Friday, September 30, 2011

introducing...my new blog! also, HAWAII.



Well, as you can see, the blog has had a beautiful makeover.

And if you can't see that, you need to get yourself out of your reader and come directly to my site RIGHT now. Okay, I'm assuming you did that. Revel in its improvement. 

Who did this awesome makeover? NOT me, haha. I don't know how to do all of that stuff...yet. But Kim of seven thirty three blog design does! And she has mad skillz. Thank you, Kim!

Isn't it so me? I love it. Do the colors remind you of anything??


Why, my wedding of course! So not only are they colors that I love, but colors that are quite special to me.

And the "love birds" are so perfect! Be expecting a giveaway having to do with birds in honor of my new blog design...it'll be fabulous. :)

Bear with me as I add some new features and such to the blog and tweak things. As you may notice, there are new categories in the top menu bar, which will eventually be filled with wonderful information. It'll be a process.

I'm so happy that the blog is GROWING! Thank you for reading and for blessing me with your internet presence! I appreciate all of your insightful comments and messages so much. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to write about what God lays on my little sinful-but-saved-by-grace heart.

In other news of blessings, on Wednesday I had an extremely surprising conversation with my husband. He called me from work, which he never does. Usually we text all day long but don't actually have a phone conversation, so I knew something was weird. I was hoping something wasn't wrong.

After making some small talk, I was like "Okay, why are you calling me." 

"Well, I have to go on a little work trip next week, and they're letting me take you if you want to go."

"Ohh okay. Well, yeah of course! Where? Why am I allowed to go with you? Are you sure?" (He travels every once in a while to random cities, so I thought he was going to say some unheard of place in New Jersey or Alabama or something.)

"Yes, I'm sure. We need to decide if we want to stay a little longer than originally planned."

"Why? WHERE?" 

"Hawaii."

"WHATTTT?!? HAWAII??? ARE YOU SERIOUS? ARE YOU REALLY SERIOUS?"

"I am so serious. For six days. And I only have to work one morning while we're there."

"ohmyword ohmyword ohmyword ohmyword"

And then we both broke out into complete giddyness and excitement and we've been like that ever since.

So yes, we have been beyond blessed with this opportunity to go to Hawaii. And every single expense is paid for besides a couple nights of the hotel and some of the food. Amazing. It's like our second honeymoon or something. We cannot believe it. We are SO EXCITED. I keep texting him or just looking at him saying, "We're going to Hawaii." Like it'll help it sink in or something. But I don't think it'll sink in until I'm on a plane for longer than every other time I've been on a plane in my life combined, haha.



As my best friend Ashlee (pictured above on the right!) told me last night, it has been a crazy year for me. Just full of unexpected things. Who knows what else God has planned!


Ashley

Thursday, September 29, 2011

i have a confession.

I have a confession.

I don't like fall decorations. Or pumpkin anything.

Don't get me wrong, I love fall...but not for the same reasons as most. I love fall because my car doesn't feel like an oven anymore when I get in, baseball playoffs start (although thanks to last night, my October dreams were crushed), hockey starts, football games are fun, it's time for the NC State Fair, basketball tryouts happen....okay my likes are mainly having to do with sports. Also it's pretty outside and it's not miserably cold yet. (Yes, I know it doesn't get that cold in NC, but I don't like being cold at all.) I do like to wear a sweater, jeans, and boots so I guess that's a normal thing. 

But I highly dislike anything pumpkin flavored. Cookies, muffins, anything. And don't even ask me about pumpkin spice lattes that people go crazy over because I don't like even a drop of coffee in anything. I could have a cup of hot chocolate and if someone put one drop of coffee in it, I'd be able to taste it and I wouldn't like it. That's how much I don't like coffee. I'm weird, but Jordan feels the same way which is convenient for both of us I suppose.


I don't decorate for fall. Maybe I will a TINY BIT in the future if we have a house, because some of it isn't awful. Actually, the only fall decorations I can think of that look good to me are a few little white pumpkins inside with some greenery or something. And MAYBE a couple regular pumpkins outside on the porch that look classy and not modified too much or anything. Anything else brings this picture to mind:

courtesy of http://www.celebrating-halloween.com/pumpkincarving/vomiting-pumpkin.shtml 
It's fine when other people do all of the fall stuff, and I'm happy that they like it so much. It's just not for me. I like to keep things simple and clean looking when it comes to decorating, and I'm not a fan of stuff that is too "cutesy" as I like to call it. Also, orange really wouldn't fit in anywhere in our apartment.

Now Christmas is a whole different story. I'm gonna decorate the mess outta Christmas. But we'll talk about that after Thanksgiving... :)

Happy fall, y'all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

10 day you challenge: 6 places.

If you're doing this challenge, then let me know...because on my last day I'm going to include a list of the people who are doing it or starting it! 

