Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Lost in the Dizzying Details

Ahhh!  So I haven't posted in FOREVER but this summer and fall have just been insane.  On to my post:

One of the phrases I hate hearing is, “Oh you still have plenty of time!” While that might be true technically since we have SIX months left, thinking about it in actual terms has started to up the stress levels.  October is nearly over!!  And we all know how FAST November and December fly by with the holidays. That puts it down to the four month mark! While that still sound like a lot of time for many brides (people plan entire weddings in that time!!), knowing I will most likely have some extensive international travel during that time makes me know it’s all going to be here before I know it.

I have a pretty serious checklist that I refer to often and have created a calendar of payments. Since I chose not to hire a planner, it’s up to me to remember who gets paid when (and they all are different.) For my fellow Spring brides, Lilly Pulitzer has some fabulous agenda choices which run from August 2013-December 2014. They are a practical, yet stylish and colorful way to keep all of these important dates in one place. Looking everything over, I feel pretty satisfied where I currently am. Honestly though, I couldn’t have done this without my mom. She has been my right hand lady throughout this process and we couldn’t have had more fun! Given that we have most of the major items checked off like venue, DJ, photographer, my dress, invitations, transportation and ceremony music, we are now more focused on the little details. I think this is what is overwhelming me . . . all of these small, special little things that turn a wedding from OK to amazing.

Me being me, I have the tendency to get caught up in these details. Of course I need confetti and ribbons and cake pops and personalized water bottles and . . . well you get the point. Like many fellow brides, I have champagne wishes on a beer budget. So my checklist is one way I help focus my Pinterest day dreams. Look at all of those other more important things we need still . . . do we really need [fill in the blank]? My mom is also the voice of reason who has helped remind me that less is always more. There are also lots of inexpensive ideas that will make a wedding special without breaking the bank.

So while it’s true that I might still have a lot of time to sort through all of these details, I need to remind myself to breath and enjoy this time. A year from now, these silly little details won’t matter any way. Most guests really only remember two things: the food and whether or not they had fun (your DJ). My parents will be married 30 years this November and people STILL talk about how much fun their wedding was! Not because they spent $100,000 on it. But rather because they truly love one another and their wedding was a reflection of that joy.

About to celebrate three decades.
About to celebrate three decades.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

To Honeymoon or Not...?

So one of the questions I am getting asked a LOT lately is "Where are you going on your honeymoon?"  And my response is always "We have no idea..."  Tradition dictates that brides and grooms immediately leave for their honeymoon they day after their wedding.  But more and more I am hearing of couples postponing this trip. 

We are getting married on a Friday and I already know we will NOT be leaving that Saturday morning.  Getting on a plane hungover/exhausted both emotionally and mentally just doesn't appeal to either one of us.  We are definitely going to need at least one day to just decompress after embarking on this amazing and wonderful journey together.  Also, we live together and have for 2 years.  So spending the night together or going away together isn't a novel idea.  We don't HAVE to rush off.

The two main points though are the expense and agreeing on where to go.  From my blog, you can guess that I travel a LOT and to pretty amazing destinations.  I am used to traveling 24+ hours to get somewhere and have perfected my way of fighting jet lag.  I am a very easy going traveler because I do it all the time.  I want somewhere really exotic, full of adventure and romance.  Now my fiance on the other hand is basically the polar opposite.  He has only been out of the country once (to Jamaica so that barely counts), he HATES flying and he is a very stressed-out traveler.  He would be happy going to Ocean City, MD (not really but he does make that joke a lot).

So finding a location that can fit both of our desires is a challenge.  He suggested Hawaii which might be the best way to compromise.  But it SOOOO expensive.  I know this trip should be awesome but the thought of booking this on top of other wedding expenses gives me heart palpitations.  There are Honeymoon Registry sites out there now which I have contemplated signing up for.  The Caribbean would make much more financial sense but as usual my desires don't match my bank account.  On top of this dilemma of where to go, is when.  Part of me wants to wait until May or even the summer when we can really relax.  But then I am so afraid that if we don't take the time, then we never will.  We still have 9 months to figure this out (well less if want to get a good deal) but I will be happy when I can cross this off my To-Do list...

When did you do your honeymoon?  Where did you go?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Engagement Photos!!!

A few weeks ago, Michael and I had our engagement pictures taken but our FABULOUS photographer Krista Jones (co-editor of another awesome bridal blog Bayside Bride).  While I like to pretend in my mirror I’m on America’s Next Top Model in the comfort of my home or take phone pictures out with friends, I’ve never done a professional shoot before and was a bit nervous.  What to wear?  Where to take them?  How to not look awkward or end up on a post like this?

Finding the “where” was my first task.  I wanted a place that was meaningful to us but would provide a really pretty background.  I researched other blogs, websites and Krista’s home page to get some ideas.  Then my mom had the awesome idea to scout it out ahead of time.  This was KEY!  I had planned on one place but after actually going there, I was not so impressed.  We then settled on Centennial Park in Ellicott City.  It had a lot of locations to work with and plus we most likely will move to EC when we leave the city. 

Next came the wardrobe choice, which was no small feat.  I admit I am one of those girls who changes her outfit multiple times before finally leaving the house, so I knew I needed to decide this beforehand.   Also, I was thinking about many of the shots I had seen.  There were lots of close-ups, so sleeves were required (you don’t want to look naked!).  Since our background was going to be trees and water, I also wanted to pick something that would pop.  Then Michael picked his outfits to compliment mine.

