That awkward moment when you actually WANT a baby..? The interesting shift from prevention to procreation.

advice, Baby, fertility, guide, How-to, Lifestyle, wedding

AHHHH…. we are getting super personal and vulnerable today my friends…. so here goes.

Let’s cut right to it.

Most of us spend the majority of our young lives doing all that we can to prevent pregnancy.

And then, all of a sudden, like a freight train coming to a screeching halt…one finds themselves in a position where the prospect of creating a miniature version of themselves…

becomes desirable. 

In my case, I met the love of my life, got married, and…. like the cliche playground song goes “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage”…. 

For many of us, this moment is an especially strange feeling. Switching our mindset from preventing pregnancy to dreaming about it… is a trip, y’all. A 360 turn in every way possible.

Do we, personally, want a child this instant? 

No, nope, nah, nix, nay.

However, in the next year or two, we would love to be parents. More than anything else in the world, to be quite frank. 

So here is the rub…

Because most of us have solely focused on avoiding  pregnancy for the majority of our lives, many of us (myself included) don’t know much about fertility and actually  becoming pregnant/maintaining a healthy pregnancy. 

Therefore, a lack of knowledge regarding the prospect of having children, elicits crazy fears within. Concerns you never knew you had… until BOOM…you’re there…

Some of them include:

  • What if I can’t get pregnant?

  • What if we miscarry?

  • What if my child or pregnancy has major complications?

  • What if I face post-partum depression?

  • How old is ‘too old’ to get pregnant?

The list goes on, and if you have been in this situation… you can relate.

But what if I told you there was something you could do, to alleviate aforementioned anxiety…? 

Because… there is.

Which has inspired me to share what I have done to take charge of my fertility, health, and mental well being…. 

(Please note: I am NOT A DOCTOR, and am not qualified to give medical advice. This post is simply sharing my personal experiences thus far. Also, I am under the care of a physician) 

1. Modern Fertility– an at home fertility test, for any woman.

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Aka God’s gift to empowered females everywhere.  This is an at-home blood test of dreams. The best part? Even if you do not want kids now, but maybe want them in 10 years… or just want to know more about your body…it is the perfect way of figuring our your options…and a realistic  baby-makin’ timeline. 

Knowledge is power, ladies. Take charge of your fertility, and know where you stand.

So how does the test work?

Simple. Everything is provided in a small box with easy to follow instructions. It is literally this convenient….

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After mailing in your sample, the turn around time is insanely speedy (like one week!).  A result link is sent directly to your inbox, when the processing is complete. I should add, Modern Fertility has extraordinarily helpful customer service, should you need assistance. 

Modern fertility provides a comprehensive amount of physician-reviewed information. I wanted to share my personal results, and these are only a portion of them.

 I was so nervous to view my results… not going to lie. BUT they calmly reassured me, this test is only a baseline. The perfect starting place in understanding what is going on inside. I found out that my testosterone level was the only hormone out of  ‘normal’ range, which I will be discussing with my doctor. Everything else was right where it should be, YEY!! 

After getting the results, a free call with a fertility nurse can be scheduled to better understand your next steps. How cool is that?!

The kit retails at $199.00 and is completely worth it, especially those of us who do not have great insurance. If I were to to these tests in office, it would be hundreds of dollars. My doctor actually recommended Modern Fertility to me.

Keeping this in mind, the folks at Modern Fertility have been so generous to offer my readers $10.00 off!  By clicking here or on any of the pictures in this post, you can get your kit for $189.00!

Get one, girl.

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2. PreMama Wellness Supplements

Another way I am preparing my body for the marathon, that is pregnancy, is through the use of PreMama supplements.5

(Feel free to use my code: KATIEW15 for 15% off your order)

If you are thinking about pregnancy, taking a good prenatal vitamin at least 3 months before trying to conceive is suggested. PreMama’s is the perfect option. It comes in a capsule or gummy form.

They also have a system of supplements for women which can be used before, during, and after pregnancy. I am currently using the ‘birth control cleanse’ supplement. I will then transition into the step 2 ‘conceive’ supplement, when we are ready.

When I am pregnant (eventually) I will use the ‘carry’, followed by the ‘care’ supplements after giving birth. They have pre-mamas and mama’s alike – totally covered!

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Because teamwork makes the dream work… especially when it comes to reproduction, PreMama has future Dads covered too. Get ya’ man on some baby makin’ supplements, gals.

Bonus: This product could also double as a *hint, hint I’m ready to talk about having a baby* gift under the tree this year… 😉

Just sayin’…

Well friends, there you have it. Our honest and personal pre-pregnancy journey thus far … I do feel highly vulnerable writing about this chapter of our lives. There are countless unknowns which lie ahead.

But, I’m glad I did.

This blog has always been about ‘being real’, and I’ll never skimp on that.

I truly hope this post reaches someone who may be looking for answers, or is feeling unsure of how to take charge of their reproductive health. 

Thanks for tuning in!

 

A Weekend in Chicago. Where to stay, what to eat, what to see.

advice, chicago, Dinner, eats, food, guide, Lifestyle, travel

Hi friends,

This past weekend we went to Chicago- and had an absolute blast! Here is a recap of our getaway, and roundup of some of our favorite eats and things to do in the Windy City.

10 Stylish Fall & Winter Amazon Prime Finds

advice, beauty, guide, Halloween, haul, holiday, How-to, Lifestyle

Hello & Happy Halloween!

