As I sit here looking back on 2016, I can’t help but feel overwhelmingly nostalgic and thankful. I know the year had plenty of wins and challenges for us all, but it was without a doubt my favorite year yet.

There are some pretty obvious reasons I guess:

Marrying Eric, the most wonderful human, was the best ever.

looking back on 2016

My Bachelorette Party in Austin, which consisted of dancing and sunshine for three days with my best girls.

Austin Bachelorette

E & I moving into our first place together, a cozy two bedroom apartment where we love hosting others. I’ll have to share more once we’ve got all the wall decor up!

looking back on 2016

Visiting a new country – Jamaica for our Honeymoon –  and getting my scuba diving license (more of this to come next week).

looking back on 2016

This year, I also loved discovering new hobbies in crafting, like hand lettering and creating some unique pieces for our wedding.  Relaunching Days By Day with a fresh new look was also an exciting milestone.

looking back on 2016

looking back on 2016

Blogging was sporadic at times when wedding planning took over, but I just love it so much and did the best I could throughout it all. According to the numbers, here are the top 5 posts from 2016:

  1. Married Life Rocks // My first post after the wedding, where I shared some of the favorite pictures I had so far.
  2. Our Store + Celebrating Four Years! // I’d written about E & I’s incredible Parisian engagement, but never the classic “our story” post – this was finally it.
  3. Happy Anniversary, Chicago! // Reminiscing on one year in The Windy City + my top moments.
  4. Changing My Last Name // Real & raw thoughts on what a new name meant for me.
  5. How to Plan a Wedding From Far Away // Living in Illinois, getting married in Texas – my top tips for  planning a long distance wedding.

I love getting to share thoughts and moments with all of you, and am so thankful for the opportunity to do so. So a huge THANK YOU. For real, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for checking out my little space on the internet and all your support.

I’ll be honest. I’ve got some goals in mind for the blog in 2017, but the everlasting busyness of life and the feeling of not knowing what the heck you’re doing can seem overwhelming.

I always push people to pursue their passions and take it one step at at time though, so I need to do the same!

Well, what a year, friends! I truly am thankful for 2016. For my husband, my home, my loved ones. For all the incredible moments, and for the challenging ones that helped me to grow.

Wishing you and your loved ones the Happiest of New Years yet. See you in 2017!

Days By Day

last name

Ok, so my last name is still legally my maiden name, but we all know once it’s Facebook official, it’s the real deal.

A couple weeks ago I finally made the switch. I was, and without a doubt still am, happy to have Eric’s last name! That was never a question. I just didn’t think changing it would feel or look so strange.

When I logged into Facebook, I was grinning from ear to ear and squealing at how more real it was going to be. First though, I wanted to ensure my maiden name wasn’t totally gone and still searchable.

After doing some research on how I could still keep it in my profile (sharing how below), I was ready for the big update.

last name

I, of course, could not remember my password, which delayed the whole thing. You also can’t change your name for 60 days if you mess up, so it says double check for misspellings. Double check for me became check 100 times, because suddenly, I had no idea how to spell anything.

E confirmed everything looked right and I submitted my new last name.

After a moment, I went from squealing in my seat to watery eyes and sniffle central. I felt like a total weirdo. Why was I about to shed a tear all of a sudden out of no where?

I knew what was going on with the suddenly conflicting feelings. I had it a new last name and it like really hit me. One of the most defining aspects of myself an individual was no longer the same. Staring at my photo, and this new name next to it just felt overwhelming in the moment.

I quickly explained the surprise I was feeling since poor E was definitely a little confused. Next thing I knew, just looking at him had a giant smile on my face. We couldn’t help but laugh away at the newness and hilarity of the whole situation.

I was completely at peace knowing this new last name symbolized the incredible husband I had and the little family we now make up. It made me appreciate my roots and family even more too.

last name

^ Paris in Summer of 2015 – the trip where we got engaged! It’s the best story ever – see here.

***It should be known that E is a real life gem and said I could hypen my last names if I wanted to be like Beyonce. This is why I married him. Hehe.

Oh, and if you’re looking to change your name on Facebook, but still want your maiden name (or any name for that matter) tied to your profile, it’s easy! Just go to your About section > Details About You > Add Name.

Here’s to these random and little moments that make us human and relatable, right? I couldn’t help but share because I know this little glimpse in time was real and raw, and that’s what being true to yourself is all about.

