Monday, July 21, 2014

Beach Bag Essentials

On Wednesday I am finally headed to a much needed beach vacay and cannot wait to start packing my bags this afternoon! It is crazy to think this will be the last little vacation before I start my life as a teacher and it is all a little bittersweet. However you best bet I am going to enjoy every second and of course, I just had to share with you all what will be in my beach bag:

Beach Hat // Tanning Oil // Sunscreen // Lip Balm // iPhone
Beach Bag // Sunglasses // Wedding Magazines // Kindle

Also, congratulations to Kelsey for being the winner of Stitch by Larkin Summerlin's beautiful gold clutch! I will be in contact with you Kelsey to set up shipping info :)
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

#Trending Tuesday: Touches of Gold + Giveaway

Today I am excited to link up for my first ever #Trending Tuesday with Kristina, Zelle, Katie, and Amanda
Now I'll be the first to admit, I have been a "silver jewelry" wearer my entire life; my engagement ring is even silver. But over the past year or so I have begun to fall more and more in love with gold jewelry and gold clothing accents. I'm still not the biggest fan of gold rings (so I'm thankful Josh picked out a silver one) but every other piece of jewelry I seem to be buying is gold. Gold has become such a favorite go-to fashion staple of mine that it is even going to be making lots of appearances at our wedding (hint-hint on our color scheme)! 
If you've been reading this past week you already know about the amazing giveaway on here that is ending tonight. One thing I really love is since the clutch is accented in gold, you can either dress it down or dress it up. Here are some outfit ideas to inspire you in case you're the lucky one to win this beautiful clutch

Now that you're inspired by a little fashion, it's time for you to enter the giveaway for the cutest gold polka dot clutch around! Good Luck :))

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Motivation Monday + Giveaway

Y' is Monday which means the BACHELORETTE comes on tonight! Okay, I know, it's such a cheesy show but I just love every minute of every season. Mondays are a LOT easier to get through whenever I know I get to indulge for two hours in my guilty pleasure that night. While not everyone loves this show (and therefore does not share my motivation) I thought I would rally up a few of my favorite inspiring Pinterest posts to get you through this crazy day. Don't forget to scroll to the bottom for your chance to win the most beautiful clutch in the world ;-)

And a little giveaway motivation for you today! Don't forget that tomorrow night at 11:59pm is the last chance you have to enter this giveaway for a beautiful clutch made by my sweet friend Larkin!

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Clutch + GIVEAWAY!

There is something about giving gifts to people that I just love and when it has come to my bridesmaid I have falling in love with giving gifts even more. While you'll have to wait a few more weeks to see how I asked (and am still asking) my bridesmaid to be in the wedding, I wanted to share with you all an idea for the "Day Of" bridesmaid gifts!
I just love when a bride gives her girls a staple piece of jewelry that goes with her dress for the wedding but I also love when brides give their girls a clutch/bag of some sort. So I thought to myself, why not just combine the two? Well, if you love that idea as well, let me just tell you that I have the place where you need to get your clutch from! You see, supporting friends who hand make items is a passion of mine and I was so honored when the sweetest person asked me if I would like to feature their newest shop Stitch. 
I have known of Larkin for around 3 years now and finally got the chance to meet her last September when we were in a wedding together. Larkin graduated last May from SCAD and has spent the past year perfecting her love for all things fabric. Just a few weeks ago she launched her brand new business (Stitch) and website! Her clutches are beautiful and if you ask my momma (who has sewn all her life), Larkin has the most beautiful seams and stitches she has ever seen! I instantly fell in love with her gold polka dot clutch and just knew it was the one we had to feature for this giveaway.
So if you are a bride-to-be (or just love giving your girlfriends a nice surprise), here is my idea for a beautiful gold themed gift filled clutch:

What girl would not love this beautiful clutch filled with candy, lipgloss, a bangle, and a beautiful statement necklace?
I am also one of those people who love the inside as much as I do the out and I just adore the pink print inside this clutch:

The gold exposed zipper is one of my favorites things as well :)

Larkin has a keen eye when it comes to selecting her fabric and you can purchase her clutches for just $35. Which if you ask me it is a wonderful deal for something that was made my hand with the upmost of love! 

Today I am giving away the beautiful gold polka dot clutch featured in this post! The giveaway is very simple and will run until 11:59pm next Tuesday July 15th. Make sure you spread the word to all your friends! Also, for all Southern Abundance readers Larkin is giving 10% off all clutches with the code GIVEAWAY at checkout now through 11:59pm July 15th! Stock up while you can :)

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Life in Pictures

Often times I am asked what my favorite social media site is and 110% of the time I answer with "Instagram". For as long as I can remember documenting my life through pictures has been a hobby of mine. I like to remember the simple moments and the moments that take your breath away, you know the ones you don't want to forget! Sadly Alzheimer's Disease runs in my family and while I pray it does not affect any more of my loved ones, I sometimes wonder if my picture taking hobby is because I want proof of all I was blessed to experience in life just in case one day it affects me. Have you ever wondered what is going on in a picture that has no caption? Sometimes I think it is fun just to create your own even if it makes no sense. So today I present to you a few moments from my life recently with no caption...just let your mind make a caption of its own!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Our Dream Venue

Well, I have made you wait long enough but I am finally excited to announce the dream venue that Josh and I have booked for our wedding! A few weeks ago you all read my post "The Hunt for our Dream Venue" and learned that we visited a total of 9 venues across the state of North Carolina. Well here it is.....drum roll.......  We are getting married in Benson, North Carolina at the beautiful Preston Woodall House!!!
Seriously y'all, this place is beautiful and my little heart knew it was the place as soon as we stepped foot in the front door. I tried to take so many pictures while I was there but none of the one's I gathered can truly do it justice so I've also pulled off some from their website for you all to enjoy!
Main Entrance of the Preston Woodall

Our ceremony will be held outside in the wedding pavilion

The Cora Lily Ballroom were our reception will be held

We are so excited with the fact that our entire wedding party plus parents will be able to stay on site the entire weekend with breakfast served to everyone on Saturday and Sunday morning! Me and my bridesmaids will stay in the actual house in beautiful rooms. Here is an example of one of the rooms:

 The following room is actually the bridal suite where I will stay and get ready the day of!

