First Anniversary Gift Guide | Paper

Hmmm… The first year of your marriage, one of the most bliss-filled, starry-eyed years of your life and all you get to celebrate is paper… okay…

I have a few theories on this; No. 1- There is a good chance that after a year, you just dug yourself out from paying for your wedding and honeymoon, so all you have money for is a card (or some other paper gift). 2., You are still so googly eyed and mushy in love with each other that you could write a book of love poems. So go ahead, break out that pen and get to writing; your anniversary is coming up!!

Okay so actually my anniversary is coming up! In 10 days, P and I will celebrate one year of marriage. I do think that we are pretty deep in love, and we can be pretty mushy with our expressions towards each other, but if this is the most bliss-filled year we have, I will be disappointed. There are many milestones to go that I think will just continue to expand our love for each other. (Go ahead and puke if you need to.)

Although we finished paying for our wedding and honeymoon a while back, it never hurts to save a few bucks. But we also thought it would be sweet to follow the traditional annual gifts for the wedding anniversaries and then do something to celebrate. That said, I am having the hardest time figuring out what to get for P, I have plenty of suggestions for you myself, but he seems to have that figured out.

Here’s my brainstorm for the best gift options for your love on your first anniversary:

first anniversary gift guide for him

For Him: (Clockwise from top right) Frame a ticket stub from a memorable event (This one is from P’s personal collection, find something similar for your guy on eBay); If you can’t afford a ticket to fly away on an adventure, this fun airline ticket tray is a great way to keep your wanderlust dreams in flight while holding your mans keys, wallet, etc., at the end of a long day; P is a writer, so a customizable leather-bound notebook seems like a good option as a sophisticated book to carry around and jot down interview notes or keep track of characters;  A custom coordinates print is a great way to commemorate the place where you tied the knot or the address of your first home together; and a Kindle Paperwhite serves as a great way to keep your reading on hand at all times.

1st anniversary gift guide for her

For Her: (Clockwise from top left) If the Kindle Paperwhite is good enough for him, it’s good enough for her, I know I would enjoy this gift just as much, if not more than my hubby, so put it on the list; This brass cuff is molded after the look of folded paper, and every time it adorns her wrist she will remember your wedding day and anniversary; I am a big fan of the handwritten note and I love gold foil details right now. This Etsy shop does custom stationary in addition to their standards, so why not treat your wife to a little custom gold-foil stationary with her new last name; this paper airplane necklace is simple and light, the perfect complement for every ensemble your wife puts together, and like the cuff, each time she wears it she will remember the sweet details of your first year.

Last but not least, I love a good notebook. I jot down all my notes from client meetings in notebooks along with blog ideas and daily sketches and I keep them cateloged for reference, this Little Gold Book by Kate Spade is sweet little way to honor the wife that loves to put pen to paper.

What do you think? What would you do if it were your anniversary? Would you stick with something that is actually paper, or do you think my modern interpretation works out okay? I’ll let you all in on what we end up exchanging for our anniversary in 11 days!

Greek Island Dreaming

As I’m sure everyone is well aware, Greece is having a major financial crash right now. Which means property is quickly becoming more and more affordable. P & I spent a week of our honeymoon on a Greek Island cruise, hopping from island to island, each stop more breathtaking than the last. It was one of the best weeks of my life.

That said, my bestie and I are trying to decide if it would be worth the investment to buy an adorable Greek Island home. Maybe rent it out to tourists for the bulk of the time to cover the mortgage when we aren’t at the house (and then cleaning and upkeep between visitors) and then have the most picturesque vacation home when we are there. The only question is, which house do we buy?!

Found in Santorini: (House 1|House 2)

Found in Mykonos: (House 1|House 2)

Found in the lesser known Cyclades: (Naxos House|Paros House)

Doesn’t look like it would be such a bad life, and certainly not a vacation to be frowned upon. That said, we would only have to each sell off all of our investments, cash out our retirement plans and drain our savings to make it happen in the ideal house and setting if we go in on it together. Totally doable, right??

So in all seriousness though, it’s not going to happen. But hey… a gal can dream. And just looking at all of these stunners, I can’t help but reminisce about our honeymoon… I really should go through all of our pictures from the trip and categorize them and do a little recap post to share on the whole trip. I cannot wait to go back.

Most images are watermarked with original source information, and the links next to the island location will link you back to the sale listing for each place, just in case you can’t live without a Greek Island getaway in your lifetime. Send me a postcard!

SMP Something Blue Event

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Style Me Pretty x Tiffany & Co. event “Something Blue.” Needless to say it was a fabulous event filled with delicious passed hors d’oeuvres, plenty of bubbly and a whole lot of bling.