Time to go wrap some gifts, because I’m running behind as usual. How is Christmas already this week??

Days By Day

P.S. Thanks to our dear friends and photographers over at Feather & Twine for a couple of these wedding pic sneak peeks!

counting down

Two posts in one week, what what! Life is a little chaotic right now and that means I just gotta do the best I can – because not everything is going to get done all the time. Whether that be laundry, blogging, cleaning, etc. Anyone with me??

Even though life is chaotic, it’s also very, very exciting! 44 days left until Eric and I get married – eeeek!!! Now that we’re almost a month out, it seems like we’re at the turning point where we are bouncing around everywhere and talking about how time can’t go by fast enough.

Now, it’s just a matter of staying calm and making sure we’re ahead of the game in as much of the final stuff as possible – and continuing to freak out about just how dang close we are!

Aside from all this wedding shenanigans, here is a scoop of life Currently

{Cooking // More in general…}

Ok, well mostly I am being the chef’s (aka Eric’s) assistant. This guy is cookin’ up fresh salmon, cajun dishes, baked pasta, the list goes on…

This week though, I whipped up some of my own goodness. Granted nothing I make is the fanciest of dishes, but hey, everyone’s gotta start somewhere! How about some freshly seasoned chicken, veggies, and whole grain rotini pasta for ya??

counting down

{Wearing // Still summer clothes?}

I think everyone’s been a little weirded out that we’re almost to the end of September and we’re still hitting up the 80s every day. I think everyone is also trying not to complain. As much as I want fall here (it’s my favorite!), I know after fall comes winter…and winter can mean polar vortex here in Chicago.

For now though, we’re still rockin’ the shorts, tanks, and dresses! You might’ve caught this white Target maxi on Instagram yesterday. I found it on sale for $12.99 in the Junior’s section and it’s pretty much my favorite sale find ever!

It was the perfect wedding shower dress and now I’ll keep wearing it until the weather says no.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-8-45-21-pm

{Counting down // to a VACATION.}

As mentioned earlier, E & I are obviously beyond ecstatic about the wedding. Can it be November tomorrow? We are also sooo pumped for a real vacation and to be able to travel again!!

Without a doubt going home to Texas always makes us so happy, but this year we’ve missed exploring out of the country since we’ve saved up time and money for the big day. The morning after though, we’ll be jet setting off to Jamaica and we can’t freakin’ wait.

counting down

The wait will totally be worth it and much needed after all these busy months. I remember people having said they needed the honeymoon after all this wedding stuff, and I used to be like oh sure, but it’s probably been so fun, they’re probably exaggerating. And it is SO FUN (I’m going to miss it so much!!!), but it’s also just tiring and can feel like a lot.

So I get it now…you really do need the honeymoon. It’ll be a well-deserved getaway with my best friend to celebrate our next chapter as Mr. & Mrs. WAHOO!

counting down

And maybe most exciting of all?? We’ll get to add another pin to this pretty vintage market find. Ok, not most exciting, but it’s up there.

Days By Day

 

date ideas

When we all have lots going on in our schedules, it can be tricky to not get stuck doing the same thing. When your finally notbusy, being tired makes it hard to break from the usual too!

With this in mind, I crafted a list of twenty-five date ideas that Eric and I either love doing, or have on our list. Hoping this generates some inspiration for your upcoming plans – whether it’s time with your S.O. or some gal pals!

