Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Congratulations BAW!

Not only did we have a million things going on this summer with the wedding, my little brother graduated from high school as well! Crazy how time flies!

Here is my favorite picture of him:

Now he's all grown up!! With a beard and all!! I like to call him "Gingerbeard" because although he and I both have pretty blonde hair, we have the reddish undertones of our Irish roots.

Here he is (kind of blurry) walking across the stage to get his diploma:

Here he is at signing day. He will be playing soccer for Queens University in the fall. We moved him into his dorm last weekend and they have already started practicing for the season. His first game is this Sunday and JMC and I are going when I get back from Charleston! 

I love you and you're the greatest brother I could ever ask for! I'm such a lucky big sister! And so proud of what you've done and surely will do in the future!

Wedding Countdown. 45 Days.

Leading up to the wedding, our summer has been packed full of things to do.

First, JMC graduated from his masters program! He started his new job in July. Here we are outside the business school:

As an engagement gift, some of JMC's friends bought us a flight tour over Charlotte! We flew over Lake Norman and I got to fly the plane!!! And we didn't wreck!

Then, in early June, my maid of honor, KPB, threw me a bridal shower with the help of other bridesmaids and friends. It turned out just gorgeous! Here are a few highlights:

SRC, me, KPB (matron and maid of honor)
My mom, me, Mrs. C
Sweet Phi Mu Friends
Adorable straws made by KPB (flags say "here comes the bride")
Gorgeous decorations and burlap "C" made by a bridesmaid, AKB
Cute mason jars :)
Next was my cousin's wedding, which turned out completely amazing. She was a stunning bride and worked so hard on it all, and the outcome couldn't have been better. So happy for her and her husband!

The wedding party at the ceremony site
Bridesmaids pic!
 At the end of June, my parents' group of friends threw JMC and I a couple's shower that was so much fun! They brought the cutest little signs that we took pictures with all day:

Love you mommy!
Matron of Honor, SRC. Literally don't know what I would do without her.
Just last week, SRC and her husband, JTC, threw JMC and I another couple's shower. We had dinner at Nolen Kitchen in Charlotte and then went out for drinks at Selwyn Pub, which is right next door. Definitely two places I would recommend to anyone coming to Charlotte. SRC ordered the MOST DELICIOUS cupcakes I have ever had from Cupcake Delirium, a cupcake truck in Charlotte. I am really not a big cake or cupcake person, but the Banana Pudding cupcakes were literally one of the best desserts I have ever had. I have been craving one ever since. Unfortunately, we didn't end up taking very many pictures, but here is the gorgeous centerpiece that SRC made (please excuse the instagram filter hehe):

I guess it's pretty obvious how busy we have been this summer. Not that we weren't expecting it with our wedding right around the corner! This weekend is my bachelorette in Charleston and JMC's bachelor party in Charlotte, so we should both have a complete blast! 15 of us will be staying in a house on Isle of Palms for a MUCH needed vacation. The rest of this week (and every day until 9/29) is FULL of wedding plans, finalizations, etc. Its CRUNCH TIME!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wedding Favors

Instead of giving out favors at the wedding that people tend to throw away or not have much use for, JMC and I opted to give a donation to one of our favorite charities, Camp Kesem NC.

Camp Kesem is a camp for kids with chronically ill parents. It gives these children some time away of their typically hectic lives, always having to worry day to day about the well being of their mom or dad. For one week these kids meet or reconnect with other kids who understand what they are going through, something that they rarely find anywhere else.

JMC's fraternity has been raising money for Camp Kesem for years now and many of their members serve as counselors at the camp alongside other UNC and Duke students. JMC and his brother, JBC, as well as a number of our close friends have served as counselors and point to their experience with the camp as one of the best things they have ever done.

While we had considered giving out favors like personalized pint glasses or matchbooks, we felt that this was more representative of what we care about and would mean a lot more to our guests.

Opinions on pros and cons of physical favors vs. a donation?

New City, New Stress Level.

I'll tell you what, changing cities and planning a wedding while working full-time is quite the task that has left my Google Reader with 856 unread blog posts and none written on my own since I got to Charlotte.

My new job is going well and the wedding is less than 3 months away! Where have the last few months gone?

Since we have been back in Charlotte, JMC and I have set our reception and rehearsal dinner menus, picked our cake, lived with our parents for a month or so, and moved in with friends who were generous enough to lend us space for the time being. I had my bridal portraits done, we are about to assemble and send out our invitations, I had a bridal shower, we had a couple's shower, and our wedding rings are in! We also found out that JMC's job is moving him to New Jersey 4 days out of the week for 6 months... nothing like throwing a wrench in the plans! 

Things have been so crazy that I haven't had a minute to even consider writing on my blog. How anyone sticks with this consistently through the wedding planning process, I don't know! More power to you.

So now that things are slowing down and I finally have a few minutes to spare (for the time being), I'm going to try and catch up on a few posts about plans we have finalized and other things that have been going on. Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Job... New Wardrobe? Vol. 2

Okay, here are the other three categories I plan to shop within for my new work wardrobe.

