My heart has been heavy this past week. Watching family, friends, the rest of the Houston community, and neighboring areas suffer from Chicago has been difficult.
My heart has also swelled with Texas pride as I’ve watched people and organizations across the state stand strong and rush to help each other. Seeing the country rally together to provide support and relief has also been a sweet note of hope.
Those who know me know as much as I love traveling, home is always near and dear to my heart. Granted, there are of course some things about Texas that need changing, but I’ve learned that’s the case with most places. The love for my home state will never fade. It’s home.
As we’ve watched the devestation Hurricane Harvey has brought unfold in the media, we are feeling especially far. Eric and I, along with our fellow Houstonians up north, have been hurting for our communities and looking for opportunities to help.
How to Help After Harvey
That being said, I’ve rounded up a list of goods that give back 100% of their proceeds to Harvey relief efforts, as well as organizations that you can donate to and help after Harvey.
NPR put together this awesome, comprehensive list of organizations you can contribute to. I’ve pulled out a handful below I was interested in when researching, and have linked directly to the Harvey efforts on their site.
It’s here, it’s here…and wayyy overdue! I’ve finally finished blogging the final part of our wedding. Re-reading the details of this sweet day makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
We left off in Part III, where Eric and I + the best wedding party ever ventured into the peaceful field on our venue’s property for some of the dreamiest sunset photos in existence. (Want to catch up further back? I got you – Part I and Part II here.)
You may remember I ended Part III with a little trivia regarding the 90s movie theme song we entered into the reception with, per the wedding party’s vote!
Hint was that a famous Chicago Bulls basketball player starred in the film…
Any guesses? Let’s dive into this party – find out below!
We had of course spent too much time giggling and snapping photos in the field, so by the time we lined up outside the big wooden reception hall doors to be announced, our coordinators had to wrangle up our group of blissfully happy and silly friends.
I sometimes think the announcement of the wedding party, and everyone dancing in 2 by 2 can be awkward, but definitely not when your people are a pack of fun and weird humans.
Everyone paired up and coordinated their dance moves, the doors were propped open, and SPACE JAM boomed from the speakers. *cue excited cheers and childhood nostalgia*
E and I may have decided to chest bump. We definitely did.
I loved the way we had the reception house decorated. I wanted to weave in the blush and deep wine throughout, but keep an overall clean and natural feel by incorporating woods and metals throughout the space.
We tried to incorporate unique spins on some of the classic wedding components too. Our guest book was actually a large black and white canvas of one of our engagement photos in downtown Austin. We had loved ones sign with a gold sharpie and this is probably our favorite piece of art hanging in our apartment!
The seating chart was an old antique frame that we stapled chicken wire to (thanks sir at Home Depot for help us!). This is another cool piece we had shipped back to Chicago that we now have pictures displayed on.
Our favors were heart shaped Mexican cinnamon sugar cookies. I grew up eating them in the Rio Grande Valley with my grandparents, so this was a really special little piece of south Texas for us. Koozies were also a solid last minute addition!
We walked straight into our first dance to The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra. I’m not one who ever really thought about my wedding or planned it out growing up, but the one thing I did dream of for years was doing a first dance to this sweet song. Luckily, E is a Sinatra fan too, so it worked out nicely!
One of our favorite things to do is dance, so this was a really special moment to share together, singing along and laughing and twirling.
Then it was tacoooo time. We had a fajita buffet with all the fixings for our dinner because Tex-Mex is life. I remember people telling us you don’t usually get to eat at your own wedding, but we made it a priority. It wasn’t a full meal, but we weren’t going to order those tasty tacos and not get some of the goods!
So future brides, you totally can and should eat yours too. 🙂
No one panic though, E and I literally ate a full tray of fajitas, rice, and beans at the end of the night that our incredible Memory Lane coordinators packed up for us. Honeymoon suite livin’ at it’s finest.
E and I cut our cakes next! I’ve learned that having a Groom’s cake is largely a southern tradition? Not until I started talking about ours, did I find myself explaining that back home it’s common to have a classic wedding cake, or the Bride’s cake, and a Groom’s cake that usually has a fun theme close to heart for the couple!
For those that know my husband, it should come at know surprise the Groom’s cake was inspired by his love for our alma mater, The University of Texas. It was delicious dark chocolate cake with layers of fresh strawberries. The Bride’s cake was a tasty French vanilla with vanilla mousse filling. A huge thanks to Classic Cakes by Lori for these beauties!
A funny little thing most guests probably never knew was that we had an extra French vanilla sheet cake in the reception kitchen that never made it to the floor. So we’re actually super sorry if you didn’t get a piece of cake haha, the venue crew never realized it was there!
The good news? My family ate cake for days after. We even got some after the honeymoon, and there is still some for us to eat for our first anniversary since we hadn’t planned on saving any.
Speeches by our Maid of Honor and Best Man were next. My sister teared up during what was the sweetest and funniest toast I’ll ever hear. Eric’s brother killed the speech game too! I loved hearing their stories (some details may have been fabricated, *cough cough*, lookin’ at you P!) and jokes.