By the way...next week this blog is going to look COMPLETELY different. I'm just warning you because you might think you've gone to the wrong site when you visit it. So don't freak out. It's gonna be awesome. :) 



10 Day You Challenge: 6 Places.

1. Raleigh, NC - Home, sweet home. I love Raleigh. Everything about it. It's big...very spread out. But not too crazy. There are parts that look like you're out in the country in the middle of nowhere. But nope, you're still in Raleigh. One minute you're downtown in the city and the next you're driving by a bunch of cows on a farm. That's just how it is. It's wonderful.

NC State is in Raleigh. The football stadium is right next to the RBC Center which hosts NCSU basketball AND the Carolina Hurricanes. It's one of my favorite buildings in the world because I've had so many memories there and I know it oh so well. If you go there and tell me where you're sitting at a game I can picture exactly where you are in my head. It feels like home to me.

At Carter Finley Stadium
Working at the RBC Center with Maggie, Ron the Ref, and Scott Walker


I will move wherever God wants me whenever He wants me to, and I would follow Jordan anywhere on this earth, but Raleigh will always hold that special place in my being. It has it all, and I love it all.

2. Boston, MA - This place is the dream that became a reality a little over a year ago. Being a die-hard Red Sox fan my whole life, this was the #1 place I wanted to go. Last year, my best friend's family was kind enough to take me there. And my boyfriend was crazy awesome enough to show up out of nowhere and propose to me there. You can read about that and about the excitement of my second trip there here. And I also give a year later recap of it here. :)

After the game when we got engaged!


This year, my Dad won the MVP Dad title for the Red Sox (crazy...I still can't believe that happened). You can read about that amazing experience here. It made Boston THAT much more special. The two most crazy, surreal trips I've ever been on were in Boston. Also, Boston is BEAUTIFUL. I love it there. I wouldn't mind living there for the months that it's not terribly cold.




3. North Myrtle Beach, SC - I've been here every year of my life. It's my favorite beach. It's always been that set apart time of the year for relaxation, fun, and family. The majority of my birthdays have been spent here. I love it.

My 22nd birthday at the beach!


4. Laurel Springs, NC - The location of my grandparents' mountain house is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. We go at least once a year, and I never get over how calming and peaceful it is. The house sits in the middle of a bunch of Christmas tree farms and it feels like another world. I want to go back.



5. Greensboro, NC - In the past year and a half, I've spent a lot of time here and made so many wonderful memories. A lot of Jordan's family lives here so we go visit as much as possible. The love and warmth I always feel whenever I've stayed at his family's house (or grandparents' house when we were dating!) has made me feel at home. I'm so thankful for the sleepovers I've had with my sister-in-law Anna when we would stay up until 3:30am talking about everything and nothing. I'm so glad I'm a Shelley!

With out triplet cousins in Greensboro last Christmas


6. Australia - The only place on this list I haven't been. It's my dream place to travel to (now that I've been to Boston). I want to hold a koala bear. I want to explore. I want to have shrimp on the barbie. With my husband. Maybe someday...


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

wedding advice - wedding planner.

Thank you for your feedback on my post about Location! I'm excited to be writing about wedding planning and hopefully help people who are in the exciting stage of engagement.

When I first got engaged, there was so much to think about. Everyone and their mother were texting me, calling me, and sending me messages, which was wonderful - but overwhelming. And I had so much to do initially. At the beginning, there was so much to decide that it made my head spin.

My mom suggested getting a wedding planner. At first, I thought this was completely unnecessary. I knew we could do it all on our own. And you know what? We could have. I'm not gonna say that we couldn't have done it without our wedding planner, because that's not true. BUT, as I realized how much stuff my mother and I would have to personally do for the weekend of the wedding, I saw the need for a wedding planner.

Now, I highly recommend it if you have it in your budget. Actually, no, I recommend that you make room for it in your budget. Seriously. I'll tell you why.


