December 30, 2015

Our Wedding Video

Our wedding day was one of the most memorable days I've yet to experience. And finally, the day has come when I can share our wedding highlight video! It only took a short period of time for us to figure out that working with Good Earth Films would be the best decision for us regarding capturing our day on video. Alex and James, who happen to be the most precious married couple ever, were such a dream to work with! We first met them for a consultation at Maxie B's in Greensboro. And from that day, we knew we were in good hands.

So without further ado, go and view our video here! If you are in the mist of planning a wedding, I hope our video inspires you to have a videographer a part of your big day. I can't tell you how many times we have watched our film! There were so many moments that had us rolling with laughter and it's been such a joy to "experience" all over again and as often as we want!
Photo's taken by Callie with Nancy Ray Photography

December 4, 2015

A guide to One World Observatory and Brooklyn

Happy Friday! Hope you enjoyed yesterday's city guide for NYC! If you didn't catch it, you can take a look at it here. Today I wanted to focus on our time at One World Observatory and Brooklyn! The whole experience of One World Observatory was outstanding. It was truly an amazing experience. After visiting, I highly recommend dedicating at least an hour to take everything in. Also, try to buy your tickets ahead of time to save yourself from having to stand in line. The day we went, we saw the line was really long so we were thankful to have gotten our tickets before our trip!

Let me tell you a little about our experience though. Before hopping in one of the elevators for a quick 60 second ride up 102 floors, you start in the global welcome center were you continue forward through an area that leads you to the sky pod elevators. The elevators are one of the coolest features of the observatory and inside you will notice floor-to-ceiling LED technology were you experience a virtual time-lapse of NYC's skyline development over the years. Really cool. I wish I had gotten a photo to share but maybe next time!
Once you reach the top, you view a two minute presentation before heading to your final destination; the main observatory! You guys, the views are amazing. I literally was speechless with the 360 degree views. The sun was even shining and our view was crystal clear!
After taking in all of the breathtaking views, we took the metro over to Brooklyn. Brooklyn was right up my alley in terms of neighborhood vibes. Before we started exploring, we got pizza at Fascati Pizza in Brooklyn Heights. Will was in heaven and thought this was the best pizza he has ever had. I on the other hand like my pizza's with thick crust.
After eating lunch, we walked through Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens. Cobble Hill was by far my favorite with all of the brownstone-lined streets home to trendy cafes and historic buildings galore. If in the Brooklyn Heights area, make sure to take a quick stroll down the Promenade which is a really pretty boardwalk area overlooking the Statue of Liberty and downtown Manhattan.

Even though our feet were killing (mine in particular) we wanted to walk the Brooklyn Bridge and had timed it just right...the sun was getting ready to set right as we found the entrance! Walking the bridge was a fun adventure. Even though it was crowded with bikers and lot's of people, we still enjoyed our leisurely stroll. Anytime we come to NYC, I think this will be one stop we always make.

December 3, 2015


Anytime I hear someone mention NYC I think of the song 'Welcome to New York' by Taylor Swift. From the bright lights to the hustle and bustle, I can confidently say that NYC is a pretty exciting place to visit (or live) and my first trip a few weeks ago was one for the books thanks to the hubs for gifting me the trip as an early birthday present! There is so much to see and do and we checked off most of the items on our itinerary. I quickly learned however that there is just SO much stuff to see and do that you can't possibly accomplish it all. No way Jose!  At the end of the day though, the trip was so much fun...plain and simple!

Below is a guide to some of my favorite things we did, places we went and recommendations I gathered from fellow bloggers, friends and family. Let me know if y'all have been checked out any of the items from the list or if there is anything I should add for future trips to the big apple!


