Wedding Wednesday: Honeymooning


It seems like we’ve tackled almost every wedding project under the sun except for planning our honeymoon. Which is actually really insane when you think about it since that is one of the most fun parts of this whole process! We’ve both done a little research but keep going back to the same dilemma…

All of our married friends have told us how exhausted we will be after all of the wedding festivities and to pick a relaxing destination. To us, a tropical vacation with not much to do sounds fantastic. But then I remember who I am, and a busy-bee like me has a hard time sitting for an hour, let alone an entire week. The pro’s of going somewhere tropical is that most are a close plane ride away, they are relatively affordable, and will still have warm weather in October.


The other part of me keeps telling myself that it’s our honeymoon, the once in a lifetime trip that we’ll never be able to do once we have a house and kids. Maybe I’ve been brainwashed by the marketing departments at The Knot, but there is a valid point to that. We don’t whats in the cards for us in the future and if we will ever have the time and money to do a big trip again. When you think of it like that, the options are endless. I would love to do Italy, Indonesia, Africa or Greece. But I know how much of a whirlwind a cross-Atlantic trip can be. We have gone on two week-long trips to Europe and were exhausted by the end. The flights are usually 9+ hours and then all of the smaller flights, trains, planes and buses required to get to your destinations.

I fully understand that this is a totally a First World Problem…and at the end of they day if we ended up at the Treehouse Vineyards in Monroe, North Carolina I would be fine because its a week away with my husband. But I also feel the pressure to start booking flights and accommodations since we’re almost to the 5 month mark! Would love to hear about your fabulous vacation destinations!


Citristrip FAIL

In college I had a kitchen table and four chairs that I painted black, which at the time seemed like a good idea. It has been in storage the last five years because I haven’t had the space in my condo. Now that we are moving into a new {grown-up} place, it’s probably time we stop eating on the sofa and on an hard surface.


We don’t anticipate being in our new place very long, so the table is just temporary until we are in our forever home and have the time and money to find a table we love. In the meantime, I figured I would stain the black college table a “mature” dark walnut. I googled many different solutions to removing paint from wood and repeatedly saw Citristrip. According to everything I read, you paint on the Citristrip gel, let it simmer for a bit, and then take a plastic scraper and the paint magically peels right off – hah!

Lucky for me, I’m engaged to my very own Ty Pennington who graciously helped (AKA is still wondering how he got roped into this) me with this project. He layered on the Citristrip and then went on a run (because that’s what you have to do when you’re on a wedding diet and you accidentally eat pizza and a milkshake the night before) while it worked its magic…


I honestly think I ran faster because I was so excited to come back and see the table. In my imagination, the paint had already begun to peel itself off, leaving very little for us to actually do once we got back. Again….hah! Matt began to scrape the paint, and it wouldn’t even budge.

This picture shows the progress that was made after thirty solid minutes of Matt scraping with all of his might. We even used a metal scraper instead of plastic like the bottle suggested. Such a bummer!



We decided to put on another really thick coat and let it sit for another 30 minutes. We came back outside, and again, no progress had really been made. A few hours and $40 down the drain, this is what the table looks like. At least you can see some wood now, right?



We both were really frustrated that the product didn’t work like it did in all of the YouTube videos we watched. Our next plan of attack is to borrow an electric sander (Thanks Smit family!) and go that route.  Right now the couch and coffee table doesn’t look so bad. As always, we are very open to suggestions!

How Charlotte’s Neighborhoods Got Their Names

Pretty interesting! via


Wonder how Myers Park or NoDa became Myers Park and NoDa? To track down these answers, we enlisted the help of Thomas Hanchett, local Charlotte, North Carolina historian and author of the book Sorting Out the New South City. 

Of course, this list isn’t comprehensive. Some neighborhoods didn’t make the list because their etymologies were obvious (we’re looking at you South End and University City), and some were omitted because there’s no reliable information (why does no one know where Chantilly originated?). But we’ve dug up some fun historical facts that explain where your neighborhood got its name—and possibly its personality.


Charlotte’s Arboretum neighborhood surrounds the eponymous shopping center (location of the city’s first Wal-Mart), which opened in 1989. The center and the neighborhood were named for the large quantity of trees that were in the area prior to its development.


