Friday, August 1, 2014

99 Day Countdown = ENGAGEMENT PICTURES!!

Friends, we are officially in the double-digits!!  99 days from today, I get to marry my absolute best friend and the love of my life.  I would say "Let's just fast forward to The Big Day" but I've been so stressed over so many silly little things the past couple of months that I'm making a conscious effort these last three months to soak up every minute of being engaged.  I absolutely cannot wait to be a wife, and to be Brian's wife at that, but I'll never be a "fiancee" again, and I want to revel in this little bit of time in between dating and marriage.  
To top off that exciting little countdown, our photographer (the fantastic CoCo from Krista Photography here in Boston) sent back our edited engagement pictures today (squeee!!!).  So, to go out on Friday with a bang, here are a few of my favorites!



the spot of our very first date


...AND the spot we Brian proposed!

boat shoes and boots :)


love these.










I was nervous about the misty, foggy morning, but it actually worked in our favor for the pictures!  It was perfect, and I highly recommend taking engagement pictures sort of as a trial run to the big day.  It's nice to get a feel for how you'll interact with your photographer, and gives you an idea of what to expect with a camera in your face constantly.  We were pretty awkward at first but once we got more comfortable, it was a piece of cake!  It was hard to pick favorites because CoCo just did THAT amazing of a job.  We definitely have a great connection with her and know that she'll be a perfect fit with us on the wedding day!

Have a fantastic weekend!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our hou-- oh wait, just kidding.

I had this big exciting blog post planned for today saying "We found a house!  It's lovely and perfect for us and we are completely thrilled!"  

I knew how I was going to tell my friends at work and my parents over the phone.  

I've watched so many episodes of House Hunters that I'd even figured out how I was going to react when our agent called to tell us the great news-- I would of course hurry over to Brian and put the phone on speakerphone so we could hear the news together.  

And just like that, our house hunt would be over and ending on the most wonderful note.

That's how it was supposed to happen.  

In reality, we submitted an offer on the most adorable little cape yesterday morning, heard back from our realtor around 5:30pm that the sellers wanted our best and highest because there was a competing offer... and then called at 10:30pm to let us know that they went with the other offer over ours.  And I was devastated.  I am still devastated.  I know that sounds a little bit silly and over the top and dramatic, but it's true.  This was the first house, in all of our months and months of searching, that we both agreed that we could see ourselves starting our life together.

As we walked from room to room, we realized that we didn't have a negative thought about anything, aside from cosmetic updates here and there.  The kitchen and bathrooms needed updating, but the house was priced fairly enough that we could do a full renovation to the kitchen and open it up into the dining room, while putting my countless Pinterest boards to use and personalizing the kitchen to exactly what we wanted and needed.  The house was built in the 1950s and had wonderfully charming "bones," and aside from updates in those rooms, lots of pulling down wallpaper and paint would have made the home shine.  We were already picturing ourselves coming home from work in the evening and working through each room to give it our own little touch with colors and decor to make it ours.  The neighborhood was our dream area and full of young families-- I was imagining answering the door for trick-or-treaters while Hocus Pocus played in the background because isn't that what houses are for?  I had our pictures on the mantle and our first married Christmas tree in the perfect bay window, our brand new china styled in the built-in china cabinet.  

We tried really hard to not get ahead of ourselves but our agent kept telling us that our offer was very strong, and the listing agent came back and told her that our offer was very strong.  Who wouldn't get excited and hopeful?  We were on cloud 9 all afternoon yesterday, thinking "Yes!  No more open houses on the weekends.  We can make plans to move and sort out the details and finally, finally look forward to moving into our first house!"  I checked my email one last time before turning my bedside light off and I saw an email from our realtor-- "Are you up?"  I sat straight up in bed and read it to Brian as I emailed back that "Yes, of cours!" we were awake.

The phone rang and I made Brian accept the call and put it on speaker, and as soon as we heard her voice, we both knew.  The offers were very good and very close, but they went with the other one.  I did hold it together until we hung up the phone, and then I had myself the cry of the century and tossed and turned all night-- sleep was hardly in the cards for me.