  1. Tour de Noms, a twist on going out to dinner – pick three new restaurants and try a dish at each for courses of a meal!
  2. Search for a class on Groupon you can take together.
  3. Try out a new recipe. // Eric and I love doing this Sunday nights for dinner. Make extras and you have a couple lunches for the week!
  4. People watch and create backstories. // Airports or parks make the perfect setting.
  5. Hammock outside on a nice day, while reading or jamming to some tunes. // Eric has an Eno perfect for this.                                          date ideas
  6. Attend a comedy show. // The Second City is our favorite here in Chicago.
  7. Redbox + Pizza night –  an easy hit that you can change up by making your own pie!
  8. Exercise together – this can range from a racquetball competition to just taking a really long walk with no destination.
  9. Take a local brewery tour.
  10. Go on a photo booth hunt and collect all the strips you can – Photobooth.net is a good resource!
  11. Wake up early for a Farmer’s Market and grab a fresh breakfast.
  12. Try a new coffee shop – no technology, just books, caffeine, and conversation.
  13. Visit a thrift store or garage sale.
  14. Attend a themed party. // You can see Eric and I got really crafty for Becca’s  Harry Potter Halloween event…                             date ideas
  15. BRUNCH. // A repeatedly tested and true favorite that I had to include.
  16. Volunteer together. // I’m trying to find an animal shelter Eric and I can go help out at.
  17. Check out a local fair or amusement park. // One of my favorite things about a Chicago summer?? All the street fests.
  18. Search for a free concert, play, or sporting event in your area.
  19. Get hooked on a weekly reality show and make brackets to guess the winner. // We probably have too many…Survivor, The Amazing Race, and I may or may not have gotten Eric hooked on The Bachelor drama.
  20. Picnic on the lake…or ocean, or at an overlook, or in a park. Don’t forget seasonal drinks!                                                                            date ideas
  21. Go out to a dueling piano bar. // Eric had a favorite back in Austin – Pete’s!
  22. Double, even triple, dates for trivia night at a local bar.
  23. Rent a couple of kayaks or paddle boards and get on the water.
  24. Taco Tuesday. // So many taco places around town have delicious specials for this night.
  25. Fondue night at home – create your own with assortment with cheese, chocolate, and all sorts of dip-worthy snacks.

Have some date ideas I should add to the list?? Share ’em in the comments, friends!

Days By Day

anniversary chicago

Last week marked Eric and I’s one year in Chicago. That is crazy to me.

We had dreamed of doing a big move to a new city after college. One that would challenge us, grow us, and let us adventure together, with new experiences and people.

I can without a doubt say our move to this city has done that for us. It has been the best decision we could have made.

Now don’t get me wrong, we definitely miss Texas, and of course, our family and friends. Also, very much miss real queso, breakfast tacos, and margs.

In the end though, we had grown up in Texas our whole lives, and we knew it would always be there for us to go back to. Which we will one day!

There has just been nothing comparable to taking a leap of faith, moving off on our own – where we’d know almost no one – and making something out of it. Something that was ours.

All this being said, I couldn’t help but reflect on a few favorite memories from this last year in the Midwest. We’ve been pretty darn lucky to do life here with a group of amazing humans. Sharing some of the shenanigans below!

Memorial Day Trolley // What’s the best way to show your visiting BFFs around town? Gather good drinks, jams, and friends for a night of sightseeing via light up trolley.

anniversary chicago

Beach Volleyball // Playing volleyball not only lets me pretend I’m a cool athlete, it also offers a killer view of downtown. Same with runs along the lake. I love getting to enjoy the ah-mazing weather and pretend I’m on vacation, all while staring at the skyscrapers.

anniversary chicago

Michigan & Wisconsin Getaways // E & I love to travel. A big motivation to moving was all the new places we’d have the chance to visit. In January, we headed to a cabin with friends in Charlevoix, MI – so much snow. In July, Eric and I took a weekend trip to Madison, WI – so much cheese. Both so fun.

michigan getaway

F O O D // Just like all of it. I’ve consumed more Thai in this last year than in my whole life – so many good options. Basically every sushi place is BYOB. I’ve got my favorite neighborhood pizza place. Did someone say brunch? Always down to add a place to my long list of faves.

windy city eats

Go Cubs Go // It is impossible not to get caught up in the Cubs fandom up here. We love going to the games and eating foot long hot dogs and chanting along like we’ve been around the whole time. But seriously, it’s fun being a Cubs fan, and last season we got to see them go far.

anniversary chicago

St.Patty’s Day // Did you know St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday here? Not legally I guess, but basically. The day is famous in the city for turning the river green.

anniversary chicago

Sailing // We always see boats on Lake Michigan and think to ourselves we’ve really got to find a friend with a boat. We haven’t yet – but we have a friend with a friend with a boat. That led to spending a lovely day on the water to watch some intense sailing races.

anniversary chicago

Living with Bex // Honestly you guys, without Becca this last year would have been a struggle. Her, E, and I became three peas in a pod and took on the city together. Forever thankful for this friendship. Tip for moving to a new city where you know almost zero people: find a really awesome girl friend who will make you do bur-pees, but also suggest you frequent the corner 7/11 for pints of ice cream. Here’s us being ridiculous, per usual.

anniversary chicago

Seriously, what a first year. Praising God for all these blessings. Through the good times, and in the tough, He’s taking care of us.

Cheers to us Chicago – bring it on year 2!

Days By Day