five on friday

{one} dry bar southern belle
Santa brought me a bottle of this drybar Southern Belle Volumizing Mousse for Christmas and I am a woman OBSESSED.  I spritz and add it from my roots through the ends of my hair on days that I need a little more height in my tease and whenever I'm curling my hair.  It smells absolutely fabulous, and is light, not heavy and sticky which I've found with a lot of the other mousse products that I've tried.  Getcha some-- tease it to Jesus, ladies!

{two} house of cards 
Brian and I have started watching House of Cards on Netflix and are seriously loving it.  Kevin Spacey is one of my favorites to begin with, and the show is just so clever and well-written, which I honestly think can be hard to come by these days.  And Robin Wright is just gorgeous.  Seriously.  Bonus?  Mr. Spacey has an intense Louisiana drawl going on, and I just love it.

{three} closet cleanout
We've been saying for the past three weekends that we were going to clean out our bedroom closet and the coat closet to make donation piles and FIND ALL OF THE SPACE, and I've finally reached my breaking point of hearing Brian yell from the closet "I can't find it!  It's not in here.  I looked." while I walk in and immediately pull out whichever tie/shirt/shoe he's searching for.  It's honestly organized... just an organized mess.  So we'll be spending a chunk of our weekend doing that.  On the bright side, I already have a list of organizing essentials to pick up at Target tomorrow morning that would most certainly make the process less painful (the big red bullseye to the rescue, per usual).

{four} relax
I've been making a conscious effort to really take time for myself and take time to breeeeathe since the kick-off to this busy 2014, and so far, I feel like I've done pretty well.  I typically have so many little things to take care of that I let them build up and overwhelm me, and I end up running around completely NOT calm and NOT collected, and probably leaving Brian wondering what in the hell he's signed up to be a part of for the rest of his life (in my defense, he knew my crazy before he put a ring on it).  

So now, instead of racing around in the mornings to get myself ready, pack lunches, make coffee, etc., I'm setting my alarm 20 minutes early to do my hair and makeup with a cup of coffee while enjoying a little Good Morning America, and I'm taking an extra 20 minutes before I go to bed to pick up around the apartment, straighten the kitchen (HATE getting up to a dirty kitchen), prepping lunch stuff... the things that stress me out in the mornings.  I'm also in bed by 9pm every night with a book and a candle burning.  I'm so highstrung and "I need to have that done yesterday even though it's not due until next week" that making myself just take a breather and take care of myself is doing wonders for me.  Next stop, trying out a yoga class (no, I've never taken one; yes, I think it would only further save my sanity).

{five} superbowl
Let us not forget that this Sunday is Superbowl Sunday, aka, The Day to Eat All of the Food Things and Drink All of the Alcohol.  Since Brian's beloved Patriots and my Cowboys aren't in the game, we have zero plans to do anything elaborate, and I'm MORE than okay with that.  Since I can't punish my man for me being on my fun food and drink cleanse, I'm considering making a snack or two for him to enjoy.  A couple of the contenders (from April?

whatta week to quit the wine...

Thank the Lord that it's already Thursday.  I don't know what it's been about this week, but it seems like everyone is taking their crazy pills-- we changed over our data systems at work the first of the year, and everything pretty much went to hell in a handbasket, so the past 29 days have been over the top.  Needless to say, this work crazy does not mesh well with this also being the week that I gave up my wine.  And my carbs.  And my cheese... basically all of my stress comforts, which is RED FLAG, KATIE, probably what you call a lightbulb moment.  Regardless, I cannot wait to be reunited with a lovely glass of red, because sometimes after a day of dealing with all of the people and their issues, you just want to have a little one-on-one time with Ms. Merlot.

Last night after work, we had a meeting with our wedding coordinator at our reception site, which, not gonna lie, still gives me tingly chills when we drive up to the building (pictures next week, promise!).  I was armed with my list of questions and thought it was just a "Let's touch base" type of meeting to put my mind at ease, but it ended up being the Wedding Interrogation of 2014.  I really did go in thinking I was OVER prepared, maybe even a little OVERLY confident, thinking I had all of my shit together, with my color-coded notebook, planner, and planning binder (I'd say it's like I don't know myself, but I cannot see myself planning this any other way).  But as soon as I started to ask MY questions, she said "I'm going to go through all of my questions for you first, and I'm sure I'll cover 95% of what's on your list.  And then you can ask YOUR questions."  Well, okay then.

