Thursday, June 13, 2013

Real Weddings: Jeneca & Ryan's Wedding

Alright, so I guess I lied a few weeks ago when I said I was back.  The truth is I have just been so crazy with work and planning a wedding and this move, that I haven't been able to catch my breath.  On the weekends I am traveling all over for different weddings and I just haven't been able to make the time to share it all with you!  Although I haven't been sharing, that doesn't mean I haven't been documenting all the good stuff for when I was ready to share.  So today, I am officially back with the wedding of my cousin Ryan and his new wife, Jeneca.  


My cousin Ryan was born and raised in California, and his wife, Jeneca, is born and raised in Arizona. Through fate the two met and aside from a few months where they both lived in Cali, they have had a long distance engagement.  With our families being on opposite sides of the country we had only met Jeneca one time before we arrived in Tuscon for the wedding, but after only a few minutes it felt like we had been family for years.  Her family was so welcoming and wonderful and it was obvious why Ryan and Jeneca were so madly in love.

If I could think of a theme for the weekend, at least for me, it would have to be "Family".  It was the first time my Dad's side of the family spent a weekend together in almost three years.  The last time was my sister's wedding weekend so we didn't get to spend this type of quality time together.  The wedding was held at the Ritz Carlton-Dove Mountain and it really could not have been more beautiful.

Our view from the cabana which we lounged in for 3 days straight.
I got so spend some quality time with my favorite nephew.

Talk about a breathtaking view...
The flowers made such a beautiful photo!
My cousin, Tyler, was the best man and killed his speech

The bright fuschia really popped

Such an adorable flower girl

My beautiful family

My fancy

We had the best time dancing around with my mom's scarf

I finally got a shot with the bride and groom!

Such a great weekend with the family.

Beautiful couple and incredible night I wish the two of you a lifetime of happiness!

Photo Credit- Chris Richards Photography


So glad I finally got to recap this beautiful wedding.   I hope to be back next week with a few more weddings and some other updates.  I am off to St. Louis tomorrow for a wedding and to spend some time with David's family.

Have a great weekend!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm Back

I can't believe it has been over a month since my last post.  I never meant to completely stop, but planning a wedding, buying a house, and excelling at my job left me with very little time to focus on anything else.  On top of all, of that our wedding season has kicked off and I have been traveling like crazy.  Over the next few weeks I will recap on the past weddings and fill you in on where I am at with my own planning.  I am really looking forward getting back into the swing of things.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Friday, March 29, 2013

St. PaTraci Day 2013

As promised (although a little late) I want to share with you my amazing birthday party David threw for me.  When I was in college my birthday always ended up on the last day of spring break which meant we were usually exhausted and traveling back to Austin.  When I was abroad my birthday was the ONE day we had to study because the next day was midterms.  So when I moved back to Chicago I have really enjoyed celebrating my birthday with my friends and family.  David and I love throwing huge parties, and for my 27th he did not disappoint.  In Chicago, the saturday before St. Patty's day is probably the best day of the cold months.  Everyone gets decked out in green and makes an entire day of it.  Rather than trying to throw a party that Saturday night and risk nobody including myself being able to make it.  A few years ago David came up with the idea to make it St. PaTraci day.

Why not kill two birds with one stone ya know?  So this was the second time we did it and David went ALL out.  I'm talking a green bloody mary bar, over the top decorations an tons of giveaways.  Since our shower was the night before we still had some great visitors in town so it really was a party to remember.


My best friend Judi was in town so it made the entire day amazing.  She is my partner in crime so I was just so happy to have her with me.  She also had these adorable little posters made that had all these different pictures of me as a Leprochan.  She is amazing.

My Sis was still in town and she came to the party.  I can't remember the last time we had so much fun drinking together.  Best MOH ever.

David out did it.

So many of my favorites celebrating with me.

Things got a little crazy and we had to take a petty cab to the next bar to meet up with David.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Being the Bride... Not the Bridesmaid

As I shared yesterday, David and I had our first shower two weekends ago.  It was so wonderful to have so many people we loved in one room, but honestly, I was extremely overwhelmed.  I am so used to being the bridesmaid and it was really strange to take the brides role.  This has nothing to do with my own bridesmaids, because I am certain they will kill it, it is just a personal thing.

