Cozy Casual

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click and/or make a purchase through certain links on this site or any related social media platforms, I may make a commission from it. I will always disclose if a post is sponsored. 

This weekend, CJM and I went to Atlanta for a really terrible football game that I honestly don't even want to talk about. Other than that, we had the absolute best time! Friday night, we got in kind of late, but our hotel was amazing--we stayed at The W Downtown, and it was so nice. We had a blast at the bar until way too late in the evening.

Saturday was a chilly and windy, but beautiful day. We walked to the Georgia Dome for the game, where I realized I forgot our tickets in the room {of course} about half way there. After the game, we had dinner at one of our favorite places: Ted's Montana Grill. There is something about a massive bison burger that makes both of us so happy.

Sunday morning we got up and brunched and shopped at Ikea before heading back south. It was really our first weekend getaway since the honeymoon, and we both left feeling so thankful that we had time together this weekend.

Saturday, I broke out a few of my favorite fall staples. I layered my favorite Old Navy chambray dress with this tan plaid Mud Pie wrap, topping it all off with a wool hat from Nordstrom and my favorite Talbots riding boots. The Georgia Dome has lots of rules about what you can and cannot bring in, but my monogrammed clutch from Walker Boutique passed the test...a little bit of sassiness may or may not have also helped make that happen, but a girl needs a bag!

P.S. Sorry for the poor picture bags aren't allowed in the Dome either, so we had to do some quick iPhone photography!

Girlfriend Gift Guide

Shopping for the girls is probably one of my most favorite parts about the holiday season. They're all into different things, and I like to gift things that complement their interests, lives, or passions. Being in our mid-twenties {yikes, that sounds funny!}, a lot of the girls are traveling frequently for work, weddings, and getaways. A monogrammed travel jewelry case is absolutely the way to go. It keeps all of the chains and pieces separated so they don't get tangled, and helps keep earrings in their place and not lost at the bottom of a duffle bag. This can also be a great gift for a bride-to-be who will be heading out on her honeymoon soon!

Scarves are always a stylish gift, and I love this soft, gold fringe scarf from Gap. Kick it up a notch, and have it embroidered with their initials in a similar color for an elegant personalization. Speaking of gold and personalization, the Insta-famous gold stripe Kate Spade travel mug can be customized with a variety of monograms or colors when ordered through Swoozies, which is the absolute best one-stop gift shop!

I absolutely love Christmas time makeup gift sets. They're my favorite! There is so much excitement in getting a million lip glosses or eyeshadows to last the whole year long. Ulta always has a great selection of items and brands to meet a variety of price points.

Everyone has that friend that is always looking for their keys, or their phone, or both! Featured on Oprah's favorite things for 2016, the Orbit Keyfinder finds it all, and is only $30 and comes in a variety of colors, so it's the perfect gift for any girl or guy.

Winter is all about spending cozy time around the fire, and these multi-color glitter slippers are the perfect fireside accessory! They're also available in gold. Another favorite accessory is the Charleston Rice Bead bracelets. They come in so many different colors to mix, match, and stack! These bracelets are so unique, and can be paired with coordinating necklaces and earrings, too.

Girls love wine. There's no doubt about that! So give your best wine-o a Rewined wine scented candle! Pick their favorite "flavor" of wine, or surprise them with something new. These are the best smelling candles, ever! I love the moscato scent, of course!

I think I'm putting my Christmas decorations up next week, but for some reason I'm already feeling behind! So many people already have theirs done. At least all of my Christmas shopping is completed except for three!

Being a Bride: Lauren

all photos by Jesse Nichols Photography
Bride: Lauren Kirven Snipes
Groom: Forrest Snipes
Wedding Date: August 20th, 2016
Total number in wedding party: 18
Total guests: 250
Ceremony: Greenwood Baptist Church in Florence, SC
Reception: The Hellenic Center, Florence, SC

How you met, and the proposal: 
In the Spring of 2014, I was teaching a Bible study of women in my town. A sweet friend of mine was participating and mentioned one evening that she knew the perfect man for me. At the time, she was serving on a team with Forrest at our church, and flat out told him one Sunday morning that he should meet me. We met on Good Friday after a church service and the rest is history.