Just outside the I-485 loop, this neighborhood is one of the city’s newer additions. It was originally farmland and a large family hunting preserve until Charlottean Smoky Bissell purchased the land (around 2,000 acres) for development in 1995 and named it after his aunt, Barbara Ballantyne.


© James Willamor

This community is home to the historically black college, Johnson C. Smith University, which was formerly Biddle University. The school—and ultimately the neighborhood—were named for Major Henry J. Biddle, an officer in the Union Army who died during the Civil War. His wife, Mary Biddle, donated funding in his honor to help found the college.


This South Charlotte neighborhood and shopping complex takes its name from James A. Blakeney. After his father, a South Carolina native, was killed during the Civil War, his mother resettled with her children in the Blakeney area in 1883. The family accumulated considerable holdings in the area, and the James A. Blakeney House, constructed in 1901, is still in the neighborhood—and currently for sale for $1.5 million.


© James Willamor

Historically, this small neighborhood has also been called Cherryton or Cherrytown. “It may have been an old plantation slave quarters,” says historian Thomas Hanchett. “Its name is said to have come from the cherry trees that once grew on its hillsides.”


© James Willamor

This neighborhood derived its name from the Cotswold Village Shops located at the intersection of Randolph and Sharon Amity Roads. The shops, which were once Cotswold Mall, were named for the charming Cotswolds area in England.


© James Willamor

Edward Dilworth Latta, a traveling salesman from New York, moved to Charlotte in 1876. In 1890 he joined with Charlotte’s mayor and four other investors to develop the city’s first street car suburb. Latta also created Dilworth’s Latta Park, which was originally an amusement park designed to draw city dwellers to see the neighborhood before it was developed. “He was a very modest man,” says Hanchett. “From what I know, he never named anything Edward.”


Prior to 1927, the land on the east side of Providence Road was primarily two dairy farms. At that time, Charlotte’s E.C. Griffith Company began creating an upscale new suburb aptly named for its location to the east of much of the city’s previously developed suburbs.


© James Willamor

When Charles B. King established a small Lutheran college for women in 1897, he named it after his mother-in-law, Anne Elizabeth Watts, because Watts’ husband, a tobacco businessman, had provided much of the funding for the school. The neighborhood takes its name from Elizabeth College, which stood on the present-day site of Presbyterian Hospital.


© James Willamor

By the 1850s the village of Charlotte had grown large enough that it needed to be separated into four political wards. A quadrant was made with the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets at its center. Charlotte officially ended the ward voting system in 1945, but the names of the center city neighborhoods stuck.


Want proof that Charlotte is still a young city? The name of this neighborhood, just outside of Uptown, has only been coined in the last several years. Named for Freedom Drive, Morehead Street, and the west side, its one of Charlotte’s fastest growing urban neighborhoods.


Arthur S. Grier was an influential African American leader in Charlotte during the segregation era. He was the owner of Grier’s Grocery on Monroe Road, and he built his home—which still stands—across the street from the store in 1922. Several business ventures later, Grier developed the land behind his home into the area that became known first as Griertown and later as Grier Heights.


© James Willamor

Charlotte resident Colonel William R. Myers is known for donating the land for the area’s first African American college, Biddle College (now Johnson C. Smith University) as well as Myers Street School, the city’s first public school for African Americans. His son, J.S. “Jack” Myers, came into his inheritance, which included 306 acres of then farmland, at the age of 26. Jack Myers accumulated more than 1000 acres, on which he created tree-lined roads and planted flowers, earning it the nickname “Myers Park.”

14. NODA

© James Willamor

The first question most people ask about this eclectic arts district is where it got its funny name. It’s short for “North Davidson,” the street that runs through its center. Architect Russell Pound originally coined the name in the early 1990s.


© James Willamor

While this east Charlotte area has plenty of historic roots, it wasn’t formally recognized as a neighborhood until 1973 when two residents decided to form a community organization. They coined the name by combining the area’s most notable residential street, The Plaza, with one of its larger subdivisions, Midwood.


© James Willamor

Today, SouthPark is one of the city’s most sought-after and upscale neighborhoods. But it was only with the arrival of SouthPark Mall in 1970 that Charlotte residents began to flock to this spot, which was once former North Carolina Governor Cameron Morrison’s 3,000-acre farm. The mall, titled for its picturesque location south of town, was the neighborhood’s namesake.