It's so very frustrating to be in this position.  We feel so lucky to have great jobs, to be in a wonderful relationship together, to have good backgrounds and credit and to be pre-approved to even start the process of owning our own home.  But the market is so intense right now that as soon as something comes on, if you don't jump and get in to see it, it's gone.  This house came on Friday morning, I emailed our agent at 5am when I got up for the gym, and she had made us an appointment to get in by 9am that morning.  And it still had a competing offer to ours, both over asking price.  We have all of the pieces here to put the "let's buy a house" puzzle together, but there are so many more buyers than sellers, that there's just no inventory left.  I think, to make it worse, our price range is the popular price range too.  Homes $50k below where we're looking and $50k higher sit on the market, but anything from our safe to max zone is gone.  And everything happens so fast, if you see something and you love it, you have to move.  If you like it, you have to decide if you love it, because whether you move on it or not, someone else is going to.  

So today I needed to vent.  Because last night just plain sucked.  And that's about as eloquently as I can sum it up.  I can only hope that our search looks up from here, and that we find the house that's right for us soon, because there's not enough wine in Boston to keep me sane with this mess for much longer.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: My Texas Bridal Shower!!

I'm so behind in posting this, but better late than never!

After attending bridal shower after bridal shower, there was definitely a part of me that thought "Well I can't wait until it's me in that chair, surrounded by all of these fabulous people to celebrate me getting married!"  So once Brian and I were engaged and getting married became real, I had a little obstacle to face in regards to showers.  With Brian being from Massachusetts and me being from Texas, our people were spread all over the place, including my bridesmaids.  Knowing that I would never expect anyone to travel anywhere for a shower, considering they're already traveling for the wedding, I broached the topic of possibly having a shower in Texas and a shower in Boston, and everyone was completely on board (whew!).  So half of my girls planned one and the other have planned the other, and I just felt so lucky to get to celebrate with two different groups of my people twice!

Brian and I flew home late June for a whirlwind trip of lots of family, lots of food, and my Texas bridal shower!  It honestly could not have been any more perfect and still makes me teary thinking about all of the effort and planning that went in to that day.  The girls made sure that I had zero idea of the plans, aside from the location and who would be there.  Decorations, details... I didn't know a thing and I loved being surprised!

There was a very southern/Texan feeling, which was fabulous.  My mom brought my dad's cowboy boots and they filled them with hydrangea (one of my favorites) and had that on the gift table when you first walked in.  (And that would be a sneak peek of one of our engagement pictures in the bottom right of the picture!  Our photographer says our gallery should be ready next week!!)


Our family and friends were so beyond generous and gifted us with such wonderful things from our registries!  One of my oldest friends in the world, Carol, knows me through and through-- she showed up with a fantastic wine basket!  There were two bottles of Texas wine, a bottle tote that said "Keep Calm and Pour More Wine," a fun little sign that read "Wine improves with age; I improve with wine" which I promptly hung up once we were home... it was so cute.  And because we couldn't take the wine in our carry-on bags, we of course just HAD to open the bottles once we were back at my parents house and sorting through everything. 

Everyone of course knew that we would have to take our gifts back to Boston with us, so we received lots of gift cards to our stores, and several cards with the gift receipt for an item that had been shipped to our apartment!  So considerate and genius of everyone to consider the traveling when they chose what to bring to the shower.  

And because I know there are lots of y'all who have either planned or will be the bride-to-be at a shower where you'll have to travel back to your home with gifts, I have a suggestion for you.  We received a few items that were a bit too large/heavy to fly back home, so our solution was to return them to the store they were purchased from, take the gift card that we were given from the store, and repurchase the item once we were back in Boston.  It worked out perfectly, and since we registered at Macy's, Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn, it was easy enough to find a local store to make the swap.  