Phew!  After all this background planning, it’s time to take some pictures!  Our first date didn’t work due to a thunderstorm.  This is important to take in to account if you are having your pictures done during the summer months or outside.  We rescheduled for two weeks later, so it wasn’t a big deal at all.  We explained to Krista and her husband, who had come along to take film shots, that we aren’t a super PDA couple and don’t spend hours looking deep in to each other’s eyes.  She assured us that while it might be awkward at first, she would give us direction but it’s mostly important to just be ourselves.  The first few minutes definitely felt strange but as the time went on, it felt more natural.  Krista and Davey made us feel totally at ease and I couldn’t be happier with the results!  She is so incredibly talented and we are really lucky to have her as our photographer.
Credit: Krista A. Jones Photography
Credit: Krista A. Jones Photography

Credit: Krista A. Jones Photography 
Credit: Krista A. Jones Photography

Credit: Krista A. Jones Photography

Engagement photos are not a requirement or even a desire for all couples.  But many photographers do offer them with their packages.  Since we’ve never had nice photos taken, we knew our families would appreciate having some.  Plus, we also plan on using them on our Save the Dates as well as our announcement in the newspaper.  If these types of photos aren’t your thing, maybe see if your photographer wouldn’t mind taking a rain check and use them for when you have your first child for a family portrait instead.  Do what fits your personalities and represents you…that’s really the best advice to help you not look awkward J

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

MIA Round 2

So I will be MIA all next week since I will be in TANZANIA :)

While the trip is for work, we still planned some time in for shopping and a safari!!  Will be back after the trip with updates and stories...


Monday, May 20, 2013

Learning Who Your Real Friends Are

I took the weekend to decide if and how I was going to write the following post.  After giving it some thought, I decided to put this out there.  Never in a million years would I ever have thought I would be the type of girl who kicks someone out of my wedding party.  The ladies on shows like Bridezilla make it a habit of switching up their maids whenever the wind blows or making ridiculous demands that cause their ladies to ditch them before the big day.  I am a really easy going person and a pretty amazing friend (at least I think my girls would say that!).  Needless to say, one of my bridesmaids has made me question why I put her in there in the first place and if it might be for the best if I tell her that her services are no longer needed.

This girl and I were BEST friends in college.  Basically inseparable.  With her moving to NY and my going home to MD, it's only natural that we are going to not be nearly as close as before.  However, we still talked all the time and saw each other at least 2 or 3 times a year.  We still leaned on each other for boy problems, shared our successes and texted each other silly stuff only we would laugh at.  Five years after graduating college, we remained close.  It was a no brainer that she was going to be in my wedding party, especially since we had pledge this fact to each other many times. She got engaged back in April but is planning an August wedding and I have offered her my services many times because planning a wedding in 4 months stresses me out just thinking about it!! 

Last Wednesday, I experienced the deepest hurt thus far in my adulthood.  I received an virtual save-the-date and invite to her engagement party.  I noticed there was a link to her wedding website so I clicked on it to check it out.  I then proceeded to click on the Wedding Party tab.  My heart sank as I realized my name wasn't there.  Did I miss something?  I scanned the 6 girls names and none of them was mine.  How could this be?  Now, I understand that some people have lots of siblings or future sibling-in-laws that they include.  Of the 6, one is her future sister in-law.  Four of these girls were from my college and I didn't realize that she was so close to 2 of them.  Where we they when she called me crying over a boy and that she needed her bestie and I immediately dropped everything and took a bus to NY to cheer her up? 

Now, I am not trying to sound like sour grapes.  Of course I am hurt that I'm not in the wedding party but the fact that she didn't have the decency to call me and explain why not or at least give me heads up was a dagger through my heart.  I thought we were better friends than that?  Did I miss a sign?  Is she just not that in to me?  I feel like an idiot who misjudged an entire friendship; she really did mean a lot to me but I guess her feelings weren't mutual?!  I immediately texted her to tell her I wouldn't be able to make her engagement party since I will be in Tanzania.  After throwing around multiple hints and giving her the chance to come clean, I told her how hurt I was that she didn't have the balls to tell me I wasn't going to be included in her special day.  She told me she knows she handled the situation poorly and it was a really tough choice and it's not a reflection on our friendship (she still loves me).  Ummmm...YES IT IS!!!!  Clearly you don't think we are good enough friends.  Anyway after some back and forth and learning I was at least worthy to score an invite to her bachorlette party, our convo ended. 

AND I HAVE YET TO HEAR BACK FROM HER!!!  So if my close friend (or any friend!) said I had hurt them, you better believe I would be on the phone to them that night.  I would have made myself sick worrying about it.  Crickets from her.  I made myself pretty clear that I was upset.  I even put a post on Facebook that it was an awful day, yet still nothing.  Michael was furious when he found out and went in to instant protection mode.  He wanted to me to kick her out of the wedding party that day but I wanted some time to reflect on the situation plus I thought surely she would reach out.  I am going to wait to face the situation until after I get back from my trip but if I hear nothing, she is gone.  I have a lot of fantastic ladies in my life who I know would be there for me.  Again, I am in no way saying I expect to be in their weddings (that's not the point), but I know I can count on them to be honest and forthcoming with me.  Thinking back on our friendship more closely, it really has been pretty one-sided.  Example: I always went to visit her, she only came to MD twice.  The pain will eventually go away but this has left a permanment mark on our friendship that I don't think can be erased. 

