Marrying McAfee | Pre-Wedding Events

Invitations from Zazzle
Welcome to the new and improved Wedding Wednesday posts: Marrying McAfee, where I'll chronicle all the little details and moments of our wedding weekend that meant the world to me. I hope it gives you a glimpse into the thought and emotion behind our decisions, and will maybe even inspire some ideas of your own!

To kick everything off, I wanted to dedicate the first post to the week before the big day. I worked until Thursday that week which looking back probably added a lot of physical stress to me, but I didn't have a lot of vacation time with the honeymoon coming up the week after the wedding. My sweet mother really set the tone by sending me countdown flowers throughout the week, starting with four roses, then three peonies, two daisies, and finally a single beautiful corsage to wear to the bridesmaid luncheon and rehearsal dinner. Each day was such a surprise, and I loved the thoughtfulness behind it. We ended up using two of the arrangements as centerpieces at the bridesmaids luncheon, which made it even more special!

My mother hosted my bridesmaid luncheon at the country club here in Statesboro. It was a lovely time with the women in my family and my very best friends. A few tears were shed, but I think we all needed that time to get our warm fuzzies out in the open in hopes of keeping the tears at bay on Saturday.

Mother's dress is from Buckhead Betties, and mine is the Gabby Shift from Lilly Pulitzer

My mom and I found sparkly picture frames at Belk that we used as place cards for the bridesmaids. She surprised me with a 25th anniversary frame as my own place card, which I'll save for the future. For my girls, I gifted each of them with a pink monogrammed button down to wear with Lilly shorts while we got ready before the wedding, a monogrammed clutch to keep up with their things at the reception, a glittery bottle opener, and pink and blue koozies that we had at the wedding.

To make it a little more personal, I picked out a special bracelet for each bridesmaid that I felt represented them and our relationship.  For my maid of honor, I chose the Kate Spade maid of honor bangle. For my matron of honor, I had a special bracelet made with a line from a Phi Mu song that is particularly meaningful to the both of us. Each bracelet was unique, just like each of my very best friends! I even gave my mom a beautifully sparkly mother of the bride bracelet, too!

My grandmother actually made bracelets for all the little girls with pearls and pink Swarovski crystals, and she graciously made one for me too which I wore at the wedding. The little girls also received monogrammed glittery tumblers, which helped keep spills at bay in their pretty dresses on Saturday. One of my favorite gifts to give was an Our Generation doll that twinned with my flower girl...down to the matching flower girl dress! The flower girl dress was from Rosebud Collection, and most of their dresses have the doll dress as an option, which I think is a really fun detail.

Another handcrafted touch was the paper dresses made by one of my blogger friends, Wendy. She made 15 different pink paper dresses which I hot glued onto blank cards which I used to write notes to each of the ladies in my life. I am blessed with so many sweet friends who have done so much for me!

My bridesmaids surprised me with the most meaningful gift at the luncheon: the Southern Living monogram necklace from Moon & Lola. I have been saying for years that I would love to have this necklace to put on for my wedding reception, and they truly made my dreams come true! It was absolutely beautiful, and such a wonderful surprise!

After lunch, we had a little bit of downtime at my house before heading to the wedding venue for the rehearsal. Somehow we ended up getting married on the hottest April weekend I had ever experienced. It was in the mid-nineties Friday evening, and I was slightly panicked about how hot Saturday would be...especially in a huge dress. Thankfully, the rehearsal went off smoothly.

I'm so glad we had as many people at the rehearsal dinner as we did. When I first worked on the list, I was feeling like it was so large, but compared to Saturday it was really rather intimate. The best surprise of the evening was a presentation by Jax, our ringbearer. He's always said that I was his girlfriend, and was not very happy to have to give me up. So he read his 10 rules for Christopher about how he should take care of me...which including him feeding me and giving me lots of kisses!

We had a yummy low country boil, and spent hours laughing and talking throughout the evening. Christopher's step dad shared a memory about his first time meeting me, where I said I would never date anyone under six feet tall. Ooops. After dinner there was some impromtu dancing, followed by corn hole in the reception space. Christopher actually built the cornhole boards for us, and my MOH Kirstie cut the monograms for us to put on. This was probably our most last minute, stressful DIY projects of the wedding which we ended up forgetting to put out on the actual wedding day! Ugh! Of course, it really doesn't matter, but it's such a funny thing to remember now. At least now we have lots of corn hole boards for future festivities!

