Sweet Pink Baby Shower

A few weeks ago, we had a baby shower for a co-worker in our board room. She's due in just a month, and it was so fun to celebrate together. While my job was really to just take the pictures {something I never mind!}, I really learned a lot about baby showers. My friends haven't quite hit that stage of life yet...we're all still getting married for the most part. I had no idea there were so many baby things you need; I've always just been excited about the cute clothes and bows and things! Clearly shows where my mind is when it comes to babies!

The shower featured a four tier diaper cake as the centerpiece that had little supplies like pacifiers and rash cream wrapped around it. The neatest surprise was the box of baby wipes hidden in the middle of the layers that was revealed by lifting off the top half of the cake! We added some pink camellias in a crystal bowl from the front yard for an additional touch of decor to the room. 

One of the hosts made the cutest shower favors: single serving popcorn packages labeled with "She's about to POP!" and mini pink bottles and pacifiers glued to the front. Such a cute idea if I plan a baby shower in the future. 

We had a delicious lunch of shrimp and grits, chicken casserole, bacon wrapped green beans, and of course a pink cheesecake from local caterer Honey Catering. It was all amazing! The pink cheesecake wasn't strawberry flavored like it looked, which I had to keep reminding myself with every single bite. But it sure was yummy: very creamy, with the perfect handmade graham cracker crust. 

One of the cutest gifts received was a Christmas tree made from alphabet blocks. The bottom layer spelled out the sweet baby's name, and it was decorated with little Christmas trinkets on each level. I've never seen such a precious and thoughtful handmade gift like that before! 

 Babies in the springtime are just so exciting!

{Flashback Friday} Top Pins

After switching to my new domain this week {www.piperellice.com | yay!}, I had a lot of updating to do. Instagram profile, Facebook profile, Pinterest profile...oh, wait. All of those pins from the old URL won't forward to the new site. Unacceptable! But I also don't have time right now to update every. single. pin. 

So I pulled up every Pinterest pin from the old startingsouthern.blogspot.com {be sure to update your bookmarks with the new URL, or follow by email/Google+!} and looked for the most popular pins to edit and update with the new links. It was pretty easy to spot the top pins from my blog, but also really interesting! It seems there's definitely a theme of popular Christmas pins, followed by home decor and fashion. 

Here are the top pins from my blog over the last three years: 


15 Pins Grinch Cookies. Just peanut butter sandwiched between Ritz crackers, dipped in green candy melts, topped with sprinkles, but oh so delicious! I love the sweet and salty combo of this Christmas treat. I also am addicted to candy melts. If they're in the house, I will eat them. Weird, I know. Obviously, these don't have to be dipped in green, that's just all I had on hand at the time and it seemed fun. This year, I just used white almond bark. 

16 Pins Still one of my most popular posts, these earrings from my Christmas list two years ago were pretty popular. I still want them! The classic pearl circled by delicate diamonds is a truly timeless piece of jewelry. 

54 Pins My shabby chic dining room in my first apartment! I'm no longer using that table in my dining room, but have moved it out to my sun room now that I have more space. I recently purchased a beautiful hand painted dining room table that I'm using with those same chairs. The chest behind the table still serves as my wet bar/china hutch until I get my china cabinet down here from South Carolina. And the wall art: once a ceiling fan medallion, painted and hung, is something I still use! It's now in the living room. 

381 Pins Fabulous work wear inspiration from a post about thrifting for Pinterest inspired outfits. I'm glad that so many others found this picture to be as stylish as I did! This reminds me that I need some tweed...

Do you follow me on Pinterest? Follow me, so I can follow you back! I'm always looking for new inspiration!

The MOH That Knows: Allison

A complement to my "Being a Bride" series, I've worked with my own Maid of Honor to craft questions for "The MOH That Knows" which features tips and tricks to make the MOH role a piece of {wedding} cake! The first MOH featured is Allison, a new blogger buddy of mine!

Name: Allison Ellzey

Bride & Groom: Chad + Rebecca

Wedding Date: July 2015
Wedding Location: Jackson, MS
Number in Bridal Party: 7

 How did you meet the bride and groom? I went to college with both of them and was actually there when they met on Spring Break! Rebecca and I lived together my Senior year of college.
How did the bride ask you to be her MOH? I basically knew I was going to be the MOH already--so her asking me was really just a formality! I had a box of goodies with a little popper, a mini bottle of wine and nail polish!