The Pod Hotel 39 (Between 3rd Avenue and Lexington Avenue) - We stayed here the first night we arrived since we didn't land in New York until after 8:00 pm. The rooms are small but we didn't want to spend a lot of money since we only planned to stay for one night. While doing research, I saw that the hotel was in a great location and had a rooftop bar and restaurant called Salvation Taco that made this place all the more appealing.
Airbnb (We stayed here in the Lower East Side/Bowery area) - Will and I had previously stayed at an Airbnb when we went to Savannah, Georgia and had a great experience. You can read about that experience and see where we stayed here. I love the feeling of living like a local and wanted an authentic experience while in NYC so what better way then to do it again, this time in a different city. Our experience was wonderful and our host was so easy to work with. He gave us a tour of his place the day we arrived, told us about the area, recommended a few places for us to check out and was available by phone anytime we needed him.

See & Do


One World Observatory - The views! I'll be sharing more about our experience here in tomorrow's post along with a guide to Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge!

Central Park - For obvious's amazing. I wish we could have explored the entire park!
The Plaza Hotel -I've seen many photos of the Plaza Hotel and was excited to see it in person. Ahem, it's beautiful and really hard to leave! But to be honest, I was most excited to find Eloise! This was my birthday present after all so Will had to suck it up and deal with my little girl excitement haha...
Time Square - To be honest, Time Square was too touristy for me and way to crowded which I knew it would be. Granted we went at night when all the buildings were shining bright and ton's of people were stopping every few seconds to take photos. I did some research before our trip and found out that if you want to see panoramic views of Time Square, you can go to the cocktail bar called the R Lounge in the Renaissance Hotel (at 48th and 7th) which we did and that I don't regret! We even stayed awhile and ordered cookies and ice cream as a late night snack.
Birchbox in SoHo -A few years ago I subscribed to Birchbox so getting to visit in person was really fun. The store has a downstairs area for guys and for in-store services where you can get your hair and makeup done too.

Barney's, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Century 21 - Our favorite department store was Bloomingdales! I got the Kate Spade hat I'm wearing in my photos from their and Will got a few things for himself as well. Our second favorite store we visited was Saks. I got a really pretty Rebecca Taylor cocktail dress (this one is very similar) to wear to Will's company Christmas party!

Brooklyn Bridge - We walked from the Brooklyn side back towards Manhattan and I'll go into more detail and include photos in tomorrows post.

Flatiron Building - For a good view head to Broadway and East 23rd Street.
Lord and Taylor Holiday Window Displays - A lot of stores hadn't finished setting up their holiday window displays but Lord and Taylor had and it was to die for! Everything was perfectly done and so beautiful.
Bonobos - We were able to go here for Will (it's mainly a men's clothing line) without making an appointment which was awesome! This is their flagship store where you view all their merchandise in person and work with a stylist to see what best suits you and then order online. I think Will had a great time and walked away with a herringbone wool blazer that arrived at our house within days!

Eat & Drink


Penelope - We went here for breakfast and I got the french toast which was so good! If you decide to go here, make sure to go first thing in the morning because there isn't much room once you are inside and they are always busy from what we were told. We got there before 9:00 am and as we were leaving there was already a long wait...and it was a weekday!

Tisserie - We stopped here for a quick pick-me-up coffee and pastry after shopping at Bloomingdale's and Barneys.
Catch- This restaurant is a MUST! The atmosphere is what caught my eye but the food is just as good. It's on the pricier side but worth every penny, I promise. Will got east coast oysters and the fresh catch of the day and I got the macaroni and lobster cream. For dessert we got the "Hit Me" chocolate cake.
The District - We went here for dinner one night and got burgers. It's pretty small on the inside but looked a lot bigger in the photos just a heads up.

Refinery Rooftop - The best rooftop bar we went! You had a great view of the Empire State Building and lot's of outdoor seating. It was cold outside the night we went but we sat outside anyways because they had the heaters turned on and the views were worth the frozen faces and hands.
The Bluebell Cafe - There was a line of people already waiting to be seated when we arrived here for breakfast but it went quick and the food was pretty good.

Rosa Mexicano - We went here for dinner and Will thinks they had the best guacamole he has ever had. One of his coworkers/friends told him about this place and Will made reservations for us before our trip and besides Catch, this was defiently a favorite food place for us. Who doesn't like Mexican food?! Oh and we went to the one near the Lincoln Center on Columbus Avenue.

