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!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Looking Back on Our Wedding: Getting Ready

Next weekend is our one year anniversary. I'm finding it really hard to believe it's been a whole year AND that in that time I never wrote my wedding blog posts! To be honest, it kinda stressed me out. It felt like a big job to fully represent what the weekend was, to sort through the photos and to write everything I wanted to say. When people say it's the best day of your life, it's true. I sincerely wish I could do it again. With that, I know I'll never 100% represent every element, person or moment from the weekend so I will just dive in!

Before I get into it, I have to give a huge shoutout to our venue and our photographers. Maybe it's Asheville, or maybe it's just Heather's and my fabulous decision making - but we chose the two nicest crews to work with. Our photographers, Zach and Maggie, had us over for dinner when we decided to work together, to discuss our vision. And the event coordinator at Reeb Ranch, Katie, is a true gem whose open personality and go-with-the-flow attitude made the process so enjoyable. If you're planning an Asheville wedding - use them!!!

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Our wedding day...

I had some time to myself in the morning, as I told my mom, sister and bridesmaids not to join me until 10:30. I wanted some time alone to write my vows and I also wanted them to be able to sleep in and do what they needed to do. Our ceremony wasn't until 6 pm and photos started at 3 pm, so there was no reason to have everyone sitting around longer than necessary! Bridesmaids are such a traditional role, and I did wonder what the point for me really was, but having my closet, most precious women there with me was incredibly important. They added levity, calm, laughter and much support during the entire wedding process.

During my alone time, I sat on the top bunk of one of the bunk beds in the barn apartment, watching the clouds roll over the mountains. Over the preceding months, I had collected notes in my phone of what I wanted to write to Heather, and finally put it all together in some semblance of meaning! Once my ladies arrived, it was time for hair, makeup, and baby holding. Lucky for me, hair was done by one of my besties Sarah, and my makeup artist, Ali, became a friend through the pre-wedding process. While I was in the barn apartment, Heather was in Reeb's Waterfall Cabin with her family, brides-people and Mozey!





































Apparently, the bride is always the last one to have hair and makeup done (things you learn!) so it's as fresh as possible for the big moment! Once we were all finished, it was time for our first look, which will be my next post. This is a hotly debated topic, and I can say I am so pleased we did one. I was still incredibly nervous when I walked down the aisle and I don't feel that it took away the specialness of that moment. Having a First Look allowed us hours to get amazing shots of me and Heather and family portraits.

I have too many photos for one post, so stay tuned for the First Look, Ceremony, Reception and Honeymoon!


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