What about the dress?  I went with Rebecca to pick out the bridesmaids dresses as did another bridesmaid. It was important to her to have the dresses be flattering on all body types. I’m super short, another bridesmaid was really tall, the other, just had a baby! The dresses were purchased from David’s Bridal; we tried on about 3-4 and then went with the best one. I know she valued my opinon (and believe me, I gave it to her!).

Pre-wedding Events: I coordinated the Bachelorette Party. I wrote an entire post on it here.  The event's theme was gold, and pink and navy! I bought and made some of the decor; I worked at a catering company so I got some of the food for cheap and I ordered most of the decor off of Etsy.

Budgeting to be the MOH: Budget close to $500 to be on the safe side {Allison estimated she spent about $750, including the dress, gift, bachelorette, transportation, and the wedding--over a year’s long engagement.}. I like to go overboard. But your dress will cost about $200, a hotel room for the wedding about $100+ and then there’s the bachelorette party. If you’re doing it yourself (or have bridesmaids who don’t want to pay) you’ll be footing the bill yourself.

Being the Best: I was there for the bride for EVERY monotonous and minute question she had. I listened to her family drama, helped her pick which gray looked better, etc. Like I’ve mentioned before, I have a strong opinion on most things, and I’m not afraid to be honest. I was honored to be the MOH. That meant that she trusted me to handle most issues when it came to planning a wedding.

Allison is a blogger buddy I stumbled upon through another blogging friend {Hi, Megan!} on Twitter. She's also a Phi Mu! She wrote a post that included a bunch of tips that I hope you'll check out: http://www.allisonsaysso.com/2015/10/how-to-be-the-best-MOH.html

Connect with the MOH That Knows
Blog: Because I Said So
Instagram: @allison_ellzey
Twitter: @allison_ellzey

My Go-To Bronzer


Multiple times over the last two weeks, I've had friends asking for bronzer recommendations. With spring approaching, everyone is trying to get a little faux-glow on! In the summer, I like to use e.l.f. blush and bronzer combos that have a hint of shimmer which is fun. But for everyday, I have recently fallen in love with this NYX contour palette.

With eight shades of bronzers and highlighters {and only one with shimmer!} this is a great palette for every day use. The darker shades are easily build-able, but a little goes a long way. I purchased this set in December, and can hardly tell I've used any product at all! 

I like to use the darker shades to carve out sharper cheekbones, along the sides of my nose to help visually straighten it, and along my hair and jaw lines to warm up my face. The yellowish shade I use underneath my eyes after applying concealer to help it set and smooth out dark circles, and the lighter shades I use on my T-zone. A touch of shimmer on the eyes, cheek bones, and tip of the nose, and you're done!  

Weekend Recap: Sweets, Savannah, and Sundays

As we're almost two months out from the wedding, I've been really tying to enjoy these last three unscheduled weekends. Downtime is crucial to me as a secret introvert--I need lots of time daily and each weekend to recharge and be able to tolerate the masses {it's true!}. Coupled with the fact that February is super busy work-wise for me with a major event every week, I've been intentional about taking time on the weekends to relax, enjoy some good food, and have fun.

This weekend was no exception. Friday was probably one of the most important work events of the year, and I was ready to kick off my heals as soon as I got home. I tried sleeping in as much as possible on Saturday, but little Layla Claire started pawing at my face at 9 a.m. Since Christopher is pretty much done with being in Savannah for school and is back home during the week, we had planned a day trip to Savannah to get the last of his things from his apartment, wander the mall, and do a run through at Lucky's Market. It's so exciting to start looking at bachelorette and honeymoon swim suits!

Saturday evening we headed down to City Market to eat at Sorry Charlie's. I had never been before, but Christopher had, and it did not disappoint. I absolutely love raw oysters, and after a late lunch, that was all I wanted. Everything we tried was really yummy...Mahi Tacos, Low Country Boil, and piping hot hush puppies.