Has anyone else experienced something similar?  Am I being too harsh to kick her out?  Feel free to sound off!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Workout Wednesday

Today's Workout Wednesday is a doosy but you will feel AMAZING after it's done!!  It works best in the gym since you need some equipment but can definitely be modified to fit your location.

Things you will need:
Step with 2 risers

100 Pushups
100 Situps (Full ones!)
50 Box Jumps - Start at the top of the step, jump both feet on either side to stradle the box and squat the same time.  Jump both feet back to the top of the box and squat.  This is 1 (one) rep so it's a double count.
50 Kettlebell Squats
.25 Mile Sprint (as fast as you can go)

Time yourself on this!!  Take a 2 or 3 minute break and repeat.  Can you beat your first time?!  Generally this takes a while so 2 rounds should be a pretty intense workout.  Be sure to warm-up and stretch as always!

Next Week I will show you how to take this and kick up the intensity :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Baltimore Color Run 2013

So of you may or may not be familiar with a really fun race called the Color Run!  If no then here is the website to check out more information and see if one is coming to a city near you!

It's basically a totally fun and totally silly 5K where racers get covered head to toe in colored powder.  Not everyone might be in to it, but it's honestly a fun time.  There race isn't timed so walkers and even strollers are welcomed!

Here is a shot of us while we were waiting to start:


Nice and clean!! 

Now here is us during the afterparty:

And More:

It gets a bit intense:


Overall it was a REALLY fun race.  After doing multiple half marathons and 10Ks, this was a walk in the park and it felt good to have some fun during a race and not be SO focused on my time.  It's open to all ages (even little ones!) so definitely check it out!

Monday, May 13, 2013


So I have been super MIA for the past few weeks but with good reason!  Just after my last post, my organization had a long 5 day strategic meeting that I had to participate in.  Since all of those days were 12 hours long, I didn't feel much like blogging.  Then back to the office for 2 days and then I went off to Spain!!  More specifically to the Canary Islands!!

The trip was for work but I did manage to get some play time in there.  These islands really are so beautiful and I would actually recommend them for an out-of-the-box honeymoon idea.  Sadly I was there alone :(  Next week it's back on a plane, this time to Tanzania (again for work). 

I plan on writing something more thought provoking tomorrow but just wanted people to know I am still alive!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Workout Wednesday

Today's Workout Wednesday is a fun one.  You might have heard of it before or seen it on Facebook but it's easy I promise, so why not give it a try.  Here it is:

The 30 Day Squat Challenge!!
I myself have decided to participate (I shouldn't tell you to do something that I haven't done right?!).  I am currently on Day 6 and so far so good.  My personal trainer puts a lot of emphasis on squats so I might be at a significant advantage.  Here it is in depth:
It's pretty simple.  And you are supposed to do these all in one workout...don't split them up over the day unless you absolutely have to.  Also - adjust the reps back if you are just starting out and make sure you keep your form in mind.  No injuries!!  I do mine next to my couch so I can squat as low as possible without actually sitting down.
Has anyone else tried this?  What were your results? 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Workout Wednesday

Given my passion for running and fitness, I bring you my new Wednesday special...Workout Wednesday.

So in the running community, many people ran yesterday in support of the terrible tragedy at the Boston Marathon.  I actually knew someone who was racing and her husband was there cheering her on.  I am happy to report that she had finished well before the blasts occurred but they are still shaken up.  I wore my Disney Princess Half race shirt yesterday to show my solidarity but chose to save my run for today.

So today's workout suggestion is a simple one.  Go out and run.  I will personally be running 4.09 today, the time on the race clock during the first bomb.  Another challenge I have seen is running 2.62, as well as running 26.2 miles over the next 2 weeks.You don't have to run far or fast, but just show the sick person/people that did this that they cannot take our spirit and passion away. 

United We Run.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Finding the other "one"...

Well y'all...I think I found it.  The one.  The other "one" you need to find when planning a wedding...your dress.  This is the thing many girls like myself dream of finding.  I spent hours in my childhood making wedding dresses out of bed sheets.  I wanted to be a princess on my big day.  Now that I have grown-up, my perfect gown has changed but the importance of this garment has not.  I have always thought my quest would play out like any episode of Say Yes to The Dress.  I would find it surrounded by the ladies I love, my mama would cry and everyone would hug.  However, the reality of my story is more of an accidental find.

While Baltimore doesn't have mega salons like Kleinfeld's in New York, we do have a few big ones that most brides will try.  One of them, Betsy Robinson, had advertised a sample sale.  Thinking maybe this was my chance to get something stunning at a discounted price, I made an appointment for my mom and myself.  My dad dropped us off and we checked in.  The sales girl, Ashley, showed me the sale items and I was disappointed to not see anything I even was interested in trying on. 