3. A couple basic skirts. 

4. More blouses and other shirts that are not t-shirts.

5. Basic dresses

Work Dresses

1. J. Crew (no longer available) 2. J. Crew 3. Banana Republic 4. J. Crew 5. Gap (no longer available) 6. J. Crew

New Job... New Wardrobe?

As I am about to transition into a new position, I am realizing that I don't actually have many business casual clothes. At my current job, I wear jeans ALL THE TIME.

So, now I'm on the hunt for some great staple pieces for my new dress code requirements. 

1. Pants that are not jeans. The first pair are ASOS lace overlay pants that I scored for like $35 the other day. Maybe a little over-the-top for a normal workplace, but awesome nonetheless. The other three are J. Crew Cafe Capris - of which I would love to have every color.

2. Shoes: a good pair of comfortable wedges and a pair of sensible pumps.

Stay tuned for the next post to see:

3. A couple basic skirts

4. Blouses and other shirts that are not t-shirts.

5. Basic dresses

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chapel Hill Restaurants Bucket List

Since JMC and I are leaving Chapel Hill, we have made a list of restaurants that we have to go to before we move to Charlotte. Most of these are Chapel Hill/Carrboro staples, others are

In case you are in need of recommendations, here are a few that topped our list:

1. Mint Indian Restaurant. If you don't like Indian, I guess that's okay, but Indian food is probably my favorite kind of food. Mint is by far my favorite Indian restaurant and its the place that JMC and I ate on the night we got engaged. Chicken Tikka Masala is WHERE ITS AT.

2. Elmo's Diner. #1 brunch spot in Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Elmo's is always packed on weekend mornings and their food is to die for.

3. Tyler's Taproom. Great beer list, great food. Enough said.

4. Sutton's Drug Store. LEGENDARY in CH. I have gotten my prescriptions from here since I was a freshman and the pharmacist knows me by name. Delicious burgers, breakfast, pellet ice, and best atmosphere. I'm going to miss this place. They don't have a website, but read this great article from Our State Magazine.

5. Milltown. YUM. Great beer list featuring many Belgian styles. Food is amazing and unique, especially the frites plates.

6. Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery. Another CH staple. Sit on the porch overlooking the intersection of Franklin and Columbia and soak in the goodness of Carolina. Have an Old Well White or a Blueberry Wheat (if its available). Definitely eat some Thumbs & Toes in the Sweet Thai Chili sauce and Lizard Chips. Also, the Fried Chicken plate is fabulous.

7. Spanky's. Again, CH staple. Their burgers are great, they have a great local craft beer selection, and their ranch dressing is just about perfect (verryyy important).

8. Breadmen's. Probably my #2 selection for brunch and another Chapel Hill institution. JMC loves their Brunswick Stew at lunch or dinner as well. Great southern homey food... the Deluxe Grilled Cheese  is so unhealthily scrumptious that I rarely order it unless I am in need of some grease as a result of the night before, if you know what I mean.

9. Merritt's Store & Grill. See this post I wrote about Merritt's last year, before my deep love for this place had actually evolved into what it is today. I'll say it a thousand times: Best BLT that exists on this Earth. JMC loves the Carolina Burger too. While my wedding dress will be happy that I will no longer be eating double BLTs on sourdough on a regular basis, my taste buds and heart will not.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wedding Jewelry

You would think that with my jewelry obsession it would take me no time to pick out my wedding accessories. False. It's worse.

I am having the same problem with jewelry as I had with my shoes. I can't find what I have pictured in my head.

What I really want to wear is just a big ol' pair of earrings. Something flashy and awesome. Preferably with pearls and rhinestones to match other parts of my wedding ensemble. I tend toward more vintage-inspired pieces.

Bridal Jewelry

1. These and #4 are pretty similar. I like them because they are similar to the shoe clips that I have for my bridal shoes. 2. These are awesome because they resemble quatrefoils. Enough said. 3. These are pretty, but I wish the white/cream part was more pearl rather than the opaque color they are. And they're clip-ons. No thanks to that. 4. Again, love the emerald cut of the CZ with the pave edge.

The biggest issue I have with finding jewelry online is that I have no way of knowing really how big it is. I really appreciate the websites that have size comparison photos, but most don't.

I swear I have searched every website I can think of that would have bridal jewelry. Anyone have any ideas that I may have missed? I'm definitely going to have to go in-store shopping to actually be able to see them in person.

Friday, April 20, 2012

In My Mind I'm Goin' to Carolina...

JMC and I will be going through so many changes in the near future.

My last day at my current job is scheduled to be May 4th, and I just accepted a new position in Charlotte that will possibly overlap. I am moving out of my apartment this weekend and will be transient for the next couple weeks (AKA staying at JMC's condo) while I finish up my last bits of business in Chapel Hill.

Then, its the complete move. JMC and I are moving back in with our respective parents for a little while to save some money and look for a condo to buy. JMC starts his new job in July and will be studying for the CPA exam nonstop until then (or until he passes all parts... its said to be pretty difficult).

Leaving Chapel Hill is going to be bittersweet. I surely won't miss the parking hassles or all the protesting, but everything I will miss is definitely going to outweigh the issues.

