Music Monday – Adele

This Music Monday is very special to me.

Today marks our first wedding anniversary (I can’t believe it’s already here) and this is the song to which we had our first dance.

I remember that awkward moment of everyone staring at us while we danced like it was yesterday ūüėČ

Rest assured I’ll be reminiscing about October 15, 2011 all day today. I’m so incredibly lucky!

Make You Feel My Love – Adele

Napa Valley Honeymoon

The morning after our wedding we hailed a cab, which had just dropped off Joe Jackson at a nearby IHOP (For real. A friend who was randomly at the same IHOP vouched that he was there) and headed to the airport. Apparently, Mr. Jackson was craving pecans and didn’t tip the cabbie.

I digress…

Our honeymoon took us to Napa Valley, where we holed up for 5 days at The Cottages of Napa Valley, eating, drinking, and generally being married.

Cottages at Napa Valley

I had a small weight gain during the trip, which I attribute to the daily pastry baskets which were discreetly delivered to our doorstep each morning. They looked something like this:

pastry basket

Our first full day in the valley took us to Sonoma. I absolutely adored their quaint downtown area full of locally owned boutiques, museums and tasting bars. On this day we also had a stroke of amazing luck. We drove by a little hole in the wall restaurant called Schellville Grill and decided to stop for lunch. Turns out, Guy Fieri has featured it on the Food Network. I opted for a salad while Adam enjoyed a sandwich. After our meal, we paid (including a tip, don’t call us Mr. Jackson) and headed to our car. That’s when “Uncle Bob” ran over to greet us from his Prius.

Uncle Bob: Are you folks wine tasting today?

Adam: Yes sir! We’re on our honeymoon and just getting started for the day.

Uncle Bob: Congratulations! You should make a stop at Ravenswood. Take my card and tell them Uncle Bob sent you.

Adam: Thanks so much, we’ll be sure to check them out.

Me: So nice to meet you! Have a good day.

We went our separate ways and as we were pulling out of the parking lot, I looked at the card and saw that it was not only Uncle Bob’s business card, but handwritten on the back was 2 free tastings courtesy of him. Typically in Napa Valley you pay anywhere from $10 – $25 per tasting, some wineries let you split tastings, but not many. Thanks to Uncle Bob we saved $30…and used our savings to buy the best Moscato¬†either of us have ever tasted. We’d have never gone to Ravenswood if not for Uncle Bob.

Kaz Winery was also an off-the-beaten path find for us. When we passed the painted wine barrels at the entrance? Adam made a U-turn. Thank goodness for that. Kaz was an understated, no frills winery and had a metal chicken greeting guests at the front door. Though they specialized in dry wines, I was entertained by their random assortment of 80s vinyl while Adam sampled wine. He even got to cork his own bottle!

Sonoma

Day 3 is better known as the day Adam tried to kill me. Ok, not really, but it sure felt like it – and it was my own fault. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Adam’s an avid cyclist. Me? Notsomuch.
  • Adam wanted to rent a tandem bike in Yountville and, being the head over heels in love new wife that I was, I cautiously agreed.
  • Adam wanted us to ride a short 14 mile loop and promised we’d stop at wineries that look appealing along the way.
  • Adam and I are both 6’2″. The back seat of a tandem is not built for a 6’2″ person, so I got to ride for 14 miles with my mid-thighs on a bike seat.
  • Adam failed to mention…err, remind me…that cycling typically means you ride on highway shoulders as cars zip past you at the marked speed limit, or faster. Including large trucks.

Let’s just say I freaked. out.

And could barely walk for a day and a half after the ride.

But hey, we got some good pictures.

Winning.

Day 4 was our last day in the Valley and we made the most of it. We woke up early and headed north. It’s safe to say I drank¬†tasted more wine that day than I have in my entire life. I was quite the cool cucumber.

We walked into a castle, but decided to save our tasting money for a winery up the road we had heard a lot about, Sterling Vineyards. We splurged at this winery, getting the full package for tasting which included an additional 3 tastings after the winery tour – for a total of 7 tastings. All were fantastic, but the highlight of this winery for me was the gondola ride from the parking lot to the winery. It was so serene and beautiful.