After dinner we wandered into Christopher's favorite bar, Social, for some darts and a round of pool before heading back to Statesboro. Sunday is always a lazy day for me, but we were actually somewhat productive, putting together a Christmas gift and a wedding gift yesterday afternoon. First up: the table top s'mores maker I got for Christmas. I love s'mores. They're my favorite. But I don't always have a campfire to hang around when I want dessert. 

I think my grandmother was a little surprised when I said that was what I wanted for Christmas, but I thought it would be fun for get together's and things. It was really easy to put together, and even though someone said "It's just like holding a marshmallow on a fork over the stove eye!" it was really fun. I loved how cute everything looked sectioned off in the tray. Although I couldn't get it as crispy and black as I normally like my marshmallows, they were a yummy Sunday afternoon treat!

Last Tuesday, a surprising package arrived on my patio: a grill! Yes, a grill! From the wonderful family who is lending me all of their littles for the wedding. They surprised us big time by sending us an amazing grill, just in time for warm weather. Although we're waiting to use our wedding gifts until after we're married and living together, Kim said we could open just this one. So we did! I helped a little, but I am so proud to be marrying such a handy man who put the grill together in record time. We cooked Sunday dinner on it, too: seared Ahi Tuna and roasted brussel sprouts with a balsamic glaze. Yum!  


Don't forget to follow me on Snapchat: @piperellice !


I realized that while I share a ton about my life on this blog, I've neglected a huge section: my puppies! Yes, yes, my puppies, plural. If you've been reading since the beginning, you may remember when I brought teeny tiny Layla Claire home, and how quickly she grew. Shortly after I got Layla, Christopher got Samantha, the golden retriever. Since she's such a classic American dog, we named her after a classic American girl doll! 

While we were living across the state from each other, the dogs were not friendly. Samantha is a big lover, and Layla is very jealous and protective of me. It took some time for the two of them to get used to each other. Eventually, they began to get along which made things a lot easier.

In September, I took Samantha on full time. Christopher was beginning pharmacy rotations, and would be changing sites every five weeks or so. I thought it would be better for Samantha to have a more consistent and regular routine {and I love a good routine!}, and would also be easier for all four of us to live under the same roof after the wedding if three of us are already used to it. 

After a couple of transitional weeks, the girls really began to get used to always being together. Now they play together, go outside together, and even eat and drink out of the same bowl!  You have no idea what an accomplishment that is. 

I love spending time with their two very different personalities. Samantha always wants to play with the ropes or throw the balls, or love all over you--there is no 'off' button for her. Layla has finally become somewhat of a lap dog, and is laying on me much more. But she always prefers her ball over anything else. 

Layla has always had this one ball that she loves. It's a specific plastic ball that can only be found in certain Christmas stockings at Petsmart. She knows the difference between it and all other balls. As hilarious it is, it's also kind of annoying. If the ball disappears or is torn up, her world ends. If she forgets to bring it to bed at night, she will literally scratch at the bedroom door so I can let her out to go and get it. 

Three girls, one boy. Oh what a very particular household Christopher is entering into!

Layla always lays on my bags if I leave her
with anyone for any length of time. 
Samantha apparently thinks she's the same size as LC...
or a cat. Either one. 

P.S. Would you mind entering your email into the "Follow By Email" slot to the right of this post, directly above my Instagram feed? That way, you'll get an email every time there is a new post, and only when there is a new post, so you can stay up to date. Thanks!

Being a Bride: Michelle

Photos by Beacon Photo
Bride Name: Michelle Andrea Hamilton
Groom Name: Amari Alexander Adams
Wedding Date: November 14, 2015
Total number in wedding party: 6 bridesmaids, 8 groomsmen, 2 flower girls, 1 ring bearer = 19 (including B&G)
Total guests: 425
Venue: Ceremony St John Baptist Church; Savannah, GA Reception Hyatt Harborside Center; Savannah, GA
How you met, and the proposal: We met years ago when we were kids...our dads have been good friends for a while! Ran into each other in 2011 one weekend in City Market and exchanged numbers. Communication was slow, with only a couple of text messages maybe once a month...but finally, we went on our first date in 2012 and we've been together ever since!
The proposal was Labor day 2014. We are known for having the biggest, best cookouts for holidays...this one was even bigger and I was a little confused as to why sooooo many people were there. While my friends kept me distracted inside of the house, Amari put on a tux and drove around the block in his vintage 1963 Buick Wildcat while a red carpet was being rolled out on the driveway. I walked outside and saw the red carpet with Amari pulling up at the opposite end! He asked and I said YES, of course!

