Another year, another city…

I've said it a hundred times in the last month, and I'll say it again. I CANNOT BELIEVE how fast January and February went…they NEVER go this fast. Ever. And right when I could really use the extra time, BAM! It's March…

I moved to DC a year ago today…started my (first) new DC job a year ago tomorrow. And from the picture below, I can't say that my apartment looks much better than when I started


…j/k– I promise it was cute for a few months…but now the packing has officially commenced! That's a good sign, right? Obviously means we found a fab new place to call home…together! We've got the loading dock reserved, movers booked, boxes already assembled…but if only it were that easy.

Zach is swapping his air mattress for my bed in NY for the next few weeks — fair trade, right? I need to wrap things up in DC and will stay here (on said air mattress) until the wedding so I can sell my car (any takers?) and a few other assorted tasks before heading to TN for the big day. Zach will pick me up on his way to TN at the end of March…just 3 weekends to go!

We are really obliged to your work.

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I'm taking a super quick trip to Chattanooga this weekend for my final dress fitting and LOTS of little details to confirm. Hopefully it'll be as productive as my last weekend. I just keep a permanent mental picture of sun, sand and a pina colada. Oh, and coffee…I drink a lot of coffee.

Zach returned from a whirlwind bachelor weekend of golfing at Pinehurst, 2 days in Charleston and a night in Chapel Hill for the UNC/UMD game. This kid does NOT know how to nap, but when I walked in from work he was dead to the world…I would hope his groomsmen would consider this a "successful" weekend. I've already forgotten what it's like to have him here all the time! He slept for about an hour and then was back on the road…

My bridesmaids gave me a fabulous (and much-needed) spa weekend in Hilton Head, SC last weekend. It. Was. Perfect. Amazing weather, great food, even better company…and the best massage I have ever had in my whole entire life. Coffee on the beach in the morning, scenic runs around the resort. And the girls really had thought of everything…it couldn't have come at a better time and I SO APPRECIATE all the time and effort that went into it.

Pics to come if I can find my camera chord in one of these boxes…we'll see if the guys even remembered to take any.

Big Apple-bound

Yes, folks — that's right…we're moving to NEW YORK CITY!

When we sent out our New Year's card anticipating many adventures in 2014, we may have sealed our fate right there. Zach recently accepted the position of Assistant Athletic Director at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY! This exciting opportunity presented itself at the end of the year through one of Zach's contacts and we thought "why not check it out?" But I thought SURELY Zach isn't going to expect us to spend the next to months apart (didn't we just end this whole long distance thing?), move AND finish planning a wedding…but I was wrong, wrong, wrong…

Things moved quickly and before we knew it, we had a BIG decision to make. When I packed up and moved here almost exactly a year ago, I had thought we were to be in DC for the foreseeable future. We went back and forth, but ultimately decided this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us…I mean, hello — it's NYC! Oddly enough I thought marrying Zach meant we were destined for small college towns. But if DC and NYC are any indication of the direction we'll be taking, I wouldn't be surprised if we soon find a university in London to consider. Or perhaps this is gradually getting the city-living out of my system so I don't hold it against him if I find myself in the middle of nowhere USA five years from now…

Ogilvy has been incredibly supportive — I'll keep my same boss, same job…just doing it from a different desk — and I couldn't be more excited about not having to start a job search. As it is, I'm already in NYC weekly for work so I might actually see more of Zach once we make the move! I adore my DC team and pod-mates, but the NY office is a bustling and exciting hub where I'm excited to continue and grow my career.

The hardest part for sure will be saying goodbye to our fantastic friends throughout the DC area and across Maryland's alumni districts. Zach was blessed with some great colleagues, donors and contacts early on that have become some of our closest friendships over the last four years…but luckily DC will just be a quick train ride away!

So…in the next 56 days: Zach will start his  new job (on Wednesday), we'll find a place to live (more on that process soon), head out for our bachelor/bachelorette weekends, take a few biz trips, start the moving process, and…GET MARRIED!

Coffee, anyone?

Best Weekend in 2014? Maybe…

Well after my last post this may seem a bit repetitive, but last weekend Zach and I headed to Chicago for a fabulous wedding of our good friends Angelica and John. And the weekend couldn't have been. more. fun.