Fortunately, I wasn't limited to just the sale rack, even though that's why I had made the appointment.  After pulling 5 or 6 dresses, we headed back to the fitting room.  There were a few that I liked but you don't want to just like your want to LOVE it.  Most of the dresses felt heavy.  Our wedding is outside and more casual so I was looking for something light.  We went back to the racks and I pulled a few more, but nothing had caught my eye yet.  Ashley brought a dress to me and asked if I wanted to try it on, even though it wasn't full lace.  I agreed but wasn't convinced. 

After another 3 gowns, I tried on Ashley's pick.  It fit like a glove.  And I realized, I love this dress.  Like, love, love, love it.  My mom loved it too, although there were no tears (boo!).  Ashley asked if I wanted to see it with a veil.  She put a cathedral length one on (which is what I requested) and the angels sang down to me.  This was it.  I got a bit misty myself standing there looking in the mirror.  I was a bride, a real one.  After dreaming about this for so long, I had found it.  When I wasn't even trying or expecting it!  Of course I'm not going to post it on here, just in case, but I swear its amazing!

While I still have a year to go, I know this is my dress.  It just feels right.  But now that means no more looking!  No more pinning, no more browsing, no more Style Me Pretty (for dresses anyway).  For anyone else out there getting ready to look, as long as you have 6-8 months, there is no rush.  I honestly didn't mean to find my dress, it just happened.  Another piece of advice is go with an open mind.  This dress is sort of similar to what I was thinking but not really what I had imagined as THE dress.  Also, I was very lucky because I am the sample size.  So almost all of the dresses fit me without any extra clips, etc.  If these samples are too big or too small, have faith that once it's ordered in your size and altered to fit perfectly, it will look a lot different (and better!).  And most importantly, have fun.  What girl doesn't love playing dress up?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Living a Lilly Life

As anyone who reads this or knows me can tell you, I am a HUGE Lilly Pulitzer fan.  Not only of the fabulous clothes, but of the lifestyle and of course, Ms. Pulitzer herself.  I, like the rest of the pink-and-green world, was very sad to hear about her passing yesterday morning.  She took a simple idea and turned it in to an empire.  There are already some wonderful tributes out there celebrating her life and ideas.  One of my favorites I have seen is from The Preppy Princess:

I think it's fitting that after a brutal winter across the US, today spring has truly sprung! It almost feels like Lilly herself is shining down and after all, anything is possible with sunshine and little pink :)

Until my next post here is the motto that I live my life by and sums up everything the brand is about:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Will you help me tie the knot...

Now you have the guy, you need your girls!! One of the biggest decision to make during wedding planning is asking the special ladies in your life to join you up at the alter and help you tie the knot.  I am blessed with many wonderful women in my life so keeping it to a reasonable number was going to tough.  I always knew my little sister was going to be my maid of honor.  That one was easy.  After some discussion with M, we landed on lucky number 7 as a good amount of people to each have in our wedding party.  This may sound HUGE to some people but again, we have so many important people in our lives!

M went about asking his groomsmen over beers, without much fanfare.  I however, like to emphasize the importance of things in a bigger way (I guess I've always had a flare for drama).  Plus I LOVE giving gifts.  I know that sounds cheesy but I really do love finding that special thing for someone I care about.  After all, these girls were going to be spending quite a bit on dresses, hair, makeup, etc so it's the least a bride can do right?

Here is what I found on Etsy:

The price was right at $17 each.  It's really adorable on your wrist and fits in with our waterfront wedding venue.  I asked most of my maids in person since they either live around here or are family.  M has two older sisters who have basically become like my sisters so I knew I definitely wanted them to be a part of our special day.  For my best friend who lives up in NY, I knew I would have to mail hers since we don't get to see each other all that often.  For her I made a card on my computer:


Sorry for the sideways pictures but you get the idea.  There are lots of options on Etsy if you aren't feeling crafty or would only want to give out cards instead of a gift.  The possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination (and wallet). 

I wear my bracelet everyday and every time I look at it, I am reminded of all of the special people I am blessed to have in my life.  And I couldn't imagine not sharing the Best Day Ever without them :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Half in the Books

So this past weekend I ran yet another half marathon!!  That makes 2 in the past 3 weeks.  Hard to believe since I could barely think about running 7 miles just last October.  The one from this past weekend was the Rock n' Roll USA Half Marathon.  My actual run was SOOOO much better than Disney but the race itself was a bit unorganized (at least in comparison).

I knew RunDisney probably set the bar too high for my first half marathon but I didn't realize quite how high.  I left work on Friday at 12 to catch the commuter train down to DC.  I hustled over to my hotel, the Lowes Madison, and checked in.  I have to say this was easily one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed in.  Check out their website:

Stunning!!  And the location was amazing...the White House was only a few blocks away.  Anyway, I then ran to the Expo to grab my packet and check out the vendors.  The Expo in Disney was WAY too crowded to even bother looking around, so I was excited that this one had less people.  In the end though, I ended up being disappointed since the vendors I was hoping to see weren't there :(  Back to the hotel to pick up my mom (who came down to cheer me on, so sweet!) and off for a pre-race dinner of Chipotle.

This race started at 7:30AM which was sleeping-in compared to Disney.  The morning was overcast and cool but perfect running weather if you ask me.  There were 36,000 people running this one, some for the full marathon but most for the half.  For some reason they had us all running together...mistake number one.  There were 36 corrals total and I was in 22.  Being the rule follower that I was raised to be, I headed over to mine.  I soon realized that no one enforces the start and people can really go wherever they please.  Disney was VERY strict about this and had each corral blocked off with only one way in or out.