Cafe Lalo (dessert) - You guys...this place is like a dreamy slice of Paris and was featured in the movie You've Got Mail. Inside there are tons of French posters, marble tables to dine at and twinkly lights both inside and outside. We went pretty late at night and decided to get dessert to go.

Photo Op's!

Kelsey Montague's "What Lifts You" Mural on the corner of Kenmore Street and Mott Street in the NoLita area.

West 10th Street in Greenwich Village has beautiful townhouses and elegant architecture.

Another street with well-kept townhouses is known as "The Beautiful Block" on East 19th Street between Irving Place and 3rd Avenue.

There is a waterfall tunnel on 48th Street between 6th and 7th Street, along with a large waterfall display at Paley Park on 53rd between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue.

I didn't check this one out but I hear if you want a photo that has a magical feel to it then there is a tunnel of vines that are intertwined with lots of twinkling lights that can be found near Perry Street.

Eat & Drink (for our next visit) 


Serendipity for a sweet treat.

Drinks at Tipsy Parson.

Cafe Cluny - I hear it feels like you are being transported to a small french town and the waiters wear breton stripes.

The Spotted Pig.

Two Hands and Happy Bones for coffee.

Hamilton's Soda Fountain.

Levain Bakery - I hear they have amazing cookies.

December 2, 2015

Hello, December

Hello, December! So far you've been pretty enjoyable, even if it's only day two. But to be honest, the days months leading up to you weren't all that I expected. I experienced a handful of lows that have weighed heavy on me such as a neck issue that has been a constant battle and may possibly lead to surgery along with my job coming to an end as soon as I got back from a wonderful getaway to NYC with my husband. But you know what? I don't want to waste anymore time trying to figure out why certain things happen.
I recently came across something that said "trials and obstacles are the Lord's chosen methods of discipline and His appointed conditions of success." and even though I know this to be true, it's not always easy to believe. Yes...I'm human and I question God and find myself constantly ask him "why me?". Am I the only one who does this? I hope I'm not alone!
This past Sunday at church, the sermon was about being thankful. Coincidence? I don't think so! As we were leaving and getting ready to grab lunch, I realized that I have so much to be thankful for but don't take the time to "count my blessings". Constantly I find myself thinking about how I deserve better. I feel I deserve my dream job, friends who are perfect, a marriage that is in a constant honeymoon stage and much more. But while we live here on earth, nothing will ever be perfect and we can't keep trying to understand everything God has up his sleeves.

So where do I stand and how am I feeling? Blessed. And hopeful. Like I said, it' not always easy to see the blessings God has put in front of us and all the things we have to be thankful for. Yesterday, I literally got out pen and paper and wrote all the positive things that have come out of my recent trials and obstacles (a lot of its revolving around being unemployed because I've never had to go through this before)...
  • Even though I've been battling a neck issues for years, I don't have to live with as much pain as I would if it weren't for physical therapy and medicine to help lessen the pain.
  • I have a husband who works extremely hard and because of that, I don't have to be scared about our finances while I'm seeking employment.
  • Because I don't have a job at the moment, I'll be able to help Will out by getting Christmas gifts for everyone on our lists during the week so that we can spend quality time relaxing together on the weekends.
  • My mom is also having knee surgery at the end of the month and I'll be able to go stay a few days to help her out while in recovery. Sorry I couldn't do this for you dad when you had yours!
  • I've been able to get back into a normal workout routine and try out new classes like Zumba.
  • I've had time to deep-clean and organize all the miscellaneous things around our house!
  • Will and I spent Thanksgiving and my 27th birthday with my family in Greensboro
  • We went and picked out our first tree together and got to decorate it and fill it with ornaments we've been collecting.
Whew! What a lengthy blog post y'all but this topic is near and dear to my heart so thank you to those who made it this far! Let me end today's post by asking you to join me at attempting to be more content with who you are, where you am in life, and what you have TODAY.

Oh, and before I forget, come back tomorrow for a fun post of my getaway to New York City! I can't wait to share all of my favorite places we went, restaurants I recommend and the itinerary I created and will be sharing.

