Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving, part one

We just finished hosting Ryan's mom, brother and sister for Thanksgiving dinner (part one). We had a delicious Honey Baked Ham, green bean casserole, potato casserole, broccoli, and stuffing with an apple cobbler for dessert. I am stuffed! We got to use all of our new china and stemware for the occassion and I was so into our "tablescape" that I had to take photos of it. For the flowers, I decided it was more economical to buy a plant at Publix versus an overpriced bouquet, so I just cut a bunch of stems from it and put it in one of our new PB square vases (thanks Meg!). I thought that was pretty clever.

We are off to Atlanta tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving (part two) with my family. I am looking forward to the time at home and seeing everyone up there. If I don't post for a few days, have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving and remember all that we have to be thankful for this year.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

So thankful!

One of my blogging sisters, Kelly, tagged me to list the "7 things I am thankful for" after she put a little twist on the "7 things you don't know about me" list. Well, one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is that my family sits down to a delicious dinner and then goes around the table and lists what we are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. So to put my own spin on the list, here is my alphabet of thankfulness.

I am so thankful for...

A - art, and all the ways to express creativity through it.

B - brunch because it takes my least favorite meal (lunch) and replaces it with my favorite (breakfast)...yum!

C - cold weather, and the unseasonably chilly temps we've been getting here in Florida.

D - dirty arnold palmers (the drink, not the man), thanks to Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade.

E - email, so I can keep in touch with people more easily.

F - family, including my new husband, and how close we are. There are lots of other "f" things I am thankful for (friends, faith) but family definitely tops the list.

G - Georgia Bulldogs!

H - health, and the fact that all of my family members are doing so well, especially my Mom.

I - Italy, and the wonderful memories I have from studying there.

J - my job, because I know how fortunate I am to have one.

K - knowledge, and being able to learn something new every day.

L - lobster bisque, because it is such a luxury to order out.

M - the Morgan family, who have welcomed me as one of their own even before I was officially a Morgan myself.

N - the Nathan family, because I will always be a Nathan deep-down.

O - October 18, my wedding date.

P - the pups, and having them all recognize me each time I come home.

Q - quirks, because I know I have a lot of them.

R - Real Simple magazine.

S - sisters, both family and sorority.

T - Top Chef, Top Design and all those other great Bravo reality series.

U - The United States, and the fact that I am lucky to have been born and raised in such an amazing country.

V - Volvos, because they are safe and stylish and I love mine!

W - wine, especially Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

X - X-mas (I know, that's a stretch)

Y - yogurt. frozen, that is. specifically, Publix low-fat cookies and cream frozen yogurt.

Z - Zyrtec-D, because without it my allergies would be out of control.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things

I have now been married for one month (yesterday) and thought it was about time to recap some of my most favorite little things about the wedding. I honestly loved every part of it, and all of the "big" stuff worked out perfectly and will stand out in my memory forever (or at least I hope) but some of the little things really stand out.When we first got to Hilton Head, my mom surprised us with baskets of customized koozies for all the cold beverages we would enjoy throughout the week. They were the perfect copy of our logo!I had seen letters through my wedding planning and loved the initial statement on the front doors that the wedding was for K and R.I thought my flowers turned out beautifully but what I loved most were the little green berries in the boutonnieres and bouquets for that little pop of green.We had a small wine theme that started at the very beginning of planning. While most of the ideas went away as the paisley theme evolved, we still used wine bottles for the table numbers and I loved how they turned out.Adding to the little bit of wine theme, I found cork votive cups (at West Marine of all places) that were scattered around the whole reception and I made a real corkboard to post the table assignments for the dinner.Our guest book was very special - a collection of photos from Hilton Head that we took, so we could flip back through and remember the island with special messages from our guests. (I actually have yet to see the notes from everyone...the book is still at my parents house so I need to get it at Thanksgiving!)