Our proposal was almost derailed by me coming down with a horrible sinus infection the day before. I stayed home from work and, to my surprise, so did Forrest. He waited on me hand and foot, took me to the doctor and tried his best to nurse me back to health. Little did I know, he planned to propose the very next afternoon! {I suppose that’s why he was so relieved when my flu test came back negative!}

Forrest told me that he’d like us to go to our local state park to spend some time enjoying the Fall weather and reading our Bibles together. While this may sound out of the ordinary to some, it seemed completely normal to me! Forrest is known for being quite the romantic- and one of our favorite things to do is spend time in the Word together. This place was also so very special to us- we had one of our very first dates there- a canoe excursion!

We walked to the very end of the suspension bridge and he pulled out his Bible, then handed me a brand- new one. He explained that he wanted to get me a surprise, and he already planned what we should read together. Again, this wasn’t out of the ordinary. Forrest knows my love for the Word, and for surprises! He opened the Bible to 1 Corinthians Chapter 13, The Love Chapter. Written at the top and highlighted in pink were the words “Will You Marry Me?” As soon as I read the words, Forrest was down on one knee. The next moments were fuzzy- lots of tears and squeals and giggles- and of course, a loud, resounding “YES!”

We spent the next hour by ourselves enjoying our engagement, then traveled to Forrest’s parent’s home in a neighboring town to celebrate with both of our families. It was a precious and joyous time we’ll never forget.

What was the best bridal/pre-wedding event you attended, and why?  
I was absolutely blessed beyond measure to have seven gorgeous bridal showers. While each of them were precious and so very sweet, my bachelorette was one for the books! My best friend and MOH, Katlyn, hosted us for the weekend at her stunning home in Bluffton, South Carolina. It was a picture perfect weekend and so special having all of my best girls under one roof.

What was something  that made your day special?
One of my favorite weddings traditions in the South is the Cake Pull. My sweet aunts hosted a bridal brunch for myself and my maids on the day before the wedding and incorporated this sweet tradition for us to enjoy. For those not familiar- a cake was baked and small charms, attached to individual ribbons, were inserted in the sides. Each bridesmaid, friend and family member present at the brunch pulled a ribbon, exposing the charm that “predicted their future.” In my opinion, a cake pull is like a Southern Girl’s fortune cookie. We had the best time laughing over each charm pulled.

What was the best wedding gift you received?
During my bridal brunch, my mother presented me with a tiny box. Inside the box was a safety pin with a delicate gold heart attached. She explained that, on the day I was born, my Granddaddy purchased a necklace containing the charm. She saved it for 24 years for me to wear on my wedding day. Since we lost my Grandfather to Alzheimer’s years ago, it was incredibly precious to wear a piece of him on my special day. We ended up pinning it to the crinoline underneath my dress- it felt like he was right there with me!

What inspired your wedding day?
I love all things pretty- including- but not limited to-  all shades of pink, navy blue, gold and glitter. We wanted our wedding to feel deeply personal, yet welcoming. The rich pink of our flowers and elegant gold accents on the tables felt pulled together, yet warm. It was a dream.

What is something you couldn’t live without for your wedding day?
There is absolutely NO WAY our wedding could have gone on without our biscuit bar.   As a southern girl, biscuits are a part of my heritage! No gathering is complete with a warm plate full of buttermilk treats and jams to match. We felt that our heart for hospitality was displayed by our carefully selected menu. We wanted everyone to feel like they were sitting down for a large Sunday afternoon lunch with us.

Wedding décor/planning/survival/DIY suggestions:
Comparison is the thief of joy! Utilize Pinterest, magazines and other resources, but never let yourself get lost in someone else’s dream day.  Decide what your dream day looks like and go from there. Remember- it’s YOUR wedding day, not everyone else’s.

 I also recommend purchasing a Southern Weddings Planner- it was an invaluable resource for me throughout our entire engagement. If you’re a fan of spreadsheets, lists and checklists, this is an essential item for you. Inside the planner, there are so many truths and snippets of encouragement in regards to planning your marriage, not just your wedding. Focusing on this thought got us through stressful decisions and moments of impatience.

