2015 has been such a whirlwind of a year. Today, I'm exactly four months away from getting married and with New Year's Eve tomorrow, it seems like the perfect time for reflection.

2015 Best Nine Memories
My best memories of this past year don't exactly align with my most popular Instagram photos of the year, but they're pretty close.

  1. Engagement pictures--this was something I had looked forward to for such a long time. We had a great day with the perfect weather, as well as an excellent photographer who helped me relax and perfectly captured our relationship. Christopher and I both talk about how much fun we had on that day, and how excited we were to look through the pictures only a million times. 
  2. Dolls Do HHI--The first of hopefully many annual college girlfriends weekends during the last weekend of July on Hilton Head Island. Too many memories from this weekend to count, and too many we may not remember...oops. 
  3. Georgia Southern football games--something I look forward to every year, but this year was by far the best. We got into a really good groove, and I loved having my regular weekend visitors stay with me!
  4. My best friend's wedding--Niki's wedding was a definite reoccurring theme throughout 2015. Weddings seem to provide extra opportunities for fun times together, which I love. We had a great time going on her bachelorette in Chattanooga, and her wedding was perfection. 
  5. Wedding planning--Once we settled on a date in early spring, planning my wedding truly began! Finally! It's been something I've really enjoyed and has been relatively stress free. I've had a while to cultivate a vision and feel for the day, which has helped the other events like showers and things come together seamlessly as well. Of course, I couldn't do this without my mom and Maid of Honor, as we hash and rehash everything a million times each night on the phone! 
  6. Moving into my new house--I moved into a new house at the end of February which I am incredibly thankful for. It has been a place of serenity for me, as well as a home full of laughter and love, filled frequently with friends and family. I'm thankful to have the space to share and time together. 
  7. Starting Therapy--maybe this isn't the cool thing to talk about, but starting to see a therapist regularly has been life changing for me. It's something I look forward to, and something I've grown from. Most people know that my life over the past two/three years has been tumultuous at best. After keeping a strong front, I finally wore down and could not handle the stress any longer. After working through some bigger, overarching issues, my sessions focus a lot of self development and being an emotionally healthy person. My goal from the beginning has been that I want to be my best self for my marriage. I feel like therapy has helped all of my relationships so much, but also my own personal sanity and physical health as well. If you're questioning it, don't--just find someone you're comfortable with and trust. It's life changing! 
  8. Phi Mu--I've become an advisor for my Phi Mu chapter this year, and have also taken on an important role in the chapter's housing corporation. It's been challenging, but so very rewarding. I love spending time with the girls that were mine when I was the new member director, as well as learning from the alums that are still involved 60+ years after graduating.  
  9. Friendships--My friendships have evolved a lot this year. I've also needed my friends more this year. It takes a while to transition from seeing your friends everyday in college, to incorporating them into your daily life postgrad in an intentional, real way. I've also developed more 'adult' or 'professional' friendships that I enjoy.  I'm thankful for the reconnections, the closeness, and joy that I've experienced in these relationships and can't wait to celebrate together in the coming months. 
Thankful for an amazing 2015, but I know 2016 is going to be even better...I can't wait!

Gift Local

Sometimes it's really hard to figure out what to gift those who have everything. Or in my case, those that don't live nearby. It's harder for me to identify items they might love when I don't see them everyday. My solution to this is to gift local.

Working with local businesses through my job has showed me personally how important it is to shop locally. While I'll admit, I'm a sucker for the ease and convenience of online shopping when living in a small town, I love the interaction and familiarity of shopping small.

This year, I'm creating baskets of my local favorites for some friends and family who live far. This can be an easy hostess gift idea too! Here are a few Statesboro {and the surrounding areas} ideas that I enjoy:

Braswell's was something I had never heard about until I moved to Statesboro. Open since 1946, they're famous for their Red Pepper Jelly {served over cream cheese..yum!}and now their "I want some jelly, I want some jelly, baby!" game day theme song that you can hear each Saturday at Paulson Stadium. After a partnership with Paula Deen, and a recent Minions promotional item, Braswell's name recognition has really grown. My favorite flavor is Peach Butter, which is a tart change from Apple Butter, and is something that I really feel highlights Georgia, not just Statesboro. They have jams, jellies, ice cream toppings, steak sauces, marinades, and so much more to explore.