Chateau Montelana was also a highlight for us, as we had just watched the movie about it on Netflix in our cottage the night before. The grounds of the Chateau were absolutely breathtaking.

We ended our last day in Napa Valley with dinner at Bottega. We shared our first risotto and indulged in some amazing truffle-parmigiano fries. Adam ordered “Smoked & Braised Natural Short Ribs” with a whole grain mustard spaetzle, Sicilian pickles, quince paste & smokey horseradish jus, while I ordered the “Forno Roasted Chicken Breast” with “Marsala” saut√©ed forest mushrooms, marinated grilled onions, truffle honey and sherry vinaigrette. Both dishes were exceptional and at the end of the meal our waiter convinced us to order the house chocolate “cake” that wasn’t listed on the menu. It. Was. Phenomenal.

Our final full day in California took us back to San Francisco, with a slight detour thanks to Adam. Turns out Highway 1 is Adam’s dream road. At least in the US.

My hubby is a HUGE Top Gear¬†fan and took this opportunity to channel his inner Stig. Let’s just say I have never seen him so chipper and filled with glee than I did while he was driving on Highway 1. Meanwhile, I was busy saying “OOOHHH! Pull over, I need to get a picture” or “OMG!!! REAL SEALS!!! IN. THE. WILD!!”

Highway 1 was incredible and I think Adam summed up the scenery best when he said, “This is proof God exists.” I have to agree, as I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Mid-way down Highway 1, I mention that I’m feeling a bit hungry and since it was almost time for lunch, Adam informs me that he already scoped out a place for us to eat in Bolinas. Unbeknownst to me, Bolinas is costal community known for its reclusive residents – I’d call them full out hippies, but that might not be PC – who TEAR DOWN any sign providing directions into their unincorporated community.

Thanks to Adam, we managed to find the town just fine.

I think the status I posted to Facebook as we were entering the “downtown area” sums up my feelings perfectly:

I have officially never felt more out of place wearing J Crew than I did when Adam pulled up in front of a “think globally eat locally” cafe for lunch in a very hippie “socially acknowledged nature loving town” called Bolinas. Needless to say, he loves me so much he didn’t make me get out of the car.

And it’s true, I was so scared of what the hippies¬†reclusive residents might do to me that I refused to get out of the car for lunch.

It was a wonderful trip and was exactly the relaxation we wanted after the hustle and bustle from our wedding festivities. Now I just have to figure out when we can go back – I miss our cottage…and the wine.

Wedding Recap: The Reception, Part II

The one thing I was¬†adamant about throughout the planning process was a reception that reflected the type of couple Adam and I are. We like to goof off, relax, listen to good music and spend time with family and friends. That’s exactly the reception we had.¬†Our reception was high-energy and laid-back and allowed us to be ourselves around our friends.

Our DJ¬†allowed us to create a playlist prior to the reception with music we thought our guests would be most receptive to and, while I stressed a bit about this element of the wedding, it turned out better than I ever imagined. Our dance floor was packed the entire night! Apparently we had a good mix of oldies, line dances, and current hits. ūüôā

While we twisted,

my dad shouted,

and my aunts shimmied.

Guests jumped…

and threw their hands up in the air like they just didn’t care.

There were even a few sisterly dance moments.

And then the DJ played “Single Ladies”.

Remember the whole “Operation: No More Beyonce” thing and the fact that I’m slightly addicted to Jazzercise? I worked with my coordinator to loosely stage a flash mob, after I contacted my fellow Jazzercisers mere days before the wedding.

Yep, our reception had a Jazzercise flash mob in the middle of the dance floor.

It was so much fun dancing with my instructors and other Jazzer-buddies who drove down to celebrate with us! I seriously love those women!

There’s even video evidence of our Jazzer-moment!

Then I got sick…light-headed, stomach turning, overheated.

Note to future brides: don’t go a full day on only apples and caramel sauce, get married, then expect to dance the night away in your wedding dress.

Adam got me a bottled water, then got Heather, our coordinator, to come help.

So while my guests were doing this:

and this:

and this:

I was doing this:

Yep. I missed doing the “YMCA” at my own wedding.