I wanted to do a little overview of the event. First off, I arrived there after the event had started, as I was coming straight from work, what I missed was a discussion about diamonds and rings and a round table of questions which I heard great things about. When I arrived, we walked off the elevator and were greeted with little blue envelopes filled with details on the Something Old, Something New traditions as well as a note explaining the basics on diamonds. When we entered the event, there were greeters with a choice of champagne, white wine or seltzer, and then holding some of the most spectacular rings I have ever seen.

Here’s my opinion on your engagement rings for any of you waiting for the proposal, or dreaming of your “one day,” you will have a good idea of what you want in your head and he (or she-thanks to today’s Supreme Court rulings!) will have a budget. The bottom line is, we like to have something with a little sparkly, some more than others, but at the end of the day, if you really love him, when he gets down on one knee and asks you for forever, it won’t matter how much the rock is worth, if you really love him, you will say yes and you will love the ring because it’s from him and because of what it symbolizes.

That said, if money is no object or you are budgeting on your wedding, I feel that your ring which you will wear forever, should hold a little more weight on the overall budget of the wedding expenses, everything else will last a day, so if there is anything worth splurging on, it’s the one thing that you will wear forever, and Tiffany’s is certainly a great place to start your shopping.

If you are already married, they had some fabulous bands that you can add to your wedding set as your family grows, which a lot of women do, and I even tried a few bands on! In addition to engagement and wedding rings, they have a world of other jewels for any occasion or even to treat yourself! I personally love the pearl earrings in the case with the pearl necklace and diamond bracelet shown in the pictures above.

The event had a florist on hand who made custom bouquets for the brides-to-be and a calligrapher who made a custom keepsake with your name, ring size and desired ring of choice to hand over to your sweetheart when you got home. In addition to the passed hors d’oeuvres, there was a little dessert table with Tiffany box cookies, wedding cake cookies and chocolates. Everything was beautifully done, the event was great and I had a really nice time! I finally met a friend of a friend who I’ve talked to a dozen times but never met and I also met the founder of Style Me Pretty, Abby Larson, who is so sweet and very down to earth.

All in all I’d say it was a successful night! And P, if you are ever in a bind trying to decide what to get me, I’ll take either of those add-on bands (though I think the baguettes will compliment my setting better), or the anything from the pearl case.

What is everyone up to this weekend? It’s a rare weekend when we both have a Saturday night free, so this weekend while we are both off and have no social obligations, our obligation is to each other! We are taking a little date night in the city, planning to head in early and go to the TKTS booth to score show tickets, have a nice dinner before, and then enjoy whatever musical we can get tickets to! Sunday will be a chore day and maybe a good day to take Brantley on an adventure, and then the weekend will be over before we know it!

Happy Friday–enjoy the weekend!!

PS, I apologize for the poor quality of some of these photos, they were all taken on my phone during the event, so I know they aren’t the best, but they are better than nothing and at least this way you can see the bling!

(This post is not sponsored by anyone, although it may seem like a Tiffany’s promotion, it is simply my own reflection of this event that I attended. I hope you enjoyed a little peek at the bling!)

2014 Personal Highlights

This is the time of year when you look back on things that you’ve done, hurdles you’ve conquered, celebrations you’ve reveled in, and all the little things in between. This is a time for some positive light to be shed, but I know that it can often turn negative, and you can beat yourself up for the things that didn’t get done, hurdles you are constantly tripping over, etc., some years are going to be better than others. So as we get ready to start the next book in the series of our lives, I wanted to take a minute to run through my personal highlights of 2014, with a focus on the good and any negatives we will call challenges that helped us learn and grow!

In January, I shared the long struggle that was our home buying search. It was such a difficult process that challenged us at every turn and keeping positive was downright impossible at times. I wrote a bit about that here, and tried to give some insight into the process for other first time home buyers.

In February, we finally did find our first home! We signed on the dotted line, scheduled the movers and tore out the carpeting all within the first 24 hours.

Our small little slice of the world is the perfect place for us, and we have loved (and hated) it for almost a year now, and I can confidently say the struggle was worth it. Losing out on the other two places was meant to be, even though it was hard at the time, it was the best thing for us.

In March, as we settled in, I dreamt up a color scheme for our cozy abode and we painted the nights away. I will say that painting is something that I really do not enjoy. I thought there would be some feeling of reward in painting our first home by ourselves. But after finishing up the living room, we decided to wait on the other spaces, and eventually we will likely have a professional come in and at least touch up the moldings.

