{ Things I’m Currently Obsessed With }

Hello, lovelies!

It’s been an intense last few weeks trying to get settled into the new home. I will say, today was a monumental one as we had our blinds installed! Although this may not sound too exciting, we have 26 windows in our house and none were covered when we moved in – so having this little addition has made quite an impact. They’re beautiful 2.5″ white, wooden plantation blinds and they certainly add some charm to our colonial style house. Speaking of houses (since it seems to be the hot topic of the month), I’ve decided to share with you a few home decor pieces that I’m currently obsessing over. Enjoy!

1. Safavieh Lucretius Bar Cart in Gold 

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This is definitely the item that I am most excited about. To make a long story short, I won this very bar cart on an Instagram contest from one of my favorite home furnishing and decor companies, Safavieh. If you haven’t heard of them, I would recommend checking them out because their items are absolutely stunning. While you’re at it, follow them on social media as they run various contests on a pretty regular basis. Just recently, they were offering their Instagram followers a chance to win multiple pieces of furniture and home accents of their choosing – from headboards to tables to chairs. In case you did not know, I am a big fan of social media…not just on a personal level, but from a business standpoint (perhaps it’s the marketing that runs through my veins). I think the companies that utilizes social media to engage their customers are hitting the nail on the head. When I entered the contest initially, I never expected to actually win. In fact, I never win anything. Ever. To my surprise, I was contacted by Savafieh through Instagram and then via email where they provided me with a few different bar cart styles to choose from. I ultimately chose this gold number because I loved the traditional elegance it encompassed. Not to mention, I thought it would look fabulous on top of our Persian rug. Stay tuned as I’ll be styling this bad boy up soon!

2. Chinoiserie

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I am an absolute sucker for the color blue and even more, the chinoiserie style. From a design aspect, I enjoy mixing old and new and love anything and everything eclectic. Chinoiserie really adds an element to the home that makes my heart skip a beat. It’s really picking up some momentum in the home decor world and you can find the style practically everywhere – from Ralph Lauren to Macy’s. However, my favorite pieces are typically found in antique shops. I currently own a few pieces but plan on adding to my collection gradually. The vase pictured from One King’s Lane is definitely one that I’ve been swooning over lately.

3. Cognac Leather Furniture

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I can tell you exactly when I started falling for cognac toned leather furniture. I had been scrolling on Instagram back in December and stumbled upon this very picture shown above. That couch. I needed to have that couch. I was sold. West Elm always tugs at my heart strings but really, it’s been months now and I cannot stop thinking about this couch. As much as I hate to admit that a piece of furniture has rented so much space in my head, I have to own up to it. So there you have it. This beautiful Hamilton leather couch from West Elm comes as a sofa, love seat and sectional. There is something so warm and cozy about this style. Did I mention that it as on my “must purchase” list? *Le Sigh*

4. Wrought Iron Chandeliers

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There is no denying that I’m a fan of both silver and gold, but I’ve been recently turned onto the oil rubbed bronze/wrought iron look, particularly when it comes to light fixtures. Perhaps it had to do with moving into our new house – I just find it to be suiting for the look and feel of the home. These chandeliers from Pottery Barn are freaking gorg. I love the warm, rustic and classic feel it encompasses. Beauties, right?

5. Gallery Walls

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I have been a big fan of gallery walls for some time now and am officially over the moon that I can begin our very own! There are so many directions you can go in with a gallery wall. From oil paintings to sketches, to color schemes to themes, to pictures to prints – the world is your oyster. As mentioned before, I have an affinity for an eclectic style and will probably end up going with a mix of everything to satisfy that yearning. I’m slowly collecting my pieces and using Pinterest as an inspiration. This lovely set up pictured above can be found here.

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Treat Yourself Tuesday | Summer Swag { Beach Bag Essentials Edition }

Happy Tuesday, y’all! So, I’ve promised you a very fun Treat Yourself Tuesday {Summer Swag} this week…and I was certainly not going to let you down! With Summer in full swing, it can only mean that frequent trips to the beach, pool and lake are probable. Actually, scratch that – it goes without saying! This week’s Treat Yourself Tuesday is an ode to saltwater drenched hair and beach waves, a sun-kissed face and bronzed skin. Below is what I like to call the Beach Bag Essentials. Let your hair down, soak up the sun and enjoy!