As silly as I look in this photo, I truly enjoyed when the groomsmen circled around me and started singing "You've lost that loving feeling." Not only did we all get into it, the whole reception circled around us and Ryan popped in to finish singing the song. It was totally impromptu but so much fun!And, finally, our getaway car...lots of special people helped to make the "Just married" sign and beautiful tissue paper flowers that hung off the back of my dad's convertible. There were also corks on some of the flowers and Bud Light cans tied to the back for sound effect. The best part was when we were driving to the Westin under the "tunnel of love" and the cans echoed their clanking announcement of our marriage. I didn't expect it and it was the perfect finishing touch.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tis the season

I can't believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means Christmas is right on its heels. I have been very excited about this holiday season since it will be my first as a newlywed! With that comes all sorts of fun things but the one thing I am really excited about is a whole new option for Christmas notes - the joint photo card! And since we just got married, you bet I want to do a photo card with some wedding pics. Most of my photos are on Shutterfly right now, so here are some of the cute designs I have already started perusing. Notice the variety of green and brown-themed designs...how perfect! (And no, I don't know any of these people...they are just models from the site.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Heavenly bed

I am fully rested after a wonderful night's sleep in our "new" bed! We received some of our bedding last week from our registry and with the gift cards we got, I finished buying everything we needed for the perfect bed. New pillows, new down comforter (I ended up upgrading to the Hotel Collection and am so glad I did!), new sheets, new duvet and new shams...and ta-da!

Okay, so it's not our real bed, but a pic of the bedding we got from PB. I love the cleanliness of the white with the small touches of icy powder blue. Now, I just need to figure out how to decorate the rest of the room so it all goes together! I am catching up on back episodes of "Top Design" from our DVR to get inspiration.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Honeymooning in St. Lucia

I'm finally caught up to post about our honeymoon!

We left Hilton Head on Sunday after the wedding to drive up to Atlanta and spent the night at my parent's house while they stayed in HHI for an extra day. We got to visit with the pups for a night before heading to the airport first thing in the morning. It was actually pretty smooth getting through security and we thought we could try for an upgrade to first-class but it turned out everyone was on their honeymoon and the flight was packed so no such luck. We also ended up getting delayed because one couple felt the need to bring their dog on the trip but it got lost in a luggage room somewhere in the airport. When they finally got the dog loaded below, we were off.
We touched down in St. Lucia on the lower end of the island and Ryan tried to surprise me by arranging a helicopter ride to the hotel. However, the wait was just as long as the van ride so we decided to hold off and take the resort van on the hour and a half ride. It was very scenic and our driver pointed out all sorts of sights and facts about the island, like how bananas grow - they are St. Lucia's biggest export and grow everywhere!
We got to the resort and they gathered us into the concierge lounge to check-in while the sun set outside. We finally got to our room late in the evening and settled in a bit before heading down to dinner. Once we ate and toured around in the dark, it was time for bed - which turned out to be the story for much of the week! I am not sure if it was the wedding being over or the sun and abundant food (and drinks) but we went to bed really early each night. Other couples toward the end of the week said they experienced the same thing so we joked that they drugged the food.
The only day it rained was Tuesday, but that was fine because we still braved the weather and hung out at the pool bar before heading inside for a nap all afternoon. It was nice to have so much downtime! Wednesday we laid out all morning and got massages in the afternoon. They were nice but my lady was convinced that my skin was severly dehydrated and that I needed to come back for a scrub. I politely declined and decided to exfoliate when I got home (which I still haven't done yet).
We ventured out that night and took the van to one of the sister properties on the island for dinner. It was there that we got to hear Cowboy Eddie sing country music while we ate delicious fajitas. It was just so funny for the restaurant to have entertainment like that, being a tropical island! I was dying to go up and request "Friends in Low Places" to see if he would do it.