That said, P & I did still paint the kitchen ourselves, and in April, I taped off and painted the accent stripes over a few days when he was working late shifts. The bold accent was a surprise to some, and it still gets a lot of comments when we have company over, but we still really love it. It adds such a playful element to the space and makes me smile every time I glance into the space. Take a look here for more on our bold kitchen reveal.

In May we brought the most adorable puppy home (check #BrantleyBub on Instagram for a cuteness overdose). He instantly stole our hearts despite the potty training challenges of living in a condo and having to repeatedly sprint down several flights of stairs (sometimes for nothing), and I’m sure all the neighbors think we are insane for the excessive whooping and cheering we’d perform upon him actually going to the bathroom outside. Outside of the house, I began working on a living and dining room for a client whose bathroom is still an all-time favorite in my portfolio. Much like the rest of us, her projects are ongoing as the challenges of the budget and owning a home often add restrictions and make getting things done feel impossible. Both spaces are very close to completion and I promise to share them once they’ve wrapped up.

The summer months came and went without much notice, between wedding planning and working we spent a lot of time checking out our new neighborhood and dreaming of beach days and scenic retreats. Somewhere in there we managed to organize some frames and arrange a gallery wall as a focal point in the living room, which is another highlight of our home in my opinion. We actually received a few more framed pieces over the holidays that will soon be added to the wall as well, so more on that when the time comes.

Come August I got to bask in the fun of bridal showers and girls nights with some of my nearest and dearest. In September we even made it home to Seattle for a few days of bachelorette fun and a couples shower. If I had to use one word to sum up our labor day weekend of fun it would be epic. That trip was seriously so much fun. We also began work to add a closet to our bedroom that has added so much storage that I can’t express how much our life has improved with it. I haven’t shared pictures of it yet because it isn’t truly finished, but I think we will be there soon.

October was a continuation of epic fun, starting off with our wedding! It was a day that down-poured. The weather was not such a treat, but it made for a truly beautiful backdrop to our day, I’ve always loved so much about the rain, being from Seattle, and our pastor reminded us that our first date was also very rainy. Needless to say, the ceremony was so beautiful and we had so much fun at our reception and after-party that I woke up the next day and asked my new husband if we could do it all again! And if bad weather is the worst of things to come in our marriage, I will certainly take the rain! A few weeks back I shared a glimpse into the making of our big day, and hopefully in the new year I will have time to sort through more pictures of the wedding and honeymoon to share as well.

We ended the month of October on our honeymoon and started November off in Italy. For being a month about gratitude and thanks, my heart is certainly so full with love (even still) from our amazing wedding and honeymoon it might just burst. This trip (and this year) has filled me with so much inspiration and relaxation that I am fully geared up for another year of working with my clients to create amazing spaces for them.

December  has been about cutting myself some slack. I have had an extremely full year. Full of a lot of incredible and very positive things. But with all that good comes a lot of chaos. So I have been working on giving myself credit for all that I have done this year, and trying to give myself more attainable goals for things. We did have our holiday party, which I debriefed on a bit yesterday, where instead of making everything from scratch, I worked on good presentation, planning a tasty spread and a house full of festivity, cheer and ambiance.

This year as a whole has been such a wonderful year. For starters, I am now a Mrs. I am a home owner, a doggy mom, a business owner and so much more. These are all huge things! There have been times I have cried over the chaos, but there has been so much growth this year. Personal growth, yes, but also business growth-I have so many exciting projects to share with you in the new year. I haven’t ever really done a year in review like this before, but I have loved doing it! It has taken me all the way back through the blog and I’ve seen how this outlet has grown for me as well. I am so thankful for everyone who comes through and keeps me going here. I love to see the progress I’ve made with my writing, graphics and even my work that I share. I am so excited to continue this growth through blogging into 2015! If you made it all the way through this lengthy post, I can’t wait to make it through so many more in the new year!

Wishing you all a healthy happy 2015–I can’t wait to share another year with you all!

Spaces We Love {Styled for the Holidays}

Since my home isn’t currently ready for a holiday home tour, I have been searching for some incredibly beautiful spaces styled for the season. There is so much out there that I just love that it was hard to choose which spaces I wanted to share, so I narrowed it down to three lovely and fully decked-out rooms.

First things first. If you have been reading along here for any length of time, you know I’m obsessed with flowers. Obsessed. I couldn’t look away when I found this incredible table-scape that is quite literally overflowing with florals and greens. Top it off with those layers of light (again, mildly obsessed), and I am fully in love with this room.