"Who is your photographer/videographer/florist/DJ?  How many vendor meals do I need?"
"What time is your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner the day before?"
"How long will both of your fathers, your best man, and your maids of honor need for speeches?"
"Your menu tasting isn't until March, but I need your choices for the tasting by this Friday so I can prep your timeline."
"Where are you staying the night before the wedding, and where will you be getting ready the morning of the wedding?"
"Are you doing a receiving line?  No?  I strongly suggest that you do a receiving line."

And then my head exploded.

For the rest of the meeting, it was like a tennis match, back and forth, back and forth between the two of us.  Brian may have been a little scared.  He may have also been scared after he heard of all of the things that I'm planning to take care of myself, of which he was previously uninformed, but I digress.  Girlfriend got a little snarky, and I left the meeting feeling less prepared than I did when I went in, if that's even possible.  And in all honesty, it probably wasn't snark, just me being an overly sensitive bride-to-be who got her feelings hurt.  She's wonderful and knows her job, so we're grateful to have her for the guidance, I'm just not a fan of being told what to do, especially about something that I'm putting so much work into.

ANYWAYS, that was our evening.  We came home, narrowed down our options for our menu tasting in March (the food is divine and I cannot WAIT!), and I worked on our wedding website (yes, that is happening, considering we have people traveling in from everywhere and for my own sanity I need one place to chunk all of the information, although I doubt this will stop anyone from asking me countless questions anyways).  And I watched Teen Mom 2 while flipping through non-wedding magazines in bed, while sipping hot tea at 9pm.  I would be lying if I said that it wasn't an ideal way to wrap up a crazy day.

Here's to hoping that today doesn't drive me absolutely batshit crazy.  Cheers, y'all!

Wedding Wednesday: I'm THAT Girl (no shame in my game)

Wedding Wednesday.  I've looked forward to devoting a day towards wedding talk for forever, and it took me 5 months of being engaged to finally sit down and do it!  At this point I legitimately have no idea what I've shared about our wedding plans... other than the fact that we're getting married!  AND I'M SO EXCITED!  We have the majority of the big things booked, which is wonderful.  Our last two are our photographer (simply because we're picky and indecisive) and our  florist (again, picky and indecisive) but we have appointments lined up next week to meet with our top contenders for both category (it sounds like a game show!), and will hopefully nail those final two down at that point!  

I think that the biggest and most difficult thing for me to manage in all of the wedding planning craziness is that I'm an extremely indecisive person by nature.  I can debate the color of a new toothbrush for a good 10 minutes-- it is BAD.  So when it comes time to make these decisions about the details for the biggest day of our lives, it leaves me semi-paralyzed because I want it all to be perfect and so very, most importantly, us, Katie and Brian.  I've changed colors a million times and have been Pinning wedding ideas for years now, so I'm slowly working my way through my boards to determine what I truly love and would like to be a part of our day.  In my eyes, it's all about the details-- I want our guests to look around throughout the day and see that it was OUR wedding.  Lucky for me, Brian is as decisive as I'm not, so he's helping to call my crazy bluff on a lot of things (there's a reason opposites attract) and keep me moving forward.  

At the end of the day, I keep reminding myself that regardless of which flowers we choose, colors we wear, the music that plays... I'll be married to my best friend.  We have 9 months to enjoy being engaged, and then the rest of forever to be married, and THAT part I cannot wait for.

So, armed with lists upon lists and an agenda full of important dates and appointments, I'm loving planning the best party we could ever throw, to celebrate with Our People.  What could be better?

Where did the weekend go?

How on earth is it Monday morning already?  I think that my birthday could be on a Monday morning and I still would not fly out of bed, excited to greet the day.  I'm hoping that my massive coffee and a good Spotify playlist will power me through this morning and it'll be 5pm before I know it (fingers crossed, let us pray).

I went into the weekend with a massive list of "Shit to Get Done," as well as an even more massive list of  "Wedding Shit to Get Done."  Brian would probably openly admit to hating my lists but knows that my lists make our lives go round.  I'm an OCD list maker and I have no shame in my list-making game.  Now that wedding planning has come into the picture, the lists are OUT OF CONTROL, categorized, color-coded... it's a little cray, but it keeps me sane and keeps me moving.

