Wife Life: Sunkissed and Southern

I was so excited to hear all of Lia's answer's to my questions. Lia is my East Coast twin. She and I just get each other, and I cannot wait to have a MUCH anticipated cocktail with her when I'm next in New York. If you don't read her blog, please start. She is the kindest, funniest, and obviously gorgeous girl there is.

Q: How did your Hubby propose?
A: First let me say that Mike had led me to believe it was going to be awhile longer before he proposed.  Friday, January 7, 2011 I had a bad day at work.  We had planned to go look at apartments for me to move into after work (my last lease had finished and I was in between apartments) and then dinner.  The apartment search didn't go well, so we went to go get drinks before dinner.  On our way to dinner, we stopped on the stoop of the art gallery next door to the restaurant to look in at the art.  By the time I turned around, Mike was acting really strange and nervous and saying over and over how much he loved me.  I knew something funny was going on and then he got down on one knee and proposed.  After I accepted, cried a whole bunch and called some important people, we went to dinner next door at Dos Caminos.  Neat story is that we ended at that same Dos Caminos in Soho on our very first date. 

Funny side note - Mike had not planned on proposing that night.  The ring ended up being ready earlier than he thought and he knew he couldn't hold onto it for more than a few hours.  He was too excited, so impromptu is what it was :)

Q: Was planning the wedding everything you thought it would be?

A: No, it was much more stressful.  I quickly realized I was a perfectionist and might have been a tad more detail oriented than what some of our vendors were used to dealing with. Also, trying to plan a wedding in Tennessee while living in Manhattan added to my stress.  On top of that, there were some interesting cultural differences that we realized when planning a wedding in the South vs. the North.  

Q: Did anything go wrong on the day of your wedding?  
A: Nothing too major.  

Q: What is your favorite picture from the entire day?
A: Even though it's not the most glamorous, I love how happy and excited we look to be running into the party!
Q: After everything is over, you said your goodbyes, get up to the hotel room, what happens next:

A: That's a secret! :)

Q: Where did you honeymoon and what was the best part?

A: Zoetry Casa Del Mar.  Everything was first class - but my favorite was how small and intimate the resort was. There were probably less than 50 people and every person working there knew our names.  I also looooved the food....it was total NYC 5 star restaurant quality!!

Q: What is your favorite part of being a wife?  

A: I get to have a slumber party with my best friend every day!


Wife Life: Set This Circus Down

 Set This Circus Down
 Another beauty living in the South (I think I'm getting the hint that I should move there....) although I wish she was still back in Cali! Kate is a darling newlywed who is days away from having her first baby!!

Q: How did your Hubby propose?

I was getting a bit restless at home so I planned a long weekend in one of our favorite spots, Napa Valley.
Little did I know that I was providing the perfect backdrop for our engagement.
We spent the 1st 2 days wine tasting and eating in downtown Napa.
We had visted Napa twice together prior to this trip and know what wineries are the best for us and which vineyards are the most picturesque.
Bryan and I LOVE to picnic -- you could say it's "our" thing.
Before we made the drive to Napa I had researched the best, most romantic vineyards to picnic at.
I decided on the Bartholomew Park Winery in Sonoma.
Bryan packed an adorable picnic basket,
We stopped in for a tasting...

