Main {now Gee Da’s Kitchen in Statesboro}. A favorite detail was library cards that displayed special dates: from first meeting, first kiss, our proposal, and all in between. Also, at the rehearsal dinner my mom presented me with my something old that I will cherish forever: my something old was a bonnet my paternal grandmother bought me to wear when I was a baby and when I got married the strings to the bonnet were to be cut and used as a handkerchief to carry on my wedding day. My paternal grandmother is no longer living so my mother passed it to me on my rehearsal night in her honor. 

What was the best wedding gift you received? My first favorite gift was my two sets of monogrammed sheets and handmade crocheted throw blanket made with love from my mom’s best friend, who has been in my life since I was around ten years old. My second favorite wedding gift was the German cookbook, guide book of Germany, and euros from my sister-in-law and family. A week after I got married, I actually moved to Germany with my wonderful husband!

What inspired your wedding day (theme/look/feel): What inspired my wedding day were two of my husband’s requests, my wedding dress, and my love of literature. The two requests were: that the wedding take place in autumn or winter and he wanted to wear a tux. This meant that, most likely, I would end up with a semi-formal wedding set in the evening. The feel I was going for was “Southern Sophistication” and “Bookish.”

I fell in love with my wedding dress it as soon as it was zipped up and I stared at myself in the large dressing room mirror. It was an elegant strapless drop waist A-line dress with wispy lace and a touch of sparkle. 

And lastly, my love of literature. Donald and I met in a library there was no way that books were not going to be incorporated into my wedding décor somehow. {Piper’s note: Leann is always reading a book. One of my favorite parts of her wedding was the simply stunning centerpieces at the reception that were stacks of vintage books. Also, each table was named after a famous literary couple!}

Our colors were cream/gold/eggplant purple/black. I did not have an outdoor wedding like I always dreamed about, but I did wed in a church that had a beautiful stone floor, wooden pews and accents that was complimentary to the outdoors.

 What is something you couldn’t live without for your wedding day (ex.: a certain band, a specific cake, etc.):
My photographers. At the end of it all, it is true what people say: you will not remember all that happened, it goes by so fast. If you have a good photographer all details will be captured digitally so you can always remember what truly a wonderful moment in time this day was.

If you have any wedding décor DIY tips/tutorials, or money saving suggestions, please share:
  1. Make your wedding as personal, unique and special to your likes and wants. The small personal things is what I always remember from weddings and I wanted that same feel at ours. Some of our personal touches were my reception centerpieces, the groomsmen gifts, the song that I walked down the aisle to, the song that Donald and I danced to for our first dance, etc. All these small things were parts of our personalities put into our wedding.

  2. Take advantage of local businesses in your hometown, Etsy, family members and/or friends that are creative to help with wedding details. Example: I fell in love with wedding invitations online that were way out of my price range, so I decided to take a photo of the invitations into a local printing shop and they were able to duplicate them for half the price. Also, I paid a great price for my wedding favors thanks to a wonderful Etsy seller.

  3. Do not pay too much for wedding services. A great website I found was Thumbtack lets you enter in information about whatever wedding service you are looking for and then people that provide those services send you quotes and you can choose who you want. I ended up doing this with my photographers and got an awesome price and package deal. I recommend this website for the frugal bride.

  4. Pick venues with more than one feature. Does the site offer catering, or will you have to find a caterer offsite? Does the venue offer linens, plates and silverware? Does the venue expect you to setup your event and/or cleanup after it? You always want the most bang for your buck, and if you are paying a lot for a venue there should be more perks included than just the venue itself.

V-Day Her Way

I'm in major countdown mode right now. 95 days until I get married. 144 days until Christopher graduates from pharmacy school. And 18 days until Valentine's Day!

So what to give those girls in your life? The Hotty First Impressions Lilly Pulitzer pattern is one of the most popular patterns in recent years. Why not a floral scarf that is truly better than a bouquet? If your sweetie is obsessed with all things Breakfast at Tiffany's and Audrey Hepburn, this inspired eye mask along with some Lisi Lerch tassel earrings will do just the trick. I just got my earrings in a few days ago, and I can't wait to wear them this spring and summer!