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1. Swooning hard over this adorable beach bag! {Kate Spade “Play Hooky” Terry Cloth Tote, $190 from Amazon}

2. When I say this stuff is AHHHmazing…I do mean that wholeheartedly. Protect your lips with this SPF 15 treatment. It makes your lips silky smooth without feeling sticky or greasy and has a fragrant yet subtle lemon scent. {Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment, $25 from Sephora}

3. Looking to snag an adorable floppy hat to shade your eyes from harmful rays? Try this straw one on for size! {Straw Floppy Hat, $28.58 from ASOS}

4. Protecting your skin is vital when you’re out in the sun. This sunscreen is light, airy and gets the job done while giving your skin a healthy glow. {Rayito Del Sol 2 in 1 Sport Bronzing Sunscreen SPF 30, $14.99 from Ulta}

5. You’ve been out in the sun and did your part by dousing your body in sunscreen and now have beautiful, tan skin. If you’re looking to maintain and protect that color, Maui Babe’s Tan Enhancer & Healer is the answer. This after sun lotion provides your skin with rich nutrients after being exposed to the sun and saltwater all day. It will keep your skin ultra moisturized and even help prevent peeling and flaking! {Maui Babe After Browning Lotion Tan Enhancer & Healer, $12.49 from Ulta}

6. Looking for perfect beach hair? Thanks to Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Spray, you can now have it! It adds texture and volume to your hair for a perfect casual/undone look. {Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, $24 from Sephora}

7. No matter the setting, it’s never too casual for stylish feet! Oh how we love you, Tory Burch! {Miranda Flip-flop, $60 from Tory Burch}

8. What summer outing would be complete without music? This wireless, portable, bluetooth speaker is affordable, subtle and what you need for an overall amazing experience. {Etekcity Roverbeats T3 Wireless Speaker, $21.99 from Amazon}

9. If you are a hopeless romantic that appreciates a brilliant novel, then The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (A New York Time’s Best Seller), is a great beach read! {$7.99 from Barnes & Noble}

10. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is on my must-read list. I’ve heard people ranting and raving about it so I’m about to jump on board – and so should you! Think: a captivating book about a boy growing up in New York and the underworld of art. {$18.98 from Barnes & Noble}

11. You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me by Nathan Rabin is a book I am currently reading and it’s absolutely fascinating! If you love music (or have a particular affinity with Phish), pick up or download this book right now! It’s about a man who picks up and follows both Phish and Insane Clown Posse while immersing himself in the subcultures. Seriously, incredible. {$12.00 from Barnes & Noble}

12. A cute cover-up can definitely pull your beach ensemble together! I’m obsessed with this ombre’ kaftan! {Seafolly Byron Kaftan, $60 from House of Fraser}

13. This beach towel just absolutely nails it on so many levels! For all of your craft beer lovers out there – this is one you should probably own. {Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale Beach Towel, $35 from Urban Outfitters}

14. Last but certainly not least – be sure to bring a pair of sunnies with you to shield your eyes from harmful rays. The options are infinite – but I’m always down for a classic pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. I particularly love the ones that fold – super easy to pack away and transport! {Wayfarer Folding Classic, $155 from Ray-Ban}

Treat Yourself Tuesday | Summer Swag { Sunglass Edition }

Hello, friends! So I have to apologize for posting my “Treat Yourself Tuesday” a little late this week. I had a family emergency Monday evening and was unable to focus on wander + bloom. However, it worked out because the Summer Swag mini series this week is quite appropriate for the 4th of July! With it being sweet summertime, what more could one need than a beautiful pair of shades? I’ve found some steals and splurges that I had to share with you! So treat yourself to some sunnies that are most definitely a few of the best around! Everyone have a safe and happy July 4th and be sure to check out my Treat Yourself Tuesday this coming week for a very fun Summer Swag edition! Enjoy!

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Sunglasses copy1. ASOS Matte Classic Retro Sunglasses with Blue Flash Lens, $22.86 {from ASOS}  2. Prada Baroque 55mm Round Sunglasses, $290 {from Nordstrom}  3. Kate Spade Angelique 55mm Retro Sunglasses, $145 {from Nordstrom}  4. Kate Spade 56mm Metal Aviator Sunglasses, $145 {from Nordstrom}  5. Tory Burch Panama Rounded Sunglasses, $195 {from Bloomingdales}  6. Aldo Asarecien Sunglasses, $12 {from Aldo}  7. Madewell Hepcat Shades, $38.50 {from Madwell}  8. Miu Miu Butterfly Plastic Sunglasses, $315 {from Saks Fifth Avenue}  9. Wildfox Twiggy Sunglasses, $179 {from ShopBop}  10. Ray-Ban Cats 5000 Flash Lenses, $160 {from Ray-Ban}

Treat Yourself Tuesday | Summer Swag { Home Edition }

Hello, lovelies!

This warm weather has got me feeling very inspired – especially with July quickly approaching (goodness, time flies). Therefore, over the next few weeks I’m going to share some of my favorite items for the Summer season with you in a special blog mini series I like to call “Treat Yourself Tuesday”. (I apologize to your wallets in advance). The theme is “Summer Swag” and this week we will be focusing our attention on items that will complete your humble abode this Summer. Check out my Top 10 Must-Have Items For The Home This Season below. Enjoy!

