May 22, 2015

5 on Friday

I love photography and my sweet pup Miller. Put those two things together and you've got my attention. So it's almost obvious that when I saw that Nikon has made a camera for dogs I almost died. I don't think Miller will ever have one of these but it does make me wonder what his photos would turn out like! What do you think of this camera?
Will and I have been taking dancing lessons at Queen City Ballroom and I'm actually kind of sad that it's coming to an end! Over the course of 7 lessons, and with 3 left, we've learned so much. My favorite things we've learned have been the tango and swing dancing. And honestly our lessons have turned into a fun activity that we both enjoy. Often it feels like date night when we go. It's an hour out of the week that we can look forward to and get to focus on each other while letting loose and having fun! Our instructor Rachel has also been amazing to work with and has turned into a such a sweet friend. We highly recommend her if you live in the Charlotte area and want to freshen up your dance moves!

It's Memorial Day Weekend and there are tons of great sales going on right now. I'll defiantly be checking out the ones at ASOS, Banana Republic, Gap, Loft and Baublebar.

On Tuesday I wrote a blog post recapping my bachelorette party at the beach. I had the best time with my best friends and am so thankful for all that they did for me to make that weekend one to remember forever. One of the things that I did to thank them was gift them with a candle from Rewined Candles based out of Charleston, SC. Along with the candle, my MOH Emily put together the most adorable little sand buckets filled with everyday beach essentials such as sunscreen, face oil wipes, snacks and the cutest mason jars I ever did see. I was super spoiled by my girls and it was only fair that my girls be spoiled with me <3
Hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!! Can't wait to catch up with you all next week.

May 19, 2015

Bachelorette Beach Getaway

This past weekend five of my dearest friends and I traveled to Isle of Palms for a long weekend getaway to celebrate my last days as a bachelorette! I haven't had that much fun in quite a while and was in desperate need of relaxing (wedding planning can get stressful ladies!) and girl time.

Side-note; If you follow me on Instagram (@mmackvick) you likely got a good glimpse into what our weekend was like and may have laughed a little at some of the snaps I captured on Snapchat (follow me @mscheek). But for a detailed look into our four days together, continue reading...

We arrived Thursday evening just in time unpack our bags and make ourselves "at home" before heading to dinner at The Boathouse. But before we headed out to eat, the girls wanted to surprise me by decorating and making the place feel super festive, so I decided to go on a walk and explore Wild Dunes Resort by myself while they did just that. And who am I kidding...I played with this new app I just recently downloaded and can't get enough of it called Dubsmash. It's hilarious. Anyways, when I got back to the condo, the kitchen area and living room were decorated in two of my favorite colors; GOLD and PINK! Everything screamed Swoozie's which is one of my favorite stores in Charlotte!
Friday we woke up and headed to breakfast at Coconut Joe's Beach Bar before making our way into Charleston for the day. If I had to describe this city in one word I would have to say it's charming. From the mansions, palmetto trees, gazebos, and waterfront views, Charleston is simply the best. We did lot's of walking, explored King's Street (V2V is a must), walked around The Battery (aka Battery Park), stopped for a quick lunch at King Street Grille (try the Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls) and walked some more before hoping into our cars and headed straight to Party at the Point in Mount Pleasant. There's nothing like live music, dancing, and a cold drink in hand to make for a night full of memories you'll remember for years to come. After Party at the Point, we headed back to Coconut Joe's Beach Bar for a late night snack before heading back to the condo and calling it a night.
Saturday was our day of R&R and consisted of sleeping in, eating breakfast that Emily (my Maid of Honor on the far left in the picture above) made for us at the condo, and heading to the beach for a full day of sun! It was just what I think we all needed. We walked along the water's edge, laid out in the hot sun and even found a tiny little sand dollar for me to keep! Thanks Caitlin!!
Later that afternoon we went back to the condo to make some lunch, rest  up and headed back out for some more sun...this time we ended up at one of the pools at the Wild Dunes Resort. Me however, I sat in the shade and read a magazine because I was so sun burnt from early that much so that the girls wouldn't even let me catch anymore rays even if I wanted to! That night, we took it easy and had a pizza party at the house and then made a quick trip to Island Joe's for ice cream. When we got back, we were so tired but stayed up just long enough for them to shower me with gifts. They truly are the sweetest friends in the whole world and I am SO lucky to have each of them in my life. The saying is true..."some people make your laugh a little louder, your smile a little brighter, and your life a little better".

Sunday was bittersweet as we woke up and had to start cleaning before checking out of the condo. I slowly started to pack up all the wonderful gifts the girls gave me, and sat on the ground for a few minutes thinking back over all the memories we made in the past three nights. I was sad the weekend was coming to an end but ready to be back home with Will and Miller!

I didn't want to end this post though without giving a few pieces of advice for all you future brides or girls that are part of a bridal party that were really helpful in making my own bachelorette beach getaway a success.

First, let loose and have some fun! You don't have to do anything wild or crazy, but this IS the perfect time to laugh, reminisce, and act goofy (even just a little)! In my case, I was getting stressed out and weighed down by all the wedding planning going on that I was in need of a break so this beach getaway was perfect for me. And honestly, it's the last time that I'll get to spend a few days with just my girls so I didn't take that for granted one bit.