Sadly, I am a bit under the weather this holiday 🙁 … So, instead of celebrating, I decided to write this post for y’all! (& live vicariously through everyone else of course…)

Let’s cut to the chase.

I have an Amazon prime sickness obsession.  My dedication is real. If shopping on Amazon were a sport…ya girl here- would win. I am not sure that this is something I should be bragging about…but

here we are. 

As I mentioned previously…I have been sick lately. So, I do not have pictures of myself wearing these items (because I have not been out of bed in weeks, it seems…) I do, however, own everything featured in today’s post, and can vouch personally for all the items. They are fire, my friends, fire. 

I should note, this is not a sponsored post (though I wish it were,….*hint, hint, Amazon*…) & all of these recommended items are simply things that I love.

Without further ado…. 

1. Let’s start off with the softest, fuzziest, coat you have ever seen. Check out this beauty.  Yes, I give you permission to wear a bathrobe around while looking cute. An absolute win-win! Also, she’s only $29.99 and comes in 6 colors.

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2.  UMMMM, how freaking fun is this cute little swing dress?! It comes in 7 colors & I want them all. I pair mine with tights or leggings and some tall riding boots. Adorbz & only $22.99!IMG_6501

3. I have always been afraid of the ‘thigh high boot’ trend. I liked the look, but didn’t think I could pull it off. I have muscular calves (thank you Peloton cycling classes) and teeny little feet. This becomes a nightmare when purchasing boots. If I order my typical size 6 shoe…the calf is usually too snug. But, let me tell you- these boots are the exception! They are a perfect fit and a great addition to any outfit. I love pairing them with distressed jeans and a cozy sweater. These boots are the most expensive item in this post, ringing in at $45.00. They come in three colors and I can’t recommend them enough (especially to any thiccc calved queens out there)! It’s Halloween after all, so…TREAT YO’ SELF, sis.

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4.Speaking of cozy sweaters– this one is a must! I love anything with a V-Neck, and the detail on this one is perfection. Snag you one for $25.90. Also, if green isn’t your cup o’ tea- it comes in 5 colors!

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5.Once again- I am late to the whole ‘bralette’ thing. Always loving the look- but never taking the plunge. I absolutely love this one and wear it under any off the shoulder top. A small amount of the applique peeks out when wearing something off the shoulder and it is the perfect amount of detail. Also at only $12.99, you can’t go wrong.

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6. YOU GUYS…I wear this bootie WAY too often….it is a perfect slide-on-and-go item. Not only this shoe comfy- she pretty much matches with anything you could throw on. $35.99 and comes in 5 colors.

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7. How pretty are these little silk scarves? I have been loving these little guys for multiple reasons. In the morning- 99% of the time- I throw my hair up into a messy bun or sock bun. Lately- I will tie one of these around the bun and-voila! Instantly elevated.  They also look fun when tied onto a purse or any bag! $9.99 for 6 of these silky sweeties!

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8. This simple layered necklace is so fun! I love inexpensive jewelry because A. I seem to lose everything and B. I am able to have more options this way!!  This necklace is only $9.99.

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9. This backpack is my current obsession. For anyone who travels OR is tired of carrying a purse around 24/7, this bag is for you. For $24.99 it is a steal & comes in 6 colors! Channel those Dora the Explorer vibes, baby.

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10. Blanket scarf. Need I say more? Such a fall & winter essential. This one is $12.99 and comes in 9 colors!!

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Well…. there you have it, my 10 amazon prime faves, at the moment. If you like this post, please let me know. I have NUMEROUS amazon faves and can start to do these hauls more regularly, if desired…

Happy Halloween…and happy shopping. Click-click-click away, my loves…. 😉

katie writes sig

#Adulting: Your Halloween Dinner Party, Planned. A complete guide.

advice, Dinner, eats, food, guide, Halloween, holiday, How-to, Lifestyle, party

Hello, hello. 

As Halloween approaches, I sit at my computer and reminisce on many fond memories of this holiday. 

Quick back story…

Growing up- Halloween was something I always looked forward to. Every year we would go over to my cousins house, have sloppy joe’s (random, I know), dress up, trick or treatreturn to dump out & sort our candy, and (if we begged hard enough)…end the evening with a sleep over.

It was the best. Pure childhood bliss. (& yes, I am the frumpy pumpkin) 

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Fast forward to adulthood, and we have carried on the tradition in the best way that we can. We still get together, dress up, have sloppy joes, laugh, and enjoy each others company. We have the best family, fo’ real.  (& BTW I have no idea how the sloppy joe thing started, …but there is no end in sight)

Unfortunately, this year, we are unable to get together. But- it got me thinking. I wanted to share some of the fun ideas that I found for Halloween 2018. In hopes that it will help anyone throwing a Halloween party, not knowing where to begin.

I mean, as long as you have wine- you’re probably set for a good gathering. BUT, if you’re as extra as I am when throwing a party- you will appreciate this post. It’s all about the details- and I’ve got ya covered. 

***Disclaimer: all suggestions below are NOT my property or things that I have photographed myself. This post is simply a roundup of awesome ideas that I have cherry picked for y’all. 😉 All photos have direct links to the creators websites. Happy Halloweening. 

Pre-party musts:

Step 1. Send a fun invite.

Seriously, who doesn’t love to get mail (especially when it’s not a bill) ? Treat your guests to a snail-mail invite. This way, they will be looking forward to the party in advance- and most importantly- not forget about it. There is nothing worse than planning a party, accounting for guests, and having them not show up or … ‘forget’ about your event… save yourself the trouble and send a dang invite. Bases covered.