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1. Okay, seriously, is this real life? Everyone loves a drink dispenser…especially for those Summer soirees! But a beverage dispenser that holds three different varieties of bevs together? Now, that’s magic. { Trio Beverage Dispenser from ZGallerie, $69.95 }

2. If you troll Pinterest like I do, I’m sure you’ve seen some pretty mouth-watering popsicle recipes. Simplify your life with this amazing pop maker that will make them in seven minutes or less. How about that for instant gratification on a hot Summer day? Oh, and this fun contraption comes in six different color choices. { Zoku Quick Pop Maker from Williams-Sonoma, $49.95 }

3. I’m not sure why, but I’ve been deeply fascinated with croquet for at least a solid year. I couldn’t tell you why, but it just seems like the perfect activity to go along with a cute Lilly Pulitzer dress and some lemonade – am I right? Lawn games are always fun with a group of friends. Play after a cook out, followed by a bonfire in the evening…sounds like the perfect day to me! { Verus Sports Expert Croquet Set from Target, $54.99 }

4. I can’t even take credit for this one because I was inspired to search for these bad boys after I saw them at my mother-in-law’s house. I’ve heard them called both “food domes” and “food tents” but their purpose is to shield your plates of food from insects and pests when you are hosting a dinner outside. GENIUS! And this food dome from World Market is just as darling as can be! { Willow Food Dome from World Market, $14.99 }

5. I’ve been eying different string lights for our house that we are moving into in a few short weeks. I am a sucker for lighting and I think a front porch or back deck lit up with these retro string lights would be simply divine. {Globe String Lights (25 ft)  from Amazon, $25.35}

6. Y’all…I wish I could even begin to explain my obsession with bar carts. In fact, it’s what I plan on adding to my wish list this holiday season (it’s never too early to start!). You can always find various styles of bar carts out there and they all range in price…but this one from CB2, Crate and Barrel’s contemporary counterpart, is perfect for the season (and trust, it’s one of the less expensive ones). { Porter Bar Cart from CB2, $399 }

7. I know that I am behind on the times but I just discovered my love for Moscow Mules – what a perfect Summer beverage! I had my very first one only a few months ago and fell head over heels in love. Ever since, I’ve been on the lookout for a set of adorable copper Moscow Mule mugs and just happened to stumble upon these lovelies from Birch Lane. I love that they are hammered copper rather than a smooth finish – it makes them a little more unique! How wonderful would it be to whip up your own Moscow Mules for a backyard gathering and serve them up in these? *Le Sigh* { Hammered Mule Mug Set of 4 from Birch Lane, $89 }

8. Who doesn’t love a picnic? This adorable picnic basket from Pottery Barn is precious beyond words and already comes lined with linen and a set of plates, wine glasses, flatware and bottle opener! { Rattan Picnic Basket for 2 from Pottery Barn, $99 }

9. So after tasting homemade ice cream, I immediately got on Crate & Barrel’s site and registered for this very one last year when the hubs and I were tying the knot. Turns out, it’s a pretty popular registry item…and rightfully so! It’s super easy to use and makes any flavor of ice cream OR frozen yogurt imaginable! What could possibly be more refreshing on a scorching Summer day? { Cuisinart Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Maker from Crate & Barrel, $59.95 }

10. Needing a little inspiration for meals this season? I am always kind of stumped during the Summer but it should be less fuss than any other season and a reason to cook light. This recipe book from Anthropologie may be the answer! { Summer Food from Anthropologie, $32.50 }

A Frock of Every Color | A Summer Wedding Guest Dress Guide

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, peonies are blooming and the warm weather is here to stay (or at least for a little while). It only means one thing: wedding season. Now, it is true that people get married throughout the entire year but it almost goes without saying that Spring and Summer are popular months to tie the knot. For those of you who are not the bride-to-be or a member of the wedding party, trying to choose the perfect dress as an attendee can be tricky. You want to wear something that is appropriate etiquette-wise but aligns well with the season. Additionally, one must also consider the type of wedding and you need to ask yourself: is it cocktail, casual or formal? Are the nuptials during the day or is it an evening affair? What will the setting be? Dockside? At a beach? In an old mansion? At a museum? Is it a casual backyard gathering? Once you’ve considered these factors, you can then determine what will suit you best! If you’re like me, picking the right dress can be tough but the great thing about Spring/Summer weddings is that donning bright colors is totally acceptable. So what’s your hue? Are you a green kind of gal or are you going to rock Pantone’s color of the year, Radiant Orchid? Below are some beautiful frocks that I’ve come across that are perfect for a wedding this season (with a shopping guide to go with it, of course). Enjoy!