But I was soon back out on the dance floor just in time for the “Time Warp”. My sudden weak state was nothing several bottles of water and a plate of food couldn’t fix.

While I went back to the dance floor, Adam went to hang with his family. And by hang, I mean totally goof-off.

Then it was time to drag him back out to the dance floor for the “Cha-Cha Slide”…

…before ending the fun-filled night with a sparkler getaway and a kiss to seal the deal.

We were officially married and on our way to Napa Valley for our honeymoon!

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: The Reception, Part I

I’ll admit, we threw our amazing coordinator¬†a huge curveball during the planning process when we told her the location of our reception. I wanted to create a warm, romantic, and vintage setting. In my hometown’s concrete and cinder block armory.

She accepted the challenge without hesitation and transformed the space beyond my wildest expectations.

Our reception began with a Wedding Party Entrance to The Beatles – All You Need is Love¬†which took us right into our first dance as husband and wife to Adele’s cover of Make You Feel My Love.¬†

During our dance, we agreed that we felt very awkward dancing by ourselves in front of our family and friends. I also remember Adam goofing off during our dance, I think he was rapping along with Adele – which doesn’t really fit but, as always, made me laugh. I love that our photographer captured that moment.

Next up, was my father-daughter dance. My dad selected Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World¬†for our big dance – which was only a mere warm up for the rest of the night.

After we showed off our fancy footwork on the dance floor it was time for Adam’s mother-son dance. Adam’s mom chose Lee Ann Womack’s I Hope You Dance¬†for their special moment.

I absolutely love the looks of pure happiness on both our parents’ faces during these dances. Wonderfully captured by our photographer, yet again!

Once the dances were done, our coordinator whisked us away to cut the cake. In fact, we were whisked so fast that our parents missed us cutting the cake. Thankfully, we have pictures that captured the excitement and yumminess!

Our coordinator surprised us with some vintage forks I had been lusting over for months from Etsy. It was at the moment she presented the forks to us that my emotions from the day finally overcame me and I shed some very happy tears. Heather truly was the best!

After the cake cutting, Adam gave a speech thanking our guests for coming and celebrating our special day with us. We also wanted to thank our guests personally and went from table to table in an attempt to do so.

At the end of Adam’s speech, we led our Razorback loving guests in a Hog Call. It was only fitting since we intentionally picked our wedding day based on the Razorbacks’ football schedule – our wedding day was one of¬†the¬†only bye weekends of the season.

Throughout the rest of evening we had a few scheduled “events” for special moments. First up? A sorority sing. My Alpha Delta Pi sisters are the best and I was so honored that they made the trip to the middle of South Arkansas to celebrate with us.

Then, of course, we had to have the garter and bouquet tosses towards the end of the night…

Our reception wasn’t all structure and formality. After the cake was cut, the guests were thanked, the Hogs were called and the buffet was opened, the dance floor became a happening place…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: The Details

Everyone has a specific part of weddings they love. For some it’s the ceremony or the way a groom looks as his bride is walking down the aisle. For others it’s the bride’s dress or the reception.

For me, it is all about the little details. The things guests may or may not pick up on immediately, but that have importance to the couple and their families.

Immediately after I got engaged, I started stalking wedding blogs and trying to determine a vision for our big day. I’m a Southern small town, Anthropologie loving girl and knew I wanted to bring in bits of this throughout the ceremony and reception.

I emailed picture after picture to my mom of mason jars, lace, burlap, and wheat. I overwhelmed her and confused her. In my head I knew exactly how I wanted my wedding and reception to be, but telling it to someone else? Not that easy. Eventually we got on the same page – understated elegance with a romantic rustic chic feel.

I loved my bouquet and I loved that I was carrying a part of the strong women who were no longer here with me down the aisle. In memory of my grandmother Gran-Merle, we pinned one of her brooches to it, which served as my something blue, and wrapped the bouquet in a handkerchief which had a border tatted by my great-aunt Lila.