I find that downloading a template off of etsy and printing it out at home, or sending it to office depot for printing, works best. 

Here is one that I love:

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Appetizers:

I have learned the hard way…don’t overdo the appetizers when hosting a dinner party. Stick to about 2-3 (max). Too many appetizers result in extra food that does not typically fare well as leftovers. Stick to a few that are the bomb.com and you’re golden. Trust me. Soggy, sweaty cheese squares (you know what I am talking about)…is just plain GROSS the next day.

Speaking of soggy cheese, please do not think that I am cheese-bashing. As a proud Wisconsinite, I LOVE  cheese. In fact, my go-to party hosting hat trick is always a unique cheeseboard. So, to be clear, choosing cheese as an app is perfectly fine…and it will get consumed by your guests… IF you don’t have too many other things on the table. Just let the cheese shine, man. 

If I were throwing a Halloween party, I would choose one of these cheeseboards, and a ‘hot’ appetizer to go with it.  

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Now that you have picked out a killer cheeseboard (that Halloween pun thooo), here are a few ‘hot apps’ that would be complimentary. Once again, I would choose just one.

I mean…C’MON…do these get any cuter? YUM. Your guests will love these little jalapeno popper mummies.

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Also…this mummy pizza dip? Can’t go wrong. Who does not like pizza? I would serve this with french bread toasts & crackers too. Voila! Delish.

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Drinks:

I like to have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages when hosting a party. I have found, that the dollar store sells plastic baskets which are perfect for holding drinks. Simply fill with ice, and you’re set. basketIn these baskets, I would stock coke, diet coke, sprite, waters, one white wine, one red wine, and beer.

Bonus find: For your guests convenience, snag a spooky wine spout…they are just one amazon prime click away…. (and under $20!)

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Where were we? Ah yes, ALCOHOL.

Here are two Halloween cocktails that look amazing, I would choose just one to prepare for my guests:

How sexy is this blackberry bevvy? O.M.G. get in my belly.

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It is hard to go wrong with sangria. This one is is WIN.


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Salad:

All of the goodies in this fall cobb salad do not go unnoticed. Personally, I would use this recipe – sans chicken. If I were to serve this salad as a main dish I would keep the chicken. BUT as a starter, too much protein would leave guests full before dinner even began.


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Mains: 

Whenever I get an excuse to make a large pan of ooey-gooey goodness, ya girl is going to take it. This decadent pumpkin mac and cheese is perfect for a chilly Halloween night in- with friends!

(I would make the mac and choose one sandwich to go along with it.)

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So, clearly I am going to include a sloppy joe recipe (this one is almost exactly the way my mom makes it). Take it or leave it…but all I’m sayin’… is that it’s an unexpected, hearty, crowd-pleaser. Try it, you won’t be disappointed. 

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However, if you’re uncomfortable serving sloppy joes at an adults-only party, I get it. Another great option would be these caramelized baked ham sandwiches. If you have never had these (or a similar rendition), my condolences. My mouth is actually watering….

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Desserts:

(I would select just one to prepare)

How delicious does this chocolate spider trifle look? Most people LOVE chocolate…this is a great make-ahead dessert.

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Who else is dying over this red velvet cake? (another terrible pun, I know) Also, the steak knife in the middle is perfect. 

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Decor:

Ahhhh, yes. My favorite part of throwing a party: the decor!

Here is the table setting that I would use for a Halloween gathering. I have also linked similar items (all amazon prime, duh) so that you can recreate this look, if you so choose. 

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I am LOVING this dark, sultry tablescape. I find it spooky, yet elegant. It has me feelin’ some type-a way, that’s for sure. The image below has a direct link to crate and barrel. They have some awesome sales going on right now, however, some items are still pricey. 

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Here are some affordable dupes for items pictured above:

Get that magical look- for less!!

Simple Black tablecloth ($13.99):

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Black cloth napkins ($11.49 for 12):

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Black Candlestick Holder ($15.29 for 4):71PacwN6YVL._SL1500_

Tall Black Candlestick Holder ($20.98 for 2):

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Black Candles ($13.99 for 12): (deep purple, burgundy, or white would look nice too)

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Candle Centerpiece Idea ($12.64):

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White ceramic plates ($18.83 for a set of 6):

(most people have simple dinner plates at home- which is what I would use- if you do not, here is a good option)  

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Placecard Template ($3.95 instant download): I would use these for guests names at the table & to label the buffet area.

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Placecard Holders ($10.95 for 12):

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Grocery store items: I would pick up red roses  and greens at the grocery store, and place one (as pictured) on each place setting. I would also get a few gourds (once again, as pictured) to spread around the table. This is your pop of color against all of the black. 

Pro tip: find a ‘spooky Halloween’ playlist on spotify, youtube, or pandora and play it during your party!

One (actually cool) Party Game:

Trivia is always a blast. Print out this free game and enjoy some laughs (and probably some shouting) with your friends. 

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So there you have it, an entire Halloween party, planned. Now get shopping, decorating, & cooking… there is fun to be had!

Wishing you all,…. the happiest of Halloweens

katie writes sig

A cozy wine-themed bachelorette party.

advice, Lifestyle, wedding

Y’ALL.

It has been a hott M.I.N.U.T.E. since I have written anything (…I feel like I start out every post like this lately…). But you know what? Sometimes that’s perfectly OK.

Let me tell ya’ why….

