A few December 2016 Highlights

Friendsmas | Both my friend Jamie and I traveled for Thanksgiving, removing the possibility of left overs and entertaining at home, so we decided to host a Friendsmas together! We menu planned and joined forces for a tasty meal. It was so fun to work together for holiday merriment. My responsibilities included pre-dinner cocktails, the turkey, rolls, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a salad. I made a turkey breast in the crock pot and until we have bigger crowds, J and I will not be going back to roasting turkeys. It was SO SO SO good. I used a recipe from Skinnytaste and because Jamie and her fiance brought gravy (among other amazing tasty items) I used the liquid/vegetables left in the crock pot as a soup base that J and I could not get enough of. Following dinner we went and looked at Christmas lights before calling it a night.
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Girl’s Earring Exchange | I hosted some dear friends from Athens (who almost all now live in Atlanta) for an afternoon of snacks and an earring exchange. I tried my hand at a fancy cheese plate (#roomtogrow) and had cookies, mimosas, and hot cider.
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Cake Contest | An office at work hosts a huge holiday party and they are always kind enough to invite our little office. One element of their party is that there is a dessert competition. I HATE cake decorating but I got a bee in my bonnet about entering the contest with a decorated cake. I did a little pinterest sleuthing and landed on a beauty from Country Living. It took about 2 days of prep work and if you happen to read through the recipe you’ll see at end SEVEN sticks of butter went into this cake between the frosting and cake itself. The frosting was a pain–I had to add a ton of water to make it spreadable, but we got there. It was also my first go round on sprinkling the sides of the cake…again, #roomtogrow.
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However, the cake got made, the trees got created, and I got the cake into work (with the hubby helping me carry it into work). The cake won first place in presentation and my prize was 2 tickets to brunch at The 4 Seasons!
Wreaths, wreaths, and more wreaths | Last year at work I was majorly disappointed with the wreaths that we rented from a company. After they were packed up and went away I told my supervisor that I would like to make them myself for our lobby. The team was on board with that and when November rolled around I rolled into Michael’s for some quality time with picks, ribbon, and wreath bases. I spent about an entire day watching YouTube videos on how to make bows and ended with 3 wreaths, including this one:
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A coworker saw my handiwork and asked if I would be willing to craft a few wreaths for her and her family. Enter more time at Michael’s, a couple of evenings with craft wire, more time on YouTube and ended with these:
Finally, hubby asked, “where is a wreath for us?” leading to this:

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I am hoping hat none of those balls start popping off. I sorely underestimated how heavy the wreath would be and it makes me a little nervous, but hey, we have our own wreath now! And I feel confident to make any wreath for our front door.

Weekending | A wedding weekend for Brooke and Zach!

My dear friend and former roomie entered marital bliss on June 11! She had her bachelorette night on June 9, the Thursday before her wedding. I drove to Athens and we first painted pottery (one of her favorites) before dinner at Marker’s 7 (another of her favorites). I painted a mug with a “P” for the near-newlywed and at dinner enjoyed every single one of my raw oysters (sometimes sharing is not caring).

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Friday brought the rehearsal! After a late departure from Atlanta (complete with tears and frustration), J worked miracles and managed to get us to Athens only 7 minutes late to the rehearsal. Brooke got married at the same church J and I got married in and it was sweet to be back there (the first time since getting hitched!). J snapped pics while we ran through the ceremony. We had the same wedding planner, and she’s brilliant! She always runs through the rehearsals starting with the recessional, and it flows so well—we get lined up and in place to begin with, and the show gets going. The rehearsal dinner was in the fellowship hall, and included a sweet slideshow of the newlyweds to be. I loved getting to catch up with dear friends who I do not get to see frequently!

Following the rehearsal J and I went to check into our hotel with a quick stop at an Athens bottle shop (note: beer is cheaper in Athens). We got ourselves checked in, and then met Brooke and her other bridesmaids at my favorite Athens bar—Highwire. J and I enjoyed a good laugh at my delicious cocktail price–$5. $5! Following hanging out at Highwire for a while we walked around trying to choose a place before landing on Fuzzy’s (me mostly remembering my amazing champagne strawberry margarita I enjoyed at some point during the week of my wedding; J dreaming of chips and salsa). I crashed hard while at Fuzzy’s so we called it a night (with no margarita, kthanks), ensured Brooke (who was in no way tipsy and was totally calm and collected) got home okay, and went to sleep ourselves to get ready for WEDDING DAY.