  • You can get a wedding planner just for the weekend of the wedding. It's a lot cheaper.
  • Even though we got one just to work the actual weekend, she communicated with us throughout the whole wedding planning process. Although we weren't paying to meet with her and have her go with us to check out vendors, she would email us or talk to us on the phone. SO HELPFUL.
  • A wedding planner isn't there to push her ideas on you. If she's doing that, then she's not doing her job. The goods ones take your ideas and make them even more brilliant. They suggest ways to make your ideas flow together and reflect YOUR personality. They take the time to get to know you. My wedding planner knew that Jordan and I both loved sports so much, so she suggested the sports related food for the cocktail hour. Genius!
  • They have connections! So. many. connections. While I would have researched florists and linens for a long time and visited many different ones to find the best options - my wedding planner offered a couple suggestions that she knew would fit our budget and our style. And sometimes they even get you discounts because they have worked with the vendors so much. It sped up the process and made it so much easier. It's a whole lot better to decide between two florists that you know will be great for you than going through a list on The Knot.
  • They remember and accomplish things the weekend of your wedding that you don't even think of. I mean how many times have you gotten married and had to remember all that stuff? Um, probably never. They do it all the time! They know exactly what to do and when to do it. So many people complimented me on the little details of the wedding, and I was like, oh please, I didn't remember that - it was my wedding planner!
  • I was overwhelmed thinking about the timeline of our wedding and in what order everything would actually happen. Don't think that matters? Think again. If you cut the cake and toss the bouquet at the beginning of the reception, people will be out the door. If you space everything out perfectly, guests will have a nice balance of celebration and all of those little activities that you want in your reception (special dances, dinner, cake, toasts, etc.). We met with the wedding planner and laid out the exact timeline of every detail so it would all flow nicely and optimize our time there. Do you know how comforting that was? After that meeting, I never had to think about the timeline again. I trusted my wedding planner to let vendors know when and where things were happening, and to guide me along during the night. I was at peace knowing that it was all planned.
  • Who's going to tell all your bridesmaids and groomsmen what to do at the rehearsal, in a nice but organized and firm way? Are you? Is your mom? Your mom's friend? A lady from your church? Have they done it before? Do you trust that person? Because it can get tricky, especially if you have a big group like we did. Our wedding planner knew it all and knew how to tell it all. Our rehearsal went smoothly and efficiently. Any question could be answered immediately. I was so thankful she was in charge.
  • This was probably the main reason I was extremely thankful for our wedding planner: I didn't want my mom to have to worry about anything. Yes, it was MY special day, but it was also my mom's special day! She birthed me, she raised me, she prayed for my marriage my whole life. She helped prepare me to be a wife for Jordan. I didn't want her to have to be stressed out at all, to worry about even one tiny detail. I just wanted her to be able to enjoy it and take it all in. Because we got a wedding planner - she was able to. And I'm so grateful.
  • Have you thought about the fact that something can and probably will go wrong your wedding day? I didn't really. And then a bridesmaid FAINTED during the ceremony. While she was standing on one of the top stairs. Next to a flaming candle. It could have been a disaster. Thank God, it wasn't. She was fine, and it didn't mess anything up at all. It was actually quite memorable. And thankfully, my wedding planner and her assistants were there to help the situation. You never know what's going to happen - it's awesome to have some people there for no matter what comes your way!
Honestly, I could keep going on and on about the benefits of a wedding planner, but I think I covered the important ones. I guess what I am trying to say is that IT IS WORTH IT.

You know what I did the day of my wedding? I woke up at a good hour. Spent some time with my Savior. Ate some breakfast and sat on the couch watching SportsCenter with my dad. Wrote my last letter to Jordan in the journal I gave him. Showered and put on my getting ready outfit. Got my bag that was already prepared with anything I would need, and headed over to The Grand Marquise Ballroom to get ready for my big day. 

I enjoyed time with my bridesmaids as they got dressed and ready. I ate a Chickfila sandwich that my maid of honor Maggie brought me. I danced to the music that was playing in the background. I sat there happily as Margo did my hair and makeup (I'll post about that later!). I was on a cloud. I worried about nothing.

Everyone kept commenting about how I was the most calm bride they have ever seen. Seriously so many people said that. And it was true - I was calm and completely at peace with everything. Why was that? Because everything had already been done. There was nothing to worry about. Every detail was covered. And a lot of that was due to our awesome wedding planner who was running around doing all the stuff that I didn't have to do and my mom didn't have to do. If not for any other reason, get a wedding planner to have that sense of calm and peace that I was able to experience on my wedding day. It was fabulous.

And who was our amazing wedding planner?? Why, the beautiful Shawn Schindler at Your Special Day Weddings and Special Events! She was SPECTACULAR! And so were her assistants. Everything I just described - she did. She did it all, and I am so thankful. She made our wedding day so much easier and enjoyable. I am sooo glad we used her. Check out her website (I'm in the photos!) and you will see the amazing weddings she has pulled together. I highly, HIGHLY recommend her. Here is her blog where she talks about all of the activities they are involved in. 

Shawn helping Chris get his studly look together.

Shawn's assistant helping Kyle with his boutonniere.

There she is making sure the guys know exactly what to do!

Shawn's assistants are behind me getting ready to "fluff out" my dress so it'd look perfect walking down the aisle. And it did :)


If you have any questions about wedding planners and how you can find out more information, or if you just have a random comment or question about anything involving wedding planning, please don't hesitate to ask me! You can comment on here or send me an email at ashley@christianwifelife.com.

Again, you will be able to access these Wedding Advice posts from the top menu bar. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

10 day you challenge: 7 wants.



