2nd Trimester Recap and Current Pregnancy Product Lifesavers

Baby, Lifestyle

Hey howdy hey!

My goodness- time is FLYING. I cannot even believe this pregnancy is almost over and that we get to meet our sweet girl in a matter of weeks! Pinch me….

katie

The second trimester has been so sooo good to me y’all. In short- I have felt great. My energy returned (YEY!– goodbye 4:30pm bedtimes), food aversions lifted, and all around I have felt more joyful than ever before. I have been able to stay active- walking about 5 miles daily. This has been the perfect amount of exercise for me. What they say is true- the 2nd trimester ROCKS

My only issue has been fire-breathing-dragon-style acid reflux, and minor aches and pains. I now take Zantac in the morning and pop a tums for any breakthrough acid during the day. I usually need a tums at around 2am as well- regardless of what I ate for dinner that night– so I keep those babies bedside. 

I was starting to notice some aching in my back at around 15 weeks and decided to see a prenatal chiropractor.  I cannot recommend this enough- for any of my local WI readers, I see Dr. Camille Berger at Early Beginnings Chiropractic. I have been seeing her twice a week and will continue until delivery. Chiropractic care counts towards our deductible- and it might for you too, it’s worth a phone call! Our baby girl is in the transverse breech position (the worst birthing position possible- yes, this is my child 😉 ) so she is also working to help get baby into a better position too. Fingers crossed!

Now for the fun stuff…. here are some items that have made my pregnancy comfortable af... or at least as comfortable as possible. 🙂 

***None of these items are sponsored- simply a collection of things that have worked for me.

1.CRZ Leggings

If I told you how many pairs I had…would you judge me? These are so incredibly cozy…. I am almost scared to share these…..and want to keep them my little secret….

…..But alas, sharing is caring…

These leggings also come in a capri style too- which ya’ girl obviously owns as well. Perfect for summer, or winter, or literally ANYTHING. I sized up to a medium so I have room to grow- but this is just personal preference. At only $24.00– you can’t go wrong.

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2. Motherlove Belly Oil/ Honest Company Lotion

At about 17 weeks I was struggling with a super itchy belly. I tried every lotion/balm out there with one clear winner- this combo. I have loved using the Motherlove belly oil and Honest Company lotion together! I put a hearty amount of each in my palm and rub it all over my belly, hips, and tata’s in the mornings, and evenings before bed. I cannot tell you the pure bliss  that I feel now that I am NOT  scratching my belly all day long. This combo is legit. If you’re struggling with itchy or tight skin- it’s worth a shot.

$19.95 and has lasted my full 1st and 2nd trimesteroil

$7.10 I have used 1 per trimesterlotion

**full transparency- I did notice my first stretch mark on the bottom of my belly at about 29-30 weeks. SOOOO does this elixir prevent stretch marks? Not for me…and to be honest I am not sure complete stretch mark prevention is even possible in general….BUT….this is the only combination that leaves my skin hydrated and not greasy or itchy- so it’s still a complete win for me.  I will continue to use this even after she is here! 

3. BaoBei Belly Band and Bralettes

At about 17 weeks I was starting to notice a ‘heavy’ feeling in my belly. It was not quite uncomfortable- but I felt like I was slowing down and movement didn’t feel as easy. After hearing all of the praises for the BaoBei belly band- I decided to give it a shot. I was hesitant because at $64.00 – it’s an investment.

There are many cheaper options out there but after trying BaoBei – I am in LOVE.  At this point- I look like I swallowed a watermelon…but hardly feel the effects of this whoppin’ belly- I credit this to BaoBei.

The band offers so much support I cannot even recommend it enough. I will also be rocking it postpartum. I sized up to a medium- based on the size charts I should have gotten a small, but the medium felt like a better fit for my body.

