thank you note magic

Thank you notes are kind of magical to me. Mainly for two reasons:

1. Thank you notes force you to be thankful. Now you may think force is a harsh word, but I constantly forget to be thankful and need to be forced sometimes! When I forget to be thankful, before I know it, I'm down a rabbit trail of unmet expectations and selfishness. Practicing thankfullness gives me an opportunity to pause and reasses my (often totally wack) perspective. 

2. I LOVE printed pieces. Stationary, place cards, thank you notes - there will always be something special about tangible pieces printed beautifully! Crafting our wedding invitations with my friend/designer LeighAnn was one of my favorite parts of my entire wedding planning experience. Now-a-days, you can find fabulous options all over the place. Sugar Paper LA houses some of my favorite thank you note options! I'm delighted to have randomly stumbled upon the Sugar Paper LA gals on instagram a few months ago. I now covet everything (including the notes above) those girls produce thankyouverymuch! 

All this to say, after last weeks birthday celebration (I turned 28!), I plan to camp out tonight and get to writing those thank you notes!

how to throw a mani/pedi party

I don't know about you, but this spring and summer have been filled with weddings!  One of my absolute favorite pre wedding events that I've both attended, thrown and had thrown for me is a Mani/Pedi Party. It's an easy way to 'gift' the bride and her bridesmaids with a little sprucing up right before the wedding.

I wanted to do a little something for Brooklyn Boy's sister, who's wedding we were just in Tulsa for, and decided the 'Nail Party' was just the thing. This way, I didn't have to worry about hosting at someone's house or expensive venue, the 'entertainment' was getting our nails done (who doesn't love that!) and the salon we used was totally open to drinks and snacks. Done. 

Here are my tips and learnings for pulling off your own Mani Pedi Party!

1. Pick a place - Duh. Also, ask the manager about a group discount for all the party goers! 

2. Send out invites - I went down a very simple route for these invitations - I designed something online, screengrabed it and embedded it into an email to all the girls. As much as I LOVE printed invites, this was not the time for involved invitations and costly paper. It's important to know when ease + peace of mind should prevail! 

3. Decor - I roamed the aisles Target when I was in Dallas and got SO much cute Spritz Party stuff - and on sale! Couldn't believe it. Total - I spent about $20 at Target on wrapping paper (to cover the table), plates, napkins, cups, and cut paper streamers.

Look at some of these cute options!  

I just grabbed whatever was cute and colorful. No need for a formal theme. 

4. Party Favors - I'm a copy cat. Hey, there's no reason to reinvent the wheel! My sisters Nail Party was the last I had attended and we were gifted brightly colored flip flops with big bows on them. Simple, cute and affordable, especially if you catch Old Navy on $1 Flip flop day. Ours were 2 for $5 flip flops at Old Navy

 

Tied a big ole' bow and stacked them in a large basket, making them easy to transport too! 

 5. Sparklers & Snacks - What's more appropriate for an all girls shin dig then Mimosas and donut hole kabobs! I didn't want to deal with cutlery, so all of our snacks were finger friendly. 

This was a perfect little opportunity to try out Trader Joe's champagne and sparkling lemonade (non-alcoholic). Was totally pleased with the lovely bottles and the great taste!  And did I mention how cheap TJ's was?? 

Figured we should have something healthy, so I brought lots of fruit to munch on as well.

There you have it - an easy and fairly effortless party, thanks to Trader Joe's, Target and Old Navy!  

one year later - part 2

And onto the ceremony! 

This is my mom about to walk down the aisle. She found some fabric she liked and had a girl on Etsy MAKE that skirt for her - pockets and all! Talk about clever!

Here's Tom Sellek or John Stossle my dad! We were giddy all the way down the aisle.

I do. I do. Kiss. Bam. Married!

It's about 90 seconds after these pictures (below) were taken when Brooklyn Boy finally told me where we were going on our honeymoon! Dominican Republic! 

Naturally we broke out into an impromptu dance party immediately following the ceremony.

Now our getaway car. My dad is long time friends with Don, who has a small collection of fabulous cars and gigantic longhorns :) It was a done deal the second Brooklyn Boy heard Rolls Royce and longhorns in the same sentence. So off we went in true Texas style. 

We had our reception at Patrizio's, a long time family favorite restaurant of ours! It was an unconventional option that I'd always had in the back of my mind. We didn't seriously consider it, though, until we decided to swap wedding dates and venues early in the game. Thankfully, Patrizio's was interested and available in hosting our reception which was HUGE, considering they'd never housed a wedding reception! 

For our wedding, I wanted the ceremony to feel reverent and the reception to be a PARTY! We decided to nix some of the traditional wedding things (garter/bouquet toss, cutting the cake, speeches) to keep the momentum of the night moving. 

All of our flower details were done by Junior at Garden Gate, who I just loved. 

We had a variety of small and medium sized cakes provided by Chocolate Angel, a bakery in Plano.  Lots of different flavors, all delicious! 