June Recipe Review

One of my goals as a newlywed is to keep it fresh and the kitchen! For the last few years, I've lived alone and would flip flop from always eating out to eating really weird stuff at home. I never have been a consistent grocery shopper, so I knew that would become a top priority for me as wife with a very hungry husband.

I've thought it would be exciting to try at least one new Pinterest recipe each month to hopefully add some go-to meals to our repertoire. This month, I tried two new recipes: Sweet Potato & Crab Chowder, and Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Popper Casserole. Both were easy recipes, but only one is being added to my recipe box!

via The Chef Next Door Blog

Sweet Potato & Crab Chowder is a definite yes! The combination seemed a little odd at first: sweet potatoes? I love them, but had never had them in a soup. But the Jekyll Island Club has their own version of it that I've heard is delicious, so I thought I would try this Pinterest version to get a taste of the combo before trying their recipe next! It was so delicious, and super easy to make. We used canned crab, which I'd never tried before, but I was surprisingly pleased! Besides having a hard time picking out all of the shells, it was the best bang for my buck and tasted great, not at all like what I thought canned crab would taste like. 

I followed the recipe until the very end, where I felt like adding some spice with a little red pepper to a semi-sweet soup. It ended up being the perfect addition: a little bit of heat at the very end of  each bite. This soup warmed up well throughout the week, and was extra comforting served with some biscuits and peach butter!

Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Popper Casserole is unfortunately a no, but it may just be a no for me. I forgot until after I made it that I have some weird aversion to baked chicken and buffalo sauce. I love buffalo sauce, and chicken wings, but something about the two together and made at home kind of makes my skin crawl. This recipe also called for chicken thighs which get a resounding "never again!" commentary from me. Overall, it felt like putting this together was a lot harder than it should have been, and I was just not pleased with the taste/texture/or time it took to make something that I didn't enjoy.

I love the idea of a savory low carb casserole though, as both the hubs and I try to eat as low carb as we can! I'll definitely be trying some more LC dishes in the future.

What are your favorite recipes for me to try? And follow my food boards on Pinterest to see what I might be trying next!

S i m m e r
Sweet Treats 

Staycation with Crane & Canopy

It's officially summer, and vacation time is here...for some people. Others are planning a just as fabulous stay-cation, like myself! Having just come back from our honeymoon in May, we won't be planning another trip until later on in the year.

But I still plan on having plenty of fun, and luxury bedding company Crane & Canopy wants it to be the most relaxing staycation yet! I like to pick weekends where I have absolutely nothing going on, so that Christopher and I along with the pups can enjoy our little house and town together with no pressure. We enjoy cooking at home a lot, and one of my favorite things is making breakfast in bed on Sunday mornings! With beautiful bedding, it feels just like a stay at a bed and breakfast, but better because the dogs are there, too.

For something quick and easy, I'll whip up some french toast using pre-made cinnamon swirl bread from the grocery store. Mix together six eggs, a dash of milk and cinnamon for dredging the bread, then cook on a griddle for two minutes or so on each side. Serve with a side of bacon, a sprinkle of powdered sugar, and enjoy a deliciously quick breakfast in bed on Crane & Canopy bedding like these:

I love the calming and cool shade of blue that the Noe Blue Nova Bedding 
features. The Nova duvet pairs a top sheet and duvet to make making the bed
a quick and easy task! 

I always have throw blankets on my bed and couch. They're the perfect way
to get comfortable when the evenings get chilly, or you just need a good
snuggle while watching TV. I love this beautiful cable knit 100% cotton
Crane & Canopy blanket. It's bright and summery, but warm enough for
wintertime, too!

A pop of color is always fun, and I think this coral trimmed scalloped sheet set would be an exciting summery compliment to the Noe Blue set above. 

What are you doing for your staycation this summer? Why not visit Crane & Canopy to see how you can make your time at home more luxurious! Check them out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to learn more. 

Weekend Recap: Pharmacy School Graduation

This weekend, Christopher graduated from pharmacy school! Woooo! He was in the accelerated three year program at South University in Savannah, which he started right after we got engaged. Lots of sleepless nights, and too many tests to count, but he's finally done. Which means I'm finally done worrying about it, because that's how I roll. 