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Dresses

1. Ombre’ Gown, $229.99 {from Mango}  2. Plisse V Neck Maxi Dress, $95 {from Miss Selfridge}  3. Peach Ruched Maxi Dress, $69 {from Dorothy Perkins}  4. Pasha Poppy Midi Dress, $90 {from Topshop}  5. Torte and Sweet Dress, $99.99 {from Modcloth}  6. True Decadence Scallop Sequin Dress in Mint, $101.10 {from House of Fraser}  7. Blue Bandeau Mesh Prom Dress, $120 {from River Island}  8. Twinkling at Twilight Dress in Champagne, $169.99 {from Modcloth}  9. Trumpet Hem Dress, $68 {from Miss Selfridge}  10. Ria Lace Latern Dress, $145 {from Oasis}  11. Pink Lace Overlay Cap Sleeve Dress $110 {from River Island}  12. Bungalow Bash Dress, $49.99 {from Modcloth}  13. Plenty by Tracy Reese, $127.99 {from Modcloth}  14. Chemical Lace Dress, $178 {from Cwonder}

{ HOME } is Wherever I’m with You

So in case you are not already aware, the hubs and I are starting to move into our first real home as a married couple – weeeee! It’s the cutest little bungalow in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte, NC and we couldn’t be more ecstatic! New hardwood floors are in and the counter tops should be here and installed any day now (it is seriously gorg).

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{ Our recycled glass counter tops in “Ocean Shell” }

As exciting as all of this is, we are now faced with the daunting task of purging and packing. Let me just tell you, if I could pay someone to do all of this for me I would because when I say I loathe moving…I mean it in a very passionate way. However, I have opted to take on the beast because I do not want to shell out extra cash for someone to pack my things for me while I am very capable of accomplishing it on my own. The problem is, I tend to look at everything from a macro perspective and when I see everything that I have to go through and prepare to move, I get slightly overwhelmed. Even with us leaving our wedding gifts in their original boxes, we still have a ton of belongings and it frightens me that so much has to be transported from one house to another. #firstworldproblems. Aside from having to remind myself to breathe during this process, I have to provide myself with little things to look forward to in order to stay motivated. As the saying goes…gotta keep on truckin’. So in light of this stressful situation, I’ve decided to focus on the fun components of it and dedicate this post to my decorating plans for the new casa.

We are going to first touch on my color inspiration followed by the look we’re trying to achieve and ending with the paint colors I’ve chosen. However, I’m going to ask you (my lovely blog readers), for feedback regarding the kitchen color. Just comment at the end of the post with your vote because I am quite stumped and desperately need your opinion! Enjoy, loves!

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Shahin and I are on the same wavelength regarding the hues of the new house. We both really love grays, neutrals and blues. I’ve never met anyone who loves the beach as my as my husband, so he was immediately sold on the idea of utilizing ocean colors in our decor. I myself have always been a big fan of the dusty blue color (a light shade of blue with a gray undertone) and drawn to different grays and neutrals. Above is a mood board that I created which include my inspiration and the words that come to mind when I think about the feng shui of our new home.

Style

Now, you can imagine how over the last year I have been trolling Pinterest to nail down the look and feel we are going for in the new house. Shahin and I are both very similar so it made choosing our signature style fairly simple. We’re both free-spirited, music lovers, DIYers, eclectic, enjoy art and love a mix of modern, handmade, vintage, primitive, flea market chic, simplistic, farmhouse, rustic, natural and eclectic. I know, it’s a lot and some of these descriptions contradict one another. But once you see all of the elements together, it will make perfect sense. Imagine: Etsy, West Elm, Pottery Barn & Crate and Barrel…all mixed together with some thrift store and antique shop finds.

Paint

I have to admit, I have become rather obsessed with Benjamin Moore‘s paint colors. Like WHOA. I have spent countless hours in Lowes, Blackhawk Hardware and the Benjamin Moore store itself…just standing there like the crazy paint lady comparing different swatches. For me, trying to determine the perfect shade of gray and the perfect blue was fairly difficult (it’s the perfectionist in me) – but I eventually accomplished what I set out to do. These beautiful paint colors are what I’ve nailed down for the new place. However, I am still pulling my hair out over the kitchen color and I’ve narrowed it down to three (yay for progress). So what do you think? I’m officially taking votes so leave your comments below!

Building a home can be so much fun…stay tuned for more updates to come! I can’t wait to share all of my decorating, entertaining and DIY projects with you!

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#FestivalDreaming

Flower crowns, long dresses, crop tops, ankle booties, big sunglasses, warm weather, incredible jams…it means only one thing: festival season. I have to admit, seeing all of the Coachella posts on Instagram have made me incredibly envious! It’s one of those things that has been on my bucket list for quite a few years now. In fact, going to any music festival has been a top priority. I couldn’t tell you why I haven’t yet (being the music junkie that I am). Maybe it’s because the genres of music I listen to vary so drastically and I just cannot make a decision and commit! I remember vividly in high school and in my early years of college wanting to go to Bonnaroo in Tennessee and then it became Floyd Fest in Virginia and then Moog Fest in Asheville and then Coachella in California and then Hang Out in Alabama and then Forecastle in Louisville and most recently, Outside Lands in San Fran. Even still, the list goes on as there are so many music festivals out there that I am dying to attend. See my dilemma?