Connect with the Bride
Facebook: Lauren Snipes
Instagram: @laurenkirvensnipes
Pinterest: Lauren Kirven 
Email: lakirven at gmail dot com

Want to be the next featured bride? Or are you a MOH with a story to tell? Email me at piperellice at gmail dot com to get all the info! 

November Recipe Review | Thanksgiving Favorites

I think I broke my newlywed resolution last month. I can't remember cooking a single new recipe! We were just so busy all month that the nights we cooked, it was just easy favorites.

This past weekend when I was home overnight, my grandmother cooked Thanksgiving for us so I thought I'd share a couple of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes! I'll be cooking the mac & cheese for Christopher's family's Thanksgiving next week like I did last year, and it was a big crowd pleaser along with the yummy green bean casserole.

 I  love green bean casserole. I love green beans, but I especially LOVE the french fried onions. The hubs thinks it's super gross, but I'll snack on them straight from the bag while making this dish, so I always buy the extra large bag. I usually follow the recipe straight on the back of the bag, but if it ever calls for soy sauce, I substitute it for Worcestershire instead, and add an extra pinch of black pepper. I also like to mix this dish up ahead of time to give it plenty of time to soak up all the flavors in the fridge prior to baking.
 Our family is a marshmallow and crunchy topping kind of family. We want our diagonal rows of flavors so we can get a mix of both toppings in each bite. Just marshmallows, and your sweet potato casserole is too mushy. Just crunchy topping, and you're left missing the sticky goodness of the mallows. You shouldn't have to choose on Thanksgiving!! But we have come to one decision: no nuts, please!

This is by far the absolute best macaroni and cheese recipe I've ever had, but what else do you expect when it comes from Paula Deen? Creamy in the middle with a crunchy top {we like our crunchy/creamy mix, okay?!} if you bake it in the oven, but this recipe also works in the crock pot, which is what I do for the large crowd at Christopher's family gathering. Also, don't skip on the dry mustard and black pepper. It really makes this dish a savory one to remember. 

No meal at my grandmother's would be complete without her chocolate pie. An easy but so delicious recipe, I like including this on my holiday recipe list because it can be made the day before, and "iced" with Cool Whip right before serving. I think it's my favorite because it kind of is a s'mores pie, which is one of my favorite desserts.

I hope these recipes might make your holiday meal planning a little bit easier. They're definitely tried and true, and I'm incredibly thankful for each one of you!

Newlywed Christmas Card Pictures

In honor of this sweet guy's birthday today, I thought I'd share the pictures we took a few weeks ago for our Christmas cards! I'm still trying to decide which card design I like...there are so many, and it brings back the anxieties from picking a save the date.

Big thanks to my "forever maid of honor" for snapping these quickly with my camera!

Outfit details
CJM: Shirt/belt from Cotton Brothers
PDM: Dress from Red Dress Boutique | Cotton Boll earrings & bracelet from John Wind | Leather quilted riding boots from Talbots, similar.

The Best Skin Care Product I've Ever Used

Facebook stresses me out. Elections stress me out. Football games stress me out.

Either way you slice it, there is a lot of stress happening in my various news feeds this week. It's homecoming here at Georgia Southern tonight, and we need to win two of our last three games to make it to a bowl game. Needless to say, this year's performance has not been as stellar in recent history.

Besides the current stressors, I live in a perpetual state of stress, unlike my sweet, typically carefree husband. When I turned 22, I began to worry about wrinkles. Now that I'm 25, I think about my skin more now than ever. I'm pretty blessed in the genetics department...both of my grandmothers look no where near their age, we tend to keep our dark hair for decades {so far, I've never colored mine!}, and I have one hot mama. But that doesn't mean that I don't want to do all I can to preserve my youth.

Let me introduce to you the best skin care product I've ever used: Anew Ultimate Supreme Advanced Performance Creme. The ultimate in luxury performance skincare that indulges your skin with a supreme experience and rewards it with immediate and long term results on most visible signs of aging, even on the most advanced ones, including deep wrinkles, creases, expression lines and skin firmness.

Avon has been developing this product for over 10 years. And who doesn't want to use a product that has actual gold and pearl extract?! This creme literally shimmers and makes my skin glow. Additionally, this is skin care that I can afford. This brand new product is currently on sale for $35, and will only be $50 when it's full priced. As amazing as other products sound, I cannot commit to a $200+ skin care routine, especially when I see visible, lightning fast results through Avon.