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I recently purchased a Bralette from BaoBei, and adore the design. No painful clasps and perfect for pregnancy, nursing, and postpartum. I need this bra in every color- for real. So dang comfortable. I went for the size small in the bra, and it fits perfectly.  They retail for $32.00.

Bao Bei Maternity

*I am currently eyeing up BaoBei’s support bloomers and leggings for postpartum. I will let y’all know if I get them and love them as much as I do their belly band and bralette! Stay tuned 😉

4. Vionic Blaine Slip-on Shoe

I’ll be honest- these are not the cutest shoes I have ever owned. However, they are so useful and have allowed me to stay active during pregnancy.  They slip right on and feel like you’re walking on air. I LOVE these shoes. In case you haven’t noticed, my motto has become ‘comfort over everythingggg’  when pregnant. Trust me.

$44.99 – I wear them almost daily.

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5. Mega Mag Supplement

If you have ever experienced a calf cramp waking you in the dead of night- you know the extreme discomfort these buggers bring.  I was noticing calf cramps at night and eye twitching spasms during the day- not cute. My doc suggested taking a magnesium supplement and VOILA – just like that NO more calf cramps or twitching. The recommended dose is 4 droppers full- I just throw one dropper worth into my morning coffee and that has been plenty. These drops are easily absorbed and are incredible. 

$11.00 for 4 oz- this will last my entire pregnancy.

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6. Amazon Tank Tops

Honestly- I have these in *almost* every color. They are so lightweight and cute! I sized up to a large for pregnancy (my belly is freaking massive already).  The large is still a loose fit on me and I do have some extra fabric in the armpit area- but honestly I don’t even care. For the price? These can’t be beat. If you are not preggo- getting your normal size would probably be perfect.

$13.71 – $19.99 (price changes with size)

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Well, my friends, there you have it- my second trimester recap and pregnancy must haves- so far.  I hope these items make someone else’s pregnancy a bit more (you guessed it) comfortable.  I will be doing a third trimester update in a few weeks and hopefully sharing baby girls nursery…if we ever move into our new house… 🙂

Also, please comment below and share your hospital bag musts with me! Until then….

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Our Dreamy Fall Wedding Video

Lifestyle, wedding

Friends!

As many of you know- my husband and I were married last September.  It was such a special day filled with wonderful memories. 

I wanted to share our wedding video with you all. 

Without further ado…

Thank you for watching,  and a major shout out to all of our families, friends, and vendors who made this incredible day possible! 

Vendor Details:

  • Venue: Over The Vines, Edgerton WI

  • Photography: Twig and Olive Photography, Sun Prairie WI

  • Videography/DJ/Uplighting: Complete Weddings & Events

  • Dress:  Michelle Roth, Australia

  • Makeup: JV Makeup Artist, Madison WI

  • Floral/Wedding Planning: Just Details, Cedarburg WI

  • Cake/Desserts: The Cake Connection, Milton WI

  • Catering: Blue Plate Catering, Madison WI

  • Caricaturist: Caricatures by Bernie Tennis, Madison WI

  • Pastor: Andrew Suhr of Christ Church, Mequon WI

  • Ceremony Vocals: Emily Shircel, Cedarburg WI

  • Shuttle Service: Badger Bus Lines, Madison WI

  • Rehearsal Dinner: Great Dane Brewing, Madison WI

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We’re Pregnant! Our First Trimester Recap.

Baby

Hi Friends-

WHEW. What a whirlwind. 

In case you didn’t notice…..

WE. ARE. PREGNANT. 

Now that our pregnancy has been confirmed -and all is going well- we feel comfortable sharing our biggest news to date. It feels so beyond wonderful to be open with what has been going on over the past few months. 

Let’s begin!

In November, after our relaxed post wedding mini-moon in Madison, WI…

I began to feel a bit ‘off’….

To be honest- I knew I was pregnant right away.  We had lovely trip filled with food, laughs, and a few too many wine tastings 😉 Leaving with a precious souvenir was more than we could ask for.  