Photo courtesy of my iPhone.. no joke, its that beautiful in Chapel Hill.
"I love UNC. I love the quad in spring and the arboretum in the fall. I love the Pit on a sunny day and Graham Memorial Lounge on a rainy one. I love Roy all the time. But what makes UNC truly special is not our beautiful campus, our distinguished reputation or even our basketball team. It's us - the student body - who make UNC what it is."
-Eve Carson, deceased student body president

We will certainly miss our friends, although most of them are already gone or will be leaving with us. We will miss our favorite restaurants, bars, buildings on campus. We will miss the beauty of the trees that line Franklin Street, our fraternity and sorority houses, the general feeling of belonging even on such a huge campus. It will be weird to come back and not recognize faces as we walk around. It will be weird to come back when stores and restaurants have come and gone. But the one thing about Chapel Hill is that if you went to school here it will always be "your town," no matter how old you are. Those who aren't a part of the Carolina Family just don't understand the impression that this place will leave on your heart forever.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Registry Faves

In late February, JMC and I went ahead and completed our registry. He was so excited to go just so he could use the scan gun (boys will be boys I guess). We decided to register at three stores: Crate and Barrel, Belk, and Target. This way, our guests will be able to choose at least one store within their vicinity as well as their price range.

For our china, we chose Lenox Quatrefoil, a pattern that was part of the Spring collection this year. Its hard to see in the picture below, but it has both platinum and gold detail, making it easier to pair with either color chargers or accessories.

For casual dinnerware, we chose the Hayes Dinnerware from Crate and Barrel. We loved the charcoal gray color and that the collection included all the pieces that we thought we would need (pasta low bowls as well as plain bowls and multiple different options for serving pieces).


Other essential items for our registry included a Kitchenaid mixer, stainless steel measuring cups and spoons, and a Rowenta iron.

The mixer that I chose was the Kitchenaid Custom Metallic Series Copper Stand Mixer because I just LOVE the color and know that it would go with any kitchen decor that I decided on throughout the years. Its a little more expensive than the other ones, so I'm keeping my options open and may change my selection to one in navy or the new almost Carolina blue that was just released.

Stainless steel measuring cups and spoons are items that will last almost a lifetime. These ones are from Crate and Barrel, so they're sure to be high quality but not overly expensive. I love that the numbers are engraved and won't rub off after a number of washes. Also, they are heavy-duty enough that they won't bend or get flimsy over time.

The Rowenta iron is a must-have for our new household. Their irons are of such high quality, and like the measuring cups, will last for a number of years. It might seem silly to have a preference for a certain iron, but after using one of these, it is obvious that other irons just don't compare.

Registry Essentials

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nail Polish Love

Spring 2012 Nails

Spring 2012 Nails by kkwalsh featuring lacquer nails

1. Butter LONDON "Trout Pout" - More coral and neon than it looks in the picture. Love for summer with a good tan. 2. Deborah Lippmann "Glamorous Life" - Maybe still sold out online. I was looking for this color for a couple weeks and finally found it at Bevello! Probably wearing this color for the wedding. 3. OPI "What's With the Cattitude" - From the Shrek collection, but is the perfect Carolina blue. 4. FACE Stockholm "Absinthe Minded" - Sold at J.Crew, best mint green I've found so far. A little darker than the mint I had in mind, but I love it! Still looking for another lighter mint, so let me know if you've found a good one! 5. Deborah Lippmann "Daytripper" - My new go-to toe color. Very coral-y orange and darker than it looks in the picture. Got this for Easter from my fabulous future MIL!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jewelry Obsessed.

Thanks to my future-mother-in-law and my future-sister-in-law, I have become jewelry obsessed.

I just can't help it. Its turning into a problem. I'm not kidding. There are times (like 5 minutes ago, for instance) when I am on a website in the jewelry section and I literally have to keep myself from pinning all the things that I actually want.

It doesn't help that shopping for bridal & bridesmaids' jewelry has given me an excuse to spend hours after work searching through websites for possibilities.

Bauble Bar
I think I could spend days on Bauble Bar and constantly find new pieces that I want.

Kate Spade
I probably look at the Kate Spade website daily. At least weekly. I got these gold knots from JMC for Valentine's Day and they quickly became my go-to stud. I'm wearing them right now.

J. Crew
I DEFINITELY look at the J. Crew website daily. There is no question. Mrs. C gave me the aqua link bracelet and I wear it with everything that color may remotely look good with.

Source: via Kendall on Pinterest

Source: via Kendall on Pinterest

I may be behind the times, but I just recently stumbled upon Sylvia Benson, Loren Hope, and Swell Caroline.

Sylvia Benson
What's great about Sylvia Benson's jewelry is the number of color options. Both this bracelet and this necklace come in five or more colors of beads.

Loren Hope
I love the simple designs of Loren Hope that add just a little something extra to an outfit. No kidding, I want these studs in every color they come in (navy, hot pink, sea foam, yellow, all gorgeous).

Swell Caroline
I love Swell Caroline's simple earring options for my bridesmaids. I just can't quite decide on which ones!

What jewelry are you loving right now?