On Thursday we went ziplining, which was amazing! We took a van to the rain forest and got suited up in harnesses and helmets. Then we hiked up a bunch of platforms before letting go and zipping through the trees to the next platform. I was terrified at first and thought way too hard before letting go on the first one, but I got the hang of it and really enjoyed the views. The last line was 150' off the ground and was the best one, by far.
Once we got home, we met up with some couples we had befriended at the pool bar and hung out until the sun set. Then we all went to eat at the beach restaurant, still in our bathing suits and cover-ups. I am pretty sure the waitstaff and other tables hated us, because we were quite silly and caused some comotion (some of the boys had been enjoying mimosas all day long). We had fun, though! We then went on to watch the resort entertainment for the evening...fire dancers, breathers and limbo-ers. It was really cool to watch! After they were done we stuck around for some dancing in the lobby (don't worry - there was a band and it was organized) before hitting the sack.Friday had more laying out and then an evening sunset cruise down the southern coast of the island. I loved it and could have stayed out there all night staring at the stars and rocking on the waves. We had dinner with another group that night, at the English Pub that the resort tried to recreate.
We found a nice secluded pool on Saturday and stole some floats from abandoned lounge chairs to read and float in the water. Then, as silly as it sounds, we headed back to the room to watch some afternoon football games. It was actually nice to relax in the room and cheer on our teams. We spent our last night at dinner just the two of us, and went for our second time to the Italian restaurant on-site.
For one last excursion, we decided to wake up early on Sunday and hike up Pigeon Island, a nearby mountain and historical site. The views were stunning and even though we huffed and puffed the whole way up, it was totally worth it! We only had so much time before we had to go back down again and get ready to go. We finished packing up and took a van back to the airport to catch our plane to Atlanta, and then Orlando. We didn't land until about 12:30 am Monday morning, and thankfully Ryan's mom picked us up from the airport so we didn't have to take a cab.
We were very thankful to have been able to take such an amazing trip. St. Lucia was incredible and definitely the perfect end to a wonderful wedding week! And we are trying our best not to let the honeymoon be over, even though we are back to work and back at home. So far it's great being a newlywed!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Going to the chapel...or croquet lawn, that is

I woke up two Saturdays ago (I can't believe it's been two weeks already!) to the sound of rain and a pretty gloomy day. Surprisingly, I had had a restful sleep and felt ready for the big day. The rain didn't even really bother me because I knew we had a good Plan B just in case and there was nothing we could do about it so I got up and started getting ready.
Our hair appointments started at 10 am so the girls and I headed to the Westin and Gene did my hair in between working on everyone else. I loved how it came out, and the two paisley hair pins I bought to stick in the back worked perfectly with the overall theme.
Once we were all done, we zipped over to Port Royal and snacked a bit on lunch while we worked on centerpieces and other decor.
Then it was time for make-up and getting dressed. My cousin did an amazing job on my make-up (as she always does!) and I felt radiant. Our photographers came around 2 and started shooting us getting ready and then went over to take shots of the (late) guys. While they had their cameos, I got zipped up in my dress and all finished up. I love my dress and thought it was the perfect mix of simple and elegant. It was, however, a tiny bit tight after a week's worth of home-cooking with the family so it made it tough to breathe. I even had to have my girls unzip me for a little while so I could catch my breath and calm down a bit. Once we were all dressed, we went for our photos, bouquets in hand. I had purchased some antique green ribbon with paisleys on it and it was wrapped around everyone's bouquets for another paisly touch. The rain finally stopped and it was just very gray out, which didn't bother me a bit. It also dropped the temperature about 20 degrees from earlier in the week so there were definitely moments of shivering while we took pictures, but it was fine.
Once we had the all-clear, we headed back over to the clubhouse (we had been getting ready in the locker room) and waited for our cues. Kelly, my matron of honor, stayed with me while my dad walked my mom down the aisle and I got a little emotional but I knew if I started crying it would never stop, so I told her not to let my dad get too mushy when we walked together.
I'm a little bummed because I had worked so hard on the ceremony music with Ryan and our musicians were a little difficult to deal with, so I had really wanted to soak in what they played but I was in a cloud from the moment I hit the top of the steps to go outside until basically the ceremony was over. I do know I tried really hard to ennunciate my vows so people in the back could hear and I was all smiles staring into Ryan's eyes. It was beautiful!
After the ceremony, we went off into the woods to take more photos with the group, and then Ryan and I went to a tunnel connecting Port Royal and the Westin for some more photos. I am very curious to see how these "tunnel of love" shots turned out. Unfortunately, we were gone for so long that we missed the cocktail hour and went right into getting introduced.
We went into our first dance from there, and again I didn't let myself get too emotional so we just talked about what a great day it had been so far and how much fun we were having. The fun continued with an amazing dinner, wonderful, heartful toasts and yummy cake before everyone got to dancing. I think we suceeded in our goal to throw a really fun party - it seemed like everyone had a blast and I know we did, for sure.
At the end of the night we had them bring out sliders and mini-milkshakes, a nod to our late night Steak 'N Shake trips after going out. Then it was over and we left in a burst of sparklers on the front steps, getting into my dad's convertible and driving off.
It was a beautiful day and so much fun and I know I will remember it for the rest of my life. I certainly couldn't capture it all here, but hopefully that is a good glimpse of how the day went. I'll post more photos soon.