Thursday, January 8, 2015

Invite: Grand Rapids Wedding Affair

Hey friends! Now that the holidays are over, I’m excited to dive back into wedding planning! I’ll be attending a really great local bridal show called the Grand Rapids Wedding Affair. This year it will be held on Friday, January 16th at the Grand Rapids Public Museum from 5-9PM! This bridal show is designed to showcase the best that West Michigan has to offer in terms of professionalism, creativity and style. I’m really looking forward to spending a fun evening out with girlfriends, checking out local vendors, and getting inspiration for my upcoming wedding! They will also have a live jazz band, a cocktail bar, free rides on the carousel, and tons of yummy cake and food samples! 


You can buy your tickets online here for $8, or you can enter below to win four tickets! Bring a girlfriend, your mom, your sister, or even your fiancĂ©! If you plan on attending, let me know… I’d love to meet you and talk fun wedding details! To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below. Good luck! xo


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Looking back on 2014

Phew! A few days late, but I wanted to do my yearly recap of 2014. It's always one of my favorite things to do before the new year begins... to go back, reflect on all of the memories, goals, failures and to better plan and think about the year ahead. 2014 was such a good year. I had a great year at my job, spending time with friends and family, I was able to travel a ton, and at the end of the year, my favorite person ever proposed. I already know 2015 is going to top 2014 and that just makes me so excited and ready to dive in. I have major goals and plans for this year - running another 10K, getting back into a healthy routine, lots of plans for travel, blogging goals, and a wedding and honeymoon which will take the cake. I'm also looking forward to another year on SP with you guys! xo

January


Eric and I finally finished decorating our apartment after moving in July 2013. It feels so good to have a place that feels completely like home, in a neighborhood you absolutely adore, that is a mile away from work, friends, and everything good. We will absolutely stay here until we someday buy a house.


In January, my biggest goal was to lose weight and start training for my 10K. I was super successful every single day of the month! By the end of January, I had lost 10 pounds, learned how to cook some really yummy and healthy meals and was able to run 4 miles. BIG deals!

February


In February, my only goal was to work on my diet and fitness plan. I was absolutely obsessed. I even stopped blogging for the month to focus on it. Over the past couple of years, through hard times and emotions, I gained all of the weight I had lost four years ago back. And it sucked; it was awful. And I was determined to make a huge lifestyle change.

March


In March, I had successfully lost 15 pounds! I was training for my 10K like a madwoman, and started blogging again (finally)! It was so exciting as spring was finally starting to hit again.


We had a super fun night at a Griffins hockey game with two of our best friends - Kate and Mehre.


Eric and I went to a Demi Lovato concert, and it was actually super fun. Neon Lights, baby! ;)

April


In April, we started the month off with a super cold trip to Detroit with Kate and Mehre to see a Tigers baseball game.

I collaborated with Ruche on a huge feature "7 Items, 7 Outfits" and it was so much fun. I was so impressed with how it turned out, and was so proud to be featured on their website and blog! I was also named the April Ruchette of the Month.



We went to Nashville, Tennessee at the end of the month with two of our best friends - Steve and Laura. It was one of my favorite weekends of the entire year. I had just hit 20 pounds loss, and I was feeling awesome about my style, health and life again. It was just a celebratory weekend, lots of drinks, fun, and laughter. I went to the Grand Ole Opry for the first time too!



May


At the beginning of May, I had a photo session with my friend Tifani of Tifani Lyn Photography. Love that girl! She always does incredible work.


I ran my first 10K ever at the River Bank Run in downtown Grand Rapids! I was so happy. My goal was to finish in 65 minutes and I trained all winter long to make that goal... and I finished in exactly 65 minutes! I remember getting back into downtown at the tail end of the trip, and seeing a glimpse of Eric cheering me on. It gave me such a boost to sprint to the end.


On the very same day as my 10K, we headed to Holland, Michigan for one of my favorite events of the entire year - Tulip Time! We went to Windmill Island to check out the tulips, lay in the grass, and explore. I absolutely love the tulips blooming in Holland.


We headed to Chicago to do a little collaboration with Topshop and Chictopia! It was fun to pick out an outfit from them, explore the city, eat pizza and cupcakes, and enjoy the Windy City for a day.


Lots and lots of Donkey dates on their outdoor patio. Perfect place for warm weather, and thankfully, it's only a couple of blocks away from our apartment. ;)


We threw a Memorial Day BBQ in our backyard! We grilled up a bunch of items, ate pasta and potato salad, and drank out of red cups!