Like much of the South Boulevard corridor of Charlotte, this neighborhood was established in the latter part of the 20th century. Now it’s one of South Charlotte’s largest neighborhoods, but the initial construction spread from Starbrook Drive, which lent its name to the development.


Not surprisingly, this neighborhood is named after the small creek that runs through it. The origin of the creek’s name is a little less certain, but it’s believed that the Steele family were Scotch-Irish settlers who came to the area in the early 18th century.


This neighborhood, which opened as a streetcar suburb in 1913, was originally planned as a suburb for the city’s middle-income African American residents and named in honor of Booker T. Washington.


© James Willamor

This area was originally home to the Wilson and Moore farms. Hence, when it was converted into another one of the city’s streetcar neighborhoods in the early 20th century, the names were combined for Wilmore.

Q2 2015 Goals

It’s that time again! Although we are already halfway through April, here are my Q2 goals. Lots of wedding planning to be done!

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  • Book wedding photographer
  • Take engagement pictures
  • Book honeymoon
  • Order wedding invitations
  • Finish wedding website
  • Find a place for us to live
  • Read “Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill
  • Clean out my closets
  • Plant herb garden
  • Sand and Repaint Kitchen Table
  • Go to a  Hilliard class 4x a week
  • Hike Crowder’s Mountain

Wedding Wednesday: Our Engagement Party


This past weekend we celebrated our Engagement Party. To say that it was absolutely perfect would be an understatement. Multiple times I looked around the room and thought to myself, “wow, we are so lucky! There is a room full of people that love us a whole lot”.

We used Wedding Paper Divas for our invitations. WPD is always having some sort of sale or discount if you are thinking about ordering from them. They were very easy to work with and our invites came very quickly. WPD is owned by Shutterfly which has a distribution center in Fort Mill. We chose navy and gold since those are some of the colors we are incorporating in the wedding.



It is my dream to be a good calligrapher, but until that day happens, clear labels for the win! We downloaded a great calligraphy font from and printed labels with our guests addresses as well as return address labels. This saved a lot of time and was totally worth the few dollars it cost for Kinkos to do them. I’m sure it would be easy enough to do them on your own printer, but neither one of us felt like experimenting with that.



IMG_0600We chose to have the party at The Ashton in South End. It was the perfect venue choice. Many of our friends live in the area, and for those who stayed uptown, it was quick ride down on the light rail. The Ashton has a very large indoor area to rent and a great outdoor patio with amazing views of the city.


My mom decided to take on the challenge of catering the party herself. Is there anything that lady can’t do? She truly is Wonder Woman. She planned a menu full of great hors d’oevres and incorporated many of our favorite things including Chic-fil-A nuggets and a family friends famous Blue Cheese Dip. She decorated the space with hints of gold and white including pom-pom balls that hung from the ceiling. My mother-in-law did a great job of making two large flower arrangements that sat on the food and dessert table. We hired a bartender to help serve and replenish food; one of the better ideas we had. He was awesome and did all of the dirty work so that we could enjoy the party.


My family, Matt’s family, and my sister’s in-laws


Matt’s Family

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Momma + Me








Blake + Brittany & Kathleen + Brandon



Brittany & Kathleen



My dad’s best friends children…basically my cousins



Uncle Richard


Dustin & Caroline


My sisters in-laws


My dad and my sisters father-in-law


Chelsea + Kendall


Jason + Chelsea


The Davis Family

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Someone snuck in the Sweet Water…

It’s all fun and games until someone breaks out the Selfie Stick. Leave it to my sister (aka the life of the party) to bring one…


The Selfie Stick made a second appearance at the bar after the party…probably should have left that bad boy at home but the pictures are hilarious!


It is hard to put into words the gratitude that we feel for those who made it to our party. We both have small extended families but feel fortunate enough to consider many of our close friends as family members. It means the world to us for the people that traveled far distances to be there to celebrate us. For those who live near, it means just as much. There were a lot of people who helped my mom set-up before the event and those who stayed late to help us clean up. My parents and Matt’s parents both put a lot of time, energy, and money into the party, and we are forever grateful for that. This is an event we will never forget! Can’t wait for October 10th!

Q1 Goals: Revisited

It’s crazy to thing 3 months have already come and gone! While I accomplished most things on my list, I did leave a few things outstanding that I will roll over to next quarter. Thanks for keeping me honest and accountable!