I’ve been to more concerts and shows than I can count but I promised myself that by sometime next year: a music festival (or two) is a must! So since I have no plans as of yet to attend one, I would like to dedicate this post to #FestivalDreaming – because that is currently my state of mind. What does this entail? Accessories and apparel that could make great signature pieces in your festival wardrobe, a pretty sweet playlist full of artists playing at the various shows this summer and if you’re just as indecisive as I am – a little 411 on a few of the festivals that I’ve had my eye on. Enjoy!

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Festival Dreaming

1. Heart Sunglasses, $14 {from Threadsence}  2. Folklore Print Shift Dress, $78 {from TopShop}  3. Aztec Print Crop Top, $60 {from TopShop}  4. Festival Coin Headband, $28.22 {from ASOS}  5. New Look Rose Hair Garland, $11.27 {from ASOS}  6. Light Brown Tassel Trim Ankle Boots, $90 {from River Island}  7. Black Trim Western Ankle Boots, $90 {from River Island}  8. Braided Flat-Sole Sandal, $59.90 {from Zara}  9. Fortunate Lace Pants in Sand, $62 {from Spool72}  10. Rock On Word Cuff, $32.50 {from Threadsence}  11. Rising Sun Native Shorts, $42 {from Spool72}  12. Black Jersey Pleat Maxi Skirt, $70 {from TopShop}  13. River Island Black Leather Chain Detail Fringe Bag, $75.26 {from ASOS}  14. Folk Embroidered Bralet, $40 {from TopShop} 15. Straw Fedora Hat, $28.22 {from ASOS}

 

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Home Office Inspiration | { His + Her }

The hubs and I are preparing for a move in a few weeks to an adorable little bungalow in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte, NC. The house has two bedrooms, one bathroom and one room that is perfect for an office. We both need a functional working area and need to utilize the space to the best of our ability in order to suit both of our needs. Between Sean working on a start-up business with my brother and all of his side projects and my blog, work and grad school homework, it can all become slightly overwhelming if we’re not careful. My life is in complete shambles even if I’m in a little bit of disarray so in our new home, it is critical for us to stay organized. In an effort to do so, I wanted to create both a personalized and inspiring {his + her} office space. I started gathering ideas and came up with two inspiration boards that truly encompasses each of us.

For this blog post, I was initially going to focus solely on a feminine work area until Sean mentioned how he wished I would post more about things the male demographic can relate to and get inspired with. I am all about taking constructive criticism. In fact, I welcome it with open arms. Why? I have always believed that there is always room for improvement and feedback is totally necessary in order to grow and flourish. With that said, I decided to take a shot at the ideal male office space in addition to my own.

First and foremost, I took each of our interests, likes and dislikes into consideration before creating the perfect office for each of us. I am as girly as they come, adore soft colors, flowers, quotes, anything vintage, eclectic and woodland-inspired, fun patterns and desire an aesthetically pleasing area that will make me feel energized. Sean on the other hand is a tech junkie. He would love more of a masculine space with funky gadgets, harder lines and the perfect blend of both a contemporary and industrial/vintage feel.

Alright, so enough about my method behind the madness – I’m not going to make you wait a second longer! Below are my {his + her} work space creations with a shopping guide for those of you who are also looking to gain some work space inspiration. Enjoy!

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1. Inspiring Prints (from first to last): Start Each Day with a Grateful Heart {Etsy}, Gold Foil 2014 Print {Etsy}, The World is Your Oyster Print {Etsy}  2. Red Coral Vintage Book Collection {Etsy}  3. Gold Antler Coat Rack {Etsy}  4. Tassle Garland {Etsy}  5. Distressed Inspiration Board {Etsy}  6. 13″ Peonies in Vase {One Kings Lane}  7. Monogram Mug {Anthropologie}  8. Gold Zag Tray {Etsy}  9. Emily + Merritt Brass Bunny Table Lamp, {PB Teen}  10. Shag Rug, Ivory {One Kings Lane}  11. LexMod Ghost Chair {Amazon}  12. Vintage Desk Mail Organizer {Etsy}  13. White and Gold Desk {Worlds Away

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1. Work Hard Print {Etsy}  2. Industrial Faux Metal Letters {Etsy}  3. Vintage Pull Down Style Map {Etsy}  4. Mojave Rug, Aqua {One Kings Lane}  5. LED Binary Clock {from ThinkGeek}  6. Subway Sign, Charlotte, NC {Etsy}  7. Wood Block Bulb Lamp {West Elm}  8. Scape Magazine Holder {CB2}  9. Mesh Silver Bulletin Board {Crate and Barrel}  10. Delilah Desk, Natural Finish {One Kings Lane}  11. Coup Office Chair {CB2

Meet Me at the Altar in Your White Dress | 8 Simple Rules

Ah, weddings. Let me just start out by saying how much I love them. I always have. As a little girl, my mom and I would pick up bridal magazines and go through them together while turning the corners of pages that featured wedding dresses we adored. As a 10-year-old, I was drawn to the puffy, Cinderella-esque ball gowns. The more tulle, the better. Like most young girls, I dreamed about my own wedding that I would one day have. I never thought about the details or what it would cost or really anything other than I wanted it to be a fairytale. I mean, who actually thinks about all that is entailed in the wedding planning process at that young of an age? I never imagined what all was in store for me as an engaged adult woman.