No joke, – my life for the past year has been a freaking fairy tale. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of planning a wedding, celebrating (*a lot*) along the way, and ultimately marrying my dude. Lucky– does not even begin to cover it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t holding my breath- waiting for a shoe to drop. I realize, this euphoric state will not last forever. Undoubtedly- there will be extreme lows ahead…BUT the magic of this year-and-a-half engagement will be something I treasure forever. The memories of this joyous time will warm my heart- even in the darkest of times.

A major thanks to anyone reading this, who helped to make us feel loved and special during this time (even by sending us positive thoughts)- you are so appreciated. Seriously. Hat’s off. Cue the applause. 

In turn, the reason why I have not been writing- is because I have just been LIVING

Living in the moment- happily

Something I suggest everyone tries. 

Life ebbs and flows. And even if you are going through a ‘dull state’ or a ‘rough patch’ right now,…there is still time to stop and smell the roses.

Guys, there are always roses to be smelled… even if they seem poo-covered sometimes. For example, if you’re reading this right now, you woke up today, amiright??

BOOM, thasssa rose hun. 

(Smell it, boo-thang…& yes I am talking to YOU.)

I know I am dramatic, and seriously- eye roll away (permission granted). However, I have found that by taking a second, and focusing on ‘living’…rather than just ‘existing’…anyone’s situation can be improved. If that means taking a social media hiatus, or bingeing a Netflix show for a day (to forget about the world)- that’s totally cool. Focus on you for a minute and see how much it helps. 

Wisdom. There ya go- my transcendent moment. Take or leave it man, – I am not offended. 

WHEW.

You made it this far! Good news. …the deep stuff is over, now we can move on to the fluffy fun stuff.

As the wedding is now done, – and I float back down to earth- attempting to return to normalcy (not very gracefully, I should add)- I am able to tend to the things, which I have willingly neglected.

LIKE…catching up on the old blog-ski. 😉 So, here we are.

For my first post ‘back’ in awhile- I wanted to share my bachelorette party festivities with you!

Now,… a ‘stereotypical’ bachelorette party involves phallic imagery, and extreme quantities of alcohol consumed. Not that there is anything wrong with that, BUT it is not my vibe (I’ve somehow become a 28 year-old-grandma, btw). Since this party was lovingly planned by my younger & sassier little sister…I was a BIT worried by what she had planned… Visions of unwanted lap dances, and unsolicited phone numbers danced in my head…. 

But, boy was I wrong… it was better than I could even dream.

You’ll see.

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She planned something that was so ‘Katie’ (as she said). She absolutely put herself aside and organized something that she knew I would love, even though she would have wanted to do something more risque…  

Best sister award!

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We began the evening with a winery tour and tasting at a local place that I frequent often…probably too often… 😉 She knows me SO well…. the girls and I had a blast. Also, our tour guide was unexpectedly hilarious. We were rolling by the end of the tour. Good hire, Cedar Creek Winery.

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Bonus attendee: My dad or ‘Our Captain’ was sweet enough to rent a bus and drive us around- he was a hit.  

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We then headed home for drinks, appetizers, macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, and salads catered-in from my favorite spot. Such a win. My sister (knowing my love for anything cozy and comforting) had monogrammed sweatshirts made for us and had set up the prettiest decor! 

We ate, drank, and lounged- in style 😉 Absolute perfection.

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My mom’s contribution (besides opening her entire home to us 😉 ) were these gorgeous handmade makeup bags! She is an extremely talented seamstress- with an even bigger heart. Everyone loved them! Such a sweet touch.

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Oh & (NBD) she also ETCHED everyone’s initial onto a wine glass. I need to start calling her Martha from now on. She is #momgoals for real. If you’re jealous- I get it, my mom is the best.

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& finally, what’s a bachelorette party without some silly pictures?

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What a lovely and memorable day. (I told you it was better than a dream)

I hope you enjoyed this post- and just remember to take time and LIVE (like really, actually, truly LIVE) your life. Find a rose to smell, they are all around us.

Also… don’t I have the best (and prettiest) friends ever?!

I think so too. 

 

katie writes sig

 

(Shout-outs: Photo cred: Natalie Knoespel Photography,Winery: Cedar Creek Winery,Food: Out n’ Out)

Navigating Sticky Situations:Wedding Edition. Who Should/Shouldn’t We Invite to Our Wedding?

advice, Lifestyle, wedding

Comin’ atcha with some wedding realness today, y’all. Believe me- this post has not been sugar coated whatsoever…so buckle up, buds…because…you’re here for it.

As most of you know, I am getting married in the fall of this year. Through this process, however, I have realized the following…

Wedding planning is not always sunshine, butterflies, and rainbows…the movies have got us played, guys. In fact, weddings illicit COUNTLESS emotions…some beautiful…some incredibly ugly. This process has also made me think, “if I am not jumping for joy, beaming with happiness every second of the planning process…

Is there something wrong with me”!?

Am I ungrateful?

Am I just ‘too emotional’?

Am I a ‘bridezilla’ for being particular?

Are my feelings valid?

Why do I feel guilty for having any negative feelings during this joyous time?

I know that most brides-to-be have struggled during the planning process- at some point- with an array of issues. I also feel that this is RARELY discussed…

Which leads me to my current project:

…addressing the not-so-glamorous aspects of planning a wedding….

Today we’re starting with: Invitations: who should/shouldn’t I invite to my wedding?