Dia's Clubhouse Greek Dressing & Marinade
If I remember correctly from 'town news', Dia's was the magical dressing served at an authentic Greek restaurant in town that closed a few years ago. They began producing the dressing/marinade, and you can now find it at The Clubhouse in Statesboro, or order it online. It is so good. I love Greek food, and a Greek salad is always my go-to. This marinade is really yummy on chicken, pork, and fish, too!

Dia's Clubhouse Greek 

Freeman's Mill Mixes
I actually took the current Leadership Bulloch class to tour this mill in October, which has one of the last remaining, working stone mills in the country. They make more than just grits; their lineup includes hush puppie mix, cornbread mix, and more! Many restaurants in Savannah actually use their mixes in their recipes, which is fun for the foodies.

Freeman's Mill

Local Ornaments  
I like giving ornaments to pretty much anyone. You can always find one that represents something they like, a recent event in their life, or one that is just beautiful. The Georgia Southern University bookstore keeps a large stock of GSU ornaments which can be fun to include. I actually ordered this one below from the artist's Etsy shop before realizing they also stock at the local store! But isn't it pretty?

The University Store

Savannah Sweets--Southern Pralines
Although not a Statesboro treat, pralines are a big hit, and the Savannah Sweets pralines can be found in Statesboro in many gift shops and are great to include in gift baskets.

Savannah Sweets Pralines

Seven Willows Soaps
Yum. Locally handmade soaps using all natural products. They're beautiful, smell amazing, and are a truly unique item. You can find that at the Farmer's Market in the spring and summer, select local retailers, and can order online, too. They have other products too, like candles, lotions, and lip balms.

Seven Willows Soaps

Weekend Recap: Game Day Getups

I just don't want to talk about it. Our last game, that is. Unfortunately the Eagles didn't pull a W for the last regular game of the season, but it was perfect weather for my oversized, golden cableknit sweater.

To be honest, I pick out almost all of my game day outfits for the whole season in August. That may seem weird, but I try to pick out my outfits on Sunday for the week ahead too, if possible. Here's a quick recap of the game day outfits I've loved this season, and where to get some of the pieces:

Crown & Ivy Spring 2015 dress 

Cheeky Bliss Statesboro dress 

Pixie pants in "gold miner" and gingham boyfriend popover from Old Navy
Navy vest from Entourage 

Dress & vest from Entourage

Dress from Entourage
Monogrammed crossbody purse from Marley Lilly

Cable knit sweater from Talbots, color 2014.
Similar in cream, here.
Sunnies similar, here

Golden Christmas

If you've been reading this blog for a year or so, or hang out with me pretty much ever {because this is a tale that bears repeating}, you may remember the Black Christmas Tree Incident of 2014--you can read about it here. After perusing Pinterest Christmas ideas one day, I saw where a lady had spray painted her tree. That seemed do-able, and thanks to my fiance, light holder, and all-around craftiness supporter, I decided to spray paint his black Christmas tree.

The original post that inspired me used floral spray paint, but that didn't seem convenient to me. I pretty much always have a can or two of metallic gold spray paint on hand {I may or may not have a problem spray painting random stuff into golden gems}, so I thought I would try that out. Two cans later, I am thrilled with the results! I may have developed a small case of carpal tunnel after all that spraying, but we no longer have a black tree.

Halfway through the spraying.


I've already received quite a few wedding themed Christmas ornaments. They all fall into that gold/white/metallic design category, so I thought I would display all of them here! I'm so excited to have more than one big tree in the house...I did grow up in a home that had at least seven each year. And I know...I do have "Ms" on my tree even though I'm not yet an "M." They're just too pretty to keep in their boxes for another year!

Wedding cake ornament which we received
after registering at Walker Boutique

Special Bride to Be ornament 

My signature word in gold!