Monday, June 18, 2018

Looking Back on Our Wedding: My Big Surprise!

In the year leading up to our wedding, I had a plan. A secret plan that only I knew about. Eventually, that secret was shared between me and my wedding planner, who also happens to redesign vintage wedding gowns. She was my perfect partner in crime for my big surprise!

Since I was engaged for 20 months, I didn't figure out my dress situation immediately. Two weeks after getting engaged, I was at my parents for Thanksgiving and pulled my mom's Priscilla of Boston dress out of the preservation box for the first time since 1978!! She brought the dress down to North Carolina later, in case I decided to wear it. I told her I wasn't, as I eventually got my heart set on Needle and Thread's designs. Which I thought was true...



Until I decided to surprise her by wearing it during the ceremony! 

My planner, and dress alterations master, knew what I was doing, as she was altering the dress for me. (The only change I made to the dress was to take in the bust because... #teammosquitobites.)  But I told no one else until a month before the wedding when I realized I needed help to pull off the surprise! 

The plan I came up with was to give both my dresses to my planner to bring to the site on Friday. She placed my blue dress in the barn, where I was getting ready, so it was waiting for me on Saturday morning. Mom's dress went to the on-site home of Reeb's event coordinator, Katie, for safe keeping and steaming! During the First Look, my planner hung the dress up at the entrance of the barn apartment, so when we came back for our pre-aisle-walking champagne, my mom and sister and I would come upon it. My bridesmaids made sure my family didn't go to Katie's house or back to the barn during the First Look. As you can see in the photo montage below, I was pumped about the surprise! This detail is one of my favorites from the wedding.


















I love this last moment when my Dad saw me for the first time in his bride's dress! And then we were off to the ceremony, which will be my next post.

**Edit from my Dad: It was 40 years ago that he first saw this dress on my mother. Happy anniversary you crazy kids!!




Other wedding posts:








Vendors and Links:

Venue: Reeb Ranch, Brevard NC

Photography: Second Street Photography

Planner: Foskey & LoveLace

Hair: Sarah Smith

Makeup: Ali Lawless

Catering: Olive Catering

Dress: Needle and Thread

Jewelry: Earrings made by Heather

Hairpiece: Pearlized orange blossoms, taken from my mom's wedding hair pieces

Flowers: Kaylee Dunn

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Looking Back on Our Wedding: First Look

We chose our Reeb Ranch as our venue, a 1940s dairy farm owned by Oskar Blues, because it represents what is most important to us, and why we both ended up in Western North Carolina: the unbeatable serenity of the Appalachian Mountains. My family has 250+ years of history in NC and 100+ in the Asheville area specifically. I spent every summer near Asheville, as did Heather on family camping and hiking trips in the Pisgah National Forest.

Both of our families were drawn here by all the beauty this area has to offer. On our wedding day, we wanted to bask in the beauty of dense ferns, rhododendron groves and waterfalls - all of what makes this area so unique and idyllic. And bask we did! Our first look was planned in front of the epic waterfall on the property, and then we moved in front of the Waterfall Cabin, an original building from the 1940s that has a view of the waterfall, for more portraits.

As I mentioned in my last post, I really enjoyed our First Look. I was super excited to go meet Heather in front of the waterfall and cool to know our family was down by the cabin and could only halfway see what was going on. It was just us and the photographers, in the most magical setting I could dream up. Having that quiet time together to laugh, shake out some nerves and normalize the day was very special.























The Ceremony, Reception and Honeymoon are up next!

Other wedding posts:








Vendors and Links:

Venue: Reeb Ranch, Brevard NC

Photography: Second Street Photography

Planner: Foskey & LoveLace

Hair: Sarah Smith

Makeup: Ali Lawless

Catering: Olive Catering

Dress: Needle and Thread

Jewelry: Earrings made by Heather

Hairpiece: Pearlized orange blossoms, taken from my mom's wedding hair pieces

Flowers-Soil Songs

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

It's Happening... We Are "Those People" Doing Whole 30

I think living with an ex-vegan makes people think I'm a super healthy person. While I don't cook unhealthy food, I definitely love sweets and beer and work in an office that is chock full of what I like to call corporate butt wideners: donuts on Friday, bagels on Monday, a beer fridge...shall I go on?

Working in this atmosphere has taught me that I have zero self-control when it comes to treats, which I blame on my inherited sweet tooth from my pops. And while my dad loves to bake (he is the king of pies) we led a really healthy childhood which taught me how to feed myself and others in a nourishing way. I clearly cook much differently than how I learned at home, my dad is the main cook and is a "meat and three" guy, whereas I am a one-pot meal kinda gal.

