Dec 31, 2018

Top Nine

I'm loving the Top Nine trend on Instagram as a way to capture the highlights of the closing year.  Although, I do mine a little bit differently.  Instead of featuring the nine pictures with the most likes, I select my nine favorite pictures that best reflect the year I've had.

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen these pictures already.  But I thought it would be fun to share them here with little descriptions of the top nine events of my 2018.  Here we go, in chronological order:

New Year's weekend I learned how to ski.  A hobby that I look forward to sharing for years to come with my future husband who loves to snowboard.

In February, Justin and I took a trip to Orlando, a place that we've both loved individually and can now visit together.

The Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, JUSTIN PROPOSED!  This is obviously the biggest highlight of my year.  I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with this man!

The morning after Justin proposed, I ran my longest race yet- the Bayshore 10k (a little over 6 miles).  I fulfilled my goal of no walking, only running and finished in under one hour and 15 minutes.

I took a gigantic leap of faith in June when I left teaching, my job of ten years, to start a new career.  I now work in logistics (not necessarily the direction I saw myself going) but I really enjoy it and am excited to see where my job takes me.

These furballs continue to be the little lights of my life.  2018 brought a closer bond between the two of them as they grow more and more used to being brothers and living together.

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that mean the most!  This fall, Justin and I discovered the Rockford, MI Farmer's Market, and from now on, you'll find us there most Saturdays from May to October.

Earlier this month, my parents, Justin and I took a holiday trip to Chicago.  While the boys explored Michigan Avenue, my mom and I went to BHLDN where I tried-on wedding dresses for the first time.  Friends, I might have found the one!

Also in December, Justin and I took engagement photos.  I'm so happy to have some professional photographs that represent how much I love this man and how excited I am for what 2019 has in store for us.

Cheers to a Happy New Year!

Dec 19, 2018

Engagement Photo Sneak Peek: Christmas Pajamas

Justin and I love all things winter wonderland!  We're throwing our wedding celebration next December and thought that it would be fun to kick-off the year of festivities with some holiday-themed engagement pictures.

We met our photographer (the lovely Abby Fox Photography) at a local Christmas tree farm for a bunch of photos.  Then we headed home, changed into some cozy Christmas pajamas, and took pictures next to our Christmas tree and with some hot cocoa and our cats.

I plan to share a collection of our engagement pictures within the next month or so, but thought it would be fun to show you a couple of our pajama pictures for The Blended Blog's Christmas pajama link-up!

Merry Christmas from our cozy home to yours!

Dec 12, 2018

Merry and Bright Holiday Style

Welcome back for another fun style link-up with The Blended Blog!  This week our theme is Merry and Bright- share an outfit that makes you happy.  And truth be told, everything about style this time of year makes me happy!  I love the cozy knits, the glamorous sparkles and the festive colors.  I try so hard not to shop for myself at this time of year so that I focus more on giving than receiving, but it's so hard when my favorite clothing pieces are in stores right now!

I did let myself splurge on a few holiday pieces during the cyber sales on Black Friday.  Two of my favorite things I purchased are this sweater and plaid flannel shirt from American Eagle.  When worn together you have the perfect holiday combination!

What makes you feel merry and bright!  Make sure to link-up with The Blended Blog or my friend, Lisa, at Daily Style Finds!

What I'm Wearing:
Sweater: American Eagle (exact but different pattern)
Flannel Shirt: American Eagle (exact)
Leggings: Fabletics (similar)
Flats: DSW (similar)

Dec 10, 2018

Wedding Planning: The Venue

December 14th, 2019.  That's the date that I'll have the privilege of marrying the kindest, most generous, smartest and most loving man I've ever met.  His heart is the perfect match to mine and I'm so excited to spend the rest of my life with him.

In the meantime, we have twelve more months to plan our dream wedding and I want to share a bit of the process with you!  So for the next year, I plan to write monthly updates about the decisions-- big and small-- that we're making.  To get started you might want to read the post where I share our proposal story.

Today I want to tell you a little bit about the venue that we chose.  As I shared in the above-mentioned post, I've wanted a Christmas wedding for as long as I can remember and Justin (being the winter-lover that he is) agreed.  We originally wanted to get married at a ski lodge but none of them we looked at quite fit the bill.  Once we scratched the Michigan lodges off of our list.  We started visiting venues in our hometown.  We weren't thrilled with the idea of a country club wedding but there was one that seemed like it could work so we scheduled a visit.  After our tour, we walked out, looked at each other, and immediately knew we had found our wedding venue!

The connected ceremony and reception rooms just had the feel that we wanted.  And we can get married in front of a cozy fireplace- a feature that we really wanted at the ski lodges.  The space also features the most amazing chandeliers and lighting to give us that holiday glow.

On top of the fireplace and glowing lights, the wedding coordinator shared with us that the club decorates beautifully for the holidays.  We were sold!  We booked our date almost immediately.

And this past week, Justin, both sets of our parents and I  returned to the venue to see the Christmas decorations.  They were absolutely spectacular!  From the multi-story tree on the staircase leading to the ceremony room to the wreaths and frosted trees that dot the space, it's a winter wonderland!

It helped that the rooms were set-up for a wedding the following evening, giving us a true feel for what our celebration will look like!  The space was more beautiful than I could have imagined and I absolutely cannot wait to get married there next year!

Dec 5, 2018

Sparkle and Shine Day to Night

Happy holidays, friends!  And if you're stopping by from The Blended Blog, welcome.

We're celebrating one of my favorites today -- sparkles!  Head-over to TBB to see how I styled a little sparkle and shine for the daytime and stick around to see my night look.

I love a good excuse to get dressed-up and it seems like the holidays are full of such excuses!  This weekend, Justin and I attended my office Christmas party at San Chez, a tapas bistro in town.  We mixed drinks at a private cocktail-making lesson and ate and ate and ate.  My team, our significant others and I finished the night with some dancing.

This is what I wore to the office gathering.  I loved the festive green of the dress and, if you look closely, you can see that my tights are covered in little sparkly dots!

How do you like to wear your sparkle?  Make sure to link-up your looks below!

Dec 4, 2018

Currently: December 2018

decorating: our home together for the second year.  Justin and I purchased a lot of Christmas "basics" last year to begin our family collection of Christmas decorations.  This year we're having fun adding little extras like our new stockings.

gifting: shhh, it's a secret!  But I did receive a sweet surprise from Justin last week.  He sent me a beautiful holiday bouquet of flowers, just because.

baking: not a whole lot, but I can mix a holiday cocktail!  We attended my office holiday party this weekend at a local tapas restaurant.  Before dinner, we had a private cocktail-making class where we learned how to make the classic Negroni as well as an espresso martini!

singing: along to our family playlist.  A few weeks ago, my sister had the genius idea to gather each family member's five favorite holiday songs in order to make a playlist.  It's fun to have my favorites on rotation as well as songs that make me think of my favorite people.

mailing: Christmas cards soon!  We are taking our engagement photos this weekend and hope to use one for annual card.  We're going to have to work fast to get them out!  Simply to Impress is the company we used last year and we're planning to order from them again this year.

Linking-up with Anne!