So, by 9am on Saturday, I had already been to my Weight Watchers meeting, done the majority of my grocery shopping at the store, finished up the grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, and had taken a quick spin through Target (sidenote: I'm always at Target so early, I basically have the store to myself, along with the mamas and babies or, my personal favorite, the daddies with the babies.  I like to think it's their little peace offering to the mama so she can get a little extra well-deserved sleep).  The secret to my motivation/craziness is to never leave Target without stopping at Starbucks-- if I could bottle the energy that only Starbucks can give me, I would turn it into a pill and be a happy girl.  Fueled by my venti Skinny Cinnamon Dolce latte (so pretentious, yet heaven to my mouth), I came home, put all of the groceries away, made a healthily hearty breakfast for us (cold wind and cold weather, I am over you), and deep cleaned the apartment.  

A huge incentive to getting everything done in the morning was that I'd decided early in the week that it was time for a little pampering and cleared the afternoon for a mani/pedi.  Two hours later I felt mucho refreshed, with Essie "Bachelotte Bash" on my toes, and OPI "You Don't Know Jacques" on my nails.  Brian and I make it a point to have date night every Saturday night, whether it's going out to dinner, cooking together at home, or picking up take out.  Sure, the occasional friend or couples date comes up every now and then, but for the most part, we try to set that time aside for us, which I love.  This weekend was date night at home, and I'd picked a menu of steak, roasted asparagus, and mushroom risotto. 

what's prepping for supper without a good glass of wine?

I honestly enjoy few things more than being in the kitchen with a glass of wine, while cooking with an amazeballs playlist working as my background music.  This weekend's selection?  My ever-growing playlist of reception songs-- whoop!  My BFF/one of my maids of honor was also cooking in her kitchen... in Texas.  So we did what any BFFs across the country from each other would do and had a wine-fueled dance party.  It was just what my soul needed!

Somewhere in the midst of all of that, I managed to whip up my first risotto dish.  Y'all-- it was AMAZING, if I do say so myself.  I took to calling it the most bloated pasta ever, considering all of the chicken stock it absorbed, and it definitely showed moments of being a feisty bitch as I stirstirstirred the evening away, but it was WORTH IT.

Now would probably be a good time to share that I went all wine and carb crazy on Saturday, since I chose to start my own little detox on Sunday-- no alcohol, carbs, dairy, or sugar for three weeks.  I'm still following Weight Watchers and have already substantially cleaned up my diet, but considering the fact that I'm buying my wedding dress with mom in a month, I figured what better time to really quit the extras than now.  This is definitely not permanent-- I love cheese, bread and wine way too much to just stop enjoying them forever (which is part of my problem), but I would like to see how my body adjusts to only having those in small doses, as indulgences instead of necessities.  I'm also kicking into high gear with my "sweating for the wedding" plan (gross, no?) and am excited to see how everything starts to work together-- I shall share my progress as I go!

To wrap up our weekend, yesterday... we registered.  We registered at Macy's and I'm happy to say that nobody was harmed during the process.  It's intense, y'all.  I've spent YEARS waiting to register, scrolling through Pottery Barn, swooning over china patterns, just counting down the time until it was my turn to pick out all of the pretty things.  Even armed with my lists, it was so overwhelming.  The woman who helped set us up was beyond sweet and had lots of good pointers and tips, but at the end of the day, there were a lot of decisions that had to be made, and I am so NOT good at making decisions.  Am I crazy?  All I could think was "Whichever china pattern/stemware we pick right now is what we'll keep forever and pass on to our children someday.  How can I commit to that?!"  We ended up starting with the easy stuff in the kitchen area and worked back towards the china... and still didn't pick anything.  We did come home though and after not thinking about it for a few hours, we regrouped and the bestest fiance ever made a spreadsheet (for all of my list dorkiness, he can rock Excel like no other) and basically plugged in the "necessities" from a few registry checklists, and then looked over our current registry lists to edit and make sure we haven't registered for the same thing at multiple places, that we've deleted something if we chose an item that we like better from the other store... it's the biggest headache right now, but I think once we just get everything PICKED it'll be so exciting!

What was your favorite part of registering?  Did you forget anything that you really needed?  Most importantly, if you did register for china, which pattern did you choose?!

Happy Monday, lovelies!!

Five on Friday!!