Anyway.... we decided to be those annoying people and try out the Whole 30. Both of us were feeling a little...bloated?...lately and it's can't hurt to cut out processed food can it?! Also, I've received some health news (like that vagueness?!) and my doctor suggested going gluten and soy-free, which is a big part of the Whole 30.

If you want to know the specifics of the diet, use that Google machine. But my understanding is: Whole foods only, no dairy, grains, soy, sugar or booze. To me, it's a challenge to see if I can do it. I am less worried about the extreme specifics, and I'm following the rules about tiny ingredient additions... but not to the point where it's a huge economic strain, ya dig? Also, I snack. Always and forever. If you're a diligent Whole 30 follower, then I assume you'd disapprove...but that's cool with me.

Since it's a new way of eating and cooking, I am keeping a daily diary of what I cooked - it's a LOT of cooking - and ate in a day. If that interests you, keep reading!

Day One
Brekky: Eggs + strawberries
Airport lunch: Apple, Lara bar, Starbucks Egg Cups.
It was super hard to find anything to eat in the airport, which I knew would happen. Since I knew I'd be starting this diet on my way home from a weekend full of cake, pizza and beer, I brought along a Larabar, which most people consider a cheat. In this case, I was pleased to eat a whole foods meal in the airport. Unfortunately, I checked the ingredients later and the egg cups had cheese...but I gave it the old college try!
Snack: Smoothie with beets, berries, banana and almond milk.
Dinner: Romaine heart "tacos" filled acos with fajita-style onions, peppers and portabellos using romaine hearts as the shell. Topped with homemade guac.
Cooking: Quiche, Fajita veggies and Guac
Thoughts?: Woke up STARVING in the middle of the night

Day Two
Brekky: Quiche with onion, arugula and spinach
Lunch: The rest of the fajita veggies over salad with salsa and guac
Snack: Apple with almond butter
Dinner: Sheet pan bake of shrimp, sausage, asparagus, peppers and zucchini
Cooking: Sheet pan meal - tons of it!

Day Three
Brekky: Quiche
Lunch: Sheet pan meal leftovers
Snack: Smoothie with 100% cacao powder, almond butter, banana and almond milk. (I was home sick so a smoothie was a work-day snack option_
Dinner: Salmon Cakes with pickles - best thing yet!
Cooking: Prepped oat-less oatmeal and salmon cakes
Thoughts?: Cacao is a contested ingredient in Whole 30 because they don't want you making fake desserts. That smoothie was 100% a fake dessert made with whole foods and I'm cool with it. Obviously, I'd love to get away from my 3 pm sugar cravings and hopefully I'll get better at it.


Day Four
Brekky: Quiche
Snack: Apple
Lunch: More Salmon cakes with pickles and avocado
Snack: Rx bar, 1/2 banana with almond butter
Dinner: Wait for it...salmon cakes and pickles. Seriously so good!
Cooking: NONE, first day yet! Only ate ready to eat or pre-prepped foods.
Thoughts?: I was still home sick this day, and all I wanted to do was eat! That comfort food/boredom craving hit hard.

Day Five
Brekky: Oatless Oatmeal. This was a winner! I followed this recipe at the suggestion of my Whole 30 Buddy Caroline
Snack: Almonds
Lunch: Sheet pan bake, the leftovers that wouldn't die. This was surprisingly good after 4 days.
Snack: Pistachios, Kombucha
Dinner: Avocado "Toast" - Broiled long slices of sweet pots on the toaster oven, topped with avo and fried eggs
Cooking: Smashed the nanners into the "oatmeal" and gave it a few minutes of swift stirring on the stove, that's it! 



Day Six
Brekky: More oatless oatmeal - It was even better cold this time
Lunch: Repeat of the last night's dinner
Snack: Banana w/ almond butter
Dinner: We had our Whole 30 compadre over and started by putting out a plate of olives, pickles, caperberries and chorizo while cooking. For dinner, we had tuna steaks, braised brussels, spaghetti squash and asparagus.
Cooking: Heather did all the dinner prepping and cooking and then I jumped in to sear the tuna!


Day Seven
Brunch: Quiche and cucumber salad
Snack: Banana and almond butter
Dinner: Clean out the fridge meal of roasted carrots, broccoli and potatoes, cucumber salad and leftover spag squash
Cooking: Quiche, Cuke Salad, Roasted Veggies


I am by no means a food photographer, but I hope some of these photos helped you get an idea of what this looks like!