In the months leading up to the ceremony, my mom worked tirelessly on various “mom-jects”. She sewed burlap table runners, found beautiful iron work medallions at a steal to use for mason jar¬†candelabras, created perfect burlap bunting banners to hang at various places throughout the reception, sewed pillows and cushions for our hay bale lounge,¬†hot glued lace to french pails, cleaned antique medicine bottles and glassware, made moss letters and burlap wreaths. And just one week before the wedding? She stayed up until 2:30 in the morning to bake 72 dozen of her famous dishpan cookies as favors for our guests.

Details

She was quite busy and I’ll never be able to adequately thank her for all of the love she poured into making our wedding day absolutely everything I imagined.

Meanwhile, I was busy designing the program and other paper goods for the ceremony and reception using a few free graphics from the Wedding Chicks website which I manipulated to fit my overall vision.

The family fun didn’t stop there, though. My dad and uncle built a screen out of old doors my parents salvaged from the 110+ year old victorian home I grew up in, all of which had been kept in our shed since they remodeled the home in the late 80s and early 90s. My dad also cleaned up his old tandem bicycle that had been stored out in the shed for as many years as the doors.

Adam and his brother joined in the project fun as well, bringing wine barrels from the winery Adam worked in throughout high school and college which would serve as the “legs” for the groom’s table and my sister brought her large collection of wine corks to fill additional mason jars for the groom’s cake stand.

The effort that was put into these details by our families helped to make my wedding day all that I dreamed and more…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: The Ceremony

I wanted our ceremony to take place in the sanctuary where I spent every Sunday of my childhood.

The sanctuary where the kneeling pads my grandmother Ottie helped to needlepoint are placed around the altar rail.

The sanctuary where I have so many wonderful, peaceful memories.

I wanted to make a new memory in the place where so many of the memories that shaped me into the woman I am today were made.

Well, we made many memories that day. From the chills I got as soon as the organist began playing the processional music for the bridesmaids – a song I had chosen in memory of Ottie, The Wedding Processional from The Sound of Music, to how I felt right before I walked down the aisle alongside my father. The memories were only beginning.

As I walked down the aisle towards Adam, I faintly remember seeing friends and family out of the corners of my eye, ecstatic to be able to share this moment with them.

I remember looking at Adam and seeing the look of sheer happiness across his face. I couldn’t stop smiling.

It was time.

We were ready.

After my dad presented me, the preachers began our traditional Methodist ceremony. Everything was moving along perfectly until the first prayer.

That’s when my sister realized she forgot the ring.

Thankfully, our coordinator, Heather, sensed that Madeline had forgotten the ring and was already halfway down a side aisle when it was time to place it on Adam’s finger.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t fast enough to save Madeline from embarrassment. When the preacher asked for the rings, Madeline had to admit her mistake – which was the first moment Adam and I knew what had happened.

Madeline hates to draw attention to herself – specifically embarrassing attention – so this moment couldn’t have been more perfect for me and I laughed heartily at the altar.

Then I exchanged a forgiving smile and a high-five with her – yes, you read that right, we high-fived at the altar – before taking the ring and placing it on Adam’s finger.

The moment we exchanged rings was surreal for me. This was actually happening. I was becoming Adam’s wife!

I remember Adam proudly and loudly repeating each line of the vows after the preacher and I remember the look of complete commitment in his eyes. It warmed my heart and showed me a new side of him that I immediately loved.

After a final prayer it was done.

The ceremony was over and we were taking our first kiss as husband and wife.

As we were exiting the sanctuary, I felt a swell of happiness greater than anything I had ever felt before. It was overwhelming and exciting and the perfect emotion to ramp me up for our fun-filled reception…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: Wedding Party

Our  wedding party was the best!

Just as I wrote of¬†how wonderful my bridesmaids were, the same could be said for Adam’s groomsmen. They were attentive, hilarious, easy going and supportive all day long.

Made up of siblings and close friends, there was no other group I’d have wanted standing in support of the commitment Adam and I were about to make to one another than this.

They were willing to hold one of several bunting banners my mom made for our wedding day…

Willing to stand in rocky alley way terrain for a less traditional photo-op…

Willing to wear matching shoes and socks…

Willing to put up with Adam’s excitement…

And, most of all, willing to put up with our shameless displays of affection in the moments leading up to the ceremony…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: First Look

Adam and I chose to have a “first look” prior to me walking down the aisle and I’m so glad we decided to do this! After exchanging our gifts and putting the final touches together before our wedding party pictures, our photographer whisked us off to the garden of the church between the education building and the sanctuary for our only chance to be alone on our wedding day.