Then we headed out to their grounds to scope out our spot.
I wanted a spot with a pretty view of the vineyards.
Bryan wanted a spot that was secluded... hmmm, wonder why?!
I walked around for a bit trying to find this "perfect" spot while Bryan went back to the car to grab our picnic basket full of goodies.... and THE RING!
We sat down on our blanket and got out our salami, cheese, crackers and wine.
I kept my camera out because I knew I wanted to take a picture of us at some point.
Bryan asked me if I wanted to take the photo really quick.
I said no because I was BEYOND ST-AR-VED!
Then I quickly changed my mind.
Why, you ask?
Because I knew that if I started to dig in to the snacks and vino, my lipstick would come off... and clearly I wanted lipstick on in the picture.
So here I go...
Putting the camera on a tree branch and setting the 10 second timer.
Within a millisecond of taking this picture Bryan was on his knee asking me to marry him.
Did I say yes?
Of course I did... but 1st I asked him if he asked my dad.
He did.
At Easter a few days earlier.
In person.
Ballsy and adorable and traditional and pure love.
After holding my face with both of MY hands... and saying "OH MY GOD" a few times... I said YES!
The most life changing YES of my life!
I'm marrying the love of my life!
And I love my ring :)
After we sat there in disbelief, laughing hysterically... at the fact we were really getting married, we enjoyed the rest of our picnic and headed off to our favorite winery, Artesia.
No joke, we continued laughing uncontrollably as we enjoyed our first flight as fiance's and then proceeded to drive back to our hotel to call our families and close friends.
Bryan had made reservations for dinner that night at Napa Valley's excellent Greystone Culinary Institute of America.
We ate, seriously, the best meal and sipped on some great champagne - Mumm, of course!
I will never forget April 16, 2009

Bryan was so smart to have let me plan the backdrop to our engagement because if he would have tried to do something different or special... I probably would have, in the back of my mind, thought "maybe today is the day Bryan proposes."
But I had no idea.
Smart man he is.
I couldn't have planned a more perfect engagement if I had tried!
I think I married a keeper...

Q: Was planning the wedding everything you thought it would be?

I work in event planning, so planning my destination wedding in St. Thomas came so easily. 
I was involved in every detail and even went to the island to meet with vendors prior to our big day.
I'm not one to stress over much, and my wedding was no different.
I was always aware that the wedding was just a day... and the marriage would last a lifetime.
My main focus was on my future marriage.

Q: Did anything go wrong on the day of your wedding?
Does everything ever go right? Haha!!
When the bridemaid boutique's were delivered, my MOH counted them and we were missing 1.
Unfortunitely this was my error. I had to take responsibility and stay calm.
Thankfully my MOH and mom took over and the florist was able to deliver a matching boutique last minute.
Everything else went smooth and anything that didn't, I didn't care :)

Q: What is your favorite picture from the entire day?
Our wedding was too fun... I can't pick just one!

Q: After everything is over, you said your goodbyes, get up to the hotel room, what happens next:
We stayed at the Sand Dollar Estate for 8 nights and had our reception here on this gorgeous balcony.
I'll leave that to your imagination what happened after we said our goodbyes...

Q: Where did you honeymoon and what was the best part?

Bryan and I went all out!
Not only did we spend 8 days in St. Thomas - 6 days leading up to our wedding and 2 days after.
From there went headed over to a tiny British Virgin Island called Jost Van Dyke.
We stay in a hut on the beach for several days.
After heading home from the Caribbean, we re-packed our luggage, hopped on a plane and jetted to Italy.   
We spent 2 glorious weeks in Europe. 
The first week was spent backpacking through Italy, whereas the second week was on a cruise throughout the Adriatic Sea - Greece, Croatia, Turkey.
We were gone for a full month, celebrating "us" in the most memorable and magical of ways!

Q: What is your favorite part of being a wife?

There are so many reasons to why I love being a wife, but I must say, I wouldn't love it as much as I do had I not married the man I did.
He makes it so easy to be a wife *his wife* and has truly made marriage a dream come true.
I love him more than life itself and would do anything to ensure we last a lifetime.
In just a couple of weeks we'll be welcoming a little boy into this world.
I think my favorite part of being a wife is that I have the honor of giving him children.


Wife Life: Classy Southern Wife

 The Southern Wife
Today's Wife Life is brought to you by the southern spit fire known as Christin. This girl is 100% my kind of girl. She is a rock star runner, likes to do wall sits with a glass of wine in hand, and loves to shop, eat out, and travel. And she's stunning.


Q: How did your Hubby propose? 

A: We spent the day going around town to places that held special memories for us like where our first date was, etc. We ended at the gazebo in the town square where I grew up, and he proposed. We spent the night celebrating at my parents’ Christmas party. I wasn’t suspecting it at all because I wanted my Mom’s diamond reset, and I had just seen her wearing her ring the night before. Turns out my sneaky husband had a CZ put in her ring and had mine designed months before. It was perfect.