October 9, 2015

Curly Hair

Happy Friday, friends! Before you continue reading this post, please take a minute to watch this short video by will make the rest of my blog post make sense!
They say you always want what you don't have, and for me that's naturally straight hair. Ever since I was little, I've had curly hair. There were periods of my youth that I distinctly remember not knowing how to style or maintain my curls, so I disliked it even more, especially on days when it was unruly. The thing that was the biggest pain for me was the time it took to get my hair how I wanted. Some days this could be HOURS, depending on if I left it curly or tried to straighten it out.

But over the years, I've discovered a handful of hair products that have helped eliminate out of control frizz, that don't make my hair feel stiff and crunchy and even keeps my curls in tact all day long. It's been trial and error as I'm sure you can imagine, but over time, I've found what works for me and have been able to embrace and love the hair I was given.

Now I won't say I wouldn't trade my curly hair for straight hair (if I could that is), but I will say I've learned to work with what I've got and to be blessed as is. I mean, I can't complain that I can go days without having to wash my hair and it looking dirty and can wear my hair a number of ways because of how thick my it is. So really I just need to remember there are positives to everything, even hair!
Below are a few of my favorite products I've been using recently. Whatever type of hair you have, what are your favorite products to use? I'm always interested in trying new ones out! Oh! Before I forget, I've been following Leigh Ann on Youtube recently and she always shares hair tutorials, product reviews and is the cutest thing ever so check her out for some inspiration.

DevaCurl DevaTowel
Drying your hair with a normal towel can often leave your hair frizzy. The DevaTowel on the other hand is made of microfiber and absorbs just as much water as a terrycloth towel does. I know this isn't really a "hair product" but it is something I've been using for over two years now and feel it works wonders!

It's a 10 Miracle Super Holder Finishing Spray
I really like all products by It's a 10, but this finishing spray (aka hairspray) is amazing. The bottle lasts a long time and gives my hair enough hold without feeling to stiff.

Serge Normant Meta Revive Dry Shampoo
This dry shampoo smells so good and is perfect for days when I don't want to wash my hair, or when my hair gets oily after working out.

Kerastase Shampoo and Conditioner
Kerastase products can be a little bit more pricey but are worth every penny.

Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Mask
I try to let my hair air dry as much as I can but I straighten it quite a bit and use the blow dryer occasionally so I use a hair mask every couple of days to replenish the moisture my hair lost from all the heat. I really like this mask because it leaves my hair feeling silky and helps fight all the frizz. I've already used up this whole bottle and plan to purchase more when I run out of that stuff Will got me.

Scruples Hypershine Repair Spray
When I put heat on my hair, I always make sure to use a repair spray. I get this stuff from my hairdresser and love it. It smells so good and is better then the CHI kind I used to use. 

October 5, 2015

Simply Sweet Melissa Brand Launch & Re-design

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend! It's been non-stop rain, humidity and all things yuck here in Charlotte so I didn't get to spend much time outdoors, but was able to take full advantage of relaxing at home with Will which was really enjoyable. I'm so ready for the sun to shine again though so I can get back to my daily walks around the neighborhood with Miller!
In other news, I'm really excited your here because Rachel of Oh Simply Joys helped re-design and re-brand Simply Sweet Melissa and the final pieces came together just last week! To say I love how everything turned out would be an understatement. I'm thrilled with every little detail and touch that Rachel incorporated into the design and what I was looking for, which I would describe as Sex in the City meets Steel Magnolias. In other words, something sweet and feminine with a touch of professionalism and sass!
From the fonts, to the colors used, all the way down to Rachel showcasing my love for the South through the pineapple which is a symbol for hospitality, I feel that SSM finally feels more "me". It's hard to describe, but I hope that makes sense. You can read all about the process, the inspiration I had, and much more by checking out Rachel's recent blog post here.
And I can't go without mentioning that Rachel has one of the sweetest souls, is a great friend and has been gifted with such an amazing talent and is blessed in all areas of design! I highly recommend her services if you are a blogger or business owner and want your blog or website perfected into something utterly beautiful. And I mean that. If your hesitant, just check out her portfolio and you'll see what I mean!
In the meantime, take a look around let me know what you think of everything! I even updated my 'About' and 'Bucket List' pages and added categories found in the sidebar so don't forget to take a peek at those as well. Enjoy!