One reader wrote the following message:

“Hi Katie, we are getting married in December and have been struggling with our guest list. It seems like we’re offending EVERYONE with who we are/are not inviting. There are also a few people that we feel obligated to invite- but don’t want to, because they haven’t been there for us. Should we just invite them to avoid drama? Do you have any advice on where to draw the line? Or are there any ways to simplify making a guest list? Thank you”!

My response: In short- yes I do.

But please understand, although I am genuinely flattered that readers feel comfortable asking for my input… I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL wedding planner.  This is simply my personal advice, and what has worked for us. Take it as you will.

Here are my top 3 tips for simplifying your guest list:

  1. Don’t (for the love of God) invite ANYONE to your wedding who doesn’t actually support you.

This sounds pretty stupid and like basic common sense, right?

WRONG.

Trust me, as you plan your wedding there WILL BE people you feel obligated to invite, and wonder if you should, just to ‘keep the peace’. These individuals could be anyone. A second cousin, a co-worker, a neighbor…it could even be an estranged parent or sibling. These are people that you feel HAVE to be invited, but for a valid reason, you don’t feel comfortable doing so. And honey, I am here to tell you that…

YOU DON’T HAVE TO INVITE THEM…(if you’re eye-rolling…just hear me out.)

Seriously. You heard me correctly. YOU DON’T HAVE TO INVITE PEOPLE THAT DON’T SUPPORT YOU, TO YOUR OWN WEDDING.  It can be that simple. This is YOUR  wedding. Ain’t nobody got time for haters- especially on their freaking wedding day. *Ahem* see complicated diagram below for assistance.

See? Easy peesy-amiright?…(OK, OK…I know it’s far more complicated than that…keep reading though…I got you.)

Folks, it is incredibly empowering to set boundaries, and stop doing things just to appease others. Making decisions regarding your wedding is the perfect opportunity to do this. Setting a standard of complete joy for your wedding day is OK. Eliminating people from your list who don’t fit that standard is OK. If people do not truly love, support, and wish you well…why in the HELL would you invite them to come to your wedding and nitpick, rather than support? Planning your special day takes an incredible amount of thought, time, money, and energy. Why waste it on someone who is unfit?

Will there be backlash for this decision? Most likely. And guess what? That’s OK, too. If you do make some tough cuts to your list…be prepared that these choices will probably be met with hostility (duh). Also…know that choosing not to invite someone to your wedding could end the relationship. Ultimately, if it was a toxic relationship to begin with- they are the only ones missing out, and a falling out was inevitable. Weddings are often the catalyst which make valuable relationships stronger, and weeds out the weak ones.  (I’ll bet you didn’t know Darwinism applied to wedding planning, did ya?)

One more thing, seriously… listen up. Please don’t take this ‘cutting down your guest list’ suggestion to the extreme. I am NOT advocating that you run around like a 5 year old child with scissors, shredding up your guest list. AKA don’t cut your aunt Agnes who you just ‘don’t like’ because she smells funny. You need to keep her on the list, cuts are ONLY MADE for valid reasons.

For the sake of humor, here are a few hilarious examples of people who you are definitely not ‘obligated’ to invite to your wedding. These are the types of peeps who should only be allowed to creep on your wedding photos…via facebook…

enjoy…

  • That step sibling who has never congratulated you on your engagement or met your significant other ?…NOT INVITED.

  • That cousin who hasn’t talked to you in years, and upon your engagement reaches out- only to sell you insurance?…NOT INVITED.

  • That ‘friend’ who stalks you on social media- only to talk poorly on your behalf?…NOT INVITED.

  • Your sister’s boyfriend who you aren’t a fan of? NOT INVITED….OK, OKKK if your sister is IN your wedding…you probably havvve to invite her significant other… edit: BARELY INVITED*.

So there you have it, friends. My #1 rule…so simple in theory…yet so difficult in practice. Please know that YOUR UNION IS WORTH CELEBRATING. Be bold when deciding whom you allow into your lives together. Bad company corrupts good character, and you are royalty, my loves. Remember this always, and surround yourself accordingly. 

**Side note: If you need even more clarification on people who don’t deserve an invite to your big day…keep scrolling until you find my post titled “Pay Attention to Those Who Don’t Clap When You Win”. You should be good to go after that.

WHEW…that was long…onward!

 

2. Start with your “MUSTS” when creating your list.

My fiance and I began putting our guest list together- in separate rooms. He made a list of his ‘absolutely have to invite’ guests, and I did the same. We then came together, and the early stages of our list was complete! Each partner is the expert on his or her own family/friends. Starting off this way (separately creating a list) was super helpful for us.

Starting your guest list is daunting- to say the least. By having a base of ‘musts’ you have painlessly gotten the ball rolling. Follow up by spending a few minutes a night (for about a week) and VOILA! You will have a guest list! It is not that overwhelming once you just begin…

…now tracking down addresses/getting people to RSVP? ….that’s another story…. 😉

 

3. If on the fence about inviting a guest- think big picture.

If you’re vacillating between inviting/not inviting someone, think about what type of relationship you foresee having with this person in years to come. Meaning: do you see this person playing a role in your future? If yes, absolutely invite them. If not, I think you know what to do.

Be warned, however. As I stated earlier, weddings can either make or break relationships, so be thoughtful when making these weighty decisions. Once again, check out my super helpful decision making diagram below:

 

SO there you have it. That was a LONG post, and I am out of breath.

If you made it to the end, you are a rockstar. I hope this helped anyone who wrote in with guest list questions. Next week we will be addressing ways to ball out- on a budget…wedding style. You’re going to love it. If you can dream it- you can do it. There is always a way to get a high end look- for less, and Ima help you do it, fam.

