cookie exchange 2014

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Torri and I hosted our third annual cookie exchange in early December, and it was a success! Each year we learn a little more about what it takes to host a cookie exchange and make things work well. We grew our number of participants significantly this year, and we loved having our friends join us to kick off the Christmas season! 

A few of our friends stepped in to help quite a bit as we were overwhelmed with cookies this year--so many to label and cut up for samples. We definitely met our goal to grow our cookie exchange! 

Mom's friend Cathy won best tasting cookie, with her Swedish almond cookies (below), and my friend Kristin won prettiest cookie, with her spritz cookies. I don't even have a picture of hers! We always get wrapped up with hosting and forget to take pictures. 

I'm so thankful for our good friends here, and I enjoyed getting to see so many of them in one place. I feel so loved by my friends who take time from their busy December to bake cookies and come to our party. Even though I will be married and moved away by next Christmas, and Torri will have a baby, we are going to do our best to keep this tradition alive! 

LuLaRoe Julia dress

Friday, January 2, 2015

I learned about LuLaRoe a few months ago from my friend Julie, who sells the brand. 

LuLaRoe clothing is "simply comfortable," modest, unique, and affordable. 

I've worn my Julia dress to work and to church. The leggings are great for barre class, and I've enjoyed wearing my Irma tunic all kinds of ways; it's professional enough for work and comfortable enough for barre or lounging around the house. 

I'm hosting a LuLaRoe clothing party on January 8 and would love for any of my local friends to come over and shop! 

Loren Hope Palmer necklace in crystal // HMD sweater from Granny // LuLaRoe Julia dress // Loren Hope Carson bracelet // J. Crew tights // Kenneth Cole Reaction pumps

Christmas memory

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A few weeks ago, I heard from the folks at Patience Brewster, who asked me to share a holiday memory here on my blog. Check out their website for Christmas ornaments, framed art, stationery, linens, and more.

The photo I chose is one of my brother, me, and my dad while waiting to watch the Raleigh Christmas parade. We would get a fast food breakfast, a rare treat (you can see the Hardee's coffee cup in dad's hand), then head downtown for the Christmas parade. I remember it always being sooo cold while we sat and watched the parade. When we were tiny, our parents would tow us in a wagon, and we wrapped up with blankets. 

What is one of your favorite Christmas traditions or memories? 

friendsgiving on the farm

Friday, December 12, 2014

I was so excited to be included in a special friends and family Thanksgiving celebration, invited by my friend Rebecca. She invited us to her boyfriend's family's farm the Sunday after Thanksgiving for a combination oyster and clam roast and full Thanksgiving spread. 

Among other talents, Rebecca is a chef on a yacht several months of the year, so she mixed up some fancy drinks for us, of course. 

Her dad brought oysters and clams from nearby their home at the coast, and he tended the roast. 

I loved checking out the farmhouse -- the paintings, the vintage lace tablecloths, the crystal, and the collection of turkeys. 

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I'd never shucked an oyster, and come to think of it, I still haven't. 

I had to at least sit in the driver's seat of Rebecca's "princess ride," a 1992 Range Rover. 

Matt, Rebecca's boyfriend, is a Land Rover enthusiast and collector. 

Zack and I might be a little envious of their collection . . . 

We enjoyed eating oysters and turkey, and more than that, meeting and chatting with all of the people. When I told my parents about where we were going, they found a connection to Matt's family. Our big city is also a small town. 

love is in the air

Monday, December 8, 2014

Last Friday afternoon, I got off work and headed to the airport to meet Zack. We were planning to fly to the beach to spend the weekend with our friends, but a couple of hours before I left work, Zack's sister texted to ask if we could fly south to take her some things she had left in his truck, on our way. 

Little did I know, Zack was painting this giant sign while I was at work, and his sister was in on the surprise. 

Zack had scoped out his friend's field from the air earlier in the week, and he spent Friday picking out paint and supplies and painting the sign. 

We took off and headed to look at my workplace, which is close to the airport. We had never done this before, but I didn't think anything of it. Then, Zack turned and started descending rather than climbing and heading toward his sister. I was a little confused until I saw the sign. 

I asked, "is that for me?" and Zack pulled out the ring and proposed. I said "yes," of course (!!!), and we circled the field taking pictures of the sign and watching his mom, dad, and friends wave to us. 

On the way back to the airport, he let me know that my mom was going to meet us at the airport along with our family and friends who had been waiting, guarding the sign, in the field. 

Since it's impossible to get down on one knee while flying our plane, Zack got down on one knee once we'd landed and taxied. 

Torri was "hiding" and taking photos of us. 

We took a few photos then spent the evening celebrating with our families. We are so happy to be engaged! 

Thanksgiving 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Naturally, Thanksgiving is a time to think about what we are thankful for. The first place my mind goes is to my family and friends. Relationships matter, and I have so many good ones. 

This year I'm particularly thankful for the new men in my life -- both two legged and four legged. I wanted a dog who is an excellent companion, who would be loyal to me and follow me everywhere, and I got that in Dan. He spends his whole life just trying to be a good dog for me. 

I wasn't even looking for a man this year; in fact, I was trying my best not to catch a man, but if I had to design the perfect match for me, I couldn't have dreamed up one any better than Zack. 

All of these good gifts (James 1:17) are evidence of God's grace on me. I don't deserve any good thing, but He gives more and more. I hope that in plenty or in want, I will continue to be content (Philippians 4:11-13) because I belong to the Lord. 

My salvation is the greatest gift that I am most thankful for. I fail daily, but Jesus has already lived the perfect life that I cannot attain. He has already forgiven every sin of mine, and he gives abundant life (John 10:10), with the promise of glory. When people disappoint me, when my body fails, when someone is upset with me, when I'm broken up, all is not lost. He is still good. 

Molly Beads earrings, gift from Z // J. Crew shirt // HMD sweater from Granny // Barbour utility wax jacket // GiGi New York all in one bag // Hunter wellies

Veterans Date

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's always fun to have off work for a holiday, but this one was extra special. Around the time that Zack and I started dating, I was looking ahead at my work calendar and realized that this Veterans Day off may be different. I'd certainly never dated a veteran before, and none of my immediate family are veterans. So I asked him what he'd like to do on Veterans Day--with visions of parades, wreath laying ceremonies, and the like in my mind. He said he wanted to eat free food. Who knew there were so many free offers for veterans?! He also came around and decided to give more input.

We started with breakfast and cards. 

Zack got a free haircut at Sport Clips. 

Zack had been talking about us going to visit his Aunt Ann and Uncle Brad for a while, so their house was our next stop. He got a free Starbucks coffee on the way. Uncle Brad showed me his Marine Corps awards and decorations; there were many. 

We finally made it to the airport and started preflighting about the time my dad showed up. Zack helped him get his airplane ready, then we headed out. 

We took Zack's plane to visit his sister and niece. 

We flew a little too close to the towers for my liking. The airport had a sweet fifteen passenger van for us to drive to Zack's sister's house. 

Somehow, we ended up at the big airport, where Zack's parents picked us up to head to Grandma's birthday dinner. 

Zack and his brother had one more free meal (until Golden Corral the next week) to finish out Veterans Day. 

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