September 18, 2015

Our Wedding Inspiration

Happy Friday, y'all! Hope everyone has had a great week! Does anyone have fun plans for the weekend? Will and I don't have much on our agenda which is nice for a change. Usually we have a bunch of errands we run but not this time!

Have you all enjoyed all the posts from this week? If you need a recap you can catch them all below.

Our Wedding: Preparation and Formals
Our Wedding: The Ceremony
Our Wedding: The Reception
Our Wedding: The Details

To finish things off, I'll be ending things with all of our wedding inspiration. What Will and I envisioned our day to look like, how everything came today, and all the things in-between!

If you asked me to describe the way I wanted our wedding day to be like, I would say I wanted it to have a rustic romance feel to it. I wanted the ceremony to have a traditional elegance to it with a touch of modern whimsy. And I wanted the vibe of the reception to feel like a big southern soiree!

For all of the festivities, we wanted to make sure our guest experienced our love and joy. We wanted those feelings to flow out in every detail. We wanted everyone to feel comfortable enough to let loose, and enjoy each moment that passed by. To assure all of those things, we made sure are focus from the beginning was on the location for both the ceremony and reception. We were inspired by our reception venue because it gave off the vibe that you were right at home.
In the ceremony post I did earlier this week, you got a good idea of what everything looked like and how the ceremony played out. But what really inspired us to hold the ceremony at this venue? Well, besides the fact that I attended church there every week while a student at Peace College, it was a venue that was already so beautiful, and I could incorporate simple, minimal decor that emphasized the beauty of Dinwiddie Chapel itself with ease.
Oh the flowers. They were perfect in every way. Marsha with Mews Designs went above and beyond and met all of my expectations. My bouquet was a lush and textured assortment of blush, peach, and white flowers with touches of foliage and greenery. The trailing silk ribbons added a whimsy feel.

For my bridesmaids bouquets, I went with something simple. Baby's breath. The bouquets went well with the dresses my girls wore, and were simple but spiced up with greenery and ribbon. Just like my bouquet. My inspiration for the flowers was something that reminds you of Steel Magnolias. 

Oh my wedding dress. How I LOVED wearing it so much. It was the third dress I tried on at the first boutique I went to. It was an Amy Kuschel gown, the style was the 'Rita'. My inspiration for the dress was something lightweight, was made of lace, and reminded me of The Great Gatsby. This dress was all of those things. It even had cap sleeves and a vintage inspired brooch that was the icing on the cake so to speak. Before the night ended, I changed into a different dress to depart in. It to was also made of lace and actually looked pretty similar to my wedding dress!
I've always been known to give thoughtful gifts and I was inspired to do just that for my girls as a thank you gift to give them at the bridal shower. I wanted to gift them with something extra special. Something that they could wear on my wedding day and to be reminded of our sweet friendship. So after lot's of thinking, I knew I wanted to give them earrings. I wanted them to be gold and they had to be unique. So I decided that if I wanted all of those things, I'd have to make them myself. I ended up doing just that with the help of the girls at Beads Inc. in Charlotte!
For hair and makeup, I wanted to go with a more natural look. I didn't want to have crazy color for eye shadow, but I still wanted my eyes to pop! The gals with Makeup by Ashley Mooney did a wonderful job. We went with gold tones for my makeup and a classic up-do for my hairstyle. You can get more of an idea of what types of makeup looks and hairstyles I was was inspired by from taking a peek at my hair and makeup Pinterest board.
Look at my handsome groom. Will did a great job in picking out the suits he wanted him and his guys to wear. Will decided on a light grey suit and mint green ties that looked perfect for our summer wedding. He wanted something that his guys would be comfortable in, and would be able to wear more then once. I think they all looked great, don't you?
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