A gift that I want to remember specifically was from my mom's friend and coworker, Lisa.  Her daughter and only child, Lindsay, was killed in a horrifically tragic accident several years ago, and I had told my mom that I beyond understood if Lisa was unable to attend, if it would just be too hard to be at that kind of event.  Well, Lisa came and hugged me tight and it made my heart happy to see her there.  When I started opening gifts and came to hers, I unwrapped it and immediately noticed that the Pampered Chef cardboard box had "Lindsay" written in black marker on the top.  Inside was a cupcake pan, just like the one that I had registered for.  I started to tear up as Lisa explained that she had purchased the pan as a gift for Lindsay before the accident, and how when she was looking through my registry and came across the cupcake pan, it was as if Lindsay was telling her "You've got the perfect thing for that, Mom!"  By then we were all in tears and I love with all of my heart how I will think of her sweet girl every single time I use that pan.

The day just wouldn't have happened without these two wonderful ladies.  My mom and my Aunt Linda took over lots of the big planning after a little wedding party snafu early on, and they did such a good job with everything, from the food to the pictures to the centerpieces that they handmade (and I have to say, they are not known for their crafting skills).  They just kept saying that they wanted the day to be perfect for me, and IT WAS.  Love them so much! 

Me and my Keegan!  One of my amazing bridesmaids and one of the best friends a girl could possibly have.  And at the time she had a two month old at home-- she looked amazing!  She is that friend who I hadn't seen in FOREVER but as soon as I saw her and hugged her neck, it was like we were right back where we left off.  She added so many fun details to the shower, and gets major points for doing it all with a newborn! 
.

Two of my oldest friends in the world, Carol (l) and Amanda, my maid of honor!  They have known me since my supremely awkward middle school days of wearing khaki shorts and my dark brown Doc Marten sandals (and I've always been this pale-- picture it and know the unfortunateness of that pairing) and love me anyways.  From high school graduation to college graduation, to weddings and grown up jobs, we've been together through it all, and it's the best feeling in the world to be around people who know YOU, not the pretend you who sometimes has to come out to play to socialize and be social when you really want to be home in yoga pants.  They're the friends who I shared my very first drink with (Smirnoff Ice for the win!) and who I have been more drunkity-drunk with than I care to remember but will hopefully never ever forget because THE LAUGHS.  The laughs that we've shared, drunk and sober, happy and sad, good times and bad, just make friendship what it is supposed to be.  So these two faces made me so very happy that day.
 

There were a million little details that I know are recorded in pictures somewhere,  I just have to track them down!  My cake was actually two small cakes, one with Texas drawn on and the other with Massachusetts, and a trail of hearts connecting the two, similar to our save the date!  The favors were mini succulents that my mom's best friend had individually potted for everyone, as well as pairs of red socks for the guests to take home :)  

I honestly couldn't have asked for a more perfect shower.  At the end I thanked everyone for coming and nearly fell out in tears as I talked about how they're my people, the ones who have known me from the very beginning, and who I feel so blessed and lucky to have in my life and so grateful for them to have welcomed Brian into the big circle of crazy as well.  It's a wonderful thing to be surrounded by those who are closest to you, and I just love that they're all a part of such a big next step in my life!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Favorites

Thank the Lord it is finally the weekend-- this felt like the longest week ever!  And doesn't the week always seem to drag even more when you have a particularly lovely weekend lined up to look forward to?  Fridays are always a good thing but today feels EXCEPTIONALLY good!!  


I think I can mark that up to waking up this morning and having my mama under the same roof as me.  She landed in Boston safe and sound last night.  I have to say, she's becoming quite the seasoned traveler.  I'm a big advocate of taking the time to park and go in and meet someone when you're picking them up, if even just because you're so excited to see them you can't wait any longer!  Well, by the time we had parked and walked inside, my mom had already claimed her bag and was waiting for us by the elevators!  So right back around we turned and headed to the car as my mom proudly said "I'm becoming quite the seasoned traveler!"  Yes mama, you most certainly are.

As I mentioned yesterday, while I'm working the day away today, she's going to spend the afternoon with the ladies in Brian's family doing shower prep (Lord bless her-- things may get crazy there), and Brian and I will meet everyone after we're off of work.  It's a fun kickoff to the weekend, which I feel like is just going to get better and better.  The only thing missing is having the rest of my people here-- my dad, brother, and my Texas bridesmaids!  