But then, I blinked…and there I was. 26-years-old and engaged. I met the man that I was ready to spend the rest of my life with and he popped the question. Now what? Being a bridesmaid and witnessing firsthand a couple of my close girlfriends getting married, I was able to see how crazy, stressful, fun (did I mention stressful?) it all was. I was given this warning by many, but always thought to myself…how chaotic could this really be? Like many girls, I like to think of myself as Superwoman – I can handle just about anything thrown my way. I was working a full-time job, in grad school and participating in a flag football team that raised money for a non-profit organization all while juggling a social life, time with my fiancé, dogs (they’re basically my children) and three sets of families. SURELY, I could take on one more thing. Let me just state that planning a wedding is one of the most incredible experiences you will ever go through. But understand that it is in itself a full-time gig.

Let me just say – I am no wedding guru but any means, but I experienced a lot during a year and a half of planning. I can offer up some advice based on my knowledge and what I’ve seen others go through.

To all my lovelies who are about to get hitched, here are 8 simple rules to consider:

1.  KEEP CALM. This process is fun (really, it is) but it is going to test you in every way possible. Your emotions are running high during this time and there is a lot to juggle and make decisions on. Understand going into this: you will have obstacles. I can guarantee you there is not one bride in this world who has not encountered at least one issue (if not several) during the wedding planning process. Just remember to breathe. Talk yourself down when you’re feeling as though you’re about to be worked up and remember: the stress will not last forever – there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, find some activities that can help you unwind. Take up yoga, go for a run, write in a journal, do some painting…anything to have some sort of release. Remember to wooooosah.

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{ keep calm + marry on }

2.  STAY ORGANIZED. The only way to make it out alive is to find an organization method that works for you. Think about all of the information that is being thrown your way: vendor quotes, contracts, pictures of your vision, contact information, budgets, spreadsheets, charts, timelines etc. It’s pretty intense. Keep a notebook or a three-ring binder – it will be your best friend! I carried mine around everywhere and to be perfectly honest, people probably thought I was insane – but there was a method to my madness. I even made tabs for my binder to take it a step further. By doing so, I kept myself together, was prepared for meetings and had a way to quickly reference something. There are also various apps for your smart phone that you can download such as iWeddings or The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner. You can also pop into Barnes and Noble and see what wedding planning books they have. One of my bridesmaids purchased one for me as a gift and I found it very useful! Additionally, I have recently had some girls ask me what wedding website I used – after doing quite a bit of research, weddingwindow.com was recommended to me and in my opinion, it was the best. Your customizing options are infinite and you can even save your wedding website in a zip file or have it sent to you on a CD after your wedding – what a sweet keepsake to have forever! Lastly, the wedding registry I used was Gift Registry 360 (powered by The Knot), however, it was recently changed to the Knot Wedding Gift Registry. It’s great because you can create one master registry list and it syncs to all of your registries. Want to add something to your list from another retailer that you may not be registered with? This will allow you to add items from any website. It’s an easy, stress-free way to keep everything organized.

{ One of my many inspiration pages I created in Adobe InDesign. These pages were in my binder so I could quickly reference something wherever I was. }

{ One of the many inspiration pages I created in Adobe InDesign. These pages were in my binder so I could quickly reference something no matter where I was. }

3.  MAKE IT YOURS. Yes, Pinterest is fantastic – In fact, I swear by it (ask any of my friends). Use it as a tool but as you cultivate your various inspiration boards, remember, that is what they are: inspiration boards. I say this because it is so important to make sure this day is about you and your fiancé. There is nothing wrong with taking different elements of various weddings you like and building on to that, but there is no need to copy someone else’s wedding exactly. Think about it – what would be the point of emulating another couple’s big day? It wouldn’t be as unique and special because it would not truly be yours. Determine what your vision is by conducting some research. Browse various websites and wedding blogs. The sites I found most helpful are: Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, Hi-Fi Weddings, Etsy, Wedding Gawker, Pinterest, BHLDN, 100 Layer Cake, Ruffled, Rock N’ Roll Bride (for the nontraditional couple), Wedding Chicks, Emmaline Bride, Kiss the Groom and Weddingbee. If you are interested in more fantastic wedding websites, check out the Top 100 Wedding Blogs. Figuring out your vision is so vital. In the end, you want your guests to look at your big day and think wow…this really encompassed the bride and groom perfectly. Once you’ve decided on the direction you’d like to go in, start thinking about your color scheme, setting and details. Build Pinterest boards so you’ll have a visual and your ideas can start coming to life.