Adam stood with his back to me and between the coordinator and photographer we had a timed photo opportunity, followed by several moments of alone time to soak up all that was about to happen without interruption. It was perfect.

Seeing him for the first time, EVER, in a tux was great in and of itself, but knowing that in just a couple of hours he would be my husband made seeing him at this moment even more special. I was overwhelmed with joy.

I was full of love.

I wanted to know if he was nervous.

He wasn’t.

And just as soon as we were left alone, we were swept back into reality for wedding party pictures…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: Getting Ready

While home for Christmas, Adam and I received our gorgeous wedding album and disk of images from our photographer, Karen Segrave of KES Weddings. Ever since then I’ve been itching to share the story of our wedding day with you.¬†From getting ready, to the “I Dos”, to the par-tay following the ceremony and everything in between, I’ve decided to break our day up into a series of blog posts.

Let’s begin, shall we?

On the morning of our wedding, my bridesmaids and I gathered at a local salon in my small hometown to have our hair and makeup done. My sister served as photographer at the salon – which would explain why there are no pictures of my maid of honor getting ready.

First up was Sydney, a hometown friend I’ve known for my entire life – and hers.

Sydney

Then my hilarious sorority sister, Sarah got her pouf on.

Sarah

Following Sarah was another sorority sister and sweet friend, Lauren – whose hair had never held a pouf until my wedding day.

Lauren

My bridesmaids were awesome that morning. We laughed, we played Tribond, we chatted about life and we enjoyed the Southern small town requisite lunch of Sonic. Well, I should say they enjoyed Sonic, I was given strict instructions by my wedding coordinator, Heather, not to eat anything greasy so I had apple slices and caramel sauce while the smell from everyone else’s greasy goodies filled the air.

Leading up to my wedding I had no idea what I’d be like on my wedding day. Would I be nervous? Manic? Stressed? I actually ended up having a tremendous feeling of peace all morning and in the minutes leading up to the wedding. And, in addition to peace? Complete and utter happiness. I’m still shocked my cheeks weren’t sore the next day, because I’m pretty sure I had a smile all. day. long.

No Makeup

Ignore the lack of makeup…I know I’m scary

Around mid afternoon, our photographer arrived at the church to begin capturing our day. I had taken my dress, veil, and other belongings over to the church earlier that morning so that all I’d have to worry about once my hair and makeup were done was getting dressed at the church.

Photography by KES Weddings

After getting to the Bridal Suite at the church and getting everything in place it was time. Time to put on my dress.

For my wedding.

On my wedding day.

I was so excited for this moment.

After putting it partly on in the bathroom, my mom helped to button me in. I still remember the rush of excitement that swept through me at this moment.

Laughing

After putting my dress on, I was able to relax for a bit. Adam and I had decided to exchange gifts first thing after we had gotten ready, so my sister took Adam his gift while Adam’s brother and best man, Sam, was in charge of delivering my gift.

Once our gifts were exchanged, it was time for our “first look”…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Tuxedo or Tuxedon’t

As faithful followers of this blog I’m sure you’ve heard that I’m engaged¬†and will be walking down the aisle to marry this man in October. I couldn’t be happier! So far the wedding planning has been fairly painless – the worst part was finding the bridesmaid dresses – and everything is coming together well! I think.

That is, until I started looking at tuxedos. Uh, I mean we – until we started looking at tuxedos.

First of all, I should tell you that within hours of becoming engaged I had Adam convinced that he and his groomsmen would be donning powder blue tuxedos with ruffled shirts for our nuptials. I described ad nauseum exactly what they would look like, down to the shoes and he bought it hook, line and sinker. Poor guy is so gullible.

Then, Adam began telling me how much he liked the look of traditional tails. But here’s the problem: our wedding? Is in my small hometown in Southwest Arkansas. It’s your typical laid back southern town and I love that, but I also love Adam and didn’t want to deprive him of his dream – even if it was a bit formal for our f√™te.

