Blogging Buddies

Ashley Ella Designs
One of the best ways to grow blog readership is reading other blogs! But not just reading, also commenting, and getting to know these other authors. I've always found it really interesting to look through analytics and see which sites I interact with drive people to my blog.

I have a couple of blogs that I've followed for years like The College Prepster, Fancy Ashley, The Sweetest Thing Blog, Classy Girls Wear Pearls, and Southern Curls & Pearls. But I've recently stumbled upon some new regular reads over the last few months as I've gotten more serious about blogging!

Some of my new favorites are A Mrs. Among Magnolias, Alexandra Bee Blog, Attention to Darling, Chronicling Home, Girl Talk, Olivia Rink, The Thrifty Pineapple, and Preppy Lane. I regularly read too many to name, so I wanted to share a few of my recent discoveries, although most of these ladies have been around for a while!

That's the great thing about's a never ending pool of possibilities and new friends. I'd love to add more blogs to my list {especially some Savannah-area bloggers!}; add yours or your favorites in the comments section below!

Wedding Wednesday | Put a Ring on it

When Christopher and I began planning our wedding, one of the decisions we had to make was what wedding band he would like. My engagement ring came as a part of a set with a matching wedding band which made everything really easy. After looking at a couple of different styles at jewelry stores, Christopher decided he liked a few different elements: a hammered or distressed outside, the idea of a finger print or engraving on the inside, and a very narrow white gold band.

Like most brides, I spent way too much time and money on Etsy during the planning process, but actually stumbled upon a custom ring company called Brent & Jess. They had a wide variety of designs, sizes, and materials, but the number one thing that sold me was that they custom make each ring using a physical imprint of the fingerprint. It's not just an engraving; you can actually see and feel the textures of the fingerprint!

I was intrigued by the process, and decided that this was the best way to get all the details Christopher was looking for in a ring. So I made my selection, and waited on the kit to arrive. When it did, I was very impressed. The instructions were very straight forward, although I did have to have some MOH help with this process, the branding was very concise, and it all made me very excited to get started!

You can choose if you want the fingerprint included on the outside or inside of the band. Since I chose a hammered outside, my fingerprint went on the inside of his wedding band. I decided to do my left ring fingerprint, since that's where my wedding band will be. The basic gist of the process is you have to heat water to a certain degree, lay the flat molding piece on the hot water before pressing your finger into it to take on the fingerprint. After running the finger with the mold still on it under cold water, the strip is pulled off and the kit is returned to the manufacturers. They sent a couple of strips so you can do the process a few times which will hopefully ensure a clearly detailed mold that can be used to make the ring.

Ring Kit

Sample of the fingerprint

Lots of directions!!

Make sure to mash your print into the mold
cleanly and deeply

Running the impression under cold water
to help it set

The littlest helper!

My ring fingerprint

Six to eight weeks later, the ring arrived! It looked even better in person than I could have imagined. Christopher didn't want to see his ring until our wedding day which made the surprise even more fun for me. I did make him try it on a few times with his eyes closed to make sure that it fit! 

Brent & Jess make all different kinds of jewelry: rings, necklaces, and charm beads. They were a great Etsy company to work with: very quick to respond, ship, and stay in communication throughout the entire process. I appreciated the communication as this is a kind of long process, and it's such an important piece! I'm thrilled that Christopher has a one of a kind wedding band, and that he'll always be able to wear a little piece of me with him each day.  

Such wonderful packaging!

Christopher's unique wedding ring!
I can't wait to see professional pictures of it!

Weekend Recap: The Start of the Summer

The Wyld Dock Bar
After finishing up one of my office's two annual fundraisers on Friday, I feel like a kid again. It's almost like schools out for summer, except its work, and I still have to go every day. But either way, things are beginning to slow down just a bit, and I can enjoy the summer with my sweetie at home!

Friday evening we made tacos, guac, and margaritas, which is quickly becoming a weekly staple in our house. If you don't have time to make your own guacamole, Walmart actually has some amazing premade spicy guac in the produce section. We love this stuff!

Christopher had to work on Saturday, so I traveled to Jesup to attend one of my bridesmaid's very own bridal shower! It was the sweetest couples shower, literally! There were so many different yummy cookies and ice cream flavors served to the guests.

Amanda and Jared are getting married in July, and I've loved being apart of it all! They're a very outdoorsy couple, so the shower decor and their gifts definitely reflected that. I loved the tree stump with their initials carved into it! Amanda very thoughtfully gifted her hosts with jars of honey labeled with "Thank you for bee-ing so sweet!" which was the perfect touch.
Bride, Groom, & adorable Flower Girl

Amanda with two of her Phi Mu bridesmaids!
On Sunday, Christopher and I went to Savannah to meet with his new condo renters, browse through a few car lots, and have brunch at The Wyld Dock Bar. I have been wanting to visit since they opened, and the weather yesterday was absolutely perfect for it! It was sunny and 77 degrees, with the coolest of breezes coming in off the water. I swear, the salt air made the food and drinks even more yummy than they already were!

