The GREATEST day ever!

Saturday, January 17th, 2015 was the GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE! Matt asked me to be his WIFE!!!!

It all started around 9:00am that morning…I had planned to go to my tennis lesson at noon that day. Matt asked me if I wanted to come work out at the gym in his apartment building before my lesson. A few of these things sounded odd to me…1) why would I want to work out…especially on the weekend? 2) Why was Matt awake so early on Saturday?  I didn’t put too much thought behind it and begrudgingly said “yes” since I knew I would soon have to be in a bathing suit for our upcoming Mexico trip.

When I arrived at Matt’s building, he told me to come up to his apartment. He still needed to get changed for the gym. While he was doing that, I was going on and on about shoe polish of all things! In typical Matt fashion, he was taking his sweet time getting out the door. I finally asked “are you ready??” because time was ticking and we weren’t going to have much time to work out if I still planned to get to tennis. Looking back on it now, my question of “are you ready” was very symbolic. Matt said that when I asked him that, he was thinking in his head. “oh, you have no idea!”. We left Matt’s apartment to walk down to the gym and were down the hallway when he realized he forgot to grab a water bottle. He ran back inside to get it. Next thing I knew, he was calling my name from inside the apartment. I thought to myself “what in the world does he need my help for?”.  I opened the door and when I did, I saw him down on one knee with an open ring box. I instantly started crying and so did he. He could barely get his words out and I was already sobbing. I ran over to him and hugged him for at least two straight minutes. After telling me some of the sweetest things I’d ever heard, he asked me if I would marry him and I proclaimed YES! He finally said, “WELL! Do you want to see the ring??”.  I was so caught up in moment I didn’t even remember the ring I had been so concerned about. We were both shaking so bad that getting the ring on my finger took some work.

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The ring is the most perfect thing I have ever seen. The most special part about it is that Matt designed it himself. What started as a sketch on a scrap piece of paper turned into the most elegant, classy, and “perfectly me” ring. Just knowing that he put so much love, research and effort to make it perfect for me makes it my most prized possession.

We were still in shock, but couldn’t contain our happiness. We immediately called and FaceTime’d all of our family members and our grandparents. We were both in tears and could not stop shaking with excitement.  Matt then told me that his parents were on their way to Charlotte from Florida and that my parents would be coming over later as well.  He had planned a fun afternoon for just the two of us to enjoy before everything got crazy. We first went to Common Market to get some champagne. This was our first date spot. Next we went to Blackfinn, where we met. We sat in the exact same seats and ordered the same drinks we had almost three years ago. We told pretty much everyone who would listen that we just got engaged. We were so happy it was hard to contain it.

After our afternoon together, we went back to Matt’s apartment where is mom and dad were preparing a feast. His mom had made all of his favorite foods, brought roses and put pictures of us up around the apartment. My parents got there around 5pm and we were all enjoying the celebration. At one point, my dad said, “I wish Whitney and Bob could have been here”, and POOF! Out they came from Matt’s bedroom. It was the second most shocking moment of the day! Matt had called my parents and sister the day before to ask their permission. As soon as my sister found out, she booked flights from Chicago for her and Bob. No one knew they were coming, not even my parents. When I had Facetime’d them earlier in the morning, they said they were at “brunch”. But they were really at a restaurant in the Charlotte airport! We ended up staying at Matt’s house until almost midnight playing games and celebrating the big news.

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I must have woken up at least ten times throughout the night to check my nightstand to make sure my ring was still there and that it wasn’t all a dream.

The next day was Matt’s moms birthday. Bless her for sharing her day with us! We all met up at Vivace for brunch and mimosas. Coincidentally, Vivace was where our second date (or first if you ask Matt) took place. It was a great celebration and there were many tears when we said our goodbyes to them. Words cannot describe how much it meant to me that they made the trip to NC to share in this special time with us.

To say we are on Cloud 9 would be an understatement. A week and a half later I still feel like I am beaming. I never knew a happiness like that existed. Of course I knew I always wanted to spend the rest of my life with MRH; but something about it feels so different now that I know I will be. Knowing that when we’re 85 and old, he will still be by my side makes me the happiest girl in the world. Our family and friends have made this special time in our lives unforgettable. I can’t count the amount of times we’ve both said how lucky we are. It’s so amazing the support and love that we feel.