The race itself was fairly uneventful for me.  I ran a really great pace until mile 10 like usual.  But I ended up finishing in 2:18 minutes...that's 8 whole minutes faster and a PR!!!  I was ecstatic!!  And the icing on the cake is my mom actually saw me cross the finish line!  Which is amazing given the large crowd.  It took a really long time to get through the medal and food area out to see my mom...again something that Disney just has down to a science.  Plus the amount of food was not all that much...just some fruit and chips.  Overall, it was a great race and I would definitely think about doing it again. 

Anyone else out there run this one or a race this past St. Paddy's Weekend?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Quoteable Thursday

In my effort to post more often, I bring you this quote from one of my heroes, Lilly Pultizer.  I don't know about where you live but it's down right frigid here in MD today!!  It's days like this that make me crave my sundresses, Jack Rogers and that wonderful feeling when you get in to a cool bed after being on the beach all day even more than I normally do.

Island Insight!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wedding Updates and Photographer News

So I have been slightly MIA since I got back from Disney but that's because I have been so busy and have TONS to update everyone on.  I ordered our guest welcome bags, my "Will you be my bridesmaid gifts" and my actual gifts for them on the big day.  These will all be separate posts so stay tuned.

The big wedding update that I realized I neglected to share is that we hired our photographer!  And I could not be more excited!!!!

Her name is Krista Jones and she is from the Easton Shore of MD.  She and her husband actually live in the same place where we are getting married (easy peasy for her!).  First of all she is ridiculously talented.  Check out her website to sample her work:

Also, she is one of the editors and creators of Bayside Bride, which is essential to and most likely on the daily blog reading list of any Maryland bride.  You can check that out at  I seriously read it every day.

And for bonus points (not that she needed any because I am clearly a bit obsessed), she sent me a present when I signed the contract: one of those hangers with my new last name twisted into it.  Too cute!!!

We scheduled our engagement pictures for June 2nd so stay tuned for those...I know they are going to turn out fabulous!

 Here are some swoon worthy favorites:
Photo by Krista Jones

Photo by Krista Jones

Photo by Krista Jones

Photo by Krista Jones

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Disney Princess Half Marathon - Part 2

So I left off my last post when I was just about the half-way point in the race.  The sun was coming up and I was maintaining a steady 10 min/mile pace.  All of sudden my stomach started doing flips.  I had to stop and walk because I felt so awful.  Unfortunately this feeling NEVER went away and only go worse as the miles wore on.  I alternated between walking and running but my "running" didn't last more than a quarter mile at a time.  My stomach felt so queasy, running was just asking for trouble.  I thought about stopping at the port-a-potty but hate using those (I mean...who doesn't?). 

I literally stopped at every water stop and made sure I drank both water and Powerade.  So I really don't think I was dehydrated.  My theory is I must have picked up a bug.  Needless to say, I did my best to push through the race.  Just when I thought I couldn't take much more, yet another issue came up at Mile 10/11.  I knew just by how my foot felt, I was bleeding badly from blisters.  My feet are VERY sensitive to new shoes (and even ones I wear a lot like my running sneakers) and I am highly susceptible to blisters.  Four days later, my foot still looks awful so I have been trying to take it easy and have yet to run since the race. 

Finally, I crossed the 13 mile marker and with every ounce of stregth I had left, I pushed my self to a sprint and crossed the finish line, with tears streaming down my face.  I had done it.  I was officially a half marathoner.  My time was 2:26:40.  Certainly not the time I was hoping for but with the humidity, not feeling well and having no skin left on my heel, I would take it.  Generally I am one of those people who does not make excuses and always pushes through something and this was no exception.  Getting that medal put around my neck was such a sweet, incredible victory.

Sadly, my stomach was so upset and angry, once I got back to the hotel, I never left.  We ended up missing our last dinner reservation and never made it to the Magic Kingdom for more rides (so you KNOW I was ill).  Even today, it's not feeling all that great.  Fortunately Michael took wonderful care of me and he reminded me of how awesome what I just did was.  My next race is only a few weeks away (March 16th) and I am hoping to blow this time out of the water.  Fingers crossed...and stay tuned...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Disney Princess Half Marathon - Part 1

So I have been a bit MIA but I have so many things to update everyone on!!  We just got back yesterday from our trip to the most magical place on earth...Disney World!!  More on the trip itself later.

For now, the most important thing to update everyone on is that I am officially a half marathoner!  That's right...I finished the race Sunday morning around 8AM.  My photos from the race are not up yet but I will be sure to share those as soon as they are.  But here is a picture of my snazzy medal:

Photo: Picture of my bling
Soooo pretty!!

My alarm went off at 3:30AM.  That's right...that's still night time.  I was trying to be as quiet as possible, but Michael sat up and asked if I was ready to win (in a far too excited voice for the middle of the night).  I quickly got dressed in my capris, tank, tutu and shoes.  My stomach was not feeling so great but I figured that was probably because it was so early and my dinner was still digesting.  Unfortunately this was a warning of what was to come.