We started off with a pound of peel and eat shrimp and a couple of cocktails. I had the Crab Cake Benedict and Christopher ordered the fish tacos for our entrees. They were both incredibly delicious. I fell in love with the atmosphere of this hidden gem, and know we will be back soon. 

Bridal Portraits

There haven't been a ton of wedding pictures floating around the interwebs because 1. They aren't done yet {Who wants to rush the photographer? Take your time and make me look fab, please!!} and 2. I really want to try and submit our photos to a few wedding magazines in hopes of getting it featured {because I'm super proud of it all!} and one of the stipulations of submission is that there is basically no prior 'scoop' on the event.

So in an effort to post-pone as long as possible, and give myself time to reflect, I thought I would share just a few of my bridal portraits! I took these about a month before the wedding which was a great run through of hair, make up, and all the accessories. I took the puppies with me as a surprise for Christopher, which was revealed on our wedding day when a framed engagement photo was swapped during the ceremony with a bridal portrait. He loved it!

Guacamole Addiction

Almost the moment we stepped on our cruise, I began to have intense cravings for...guacamole. Super strange, I know, especially considering I just started like guac a few weeks ago. I love avocados, but something about guac was kind of weird to me. Anyways.

Cruises are known to have a wide variety of endless amounts of foods, most of which are not chips and dip, unfortunately. Luckily for us, there was a Mexican restaurant on board called Sabor. We learned of a guacamole and margarita making class to be hosted at lunch on our final day at sea, so Christopher and I signed up, the great lovers of Mexican food that we are. 

I am so glad we did! Not only did we have an endless amount of guac, tacos, and multiple margs, but we walked away with the recipes for each after learning how to make them! We tried our own variation of each last week once we were back home, which made a Wednesday night dinner really fun. I'm also glad to have a little honeymoon souvenir to go into my recipe card box from my bridal shower!

Guacamole Recipe for 4
1/2 cup of diced red onion
2 tablespoons of diced fresh jalapeno
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 avocados
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 of a lime, juice
1/2 of a lemon, juice
1/4 cup cilantro
1/3 cup diced tomatoes

In the Mocajete {in my world, the grindy thing}, grind the onion, jalepeno and garlic. Add the cumin. Score the inside of the avocado into small cubes and remove the outer skin. Add teh avocado and mash lightly to a lumpy consistency. Add the juices, salt, cilantro, and mash again. Add the tomato last {if you add earlier, the guac will turn brownish}, and enjoy with fresh tortilla chips!

Margarita Recipe
1 oz. tequila
1 oz. orange liquor
2 oz. lime juice {fresh is best, but Rose's works well, too!}
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. of simple syrup

Shake, with ice, and serve in sea salt rimmed glasses.

I think there might be more couples cooking classes in our future! 

Week Recap: Honeymoon Cruise

In the water at St. Maarten

I'm back! It may have taken me a full week to recover from my honeymoon, but the house is mostly clean, and I finally download the hundreds of pictures from our cruise last night, and felt the blogging buzz again!

We left for an eight day cruise the day after our wedding. We went on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas Eastern Caribbean tour which included stops at their private island Coco Cay, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten in the Virgin Islands. The entire trip, Christopher and I kept saying "This is so much nicer than our college cruise!" and it really was. The ship was glitzy, the stops were fabulous, and we truly had a ton of fun. We also had a beautiful balcony room, which was such an improvement over the interior stateroom shared by four college kids a few years ago!

Christopher and I love dressing up and going out for dinner and drinks, so it was wonderful to be able to do that for a week straight, even if the scale wasn't thrilled with that idea when we got home. We had some amazing food: prime rib and lobster one night, lamb the next, with as many desserts as we could handle! One of the bars on board made the absolute best Bloody Mary's, and we quickly figured out which spots made true Tom Collins', and not just gin with sour mix.

Freedom of the Seas

We loved going to the shows each night. There were a couple Broadway style productions, various comedians, an illusionist, and even an ice performance on the indoor skating rink. We did a little bit of shopping in port, but mostly relaxed on the beaches or the upper deck by the pool. We did 'casino' a little bit--I even won $40 on a slot machine on my first try!

BLT Bloody Mary 

Of course it wouldn't be a trip with me without an "urgent care" visit...I got to stop by the ship doctor for a round of antibiotics midway through the trip, but that didn't slow us down. Of course, by Saturday, we were pretty ready to come home to the pups. Sunday we got up super early to leave as soon as the doors opened, and we came home to a fully stocked kitchen and cleaned house by my wonderful mother. That was the best! 

St. Maarten

We spent our first week back home redeveloping our routines {Christopher started his final pharmacy rotation at the local hospital}, opening wedding gifts, unpacking, and doing lots of laundry. We've always enjoyed cooking in the kitchen together, so we have done that most nights during the week. This weekend we went to the Georgia Southern vs. Clemson baseball game, cleaned some more, and went bowling. I think so far, we've both had a lot of fun doing this newlywed thing!
Our Wedding Rings