What was the best bridal shower and/or pre-wedding event you attended, and why? Our engagement party was so much fun! We had it on Halloween in 2014. We didn't want to do anything big, since the proposal was huge and we were expecting to have a huge wedding guest list, so we invited only our friends that we wanted in our wedding party. We had an Addams Family themed party and asked our friends to dress up in coordinating costumes. I was Morticia Addams and he was Gomez Addams...and get this....Amari is a licensed mortician...PERFECT! We had decorations everywhere and halloween themed refreshments!
Hands down, I had the best bachelorette party. A four day cruise from Miami to Key West, to Cozumel, Mexico; and back. Every night, my girls coordinated their clothes with one of the wedding colors and I wore the opposite...they wore red, I wore white...they wore black, I was in gold..etc. We played games, did a bar crawl, snorkeled, electric biked. It was so much fun! All I had to do was pack my bags and they handled the rest; best group of friends ever.

Photos by Beacon Photo
What was the best wedding gift you received? We received many gifts and are thankful for all of them; we are so loved! The best one, since I have to pick one, is an ornament we got for out first Christmas tree. It had dried flowers from our reception in it. So simple, but sentimental, and I can't wait to put it on our Christmas tree again next year.

Photos by Beacon Photo
What inspired your wedding day (theme/look/feel): We knew that our wedding would be in the fall during the evening, so we wanted to keep it simple and timeless. I didn't want to choose a color that was trendy currently and then look at pictures 20 years from now and question myself so we went with white, black, red, and gold accents. I love the look of satin for an evening affair, and after I found out that I could pull off a satin gown, I was all-in for a dreamy, elegant, evening feel for the wedding!

Photos by Beacon Photo
What is something you couldn’t live without for your wedding day (ex.: a certain band, a specific cake, etc.): Couldn't have DARED lived without our cakes! Beautiful, even lines. no lumps, and DELICIOUS! Tammy Acosta at Low Country Confections is awesome. I can't say enough about her to do her work justice. One of my bridesmaids hassled the hotel staff the next day about the little bit of cake that was left after the reception...that's how good it was! They located it and, needless to say, it was devoured at our farewell gathering the next day. 
If you have any wedding décor DIY tips/tutorials, or money saving suggestions, please share: I purchased a lot of things for the wedding on Etsy and Amazon. I made the table numbers: the frames came from the Dollar Store and I spray painted them gold and printed out the table numbers at home. I also saved a whole lot with our Save-The-Date Magnets by ordering from a printing service called UPrinting.com.

Photos by Beacon Photo

What was something your bridesmaids or family members did for you that made your day or pre-planning experience special? They made the experience special because of the support they showed me throughout the whole process. I had two other bridesmaids get married before me in the same year...I was in their weddings as well! It made the process easier because I had two very close friends to plan with.
At the beginning of 2015, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I didn't share this with anyone until a couple months after we found out. Our wedding party was great with keeping us stress free while we dealt with my Mom's diagnosis. I literally have the best friends ever...I cannot thank them enough!

Photos by Beacon Photo

Connect with the Bride
Instagram: @suki_michelle
Facebook: Michelle Adams​

Weekend Recap: HVD!

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you're just overwhelmed with the amount of love and support you have in your life? I'm so incredibly thankful to have experienced that this past week and weekend. From a beautiful handmade card sent to me by a friend, to surprising wedding plans from those so close to me--I've truly felt "#blessed." Last week was sandwiched between two relatively high stress work weeks, but gave me just the energy I needed to finish out February strong. 

The weekend started out with Mexican and margs with the bestie and my second mom. Piece of advice: margaritas before a Walmart trip makes everything too funny. Saturday started out on a surprising note as the fiance arrived just in time to go to a wedding meeting with my MOH and mother. That's another thing: my mom took her entire day to just come and sit with us at the wedding venue to confirm all of my very detailed details. Our wedding location is three hours from her--each way. And she still came! I am thankful to have such involvement in my life from her. 