Continuing with the gold trend...Lucite gold and sparkly Kendra Scott bangles. I think I would wear these every. single. day. I love them! I'm also loving all of the marble looking covers coming out right now for iPhones, Macs, etc. I really like this case because it's got protective edges and I'm forever dropping my phone.

V-day His Way

Gift giving is my number one love language. As much as I love to receive pretty presents, I get so excited about the hunt of the right thing to give to someone I love. I may put a lot of undue pressure on myself during the holidays to get the right thing for my special someone, but this Valentine's Day, I knew well in advance what might work!

My fiance loves a vest. He also loves shorts, even in the winter. I think I see a theme developing here...anyways. I really love this Southern Proper All Prep Vest in cream. It's fuzzy warm, with a patriotic plaid pocket, but the best part is that its REVERSIBLE! Watches seem to be trending more among the man-set as of late, and this personalized carbon fiber watch box would be a big hit with the man who likes to be punctual--or just likes to wear a watch. 

The Yeti Rambler was super hard to find during Christmas, and will continue to be a popular gift for Valentines Day. I've even seen a few local places that will do engraving! These cups of course keep your ice cold, but rumor has it that they don't sweat, either. This is definitely the more affordable Yeti gift. 

I'm really picky about men's fragrance. I really just like the way soap and/or laundry detergent smells on a guy. But this Avon Luck for Men is amazing--clean, but manly, and my man loves it! He's gone through two bottles in the past year. Oh and P.S. you can buy it directly from me through my Avon Representative site {linked below}. 
Happy shopping!

Second Annual Pie Day

In honor of National Pie Day, which is tomorrow by the way...January 23...I made a delicious peanut butter pie with a chocolate ganache to share with my work friends! It was delicious. Super creamy and smooth, and the semi-sweet ganache was an excellent compliment to the rich peanut butter filling.

I found this recipe one day from Pinterest; you can check out the pin and the recipe here. Originally posted in 2012, there was a 2016 update about the ganache being too thick. I didn't have that issue, but I also was more liberal on the heavy cream and used semi-sweet chocolate chips that I had on hand. I added a some extra peanut butter in the filling, too!

You can read about last year's Pie Day at the Chamber here which features my super spicy Chicken Bog recipe which is great for a cold/wet/winter-y day like today. Don't forget to follow me on Pinterest by searching "Piper Ellice" which will also find me on Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter!

Happy Weekend!

Being a Bride: Megan

Megan is one of my sorority sisters who was recently married in the most beautiful of venues. She's helping me kick off a new feature, Being a Bride. Enjoy! 

Bride Name: Megan Smith
Groom Name: Frank Smith
Wedding Date: October 31, 2015
Total number in wedding party: 23
Total guests: 150
Venue: Biltmore Ballrooms- Atlanta 

How you met & the proposal: Frank and I met in high school. He sat behind me in homeroom relentlessly bugging me. Over the years, the bugging subsided and we became close friends. After graduation, we both set off to college and went our own ways. In the spring of 2012 we reconnected and by that summer we were dating.

On Friday February 27, 2015, Frank took me out to one of our favorite dinner spots, Blue Ridge Grille, in Buckhead. Frank loves a good cordial and we had wanted to go snag drinks at the St. Regis for some time. I obliged and off we went. As we headed up the gorgeous staircase to the bar, Frank made a sharp left turn towards a fireplace lined with rose petals, candles and champagne. He quickly got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Soon after, hotel staff delivered macaroons and sabered the bottle of champagne. To my delight, both of our families arrived to celebrate with us. We sipped champagne and shared plans late into the night.

What was something your bridesmaids or family members did for you that made your day or pre-planning experience special?   The day after our engagement my parents hosted Frank’s family at our house to celebrate. He had a chef prepare a special meal and played a slideshow he had created that included pictures of Frank and I growing up.  Friends of my parents threw a fabulous bridal shower at their home. I felt so special having family members fly in from California, co-workers, sorority sisters and old family friends come to celebrate with me. Frank’s family friends threw us a spectacular engagement shower at their gorgeous home. Last but not least, my bridesmaids braved hurricane Joaquin to throw me an eventful bachelorette weekend that included some of my most favorite memories. 