We arrived on Thursday night and took Friday off of work. Miller was so nice to let us take over his apartment for the weekend. Every part of the weekend was just perfect — the trains were on time, the city was decked out and we even got a few festive inches of snow. We got to see (almost) all of our friends, enjoyed fantastic food and had a complete blast at the wedding. The shopping was perhaps a bit excessive as I came back with 4 new pairs of shoes — the flight attendant was definitely eyeing my "carry on." But I mean it's Michigan Avenue — how can I say no to sales on Michigan Avenue?? And per the photos below, we got in a few morning runs in the old ‘hood. The lakefront always takes my breath away, but this time it was quite literally. But if I hadn't lost the feeling in my hands, face and toes after the intermittent snowball fights, I probably could've run all over the city.

I'll spare you all the rant on how amazing Chicago is (especially) at Christmastime — you can reference my previous post for that one. BUT — I will say it was just a perfect weekend. And I am even more excited to finally marry the person that I have the absolute best time with and the person that makes even the simplest things so much fun.

So enjoy a few photos — and if these posts aren't enough to have you planning Christmas 2014 in Chicago, I may have lost my touch…

Hope y'all are having a fantastic holiday season — we look forward to seeing some of you in a couple weeks!

‘Tis the Best Season!

They just lit the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center, and it's officially time for my first holiday season in DC — and our first holiday season in the same city. After many years of flying solo, I'll finally have a date to a few Christmas parties! And a very handsome one if I do say so myself…

We just returned from a BUSY Thanksgiving in Chattanooga where — in addition to enjoying lots of family, football and delish food — we finalized menus, got our invitations (!!!), booked the calligrapher, listened to potential ceremony music, picked out the readings, and decided on silver, crystal, everyday and fine china (where Zach's only comment was his concern that the plates might be too small). And despite all that, there's still a healthy list left to tackle over Christmas…

Normally when I get back home after Thanksgiving, I have my apartment decked out to resemble Santa's workshop (just ask my very patient old roomie Mary) and Mariah's best CD ever blasting (you know the one) in a matter of minutes. But all my festive decorations go best with a fireplace mantle and the 14 foot ceilings of my beloved Chicago home — plus they're buried in the back of my closet under assorted other things I refuse to unpack since I'll be moving AGAIN in March(ish). And unless I want to sleep with my Christmas tree, I'm not exactly sure where it would fit in my quaint little shoebox/studio. Chicago always felt so festive and seasonal with the lighting of Michigan Ave, the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights, and generally a couple snows before I headed home for the holidays…but we're slowly getting there here in the District, though the 50s and 60s aren't quite my idea of Christmas weather! But I did see the National Zoo is touting "Zoolights" so we just might wander down there and check it out…

Luckily, Zach and I are Chicago-bound on Thursday for John and Angelica's wedding on Saturday! So I'll get my fill of Chi-town at Christmastime and we get to celebrate a much-anticipated wedding of some great friends. We're taking Friday off so we can enjoy the city and see friends and fam during the BEST time of year! I'm excited for a holiday wedding…their venue is downtown and completely stunning; I can't wait to see what they did with the place. Pictures to come…

But in the meantime, here are some of my favorite photos from Christmases past in the Chi! Wishing all of you a very happy holiday season :)

So now I need to scout some festive spots in my new city — and try to snap a few pics that actually include Zach!

Save the Date Saga

I'm sitting next to my open bedroom window and can finally feel Fall. I have all the windows open, the trees across the street are showing beautiful color, and College Gameday is on in the background (and would you believe Kirk Herbstreit just picked UGA to win the SEC East???). How I loooove fall Saturdays…

It's been just over a month since I started my new job and I am SO GLAD we got most of the major wedding to-do's crossed off so early on. With my nearly weekly biz travel to NYC and Zach's crazy schedule of weeknight events/meetings and games on the weekends, wedding plans have been falling to the bottom of the to-do list.

Over the summer, we were super productive but since Labor Day weekend, there's been a little research here and there but that's about it. Earlier on, I was willing to take on some DIY projects as it seemed we had all the time in the world and why not spend time instead of cash? But we're nearly at the five-month-mark (woohoo!), and it's more about getting things done — and done well — at this point.