10 Day You Challenge: 7 Wants

1. I want to be on fire for God constantly. No matter what my circumstance or mood is.

2. I want to be more crafty. (Um, Pinterest anyone?)





3. I want a sewing machine. And to re-learn how to sew. This goes along with the craftiness.

4. I want my husband to always be encouraged and blessed by me.

5. I want to be better at answering messages and emails. For real. I'm terrible at it. A goal for the week is to go through all of my Facebook messages that I've never read or answered and to respond!

6. I want to be able to pull off the look of a fedora. Maybe I will this fall. We'll see.



7. I want to leave a godly legacy!



...What do you want? Link back to me and let me know if you do this 10 day challenge! Then I can give a list of people who are doing this. :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

10 day you challenge: 8 fears.



10 Day You Challenge: 8 Fears

1. My biggest fear is that I have turned/am turning someone away from Christ. I know that it's ultimately not up to me, but I just never want to be a reason that someone doesn't want to be a follower of Him.

2. Another huge fear is that I won't be able to have children. But I know that even if I can't, God can fulfill the desires of my heart if those desires are focused on Him. Still a fear, though.

3. I fear that when I get older I won't be as attractive to Jordan. No, I don't think he's shallow, and I know he loves me for who I am with a love that comes from God, but I'm just being honest people. I want him to think I'm his beautiful girl forever.

4. Okay I'll get less serious haha. I'm afraid of bugs in the house. Especially when I see one and then I can't find it. And I picture it returning home to its family of 17 other bugs and them having a party in my chimney. I just got back from a weekend at Mountain Top and we had all kinds of bugs in my cabin. Also a snake. Yes, a snake. Which was not captured, but lost. So no one knew where it went. What a lovely thought when I was going to sleep last night.

5. I really truly fear car washes. I hadn't been in one since I was five (it traumatized me) until Jordan unexpectedly took me through one a couple months ago. I closed my eyes mostly. I really hate it.

6. I am afraid that there are hairs in my food. Gross.

7. Every year when it gets cold, I'm afraid to get in and out of my car because I know it will probably shock me. I hate getting shocked. I will avoid using my hands at all in the process to avoid it. Such as opening the door with my foot and then kicking it shut.

8. I'm always afraid that I'm not prepared for things. It could be anything - a test, packing for a trip, having people over - I just never think I'm fully prepared no matter how much time I've spent preparing. I'm weird.

Friday, September 23, 2011

10 day you challenge: 9 loves.


10 Day You Challenge: 9 Loves

1. I LOVE Goodberry's chocolate ice cream. I guess it's actually frozen custard. I'd rather have it than any other type of ice cream. That's a strong statement but I stand by it.



2. I LOVE when my husband sings and plays the guitar. I melt. He's so talented.



3. I LOVE shelves. Bookshelves, shelving units, really cool closet spaces, basically anything that can hold books or display things.

Source: bhg.com via Ashley on Pinterest


4. I LOVE clean sheets. They are so wonderful to crawl into at night. I feel so cozy and I seem to sleep better, although that's probably just in my head.



5. I LOVE reminiscing with my high school friends. They always bring up hilarious stories that I had completely forgotten. We were so ridiculous, and I'm so glad.



6. I LOVE reading. I could read all day for real. It's the most relaxing thing to me. I got three books yesterday at Lifeway. I'm PUMPED.



7. I LOVE those dancing hamsters on that car commercial. Hamsters should always dance. I'm pretty sure the first website I ever visited was hamsterdance.com. Actually, I'm going to see if it still exists.....it does. And you can even revisit the classic one. Sweet.


8. I LOVE Monopoly Deal. Too bad Jordan doesn't, or we'd play it all the time. Such a fun, quick, better version of Monopoly!



9. I LOVE when people read the blog, comment, and become followers. Which means I love YOU. :) Haha.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

10 day you challenge: 10 secrets.

I'm doing the 10 Day You Challenge that I found on another Ashley's blog. :)


So...10 Secrets. Here goes some transparency...

1. A lot of people say that if they could do it all over again, they wouldn't change a thing. They have no regrets because their mistakes made them who they are today. Yeah, I mean I guess that's true, but I would absolutely change some things if I could go back! I definitely have regrets! I hate knowing that I've hurt people.

2. I cried about those comments on my post about modesty. They hurt. But I'm thankful that they made me even more appreciative of God's grace and how He has forgiven me and redeemed me. I am nothing without Him.

3. I am messy. I'm trying really hard to be more clean and organized, but it does nottt come naturally to me. I'll probably be writing about this soon actually.

4. I tend to dwell on dwindling or lost friendships...they just drive me crazy. I always think I did something wrong. I try to realize that people change and move on and stuff but I just miss people. And don't like change.

5. A couple months after we got married, I had a really weird time of baby fever. I guess it was just that motherly instinct kicking in like heyyy you have a husband now so it's time to multiply! But that was short lived. Actually, I think I read my sister-in-law Danielle's account of having my nephew and it cured all fever. I want children whenever God wants me to have them of course, but now I'm just focusing on being a wife!

