Friday, September 28, 2012

Wedding Talk: Girls Weekend

So last weekend my super sweet bridesmaids threw me a wonderful bachelorette party. They are truly amazing girls, and I'm so glad to call them friends! Me, Emily and Miranda went up to Nashville Friday evening, picked up my dress and enjoyed some time together with Libby. We all woke up Saturday and made some DELICIOUS waffles. I'm training for St. Jude, so we all headed to a park in Brentwood so I could run. It was hard to run while I knew they were having fun on the playground, but I did it anyway :) After we got back to the house and got showered we had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory...OMG so good. After that we headed to the hotel in Franklin that we stayed at Saturday evening. It was so cute...kind of had a modern feel, but with a few retro touches.

We had a couple of hours to get ready before dinner, so we just goofed off for a while. The girls tried on their dresses for me. They got wrap dresses, so they can play with them and find whatever style they like best. I was personally really frustrated when I was trying to put one on, but they seem to like them ok. They do look very pretty when they are put on! Emily also gave us our bachelorette party favors. She got some cool glass mugs and made cozies for them. So fun! I picked out a blue one with some vintage fabric that was her grandmothers.

I acted a fool while everyone else got ready. I'm not a primper, so I had a lot of extra time. After a while Alanna, Paige, Kelsey and Gabrielle joined us and we headed over to Buca di Beppo (or Beeca da Bopbop as I called it all weekend). It's a family-style Italian restaurant and I absolutely LOVED it. The format was perfect for a large group, and the food was delicious. I was especially fond of the eggplant parmesan (as I usually am). They also brought out this weird brownie/icecream/whipped topping concoction. It wasn't particularly good, but it was a nice gesture.  

My lovely lady friends

After dinner we headed downtown to a dueling piano bar called Big Bang. It was a blast! It was pretty crowded so it was hard to find a good spot to stand, but we could hear the music anyway. The performers were quite good, so it was fun entertainment. I got to see another bachelorette go up there, and I was extremely thankful my friends didn't send me on stage. I would have died of embarrassment! After a few hours at Big Bang we got ice cream downtown and headed back to the hotel. It was such a fun night! 

Like I said before, I have the BEST friends. It meant so much that they all came out to spend the evening celebrating with me. I have to be honest, it was insanely weird to have an evening center around me. I know birthdays kind of go that way, but I've never been a huge birthday person, so I'm not used to it. I guess it helped prepare me for being the center of attention next weekend (yep...only one more week until wedding time)! Just thinking about having 200 people looking at just me and Rhett makes me kind of squirmy. I guess I'll just have to get over it!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wedding Talk: Cake

As the wedding day gets closer (less than 2 weeks!), I get more and more ready for it to just be here already! I have lots of little projects to finish up, but everything major is ready to go...except tables. I need to find like 10 more tables. Anyway, one of the things I got nailed down last week was cakes. We're not doing a wedding cake, but I wanted to have some cake there for people who like it. The main dessert is actually going to be pies, but I'll post about that later.

So cake!

My dear friend Stephanie's mom is a master cake maker, and she is making me three cakes for the wedding. When we first started talking, I put together a pinterest board of things I like, so she would know where to start.

I knew I wanted something that was unassuming and looked...edible. Everything in the wedding is super laid back, so I think the cake should match. I love texture, so most of what I have on the board is about the texture of the icing!

For the two tier cake, she is going to do that texture on the left, and we're going to add lavender around the middle. I had a cake once that was almond cake with a raspberry filling that was absolutely amazing, so I requested that. I've got to figure out a way to try all of these things without busting out of my dress!

The other two cakes will have these textures. She said she would have fun making these, so I'm excited to see them! One will be pink-lemonade cake with lemon cream cheese frosting and the other will be chocolate mint. My maid of honor made a face when I told her the flavors (she and I don't agree on a lot of foods), but I'm hoping everyone else will find something they like!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Box-O-Crayons Embroidery

I posted a few days ago about my trip to Nashville to see Karen Elson, but I didn't post my outfit for that day! I wore a dress that I originally planned to wear in my engagement photos. I decided to just stick with the lace dress for the pictures, but I have worn this black dress a couple of times since then. I love it! It's very loose and comfortable, and I love the neckline. We stopped at this florist on the way to eat dinner because we thought the pink exterior was cute. It was a fun place for photos!

dress- Free People
belt- thrift store
sandals- Marshall's (Madden Girl)
purse- Pangea in Nashville

Luckily I had the forethought to wear some shorts under this dress because the wind blew it up in my face several times. You're welcome, Nashville! I need to find a different belt to wear with this...maybe just a black fabric one that doesn't show. I like the neckline so much that I don't want to take away from it. The colors remind me of a box of crayons! 

I really love wearing dresses, but I don't have very many casual ones like this. Perhaps I should work on that :) I love Free People, but I can't really afford them most of the time (this one was waaaay on sale). Do you all have suggestions for other places to get good everyday-wear dresses? I'm thinking of getting one from ModCloth soon!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Read a Book a Month: August

Last month I was supposed to read a book called Forever, but I had some trouble obtaining it. I tried using a site called Paperback Swap, but the person I requested it from didn't send it until last week...a month after I requested it. While I waited, I read some more of Les Miserables and finally read Catching Fire. I really enjoyed Catching Fire, maybe even more than The Hunger Games. I just started Mockingjay last night, so I'm excited to learn how the story concludes. I recommend these books if you want some quick reading (for a vacation or plane ride or something). Also, I can't wait for the movie to come out! The first one was really good.