But the Save the Dates were my big DIY project of the summer. My mom showed me this cute idea in a magazine, and when the boutique quoted me $1300 before shipping, postage and assembly, I said forget it. Seriously, that;s more than I was planning to spend on the actual invitations! So, not one to be discouraged when I have my heart set on getting something, I designed them myself in Illustrator, printed them for $15 at our office print center, ordered some personalized pencils and off we went for well-under $200. And luckily the Braves play 162 games a year so Zach could be in charge of pencil sharpening at night. Brilliant!

However, after mailing these out, I heard that some had arrived damaged, torn, and/or with pencils in multiple pieces (I mean, really??). I have no idea how many pissed off brides the US Postal Service deals with on an annual basis, but they were able to meet another one a couple weeks ago. On top of everything else, six or seven (so far) have been returned to me claiming they were addressed incorrectly when, in reality, they were simply too destroyed to deliver — despite the manager's assurance they would all be hand-processed with the payment of extra postage.

So — for those of you who received shredded, smashed or just slightly mutilated cards, here's what they looked like BEFORE they went on the ride from Hell:

Next up: Invitations, groomsmen attire, ceremony music, rehearsal dinner plans, etc. (good Lord, I thought we were making progress…)

To video or not to video? That is the question (for today, at least)

While we're uber close to hitting the MAX button on the wedding budget, I keep going back and forth on if we can justify the expense of a videographer.

We have found — absolutely without question — 2 of the most talented photographers EVER, but so many friends have said not having a videographer is their #1 regret, as the ceremony itself is such a blur when all is said and done — so friends, let us know your thoughts:  Do we splurge/continue trying to find a friend-of-a-friend that could help or do we forgo and assume our fabulous prints will suffice?

Another season, another sport…another job?

Zach and I don't generally measure the year in the typical calendar seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter. Our main seasons are: football, basketball, baseball and "the time when Zach can take vacation."

This year, Zach and I rung in the busy start of football season in different places – I went home to Tennessee to take care of the cake (found some of the best we've ever tasted!), invitations (super cute – just getting quotes and hope to place our order soon) and assorted other wedding details while Zach and his brother, Cal, celebrated Labor Day weekend with Maryland's season opener against Navy (Terps win! Woohoo!).

It was so nice to be home on a weekend where it wasn't a major holiday or tons of scheduled activities since the wedding planning kept us plenty busy – I'm hoping to make this the last trip home before Thanksgiving. The weather was perfect – not a cloud in the "October blue" sky the whole weekend, so we took advantage with some tennis and soaked up the last few rays by our pool when we needed a break.  But at night, it was cool enough to sleep with the windows open and enjoy the fresh, quiet mountain air – much-needed for this slightly stressed wedding planner.

I'm sure most of you heard about the gunman in the Discovery headquarters last week – and if you didn't, you can read all about it here. It was a tense and incredibly scary day for myself, my colleagues and our family and friends, but obviously it all turned out OK in the end, and for that – and many other things – I'm eternally thankful. Prayers are indeed powerful.

What many of you haven't heard is that I have recently accepted a new job, and resigned at Discovery just before all of last week's insanity. I'm excited to soon begin my role as an Account Supervisor with Ogilvy360 – Ogilvy's word-of-mouth marketing/digital influence practice, which is similar to my last agency in Chicago. I'll be based in DC, but working on their corporate team, where, instead of being assigned to a specific client or account team, I'll focus equally on global strategy, new business, training clients and employees in social media/digital marketing tools and best practices, and external relations to promote Ogilvy's successes, clients and employees.

I very much enjoyed my projects and colleagues at Discovery, but this opportunity is simply too unique and exciting to turn down. It was certainly unexpected, but I welcome the challenge of this newly created position, and look forward to getting back into the fast-paced agency environment.

As we officially head into fall, our weekends will be crazed with football games and tailgates, a few weddings, some travel…and then the holidays will be here before we know it! We hope everyone had a relaxing long weekend and your favorite teams had an exciting win (sorry Vandy fans) – and if not, you've always got NFL on Thursday…and then college again on Saturday…and NFL again on Sunday…lordy, here we goooo! Heading over to Zach's now to see what kind of trouble the boys got into this weekend — hope y'all have a nice, short week!