I decided to take a pregnancy test by myself, while my husband was at work, and sure enough- a positive result! That evening we had plans to see A Christmas Carol in downtown Milwaukee, and spend the night at a lovely hotel. My husband would be meeting me there, and I decided to tell him before the show. I purchased a shirt that said “Captain” with a matching onesie which read “First Mate” and wrapped it up with a cute book as well. As soon as he walked in, I gave him the gift. As he unwrapped it- a look of confusion spread over his face. He looked at me and I just nodded- then he shouted “NO WAY, OMG NO WAY, YOU ARE MESSING WITH ME”!!!

To say he was shocked- was an understatement.  I was blown away too!! We have heard the struggles of so many couples trying to conceive, and were incredibly shocked to have gotten pregnant ‘instantly’ as he jokes.  That night we were surrounded by family, but had the best secret of all. We would just look at each other and giggle all night. It was perfect, and how I dreamed it would happen. Absolutely magical. 

For the first week or so of pregnancy- I was STARVING…24/7- anything and everything….I was a food machine. That quickly changed and from weeks 5-11…. everything was repulsive. Smells, tastes, even the thought of something ‘gross’ would send me running. Yikes. I can say- the exhaustion combined with eating very little was tough. It was a crash diet I never thought I’d be on.  Everyday was hard. I would go to work and fall into bed upon getting home at 5:00 pm. I did not see any friends during this time, or workout either- I truly just had to focus on myself and resting for my little one. 

Fast forward to today and I am extremely happy to report- as I write this at almost 14 weeks pregnant- I am pretty much back to normal (besides constant fire-breathing acid reflux)! For me- entering the second trimester has been wonderful, and a welcome relief from the first.  I am far less tired, I have a normal appetite again, and a bit of color has returned to my face. 🙂 I should add, I have not had many crazy cravings. If any I would say – carbs! Sweets have not sounded that good to me…but pastas, potatoes, and fresh fruits have. I hope to begin getting some physical exercise again this trimester too. I was a complete hermit for the first and am excited to feel alive again!

Anyways….

If you don’t share an ultrasound picture, are youeven pregnant (Jk)?! Here is our little one at our first ultrasound two weeks ago. We joke that he/she looks like a little chicken wing. It was surreal to see him/her dancing around, we were both brought to tears. 

baby

So there you have it- our first trimester recap! I plan on updating the blog throughout this pregnancy- and sharing our journey as we progress. Please send us positive thoughts or prayers if you feel comfortable. We already love this little one so much- we continue to pray for a healthy pregnancy, kiddo, and delivery. Any additional support is wonderful. Also (for fun) post your gender guesses in the comments!

Until next time,

Our Wine-Themed Fall Wedding

advice, Lifestyle, wedding

Hey Friends!

Finally getting around to this extra special post….

…better late than never- amiright? 

In short- our wedding was all that we could dream, and more. It was the perfect start to our lives together. All of the planning came together seamlessly, in a whirlwind of joy. 

Please enjoy some of our most treasured photographs. 

 

So there you have it-  a peek into our perfect day!

I hope you enjoyed this post, we are incredibly grateful to all who made our day so special.

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 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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A Dreamy Summer Bridal Shower

beauty, eats, Lifestyle, wedding

Hi Friends,

So many showers lately- amiright?

I bet everyone reading this has been to at least one or two showers within the past few months. It’s wedding season,…baby season,…wait is that a thing!?..probz not…

…Anyway, my lovely aunt and cousins threw us the most gorgeous wedding shower. I am going to take the easy route on this post…and let the pictures do the talkin’ …enjoy!

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…Seriously….the day was a dream (I wasn’t lying, pictures = proof!!!).

Friends and family joined us from near and far. It was so humbling to be surrounded by those who love and truly support us. Every single detail was perfection. We cannot believe that our wedding is less than 100 days away!