6. Speaking of kids, sometimes I wonder if and when we have our first kid, if he/she will be loved as much as my nephew...that sounds crazy, I know, and it is NOTHING against my Shelley side of the family because I know they will love her/him just as much, so I guess that's not even really what I mean. I guess I mean that it won't be as exciting as the first grandchild, or that they won't go as crazy over her/him or whatever. I don't know what I'm talking about. It just enters my mind sometimes.

7. I'm bad at prayer. But I'm learning about how important it is and how praying Scripture can help me with my prayer life.

8. Today my bra strap broke and I've been going about my whole day with only one strap.

9. Every year when basketball season has ended, I cry like a baby. I'm talking about SOBBING for hours. I grow so close to those girls I coach and I know that when they're done with high school it will never be the same. This past year was probably the worst for some reason. We won the state championship and after we finished celebrating that night I probably freaked Jordan out by crying for the rest of the night. I just love them dearly and invest so much time in it that it kills me when it's over.



10. I miss my middle name. Feel free to still call me Ashley Joy.



Let me know if you want to join in on the challenge. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

wedding advice - location.


My wedding was awesome. Seriously the best day ever. Perfect. 

I have a lot of girls ask me questions about their upcoming weddings or future weddings or dream weddings or whatever. Such as, "Who was that photobooth company you used?" and "Should I really get engagement pictures? Are they necessary?" and "What in the world am I supposed to do about this family that says they're bringing 8 people to my wedding when all I did was invite the parents?" These are all excellent questions. 

Yes, you can go to The Knot or read magazines and such for answers to these questions, but sometimes it helps just to talk to someone else you know who just went through it. I don't know how we would have done it all if a few of my best friends hadn't just gotten married. It helped me so much to to talk to them and to have gone through their wedding planning times with them. 

Therefore, I'm starting a series called Wedding Advice


Each time I write about it, I will cover a different aspect of weddings. I'll talk about what vendor we chose and why. (I say we because I didn't do anything related to the wedding without my mom's help!) I'll discuss what went wrong and what weird things to expect. And believe me...weird things happen. People are weird. I know this because I am weird. Anyway.

Then I will be compiling the different topics into a location that you can access at the top menu bar. Sound good? Good.

This post will be about Location!

Location is a stressful part of wedding planning. It's basically the first big thing you have to do, and it even dictates what date you choose. When you choose your location you have to know how many people are going to be there, what kind of atmosphere you want your wedding to have, and if you want it to be inside or outside. If your reception is going to be at a separate place, it has to be convenient for guests to get there. There are just so many things that go into picking a location. 

If you're getting married in a church and you already have that decided, well that's just swell. I had no idea where I wanted to get married, I only knew that there were going to be a lot of people there and I wanted it to be beautiful and have dancing afterward. You'd think that those are simple desires - but no. 

If I was going to get married at my former church Colonial Baptist, I would have to pick a location for the reception, which we tried to do. We researched EVERYWHERE in Cary and Raleigh. Most places had a cap of 150 or 200 people so they were instantly crossed off the list. It needed to be inside because I knew I couldn't handle the stress of an outside wedding and also March is a very inconsistent month with weather. It needed to actually be available since it was considered short notice.

Yes, 7 months is short notice, people. The average engagement these days is over a year, so that's why we looked for a wedding location literally the week after I got engaged. Places we kept calling and going to were booked. Don't wait to find your location! Do this immediately! People are booking things two years in advance!

After driving around and calling hotels and checking all over, I was a stressed mess. Don't do this. Don't sit in the passenger seat of your mom's car with your head on the dash whining about how you are never going to find a place to get married. It will happen. I promise. 

What happened that day was that Mom said out of the blue, Hey, why don't we go look at the place were Blake had Junior/Senior a few months ago? It's pretty new and it's close by.

At that point, I would have gone to look at a Bingo hall had my mom suggested it. I was down to look anywhere.


When we walked into the Grand Marquise Ballroom, I fell in love. It was gorgeous. It was big. I could see myself in a white dress with my man up on that landing. The big question....was it available? When I told them what day we were looking at - March 19th - she asked me if I was talking about 2012. Ha. When I told her 2011 she gave me a look that told me I probably was never going to walk into that ballroom again. I knew it would be booked. She said that they were booked up all the way through 2011....but then there it was. On her calendar. Gleaming with nothing but white space under the number 19. It was literally the only Saturday they had left. And it was mine. 

It was like God shone a light from heaven onto that calendar. Mom and I looked at each other and knew that this was the right place. When we brought Dad and Jordan the next day, they completely agreed. I went from stressed to extremely thankful very quickly. See how these things can happen? Why did I worry? :)

So anyway, I'll tell you about the Grand Marquise which is located in Garner, NC. Garner isn't exactly known for its extravagant ballrooms, I think maybe the only thing it's known for now is Scotty McCreery, so it is kind of an unlikely location. I'll give you a list of things that I loved about the Grand Marquise, and what ultimately convinced us (besides the light from heaven) that this was the perfect place for the wedding.