Because I'm always in such a good mood on Fridays, and because I've already given a rundown of our weekend plans, I'm throwing my recent favorite things out there, just because I can!  

1. This kitten, hat and all, needs to be in my life.

2. Fantastic does not cover these little bags of delight!

3. Gotta give creative props to this husband... 

4. A guide to using every possible attachment on your KitchenAid mixer?  Sign me up! 

5. I do not have baby fever.  I do not have baby fever.  I do no-- okay, maybe just a tiny bit.
 

6. And last but not least, because we have all felt this way time after time... 


Happy Friday, y'all!  Hope your weekend is fabulous.




Thursday, July 17, 2014

A little bit of this and that

We are officially at 114 days and counting until The Big Day and today is a very EXCITED day!  I mean, I'm always excited to be marrying Brian, but there have definitely been days where I've let stress and worry about silly little things overpower that excitement.  I made a conscious decision over the weekend to just keep hammering away at my list and to have everything taken care of that I can one month before the wedding.  I know that little things will come up, and that there will be final decisions to be made as last RSVPs trickle in and such, but aside from that, if something can be taken care of ahead of time, it will be.  For the sake of my sanity and everyone's around me.  


There was a really silly part of me that thought figuring out all of the little details would be the fun, relaxing part.  I lied to myself.  The little details stress me out MORE, whereas the big things were easy to check off of my list.  I know it will all be worth it at the end once I can see everything come together, but right now I'm just trying to power through and make a few big decisions so everything else can fall into place.


I've managed to get a good amount taken care of so far in July, but there are still a handful of things left: 

*Decide on the color/design of ties and socks for our groomsmen
*Buy my veil
*Make another little DIY for our flower girl
*Finalize and order our invitations!!
*Finalize and order our guestbook
*Decide on day-of jewelry 
*Try out options for shoes
*Finish putting together wedding party gifts 
*Finalize guest transportation to and from the hotels to the ceremony, reception, and back at the end of the night 
*Order the little details for the cocktail hour/reception 

On the super bright side of everything, my mom flies in to Boston tonight for the weekend, and we're going to be checking off A LOT of those items, thank goodness!  Sometimes you just need mom there to help you make a decision.  I have the best little weekend planned for us which I think she's also pretty excited for!  I unfortunately have to work tomorrow, so she's heading down to spend the day with my future mother and sisters-in-law, and my MA bridesmaids while they do shower prep, and then Brian and I will meet her after work and take her to dinner.  Sunday she and I are getting up early and heading to the beach, and then hunkering down in the afternoon to clear away those to-do items.  Monday I have to work again but am hoping that I can figure out a way to work from home, so I can at least spend time with her, and then early Tuesday morning she heads back to Texas (sad face).

What was that?  I forgot Saturday?  Ohh that's right-- how could I forget?!  This Saturday is my Boston wedding shower-- and I'm SO looking forward to it!  I feel so lucky and thankful to have been able to have two wedding showers, with the first being with my family and the women who have known me the majority of my life, and this shower will be the new additions to my family and the women who have known me since I moved here, so for the duration of our entire relationship.  It's like a full circle celebration, and I've loved getting to have all of my favorite people in one room to celebrate with me.


Alrighty, ladies.  I'm off to Target and Trader Joe's-- I have a few last minute essentials and fresh flowers to pick up before my Mama arrives!  Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

At least it's only once a year...

How is it already Tuesday?  I don't know if it's the wedding countdown, failing at house hunting, or just the crazy amount of things that I'm trying to get done every day, but there are some mornings where I wake up and have no idea what day it is.  Last Tuesday I had a doctor's appointment and my doctor was trying to think of the name of something, and I laughed and said "Oh, it's okay-- it's such a Monday today!" And she looked at me like I was a little crazy because no... no, it was definitely a Tuesday, not such a Monday.  This week is throwing me for ANOTHER loop because it's already Tuesday, which means I have one full day on Wednesday to get ready for my mom flying in on Thursday, and then Friday I have to work and we're taking my mom out for dinner, and Saturday is my shower here in Boston!  So there's a lot of "When in God's name am I going to get it all done?!" going on.  At least we're coming off of a semi-relaxing weekend...