When I was 11 years old I attended a Christian summer camp called Doe River Gorge. It was there that the idea of “praying for your future husband” was introduced. I had never thought about that concept before. But over the last 16 years I would get giddy thinking about it. I remember lying in bed at night as a middle-schooler wondering who he was, or where he was, or what he was doing. I always trusted that God was working behind the scenes to make my perfect match and that he would bring him into my life at the exact right moment. All of my dreams and all of my prayers became a reality on January 17th when Matt asked me to be his forever. The love we share is effortless and I’m so thankful God’s plan was immeasurably more than I could have ever dreamed. Without a doubt, I am the luckiest!

And in case you’re wondering how I felt when I woke up the next morning…

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Friday5

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1. Tablet Pillow: Please tell me I’m not the only one who turns their bed into a movie theater nightly? With almost all networks having an app now, and the option to watch all my favorite shows on demand, there really isn’t much need for cable anymore (sorry, NOT sorry Time Warner!). Most nights I find myself catching up on Housewives (and being stunned at Brandi’s appalling behavior) or trying to catch up on Homeland since I’m basically living in the early 1900’s since I’m still on Season 2. Anyways, I used to prop my iPad up on a pillow, or the dog, or my headboard or any surface really until my dad gifted me this fabulous tablet pillow. It has a pocket that holds the iPad and a pocket on the side for any accessories you may need to carry with you (headphones, remote, etc.). The best part? When you accidentally fall asleep you now roll over on a soft plush pillow and not the freezing cold metal of your tablet.

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2. American Sniper: I am not a movie person, AT ALL. I’ve seen one movie start to finish in the past 10 years. But for some reason, American Sniper has really caught my attention. I saw an interview with Chris Kyle and was hooked. He has 160 confirmed kills but its likely more around 255. The saddest part is that he was killed almost two years ago, but in Texas, not on the front line.  I’m sure it will be really intense, but looking forward to seeing it tonight.

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3. Uber cutting prices in CLT: As if Uber was not already fantastic enough, they’ve now made themselves even cooler by reducing prices in 48 U.S. cities, including Charlotte! The price cut supposedly drives higher demand, which in turn drives more rides and more mulah for Uber. If you haven’t heard my sales pitch for Uber yet, you can read it here or here. I swear I should be an ambassador.

4. Uber rates YOU: While we’re talking Uber…I recently found out that your driver rates you after each ride too. This discovery sent me into an instant tailspin of worry wracking my brain to remember if I had ever been rude, too chatty, not chatty enough, etc. I finally got brave enough to ask my last driver, and the good news is that I’m proudly sporting a 5 star rating!

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5. Resolution, Schmesalution: I heard on the news that today is the day that most people have given up on their New Years Resolutions. I am on day 13 of Whole30 (will post more about this) and can say I’m still going strong. Have you fallen off the wagon yet?

Blue & White Thanksgiving Tablescape

My grandmother passed away when I was in the 8th grade, but I have vivid memories of having Sunday dinner at her house in Virginia. We would all sit in the exact same seats and have the same meal, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. She was the sweetest and I wish I would have had more time with her as an adult because I know there was a lot more to her than I ever got to know. Besides the exquisite butter beans and mashed potatoes, I remember her blue and white china that we would eat off of. When my grandfather eventually passed, my dad and his brothers divided up their belonging and then sold what they didn’t want to keep. Unfortunately, as an 18 year old, I never thought to ask my dad to keep her plates for me. Fast-forward to two years ago when I decided I had to have that china. There was a small chance that one of my uncles kept it which is when the investigation started. There were emails, texts and phone calls and then eventually tracking down an ex-wife, but unfortunately the search came up empty. Although I didn’t have my grandmothers personal china, I knew I could honor her memory (and mine) by finding something similar.

If you’ve ever searched for blue and white china, you’ll find there are many different brands and patterns out there. Most have an Asian motif, but I specifically remember my grandmothers having historical scenes on them.

After scouring antique shops, estate sales and yard sales, I finally found the version she had; Shaffordshire Liberty Blue china. It turns out, my grandmother purchased the china using S&H green stamps; which was a program popular from the 1930s to the 1980s that allowed consumers to collect stamps from the grocery store, gas station, dry cleaners, etc. and then redeem them for items. Just knowing that my grandmother tirelessly saved for her set makes me love them even more.

This past year I completed my set of 12 dinner plates. I still have a few more salad plates to go, but I’m almost there. I’ve been to antique stores from Concord, NC to Alabama and it has been such a fun adventure for my mom and me to collect. Since my set was recently completed, I knew I wanted to use them for my Thanksgiving Tablescape this year. Typically, I’m in charge of the deviled eggs…and that’s about it. So, my mom was pleasantly surprised when I asked to take over the décor for the event.