1. Meredith. - The person in charge of events there really knows what she's doing. She's a beautiful, friendly, young woman who was about to get married herself. She takes the time to meet with you as much as you want, meets with your other vendors, communicates wonderfully, and can answer any question you have. 

2. Bride and groom's rooms. - Everyone LOVED these rooms! They were extravagantly decorated and looked marvelous in pictures. In the girls' room there is a lot of mirror space including a 3-way! In the guys' room there is a flat screen TV on the wall, haha. It was so nice getting ready at the place; it definitely made it a lot less stressful that morning.



3. Versatility. - One of the main reasons I loved the Grand Marquise is because we could have the ceremony and reception in the same location. Actually, it was the same room! They are used to transforming the magical ceremony into a rockin' reception. I was a little nervous about this at first, but the Grand Marquise staff combined with all of my other vendors worked it out flawlessly. I am so glad we had the ceremony and reception in one place.

4. Beautiful details. - Let me just throw this out there: in the women's restroom there is a mini chandelier in every stall. Talk about details. EVERYTHING there is gorgeous. From the cherubs painted on the ceiling to the lighting that can change to any color, they did not miss a beat when designing this place. They even make you a monogram that they can shine onto the dance floor during the reception. I could go on and on!






5. Space. - Probably the #1 reason we were drawn to this place: it can hold a lot of people! We invited over 300 people and it worked out perfectly. The size of the dance floor was just right too, although you can make it bigger or smaller depending on what you want.


So that pretty much sums up The Grand Marquise Ballroom! You can visit their website here and find out more about them. I may come back to this and add some more locations with pictures from my friends' weddings. For now I'll just leave it at that.

More location questions? There are definitely no dumb questions when it comes to weddings...I was CLUELESS about everything. I'd be happy to help. 

Be sure to come back and read my other Wedding Advice posts in the future! :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

the weekend, soreness, and David Thompson.

I hope you had a fabulous weekend. I sure did.

Friday I had my big group fitness certification day at IFTA's Raleigh Fitness Weekend. I was nervous, but I think it went pretty well. I was definitely glad that I studied for that test.

Saturday I took a "Dance Evolution" class and a "Glee Goes Group" class with Petra Kolber and she is AWESOME. If and when I teach group fitness classes, I want to be like her. Energetic, encouraging, always smiling, funny - everything that made me feel great and believe that I could do it. I seriously could take her class every day. I might order some of her videos. She's from England so she has a cool accent too.

They were dance fitness classes which means they were my kind of classes. I love dance, so incorporating it into fitness is perfect workout motivation for me. Even though I've never watched Glee, (I know, I know, I would love it, I just can't commit) it was so cool working out and dancing to a medley of Glee songs. Very fun. I also took a Zumba class which was fun as well, especially because I was beside the cutest old lady. She cracked me up.

And then Sunday I took another one of Petra's classes and fell in love. It's called Batuka. Remember that, because it JUST came to the United States and I have a feeling it's gonna be big. It's kinda almost like Zumba, but better in my opinion. I'll tell you more about it at a later time because guess what.....I'll be getting certified to become a Batuka instructor next month! Yeeeauuhhh. I was going to get Zumba certified but changed my mind. I cannot wait. :) :) :) :) Okay that was smiley face overload but I care not.

On Sunday I also took a choreography construction class and a beginner instructor class. So as you can imagine, after all these classes and working out, I am wore slam out. Yesterday my legs hurt so badly...the worst was sitting down and standing up oh my word. I dreaded visits to the bathroom. I felt like such a wimp. But I like being sore because I know I got a really good workout! And it motivates me to work out even more! I'm so thankful that I got to participate this past weekend. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in fitness whatsoever.

A fitness instructor named Katie at NC State also blogged about the weekend. She and I have a lot in common (NCSU, hockey fan, fitness lover, blonde hair) and I will be sharing some of her fitness and health tips from time to time! :)

Saturday night we went to the NC State vs. South Alabama football game. South Alabama had never lost a game. They are a pretty new team (I think they were 19-0 or something) but that is impressive to start out so well. It was rainy...actually not rainy, it was MISTY the entire time. Like you can't tell if it's really raining but then you touch your hair and it's pretty wet and you're like oh it's raining. That kinda misty. But it was so fun. We won (go Pack!) and it was excellent time spent with my husband and my new best friend.

Who's my new best friend you may ask. Oh I'm just referring to my pal Dave. You may know him as David Thompson. Jordan and I were finding out seats when Jordan was like Hey! There's David Thompson! And I was like whaaaat and then he was all Hey! He's on our row! And I was all whaaaat and he was like Hey! Our seats are right beside him! And then I got all giggly and nervous.

