First Anniversary Gift Ideas

I am having the hardest time wrapping my mind around the fact that our first wedding anniversary is this weekend. It's come up so fast! And while I spent years, literally, planning this once in a lifetime event, I have to admit that April 2017 snuck on my kind of quick before I realized I needed to start thinking about an anniversary gift for my husband!

First anniversary gifts are traditionally paper, but the modern gift is a clock. The clock can seem to be much easier than finding the perfect paper gift, but there are so really unique ideas out there for both! First up, a classic wristwatch. Something simple, yet elegant, and your love...*insert eye-rolling here.* But for reals! I classic watch is something that can be worn daily, can withstand the test of time and your love...  I'm really loving this gold one by Daniel Wellington. My husband loves his Daniel Wellington watches, and this one for the ladies is just a little bit fancier than the original ones, which I really like a lot.

A pocket watch might be a great gift for a traditionalist. It can be personalized and engraved, and eventually handed down to future generations. These could also be great groomsmen or Father's Day gifts, too.

For the paper, there is the classic and much beloved embossed stationary. This is a great gift for guys and girls; with a new last name, the bride's monogram has probably changed, and this is more than likely a gift your guy doesn't have. I think it's important for every man to have a set of stationary for the occasional thank you note or love letter!

A custom painted bridal bouquet portrait is probably my most favorite idea. Have an image or feature from your wedding day painted {on paper!} is a unique way to fulfill the paper 'requirements.' It's a one-of-a-kind way to remember one of the biggest days of your life.

And finally, custom paper coasters--how fun are these?! With different designs and logo options, these could be updated annually, seasonally, or during different walks of life. I love using our custom crested cups from our wedding around the house, and this just takes that personalization to another level.

Four Years a Blog

Surprise! The blog is four years old! Who knew the blog birthday would end up being at such an exciting week of wedding memories, too. To celebrate, I wanted to share a few things about myself that you may or may not know, as well as a few of the most popular blog posts for those who are new around here! 

The top four most popular blog pasts are: Invited to Party {a Pinterest success!}, I never thought I'd write this blog post, Bridal Portraits, and Being a Bride: Lauren. I love that these are the most popular because they were truly lifetime memory milestones for me. Invited to Party displayed the amazing bachelorette and bridal shower invites designed for me by my bestie. This shower and my bachelorette weekend were two of my favorite wedding memories. 

Sandwiched in the middle is the moving to Dublin announcement, and  the post previewing my bridal portraits. Big deals, and big days for me. Deciding to move was hard. Deciding to marry Christopher wasn't. Both were happy times that had special, unique challenges associated with them. One thing the blog does for me that I'm so thankful for is the chronicling of my life: the good, the bad, the scary, the exciting. Highs and lows, life is definitely a roller coaster {which is something I love...roller coasters that is. And life, too, of course!}

The fourth most popular post of all time is my bridal feature on sweet Lauren! Not only has she been a blessing to me as a sweet social media/blog friend, but she's been a warm smile for my own mother when I have been many hours away, and I'm so thankful for the fate that brought us together. If you'd like to share your own unique wedding or pre-wedding event, send me an email and I'll share the questionnaire! 

Now for a few things about me that you might not know....My dream concert would be Rod Stewart and Fleetwood Mac, followed by Hootie & the Blowfish. I love all things sweet, but will eat sour candy until my tongue hurts. I have really terrible print handwriting, and write almost exclusively in cursive. I dream of traveling to Greece someday {my people! Maybe...}. I love the smell of cold in the freezer section at the grocery store. I love roller coasters, but am terrified of heights. My biggest fear is definitely snakes, followed closely by pretty much anything else without legs. My hidden talent is making my eye squeak similarly to how people can squeak their arm pit. I also taught myself how to do that flower thing with my tongue. 

I love the Backstreet Boys, cake, gin, and hot dogs. I'm not really a shoe person. I collect clothes, deviled egg plates, tubes of lipstick. I bite my nails, and can fall asleep almost anywhere. I love trashy reality TV {have you seen Mama June?!}, hot fudge sundaes from Dairy Queen, and pictures. Instagram is my favorite social media platform, and Snapchat is probably my least favorite. I sleep with too many pillows according to my husband, and drink four cups of coffee each morning for breakfast. 

So to help me celebrate four years of sharing my little life with the world, would you do something for me? Would you help me grow the blog in one {or all!} of four ways?

1. Like Starting Out Southern on Facebook
2. Follow me on Instagram @piperellice
3. Follow me on Twitter @piperellice 
4. Subscribe to get email notifications of new posts and other updates {box to the right of this post!}

Your support not only encourages me, but also the awesome brands I've been so lucky to work with over the last year or so! I love hearing from you, and have been surprised so many times lately with new friends and acquaintances reaching out and letting me know how much they enjoy my content. Always feel free to leave a comment, share a post you enjoy, pin an idea, or chat me up!