What inspired your wedding day (theme/look/feel): The Biltmore Ballrooms are each painted in beautiful pastels. The ballroom where we planned to marry in was painted a hue of yellow while the ballroom where reception was to be held was a powdered blue. I knew that typical fall colors would not be compatible with the venue’s walls. I opted for a color pallet of blush, gold, and an off-white color with hints of sea-foam green. In months leading up to the big day, I was asked by vendors to describe the feel of our wedding. Eventually I was able to pinpoint a phrase to accurately describe our theme: old southern glam.

What was the best wedding gift you received?  Frank’s grandma, Grandmommy, sent us a precious package containing a Bible, devotional, and a bookmark that she and Frank’s late grandfather once used. Inside the front cover of the bible she wrote us a note providing marriage advice, life lessons, and a prayer for Frank and I as we started our new life together.  

If you have any wedding décor DIY tips/tutorials, or money saving suggestions, please share:
  1. Hire a wedding planner or have a close friend/bridesmaid/family member that is willing to help you secure vendors. I wasn’t prepared for the hundreds of phone calls and numerous contracts I had to keep up with. Someone to help follow up with vendors throughout the months leading up to the big day is essential.
  2. DO NOT purchase anything until you have the venue secure and have come up with a complete vision of your big day. The look and feel of your venue and the flowers in season will make up a big part of the overall “feel” of your wedding. Once you choose those two things then it is safe start thinking about colors and design accents.
  3. Do your research! Read vendor reviews, ask people you know for recommendations, stalk wedding websites. I spent hours on the computer looking at vendor reviews and it paid off. You can find well-rounded vendors in any budget if you take the time to do your research. I attribute everything going smoothly due to great vendors.
  4. Look for wholesale items or things you can re-purpose. Wedding decor can be very pricey and nobody wants to spend a lot of money on an item they can use one time. We found our place card frames on a whole sale website which saved us a lot of money. I also found that renting items is not cost effective.  Our candelabra came from an antique store in Chattanooga. We were able to repaint it and use it during the lighting of our unity candle. Re-purposing items can save you big bucks.

The Sweetest Shower

Eliza J dress from Nordstrom
 On Saturday, I was honored to attend my very first bridal shower! I've been looking forward to this season of life for so long, and when Kim asked to throw me my first event, I was elated. Kim and her family live in North Georgia, and were my second family during my time up there post-college. Her four children are actually all in the wedding as junior bridesmaids, the ring bearer, and an usher!

Kim and my mom initially discovered each other as bloggers. As I got older, and began blogging, we discovered each other on Facebook, too. It's actually kind of funny...Wendy over at The House of Qs also followed my mom and knew of Kim. We started chatting too, and now talk every day. I was so excited she was able to come to my shower so we could finally meet in person!

When the shower planning began, we tossed around a couple of ideas, but when she suggested hosting the shower at a local candy store, I knew that would be perfect! I have such a sweet tooth, and the whole store is decked out in pink and white which of course I loved. It was especially exciting to discover that as the first bridal shower held at the shop, we would be featured in a regional wedding magazine!

Kim, her girls, and Karen, the owner of Liberty Candy Company in Flowery Branch, truly outdid themselves. Pink and gold balloons adorned each festively decorated table. In addition to an assortment of sweets, we enjoyed Chick-fil-A nuggets {of course!}, delicious sandwiches, fruit, and wine to kick off the evening. 

After eating, guests paired off to play a game about who knew the bride best. Apparently, I don't know myself at all! My friends all identified similar "favorites" of mine, that I hadn't listed as the answers. It was hilarious listening to their answers and seeing the confusion on their faces at what I had answered. The winners were two of my bridesmaids, of course! Next time, I'll have one of my best friends fill out the answers for me! 

The cutest freebie bridal shower game,
found here

The big surprise activity of the night was making our own chocolate bars! There were a few differently shaped molds, and we chose from dark, milk, and white chocolates before putting in different nuts and candies. It was so cute! While we took turns being creative in the kitchen, Kim's daughters had a candy ring-toss game set up in the hallway where we had three tries to toss a glow necklace over a pink or clear mason jar filled with pink saltwater taffy. It was so simple, but got really competitive and fun.