Q: Was planning the wedding everything you thought it would be?

A: I absolutely loved planning our wedding! We were engaged for nearly two years, so I could plan everything just how I wanted. There wasn’t any stress or major freak out moments.
Q: Did anything go wrong on the day of your wedding? 

A: Honestly, not that I know of. Everything went off without a glitch.
Q: What is your favorite picture from the entire day? 
A: My mom hijacked the father-daughter dance and then invited my husband to join. I love this picture of the three of us.

Q: After everything is over, you said your goodbyes, get up to the hotel room, what happens next: 

A: We ate! I chowed down on a ton of food that our coordinator sent to our room. I didn’t have time to eat at our reception and was starving! Then my hairdresser actually came to our hotel room the night of my wedding to cut my hair. I had been growing it out for years and wanted it gone before our honeymoon and before our day-after brunch. Yes, totally crazy. :)
Q: Where did you honeymoon and what was the best part? 
A: We toured Rome, Tuscany, Florance and Venice in Italy. We were able to go to an audience with the Pope, which was amazing. But I think my favorite part was renting a car and just driving in the Tuscan countryside with my new husband.

Q: What is your favorite part of being a wife?      

A: As cheesy as it sounds, I just like the day-to-day wife things. Like cooking dinner for him, waking up next to him every day. Just the little things.


Wife Life: Hello! Happiness

Today is my sweet friend Natasha from Hello! Happiness. I love Natasha's blog because over the last 3 years I've followed her plan a wedding, have her first sweet daughter Caroline, and become pregnant with her second baby girl - who should be making her grand entrance very soon! And, somehow, she finds time to look darling everyday, blog, and keep us entertained with all of her posts on life, love, and the Vols! 

Q: How did your Hubby propose?
A: Way back in January 2010, what I thought was just a casual weekend getaway turned into one incredible surprise. Jeff and I had planned to take a trip to Charleston to check out the city, yet I had no idea what he had up his sleeve. Once we arrived, we checked into the bed and breakfast we were staying at and then decided to walk around town to explore some of downtown and such. We stopped at a few art galleries, had some afternoon cocktails at a local pub, and then walked to the park where he started asking me questions about our relationship. Next thing I know, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him, and of course I screamed and cried because I was so shocked. He said we had reservations for a late dinner so we could go back to the B&B to call our family and friends to share the good news, but when we walked in, there stood my parents, his Mom, and my best friend and her fiance. They had all been in on the big secret for months and had me completely fooled. It was the sweetest, most thoughtful surprise, as he knew how important it would be to have them there to celebrate with us.
Q: Was planning the wedding everything you thought it would be?
A: Everything and MORE! I'm not going to lie...wedding planning had its share of challenges from cutting down the guest list to staying within budget to making sure every detail was just right, but it was so much fun and our wedding turned out just the way we had hoped. We incorporated some special, unique touches (like candles on the altar to honor Jeff's father who had passed away) to late night Krystal hamburgers for our guests since they had been dancing with the band all night), to southern food with all our favorite fixins'... it was the day I had always dreamed of. 

                             Q: Did anything go wrong on the day of your wedding?
A: If it did, I sure don't know about it! That was the best part about having a wedding planner, as she and her team tended to anything and everything that day, and all we had to do was show up...I tell all my friends getting married that was one of the essentials that made our day run so smoothly and I can't say enough great things about how much they helped de-stress Mom and I those last few weeks leading up to our wedding day.

Q: What is your favorite picture from the entire day?