For future wedding posts, please continue to submit questions or personal experiences to katiewritesblog@gmail.com so they can be addressed soon!

Finally, I need to give a major shout out to my fiance, mom, future mother in law, sister, and bff. They are the glue that keeps me together, and I am infinitely blessed to be surrounded by so much love.

Ta ta for now….

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10 Tips For Living Your Best Life – Today.

advice

#bestlife

Hello, hello!

So, the other night I could not fall asleep. It was one of those evenings where my brain decided that 2 am was an ideal time to contemplate alllllllll of life at once. As I lay awake, I began to reflect on some major life changes that I have made in the past year. The monotony of ‘adulting’ had me worn down, depressed, and I was generally unhappy all the time. With a few changes I am finally living and enjoying life on a daily basis. I wanted to share these tips with you in hopes that it inspires someone else who may be struggling as I was.

PSA: Before you begin reading this article, please know that I am not perfect…at all…laughably so. I have screwed up more times than I can count. Read everything knowing that I have made all of these mistakes myself and learned the hard way. However, I have come out on top and that is why I’m sharing.

1. Stop hating your life and find a job which brings you joy.

This is HUGE and #1 for a reason. I worked numerous jobs- almost all of which I was mostly miserable. I have changed careers 3 times since graduating from college! If you hate your job, you end up hating your life. Fact. Our jobs are such an enormous part of life because we spend most of our time working. If you have a crappy work life, it ultimately creeps into home life. I ended up drinking way more, eating more, crying more…you get the picture. Miserable job = miserable life.

For those of you reading this (eye rolling) and saying things like, “Well I can’t get a new job it’s too hard” or “My parent’s would be disappointed if I switched careers” or “Well I’d have to take a pay cut and start over, that’s not an option” …All I have to say is…blah blah blahhhhh. Excuses. I have endured every single hardship listed. And at the end of the day, guess what? I have my dream job and I am under 30. ONLY because I took a risk, knew my worth, and made some changes. I decided that I wasn’t willing to let a job compromise my happiness, relationships, and health.  Did I get flack from my parents for changing careers? Yes. Did it totally suck making almost minimum wage getting experience in a new field? Helllll yes. Changing careers is tough, I get that. But you know what’s even harder? Hating your life.

2. Look forward to small things- daily.

I like to find something each day that I look forward to- even if it is incredibly small. For example, today I am looking forward to coming home and sharing a meal with my fiance. Due to work schedules, we only eat together about 3 nights a week, so I really look forward to these evenings. Most days I look forward to watching a great show in bed, at the end of the day. This is a super small thing…but amidst a busy work week it’s a tiny, daily, light at the end of the tunnel.  By hyping up, and looking forward to something on an everyday basis, you’ll find that you start to have better days as a whole.

3. Allow yourself to be loved.

Do you ever wonder why you aren’t completely head over heels in love with the ‘nice guy’ and go for losers instead? You know it is wrong and even hate yourself for not being with someone who you know is good for you. I realized that I was lustfully drawn to low lives because I was addicted to those highs and lows that these dudes bring (Will he call me? Does he like me? What does it mean if he says XY&Z?). If I could calculate the time I spent over-analyzing guys who did not give a damn about me…. yikes, it would be embarrassing. I have learned that real actual love is patient, kind, and uncomplicated. As many say, it just feels ‘right’. Most of us get so addicted to that up and down emotional roller-coaster feeling, that we freak out when it’s not part of the equation. Rewiring our brains to realize that the lack of crazy is actually a healthy thing is PIVOTAL. We falsely interpret that ‘high’ of instability as love, when it is really the opposite.

SO…

For those of you who are dating unsuccessfully: get out of that shitty relationship, or stop hanging out with f*** boys who could care less about you. Realize that you are deserving of real love.  If someone consistently treats you as an option, please godddd do not treat them as a priority. I did this for the first part of my 20’s and it was awful. Either break yourself of this vicious cycle or don’t start…it is the worst!

For those of you who have a partner but are still struggling: It took me awhile to realize that my (now) fiance genuinely, deeply, loves me. I didn’t love myself and acted in ways that I thought were unlovable. I purposely pushed him away because I was scared. Scared that someone truly wanted to be with me.  If there is one thing I deeply regret, it is the hell that I put him through for awhile. He was pure and wonderful, and I took time to realize that I was worthy of love. I am so beyond lucky he saw my potential and stayed with me. Some people are not so fortunate. If you have an awesome significant other, hold on to them and know that you can be loved.

4. Find a hobby that you enjoy- and make time for it.

As we age, we get further and further from activities that brought us joy while growing up. Most of us played sports or were part of clubs when we were younger, right? Kids have time to do things that they genuinely like, adulthood is different…we have to make time.

I was a dancer all my life, and it was such an uplifting experience for me. When I graduated from college, and dance was no longer part of my life,…it felt like a train came screeching to a halt. Part of me felt as if it had died, and I mourned the loss that this chapter of my life had ended. I tried attending adult dance classes, coached a youth dance team…but…nothing felt the same, and so I stopped. I believe our life progresses in seasons…and the seasons were a’ changin. I finally decided to go with the flow and realized that I needed a new hobby. Instead of dancing, I began writing and cooking. I have found that this seems to fulfill my creative outlet in a similar way that dance once did. Do I still miss dance? Absolutely. However, I now have a hobby that is sustainable throughout my life. I will never ‘outgrow’ writing and cooking. Try to find a hobby that you will not outgrow as your life progresses.