This dining space was styled for a wedding. Link over for more images and details from this shoot

Next up, this nature-inspired cabin in the woods is a real winter wonderland. Through my favorite social media outlet (Instagram) I found Brian Patrick Flynn, an interior designer in Atlanta. He does incredible work and his commentary on his feed is hilarious. Last week, he shared his cabin all decked out for the holidays I linked over to his post as well as the post in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles to soak up all the little details!

Color, texture, pattern and the holidays. Cozy perfections.

The natural details from the greenery, to all of the different trees and woodland critters, this is a holiday scene I can definitely appreciate. Not to mention, that cabin in the mountains… I’m sure it is stunning year round, what an incredibly backdrop for design!

Lastly, Toronto-based interior designer, Jessica Kelly, combined traditional festive details (wreaths, candles & greenery) with a bold hit of hot pink. I am in love with this combination! It is such a cheerful twist on the classic green-and-red holiday color combination.

The elegant way in which Kelly implements the pinks (again… I’m a little obsessed) is so charming while keeping it very sophisticated. Her pink and green holiday theme was featured in Style at Home, and it is definitely worth linking over and flipping through the images.

This year, we have already picked our scheme, and unfortunately I don’t think it really represents any of these styles. This year we have been so busy that I make no promises that it will be fully decked-out. That said, next year I might just be sharing some hot pink additions to our holiday decor!

Our DIY Wedding Decor {A Natural Romance}

It’s hard to believe that we have already been married for two months. Our wedding turned out to be such a wonderful day filled with great memories, but there was a lot of work that went into it.

We opted to use a space where we would be supplying everything. I did speak to a few wedding planners, however, doing what I do it was hard for me to relinquish control on such a big event in my life.

DIY wedding decor is a huge part of planning any wedding. Meaning, that no matter how big or small your budget is, you are going to want to customize the details to make the event really represent you and your new spouse!

Wedding shawl made with love by my incredibly talented mom.

For our wedding, we wanted to create an event full of florals, natural elements and soft romantic lighting. For inspiration, I looked through wedding magazines (it was finally acceptable to buy them once we were officially engaged) and of course through Pinterest. To get started with the space I measured the space, noting key details such as window and door locations, main entrance, fixed booth locations and spacing of the beams. I then sketched out my concept for the space and went over it with my hubby to make sure that he liked the overall plan.

Here are some of the details of our day:

For the lighting we used two main elements: strands of globe lights sweeping across the rafters and a customized monogram light. We accomplished both of these things with a lot of help! My mom designed the monogram for us, and a great friend of ours (JP) is a lighting designer who helped turn it into a projectable image for a spotlight.

Monogram light on stage with the ampersand MJ made for us.

JP also helped us install the globe lights across the dance floor. To get them just right, we used the beam measurements to ensure we were getting strands the appropriate length. The bulbs come separate from the strands and my family all pitched in to get them ready to go up.

After the lighting had been tackled, we started working on the tables.

The booths were used as places for the escort cards, the gift station and the guest book. We found these great downloadable signs on Etsy to indicate each station and framed them without glass to keep the chalkboard illusion.

Here’s a look at each station:

For me, what really brought the look of our day together was the guest tables. We used long rectangular tables, fresh white linens and craft paper to run the length as a runner. I loved the layered effect of the paper on the linens. The final layer was a long row of glass vessels of different shapes and sizes, some were filled with candles and some left empty. The morning of the wedding we added mason jars filled with farm fresh flowers to fill in along the lengths of the tables.

If you are looking to personalize the layered table look for your wedding day, look no further than Shutterfly. You can customize everything from table runners to candles (which can double as your favors!) and of course photo books where you can share your dating timeline with your guests through pictures, or use one as your guest book.

Our interior look was perfectly customized to represent us. I loved the way the space came together and that we had so much wonderful help from our friends and family to make our big day perfect.

The look extended outside for the ceremony with tulle draped shepherds hooks and hanging mason jars with more farm fresh florals leading the way to the alter. On the front steps of the lake house we used big planters full of mums and more draped tulle at the front steps.

The day of the wedding everything came together beautifully. I was so happy with the whole scene, and the whole day was filled with so much love, it was perfect! Now that our day has come and gone, I’m so thrilled to have all of the pictures back from the photographer (click over to her site here if you are in the CT, NY, NJ, PA area–she’s amazing), and I cannot wait to put everything from our day together in a Shutterfly photo book. I love their hardcover books, they are a perfect coffee-table book and such a special way to bring you back to the special memories of our day!


All images in this post provided by PhotoJenicMoments from our beautiful wedding day!