So I asked his mom what she thought. She laughed. A lot.

Then I asked my mom. She wasn’t buying the idea, either.

Finally, in an effort to gain a full consensus, I asked the big gun. She doubled over laughing. Literally.

Adam’s dream of tails was dashed – unanimously.

Tuxedon’t #2: [Not] Chasing tails

Then, the Royal Wedding happened and I become enamored with morning suits. They seemed to be an almost perfect compromise for us. Almost tails, but not uber formal. Relaxed yet traditional. Classic. English. It just might work. Then I realized that they are almost impossible to find for rent, not to mention renting one for my 6’8″ dad. So we nixed that idea, but I still love a good morning suit. How could you not?

Tuxedon’t #3: Morning dress: It makes every man look dapper…unless you’re a giant.

At this point, we’re 0 for 3 on the tuxedo front. Which should mean our options are significantly less than when we started almost 6 months ago, right? Wrong. Did you know there are are approximately 3,581 options remaining for picking out tuxedos? Now you do.

Allow me to explain.

While we have now realized that we want the standard tail-less tuxedo, we have to choose the color we want. Do we go with khaki or gray? Black or pin-stripe? Once that’s decided we have to choose the style of lapel. Do we like shawl lapels or notch lapels? Diamond shaped shawl or satin trimmed notch? Then there’s the issue of buttons. One button, two buttons or no buttons? It’s pure torture. And the combinations for all of these options are endless and look different every. single. time.

Once the jacket is decided upon we have to pick pleated or flat-front trousers. Easy enough, since I prefer flat front. Phew. That’s one decision made. I hope.

You’d think at this point the decisions would be easier. You’d be wrong. Again.

You see, at this point in the tuxedo shopping extravaganza the issue of shirt comes into play. Did you know there is more than one type of button-down shirt for tuxedos? I didn’t. There’s the laydown collar or the wing collar. Easy enough to choose between – if you knew what type of tie you wanted.

So once you [hypothetically] settle on the 2 button black tuxedo with satin-trimmed notch lapels, flat front trousers and white shirt with lay down collar you have to choose the windsor tie style. But I’m not just talking colors, I’m talking patterns: paisley, diamond, striped or solid. Then, and only then can you pick a color for the tie. Sounds easy enough right?

Unfortunately, at this point in the tuxedo selection process your brain is so tired from choosing lapels, buttons, and tie style that colors like ecru, mocha, champagne and white cannot be differentiated.

Thus causing you to abandon all efforts and forget you spent an hour and a half deciding between shawls and notches.

Engagement Pictures

It’s been just over a week since Adam and I met with the fabulous Karen Segrave McCall, owner of KES Weddings, to shoot our engagement pictures. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about how the shoot would go down, because I really wanted the pictures to reflect our personalities without looking posed or fake.

Can I just tell you how lucky we got? Not only was Karen able to capture our personalities flawlessly in the pictures, but she also made sure that we had input on shots every step of the way! It was such fun traipsing about Little Rock with her for two and a half hours to find settings that “fit” with us.

The biggest surprise came to us Sunday morning, less than 24 hours later, when I checked my email and saw that she had already made our proofs available to look through. I immediately opened them up and started swooning. They were full of emotion, laughter, love and joy and we couldn’t be happier!

Karen has been so sweet to allow me to share some of my favorites with you. So, without further ado, I present our engagement pictures.

I can’t recommend Karen highly enough if you are in the market for a wedding photographer. I’m so excited to see what she captures for my bridal portraits and at our wedding!

all images via Karen Segrave McCall|KES Weddings

Our House

Lately I’ve found myself driving around town and making up stories about the inhabitants of random houses.

That craftsman house I pass almost daily: I bet the owners are close to retirement age. They have grown children and are soon expecting their first grandchild. Their home is cheerful, filled to the brim with memories of the life they’ve led. They host bridge once a week, playing around the same table where they helped their children with homework.

That small wood-frame home with a carport: A widow lives there. The same home she built with her husband while raising their children in the 60s. She spends most of her time in 1 room: the kitchen, because that’s where most of her memories took place. She remembers her son’s burnt batch of brownies and the crowded Thanksgiving dinners. She finds herself staring at the same refrigerator where her children’s grades were proudly displayed.

