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.

crz

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.

mega mag

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)

tank

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!

 

An Amazon Prime Haul. 10 items you need right now.

guide, haul, holiday, Lifestyle, shopping

Greetings fellow earthlings,

In case you missed it- last week I wrote a post sharing some of my current Amazon Prime favorites. Let’s just say it was well received…. 

It seems that many of you also share an affinity for Amazon Prime shopping! I was so happy to hear that readers purchased some of the items I had suggested, and loved them as much as I do.

SOOOO per your requests, here are 10 more of my favorite Amazon Prime items!!

I apologize in advance if you become the child below while reading the post… 😉 Happy shopping…

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(**pricing and availability of items listed may change at any time, this is not a sponsored post**)

1. There is nothing I love more, than being warm and cozy when it is chilly outdoors. This adorable pom-pom hat comes in 15 colors (I own it in 3…) and at $11.99– it’s a must. 

FullSizeR

2. Once again- I’ll spring for anything with a V-Neck. This sweater is no exception. It looks perfect with high wasted jeans. Be warned, however, it runs small so I would size up. Also…if you do not have high wasted jeans (keep readin’- I got you) know that this would be a crop top. It is $25.99 and comes in 2 colors.

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3. If you read my last Amazon post, you’ll know that I like to rock an over the knee boot. The pair I featured last week had a heel, whereas this boot is flatter. I wanted to share this one, as it is comfortable and something that could be worn daily. They are only $28.99 and come in 9 shades!!

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4. This. quilted. 1/4 zip thooooo. What a beaut! Also, it has elbow patches on the back which are so fun. It comes in 4 colors and is $24.99!

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5. This top is one of my all time favorites, truly. It looks good with anything (leggings, jeans, pajamas- you get it). And some days you just need something flowy to make you feel confident- this is the top. $20.99 and comes in 5 colors!

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6. Eeeekkkk how rad is this poncho? It is reversible and comes in 6 colors (which is really 12 because they reverse, duh). I was shocked by how warm it actually is. It is pretty with jeans and boots-it would also look great belted! $35.92

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7. The perfect distressed denim… only $24.90, and comes in a staggering 34 different washes!!

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8. I am obsessed with this fun little jacket- so cozy. It is $19.00 and comes in 4 colors. I will warn you, however, this item (for some reason) fluctuates between being an ‘amazon prime’ item and just an amazon item with free shipping. I am not sure why this is, and cost-wise it does not matter. Just know that it may take a bit longer to arrive if it is not listed as an ‘amazon prime’ item. 

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9. Friendssss, let me tell you…I am not above purchasing a good knock off. I love the Gucci belts that I see all over Instagram… but for $350+ (for the real real) it ain’t happenin’ for me. I stumbled upon this beauty, and for $22.99, it is an awesome dupe! It comes in 4 colors.

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10. Seriously… you need these Steve Madden slides NOW. My eyeballs fell out when I saw that they are only $29.99, at the moment. When I purchased them back in September they were over $50!!! They come in 4 colors, but the blush is my favorite.

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***BONUS tip: If you do purchase the shoes…they look perfect with these no show socks. These footies have a sticky pad at the heel and are the only  low socks I have ever worn that don’t slide off!  They are $8.19 for 6 pairs.


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So there you have it. Another haul in the books.

I hope you enjoy these items, if you choose to purchase any of them. I am planning on doing these amazon hauls pretty regularly….stay tuned until next week.

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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.

#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) 

cousins

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:

invite

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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cheese

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.

dip

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. 

sloppyjoe

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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