Emily Ley's Simplified Planner Review

New job means it's time for a new planner, right? With a totally new and ever-changing schedule, I was struggling with scheduling which is something I hadn't experienced before! Last fall, I picked up a great $7 planner from TJ Maxx that was great for the price, but wasn't cutting it any longer. I'm a former die-hard Lilly planner kind of girl, but was ready to branch out to something new. I also write down everything, down to memories like first kisses and anniversaries, so I knew I needed a lot of room to write since my planner is also my diary. 

After some research, I decided on Emily Ley's Simplified Planner. I'm currently spending my evenings working through her book "Grace not Perfection" which is all about embracing simplicity, and celebrating joy, and thought a planner focusing on the same things would be the perfect fit! After Instagramming some fresh and fun office supplies, including my new planner, I got a lot of requests to do a review on how I've enjoyed it!
Similar in size and weight to the standard Lilly planner, I love how customizable this planner is. There is a page for every day which features an hour-by-hour list on the left side, and a "To Do" list on the right side. The bottom quarter is broken up in two sections for dinner planning and notes. The top of each page also has a brief inspirational quote that I look forward to reading daily! Additionally, there is a monthly spread with a month "To Do" list, and tabs dividing each month up. I also ordered my planner with my monogram, as well as a green magnetic page marker

It's so helpful to me to keep two separate lists each day of events and meetings, and actual tasks that need to be completed. With the focus being daily, it's easier to keep track of items that might not get done each day and transfer it to a more manageable time frame. 

picture practice

Last weekend, I spent the day in Statesboro hanging out with friends and enjoying the spring day. My Statesboro family had asked me to take some family and senior pictures, and I was thrilled and honored to practice my "fancy camera" skills. Kalli is a tried and true pageant princess, so she's super comfortable in front of a camera which made my job a lot easier.

It was great practice for me, and I'm so glad to still be taking part in their special family moments! 

c e l e b r a t e

Happy Birthday, Layla Claire! My first furbaby is finally four years old. Layla is a black maltipoo. She weighs eight pounds {always, no matter how fluffy her hair gets or how chunky my brothers claim she has gotten}, loves to kiss, play with her ball, and loves her mommy! She is such a joy to have in my life. I love how excited she gets every time I come home, how she snuggles so tight against my back every night, and how funny she is when she 'fights' her big sister, Samantha. 

To celebrate, I treated the girls to a puppy-approved ice cream party of whipped cream and sprinkles served in vintage ice cream bowls. They were a little suspicious at first as they're rarely ever given people food {although they've been known to sneak a quesadilla or two off the coffee table and into the bed...Layla...} but they seemed to enjoy their afternoon treat! The girls definitely liked the plain whipped cream better than the usual pet store birthday treats I find; I'll have to think of something for Samantha's birthday in August! 

Tassels & Poms

Need an easy, breezy look for a springtime garden soiree? Then I've got the look for you! Off the should tops and dresses are one of the hottest styles right now, and this light and airy barely-blush pink dress from is perfect for a steamy summer evening event. I especially love the fun flutter sleeves, and the teeny tiny white pom pom detailing along the bottom of the dress. 

Two of my favorite warm weather staples are tassel earrings and my Jacks. These Baublebar tassels are super light weight and come in over 20 colors! I think I'm due for an emerald pair sometime soon. The Devyn mid-wedge Jack Roger sandal is a great everyday wedge. It's not high, but makes the simplest sundress slightly more "fancy" as I like to say. And of course, it still has that traditional "Jacks" vibe that I love. I tend to lean towards the platinum color of Jacks shoes, but this gold is really fun, too, and still what I'd consider a neutral! 

Now to get to party planning! CJM and I keep discussing a housewarming party...pineapple party or low country boil?  

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Southern Style Deviled Eggs

As I'm getting ready for our first family dinner in our new home tonight, I realized that I needed just one more dish to round out my dinner menu of one dish pork tenderloin, cheesy spinach, and yeast rolls. So I whipped up my tried and true, and often requested, delicious deviled eggs.

So easy, and so yummy, I wanted to share with you ahead of Easter and a spring season of get togethers! To start, fill a pot of with however many eggs you desire, covering the eggs with cold water. Be sure to sprinkle a little salt in the pot before bringing the water to a rolling boil on the stove. Once the eggs start bouncing around in the boil, remove them from the heat and cover for at least ten minutes. Then, submerge the eggs in an ice bath until they're nice and chilled.

Once the eggs cool, slice them in half, setting aside the whites and putting the yolk in a mixing bowl. Now here comes the really technical part: mix together a two large spoonfuls of mayonnaise {only Blue Plate or Duke's will do!}, a fork-full of sweet relish, a generous squirt of mustard, and a large dash of salt and pepper.

Mix together on high with a hand mixer until smooth, and a beautiful, pastel yellow. Be sure to taste test... I like mine a little more "mustard-y" and yellow than some folks. Fill a sandwich bag with the mix like a piping bag, trim the tip, and fill the hard boiled egg white with swirls of golden filling. I like to top mine of with a generous sprinkle of paprika, and occasionally half of a green olive!

I use this same "recipe" to make egg salad, except I chop up the whites and include in the mix. Then I like to toast some whole wheat bread to complete the sandwich. What a steal...two recipes in one blog post!