I went to a 1960's UICA party with my good friend, Angi. It was fun to get all dressed up! It was my first time ever trying my hair like this too. I was so happy it turned out!

June

June was a super busy month! We started out celebrating Mehre's birthday with him and Kate at Donkey. Love them both.


We headed over to the east side of the state to explore Detroit for a day! We saw two lighthouses over there, explored an abandoned theater and ate at American Coney Island.



We got bicycles! I have so much fun riding them around town, even though it's insanely hard work on those Grand Rapids hills. On this day, we rode our bikes down to see a movie in the park.



I attended and spoke at the very first Bloom conference in Rockford, Michigan at Blu Hydrangea Barn. Such a great day of learning and networking locally!



For Father's Day, Eric's band (Steve Rivers Band) played a show at Docker's in Muskegon, which is right on the water. We ate fish and chips, drank too many margaritas, and I got to spend time with both my dad and Eric's family too! (My dad is above, Eric's niece, Lexi, is below!)



I surprised myself by having a total blast at my 10-year high school reunion. To be honest, I was a little nervous I was going to hate it (I didn't love high school), but I had so much fun. I caught up with my three best girlfriends, got to see so many old friends, and realized that high school wasn't so bad after all and I actually missed a lot of the people I lost touch with. It was such a good night.



We started our monthly tradition of Wine Club! It is now one of my favorite nights of every month. The first one was held at Sharisa's apartment, and the theme was Chardonnay!



We went to Eric's parent's house for a going away party for Hena (his brother and sister-in-law's good friend who moved) who is technically part of the family. ;) We went out for a traditional boat ride... and posed for a pretty amazing photo. I absolutely love Eric's family.

July


We started out July with a 15-mile bike ride to Rockford, Michigan. It was absolutely intense... and I thought I wouldn't make it back. But I did!


We celebrated 4th of July in Muskegon. Eric's band played a show at the Deck, right on the beach, and afterwards we headed downtown to enjoy the fireworks. I love the 4th - always.


We took a day trip up to Traverse City to see Old Mission Point lighthouse and to check out Cherry Festival!


When we got back from Traverse City, I realized that my beloved mint green scooter was stolen from our back yard. It honestly shook me up like crazy. I remember the police called at 12:30AM and told me they found my scooter and asked if we could come pick it up. It was terrifying going out in the middle of the night, and as soon as I saw it, I started bawling. It was completely busted up, spray-painted black, the basket was ripped off, and I felt like a piece of my heart just ripped out of my chest. I know that's so dumb, but this scooter meant so much to me. I bought it as a college graduation gift to myself, and it was just the final piece of the life I had in Grand Haven. And it was destroyed. I bawled all the way home, and when I got home for hours. Along with other things that had gone wrong at the beginning of this summer (things you can't always talk about on the blog), I just felt so depressed. It was a super hard month (and of course I gained back weight that I worked so hard to lose). Low point of the year, for sure.


Thankfully, the weekend after that, I headed off on a free vacation with my best friend, Laura, to Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, thanks to their tourism campaign. We were flown into Florida, got a rental car and headed to the most amazing resort, Pink Shell. Our hotel room was insane, the ocean was so amazing and warm, and we spent three days eating, drinking, swimming, exploring and having fun. It was so needed that month to just get away.


At the end of the month, I headed with my two friends, Kate and Kristin, to host an event at Madewell in Ann Arbor! I was able to meet a few readers, see a few old friends, and do a little shopping! We explored downtown Ann Arbor for a little bit afterwards too.

August


August was the month of travel for us. I usually take my annual lighthouse exploring trip this month, so we headed up to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. There were tons of lighthouses up there that I hadn't seen yet. We checked off five from my list!


We spent a lot of time checking out the waterfalls and exploring Pictured Rocks. We took a boat tour out to see the shoreline of them too! I just absolutely love it up in the upper peninsula. I always say that I'm going to retire someday up there. Or at least somehow live there for a year. Exploring and going on adventures is truly where my heart is. I could go every weekend and be happy.


Toward the end of August, we went to South Manitou Island with a group of our best friends. It was my favorite weekend of the entire year. We hopped on a boat from Leland, and headed to our campsite for the weekend. It was relaxing, everyone unplugged for the most part, we grilled around the campfire, and just had fun. My favorite memories were on Friday night, we all walked down to the beach and turned off our flashlights (it was pitch black) and the stars were just amazing. And on Saturday we took the most intense hike of my life to see the sunken shipwreck, hike the dunes, run down, swim in Lake Michigan and hike the entire beach back to our campsite. And on Saturday night, I took a walk by myself down to the dock to just breathe. I loved that weekend.