PS…apologies for lack of photos. I think posts without pics are super boring, but I actually didn't take a single one this weekend. We'll make up for it next time…

Yes to the Dress! (…and a few other things)

Well, par for the course, it's been a couple months since the last update, summer is winding down…and we've checked more major items off the list…

  • Dress (check!)
  • Band (check!)
  • Save the Dates (assembled and addressed…so we'll do a half-check for that one)

Despite my love for shopping and all-things fashion, the dress shopping experience was so much MORE fun than I expected — especially since one of my lovely bmaids — Katherine — was able to join me. We went to Bridals by Lori in Atlanta when I was in town for my godson's baptism (Katherine's adorable little man). For those who don't watch TLC (gasp!), BBL is the site for the show Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta, and, as social media manager, I went to get some footage for the TLC Weddings blog.

We found lots of dresses we liked — which I figured would be the case. My consultant, Cindy, made it just the BEST day — and we were able to show the dresses to my mom and sister live on a webcam. So cool! So when I got back to DC, I was able to find it in the city and when mom came to visit, we went to check it out at this place called Hitched…which is REALLY cute…online.

The attendants were essentially college girls who struggled to answer ANY of the questions we had, I was sweating profusely while trying on the less-than-airy gowns (it's been 95+ degrees for 95% of the summer and you'd think they might splurge on some AC), and the veil I was given to try on a) looked like I was  playing dress-up and b) had a giant tear down the side…so needless to say I was hardly a picture-perfect bride. Blushing bride, definitely. Perhaps an understatement. So we decided that BBL and the lovely Cindy really deserved the sale…and I wanted to remember the dress shopping experience as a fantastic one. So when I was in TN over July 4 weekend, mom, Sara and I headed to Atlanta and officially placed the order. As an added bonus, Lori has asked the designer to make me a personal sketch of the dress, which I am super excited about. It'll be ready for the first fitting by the holidays!

Our fabulous band is Atlanta Rhythm Groove — so let us know if you have any special requests! My friend Meredith (Corey) Lee had them at her exceptionally fun wedding a few years ago, so while we were perusing the bands (Rick from EastCoast Entertainment was incredibly helpful and accommodating) we pretty easily decided they were a perfect fit — appeal to all ages and we KNOW they put on a good show! So get those dancin' shoes ready…

Speaking of dancing shoes, Zach and I had our first dance lessons a couple weeks ago (and then I treated him to a delish dinner at Hank's Oyster Bar for being such a good sport — though he claims he really did have a good time). We found this great, fun guy and his dancing partner to meet with us at our convenience…love them!

Heading home over Labor Day weekend to tackle cake, invitations and other assorted items. Updates to come!

Let the celebrations begin!

Well after being engaged for just over 7 months, it finally seems like it's happening!

With the new job, moving, getting settled, etc., the wedding itself took a backseat for a while (as is evident by lack of new posts). But when our fabulous friends — Ann and Colin Potts — offered to throw us an engagement party back in April, we knew it would all get going soon.

The Potts' threw us an incredible party and we were able to celebrate with some of our favorite DC and UMD friends. We enjoyed the perfect summer party with tasty hors d'oeuvres (from crab cakes and shrimp  – Maryland party staples — to duck and lamb), a bar stocked with our favorite cocktails and they even ordered our favorite sushi! And to top it off, they had a delicious cake so we could "practice" — they really thought of everything, no detail overlooked. Clearly some professional party-throwers.

Ann and Colin, we truly thank you for such a fun and special evening. You have become some of our best friends over the years and we're so excited to share this exciting time with such fantastic people. Your kindness, generosity and friendship mean more than you know, and we appreciate everything you did to make our engagement party so very memorable.

For those who couldn't make it, we wanted to share some photos before we — yes, WE — get started on some thank you notes!

Well this is just embarrassing…

OK…somehow…it went from April 2 to the end of June. Seriously? Don't ask me how that happened because I feel like we just returned the Uhaul.

I can't even BEGIN to recap the last few months right now — mainly because it's nearly 1am and I'm still finishing laundry before the fabulous Andrea Keeler arrives tomorrow night (!!!) — but in the coming weeks I promise to be better about keeping you updated on wedding plans and our new life in general. In the meantime, we've updated some of the tabs — namely, the registries (still in progress) and information for our traveling guests (hotel rooms have been reserved!) so check out those pages for details!

Hope everyone's summer is off to a great start — let us know if your travels bring you near DC!