Saturday was, as expected, a little insane.  I dropped Brian and the boys off at the golf course around 10am on Saturday and went straight to the beach.  There had been big plans in my agenda to get wedding crafts taken care of but, alas, I ditched them for the beach-- always a good idea.  I love love love the beach that I frequent-- how can you possibly not? 


A good beach day just wasn't in my cards for that day.  The parking lot was packed when I pulled in, but I hoped for the best, and lugged my little chair and beach bag to the sand... only to see that it was basically wall-to-wall people.  The only spot that I could find was directly in front of a trash can, with a family and two toddlers to the left, and a threesome of older women to my right who were sipping wine coolers and talking about things that I wish I could un-hear (seriously).  Still trying to make the best of it, I pulled on my old lady sunhat, slathered on my sunscreen, and pulled out my book.  


After about two hours, I threw in the towel-- even for this Texas girl, it was HOT and the beach and I were just not getting along that day, so I packed it up and hit the road.  Back at home in my glorious air-conditioning, I showered, watched This is 40 for the thousandth time, and waited to hear from Brian that they were wrapping up.  Fast forward FIVE HOURS and I decide to go to the golf course and wait, rather than have to make the half hour drive while they stood around. 

As I said before, I've been doing this little chauffeur day for the last several years now, but it never. gets. old. seeing the crew of them post-tournament.  There is nothing sloppier, but I can't help but laugh at them.  I did take pictures, but for the sake of all of them, I can't share-- you probably would not even want to see.  Just picture 32 very drunk grown men acting like children in a parking lot as they have a trophy ceremony and try to gather themselves enough to load up and get home.  It did make me feel much better this year to see so many girls there to drive them home.  My perspective for that entire day is that they can be as drunk and stupid as they would like, as long as they aren't driving.  

I finally rounded up the four riding in our car and took them to Wendy's, per request, for "lots of nuggets and a Frosty," as one of them kept repeating.  All I could think was "They need something to soak up THE ALCOHOL, ALL OF THE ALCOHOL!"  I honest to God wanted to wait in the car so I didn't have to witness their drunken shenanigans in public, but I braved it and followed them inside.  It was then that I witnessed the most impressive drunk ordering I have ever seen, as guy after guy ordered bacon cheeseburgers with extra cheese, "Can you put cheese on those?" fries, nuggets with ranch mixed with sweet and sour sauce for dipping... I could not stop laughing, while I admittedly counted down the seconds for them to finish and I could get them out of the public eye.  It was like their manners had fully reverted back to fifth grade-- I was mortified.

From there we went to someone's house where there was supposedly a fun after party going on.  I guess drinking heavily for 10 hours will take it out of you, because we walked into a living room with six guys sitting on a couch, watching Deep Impact.  We stayed about an hour before I told Brian that I was leaving (I was the only girl and while I know all of the guys, they were a hot mess and I was stone cold sober and wanted to go HOME), and he could round up his friends or I would do it.  I dropped seven boys off at their homes that night, and I can honestly say that I feel like I did my duty.  They could have sat in the trunk for all I cared-- if I could get them home safe, I didn't care if we had to roll them to their front door, at least they weren't in one of the other guys' cars who had zero business being behind a wheel.  We finally made it home around midnight and I fell asleep thinking "Thank God today only happens once a year." 