Walking into our reception was certainly surreal! 

What had upbeat first dances and father/daughter + mother/son dances. 

And we danced the night away!! Some of our dear friends from Brooklyn took care of music for us and legitimately played the night away! 

There was a beautiful patio strung with very Father of the Bride lights. It was a great spot for cooling off or traking a break from the crazy dance party happening inside.

I think we were singing Jay Z's New York at this point . . .  The music that night was out of this world. Brooklyn Boy and I just danced and danced and danced!!

Sweet friends came from all over the place! 

I'm getting so tickled just looking at these pictures.

And before we knew it, it was time to leave!

I think Brooklyn Boy and I would agree - we felt present, thankful and overwhelmed with our precious family and friends that night. They made that whole experience for us! 

While nothing is ever perfect, there isn't one thing I'd change about that whole weekend. To us, it was just the best. 

Thanks for reading the recap! Sorry it was a year late :_

One Year Later - Part 1

Brooklyn Boy and I celebrated our one year anniversary yesterday! Can't believe it's already been a year. What in the world! I never did a proper recap of the wedding, whoops, so why not do it a year later!  Back to May 12, 2012 everyone . . . 

Saturday morning, all the girls in the wedding headed over to my parents house for coffee and pigs-in-a-blanket (a flora family tradition). It was casual and wonderful :)

We lounged around and apparently looked at something VERY interesting on someone's ipad! All the girls wore their bridesmaid / house-party gift - an oversized monogram button down. 

Here's the whole adorable group. Most of us know each other from Auburn, but there are a few sisters and New York gals in there too. Between the group, we cover New York, Birmingham, Nashville, Atlanta, Tulsa, St. Petersburg, Dallas and Autaugaville. 

The girls also picked up their snazzy Target Exhilaration shoes to wear with their bridesmaid dresses :) And we cleaned our wedding rings/bands. Cause thats what you do before you get married. 

Invites by the one and only LeighAnn Tufts. 

One of my grandmothers has always been known to my sister and I as the "Purse Granny." Before Christmas, each year, she would take us to pick out a new handbag. She was building our handbag collection that we'd have forever. And she was right, I still have all the classic little bags that she gifted to me over the years. Well, she felt the same way about my wedding shoes. She got these for me (and got my sisters weddings shoes too!) I just love knowing they are from her. 

Back to the house! Once all the girls had grazed as much as we possibly could, we started getting ready. 

Then we headed over to the church! I grew up in Plano, Texas, but hadn't lived there for almost 10 years (4 years at Auburn and 5 years in New York). So you can imagine how surreal and exciting it was to get married in the church I grew up in. 

Sister and I before I put on my dress. 

We took full advantage of the Bridal suite at church and loaded everyone in! Mom and sister helped me into my dress. 

 I love this picture of Brooklyn Boy and his sister! 

It was just the most bizare and wonderfully overwhelming feeling for all of my worlds plus all of Brooklyn Boy's worlds to converge in the hometown that I grew up in! 

We decided to have a first look before the ceremony. Honestly, I felt like we got TWO big reveal moments - the first look and the walk down the aisle. I gave him monogramed cuff links and he gave me a pair of Tiffany pearl studs. Bling bling. 

Check out that pheasant feather. Brooklyn Boy looked so handsome in his Ralph Lauren!

Oh man, I love these next two pictures. Meet Luke, Elijah and Loretta - our ring bearers and flower girl. We are good friends with both sets of parents from our Church community in Brooklyn. It meant the world to us that they were in the wedding! Lorettas dress was from Zara Kids and those bowties were from a vendor on Etsy! 

And here come the bridesmaids! The girls wore a variety of dresses from Donna Morgan's line at Nordstrom. Geez, bridesmaid dresses and shoes can totally get the best of you if you aren't careful. I don't know why, but it's weirdly stressful! So to make things a little easier, we did affordable dresses off the rack and shoes (like I mentioned) from Target!

Each girl held a bouquet of different flowers. Huge thank you to Junior at Garden Gate in Dallas! 

Wouldn't be a wedding without a picture of 13 Auburn Friends (minus Melanie!).

And the boys! They looked SO sharp. Each wore their own black suit + a monogramed RL button down and bow tie. 

Who doesn't love a simple understated monogram!

These brothers, high school, college and current friends represent Brooklyn, Florida, Charlottesville, Nashville and Dallas!

 And that's all for part one!!! GIANT thank you to my dear friend Jessica Rawlings who captured everything just perfectly :)

Ceremony and Reception coming tomorrow!! 

mom's advice

 

When feeling overwhelemed, mom says to -

Pray, drink lots of water, chip away one thing at a time and don't eat any sugar. 

Pretty great advice mom.

 

Picture taken right before walking down the aisle at my wedding. Gah, isn't she gorgeous.

And how crafty is she. She found that fabric and had an etsy girl make that skirt for her :)