Second, remember that this is all about the bride and don't lose sight of that! I've heard horror stories were bridesmaids and guest made the festivities all about them and what they wanted to do. Luckily for me my girls did a fantastic job and this wasn't an issue as I got to have a voice and help plan the itinerary! This leads me to the next tip I have...

Third, plan ahead and distribute an itinerary if possible. We did this and I think it was very beneficial for everyone. Ours included all the details for the entire weekend (with some wiggle room) and the girls loved being able to know everything that was potentially planned. This can also help your girls feel more comfortable spending money since they will have an idea of how many times y'all will go out to eat, etc.

Fourth, drink responsibly! The worst feeling in the world is waking up the next morning and either not remembering what happened the night before, or having to deal with a hangover resulting in having to miss the day's celebrations. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely fun to have a few drinks with your girls and to celebrate one of the most exciting times in your life, but trust me, you'll want to be able to soak up every minute with your friends instead of being stuck in bed with a hangover headache. While getting ice cream Saturday night, we saw a bride out on her bachelorette weekend who was so sick that Emily ordered some water and took it to her group of friends to give to her. I am so glad that wasn't me and none of us girls had this issue...

Fifth, decorate and get creative! Find ways to make your time together extra special. Remember that you don't have to spend a lot of money either! My Maid of Honor got crafty and got sand buckets and filled them with snacks, sunscreen, mason jars and other goodies for the girls to use over the weekend. Caitlin also had Swoozies sponsor a bunch of items that really made our weekend POP! Some of my favorite items that Swoozie provided included our drinking buddies, my mini gold veiled bride crown, my acrylic bride wine glass, and our beach drink spiker's! On Friday, I'll be posting even more photos of all the decorations Emily and Caitlin provided. They are AMAZING!!

Lastly, show tokens of appreciation. Most likely, your getaway/party will have some surprises along the way, and your girls will usually cover all of your expenses and gift you with precious gifts, so take this opportunity to show them how thankful you are for all that they have done for you. One of the ways I did this (on top of the sand buckets Emily created) was by gifting each other my girls with Rose Rewined Candles. I wanted to give them something to remember our time in Charleston and Isle of Palms, and reached out to a bunch of different companies in the area, and settled on these candles for a number of reasons. For one, each candle is in a repurposed wine bottle. On top of that, each scent is selected to "honor" different types of drinks such as the Mimosa, Champagne, Merlot, and Pinot Grigio to name a few.

May 5, 2015

No More Excuses

Did you know that it takes three days to overcome a craving, three weeks to develop a new habit, and three months to see a physical transformation? What about the fact that it takes 3,500 calories to burn 1 pound of body fat? Those are some of the things I learned when reading The No More Excuses Diet book by Maria Kang.

I'll start off by telling you that one of the excuses that I've carried around with me for years is that I never had enough time to work out. But the solution I needed was to make the time for it and commit to setting aside time each week to doing just that. With a wedding right around the corner (literally in 39 days) I've made sure that each and every Tuesday I attend the Weights and Warriors class at the Dowd YMCA. That class is a MUST for me. I also try my best to go to at least one or two other classes throughout the week, and the rest of the days I try to fit in some light cardio, walks around the block or at-home yoga and stretching.

One of the things I love about this book is that it breaks down an acronym, SPEED which is the main focal point of the book and stands for: Set the Goal, Plan the Attack, Envision the Journey, Execute the Plan, and Deliver the Results. SPEED is summed up really well by Maria saying "while on any program you will hit plateaus, deal with distractions, and have to bust some excuses" SPEED is a "goal-setting model that you will use to effectively and efficiently target your short-term goals" and I couldn't agree more.

Will and I created a short term goal that we want to carry out long term and that is to lose weight and be our physically best selves by the time of our wedding in June. We literally measured our starting points by individually weighing ourselves on a scale last year, jointed down that number and marked that as our starting point. We took "before" photos and checked back three months later to note our halfway point. In the course of those three months, I've lost a total of 6 pounds and started to see definition I hadn't had prior to our starting point. That right there was half of my motivation. The other half has been having Will as my "motivational coach".
Honestly y'all, I feel consistently and sticking with a new routine for at least twenty-one days is key because things really do start to become a habit! Even with other areas of your life such as at work. For me, it's really worked in my prayer life (spending my mornings with God in devotion) and trying to eliminate the amount of soda and sugary foods I allow myself to have. Today I can say that I crave less soda but am still working on my sweet tooth cravings! But again, it takes time.

The first handful of days are hard, and they were for me. I had days when I would lose motivation, but as the weeks went by I started to see that I was looking forward to going to work out after work! It's absolutely vital to schedule the most realistic times for you to workout as well. Otherwise you won't stick with your plan. I tried the whole working out in the morning thing but that didn't work! And that's okay. It's not the best time for everyone. For me, working out right after work before going home, is the best time for me. And one that I can stick with.

Another thing this book has shown me is that I need to find ways to stay motivated from start to finish and to really understand the proper ways to stretch and do certain workouts. To help curve my motivation, especially towards the beginning when things were a lot harder, I went out and purchased new fitness attire. All I can say is what girl doesn't like to shop, even if it's for workout gear. This book is a must read if you are having a hard time sticking to a plan. It's an easy read and very informative. I would like to lose another two pounds before the wedding, and I know that with determination and will-power, I'll be able to do just that with the help of The No More Excuses Diet (but it's more so a lifestyle and less of a "diet" if you asked me)!

I received this book to review from Blogging for Books. However, all opinions are my own.

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