September


September started with a weekend outing to Baroda, Michigan to celebrate Laura's bachelorette party! We had a full day of wine tasting, a home-cooked dinner at the cottage we were staying at, and a night out at a local bar. Super fun.



My company has an annual retreat where we spend the day connecting. The morning is usually spent in a room where we have discussions about a bunch of different topics, and the afternoon is for fun! We had a scavenger hunt and it was so much fun. We drove like crazy around town to get photos of and with the wackiest things. I love where I work.



We celebrated Eric's 26th birthday!



My best friend, Laura, got married to the love of her life, Steve! Eric and I were both in the wedding and it was such a great day.



The last weekend of the month, Eric and I headed up to Traverse City to spend the weekend at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. We were spoiled. We saw the Grand Traverse Lighthouse (totally thought Eric would propose here ;)) and ate dinner at lots of fun, local places. We were treated to full body massages at the spa at the resort, a super fancy and amazing meal at Aerie and ended the trip by wine tasting on the leelanau peninsula and an ice-cream trip to Moomer's!

October



To start October, I hosted my second event with Wolverine 1000 Mile! I absolutely adore the gals I get to work with on this event, and this year I co-hosted with local influencer, Ryan Slusarzyk! It was fun to meet new people and network!



I had my very first work trip to Phoenix, Arizona with my boss, Mary, to work for a new client! I had never been to Arizona before. Even though it was a super quick trip mostly working in a hotel conference room, we were able to eat at a couple of local places and see a little bit of the scenery!



My favorite weekend of the month was when Eric and I headed up north to the Tunnel of Trees! We stayed at the cutest inn at the entrance of the tunnel and spent the weekend exploring, driving, eating at local places, and enjoying the autumn foliage.



We got to see two of the "great northwest" lighthouses - Charlevoix South Pier Light and Petoskey Pierhead!



And while we were up north, Eric proposed at the Petoskey Pierhead Lighthouse. It was the best moment of the year. We had such a fun week when we got back home - telling friends and family. I'm so excited for our wedding in 2015. :)



In 2014, we also made four really good new friends. Drew and Alyssa (our neighbors) who are absolutely amazing. Drew showed up to our apartment with a bottle of champagne and sparklers to celebrate our engagement - haha! It was so sweet and straight out of a movie. We also made two other wonderful friends - Aaron and Alyssa. We shot their wedding photos this year. So thankful for new (and old!) friendships in 2014.



We had so much fun celebrating Halloween at BOTTOM40 this year with friends. I got a little too crazy on this night, and destroyed Kate's gnome hat. Hahaha.

November


November was a pretty quiet month. I graduated from Bride School Workshop, which was a super fun day!


Eric and I headed to Muskegon to celebrate my Mom's birthday. We went out to dinner and had drinks with the family. Love her too much.


And it was the snowiest November I could EVER remember! It was nuts!

December


We started December by picking out our Christmas tree at the farm! It's a yearly tradition.


We worked on a really fun holiday collaboration with Aeropostale! Eric was featured several times on their Instagram aimed toward men, and I was on their official Instagram a few times!


My favorite memory of this month (and one of my favorites of the year) was when Eric and I went to Frankenmuth, Michigan. We explored Bronner's (the world's largest Christmas store), and headed downtown to check out the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus and to wait in the largest line ever at Bavarian Inn. And it was so much fun, and so worth it. We totally went nuts with their famous fried chicken dinner. That day has my heart. 


I lost November's Wine Club, so I was able to host the holiday Wine Club at my apartment! It was so fun. I had a lot of fun planning it and spending time with girlfriends.


And to end the year, we took a trip to Chicago with our two good friends, Josh and Jess, to see American Football at The Bottom Lounge and to head to a friend's house for a NYE party! It was freezing, but such a good trip! Perfect way to ring in the new year.


I'm really excited for 2015. I always love the surprises a year brings... but I know this year will be fun and productive. My goals are again to lose more of my dumb gained weight, to run another 10K, to travel again to Nashville, to be a camp counselor at the final Texas Style Council, to take an entire week off during the 4th of July to just relax and have a staycation, to take a lighthouse trip somewhere, a day trip to St. Joseph, to celebrate my 29th birthday (and last year in my twenties! eep!), to be a part of my friend Sharisa's wedding, and to be a part of my own wedding with Eric, to go on a honeymoon, and to spend another day in Frankenmuth next December, along with epic NYE plans. I'm looking forward to all of it! If you're interested, you can also see my recaps on 2009, 2010 (1, 2, 3, 4) , 20112012 and 2013! Have a great year, everyone! xo