This post leads me into a wedding mini-series that I have been working on, and will be releasing next week.  I have connected with many brides to help write this piece, and am thrilled to share it with you soon. Essentially… it navigates various ‘sticky situations’ that can occur during the wedding planning process, and how to handle them.

…wedding planning… AIN’T. EASY. Y’ALL.

Whether you are planning a wedding or not…this relatable series is sure to have you giggling,…eye rolling,…and possibly even tearing up, too. Wedding planning brings out alllll types of emotions and behaviors.

Ultimately: no matter what you do,… or how contentious you are of one’s feelings,…. someone is going to get offended by your choices.

…And *spoiler alert* THAT’S OK.

For those of you who have submitted an email sharing your ‘sticky’ wedding situation, thank you! For those of you who haven’t… please do. Your privacy is completely respected, and up to your discretion when sharing your story.

Feel free to email me directly at katiewritesblog@gmail.com if you have a sticky situation to share. Get ready for some serious tea to be spilled, my loves…

Real talk ahead…stay tuned.

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Booking a Vacation? 6 Money Saving Hacks for Ballin’ Out…On a Budget.

Lifestyle

Happy Thursday, my friends!

Let me just say, ya girl here, is about to save you some serious cash on travel. As I sit planning our family’s annual pilgrimage to Orlando, it occurred to me that I have gotten pretttty dang savvy over the years when it comes to saving moolah while vacationing.

For those of you eye-rolling that we go to Disney year after year…yes we are total Disney freaks, yes we are all adults, yes we have gone to this magical world for the past consecutive 20 years… and yes, there is no end in sight. If you too are a Disney person, you get it. If not, it’s not just for kids, OK???? Oh yeah, and we are TOTALLY ‘that family’ who goes decked out in cheesy outfits to boot! …the proof is in the pudding….see below.

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Back to my original point: Any way you slice it, vacations are freaking expensive. I am a bargain shark and wanted to share some tips to save you the big ones, without compromising on trip necessities. We ALLLL want to feel like divas on vacation. What if I told you this was possible without taking out a second mortgage on your home?….keep reading, I got you fam.

*note: this is not a sponsored post (I wish it were though!…..). These sites are simply my personal favorites and have worked for me, so I am passing them along.

 

1. Groupon Getaways

You guys. I went to IRELAND for 8 days using Groupon Getaways. Oh and it was only $750.00 bucks…total. Yes, rub your eyes, you did read that correctly. This vacation package included round-trip flights from Chicago to Dublin, 7 nights in various 4 star hotels (which included breakfast), and a flipping CAR for the entire trip. Are you kidding me? Groupon, I’m not sure how you do it…but if it weren’t for you…I sure as hell wouldn’t have been able to afford Ireland.I am eternally grateful.

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I also went to Cancun for $500 dollars two years ago using Groupon Getaways. This trip was 5 nights/6 days. The $500 dollars covered our stay at a nice beachfront all-inclusive resort (unlimited food & drinks), and round-trip flights from Milwaukee to Cancun. Once again, SUCH a deal.

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I know many people are nervous to try something like Groupon Getaways in fear that it could be scammy, but seriously it’s legit. I will continue to use GG for many, many, trips in the future. Give them a chance to save you money while providing the vacation of your dreams.

Pro tip: the regular Groupon site has tons of discounts for spas, and activities too. Once you figure out your destination, snag a Groupon for spa services or a cool activity in that area. Just be sure to book your service/activity wayyyyy ahead so you are able to redeem it while on vacation.

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2. VRBO

VRBO or, Vacation Rentals By Owner, …is… in short- fantastic.  Individuals who own a timeshare, condo, or home are able to rent out their pad when they aren’t using it.

Our family uses this site for our trip to Orlando every year. Being the creatures of habit that we are, we always stay at the same resort. VRBO mostly rents out in increments of a week at a time, but we have found the owners to be incredibly kind and flexible too. The rates the owners charge are much lower than what the hotels/condos would charge per week when booking directly through them. 