Follow me on Snapchat: @piperellice 
After our wedding meeting, I met up with one of my bridesmaids, Amanda, as she picked out her wedding dress! I'm so excited to be a part of her wedding in July. Christopher and I started celebrating Valentine's Day on Saturday night by having dinner at Coconut Thai here in Statesboro. Neither of us had ever been there, and we were able to snag a table among the many reservations. It was so yummy! I've never had Thai food before, but we will definitely be going back.

My funny, sassy card.

Oh, it's reversible!

After dinner, we decided to open gifts. I'm not very good at waiting even as much as I love surprises, and Christopher had told me earlier in the week that he had a major surprise. So of course I made him open his first--the fuzziest, warmest, Southern Proper vest! He texted me a few weeks ago after my V-Day His Way post and said, "I think I figured out what you got me for Valentine's Day on your blog." I lied, and said no, but have actually had the vest in my possession for over a month. He loved the vest and it looked so good on him, too!

I always like to guess what he's gotten me before I open my gifts, Most of the time, my guesses are right...or at least really really close. This time, I was so off. I had guessed a box of our wedding china, because of the size and weight of the box, and the white paper looked like the Belk wedding wrapping paper. When I opened the box, I honestly burst into tears. Christopher had gotten me a brand new Canon Rebel Ti with two different lenses, lens filters, a camera bag, and the coolest SD card that sends pictures straight to my phone {I'll definitely be doing a details post soon}!  

Did you see this over the weekend on my Insta? Find me
at @piperellice on Instagram, too!
I was floored. I kept crying and saying, "Really?" over and over again. We had just been talking about cameras at dinner, in relation to the steps I want to take to really grow my blog. But the camera thing was so far down the line! Christopher has really taken an interest in supporting me in this area of my life. He's been asking so many questions, reading all of my posts, and just been overall really encouraging. It's been such a blessing to me, because sometimes I don't feel as proud as I should about this little corner of the Internet, and to know that my fiance wants me to succeed and enjoys making my dreams happen together means the world to me. He researched to find just the perfect camera for this project, and I am so excited to learn all I can about it! 

On Sunday, I madee a special Valentine's Day brunch for the two of us {and began taking pictures on the new camera of everything! Never have I ever been so excited to take the dogs out at 7 a.m. on a weekend; I took tons of good morning light pictures of the girls.}. One of the very first things I ever made for Christopher was strawberry 'stuffed' French toast. I resurrected one of my favorite pins for this special breakfast--check it out here. The best part of this recipe is definitely what is referred to as "The Goodness"--the cream cheese, Cool Whip, powdered sugar concoction sandwiched between two pieces of French toast. 

To keep with the pink Vday theme, we had pink lemonade mimosas with champagne from my January bridal shower. I love any and everything strawberry, and topped off our brunch with some extra delicious ones which were such a nice surprise for February! 

After eating way too much good food over the weekend, we capped it all off by having dinner at 441 Public in Statesboro. If you're in the area and want to try very uniquely crafted food, head here. So delicious. Also, one of the best bars in town. Christopher had a Jack and Coke, and I had the delicious Gin Fizz. He tried the filet special which was cooked to perfection, and I had my favorite shrimp and grits. I'm not usually a brown gravy girl when it comes to shrimp and grits, but 441's is so spicy and delicious; it's definitely in the top three of my all time favorite shrimp and grits recipes.

We topped it all off with a huge slice of chocolate cake. 441 makes everything--even the ketchup and mayonnaise--in house, so it's all extra yummy. Owner Seni Alabi puts his touch on every dish, and it does not disappoint. Although, he was pretty disappointed when he stopped by our table and heard about my delicious box brownies...I guess I'll have to learn how to make them from scratch, in addition to figuring out how to make non-packet gravy to keep my soon-to-be husband happy! 

In true blogger form, we had to try the new camera to get some #OOTN posts. Doesn't my beau look so handsome in his new vest? His outfit details: Southern Proper All Prep Vest, Cotton Brothers red gingham button down, Bass Lee Chelsea Boots. My outfit details: CYNTHIA Cynthia Rowley dress, Sam Edelman pumps, LC Lauren Conrad for Kohls blazer, similar

I hope your Valentine's Day was just as sweet and full of love!