It's such an honor to spend time with friends and family members who took time out of their weekends to celebrate my upcoming marriage. Most memorable of all was the sweet toast my mother gave in my honor. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. This is such a special time for the two of us, too, and I'm so glad she could join us for the party.

To finish the evening, I opened all of the beautiful gifts my sweet friends blessed me with. Christopher and I are both so very thankful for all the love and thoughtfulness showered upon us as we start our lives together. It's of course a blast opening the gifts at the shower, but I loved showing off everything to Christopher once it was unloaded when I got home. We've made the decision to wait and save all of our gifts until after we're married and living together, so it will be like a second Christmas in the summer when we get to rediscover all of these sweet gifts again in May! 

The yummiest and prettiest white chocolate
covered Oreo's I've ever had! 
Aren't my twinning junior bridesmaids just
the cutest?!

Favors for the guests featuring pink
candies, and our hashtag:

All the thanks to Kim and her sweet family for showering me with so much love and fun! If you're interested in learning more about Liberty Candy Company, visit their Facebook page, or order some treats on their website.

Why Series Vol. 1

Why Blog? I started this blog in April of 2013. I was ending my college career and had just gotten engaged. There was a lot going on in my life, and a lot of upcoming changes. My mother suggested I start blogging again after a somewhat failed attempt during my freshman year. I would have more time for it now with no homework or group projects to take up my evenings.

It started out as a way to document my projects as I worked to make my first apartment my home. Followed me as I got my first baby dog, Layla Claire, and how she grew over the first year. A place to share all the fun I had when visiting my fiance in Savannah once a month or so.

It became a place of release. To share a little bit of the heartache I had been experiencing. I don't consider it a facade, but the happy posts inspired me like I hoped they inspired you. Sometimes it's nice to see a bright pop of pink on your normally negative Facebook timeline. I hope I've provided a little bit of sunshine and inspiration on your gloomy days.

Fast forward to a big move, and creating a new life in a town that I love. This blog is a diary for me of sorts. I've never been good at keeping a diary, which is why I doubt I'll ever be able to post every day. As much as I crave routines and habits, writing daily is just not one that has stuck with me. Creativity for me comes in spurts.

The blog is a way to chronicle my wants and needs, and the parts of me that change. Now, it's becoming a keepsake of wonderful wedding memories. I have great plans to make a true wedding scrapbook, but I know how great plans go. So this will do for now.

Why Starting Out Southern? When I started the blog, I was truly starting out. Starting my adult life, starting my engagement, and starting to be a true individual. Southern, because I love the South and my heritage, and I never want to leave the warm confines of the Southeast. Because there is something different about the people and places here, about the way of life, the food, the music. The way I feel more alive every single time I cross that South Carolina border.

There is something fresh that hits me every time I sit down to write, or go back and read my old posts. I think the idea of starting something, whether it be beginning a new project, relationship, or hobby, keeps me inspired and renewed. Everyday is an opportunity to start something new, even if some days it's just starting a new show on Netflix.

I need to work on being more confident and proud of this little blog. I so appreciate the supportive comments that sometimes come from the most surprising people, letting me know how often they read and how much they enjoy it. It's exciting to watch that little "post viewed" number creep up and up as the months go by. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. And maybe someday I'll get up to writing every day, but for now, this is for me, and for me to share with my friends. And I love it.

Wedding Wednesday: Best Dressed Bride

With my very first bridal shower coming up this weekend {eek!}, I've been giving a lot of thought to what I want to wear. I have the added constraints of it being January, and cold. I also like to only buy things that I feel like I can wear to work, or at least another event, even though I love the idea of never repeating an outfit...which is so not happening.

I fully support brides who choose to wear white to every wedding-related event throughout their time as the bride-to-be. But I'm not 100% convinced that will be me! Plus, a lot of my events are pre-Easter/when it's still cold, and I just can't get past the traditional rule of not wearing white after Labor Day/before Easter.