But he was super nice and talked to us the whole time and told us some cool stories and it was SO AWESOMEEE! My mom told me to ask him over for dinner but I refrained.


We had such a fun time and became best friends.

If you don't know who David Thompson is, you need to change that immediately because he is the man. He is Michael Jordan's role model if that tells you anything. I'll let you read about him on Wikipedia if you actually don't know who he is.

Well I'm gonna go figure out what's for dinner. Have a great rest of your Monday, people!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

memorizing Scripture.

I love digging deep in God's Word. It is such a precious gift.

One thing I want to start concentrating on is memorizing Scripture.

When I was a counselor at camp, we could memorize verses every day to get points for our team. It was awesome, and the theme verse for the week - 1 John 2:6 - still pops into my head all the time. I love it when verses pop into my head. SO encouraging!

"Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." - Psalm 119:11

Memorizing Scripture can also stop us from stumbling. At that point of temptation it can come to our minds and be like NO. DON'T YOU DO THAT. GLORIFY GOD INSTEAD!

Therefore, I want more verses to pop into my head. How do I do this? Memorize them! And work on it every day!

I'm going to start out small and grow, hopefully. Like one passage per month so I can focus on a verse or two a week. Then they'll really be stuck in my head.

I'd also like to focus on verses that can be helpful for women specifically. If you have any passage suggestions please do share with me!

If you want to follow along and memorize the verses too, then let me know so we can encourage each other! You'll be able to locate the verses for the month at the top menu bar.

For the rest of September, I want to memorize Romans 8:31-39. I'll separate it into three sections to make it easier.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.


 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “ For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.



This seems like it could be Paul's pregame speech. Like he was telling the Romans to gear up to serve Christ and giving them all these awesome reasons not to be afraid and to be confident in the Lord. I know it definitely pumps me up...like I should put on a helmet and run through a banner that says "GO JESUS" or something after I read it. Which is why I want to memorize it.


I'm going to write it on our bathroom mirror.


I just wrote it on our bathroom mirror. Good.

Those words are gonna be hidden in my heart before I know it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

wednesday witness - week 7.

It's been a while since I've officially done Wednesday Witness, so today is the day that I'm back on track with my days. Maybe.

The church that we attend on Wednesday nights just started thing on Tuesday nights called Christianity Explored. I'm excited to be a part of it and be able to supplement evangelism with an invite to something that's not "church".



Basically it's a gathering of people at a coffee shop (Wake Zone Espresso in Apex) to hang out, eat food, watch a little video about the gospel of Mark, and discuss what being a Christian really is. Who God really is. What Jesus Christ did for us. What it all means. And tough questions such as these.

So I invited some people. Jordan did too. None of them could come last night, but I hope they will in the future. In the meantime, I'm going to keep asking people. It's not just for nonbelievers, it's a beneficial study for anyone. Don't get freaked out if I ask YOU, haha. It's just a great way to talk about spiritual things in an informal setting.

Also, I am asking for prayer for the weekend of September 23-25. The phrase that just popped into my head was "I covet your prayers", which makes me laugh, because I can't stand that phrase. For some reason it makes me cringe every time I hear someone say it haha. I know, I'm weird. Anywayyy, that weekend is Extreme Weekend at Mountain Top Youth Camp, yes the same place where I was a counselor this summer. It's a retreat for college age and older people. That sounds like I mean senior citizens but that's not what I meant. I meant older than college age. Like me and Jordan.

So there will be people there who don't know the Lord, or who don't know what following the Lord really means, or people like me who just need some spiritual fiyahhh! So pray for us. Thank you. Jordan and his brother Joseph will be doing the music, so I'm very much looking forward to that. Not looking forward to not sleeping with my husband. I'll try to refrain from sneaking into the boys' cabin.

So yeahhh, lots of stuff going on lately to pray for and prepare for and thank the Lord for! I appreciate your support. And if you want to come to Christianity Explored, or Extreme Weekend, or know anyone who should, please do tell them or let me know. Because it's all awesome and very much worth your time. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

cajun chicken pasta.

I haven't really branched out much with my cooking since we've gotten married.

These are my staple meals:

Tacos
Spaghetti
Different forms of Chicken (barbecue, Itailian, grilled, etc.)
Roast
Hamburger Helper/Chicken Helper/Asian Helper

And different vegetable sides, salads, bread, boringness, bleh.

These are all good things. Jordan enjoys them. I enjoy them. They full our tummies and tickle our taste buds.

BUTTT I want to start mixing things up now that I halfway sort of know what I'm doing.

So every once in a while (I'm hoping once a week but we'll see) I want to change it up and try something crazy. Or maybe not crazy but just not one of the things I mentioned above.

So on Saturday, I decided to try the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Cajun Chicken Pasta.