{ Make it yours. Sure, we were not the first couple to ever have a vintage-inspired wedding, but with some personalization and special elements - we made it ours. Here is a logo we had created for our big day.  }

{ Sure, we were not the first couple to ever have a vintage-inspired wedding, but with a great deal of personalization and special details, we made it ours. Here is a monogram logo we had created for our big day. }

4.  STAY TRUE TO YOUR VISION. Oh, we’ve heard all before. The classic tale of the “zillas”. It’s not even necessarily bridezillas and mother-of-the-bridezillas. There are sisterzillas, bridesmaidzillas, friendzillas, plannerzillas…everyone has a different experience. Even when someone is just trying to help, it can come off as pushy or opinionated. Remember: everyone is working toward the same common goal and 9 times out of 10 – your friends, family and vendors are in your corner. Just remember to play it cool when someone offers up their thoughts about your wedding day. They may offer a valuable perspective or constructive criticism based on experience. Take a moment to really listen and let it resonate – what they have to say may be something to consider. With that said, it is also critical to stay true to your vision. Yes – there is always room to flex as there are so many factors and circumstances that can change things (cost, space, etc.). But if someone is trying to lead you in a completely different direction and you are uncomfortable with it, stick to your guns. This is your day and you’re more than likely only going to experience it once in your lifetime.

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{ Stay true to your vision – if you love something, run with it and make it yours. However, do not discredit the advice of others. It may end up being really helpful or provide you with a different perspective. This is a snapshot of our vintage/music inspired wedding – it really encompassed who we are as a couple. }

5.  PRIORITIZE. Most of us do not have an unlimited budget and as much as we want to, we cannot have it all. Therefore, you must decide on how you want your money spent. If you’re unsure of what the “typical” percentage of your budget for each vendor should be, there are tons and tons of resources out there that can give you an average. However, keep in mind that the wedding industry gets increasingly more expensive as time elapses and it’s forever growing and changing so you cannot 100% depend on that solely. The best thing to do is gather a few different quotes from each type of vendor. By doing so, you can kind of gauge who is reasonable, unreasonable and so on which will be contingent on cost, what each vendor provides you with, etc. A way of figuring out how much you want to spend in each area is making a list of what is important to you and prioritizing from there. Sit down and write out a list of the most imperative aspects of your big day. What is most important to you? Is it flowers? Rentals? Food? Entertainment? Videography? Keep in mind that everyone is different. Some people have 0 interest in spending a large sum of money on paper goods (save the dates, invitations, programs, etc.) because they feel that guests will probably end up tossing them. With that said, they may want to have a much smaller budget for that part of their wedding and use a larger portion on something else – such as food and alcohol. For me personally, photography was #1 because that was something I knew that I would have to look back on forever. Food, alcohol and entertainment were also important to me because that is what everyone remembers – if the party was fun and the food was good. Trust when I say, Chiavari chairs were really important to me as well but let’s be honest, do you think anyone legitimately remembers (or cares) what my chairs looked like? Maybe a handful of people. What really matters is that they had a good time.

{ Photography was an important element for us - we did not want to skimp on something that would last a lifetime. }

{ Photography was an important element for us – we did not want to skimp on something that would last a lifetime. }

{ Photography was an important element for us - we did not want to skimp on something that would last a lifetime. }

{ We adored our photographers who shot both our engagement shoot (above) and our wedding (pictured here). }

6.  GET CREATIVE + DIY. Now given, I purchased many props and other goodies on Etsy as well as from various shops and antique stores, but there were some things I wanted for the big day but was not willing to spend the money on. This is where I took the DIY approach. I read articles and watched YouTube tutorials until I was cross-eyed. But with some time, supplies and a little help from bridesmaids, I was able to take on a few projects that ended up saving myself some cash money. One particular DIY project was an old, vintage door that needed to be turned into an escort card display that my bridesmaid, Stephanie and I took on. Do not be afraid – there is honestly nothing to fear. Just remember, not everything you create is going to be a winner. So what if you “messed up”? Brush it off and start over – as cliche’ as it sounds, practice makes perfect. Go into each project with a positive attitude and open mind – I promise you will not be disappointed!

{ A DIY project a bridesmaid and I tackled – purchased an old door for $20, we painted and distressed it and…TADA – it was the escort card display on the big day. }

7.  ASK FOR HELP. If there is anyone in this world who consistently thinks she can do it herself without any assistance, it is me! I’ve always been someone who puts her head down and works without asking for help. Let me be the one to tell you, that is not going to work when planning a wedding because you will end up biting off more than you can chew. It’s a lot for multiple people to take on, let alone, one person. Do not (I repeat, do not) be afraid to ask for help. I received a great amount of assistance from family (my mom in particular), several of my bridesmaids and believe it or not, my fiance’ at the time (now husband). Believe me, everyone wants to help in any way they can. Put your pride to the side and take your stubbornness out of the equation. Ask for the help – you’ll be surprised with the overwhelming support you’ll receive.