I made my way to the closest bus stop and found a HUGE line with fellow runners waiting for the bus.  It took about 15 minutes but I finally made it on to one and I was on my way.  Traffic was a nightmare and it took us about 25 minutes to get there, plus the long walk from where the bus drops you off, meant I had no time to enjoy the race retreat I paid extra for.  O well...

I decided it would be for the best to go ahead and made the very long walk to the starting corrals.  I was placed in A, and got to the corral with about 10 minutes to spare before we started.  At 5:35AM the fairy godmother did her bibbidy bobbity boop to fireworks and off we went.  It was very dark and fairly congested but by the time we reached the Magic Kingdom, the crowd started to thin out.  This was lucky because those in later corrals were slowed to a crawl in this area because the course becomes so narrow.  I made a pitstop at the bathroom in Frontierland and went on my way.  Sadly I missed the fairy godmother sprinkling pixie dust on the runners :(

I made it to the 10K check point feeling good and was making good time with a 10/mile pace.  As I hit the half way point and the sun was starting to come up, something happened.  Something that would destroy any hope for meeting my goal of 2:15...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Back in the Game

Well this past weekend I did it!  I ran 12 miles!!  It wasn't easy and it wasn't really fun but I pushed through and made it.  My first 6 miles was great and I was ahead of my usual pace but then I could feel my body starting to get sluggish.  The rest of the 6 miles I alternated between walking and running.  My final time was 2:08.  Not at all on pace but for being very sick for 3 weeks, I will take it!!  It's better then not to have started at all...

Thanks to everyone out there for any positive thoughts you sent my way!  We leave in just 8 days and I am really excited!  The weather outlook keeps changing but I am praying for it to be warm enough so I can wear some of my new Lilly I got for Christmas :)  13.1 here I come...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

In Need of Some Pixie Dust...

So 4 weeks ago this weekend, I ran my first double digit run.  I was on top of the world and knew 100% that I could take on Princess Half Marathon in February.  Fast forward to today and I feel like everything I have been working for over the past 19 weeks (4 months!) has totally imploded.  While that might be a slight exaggeration, my confidence in my ability to finish is on really shaky ground at this point.  I am in some serious need of some pixie dust.

So what happened?  Just after my long run, I knew I was about to get a cold.  I NEVER get sick, or if I do, it rarely gets worse then a sniffle and I am better in a few days.  I started taking Zicam and Mucinex like a crazy person but to no avail.  By that weekend, I was officially ill.  I knew it was a sinus infection and went to the doctor for antibiotics.  Around the same time, the weather here in Maryland took a turn for the Arctic.  With high temps of 20-25 degrees (really?!), there was no way I could run outside.  That is just too darn cold!

With my medicine kicking in and feeling better, I tried to run on the treadmill.  And my sciatic pain was back!  Reminder: I am a pretty fit 27 year old.  WTF body?!  I had this same issue when I started training back in October and bought new shoes.  The pain went away so assumed it was fixed.  But I have recently amped up my session with my personal training, who focuses heavily on squats, sprinting and other more explosive movements.  Apparently my body does not like mixing long distance running with total body training.  UGH!!  Even when I am not moving, just sitting, I can feel the tingling in my upper thigh/lower butt (TMI?).  But when I run, this becomes a terrible pain in my calf.

So I took some time off, refocused my efforts on running and less time with my trainer, and made a better effort to hydrate.  Last Thursday, I was feeling back on top of the world.  I could tell the muscle that was irritating my nerve was calming down.  No more sickness and the temperature was back to normal.  Friday night, I took the last of my medicine.  Saturday I woke up and met with a potential wedding photographer (we ended up booking her and I am slightly obsessed).  And I knew that something was not right.  By Saturday night I was back to sniffling.  And by Sunday, I could barely move.  I did my best to cheer my Ravens on to an AMAZING victory.  But I knew I was getting sick again, and at an alarming pace.  I went to the Dr on Monday and was given another 10 days of medicine but this time the antibiotic is super strong.  Yesterday it spread deep in my lungs and I now have a disturbing cough.  All of this with 2 WEEKS before the RACE!!!!!!

To say I feel a bit defeated or derailed is an understatement.  I feel a lot better, but definitely not myself.  I cannot smell or taste anything and cannot currently hear out of my right ear.  I desperately need to get in one more long run, since my last one was 4 weeks ago.  But I also know I need to let my body rest.  I am so frustrated!  I have used more sick days in 2013 already then I did in all of 2012.  Plus, most of long distance running is mental.  And I am not in a good head space to push out 13 miles.  Unfortunately, it is too late to defer plus we have spent a lot of money on the Disney vacation itself.  So, I guess I will have to see how I feel in 2 weeks and hope for the best.  Even if I have to walk most of it, that's better than never trying in the first place.  I am running another half in March, so hopefully I can use that one for a personal record.  Even though my first half is not going according to plan, heck, I will be in DISNEY WORLD!  And I plan on having fun with the other 20,000 princesses who will be there running or walking by my side :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Exciting News...