  •  Put $1,000 into savings each month Thankfully my annual bonus was pretty good this year and I was able to put all of that into savings along with my $1k a month too CHA-CHING!
  • Pay off remaining credit card balance (~$600)  I will never use a credit card again, I will never use a credit card again!!
  • Save an additional $360/month to pay off student loan early I should have used my bonus check for this, but….nahhh
  • Complete one month of Whole30; lose 5 pounds I would say I completed 60% of this goal. I was a a bit over halfway though the month when the engagement happened to W30 came to a screeching halt with all of the celebrations
  • Read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill – didn’t get a chance to read this
  • Volunteer 1x per month

January: My dad and I took my parents dog, Ellie, to visit a nursing home one Saturday morning. It is amazing the amount of joy one little fluff ball can bring into someones life. She is always on her best behavior and the perfect size to hop into someones lap. There is something about a dog that is so therapeutic. I also cherish the time that I get to serve with my dad. I am thankful for his kind heart and that he passed down the importance of giving back




February: The Junior League of Charlotte has ‘adopted’ Reid Park Academy as our Cornerstone Project. Reid Park is a Pre-K-8, Title One, Community School in West Charlotte. There are eight neighborhoods that feed into Reid Park Academy where the median household incomes range from $7,460-$29,341. The Junior League has committed to a $1 million investment in Reid Park through 2016; $500,000 in funds and $500,000 of volunteer time.

I am an advisor to a group of amazing women who are in their first year in the League. Part of their new-member responsibilities included planning an event at Reid Park. My group did a fantastic job planning a day full of learning and fun surrounding black history month. The students learned about Phillip Emeagwali; an engineer, mathematician, computer scientist, and geologist. After the teaching, the students split into groups and were instructed to make the tallest structure they could using spaghetti noodles, tape, string, and a marshmallow. I was amazed out how ingenious the structures were. Kids have a great way of jumping in without over analyzing every detail. I loved my day at Reid Park Academy and think I might have had more fun than the kids did 😉

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March:  A few people from my company  volunteered at Urban Ministries. We met early and prepared lunch and then served it. Urban Ministries serves meals 7 days a week, and has two hot meals on Tuesdays and Fridays. They also have showers, telephones, mailboxes and provide rides to interviews, etc. They also provide drug and alcohol abuse counseling, job counseling, and have an art room where the ‘neighbors’ can be creative. The art is then sold and the neighbor keeps half, and the other half goes back into the program. The volunteer coordinator expressed to us that many of the neighbors who cycle through were simply dealt a bad hand, or an unexpected illness came through and wiped out all that they have. It really put into perspective how easy it is to lose everything. I did not know this organization existed but am so glad for all they are doing for the homeless population in Charlotte.


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  • Be more spiritual – 10 minutes of quiet time/devotion/meditation daily I have been forcing myself to get up 10 minutes earlier each day so I can focus and set the intention for the day. Waking up at the last minute and rushing to get out the door started the day with a frazzled feel. I love my quiet time in the morning before I go out in the world. I either read a devotion from “Jesus Calling”, or visit the app/website “She Reads Truth”. I’ve also downloaded a few free meditation Podcasts which I enjoyed a lot more than I thought I would.
  • Find a church home and attend regularly After a lot of searching, Matt and I finally feel like we’ve found a church home. We attended a very large church here in Charlotte, but never felt truly connected. After attending Watershed on a whim (we received a postcard in the mail!) we were hooked. After only attending twice we had already jumped right in and have joined a small group/Bible study. There is something about Watershed that is so authentic and pure. It is a lot smaller than what we were used to so there is truly a community feel. You can tell that you are not just a number and that everyone there is valued.
  • Explore MBA programs and/or SPHR certification I attended an info session for the University of South Carolina MBA program. The program sounds great, but with all that is involved with planning a wedding, this will unfortunately have to be put on the back burner.
  • Send 3 random notes/call friends or family I’ve lost touch with The engagement was my big news of the quarter {year} so that gave me a good reason to call or get in touch with family & friends I don’t always keep up with.
  • Complete a social media detox for 7 days I actually did this twice since I enjoyed the first round so much. In order to completely detox, I had to actually delete the apps off of my phone and iPad. I know this is sad, but the habit of rolling over first thing in the morning and checking Instagram was too tempting. The apps have all  been re-downloaded, but it was certainly nice to take a break from the constant checking and refreshing.