I'm really proud of him. He stuck it out when everything about school was miserable. I don't think I could have done it myself! On Friday, he received his doctoral hood at an intimate ceremony with just the other pharmacy students. 

After pictures and checking into our hotel, we went to Elizabeth on 37th for a very nice dinner to celebrate. This is one of the places that I've always wanted to go in Savannah, and it did not disappoint. We started with the tuna tartar of course, and I enjoyed the delicious scallops while Christopher had the beef tenderloin. Yum! That evening we met up with some friends after a stop at Lulu's Chocolate Bar where I had the best chocolate raspberry cake of my entire life. Savannah always feeds me well.

Saturday morning was the actual graduation of all the Masters and Doctoral programs. There were a ton of people there, but it only took an hour and half or so. My mom and brother drove down from South Carolina to join us for the commencement ceremony, and it was so good to see them for the first time since the wedding. I had missed them a ton!

Of course I had to get a couple of new dresses to wear to these important "once in a lifetime" occasions! My green dress is from Walker Boutique here in Statesboro, and has a fabulous tie-neck, which is one of my favorite details. There is a cute scalloped shift dress on their website in the same amazing emerald! The navy dress is from Entourage; they have a similar one on their website in white!

Monday Blues

Do you ever just wake up and go, "Today is going to be one of those days?"

Now to be honest, I could anticipate this last night, so I tried to combat it by getting up early to do some yoga in an attempt to feel better about my day. Good intentions, followed by spilling my coffee all over me as I sit down at my desk at work this morning. Is it Friday yet?

I'm exhausted and emotionally drained at the moment, and truly don't feel like dealing with the day, or today's blog post unfortunately. I had planned on a lovely weekend recap of Christopher's graduation from pharmacy school, but I have yet to finish uploading pictures and am feeling relatively uninspired to do so at the moment.

So instead, I'm going to share this picture of Layla Claire {she's not really sad, just doesn't like taking pictures}, and this recipe of eggless cookie dough that I made last night in an attempt to eat my feelings.

Emotional Eggless Cookie Dough 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoon of milk {or heavy cream if you're really sad/that's all you have on hand}
1/3 cup flour
A pinch of tears

Beat {and I mean really beat} the sugar and butter in a bowl, before adding the rest of the ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips if desired, or not because I like just the batter best. Or, just throw it all into a too small bowl and attempt to mix with a fork because you're not feeling like following directions/why not make things harder than they should be. It's just that kind of Monday. YUM!

Congrats, Grad!

This guy graduates from pharmacy school this weekend! His hooding ceremony is this afternoon, and he will officially graduate with his PharmD tomorrow morning. It's been a long time coming, and we both couldn't be more excited that this weekend is here!

Christopher has taken a job as a pharmacist about an hour away, and I'm glad we are able to stay in the area. After his graduation trip with as I call them "The Friends" or in their words "The Ballerz," he'll start full time in the real world! A few more tests stand in his way before being officially done, but it feels so very close!

I'm incredibly proud of him for working so hard over these last three years, even when it was really hard and everything seemed to be going wrong. He's passionate about helping others, and about being able to provide for our family, and I'm so thankful for both of those qualities. We're celebrating this weekend in Savannah with our families, and I can't wait!

Happy Friday!

Summer 2016 Bucket List

How are we already halfway through June? Christopher graduates from pharmacy school this weekend {cue the Hallelujah Chorus}, and will be on a graduation trip next week before starting his job full time. Then we'll have July 4th followed by Amanda's wedding the next weekend, and summer will be halfway done!

It's feeling like it's all kind of escaping me too quickly; wasn't life supposed to slow down after the wedding? So I thought I'd sit down and come up with a list of things I want to accomplish, some fun and some not so fun, before life gets truly hectic again later in the year.