The best surprise ever was when the two of them legit broke out into rehearsed song and dance. You guys. It was AMAZING. They wrote they’re own lyrics for a mashup of rap and pop jams, ending with my favorite Crazy in Love by Queen B, to which we all strutted across the dance floor – a tribute to a story my sister shared in her speech from our childhood.
My parents shared a few sweet words and then it was time to get this dance floor going, y’all! I mentioned E and I are dancers, and the same goes for our family and friends!
Our wedding vendors actually told us afterwards they were so amazed that once everyone started, it never stopped. That usually there’s a moment when it’s a bit slower, but that our guests were just going the whole night. DJ Brian rocked.
Haha I truly wouldn’t have expected anything less, our people made us proud!
I remember for awhile Eric and I kept getting pulled in different directions to talk to others or take photos, as expected and of course we were so appreciative that we could see everyone, but at one point I turned to him and said “Ok, after this one, we have to go to the dance floor! We should be dancing!”
He immediately took me there, confirming what I already knew – that my husband rocks. Marry someone who pulls you onto dance floors, people.
At one point, Crazy in Love came on again and everyone chanted so I would strut again. So there I went, strutting around to Beyonce with all my favorite people. It was definitely one of my top life moments ever because duh.
A personal touch for the dance floor was playing Go Cubs Go! in honor of the World Series win we had just a few days before we got married, and the UT fight song of course!
We did the classic bouquet and garter tosses, and perhaps my favorite reception touch – had an open air photo booth in the corner printing out classic strips! I was beyond happy we had one, I just couldn’t go without it and loved how much fun everyone had in there.
The whole night was amazing. E and I were blissfully happy. It truly was the best day ever. All we could’ve ever hoped for and more!
Sadly, the dancing had to eventually end. We had the happiest, brightest exit with sparklers though! It was like our personal fireworks send off, and it made for some pretty gorgeous photos.
Our venue housing us + our wedding party for the night meant the party continued. I was really thankful for this time together since we knew it would be awhile before we saw some of these friends again!
So in summary, tacos + dance floor + photo booth + E = truly the best celebration ever! The whole night was all we could’ve ever hoped for and more. I’ll cherish these photos and details forever.
I love you, E. // 11.06.16
The next morning, we were up and at ’em early for an 8:00 am flight to Jamaica! Our honeymoon is a whole other adventure I’ve already written about here and here. If you’re looking for a beach getaway, cannot recommend Couples Swept Away enough!
Wow, my first post in quite awhile. It’s been a packed summer and I’ve missed blogging, friends. Capturing memories and sharing stories with our words is one of life’s simplest, yet sweetest, things – don’t ya think?
Stay tuned for some fun posts I’m working on! Happy Monday!
Wowow well a lot has happened since my last post – the biggest thing obviously being that Eric and I are finally married! It’s been so awesome to soak up every moment of the last few weeks, from the best wedding weekend ever to our first one back home in Chicago as newlyweds.
Married life rocks so far.
That beautiful photo up top is a sneak peak from our talented and wonderful videographer, David Le. I cannot wait to see more! *internal screams*
We’re headed back to Texas again tonight to do what we do best, bounce around to as many places as possible in the shortest amount of time. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. It means we’re getting to see lots of people we love so much.
I really can’t wait to write about all the wedding things. Sorry in advance, but actually not sorry, because it’s our wedding and I’ll never get over how perfect it was. To that point, just having more time to blog in general now that all the planning* is over will be so wonderful.
*But also I loved wedding planning so plz pick me if you want help. JK. Or am I?*
For now, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite photos I’ve been sent of our big day so far, and our week long trip in paradise that followed. Aka Jamaica.
We rented an open air photo booth from Pixter Austin and looooved it! At the wedding & took some photo booth snaps? Digital gallery here – I’ll be uploading them soon and you can snag them for free. 🙂
Below Eric and I pose with our incredible photographers turned friends, Kelsey and Talon, of Feather and Twine!
All original MARRIED AF gear by the lovely Taylor of The Daily Tay! We got so many compliments – check out her shop here.
Wishing you and your loved ones the happiest of Thanksgivings! It’s been a year full of the most incredible moments, and some very challenging ones – for all of us I’m sure. But we’re still here celebrating and persevering through it all! For that, I am thankful.
Now to pack all the loose sweatpants so I can stuff my face tomorrow, who’s with me?
This post is long overdue, but one of my favorite weekends ever can’t go undocumented.
Over Labor Day Weekend, all my girls had me feeling like the luckiest bride-to-be as we spent three glorious days soaking up the sun and dancing the nights away for my Austin Bachelorette Party.
I had tossed a couple ideas around for a Bachelorette Bash, but in the end, where else but my favorite place in the Lonestar State would be better?? Most of us were already familiar with ATX from college, or having lived in Texas, which made it a bit easier to organize.
The last big push for Austin was that Eric also wanted to have his Bachelor Party there. If we both went over a holiday weekend, we could knock a few wedding to-dos off our list and the whole wedding party could hang out.
I was really set on everyone meeting before our big day. I wanted us to all feel like a solid group of friends that could immediately have a good time together at our wedding – not have to do the meet-and-greet stage first – there’d be no time!