5. Exercise in a way that you actually enjoy..or can tolerate.

Once again, aging is tough… we aren’t kids anymore who are able to get exercise organically ie: running around with friends, playing sports…etc. With busy schedules, kids, desk jobs, spouses….exercise needs to be planned and squeezed in. I found that with my life, home workouts are the only way I can get it done. If you read my blog you’ll know that I love home cycling. This works for me. I think home workouts can be a wonderful option for many working individuals or busy people in general! Do a bit of googling or pop over to YouTube for tons of fast and free workouts. Of course I workout for physical benefits, but exercising for my mental health has become my primary focus….it helps! Running, spinning, yoga, pilates, prancersizing…shake weights… whatever it is…get moving and DO YOU!

6. Cut negative people out of your life.

I’ve written about this before, and please feel free to scroll down to the post titled ‘pay attention to those who don’t clap when you win’ if you haven’t already read it, and want to hear more on this topic. Seriously though, if you have crummy people in your life that drag you down- distance yourself.  I have found out the hard way that bad company corrupts good character. My morals and values were actually changing because I was hanging out with human trash. Reduce your circle to those who deserve to be there and stop tolerating those who suck the energy out of you. I promise, it is 100000x more fulfilling to have an intimate circle of friends who truly care for you, than a pack of people who tear you down. Thin the dang herd, peeps.  YOU are worth it.

7. Treat Yo’ Self.

I firmly believe that we are not put on this earth to simply eat, sleep, work, and die. We are here for more than just survival. I have made a point to enjoy the fruits of my labor. We work so hard, and there is nothing more depressing than just paying bills and never enjoying life.  I (admittedly) like nice things and love to travel. I budget accordingly. Being able to treat yo’ self goes a long way for mental sanity. Am I saying buy everything and go into debt? No. However, life is short…take the trip and get the damn handbag.

8. Keep a clean house.

Sounds simple I know, BUT hear me out. I am not a naturally clean person, however if things are messy it screws with my head. Weird right? You’d think I would just be clean since it bothers me so much. Not the case, I have to work at it.

Keeping my house clean (..most of the time) has really helped me to feel so much more relaxed. Coming home to a tidy house is the best, in fact…I am now pretty addicted to this feeling. If you are naturally messy like me, make a conscious effort to clean your dirty ass up. No one thrives in chaos.

9. Meal prep on Sunday for the week.

This has been a game changer for our household. We realized that scrambling to prepare dinner every night was causing unnecessary stress on our relationship. Every evening felt like chaos and many times ended in ordering takeout. As our pants grew tighter and wallets ran thin….we decided to start cooking on Sunday’s. If you are interested in doing this please scroll down and download our free week of meal prepping! Give it a try, we dare you.

10. Do not settle in a place of unhappiness.

In all, I know these are a lot of changes. But… it took me a year …more like 6 years (graduated from college at 21…I’m now 27) to get my shit together. If you are feeling like life is steamrolling over you, or that you are barely eeking by…I challenge you to make a few small tweaks, and see how greatly your life will change. 

I love you all so dang much. Let’s make a conscious effort to live our best lives- together. Just remember- NOTHING changes, if you don’t make any changes to your life.

And in the words of Shia LaBeouf…..

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Pay attention to those who don’t clap when you win- an Epiphany we all need to hear.

advice

Hi friends,

Today we are in full-on-real-talk mode, so strap in. Even if only one person has an ‘AH HAH’ moment while reading this post, my duties as a blogger have been fulfilled. I was recently asked ‘Why do you blog?’, and this moment, today, right now, is my why. The ability to write about things which ignite passion in my soul, that’s my why. I’m poppin’ off, there’s no turning back, this is me. Raw, unapologetic, and uncensored.

This one isn’t for the children.

Now that you’re sufficiently prepped, for the realness that’s about to come crashing down, we can begin.

The other day, I came across the quote “pay attention to those who don’t clap when you win”. When I took a second and actually  reflected on how these words translate to daily life…

It. got. me. SHOOK.

Let me explain why.

Haters, nay-sayers, skeptics, doubters, cynics …we all have them in our lives, and we don’t always know who they are. To put it simply, these are people who appear to be, but aren’t, on our team. Therefore, they show up, but aren’t truly ‘clapping’ for us. When I genuinely thought about this, I pictured the following scenario:

Envision an event where you are the keynote speaker, and personally know everyone in the audience. Upon finishing your speech you notice that 3/4 of the people are clapping, and the remaining 1/4 aren’t.

In this ideal situation, one can easily see who’s undoubtedly supporting them, and who isn’t. Since life is never this black and white, how then, do we identify those who aren’t conclusively there for us, yet appear to be? Why aren’t they clapping, yet choose to stay in our lives only to observe and criticize?

…. I think I know why….

Everyone has a person that they love to hate…There are many causes for this, but most are rooted in jealousy, or the feeling of being ‘less’ than someone else. I, admittedly, have had these feelings of envy. It’s human nature.

Which leads to my personal Epiphany:

Even if someone isn’t clapping, they’re still showing up.

So…. by stalking you on social media, or talking behind your back, or making snide remarks, or mocking you…. guess what?

THEY ARE STILL A FAN. They’re just not clapping.

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Toxic people choose to stick around, keep tabs on you, know what you’re up to, but remain parasitic. In fact, they might even be your biggest supporter. Putting loads of time and energy into keeping up with you, but never clapping? Sounds like a swooning fan-girl to me.