 Besides being much more affordable and smelling amazing, this product has smoothed and moisturized my skin, while reducing overall acne and fading scars. It really is a one stop shop! Check out this video about how to really maximize your nighttime routine results using the Vitamin C serum and the retinol Line Eraser.

Interested? Shop with me and order your own regimine from my Avon representative store: . Some of my favorite products in addition to the Ultimate Supreme Creme, Vitamin C serum, and Line Eraser are the 18 hour long lasting foundation, makeup primer, and mineral powder!  

Couples Christmas List

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click and/or make a purchase through certain links on this site or any related social media platforms, I may make a commission from it. I will always disclose if a post is sponsored. 

I'm really excited to celebrate our first married Christmas this year. We've worked hard to establish a lot of traditions already with each other, as well as our families, in the almost five years we've been together. This year truly begins the "couples Christmas gift" idea for us! So with Christopher's help, {and some personal input, of course!} I've curated a group of great gifts for the couples in your life!

First up, luggage. I wish we would have splurged before our honeymoon {but who can with a wedding right before!} on nice, rolling luggage. We had one roller, and a bunch of bags, and were running through the cruise check-in points right before the boarding cut-off. If we'd had multiple rollers, it would have gone much faster! I really like this hardsided set that is a nice, neutral gold color.

Who doesn't love a good bonfire in the fall and winter? Living in town, a bonfire is kind of out of the question, but I'd love a nice fire pit for us to sit around with friends while entertaining!

The soundbar is a piece of technology that in the past, I never fully understood or appreciated. But Christopher loves them, and I've grown to enjoy the added experience it provides to watching movies or listening to music in the house. There are many options in a wide array of price points, so this becomes a great gift for the techie on your gift list.

Garden & Gun is one of our favorite magazines. With beautiful photography, delicious recipes, and awesome travel guides, it hits all of our interests with a southern focus. Both of these "southerner's" books would be something we would enjoy exploring together! The Southerner's Handbook | The Southerner's Cookbook 

I've already picked up this precious Mud-Pie "Our first Christmas as Mr. & Mrs." ornament for myself from a local boutique, but I have a couple other couples that I can't wait to gift this to!

Right around Christmas each year, I get a hankering to watch all the Harry Potter movies. They're kinda Christmassy with all the snow and candles, and when I have a few days off, I love to curl up under a warm blanket and binge watch the series together with Christopher. I used to watch it on ABC Family, but since we've switched to streaming, I haven't had my fix! Boxed DVD sets have also become one of the more reasonably priced gift ideas in recent years, too.

Speaking of curling up under a warm blanket, we love soft blankets, and this herringbone monogrammed one from Mud-Pie does the trick, while coordinating perfectly with the rest of our home decor.

I really love a unique, stand out kind of gift, and these Be Mixed all natural, calorie free, cocktail mixers are just the thing! The variety pack contains three flavors for making margaritas, Moscow Mules, or mojitos: three of our absolute favorite drinks. Order a set now for the amateur bartenders in your life, or for your own bar cart!

New Car Accessories

Last night I got my first ever, brand new car! I'm sure the whole world is sick and tired of hearing me talk about my dream of a white SUV with a third row; I know Christopher was! After much debating on body styles and features, we decided to go with a Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium. It met all of my "requirements": white, tan leather, third row, sunroof; and was sporty looking in the body style for him.

But now comes the fun part: the accessories. The hubs puts nothing on his car, but I like a little personality and flair {monogram, anyone?}. These are a few things I'd like to deck "Fancy the 4Runner."

My favorite pewter GS Alumni license plate frame is nowhere to be found!
This one from Amazon would be a good alternative. 

If not going the Georgia Southern route, I am loving all things marble right now.
A monogrammed set from Etsy would do the trick! 

Speaking of marble and monograms...I may have already ordered
this Moon & Lola keychain in the "Blonde Tortoise" marble-y color
with my gold monogram! 

I've never really had to think about a trailer hitch before, but
this cover would be the perfect way to show my GS pride!