{ My parents helped me hold punch and tie each program with ribbon – we took the DIY approach versus purchasing and they came out just as lovely! }

8.  BE GRATEFUL + SHOW APPRECIATION. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of wedding planning. Make sure you remember to be grateful (and having a little humility always helps too). With that said, it’s also important to show appreciation to those who have assisted you along the way. Make sure your family and bridesmaids know how much you appreciate all of their hard work, effort and dedication. Whether you get them a small gift, buy them lunch after a DIY project or just write a nice thank you note – you are getting the message across.

{ I purchased these adorable plum pretty sugar robes for my bridesmaids and I as well as custom hangers with each of their names. I also got them various little goodies when I asked them to be in the wedding and during bachelorette weekend to show appreciation. }

{ I purchased these adorable Plum Pretty Sugar robes for my bridesmaids (and myself) for wedding day as well as some custom hangers with each of their names on them. I also gave the girls little goodies when I asked them to be in the wedding as well as bachelorette weekend to show my appreciation. }

Throughout all of this – remember the real reason you are having a wedding. It’s not for the show, the numerous events leading up to the big day or the gifts…it’s about you and your fiancé. I think some bride’s minds get a little clouded with all of the pressures during this time and the production of the wedding begins to consume their life all while completely missing the boat on what this day is truly about. Enjoy all that is involved in the planning process but do not let it overshadow what it is actually for. The reason we have a wedding is because we are uniting as one with our significant other and celebrating the sanctity of marriage. We love this person, can’t live without them, they make us better people and give us a reason to live. Let’s not forget that it is about the very genuine and pure love we are celebrating. Believe it or not, married life is even more beautiful than the wedding itself and once the party is over, life has just begun for you two – and it is one, grand adventure.

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{ “Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” – The Avett Brothers }

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Photography: The Schultzes

Trending for Spring 2014: Candy-Coated Goodness

Be sure to scroll to the bottom to check out the trend style guide (most items under $100)

Alright – so this cold, winter weather has made me feel tired, lethargic and well, for lack of a better term…blah. Here in the Carolinas, it’s been sunny and 60 degrees one day and the next, it’s in the 30’s and there’s a wintery mix on its way. I mean..come on, can we get a break?

The intermittent warm weather we’ve had in-between these frigid days has kind of been a tease. It’s made me pine for sunshine and sundresses. So in an effort to lift everyone’s spirits – I’m going to release one of my favorite Spring 2014 trends each week for the next five weeks. I look at it as something to get excited about all while planning your wardrobe essentials for this coming season! Everything I’m going to showcase on the blog is: a. adorable + b. affordable.

First and foremost – let’s take a look at the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year. Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year was a beautiful Emerald Green. I absolutely loved it mainly because of its richness and classic elegance. When I found out what the color was for this year, I have to admit, I was initially disappointed. However, after seeing some of the New York Fashion Week runway shows, it started to grow on me. They call it “Radiant Orchid” (Pantone Color # 18-3224). It can be a little harsh but when it’s lightened up just a bit, it truly has a delicate and incandescent glow.

{ Photo Credit: Pantone }

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{ Badgley Mischka RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com }

It is clear that Radiant Orchid is making a presence this Spring but my search continued for more soft “candy colored” hues. Lighter tones were definitely big in 2013 but to my surprise, they are going to make an even greater impact this year. Such an array of gorgeous colors straight off the runway.

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{ Zac Posen RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit NYmag.com }

{ Giorgio Armani Spring 2014 Collection Runway Show - Photo Credit: HarpersBazaar }

{ Giorgio Armani Spring 2014 Collection Runway Show – Photo Credit: HarpersBazaar.com }

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{ Chanel Spring 2014 Collection Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com }

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{ Burberry Prorsum Spring 2014 RTW Collection Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com }

I can’t get enough of these sweet pastels – they make my heart dance! So what is this week’s trend forecast for Spring 2014? Candy-Coated Goodness!

Love this trend too? Below are some fabulous subtle hue finds that are all reasonably priced (most under $100). Now we can all look like we’re fresh off the runway! Enjoy!

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1. Mint Textured Dress, $35 {from Dorothy Perkins}  2.  “Fiji” Nail Polish (my fav nail color ever), $8.50 {from Essie}  3. Siren Call Flats, $95 {from Seychelles Footwear}  4. ASOS Satchel Bag with Scalloped Edge, $40.74 {from ASOS}  5. Eyelet Getaway Dress, $52.99 {from Modcloth}  6. Scuba Skater Skirt – Lilac, $38 {from Nasty Gal}  7. Restaurant Reviewer Heel in Mint, $67.99 {from Modcloth}  8. Cup Corset Lace Bralet, $44 {from Topshop}  9. Fancy Free-Spirited Dress, $97.99 {from Modcloth}  10. Ray-Ban Pink Wayfarer Sunglasses, $240.75 {from ASOS}  11. Antique Jacquard Midi Skirt, $96 {from Topshop}