How freeing is that thought? How often do you put precious energy into something or someone you legitimately  don’t care about?…….Never. No one does.

So… plain and simple, they do care. They care a loooottttt, just not in a way that’s going to help you grow. And ain’t nobody got time for that.

So now for the tricky part…how do you identify the folks who aren’t clapping for you? And what is the best course of action? Sadly, since many of them appear to be ‘friends’ this creates an internal paradox. Our brain falsely categorizes these people as allies, leading us to feelings of confusion and sadness when they hurt us.

Webster dictionary defines a friend as:

  • One attached to another by affection or esteem, one that is not hostile, a favored companion.

Most people who aren’t clapping are still cordial (in person), so the brain involuntarily identifies them as a friend, rather than foe. We do this without even thinking about it, because the person seems ‘nice enough’ right away and we’re (mostly) trusting beings. The innate-Webster-dictionary-style faith many of us put on friendship, opens the door to our hearts, allowing the possibility for hurt to enter.

Who the heck are these people, and where can they be found, you ask?

The answer may surprise you. So here are a few people who I promise, are still fans, but…

Are. Not. Clapping.

  • That friend who checks their phone 100000 times while you’re ‘hanging out’? Not clapping.

  • That co-worker who doesn’t congratulate you on a promotion at work? Not clapping.

  • That mom who constantly gives her unsolicited parenting advice at play group? Not clapping.

  • That old roommate who says nothing on social media after you have made a big announcement? Not clapping.

  • That girl at spin class who laughs at you for starting a blog  or taking a big risk? Not clapping.

  • That Instagram follower  who condescendingly questions your legitimacy or popularity? Not clapping.

  • That childhood friend who sends you passive aggressive snaps or texts? Not clapping.

  • That person who blows you off for better plans? Not clapping.

You probably get the point.

Instead of realizing they just aren’t on your team and ending it there, most people swallow the pain and are left confused. Self-deprecating thoughts to rationalize their actions such as: “I’m probably too sensitive” …or… “they are just joking around” or “they didn’t mean it”, float around in our heads trying to justify the pain that’s been inflicted. Instead of telling these individuals where to shove it, we internalize and endure this draining cycle.

Now picture the keynote speaker example again. This time, imagine that quarter of the crowd who isn’t clapping, has no relation to you. Doesn’t bother you nearly as much, right? It’s interesting, because if the non-clappers were strangers, one isn’t nearly as bothered by his or her actions. Sure it may sting a bit, but it’s easy to see that they’re not on your team, so you cut them out. Your brain seamlessly identifies them as a ‘Foe’ and there’s no guesswork.

Here’s the rub. Since most of these non-clapping individuals are cloaked in ‘friends’ clothing, the water gets murky. We need to start paying attention to who is sitting on their hands not clapping, and who is putting them together cheering us on.

So now what?

Start picking apart your audience, and rewiring your brain. Look at the facts, recognize that not everyone is your friend.  We need to be far more careful, and selective when it comes to our relationships, and who we allow inside.  After reading the above list, you may be reconsidering some current people in your life, and that’s OK. In fact, I pray you do. 

As we age, friendship transitions are painful but necessary. I personally, do not have time for those who aren’t actually  supportive of me, and my life choices. It has taken me 27 years to get to this point. Taking a firm look at who we’re surrounding ourselves with, and deciding if they deserve our company is healthy. We are in charge of our own destiny, happiness, and need to defend that at all costs. If someone tries to compromise your joy by continually not clapping, yet sticks around to watch and judge, remove them. Guard your freaking heart.

We all deserve to have friends who look at us like this:

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And this:

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And if you’re still wondering, even Disney’s got it right:

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You’re probably thinking “Katie… are you serious, you think that you merit full-on-cheerleading -squad-style friends?… c’mon that’s not realistic…”

….my answer?

I abso-effing-lutely do. And so should you.

I’ll say it again…YES, YOU are worthy of this type of love and ridiculous fanfare.

We all deserve to be praised, lifted up, and warrant celebration. Period. Life is too short… so please, my loves, DO NOT  settle for anything less. Rather, besiege yourselves with those who are clapping, no matter what. Real friends don’t need to understand what you’re doing because, if it makes you happy, they will clap  and keep on clapping. These are the people that build us up and make life worthwhile. Cutting the dead weight from our lives releases so much pressure.

Do it, I challenge you. Muster up your damn courage and go for it.

Will there be backlash? Will it be uncomfortable and seemingly worse for awhile?

Hell yes.

You’ll probably cry, it will be painful, it will be awkward. But one morning you’ll wake up and realize you are no longer a doormat, instead a proud advocate for yourself. Would you let someone kick your dog in front of you, or spit on your child?

HELLLLL no.

So do yourself a favor.

Respect yourself enough, and make some cuts to your team.

Treat yourself as the queen or king that you are, and stop putting up with shitty people.

 

Here are some final thoughts for clappers and non-clappers alike:

  • Are you showing up and clapping for others in your life?

  • What are you doing today to improve and lift up those around you?

  • Most importantly, at the end of the day, when we can be anything, why not be kind?

If Kanye can do it, there are zero excuses, people.

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And if peeps’ are still throwing shade your way…heed my advice:

Put some Cardi B on the radio, summon the inner baddie that I know you are, and greet the haters and non-clappers like Beyonce does…

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…Because bitch, they’re a fan.

 

katie writes sig