Forty-six days from now (not that I'm counting), the fiance and I will be relaxing on the beach at Marco Island, and I cannot WAIT.  We will also be with his entire family... but it is what it is, a vacation, and I will TAKE IT.  It's currently a toasty 9 degrees here in MA, and my feet may have actually frozen a tiny bit while walking into work this morning, so the thought of my toes in the sand is just enough to get me through this whole Polar Vortex arctic freeze weather!  I've been spending my evenings browsing around for the perfect springy outfits to take me from the beach to dinner (and yes, this has pushed my bum back to the gym full force!).  I can't wait for a week's worth of salt, sun and ocean air!!

Speaking of pushing my bum back to the gym, I think I've officially been motivated into full-on wedding body workout mode.  I sat down this morning and wrote in some kind of activity to do every day, whether it be Spin and weights at the gym, or fitting in a walk at lunch on particularly busy days.  For me, if I write it, I'll do it and it definitely keeps me accountable!  After my long, post-marathon hiatus from running, I'm also making it a point to lace my Brooks back up and hit the track in the mornings before work.  It's how I fell in love with running to begin with, and there has yet to be anything that tones my derriere and legs like running for miles.  

three. REGISTRY!
We're heading to Macy's this weekend to register for the fun stuff (who am I kidding?  It's ALL fun stuff!) like our china, barware, appliances (hello, KitchenAid mixer!), etc.  I cannot lie-- I have swooned over wedding china for YEARS now, and I love the thought of picking out the pretty, perfect dishes that will be brought out at holidays and special occasions throughout the years of our marriage.  Truth be told, Brian may be more excited about choosing the bar tools and such than the china, but considering I'm getting him to Macy's on a Saturday afternoon, I'll let him be excited about his things, and I'll stick to my registry checklist and smile the day away!

I don't know if it's seeing all of the Valentine-y things hit the shelves, or all of the creative ideas flashing through my Pinterest feed, but I am feeling the need to DO ALL OF THE CRAFTS.  I think I might pick a Valentine craft and set to it this weekend.  I love a good holiday wreath, and these have tickled my fancy!

I've been in love with the idea of learning calligraphy for a LONG time.  Once we got engaged and I started pricing out the cost of paying someone else to hand write all of our invitations, you could say that a little fire was lit under my behind and I started researching how to teach myself.  I've ordered a couple of books and thanks to a little guidance from sweet April, I'm heading to Michael's first thing tomorrow morning to stock up on tracing paper, nibs and pens (I think I have the lingo correct...).  I figure that I have quite awhile before the letters need to be at the level of sending them out to people, and practice makes perfect! 

The best is yet to come!

Happy New Year!!  I hope that you had a wonderful New Year's Eve, spent eating delicious food, sipping cold champagne, reflecting on the year behind you and anticipating the year ahead!.  

Brian and I spent a wonderful week with my family in Texas for Christmas, and flew back to Boston on Monday night.  We landed around 11:45pm and I had to work New Year's Eve until noonish, so we knew that we had big plans last night to do a whole lot of NOTHING that night.  I wanted to be upset and "Oh, we're so darn old!" but I honest to God couldn't wait to put on my fancy yoga pants and have drinks on the couch with my man.  

When I got out of work, Brian picked me up and we had a nice little lunch at Panera then headed to the movies to see American Hustle.  Honestly?  I may have just been overtired, but I didn't think it was quite as good as everyone is raving.  The cast is phenomenal, and it's a great story, but it just didn't do it for me.  Once we were home, we spent the rest of the evening on the couch, just as I'd hoped, with wine, champagne, and Indian takeout... just what the doctor ordered!  

Today we did very little of anything other than watching football, taking down Christmas decorations, and giving the apartment a deep clean.  As much as I love decorating for the holidays, I start to feel super claustrophobic and just want it GONE by a certain point.  That certain point this year for me was when we walked in the front door late Monday night to piles of gifts from Christmas with Brian's family two weeks ago, with three full suitcases from our trip trailing behind us.  I about cried from the suffocating "There's SO MUCH STUFF and NOT ENOUGH ROOM and I HATE THIS APARTMENT IT'S SO SMALL" feeling that rushed over me (I'm the most rational and undramatic person in the world... promise).  Thankfully I got a grip and just started cleaning and reorganizing and everything had a spot by dinnertime last night.

