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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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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Ahoy, it’s a boy! A surprise nautical baby shower.

Baby, eats, Lifestyle

Hello Friends,

First off, I miss you guys.

With wedding planning in FULL effect…and just life in general- I have totally gone ghost on this blog. But here I am y’all! Back in action.

I wanted to write this post because it is a glimpse into my real life, behind the keyboard, and something I really enjoyed doing.

Quick backstory: My friend (and bridesmaid!) is pregnant with her second child, and this time around- it’s a BOY!! So, I thought it would be fun to completely surprise her with a baby shower!!! I chose a nautical theme….and went WILD….

Let me tell you,…it was…

so. dang. fun.

If I do say so myself, it was a total success. Great friends, good food, sweet gifts, and lots of laughs. Here are some pictures from the day….

 

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the moment of surprise…..

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Every baby shower needs a ‘mom-osa’ bar… amiright?!

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DIY nautical flags – such a sweet touch.

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She’s happy because … cake … DUH! Oh, and I mean…mayyyyybe because of the shower….I’m leaning towards the cake though….

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Classic BBQ style summer food- an all around win!

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Thunderstorms in the forecast called for an indoor shindig instead of outdoor. It was a bit squishy, but we made it work and had a blast.

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She was blown away by all of the generous and heartfelt gifts.

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Fun little ‘decorate a diaper & onesie’ station. The results were hilarious…

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Our gift and favor table. Guests left with a beachy smelling Bath and Body Works hand soap with a cute little ‘thank you’ sentiment.

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So there you have it! A nautical baby boy shower. Almost all decor was DIY and so much fun. Don’t be afraid to pinterest and actually attempt those pins from time to time!

Also, I have to give a HUGE shout-out to my mom, fiance, and aunt. Without their help the shower would not have been nearly as beautiful or delicious.

Wishing you all the best,

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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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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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