This is my favorite picture from our wedding because it truly captures what that day is all about...taking your vows to love someone, through the good and the bad. The party is fun and it brings so much joy to be surrounded by your closest friends and family, but at the end of the day, it was a day about the commitment Jeff and I were making to one another and I will remember that always.
Q: After everything is over, you said your goodbyes, get up to the hotel room, what happens next:
A: Funny enough, the first thing we did was get undressed (no, this isn't leading to THAT) because we had both been in those clothes ALL day, and all we wanted was to put on those yummy hotel robes! Not to mention I was desperate to get out of those dang Spanx...haha! Then, we devoured the amazingly tasty food basket our caterer had packed for us, since we didn't get much of a chance to eat during the reception. It was HEAVEN! 

Q: Where did you honeymoon and what was the best part?

A: The next morning, we jet-setted off to Antigua! We had researched for months on the ideal destination for us to enjoy as Mr. and Mrs. and decided on Hermitage Bay Resort, which was AMAZING...36 individual cottages with all the amenities you could imagine. The food, the drinks, the ambiance...ahhh it was pure perfection! 
Q: What is your favorite part of being a wife?

A: My favorite part of being a wife is the fact that no matter what we face, we face it together! I was always extremely independent prior to being married and I have changed a lot since we got married...I know I don't have to tackle the hard stuff alone and I know Jeff is always going to support me no matter what. It's humbling knowing you always have someone in your corner.


My Rock and some Wedding Advice

As you are reading this, I am heading to Hawaii with my HUSBAND.

Hawaii? My Husband?! Yea, this is going to be a pretty spectcular 2 weeks! 

 In my place, I have some of my all time favorite bloggers lined up bringing you some advice about engagement, wedding, and wife life.

I have to start out with my dear, dear friend Sarah. This girl has a special place in my heart and I couldn't have spent this year without her hilarious, witty, and sweet support she offered me day in and day out.

Cheers darling Sarah - YOU'RE NEXT!



Hello, Tea Time with Tess loyals!  Let me tell you, Tess has been my ROCK through the past few months of wedding planning.  I literally have NO IDEA how we found each other, but if you searched my phone and email you would see quite a bit of back-and-forth therapy between the two of us.  As thrilled as I am for her big day, I am a little bit weepy to see her go to "the other side" without me.  Who's going to commiserate with me now?!  Luckily, I think she'll be back with tons of advice and tell me to get-my-shit-together-ness.  I'm gonna need it. 
 Classy and Fabulous

If we haven't met.... Hi, I'm Sarah of Classy & Fabulous.  My wedding is in less than 100 days to the blog-famous Mr. Ridiculously Handsome (Mr. RH).  

How did your Hubby-to-Be propose? It was an August night in Tess' hometown of Chicago. We had done some touristy things - gone to the beach, walked along Michigan Avenue, had dinner with my friends.  All in all, a full night.  We then went to fulfill one of my Chicago Bucket List activities, watching the light show at Buckingham Fountain at night.  The show came and went, and I was antsy.  Mr. RH and I had discussed marriage, made a tentative wedding plan.... and the show was over.

When we got up to leave... Mr. RH decided that it was the right time.  Sneak!  


Was planning the wedding everything you thought it would be?  Yes and no!  You know, those 200 Pinterest wedding boards I had envisioned?  SO FUN.  Translating them into reality?  SO NOT FUN. For example.... every single hotel within 50 miles got booked for a Veteran's Reunion that I purposefully scheduled my wedding around.  And then they rescheduled.  The only 3 people who live in the town where we will be married is my dad, Mr. RH, and I.  YEAH.  
It has been fun, and I love always having something to look forward to - cake tasting, food tastings, mailing the invitations, having a shower with Mr. RH's family (who I love!), bachelorette party, etc etc etc.  That being said - the To-Do list is never-ending and I feel guilty for watching an episode of Real Housewives when something else could be getting checked off the list.
Planning is EXACTLY as I expected - long, hard, and fun.  And I've *KNOCK ON WOOD* had no major family dramas yet, so YAY!
 What are you most looking forward to after the wedding is done?  ANYTHING!  Sleeping in late, eating whatever I want and not thinking about my stupid upper arms, MONEY stress, wondering if people will enjoy my wedding (as it is back-to-back with a fairly spectacular wedding at my alma mater), blah blah.  But the biggest thing, I think, since Mr. RH and I haven't lived together, is looking forward to waking up every day next to the love of my life.  Don't even get me started on how annoyed I'll be that he's asleep and I'm all awake.... that's a problem for another day. :)
Also, SUPER excited to have some professional photos of my love and I.  He's a keeper.