Sunday I woke up, hit the gym, and picked up coffees while Brian remained dead to the world.  He woke up up when I made breakfast and decided he felt pretty good, but it was that hangover fake-out of feeling invincible upon waking, and then feeling like death once you get moving.  I left to run errands while he huddled in the fetal position on the couch.  And then, I scored the biggest wedding victory that I've yet to come across.  We had just been discussing ordering all of our votive candles and were estimating spending around $150.  While I was out, I stopped into Joann's Fabrics to pick up materials to make our ring bearer pillow and happened to wander down the candle aisle... and did a victory dance.  They had ALL of their candles marked down, and I found 6-packs of filled votives from $5.99 to $1.97, 3 packs of flameless candles from $5.99 to $1.97 (to use in the windows at our reception), and a 12 pack of hurricane votive holders from $4.99 to $1.97.  I CLEANED THEM OUT.  

my candle haul

I went home with 114 filled votives, 6 flameless candles, and 12 votive holders for $40 because on top of the sale, I had a 20% off coupon that applied to my entire purchase, regular and sale items.  I may have danced out of the store I was so happy.  And then I went to Michael's and not only found our baskets for the bathrooms at the reception (marked down 40% off) but also our card basket!  


This little pretty was $24.99, marked 60% off for being spring merchandise, and I had a coupon for 25% off my entire purchase including regular and sale items, so I got the baskets and the card cage... thing for $13-ish total.  I love it-- it's different from a standard card basket/birdcage, and I can use it again in our home after the wedding!  I was a little bummed because they had a cage that had a super cute crown on top, but it opened from the bottom and wouldn't be ideal for keeping cards contained, so the fleur-de-lis it was!  

It was a much-needed weekend of fun and relaxation for Brian, and a fantastic weekend for me to get a few BIG check marks taken care of on my to-do list!  If you're wondering, Brian finally feels human again today.  I kept telling him that his liver isn't what it used to be, and after still feeling like death for most of YESTERDAY, I think he realized that I may be right.

Tomorrow I have lots of fun wedding updates to share, including my Texas bridal shower (finally, right?)!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Finally Friday!!

Why is it that the first work week after a long weekend feels like it's never, ever going to end?!  I try hard not to wish the days away but good gracious, there were a few times this week when I was watching the minute second slooooowly drag towards 5 o'clock.  But FRIDAY is finally here and I'm pretty darn excited for the weekend!  We've hit that point in the summer where it seems like there are things happening every single weekend, so we try to enjoy the rare relaxing Saturday and Sunday whenever we can.  The next handful of weekends are jam-packed with wedding (squee!) and family things, so I plan to soak up every second of my free time in the next two days!

Every year for the last four years, Brian and his friends from high school put on a huge golf tournament.  And when I say friends from high school, it's like all friends and acquaintances-- there are 32 of them that group off into fours and drink and play the day away.  I actually kind of love it because everyone ALWAYS makes it a point to be here for the tournament.  Kids that have moved away come home.  Vacations are planned around the Daly.  All girlfriends/fiancees/wives make sure to write the confirmed weekend in their planners as soon as the date is booked because it would take an act of God to interfere with this weekend.  And now the guys are starting to get married, kids will come along in the next several years, and they all talk about how fun it will be when THEIR kids show up at the end of the tournament to see dad.  I mean really-- melt my darn heart.  

On the other hand, one of the requirements of completing the tournament is that you have to consume an obscene amount of beer before the 18th hole, so they're pretty sloppy by the end.  Enter moi, the yearly chauffeur.  There is no shame in my "You have no choice-- I'm picking you up" game, and Brian's best friends have come to rely on my driving services as well.  I even show up at the end of the night with a bag of McDonald's and Gatorade (prize-winning fiancee, right here) and drop them off in their driveways.  


While the boys are golfing, I fully intend to make my usual rounds to Target and Trader Joe's, stop by Michael's and Pier 1 to pick up a few wedding-related items, and then park myself at the beach for the day!  My second wedding shower is next Saturday and there are few things that look worse on a pale bride-to-be than a white dress.  So I'm trying to safely get a little color so I don't look like Casper Katie.  And nothing beats relaxing with your toes in the sand, a a good book in your hands, and the ocean in front of you.


Sunday we have zero plans, which I'm hoping leads to a late morning sleeping in, a yummy breakfast, and putting together a few wedding crafts (me) and watching golf/recovering (Brian).  Round that off with a date night dinner, and I think I've just described my perfect end to a weekend.  Hope you lovelies enjoy your two days ahead of freedom as well!