Mind you this party was extra special because there was tons of alcohol involved, but when we were opening gifts it was just such a crazy feeling.  I am used to being the professional bridesmaid and taking control, but as the bride I wasn't quite sure what I should be doing.  Things got unorganized (and a little hazy) and we ended up bringing the gifts home to open.

I know when my lady showers come it will be a little different, but even then I think I am going to just be overwhelmed.  I LOVE being the best bridesmaid, but I am just not exactly in the groove yet as the bride.  I have plenty coming up so I am hoping I will get the hang of it.

Does anyone have any tips on how to be a calm bride they would like to share?

First and last gift we opened that night.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Our First Shower: Stock the Bar

Life has been pretty crazy since I last posted.  There have been some good days and some very hard days and I am sending love to one special person who I am thinking of every second.  Last Tuesday was my birthday and I celebrated with my family by seeing "Book of Mormon."  I thought it was hysterical.

Last night David and I hosted our first Passover Seder for our friends and it honestly could not have been more fun.  I can't wait to do it again next year with all the stuff we registered for!

I know this is a little late, but as promised I wanted to share with you all the details about our first shower.  When my Mom was a hostesses for a stock the bar couples shower for our best family friends, Ali and Jeff, both families promised David and I they would throw us the same thing when we got engaged.  Boy, did they stand true to this promise.  So last Friday, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, Ali and Jeff and my Aunt Geri and Uncle Stu threw us the stock the bar couples shower of our dreams!!

Aunt Geri, Melissa, Me, Ali, Mom

This could not have been a better theme for a couple like David and I.  We are extremely hard workers, but when it is time to let loose, David and I are what some may call pros.  Every gift we received came with a recipe for a tasty cocktail as well as different items to help us fill our bar.  Some people gave us the actual ingredients to make the cocktails and others gave us different bar accessories.  Some even gave us both.  We were BLOWN away with how amazing it all was.

Ali went above and beyond with the decorations.  There were these giant posters, as well as custom wine bottles and personalized shot glasses for giveaways.
I mean come on look at that cake!
Celebrating with my family 

Melissa and Ali came up with a game where they asked us many questions about us as a couple and if we got it wrong we had to take a shot.  Oh I forgot to mention all the questions were related to drinking, and how well we know each other when we are drunk.  Let's just say both of our Mom's were FREAKING out!

It is just so much fun having everyone you love in one room.
The Bridesmaids and Groomsmen (plus Dads)

This shower was honestly just so much fun.  David and I each had one of our best friends surprise us and come in and that made it all the better.  I just want to thank everyone again that was a part of it for really kicking off the countdown to our wedding.  We cannot wait to just keep celebrating our love for each other!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Reasons to Celebrate

David may kill me for posting that picture, but really I just needed a picture of us jumping in happiness with confetti.  Basically there has just been so much to celebrate in the past week, it is going to take me a few days to share it all.  For starters this is my final week of a 3 week intense bootcamp that started at 5:15 am 3 days a week.  I have never felt better and more energized and I am surprising myself everyday with what I am capable of doing.

Next, after a long BRUTAL process, David and I have finally had a bid accepted on our first home together.  It took a lot of disagreeing and aggravation, but we now could not be happier.  It is in the West Loop, which was one of our top locations we wanted.  Really, everything about it is too good to be true.

Some more celebrating happened this weekend:

Friday: We had our first couples shower and it was just so much fun.  I have so many pictures to share with you so I will do that tomorrow.

Saturday: David threw me an amazing birthday party/ St. Patrick's Day party which he coined St. PaTraci Day.

Oh and the icing in the cake, my best friend Judi, flew in from New York to celebrate everything with me.

Stay tuned for some more detailed descriptions this week.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Registering for a Honeymoon


Now that we have registered at a few stores I am being asked by some people if we plan to register for our honeymoon.  I had never really thought of this or known people to do this, but when I looked online I was shocked to find out people do this all the time.  I just cannot decide if this is something I would want to do.  On one hand it would be so great to have some of it paid for since David and I are paying for the honeymoon ourselves, but on the other hand I find it weird to ask people to pay for my vacation.  I think a great gift for a friend is getting together with a group of people and buying the couple an amazing excursion, dinner or spa treatment that they didn't ask for, but is it weird for me to personally ask for it?