And now I sit here, typing my way into 2014.  I think that it's safe to say that 2013 was not The Year of Blogging for me.  You would think that I would have had loads and loads to chat about, and truthfully, I did-- I started a new job, ran a marathon, GOT ENGAGED... it was a wonderful, blessed year.  In retrospect, I wish that I would have blogged a little bit more to have the memories logged somewhere other than my own head, but it is what it is.  I just didn't feel that pull to write as often as I would have liked, and there's nothing worse than writing something just to put words down (unless you're reading those forced words-- ick, and apologies).  

While I'm not great at making and keeping resolutions, I do have a handful of goals that I would like to stick with and achieve this year.  I do best when I work off of a plan, and 2014 is going to be a fantastically wonderful doozy of a year, so the more guidelines that I have to follow, the better.

1. Get Healthy and Fit.  There are few things that motivate a girl more to get healthy and fit than the thought of wearing a wedding dress in front of your family and friends, and wearing a bikini for a week afterwards in some tropical paradise on your honeymoon.  My main focus is to truly change my eating and health habits, so that this is a lifestyle change, and not just a wedding diet.  I'm doing a serious evaluation of my eating habits and am working on doing an overhaul of everything.  There are some things that I can easily cut out and stick with (tea instead of coffee, sweets at night) and there are other things that I know I'll struggle with (seriously cutting back on carbs, WINE), so I'd really like to find a balance in everything that has sacrifice (I'm not delusional in thinking I can keep doing what I'm doing now and lose weight) and splurges every once in a while, to keep me sane.  It's super important to me to make the changes now and fine-tune them over the next 11 months, so that I'm comfortable and happy to continue with those changes going forward, into newlywed life (squee!!).

2. Read More.  I honestly watch way more television than is necessary, and most of the time, I'm not even paying attention to what's on.  There are a handful of shows that I look forward to and enjoy, but for the most part, it's mindless background noise that we turn on just to have something going while we cook and eat in the evenings.  I absolutely love to read, and I love few things more than curling up on the couch with a good book.  I'm aiming to read two books a month for the next year, which is definitely do-able for me.  I've never read the Harry Potter books because I wanted to read the actual printed version, not on a Kindle, so I've put it off and waited, saying I'll buy the books someday.  Well, my fabulous fiance gave me the entire set for Christmas, and it blew me away.  Every once in awhile he comes out of left field with an incredibly thoughtful gift that makes me fall for him all over again.  So, I'd like to read the entire series, as well as an additional book-- once I figure out my reading schedule, perhaps I'll share it here.  I'm always open to new suggestions as well!

3. Reconnect with Family and Friends.  Living so far away from the people who are closest to me, it's hard to stay in touch as much as I would like to.  There are definitely times when I don't return calls or maybe don't pick up the phone (I know, it's shameful) because I'm not in the mood to chat, and I swear I'm going to call the person back, time gets away from me, and it doesn't happen.  I want to focus on making that extra effort this year to send a funny card in the mail, call out of the blue just because... really make myself available to my people.

4. Plan My Wedding!  Well, this isn't so much a resolution as it is a MUST DO, but I cannot wait to plan the fun parts of our wedding!  We have 11 months, and are sitting pretty as of now-- the big things are booked and we're getting to the fun part of choosing the fun little details that will really make the day special.  I'm probably going to be somewhat annoying and do the occasional "Wedding Wednesday" blog post, but I also don't want to share too terribly many details-- some things have to be a surprise, right?!  It will definitely be a high point of our year, and I'd like to blog about the experience as much as possible, just to be able to look back and laugh at the times I had a breakdown over tying tiny ribbons or putting our ceremony programs together (I assure you, there will be those moments).  I think it's safe to say that this will be the highlight of my year :)

5. WRITE.  My heart is in writing-- always has been, (hopefully) always will be.  I would like to focus on both blog writing and other writing that I've been working on in my spare time.  I keep saying "Someday I'll work on that project" but it's becoming more and more obvious that "someday" comes and passes a lot faster as I get older.  This is a big commitment, but I feel like there are few things in life that I can completely own as my own, something created from my own thoughts and experiences, and that is absolutely something that I would like to be able to claim.  So, here's to a word-filled year!

I love the start of a new year.  There's something so fresh and exciting, and everything is so positive and full of hope and expectations for what's to come.  My life is at a wonderful point right now, and I'm so excited to see how this year plays out for me personally, in my relationship with Brian, with family and friends... it's going to be a fantastic 2014!