VRBO is especially great for families. A condo is a must whenever we travel, because we enjoy the luxury of having a kitchen and multiple bedrooms/bathrooms. You will also save big on food when vacationing condo-style. Having access to a kitchen = no need to go out for every. single. meal. #winning. VRBO-logo

3. Restaurants.com

I love to eat. There I said it. I LOVE TO EAT. Especially on vacation. The more, the better. You won’t find me waking up for a workout and eating salads when I’m traveling, I can promise you that. You WILL, however, find me gorging on delicious chow and downing adult beverages ….because, life is short right?!

Which leads me to restaurants.com, I use this site allll the time, people. All you do is plug in your destination, and viola, tons of restaurants will pop up that are in that area. You save money by purchasing vouchers that are worth more in the restaurant. For example, purchasing a voucher for $10 dollars might get you $20 to $50 dollars worth of food in the establishment. My only tip is to make sure you read the fine print before purchasing a voucher. Some restaurants have specific rules for redeeming, just be safe and check. 

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4. The Honey App

This is probably one of my greatest discoveries of all time. Download this website to your browser IMMEDIATELY.  Any store (and I mean ANY) most likely has some sort of promo code running at any given time. Before Honey, I would go to retailmenot to find codes. I’d then return to the site I was purchasing from, and manually plug in whatever promo codes I found. Sometimes they would work, sometimes not. Either way, it took forever for me to scour the internet MYSELF trying to find these codes. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

That is, until I found Honey. This website does all the searching for you! After downloading Honey to your browser, it automatically searches and plugs in dozens of codes during your check out process. I love it because it guarantees you are getting the best price on virtually anything.

How does this relate to travel, you ask? Well, Groupon, Hotwire, Restaurants.com, Hotels.com, and many airline websites all have coupon codes floating around somewhere. So, if you’re already getting a great deal on Groupon Getways (for example) and then Honey finds an additional code …BOOM…you just saved MORE money. And more money = a little extra cash on your trip for shopping, treating yo’ self to a massage on the beach….essentially..BALLIN’ out on a BUDGET. Everybody got time for dat.

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5. Ebates

Y’all. This one is a no brainer. If you’re shopping online or booking a trip, why not get some cash back while you’re at it?? All Ebates is, is a site (similar to Honey) that tracks what you are purchasing and gives you a percentage of cash back. I’ve only used Ebates for a few months now and have earned over $400 cash back. They literally send you a check in the mail and you dump it into your account. That’s it. Seems too good to be true, I know!! Ebates links to your browser and will pop up right before checkout notifying you that you will be getting a percentage of cash back. Try it out and save yaaa monayyy peeps.

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6. Hotwire

I am sure you have heard of Hotwire. BUT have you ever used Hotwire while using the Honey and Ebates apps in unison?? Probably not. Hotwire is already incredible when it comes to saving you money on hotels… and even better when you can get cash back and/or even more of a discount using Honey & Ebates together. We have saved bookoo bucks using this holy trinity of travel. Trust us.

 

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To wrap it up, I hope these tips are helpful and even open doors to vacations that may seem unaffordable right now.  Please give these sites a try and let me know if you find success. We all need time off to rest, rejuvenate, and truly LIVE. Happy trails to you!

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My Favorite 5: January Essentials.

Lifestyle

Happy New Year, to all of you lovely humans out there!

First off, I wanted to apologize for my brief absence on the blog. I took some much needed time off and am feeling refreshed and ready for another kick ass year. Cheers, and thank you for the sweet messages that were sent during my break!

Diving in, I thought I would start off the new year with some of my favorite products right now. A few of these items were Christmas gifts, some were simply amazing items I stumbled upon …and had to share. I should also note, everything being featured ranges in price and variety. Enjoy!

 

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leggings

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coat

shave

I hope you enjoyed checking out some of my favorite things! Please comment and fill me in on your January must-have’s.

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