Another problem is there are several websites, I would have no idea which is the best one.  I don't want someone to buy a honeymoon gift and then the money actually just end up in my PayPal account, that defeats the purpose.  I really would only register for things we would actually plan on paying for ourselves.  For example, we plan to get a couples massage whether it is a gift or not, but I do not need to register for random excursions we wouldn't want to buy ourselves.  I think it would be great to minimize our costs, not spend what we plan to spend and then get even crazier gifts on top of it.

So now I ask all you out there your opinion.  Would you register for your honeymoon?  Do you think its a smart idea or a tacky one?  Do you have any advice if you did it or a website you used and liked?

I would love some help!!

P.S. here are some pictures I use to dream about our honeymoon in order to get through these winter storms.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend Recap

Well, this weekend was one I won't forget for a very long time.  The entire family came together to celebrate Spencer's first birthday and it couldn't have been more relaxing and fun.  We got Spencer two different gifts one was the Burberry sweater he is wore to his birthday party, and the second was more on the sentimental side.

Let me give you some background.. when my sister and I were kids our mom woke us up every birthday with this special song playing.  It would play in our rooms, in the car and all over the house on our birthday.  She did it up until we left for college.  In the song "Captain Zoom" came all the way from the moon to wish you a happy birthday.   He would say "Happy Birthday to Traci today!" I just loved it and it really brought back how special you feel on your birthday.  So I somehow found a website where they still sell these songs and had one made for Spencer.  When I gave it to him let's just say there wasn't a dry eye in the room.  Now Melissa can carry on this tradition for Spencer just like our mom did for us.

The birthday party was held at the Friendship Circle  where my sister is extremely involved.  Before the party took place we got a full tour, and boy was I impressed.  I will explain more about the Friendship Circle another day, because now I am just dying to share pictures from the PARTAY!

I mean, how cute is this face?  Hope you all have a great week:)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Spencer!!

Happy first birthday to my teeny tiny nephew, Spencer!  I love you so much and can't wait to celebrate with you this weekend.  It seriously feels like yesterday we were in the hospital waiting for your arrival.  Even though you were a few days late, you came in enough time that you missed having a leap year birthday and we can now celebrate EVERY year.

You were the most precious new born and now you are such a big boy!
I will be back monday with a recap of the rockin' first birthday party!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Weekend Recap

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I kept very busy with plenty of celebrations.

One of my best friends, Nicole, got engaged.  He proposed in the most crazy sweet way and then we all celebrated Friday night.
 I have no pictures but Saturday night I had a wonderful dinner with some great people and then I went to bed early so I could get up for a 7:15 am Barre Bee Fit weekend boot camp.

After an intense boot camp I went shopping with my Mama and showed her some of my favorite items at Bloomingdale's home that we registered for.  This is the Michael Aram Molton Collection and I am a bit obsessed.  As you can tell if you checked out my registry.

Sunday night I got to meet my new baby cousin.  Can you even handle her cuteness?
In other news, Sunday marked six months until the wedding.  I am overwhelmed because that means we are now in the 5 months and some days.  YIKES its coming up quickly AHH!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

I Dream of White... Kitchens

So I just got back from looking at a house I absolutely love.  I don't love it in the state it is in currently, but I see so much potential.  We are going to go back to look at it tomorrow and if David loves it as much as I do we are hopefully going to put a bid in on it.  Timing may be an issue with our August wedding, but for right now I am in my dreaming phase.

This is the way the house hunting has been going for me, I find a place I put all my eggs in one basket and then someone breaks the entire basket as well as cracking all the eggs.  But.. I really enjoy going into everything I do with full force.  The kitchen needs so much work in this house to get it to where I would want it to be.  ALL white with dark wood floors. I don't know where I got this obsession, but MAN am I obsessed.



The last one is probably David's dream kitchen, but honestly I love the look and feel of all of them.  Now I just need to find our home.... wish me luck!

Have a great weekend:)

Thursday, February 21, 2013


David and I started to register this past weekend, and I still think I am recovering.  OMG is it hard.  We are having a huge wedding so we are being told we need to register for an upwards of 400 items.  400 items!!! It all just seems so crazy to me because we literally live in a teeny tiny apartment and I have no room for the stuff I currently have.  Luckily we are looking to buy a place, but that is not going as well as I would have hoped so we may be stuck in our place another year.  So I apologize to any visitors we may have in the next year.. you may be sleeping among the boxes.  