In the weeks prior to Brooke’s wedding I reached out to fellow bridesmaids and her family members and close friends asking them to prepare an encouraging and loving note for her. After collecting the notes on Friday, Saturday morning I pasted them all into a journal to give to her at her bridesmaid breakfast. I choose a journal because I received a great piece of wedding advice from my dear friend Katie—following her wedding she and her husband journaled their wedding day and honeymoon memories so they would not forget them. J and I did that as well and we love it! I was hoping Brooke and her groom would be able to do the same in her new journal.

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The bridesmaid breakfast was at Momma’s Boy…YES!!!! We had a fun breakfast and presented the book to Brookie. After breakfast we went back to the hotel to get our dresses and make-up and headed to the church to get ready! Okay…confession time. When my bridesmaid dress arrived 4 weeks earlier (it came in while I was eating my way through NYC) it did. not. fit. Seriously. J got me into it, snapped in the back panel, zipped it, and I gingerly walked into the bathroom to look in the mirror. I took a deep breath and SNAP. There went the back panel. Yikes. Commence operation no-bread-no pasta-no-sugar-no-alcohol till Brooke’s wedding weekend. And guess what!? It worked! Other than two small cheats (a glass of wine one night, and pizza and beer at the lake) I was diligent and the dress zipped and snapped on that day and I was able to (mostly) breathe. Anyways, getting ready at the church was fun—I did lots of gal’s makeup and snapped pics for Brooke of her getting her hair and make-up done. We got into our dresses, snapped some pics, prayed for Brooke, and then it was time for the ceremony! The ceremony was lovely and after a few more pics, we headed off to the reception.

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S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

The reception was at a local barn-venue and BBQ was served. There was some dancing and J was appointed to be in charge of decorating the getaway car. They departed, we cleaned, and then headed off to go celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary of some amazing friends. I was able to see a lot of my Athens Link crowd at this party and it was so good to catch up. After the party J and I decided to go big since we had a downtown hotel and went to the rooftop bar for a couple beers before calling it a night. After leaving I was seized with a desire for a waffle (remember no carbs?) at midnight (hashtag: shame). Shortly thereafter we learned that our bodies (really) hate grease. Waffle House was unkind to both of us and resulted in us dragging ourselves out of bed pretty late on Sunday morning. We walked over to Big City Bread before walking around campus for a few hours. It was fun to show Joe where I was a RA at and where my classes were and we loved looking in the gardens (and checking out the turtles). After a couple shopping stops we were homeward bound for Atlanta and overjoyed for our friend’s new marriage!

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Ski Trip 1.0 Review

One fateful day a few months ago the hubs was talking to some friends about upcoming travel plans and they mentioned how they were going on a family ski trip out west, even though they never skied before. J’s ears perked up and said, well, Diana wants to learn to ski (she does? She does.) and y’all should probably get on skis before going west…let’s take a trip to go learn! Because I rarely say no to adventure I said yes to this and found my only clothing purchases in January being ski gear. To say that J was enthused would be a MAJOR understatement. He was off his rocker excited. Packed days in advance. Ready to go-go-go.

The couple we travelled with drove so J and I found ourselves backseat passengers for the duration of the trip. As we were loading our gear in the parking lot I realized I had forgotten my jacket, so J took care of darting up the stairs to grab it before departure (because apparently a jacket is necessary when hitting the slopes). The drive up was uneventful and we arrived late to the frozen mountain.

We were in a great rental right on the mountain, which had great views. Do you think that when people get either a mountain property they think to themselves, “yes! I can decorate with bear EVERYTHING now?” because every mountain property I’ve ever been in has been a little heavy on the kitschy mountain décor (the same though applies to beach properties and decorating with seashells). The kitchen was well stocked and we brought the bulk of food up with us (more on what we stopped for later) and did not eat out once (not including fast food in route there and back).

My dearest Mr. is not a morning person, but Friday morning he was rushing out the door to get to the slopes. We got to the ski resort, grabbed our pass and skis, and J took off for the slopes while the rest of us wen to ski school. I knew that J was comfortable on skis, but he’s a legitimate near expert on skis. He was zipping down black diamonds while I was eating snow on the ski yard. Anyways, back to ski school. Our ski instructor left a little desired when it came to communication, but fortunately J is an amazing teacher and was able to right that instructors wrongs.