That friendly 2-story brick house in a sub-division I discovered on a random¬†jaunt¬†about town: I’m positive it’s home to a young family with 2 elementary aged children. The interior is modern yet inviting, the refrigerator covered in art projects and A+ homework assignments. The backyard filled with toys.

What I’ve realized in these daydreams is that every family I make up in my head is happy, loving, and supportive. They are warm and welcoming and exude Southern hospitality. Their homes are well-decorated, each piece of furniture placed lovingly in position and each photo on the wall capturing a moment in time that they treasure.

Maybe it’s because I’m newly engaged that I think about these things. Maybe it’s what happens when a bride-to-be starts to dream about her own house and new family. Whatever the reason, it’s given me focus.

Focus to create a home that is welcoming, warm and full of love. A home that is a reflection of the personalities which inhabit it. A family that cherishes memories, laughs together and plays games together.

A family who makes memories in the kitchen.

image via Orange Blossom Society

Promises, Promises

Earlier this week, Adam asked me to make a promise about our impending future together. A promise that spawned from a fear of his.

His fear? That I would turn into a Real Housewife once we were married.

My promise? I won’t become a Real Housewife.

Let me tell you, his fear was very real and written all over his face. Meanwhile, I’m trying to stifle my laughter because he actually believes I might turn into one.

As you probably know, I cannot tear myself away from the¬†Real Housewives franchise. I follow every season, can discuss the episodes¬†ad nauseum with anyone that will listen and have references pop into my head at random times throughout my day-to-day life. Maybe this explains Adam’s fear for the future – our future.

Thankfully, after talking through it with him and getting to a point where he truly believes I won’t become one, we’re now able to joke about it. As further proof that I have no desire to become a Real Housewife, I thought I’d post my Top 10 Reasons here – should Adam ever need to be reminded in the future ūüôā

10. I have no desire to have cameras shoved in my face, or my family’s face, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Nor do I have any desire to have my phone tapped, my innermost thoughts broadcast to the world, or my “confessions” spliced, edited, and taken out of context. I prefer my spoken thoughts, as stupid as they may sometimes be, to be unedited and taken at face value.

9. Sure I like pets who wear clothes, gosh they can be so cute! But it doesn’t mean I’m going to drop thousands of dollars on a pure-bred purse dog just because I can. I’ll take shelter dog instead, they’ll be just as cute and loving.

8. I can think of about 1,000 other ways I’d spend 3.5 million dollars instead of on a child’s third birthday party. 2nd home in South Carolina, anyone?

7. I drive a Nissan. Not a Jaguar, not a Mercedes, not a BMW or Hummer. I drive your typical run of the mill 4 door sedan and the most fascinating place it takes me to during the week is work. Plus, I hear working for anyone but yourself or in a family business pretty much disqualifies you from being a Real Housewife.

6. I will never feel comfortable spending $3,000 in a single shopping trip on a pair of jeans, a sweater, and a t-shirt dress for a child who is still growing! That’s why Target was founded.

5. Reunions with my girlfriends won’t involve Andy Cohen asking us to relive the drama and tell him how we feel. Instead they’ll involve drama-free drinks at Happy Hour or the occasional trip to NYC.

Just making sure you’re paying attention.

4. I have no previous connections with the mafia. I have never been a drug dealer – or tried drugs for that matter. I also have no “Big Poppa” relationship.

3. I will never understand why women want frozen, expressionless faces. Plus, facial expressions can be important when effectively conveying sarcasm, which I plan to do a lot of for the rest of my life.

2. I have no desire to become a one-hit wonder singing about parties for which I cannot arrive on time, class for which money cannot buy, or closets from which freaks emerge. The only time I will try to be a recording star is when it required of me on whatever wii game I am playing at the moment.

1. I live in Arkansas. Rarely, if ever, do gay men prance around in high heels and hot pants then come to my house to fix my non-existent wig for a night on the town in the dry county I call home.

The Pressure…of a Playlist

In today’s Internet world, it’s customary for the engaged couple to create a wedding website for their guests and being the music lovers that Adam and I are, we’ve decided to include a playlist on ours. A playlist of songs that sets the tone for our wedding and gives our guests a peek into our personalities.