Aside from my anxiety about where to put everything, I just really don't know what I really need and I really can't believe we get all of this just because we love each other!  It is all just so crazy and exciting at the same time.  We have, however, gotten the hang of it and I am starting to finally be excited about our plan.  I figure I may as well share our experience with all of you, because I think it would have been helpful for us if I had a game plan going into it.

I think I had been told to go scout out what you think you want at ALL of the stores you want to register at before I begin.  We really didn't have time so we didn't follow this rule and I am so thankful for that.  My first piece of advice is DO NOT DRAG YOUR MAN ANYWHERE BEFORE YOU BEGIN.  David is actually really into picking everything out, but honestly it is such a tiring process nobody needs to "scout" it out before.  Just go in and point that gun at anything that interests you.  

Another important tip is to focus your time and energy on the items you will use the most.  We literally took over an hour to decide on our dinnerware.  We are very lucky and have inherited  my Grandma's china so we have decided to only get a large set of nice everyday dishes and  a small set of casual plates and bowls.  These sets are expensive so you want to make sure you really know what you want.  David and I had NO CLUE what we wanted.  We have similar tastes as far as decorating our home, but I have found myself wanting more traditional timeless items and David has been wanting more modern.  

With the help of our amazing lady at Bloomingdales we have decided on two different sets that can be mixed and matched perfectly together.  I would have never even thought about this or ever come up with this, so it was crucial that we asked for help.  

Michael Aram "Cast Iron" / Bernardaud "Ecume"
By getting 8 sets of each of the above we are able to mix and match making it more modern when we want it to be and more formal when the timing is right.  If we are entertaining 16 everyone will have the same Bernardaud charger and then from there we can play around to make our own custom table. 

Once you decide on dinnerware I promise you a lot of the pressure is off and then the fun begins.  Just go around and add anything you could possibly want.  When you get home you can go online and adjust.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Happy Valentines Day to everyone!!  Today, I started my day off with one of the most intense workout classes I have ever taken.  I signed up for a Strapped class at Barre Bee Fit and seriously pushed myself harder than I thought possible.  When the instructor started the class she said something that really motivated me..."Be proud of yourself on Valentines Day for focusing on the most important relationship, the one you have with yourself."

Whenever New Years comes around we make these goals that really are unattainable.  So we pretty much set ourselves up for defeat.  By the time Valentines Day rolls your goals have usually fallen to the waist side and you are back to your old ways.  When I was single and going through a horrible breakup  Valentines Day was the scariest day of the year.  It was like the one time where the whole world laughs at you for being alone.  I wish I could look that Traci in the eyes and say, just work on you and the rest will come.  Pushing myself today this hard left me wanting to be a better all around person in so many areas of my life.

So today, on the day that is so focused on love just remember you also need to love yourself.  Whether you are still looking for Mr. Right or you are sure you have found him, giving yourself a little attention will only make all your relationships better.

All of the girls burning it out this morning via


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Engaged Bridesmaids

When my parents have celebrated a big anniversary in the past I have always thought it is such a coincidence their good friends are celebrating the same anniversary the same year as them.  Now, boy do I get it!  As my wedding approaches in just about 6 months I will stand up for my cousin a few months before and one of my best friends a few months after.  I also have a feeling as soon as the weather heats up there may be a few more best friends jumping on the engaged train.

This means I am going to have several engaged bridesmaids!  This leaves me in an interesting predicament when it comes to bridesmaid gifts.

I am obsessed with monograms and I think they look so cute in wedding pictures.  I have a few ideas of gifts I want to give the girls, but my hope is they will want to reuse them.  If I have a bunch of girls that are about to tie the knot, do they really want their maiden monogram?  How can I give them a new monogram before they are even married?  Do I have to give just an initial or a first name?  WHAT DO I DO?!! I am asking all those brides out there that have been in my shoes to please share with me what they did?  Any engaged girls have a preference on what they would want?


Friday, February 8, 2013

I'm Going to Miami...

With the cold, wet, rainy and snowy weather in Chicago I am really looking forward to my girls trip to Miami this weekend.  We plan to relax and let loose and hopefully tan our pasty skin.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!