I like the idea of mixing it up--some white {especially when it's spring and I'm tan, and definitely the rehearsal dinner!} but also some dresses in colors that coordinate with the wedding's color scheme. If you love the color of the bridesmaids dresses you can always wear that color to a pre-wedding event since you won't be on the big day. An inspirational option could even be matching the event's invitation {which might be a hint about my outfit choice this weekend!}.

This is one time in your life where you will have tons a pictures taken and be buying a lot of clothes for special events, so use it as an opportunity to pick out stunners that you may not normally have purchased or to purchase an investment piece.

These are a few white dresses I love:

Skater Dress with Sequins from ASOS, $45
All Over Lace Shift at Belk, $168
Could work with boots or nude pumps
for more seasons!
Caroline Bow Dress, Laroque, $298

Here are a few colorful dresses I'd love to wear:

Bow Back Fit & Flare, now $34.80
Eliza J Floral Print with Sash, $44.50
BB Dakota, Nordstrom, $88
I always love an Eliza J dress, for a bride or a guest! Same goes for Lilly Pulitzer, and their LWD {or Little White Dress} collection for the bride, and the always playful prints for guests. 

Weekend Recap: SAV + CHS

This weekend was all about yummy food. So much goodness. I don't even know if that was the intention, but it ended up being that way and I am not one to complain about yumminess.

Friday night, Christopher took me to Driftaway Cafe in Sandfly, a historic neighborhood in Savannah. It was a cool evening, but we enjoyed sitting out on the covered deck and listening to a great band. But let me tell you about the food. We started with a tuna tartare appetizer that really should have just been our meal. Amazingly fresh and delicious tuna, homemade chips, sesame ginger sauce, crisp cucumbers, and creamy cucumber wasabi cream drizzled over everything. It was fantastic.

We finished off the meal with Korean BBQ tacos {his}, and the lamb shank special with creamy grits, spinach, and carrots {mine}. The piece of lamb was so big it was almost a joke! The tender meat with the creamy grits was perfect with the chill in the air. Christopher will have more than enough for leftovers today!

The best Lilly Pulitzer store. 

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Saturday we went to Charleston to celebrate my brother's 19th birthday that was last week. Even a rainy day in Charleston is wonderful, and we had a great time walking King Street too many times, shopping in the Market, and enjoying some gelato. Also, if you haven't ever stopped in an OOPS! Co. store while in Charleston or Columbia or Greenville/Spartanburg--go! They have great deals on name brand clothing that usually has small factory irregularities or is an overrun product or style, and Christopher was able to find some beautiful Cotton Brothers button downs for only $35 a piece that usually retail for $99!

My cute tiny mother with some giant gelato

A yummy Bloody Mary mix we found to try!

John picked our restaurant for his birthday dinner and of course we ended up at Shem Creek, which is a family favorite of ours. My mother and I both got the dirty shrimp and grits which is hands down one of the best shrimp and grits dishes I've ever had. It set the standard for me years ago, and didn't disappoint this weekend either! There was gumbo, low country boil, and plenty of hushpuppies to go around, finished off with a slice of homemade Key Lime pie.

Shrimp & Grits @ Shem Creek 

Sunday, Christopher and I ventured to Lucky's Market back in Savannah which is kind of like a Whole Foods or Fresh Market, but much cheaper. That's their thing: we all eat, but it shouldn't be so expensive. There is a lot of organic food, locally grown items, unique things you might have never thought about trying, and some old favorites. The atmosphere is fun and definitely catered towards trying something new. They had tuna steaks on sale, so we picked up two for dinner which Christopher seared up nicely and we served with two of Lucky's yummy salads from their salad bar.

While we were there, we also stocked up on a bunch of different pre-popped popcorn. I've become somewhat of a popcorn addict over the last few months, but I've never been a big lover of the pre-popped stuff. I love that movie theater/football game flavor, or any kettle corn, especially our locally popped Cork's Kettle corn.  Christopher had a bag of some aged white cheddar that was delicious, and Lucky's had so many flavors of Skinny Pop that was on sale, so we got some. Yum! I had no idea Skinny Pop was so good. I think I need a stash for my office, ASAP.

I'm really sad to see this weekend go, but can't wait for next weekend which is my first bridal shower! I absolutely can't wait to see all my friends and family and celebrate with them on Saturday. Happy Monday!