(To get to the recipe you can just click on the picture. It will take you to my Pinterest which has a collection of recipes that I want to try. Each picture takes you to the blog post where the recipe is found! It's easy.)


What I love about her recipes is that she takes you through every step, even little steps, with pictures. As in, I didn't know how to cut a pepper and she taught me how to cut a pepper. Awesome.


It honestly took me quite a while because I'm such a noob. But...I actually enjoyed the process. (Usually I don't truly enjoy the cooking process - I just want to eat.)


I loved the end result. Probably should have used more cajun spice and pepper and all that...I was hesitant because I didn't want to overdo it. But now I know. It was still excellent though.


Also, this has been the meal that keeps on feeding. I made it Saturday for both of us, Jordan had seconds, and then we both ate big portions of it last night for dinner, and then today Jordan took it for lunch. So the recipe size would definitely feed a family. I love leftovers so this made me extremely happy. :)


It wasn't too expensive either. Probably a little over $20 for me to get ALL the ingredients? (Except the white wine, haha. I figured I could do without.) And next time I'll already have the cajun seasoning and red pepper seasoning and all that good stuff so it'll be less. 


Here's my finished product:
Yum. Gotta have the Diet Sunkist. So good.


So that was my cooking adventure for the week haha. More to come, hopefully. 


If you're on Pinterest and have some recipe ideas for me, please do tag me in whatever recipe pin you would like for me to see. That'd be just swell.

Monday, September 12, 2011

a case of the somedays.

Jordan and I are getting ready to go to bed, trying to maneuver around each other to use the sink.

I think, "Someday we're going to have two sinks to use. Also more than one bathroom."

I'm trying to prepare a meal on a tiny bit of counter space. I barely move and lose four pieces of chicken to the floor.

I think, "Someday I'm going to have a huge counter and an island and this won't be a problem."

I'm stuffing things into our bookshelf wondering how I can actually make it look cute. Ehh, probably not possible right now.

I think, "Someday we'll have lots of shelving and I'll have a bookshelf wall with a ladder. Or maybe a library like in Beauty and the Beast."

I run out of space to put the clean clothes in our little closet, so I just lay them across the shelf, probably just for them to fall down and become discombobulated all over again.

I think, "Someday I'll be able to walk in a closet and see my clothes organized so nicely. I'll have a closet like this one."

I turn on three lamps to be able to find whatever I'm looking for in our bedroom.

I think, "Someday we'll have big beautiful windows in our bedroom that let all the light we want shine in."

I watch my car's odometer reach 222,000 miles and pray that it has a lot more to go.

I think, "Someday I'll have a shiny new car that probably won't have a tape player in it."

And then Jordan sets up the card table for us to have a romantic dinner together, after I worked so hard on that little counter to make a good meal for us. And he takes me to go get frozen yogurt in one of our old cars and we laugh at the funny noises it makes and sing on the way there. And we come home and read a devotional together out of a book that doesn't fit on the shelf. I grab one of his t-shirts to put on that are poking out of the closet that doesn't hold our clothes, and we joke around and tease each other as we're sharing that sink in the bathroom getting ready for bed, leaving the bedroom door open so some light from the bathroom will shine into our room in the morning.

And I forget all about my case of the "somedays".

And I thank God for all He's so graciously given us.

And I wonder how on earth I ended up with this amazing man by my side.

And I realize that there is no place in this world I'd rather be.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pinterest and Labor Day.

So since I just told y'all to follow my every thought on Twitter, I thought hey, might as well tell them to follow me on Pinterest too so we'll have every aspect of the internet covered.

So yeah. My Pinterest.

I haven't really gotten into following people on Pinterest that much because usually I just use it for bookmarking ideas. I need to sit down and really explore Pinterest and look at other people's awesome ideas. So I want to follow yours! It would have been nice to have it while I was planning the wedding. If you see something you like you just Pin It so easily and come back to it later, rather than saving links or bookmarking or whatev. And you can organize everything so nicely. Yesterday I pinned a bunch of Pioneer Woman recipes to be able to access them easily instead of looking them up. If you don't have one...I highly recommend it.



So there's my plug for Pinterest. Just go ahead and hop on that bandwagon. And if you want an invite let me know. :)

Today's schedule involves lots of studying for my upcoming fitness certification. I'm starting to get nervous about it and need to finish my study guide. So that's basically my day besides hanging out with my favorite person in the world.

It's so comforting to know that the Lord has a job plan for me. It would be so much more difficult to not know where in the world my life is going and also not know that God is in control. I can't grasp how people do that. But for now, my job is to first and foremost follow Him, and secondly support my husband. And those are the two things I know for sure. :)

Also, here are some pictures from my family's Labor Day trip to the mountains. It was amazing. I LOVE the mountains.









Love my family. Didn't want to leave. I'm so blessed. :)

Have a fabulous Saturday!

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