I spent hours on the bunny slope killing my legs in those d&% ski boots till I decided it was near the end of the day and I was ready for a green. Guess what? I wasn’t. I still didn’t have turning down (no pun intended). I didn’t understand yet that you do not get hairpin stops in skis. Guess who lost her mind on the green slope? THIS GIRL. There were tears. There was cussing. It was bad y’all. But I got down, J still wanted to be married to me, and I was done. Fortunately our compadres were done as well so we chilled in the loge while J zipped down the slopes for another hour or so. It was decided in the slopes that the bottle of wine we brought for each night was not sufficient so additional librations were stopped for at the Food Lion on the way home.

That evening I cooked dinner (beef stroganoff) and we watched Jurassic World before an early bedtime. The next morning I woke up with not just bruises but WELTS wherever the boot had a buckle on my leg. We didn’t think that I’d be able to handle the pain of the boots on my legs another day so J and the husband of the other couple took off to go snowboard while the wife of the other couple and I spent the morning reading, napping, talking, and I took a walk. When the guys got home they got cleaned up and then we played games and they (the other couple) made supper.

The next morning we were awake bright and early to get home for a peaceful Sunday.

So I don’t forget…when skiing:

  • For the love, never, ever, EVER lean back. Stand straight or lean forward. It feels weird, but go with it—it will slow you down. Keep your knees bent too when leaning. But DO NOT LEAN BACK.
  • When you go to make the wedge/pizza/V/whatever you choose to call it…push your legs open and then point your ski tips. Your knees should be bent at this point too.
  • You don’t get hairpin stops on skis. Be okay with not being in charge.
  • Apparently when you turn, wedge, lean, turn your skis…I’ll keep working on that one.
  • When falling throw yourself to the side. Don’t fall backwards. You’ll keep moving. Trust me.
  • When getting back on skis, get on the downhill one first. And be perpendicular to the mountain.
  • Go with your best friend. It’s 1000x better that way. Bonus points if they happen to be a great teacher who looks hot on skis.

Speaking of the best friend tip, I have to brag on my J for a moment. Getting ready to go he insisted on getting the warmest clothing articles possible for me, and double checked my packing and dressing to make sure I was warm. He stayed with me on the bunny slope for nearly 2 hours, helping me get comfortable. Most notably, he was a SAINT to me while I was being a terror going down the slope. He made skiing the most positive experience possible, and for that reason I cannot wait to grow in my skills in this sport he enjoy so much.

How about those apples?

I (half heartedly) looked up the meaning of the phrase, “How do you like them apples” after typing this subject line, and one line on the bottom of the description caught my attention: “It can also be used as an expression of surprise at a sudden turn of fortune.” Apple picking DEFINITELY turned out to be a turn of fortune for me, but I am getting ahead of myself.

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Just a delightfully gray and humid Georgia fall day

Last weekend I did as most 20-somethings in the fall tend to do and went apple picking with some friends. The moment of fortune happened when we arrived at the orchard and made it up the mountain to go picking. After we off loaded ourselves from the wagon the orchard-supervisor (correct title?) goes, “okay here’s this type [pointing left], that type [pointing further left], etc…and oh yeah, sample however many you want.”

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Say what, come again?! FORTUNE!

I LOVE apples. I eat over 2 pounds of them a week. And I was just given a FREE FOR ALL IN AN ORCHARD. Game. on.

My husband and I and the other couple stayed together for a bit before they went hunting honeycrisps on their own. It was a fun time of apple hunting and apple gorging sampling. I think I lost count, but I had around 6 apples of varying sizes in the hour we were in the orchard (and note we had forgone lunch). Following me saying a phrase I’ve never said before, “no more apples for me,” we hopped on the wagon, made it back down to the barn, grabbed our donut, and headed off to a winery before concluding the evening with games at our apartment (fail: we should have played apples to apples!).

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Following the apple eating we were doubtful that we’d even want the apples we picked. Well, after a one day hiatus all apple games were back on (and in my belly).

A country baby shower

In September I had the joy of partnering with some lovely ladies to throw one of my dear friends a baby shower celebrating her and baby girl! The shower was full of lots of love, tasty food, great presents, and much rejoicing. Can’t wait to cuddle this sweet baby when she arrives!