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The blue and white plates served as a great neutral for the palate I was going with, but wanted to add some pops of color as well. I used gold and magenta for accent colors and to create a modern look to balance out the “traditionalness” of the the plates. The magenta napkins were $7 for 14 napkins, so I knew at such a steal I could throw them away after the dinner and be fine with it. To personalize the napkins, I ordered heat transfer “H’s” and “S’s” from Surcee Monogram Shop and ironing them on was a breeze (AND they stayed on after the napkins were washed).

I also asked my family to take a silhouette picture of themselves and then turned them into these personalized place settings using some cheap wooden frames from Michael’s and gold spray paint. {silhouette tutorial here}

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For the centerpiece I bought two fake pumpkins from Michael’s, spray painted one a glossy blue and left the other orange. For the blue pumpkin, I added a large “H” vinyl decal and an assortment of navy polka dots to the orange pumpkin, again from Surcee. I cut a hole in both pumpkins and stuffed with some fall colored flowers.

I added some other small pumpkins, fall foliage from the yard, and lots of tea lights and candles to add to the ambiance. Overall, I am very happy with how my tablescape came together. It was such a fun project to work on and I love that in incorporated old and new, modern and traditional!

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Q1 2015 Goals

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At the beginning of each year I like to make a list of all of things that I would like to change or achieve in that year. Truth be told, by March or April, my goals have fallen by the wayside and I’m back to my Chick-fil-a breakfasts and obnoxious Target spending habit. I recently read this article that said making 90 day goals  can help you to be more successful in keeping your resolutions. The reason? Most people tend to slack off when they think they have an entire year to accomplish something. If you set goals in smaller increments it helps you to laser-focus on what you want and then you can do quarterly progress evaluations and reset when necessary. I hope that by publishing my list publically it will help me stay accountable. So, without further ado, here is my Q1 2015 list of goals:

  •  Put $1,000 into savings each month
  • Pay off remaining credit card balance (~$600)
  • Save an additional $360/month to pay off student loan early
  • Complete one month of Whole30; lose 5 pounds
  • Read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill
  • Volunteer 1x per month
  • Be more spiritual – 10 minutes of quiet time/devotion/meditation daily
  • Find a church home and attend regularly
  • Explore MBA programs and/or SPHR certification
  • Send 3 random notes/call friends or family I’ve lost touch with
  • Complete a social media detox for 7 days

I’m Baaaack!

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Wow – how has it been SEVEN MONTHS since I last posted? Time has a funny way of getting away from you. Things at work really started to pick up towards the beginning of summer and I was traveling almost every other week. When I was in town, I was trying to catch up on everything I had neglected, and sadly the ol blog did not make the list of top priorities. Between Matt and I, we had 15 weddings to attend last year as well. Most weekends were spent traveling throughout the southeast to parties, showers, or weddings, and then spending Sunday’s recovering and being bummed the hamster wheel of life started again the next day. The reason I started my blog was so that I would have a place to record what was happening in my life (and because my parents and grandmother are avid readers). I know one day when I’m old and gray and in the nursing home, I’ll be glad I can look back and remember how awesome life was. I resolve to be better about keeping up with it in 2015!

Oh what a year 2014 was! We kicked off the year by spending my 26th birthday in a castle in Slovenia and skiing the Alps in Switzerland (not sure how Matt plans to top that this year…).

I knew I wanted to use the year to soak up and learn the most I could. My motto was to be the best version of myself that I could be. I learned how to sew and shoot skeet. I took calligraphy lessons and somehow roped Matt into taking an 8-week shag dancing course, which was more fun than I can even describe. We were the youngest by at least thirty years. The dance hall was straight out of 1970’s Myrtle Beach. After class, the “club” opens it’s doors to it’s “members” for Open Dance Night, and most Thursday’s we found ourselves stumbling out of there at closing time after a few too many vodka soda’s.

I also started taking tennis lessons, which is by far is the best part of every week. I’m no Sharapova, but there is something about it that is addicting and I hope I continue to get better. I also started seeing a personal trainer three mornings a week. I’m not sure what’s worse…the 5:30am wake-up call, or the burpees. He pushes me to my limit and has taught me I’m much stronger than I give myself credit for.

Along with the 15 weddings, I was able to see my college best friends for two Delta reunions, went to USC, Panther and Virginia Tech football games, tried a new winery and a hipster bike riding club. We took our annual 4th of July trip to Chicago and the Hewitt’s and Stanton’s traveled to Jacksonville for the first annual “July Jacksonville Jubilee” at the Helgeson’s.  To top it all off, a selfie with Al Roker.

2014 was, with ease, the best year of my life. I am well aware I am blessed beyond measure and am looking forward to the opportunities that 2015 brings!

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