This has proven more difficult than I imagined, mainly due to the fact that I’m known for my playlists. I have friends that ask me to create playlists for them from my eclectic mix of music and summing our wedding up in a single playlist puts some pressure on me. This pressure has caused me to ask Adam for his suggestions, since I want both of our musical preferences to be represented.

Unfortunately for me, his suggestions have been less than helpful. His first recommendation was¬†99 Problems by Jay-Z, which really? Not so romantic OR appropriate for our guests. Then he scrolled through his music library and made the observation that the majority of his songs are sad ones. Given that his favorite song is Loser by Beck, I wasn’t shocked, but this also didn’t bode well for our playlist. He continued through his library making recommendations of songs by Pearl Jam and Reel Big Fish. Again, no.

Our playlist made it nowhere. Fast. Which is why I turned to WeddingWire’s recommended song list.

If you’ve never thought to look at recommended wedding songs before, I highly recommend you peruse this site. I have never laughed so much in my life. Here are just a few of my favorites – that did not make the cut.

(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You – *NSYNC

Clair de LuneIf only this song didn’t remind me of¬†the PixyLand website it would be a contender. But alas the guy in Florida who thinks he’s really Peter Pan is the last thing I want people thinking of when learning about our wedding.

Forever – John Stamos and the Beach Boys. Apparently Full House is a popular wedding soundtrack.

Kiss the Girl – Little Mermaid. 9 times out of 10, if you choose to walk down the aisle to a Disney song, you’re too young to get married. See also? Heart-shaped diamond rings.

And in case you were wondering, our website playlist still only has one song. So much for productivity.

Operation: No More Beyonce

Adam and I have been together for 3 years and for the last, oh, year and a half, I’ve taken to humming Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” in the car whenever we have a dull moment. In part because I love the song and its accompanying video, but also because it was about dang time for a ring to show up on MY finger. ūüôā

I spent the week after Christmas ¬†in Austin with Adam where we shopped, ate at some of his local favorites, drove around looking for an open cupcakery, watched “Top Gear”, and chilled. Rarely do we have a full week together, but when we do I treasure the time we spend together. Long-distance relationships are hard, especially when said relationship has been long distance for a year and a half.

All week, Adam had mentioned going to the New Year’s Eve fireworks downtown, but after we spent the day downtown shopping and saw how bad the parking and traffic was already getting, we decided to scratch that idea. We got back to his apartment and freshened up a bit so we could go “out on the town” for the night. A bit after 5 Adam said, “Let’s go,” to which I replied, “It’s only 5. We aren’t grandparents.” Then he said he wanted to go catch the last sunset of 2010. Okay then.

The two of us loaded up in his car and he drove us to Mount Bonnell. Mount Bonnell has a gorgeous view of Lake Austin and the amazing houses surrounding it and a view of downtown Austin (complete with an unfortunate view of the Texas Tower), as well as a beautiful¬†pavilion¬†where lots of tourists snap pictures or hangout. After we parked the car we walked up the ridiculously steep stairs to the summit. Mind you, I’m wearing cute pointy-toe ballet flats – because that’s what all experienced hikers wear.

At the top, Adam takes me over to a smaller somewhat private overlook and I notice we arrived at just the perfect time, because the sun has just begun to set and cast a pink hue across the sky. It was breathtaking. We stand there for a good while chatting about how pretty the view was and which houses on the lake I wanted him to buy me.

Hey, a girl can dream right?

Next thing I know Adam is PROPOSING!! TO ME!!! I don’t even remember everything he said leading up to the “Will you marry me” part but I remember being a bit surprised. In a good way.¬†Right then and there I went from girlfriend to¬†fianc√©e and I was beaming.

He did a good job on the ring too – even if he had a little help from yours truly. ūüôā

I ended 2010 as Adam’s¬†fianc√©e and I’ve spent every day of 2011, thus far, with a huge smile on my face, because I get to MARRY the most amazing guy I know!! Ah!

And yes, in case you were wondering, Adam called this whole proposal preparation “Operation: No More Beyonce”. He’s a funny one ūüôā