We booked our venue!!!  I am beyond excited and over the moon.  Michael and I will officially become Mr. and Mrs. on:

April 25, 2014
Thinking about it is surreal.  I will become a married woman in 14 months.  While this might seem like a long way out, I know time is going to fly.  We will be saying our I Do's at the Silver Swan Bayside on Kent Island, MD.  For those of you familiar with Maryland, it is just on the other side of the Bay Bridge.  Anyone interested can check out their website:
This venue embodies the rustic and comfortable style we (well I) am planning for our wedding.  No one else will be there but our family and friends.  It overlooks the Chesapeake Bay and just reminds me of home.
We are taking a bit of a leap of faith because the entire venue will be undergo a $2 million rennovation in November.  I absolutely love the place now so it can only go least I hope.  The are raising the roof up by 6 feet and are swapping out the wall of french doors for those doors that fold flat and open up the space completely. 
Of course there are a million questions in my head.  What if I hate the new look?  What if they aren't done on time?  What if something goes wrong?  But I have to trust my gut and the coordinator at the venue, who as assured me they will be done by April 2014 and they are not changing the beachy feel.
I am definitely one of those girls who makes a decision quick and sticks by it.  It takes a lot to talk me out of something once my mind is made up.  So I know in my heart everything will turn out beautifully and even if it doesn't, who cares.  The person I love will be standing by my side and we will be surrounded by everyone who loves us.  In the end, that's all that really matters.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Quick Updates

I apologize for the lack of a post on Monday but I ended up coming down with a bad sinus infection that took me out for the past two days.  I also anticipate on writing a much longer post on the venue we selected but wanted to be sure we actually sign the contract first :)

A few highlights from my illness filled weekend:

1.  I signed up for two more half marathons!  Yes - I have yet to complete my first.  BUT I have really enjoyed running and love having some new goals.  The second one of the year is the Rock n' Roll DC half and is only 3 weeks after my first one.  The next one is not until November 9th in Savannah, Georgia!  I have always wanted to go there so it's a bonus trip :)

2.  Depending on your view of my fair city of Baltimore, you at least know one thing: we LOVE our sports teams.  After the games against Denver and the Sunday game against New England, the whole city erupted in fireworks, car horns and general celebration.  People flooded the streets.  People hugged and high-fived strangers.  It was incredible.  Unless you are from Baltimore or Maryland in general, you don't get the natives' obsession with it.  I love this city and cannot wait for our time to shine on the big stage in the Super Bowl.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My First Double Digit Run

In addition to my regular job and wedding planning (which is practically a full time job), I love working out and am training for a half marathon at the end of February.  This is no ordinary half: this is the Disney Princess Half Marathon!!  This also marks my first half marathon ever.  Up until this point, I have run quite a few 5Ks but that has been the extent of my running career.  However, I love a challenge and decided to push myself.  Plus I grew up in a family that visited Disney World every few years.  So I asked Michael if he would want to join me, and with his yes, I started my training program.

I have been training since October using the Jeff Galloway Training Plan ( and would definitely recommend it to those just starting out.  Before October, the furthest I had ever run was probably 5 miles.  I love working out but hate running.  This past weekend I hit a major milestone with running 10 MILES!!  That's double digit mileage.  If you asked me back in August before I decided to run this, I would have laughed at the thought of running that far.  But I did it in 1:37...and relatively painfree.

Here are some highlights from my run around Baltimore:

It was a very overcast day but the temps were in the 50's

Ravens Pride on the side of Federal Hill

This is a piece of one of the World Trade Center towers.  It is there as a memorial for the Marylanders who lost their lives on September 11th.  I always get chills when I run past it.

On a lighter note, there is a bread factory on my route.  It smells amazing and makes me hungry.
Huge cargo ships that come in to the Inner Harbor
Mr. Boh - An icon of Baltimore (The beer is gross but lots of people love it)

After this weekend, only 3.1 miles stand in my way of finishing my goal.  I actually got a bit teary-eyed when my MapMyRun app lady told me "You have gone 10.0 miles" because that is such a major accomplishment for me.  While I still cannot say that I LOVE running, I don't mind it and actually prefer to run 5 or 6 miles to just 3.  There are only 5 weeks left until our trip and after my first double digit run this past weekend, I KNOW I've got this!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bridal Show Review

Wow!  This past weekend was a whirlwind of tulle, flowers, and cupcakes.  Lots and Lots of cupcakes.  My mom and I attended two Bridal Shows this weekend and they could not have been more different.  I apologize ahead of time to everyone for the lack of pictures.  My phone on Saturday had no battery left (rookie mistake!) and the event on Sunday had nothing to take pictures of...more on that later.

Up first was our experience at the Bridal Show at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club.  This trip was meant to serve dual purposes.  First, I really wanted to see the venue since it was one of my list of possibilities and second, the show sounded amazing.  Shockingly when we pulled up, the line was out the door to get in!  Thankfully it moved VERY quickly so this was not an issue.  As you walked in, they gave you a bag to help carry goodies and greeted you with a glass of White Sangria.  The Beach Club in general is huge and every hallway was filled with top vendors in the MD area.  And these vendors outdid themselves.  Their tables were not just a cloth with brochures.  Every cake baker had samples there to try.  Photographers invited brides to take pictures.  Florists had both booths and sample tables to show their centerpieces.  My mom and I imagined there was 10's of thousands of dollars worth of flowers at this event.  Stunning doesn't even begin to describe it.