I hope you all had a great weekend! I had a very eventful Saturday. I got to go to a surprise brunch party for a friend, then worked on table runners for the wedding. That evening I went to a youth rally event at Freed Hardeman (they interviewed me about my photography for Special Needs Athletics), then I went to a concert at Union's coffee shop. I enjoyed having a pretty chill but fun day :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Karen Elson + West End Cafe

About a week ago, I spent a Saturday in Nashville with my dear friend, Alanna. We found out a while back that Karen Elson was going to be playing a free show that day, so we made plans to go. WE WERE SO EXCITED! Not only is Karen Elson an amaaaaaazing model, but she put out an album that I absolutely love.

That morning we hung out in her apartment, then did a bit of antiquing, and I dropped in to see a former professor of mine. Later in the afternoon we headed out to Centennial Park for the show. There were several artists playing, and we wandered around the food trucks while we waited for Karen Elson. It was so much fun listening to all the artists and seeing all the adorable dogs people had brought out. We stopped at the Blue Monkey to get some shaved ice, and then plopped down in the grass in front of the stage.

The show was great! She played about 7 songs (I think...I didn't really count), mostly from her album. I just love her unique sound, and I enjoyed hearing a little story behind some of the songs. There were a bunch of kids that were dancing in the grass in front of us while she played. It was a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. If you live in Nashville, you should try to go to this event one Saturday this Fall. I think it's running until the end of October, and they have some great artists every weekend! Check out Musician's Corner for more info.

After we left there, we walked about 10 minutes down the road to West End Cafe for dinner. We were the only ones there, so I was a little nervous. But it turned out to be really good! The food was mostly out of my price range, so I decided to get a burger. Alanna's had a fried egg on it! I tried it and it was pretty dang good. Mine was more of a classic burger, and it was also delicious. I would definitely recommend it if you're around the area.

This was one of my favorite weekend days in a while! Sometimes I just need a day to get out and do fun things, ya know? I wish I could do this more often, but I guess it wouldn't be as special if it wasn't rare :) I was sad when Alanna moved, but it's actually been really fun going to visit her and doing new things in the city.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Creamy Fire Style Shoot with Alice

I decided to submit a photo to a contest the other day, so I went out for a shoot with the lovely Alice, musician and all around awesome person. I didn't get into the top ten like I wanted, but I'm still glad that I got out and did a shoot! The contest will have several assignments for the people who made it to the top, and I think I might try to do the assignments anyway just for the experience. I will definitely share those if I do them.

The assignment was to style and control a shoot using whatever subject you prefer to work with. It had to be a full-body shot using a prop that reflects your style. I decided to go for a really simple outfit and a fun relaxed style hat for Alice, who I picked because I enjoy shooting portrait/style type things. I wanted her beautiful hair to really stand out in them, so I kept everything else kind of muted. We used her guitar in some too since she's a musician.

My favorite is the one of her flipping her hair, and I'm kind of wishing now that I'd submitted that one. I submitted the top photo, and now looking at it, I think that wasn't the right one. But that's life I guess! You live and you learn. I'm hoping to do some more shoots like this in the future! I love to get out and do photo shoots that are just for me. Thanks, Alice, for humoring me and modeling in these!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dinner Done Right

Last week I mentioned a dinner party that I helped host with some good friends of mine, and I'm finally going to share it with you all. That morning Margaret, Josh, Ryan and I headed to the farmer's market to get groceries for the evening.

We got a whole chicken for our entrée. Ryan roasted it, and it was DELICIOUS! I couldn't believe how tender and juicy it was, and it fed the 8 of us easily. We had some random vegetables from Green Frog Village that we used in various dishes as well. We also got some squash and zucchini, which I sautéed up for us. Margaret used tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil (all from the market) for some little appetizer bites. Our rolls were from the market and we whipped up some honey butter using honey that Margaret's dad made and butter from the Rock Creek farm. That was probably my favorite part. I could have just eaten that honey butter by itself!

We wanted everything to be really cute and on the verge of fancy. Of course fancy for us isn't really fancy at all, but we'll pretend it is. Since I've been collecting plates for the wedding, we had that part covered. We used Josh and Ryan's bowls and some adorable napkins we found at Goodwill. Josh made the place cards out of some pears and twine. It was the perfect little detail! He also provided the beautiful candle holders, and we used one of my table cloths.

Rob happened to be visiting from Orlando, and we were so excited he was able to come! 

I did the menu, which I was pretty proud of. I think I might even do one for the wedding if I have time. 
Ok, now for the food. You've already heard about it, not you get to see it :) If you're not hungry now, you're about to be!

Yes, that's a lemon in the chicken's butt.  

A few months ago, Ryan was a vegetarian. Now he's cuttin' chickens! 

One of our lovely guests, Melanie (above), was a lot of fun to have around, and we have Amanda (in the glasses) and Kelsey below, also quite fun. Amanda actually got engaged the very next day! Oh, I would also like to point out that we pulled this off for under $60. That was for 8 people to eat and some leftovers. Pretty decent for such a hearty meal!

After our bellies were almost full to the very top, Margaret sauntered out with a delicious blueberry tart for us to top it off. The blueberries came from Green Frog, and they were probably some of the best I've ever had. It was the perfect way to end the meal! We all talked and laughed on into the evening, just enjoying the mild night and each other's company. This is what it's all about, you guys. Friends, food and fond memories.