  1. Spend some time at Jekyll Island | Christopher has never been, and I go each year for work trips. It's wonderful! Great beaches and great food, with plenty to explore: new and old! 
  2. Clean out {and clean up!} the wedding and Christmas rooms | yes, I have one for both. Although, the Christmas room has become the dumping ground for all of Christopher's things as he moved his stuff in the week before the wedding. I've been working through the wedding room, sorting all of our lovely gifts and finding a home for each of them, while trying to create an office/study space for Dr. PharmD. 
  3. Move the curio cabinet in | My grandparents gave me a large curio cabinet for my birthday almost 15 years ago {sounds so funny--15 years?!} that I displayed dolls and mementos in. I've never moved it out of my mom's house because it's giantly heavy, and I also didn't live anywhere that accommodate such a large piece of furniture. Now that we are living in an actual house we have enough room, and so many beautiful wedding gifts and serving pieces to display in it!
  4. Host a summer soiree | Another great thing about our house is giant yards to have fun in! I'd love to invite our friends over for a cookout with our new grill and the cornhole boards Christopher made for our wedding...that we forgot to put out on the day of...oops. We'll have to wait for the evenings too cool off a little's in the 100's here this week! 
  5. Make at least one new recipe a month | this is kind of a goal for our first year of marriage, too. It's so easy to get into a cooking-rut {we had tacos four times in a week earlier this month}, so I want to be intentional about expanding my cooking skills and filling my monogrammed recipe box from my bridal shower! 
  6. Financially plan for a new car | I want a new car. Pretty much anyone around me has heard of my desires for a third row, specifically a 4Runner in white, with tan leather and a sunroof. I've never bought a car myself, and don't want to run out there all willy-nilly and buy the first one I see. I've test driven one and loved it, so I know what I want, but I need to wait for the right one at the right price. I also don't want to put any unnecessary stress on our financial status as a couple by making such a big purchase too soon! Money is one of those things that we agree on 99% of the time, and we enjoy working towards our goals together. We can really focus on our finances once Christopher starts working full time, and I'm excited to do this as a team!
  7. Spend more time with family | I've not seen my family since we got married, and that was almost two months ago! I can't believe how time flies. I'm hoping to see them all more, and maybe take a trip to North Georgia to spend a few days with the grands, too. 
  8. Plan trips | we had the absolute best time on our honeymoon; I literally think about it every day! While we have a few trips planned in the upcoming months for weddings and things, I really want to plan a few couples trips and maybe even a family vacation for us to go on! Spending time together as a couple, and also as a couple with our families is very important to me. First on the list? A long weekend at Disney to celebrate both of our 25th birthdays in the fall! Then maybe a Christmas family vacation? And something special for our one year anniversary in the spring! Any ideas? 
  9. Try new restaurants | Christopher and I love trying new places with amazing food. We've covered a lot of the Savannah staples, but there are some gems out here "in the country" that we've yet to hit.
  10. Learn to make fancy cookies | my bestie and I are obsessed with every royal iced sugar cookie we come across. We're constantly tagging each other in those oh-so-soothing Instagram videos of cookies being decorated. She's attempted some on her own, and now I want to try! I love the fancy cookies!
What's on your summer bucket list? 

Weekend Recap: Amanda's Bach Wknd

Our weekend souvenirs: monogrammed
Tervis, tank top, sunglasses, and temporary
"Bride Tribe" tattoos!
This weekend I went to Lake Oconee to celebrate one of my bridesmaids who is now the bride! Amanda is getting married next month, and I'm thrilled to be one in her wedding, too. We celebrated her upcoming nuptials at the most beautiful lake house that had a pool  {complete with swim-up bar!} and hot tub overlooking the lake.

Once we all arrived Friday evening, we had a pajama party and lingerie shower for the bride after spending a couple of hours in the pool. One of my favorite treats from the weekend was the pink princess popcorn which was popcorn, white chocolate {plus a few drops of red food coloring}, and rainbow sprinkles all mixed together. It was delicious, and was the perfect PJ party treat!

Saturday consisted of an all-day pool party with a variety of the coolest pool floats around. The bride lounged on her white swan, and I tanned on my way bigger than expected giant pink flamingo float. I bought these pink flamingo floating koozies for everyone, too! We had a pineapple, cupcake, everything bagel, beer pong, and pizza float in the pool. It was too fun, and the best way to keep cool on such a hot weekend.

Saturday night we went to Athens for dinner at a sushi/karaoke bar {who knew this kind of thing existed! It was a blast} before hitting the town with our bride-to-be. Even though it was so hot, we had a great time hopping from place to place. My favorite was definitely the rooftop Georgia Theater bar. It was beautiful!

 After Sunday morning breakfast, we cleaned the house and loaded up to head out. I couldn't bear to totally deflate my giant flamingo float, so it road home with me in the backseat with all the seats down, half deflated. I bet all the other drivers were surprised to see a giant pink bird riding down the interstate!