The dress shops even had model bride and grooms walking around which was neat to see dresses in person.  The hair and make up studios also were doing demonstrations, which as someone who has never been in to those things, was interesting to see.  The vendors at this event were also extremely professional and were much more interested in talking to you rather then at you with a sale pitch.  The cost for this event was on the high side at $20 per person but was well worth it in my opinion.  The Beach Club  and their sister property had food set up in each room so it was also like getting a lunch too.  In total, we spent about 2 and a half hours strolling through but had to cut our time short since we had a birthday party that afternoon.  This place was so huge, we actually ended up missing an entire room!!  Overall, I would highly recommend this show to any Maryland or Virgina bride and think it is certainly worth price.

So for as awesome and amazing as the first show was, is how terrible the next one we attended was.  The next day, my mom and I attended the Great Bridal Expo at the Hilton in downtown Baltimore.  The line for this was also very long and moved at a decent pace.  After yesterday's event, my expectations were much too high.  As soon as we walked in the door to this event, the reps from David's Bridal were in your face asking you to buy a dress that day.  How that was going to work, I'm not sure.  I literally just walked in, so no thank you.  To say this event was depressing is an understatement.  There were only about 20 booths in a dimly lit ballroom.  Most of these vendors had little to do with an actual wedding like travel agents, real estate agents (?), naughty underwear, and a few photographers mixed in.  No cake places.  No florists.  Nothing!

We spent about 30 minutes walking around but with the Ravens playoff game about to start, I figured our time could be spent in better ways.  We quickly left and probably won't be using any of the information that I got.  This is nationally touring event so I expected much better.  Thankfully the cost for this one was only $8 and frankly it would have been better spent at Chipotle for lunch instead. 

Overall I think bridal shows are worth to attend but do your research before hand if you can.  I might be interested in attending one more but that's probably it.  Otherwise the amount of information is so overwhelming and with websites like Wedding Wire and Southern Wedding, it's easy to find vendor reviews and recommendations.  Some other good tips:

-Set up an email for your wedding ahead of time.  Then your personal inbox won't get flooded with vendor stuff and it will be a good place to keep things organized.
-Pre-print some stickers with your general info.  This will save you major time and hand cramps.
-The two we attended did not have any reception sites and most of the people seemed to already have that booked.  These things seemed to be for those out of the initial planning stage.

Have you attended any bridal shows or expos?  What was your experience?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

First Blog Post!

Ever since I was four or five years old, I have been dreaming of the day when I would walk down the aisle.  Whether it was turning old sheets in to fabulous gowns or staging elaborate nuptials for Barbie and Ken, weddings have been on mind from an early age.  Fast forward to July 2008, when I had moved downtown (and out on my own!) just a few months prior.  A friend invited me to her co-worker’s house warming party and I willing went, blissfully unaware that my future husband, Michael, was the host.  He was a year older but we had some spooky connections: his 10th grade English teach was my uncle and he went to college with my cousin.  As is typical, he sent me a Facebook friend request that next day but I thought that was probably all that would happen.  However fate had a different plan.  About 2 weeks later we ran in to each outside of a bar in Federal Hill and have never been a part since!


In the nearly four and a half years we have been dating, we have learned so much about each other and ourselves.  To those on the outside we seem like total opposites, but hey, opposites attract right?!  And over time have learned to love our differences.  Michael is a huge Maryland Terps basketball fan and is slowly converting me (who doesn’t love to tailgate?).  I love journeying to exotic places and travel often for my work at an international non-profit.  While I have accepted that Michael isn’t going to go backpacking through the jungle with me, he is always open for adventure.  We love each other for who we are, even if Michael thinks I have WAY too many clothes.
Something that Michael and I do have in common is our inability to keep secrets, especially presents from one another.  Generally by the time a birthday rolls around, the other one already knows what they are getting.  We rather share the excitement as soon as possible.  Since about June of 2012, Michael had told me he was going to propose by the end of the year, and I had a suspicion he was going to do it around my birthday or Christmas.  Being the opinionate girl that I am, I left multiple hints for my dream ring around the house.  On December 4th, my actual birthday, he called me and told me he found the ring of our dreams but it wasn’t going to be ready for another week.  Since we had waited over four years, what was another week?  So we went out to dinner with my parents and grandparents.  Thinking back on it now, he was acting a bit strange and was in a really great mood, despite having a stressful work day.  After my family left, he called me upstairs and asked if I wanted to open my card.  As I went in to our room and he turned to face me, I saw what he was holding in his hand: the most beautiful ring, even better than I could have dreamed!  Honestly I don’t remember much of what he said when he was down on one knee but I am sure it was sweet and perfect.

 Photo: Finally posting a pic of the ring for all to enjoy :)

Now that the high of our engagement, the holidays and celebrating with all our friends and family is beginning to wear off, I am slowly realizing that even though I thought I had my wedding planned, there is SO MUCH to think about and organize.  It’s a bit overwhelming but also so incredibly exciting.  Thankfully my fiancĂ© knows and accepts that I have a dream vision for our wedding and doesn’t want to be too involved in the small details.  Not too many guys are passionate about linens and centerpieces after all.  His three requirements are (1) open bar, (2) the Electric Side and (3) selecting the rest of the music.  Other than that he says he trusts my judgment and knows I am plan something meaningful and special to us.  I am so excited to share my journey here on my blog, as well as my other passions like running, cooking, all things Lilly Pulitzer, the beach, life below the Mason-Dixon line, and of course Disney.   And while it maybe not be a fairytale all the time, I know it’s going to have a happy ending.