What freaks you out the most about your upcoming nuptials? There are a couple of (BIG) things.  Is there a word limit on this question? 1. I'm worried that, since my mom won't be there (she passed away 6 years ago), that nobody will be looking out for ME all day.  Especially since my MOH will be 8 months pregnant - I mean, people need to be looking out for her, too. 2. I'm worried that I will won't get to enjoy anything about the day - my dad thinks a wedding planner is a waste of money and it's not in my budget to get one.  3. I'm freaked that I have 100 days until the wedding and I STILL feel like it's going to be over in a heartbeat.  

I'm mostly freaked out that Tess and I will run out of things to talk about and that I'll start wishing she was my sister wife for real.

 What advice would you give to your girlfriend who just got engaged? RUN FOR THE HILLS.  Kidding.  I would probably say LUCKY YOU.... I'm just starting to miss my own wedding, can I help you plan yours?  

But in all seriousness, I'd say think LONG and HARD about money, guests, and the future ASAP.  I'm so glad that Mr. RH and I put in a little leg work up front with the guest lists, working my dad for his cash (LIFESAVER), and as for the future... we've put in extra work preparing ourselves for the struggles of newlyweds.  As much as I've obsessed over flowers, centerpieces, and color schemes... nobody's gonna remember that shiz in a month.  Worry about the hard stuff first.  Everything else follows.

What would be a dream-come-true on your wedding day?   If Tess showed up and said she wanted to be my sister wife and the four of us ran off into the sunset to raise our kids amongst much wine. (PLEASE, YES, WE WILL, WE ACCEPT, WE DO!)

Idyllic, right?

In all seriousness, I just really want to look around and feel love oozing from myself and for Mr. RH and for all the people we love.  Love love love.

On a side note, I am absolutely over-the-moon that my Almost-Hitched-Bitch has made it down the aisle.  She and Joel are so perfect for each other... and I can't wait to read all about their Happily Ever After. 


Perspective - and a farewell!

Last week, I got quite the dose of reality. On Tuesday night, my middle sister, Hannah, called me to tell me that she was sitting in the Emergency Room with my cousin Amanda, waiting for my parents and sister to get into the city at the hospital she was at.

She hadn't been feeling well for a few days, and after finding blood in her vomit, coupled with serious back/organ pain, she decided she couldn't wait any longer.

They admitted her into the hospital after a blood test that revealed her kidney levels were way too high.  From there we endured the long and daunting process of waiting for doctors to give us answers.

Long story short, Hannah finally got out of the hospital on Thursday night. Her levels came down, her kidney looked and responded perfectly to treatment, and the doctors are confident we are in the clear. There are a few theories as to why this happened but it's hard to pinpoint exactly which one is the culprit.

It was a very long three days, and I was paralyzed in fear as my family all sat in the hospital room for three days. Three long days, with too much wait time and WAY too many miles between me and my sister, and my family.

It was those three days that reminded me that while my wedding this weekend is going to be amazing, memorable, and quite possibly the best day of my life....it's not the most important thing in my world. Every little wedding stress that had been haunting me last week, meant nothing. My sister was sick, and her recovery was the only thing that mattered to me.

In a way, I needed that reminder. NOT in the way it was served to me, not at all, but a little perspective never hurt anyone.

So, now, wedding week is here. 
My family is healthy, my friends will be by my side, my bags are packed, my fiance and I are in love, my house is in order, and I'm ready to ENJOY every little bit of this week. We will be surrounded by great love, and I cannot wait to soak it all in.
I leave tomorrow for Chicago, so it will be quiet around here for a while. I have some amazing blog friends popping in to say hello....but when I return, I'll be


Until then, keep up with me on instagram (@teatimewithtess) and follow #joelandtess for some wedding pics!!