All that being said, I could not have imagined a more perfect party with my best friends. I felt so lucky that all my favorite people were in one house for a whole weekend.
Here’s all the shenanigans we were up to –
FRIYAY // Grilling & Gaming
I knew Friday night everyone would be getting in and likely exhausted from a long week. We didn’t want the night to go to waste though, so all the ladies made their way to the guys’ Airbnb for grilling and games. Turned out the grill was so dirty it would’ve been dangerous to use, so all burgers, chicken, and copious amounts of tater tots were made inside.
SATURDAY // Boats + Margs + Get Dowwwn
One of my top three favorite moments from the weekend was definitely boating for a few hours on Lake Austin. The weather was awesome – we were so lucky the predicted storms scooted away. Morgan was our captain. I claimed myself her first mate because I helped anchor a boat for a first time and felt like a champ.
We danced to a killer playlist and played around with all the fun floaties – including these amazing can flamingos.
For dinner, we grabbed food at Gloria’s on Sixth Street. They’ve got the best bean dip, delicious margaritas, and we’d be able to walk to all the bars. Some of my dearest friends from school joined our crew, and I just remember being so happy looking around at everyone who had come to celebrate with me.
The rest of the night was one big dance party. We wore glow stick bracelets and necklaces to bring even more good vibes and were treated like VIPs the second we stepped out of Gloria’s. Free champagne? Fancy priority seating with cushion benches? Yes and yes. I even got to strut to Bey’s Crazy in Love so I felt complete. We ran into the boys towards the end of the night and everyone was movin’ and groovin’.
SUNDAY // Brunch, Laziness, & More Dancing
After sleeping in, we were off to do what else but brunch, because obviously everyone knows I’m obsessed. Bacon is one of my favorite places in Austin and I think they might have some of the best chicken & waffles ever!
That afternoon, we spent being lazy at the house. I’m so glad we had time throughout the weekend with no plans to just be lazy. I highly recommend for any Bachelorette Party, all that sun and dancing really gets ya!
During this time we did a mad lib all about E & I (that Becca actually wrote – it’s fantastic) and a lingerie shower. So fun! Those girls spoil me, it’s ridiculous.
We eventually went to meet the boys to watch some UT football, and then finished off the weekend at Rainey Street. Rainey is a street of cute little houses turned bars that each have a unique vibe. One of my favorites, Icenhauer’s, had gotten a big wooden stage where we spent most of our night dancing to a wide variety of jams.
So to sum up the weekend – basically give me waffles, a dance floor, and my favorite humans and I’m on cloud nine!
Thanks to our wedding party for making us feel like the luckiest couple. We love y’all. Can’t wait to reunite in 11 DAYS.
Oh hey, friends! It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Chicago, but I’m totally reminiscing about the wonderful and jam-packed days from my trip to Texas last week. I spent the time cuddling with my pup, indulging in all the tasty food I had been missing, and feeling like the luckiest bride-to-be at my hometown bridal shower.
First on the agenda, a quick day trip with mom and dad to Austin for my very first wedding dress fitting – eeek! It could honestly not have been a more perfect experience. I felt 100% comforted with mom at my side and knowing the dress was in good hands. Before heading out, we of course had practically by out the UT Co-op and stop for food at the famous John Mueller Meat Co. YUM.
Throughout the weekend, mom and I were able to squeeze in some super productive shopping. Off the check list: a veil, wedding shoes, two other pairs of shoes – including those Lucky Brand beauties below (Thx so much Macy’s sale!), and a mix of other wedding reception items. Go team for real.
The big event of my time at home though was the beautiful shower my mama, sissy (aka MOH), and Ms. Boffa (aka second mom growing up) planned. The whole house was totally Pinterest worthy and there was an abundance of delicious treats – including the prettiest shower cake I’d ever seen!
I couldn’t stop smiling as I got to catch up with everyone. From my high school girls, to a few out-of-town bridesmaids, to family friends who just loved on us so well growing up – it was the best crowd. I honestly just felt so stinkin’ spoiled and happy.
There were cute games – including the almost impossible one where you have to give up your huge, plastic diamond ring if you say “bride” or “wedding,” and a round of He said, She said. Guests were also in for a real treat when they got to see Eric as a kid in the cutest baby pictures ever.
I, of course, opened gifts, and cut the cake – all of which are harder to do in front of a crowd than expected. No one tells you these things are so intimidating, but they were super fun even if I probably looked like I was super struggling.
A huge thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us, and to my family for planning such a perfect afternoon! Love you all more than any words can say.
Wrapped up the visit with all my faves – fajitas, queso, and Whataburger. Any Texan will know these are musts when visiting home! Below – dinner with The Boffas, and a surprise burger that even made it back to Chi for Eric.
Needless to say, so thankful for this time with loved ones.
On a different note, ugh sorry for the unpredictable hiatuses that have been happening these last couple of months! We all know how busy life can gets, but I miss blogging and writing anytime it’s having to take a back seat – even though it can be necessary. Too many thoughts and things happening, so determined to get back in the groove.