Kelli’s sister set the theme of including tractors and farms (totally appropriate for our guest of honor). I googled “diaper cake” and came across tractors made out of diapers and I had so much fun putting this guy together for Kel. The total labor was about an hour and a half (and a lot of that was trial and error).

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A baby shower game that led to lots of laughs and fun!IMG_2376

The Grazing Station; each hostess provided a different food item or two and everything came together so well! And all of the food had a farm name, “haystacks” “veggie patch” “spinach and artichoke patch” “barnyard cupcakes” “biggie sandwiches”

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Hostesses and the guest of honor:

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bachelorette weekend recap

Bach weekend!

Bach weekend!

My ladies of honor (matron/maid) planned the most wonderful bachelorette weekend for me a couple of weeks before I got married. My only input was that I wanted a weekend at one of my favorite beaches (Charleston) and they planned an amazing time with some of my closest girlfriends. I was kept totally in the dark about all elements of the weekend, other than in fact we were going to Charleston.

Friday!

The bach weekend started bright and early with the Atlanta party of Katie, Zakiya and I pulling out at around 6:15 a.m. (with a necessary stop at Starbucks first because it was 6:15 a.m.) I was able to use car time to get a start on hand-binding all of my wedding programs  and we made good time to the beach, arriving just at lunchtime. We stopped at Sullivan’s Island to grab lunch at Poe’s Tavern.

so. much. sewing.

so. much. sewing.

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Following lunch and dropping Zakiya off with Nutan (this is where Z referred to herself as Robin and Nutan as Batman) to take care of some errands, Katie and I went off for a long beach walk before heading back to the house to get cleaned up. Waiting for me was a beautiful lace “Future Mrs. T” sash and blue buttons for all of the girls to wear.

this dress screamed

this dress screamed “ridiculous!” making it most fitting for an awesome bach weekend

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Sweet friends were arriving and those in town took off for the first (of many) surprises to me–a sunset cruise on Charleston Harbor! thumb_IMG_9629_1024

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The cruise was peaceful and happy–we found out some on the history of the city and enjoyed time on the water. And took lots of pictures.

Following the cruise we went to dinner at Stars, where I saw the rest of the girls had arrived! thumb_IMG_9651_1024Dinner was delightfully tasty (I had a kale salad I’m still dreaming about) and following dinner we headed back to the house, as most of us had had long days traveling. We relaxed with wine (and more program sewing; Katie G, who graciously designed ALL of the wedding paper suite is also a professional book binder and artist and stepped in to help sew; sewing about 5 in the time it took me to do 2). Nutan and Z also gave out goody bags that they had prepared (they thought of every detail).

Saturday!

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The next morning Z and Nutan made a delicious (and full) breakfast before we headed out to the beach! It was as one friend said, the perfect beach day. There was lots of swimming, some reading, walking, snacking, talking, ice cream, and bocce ball. While a few of us were out in the ocean there were dolphins out in the water too, which was super fun. A consequence of so much beach time is that a few many of us got far too much sun (even with repeated re-application of sunscreen). I wore a bikini for the first time (no tan lines for the wedding dress!) and I sorely underestimated how much sunscreen to put on my stomach…ooops. Nothing too bad, but not the best. We went back to the house in waves to get ready for the evening festivities.

Batman, me, Robin.

Batman, me, Robin.

We went to yet another incredibly tasty dinner at one of my Charleston favorites, Fleet Landing. Following dinner we went to the pier to mosey around a bit (and this is also where Batman and Robin mysteriously disappeared). We got back to the house and when we were let in I saw that they had organized the most beautiful lingerie shower, complete with champagne bar, beautiful decorations, and sweet snacks.

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We had a blast enjoying sweet treats and what was supposed to be a conversation game turned into the sweet ladies giving me marriage advice and telling me kind things. During present time I was gifted with some beautiful items! Following more chatting (and more champagne which led to more chatting) the evening wrapped up.

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Sunday!

The next morning was a slower start as many of us were nursing aching skin and minor headaches, but we made it with banners flying to Poogan’s Porch for breakfast.

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A few of us walked around afterwards before heading back to the house to pack up, say our goodbyes, and head home. It was such an extravagant weekend of being loved on by my friends, and I was/am totally overwhelmed!