The other thing we really loved is that there are actually 3 cottages on site and each have 3 bedroom plus 2 baths. We will use these cottages to house our parents, groomsman, and other important out of town guest! It is going to be so wonderful to have our entire bridal party on site the weekend of and not having any of them worry about driving to and from a hotel! 

Well I hope that you have enjoyed the first look at what has quickly come to be our dream venue! 
NC Belle In Boots

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Why I Took A Blogging Break

If you've been around these parts for long, you might have noticed that I only posted three times in May...yes, only three times. Don't get me wrong, there were many times that I sat down to write a post or brainstorm ideas, but every time I was left with little to nothing and a desire to remind myself that blogging wasn't the most important thing in the world. Every day I wanted to blog but I found myself being happy and content with what was around me; not what was in a computer screen.
You see, after coming off the road from traveling on April 29th I was faced with a "new world"; one that was different than what I had grown to know over the past ten months. Finishing up my travel as a TLC meant I was coming home and it meant my life was changing. I was no longer working a 7am-12am job, there was no need to be behind my computer 24/7, and quit honestly my brain just needed a break from technology. 
So here they are, the reasons why I took a blogging break and why it is OKAY for YOU to take one too (should you ever need it):
LIFE & FAMILY // No matter how many minutes or hours we sit behind our computer screens, life continues to happen all around us. While I was on the road, I relied on technology to fully connect me with my loved ones at home so I found blogging to be a way for them to feel closer to me. However, as I got home those family members were no longer behind a computer screen but were actually right beside me. For me taking a break from blogging meant that I got to adjust to life back home and that I got to make up for lost time with my family. 

JOB // Since my job as a traveling leadership consultant was only a 10 month position, I had to turn my focus away from blogging and to finding a job in the education field. I spent the month of May researching schools, attending job fairs, applying and interviewing for jobs. There are normally three hiring waves in North Carolina for teachers: one in May, one towards the end of June, and one again in late July/early August. I set a goal for myself to be hired by the second wave and what do you know, I actually got hired in the first wave! (More details to come soon on the new job!) Taking a break from blogging meant I could focus on finding the perfect job. 

WEDDING PLANNING // The first three months of Josh and I being engaged I was on the road so all of our wedding brainstorming had been done via phone calls and Skype dates. There was a one week gap between his last grad school exam and him starting work full time so we took that one week and traveled the state in search for our perfect wedding venue. During this time I did not have to worry about taking time away from him to create a blog post but instead got to focus on our future together and live in the moment of excitement with him!

ENJOYMENT // I am not going to lie, those first few days off the road it was a real struggle for me to blog. Every time I sat down to do it I felt of it as an obligation and not fun as I had found it on the road. I had so much on my to-do list that blogging felt like dragging my nails down a chalk board. When I started blogging back in September, I read several bloggers who said: if you ever felt like blogging was losing it's enjoyment just stop. Stop and enjoy life around you and when the spark comes back it will come back. Well, that is exactly what I did and can fully say that blogging is enjoyable again for me. 

So here I am, opening my little heart up to y'all and being real about why I feel it truly is okay to take a little blogging break. For now though, a Bojangles biscuit is calling my name ;-)

Monday, June 2, 2014

May in Pictures

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that this month there was a lot less posting than my usual 2-3 pictures per day that had normally been happening since September. Some people asked what happened but to be honest I was just enjoying life while trying to be less consumed with the technology around me. Since coming off the road of traveling, I promised myself that I would use the month of May to get life in order and start planning for the future (more on both of those tomorrow). I took the time that I've missed with my family for the past 10 months and soaked up every minute I could with them. May also held two exciting week long adventures: the hunt for our dream wedding venue and my reunion trip with the other amazing girls who traveled this past year alongside me on the road! So here are a view pictures of the moments I loved in May:
1 // I finally got to attend a Wake Forest Divinity School function with Joshua and meet his wonderful friend James.

2 // I completed my DIY wedding binder and cannot wait to post about it on the blog soon

3 // Josh and I started our wedding venue tours

4 // Spent the day in downtown Wilmington, NC

5 // Loaded up on my favorite hot dogs in the world (from Trolley Stop)

6 // Had a wonderful, but sad, good bye brunch with my sweet TLC sister Rachel (Sequins and Subways) who left for her new job in NYC!  

7 // Showed off some of my favorite arm candy (Lemon Lime Creations plus 5th and Ashland

8 // Celebrated Mother's Day in my new Mint Julep dress

9 // Headed out to New Orleans for the weekend

10 // Traveled over to Seaside Beach, Florida to spend a week with my TLC sisters and had fun creating pyramids on the beach

11 // Was treated to a surprise Bachelorette night with my TLC sisters

12 // Attended the wedding of my sweetest high school friend

Whew, May was full of travel, relaxation, hello's, and goodbyes but what a wonderful month it was! If we aren't already friends on Instagram, come find me and follow along on this beautiful month of June that lies ahead of us :)  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

NEW! Southern Sundays

Happy June y'all! I cannot believe that in 30 days we will be halfway through! Anywho, I am so so so excited to get the ball rolling on a new weekly post that I am extremely over the moon joyful about. During my travels over the past year, there were so many times that I came across a tradition, word, way of life, etc. that up until that moment I thought was a common thing across the country only to find out it was just a southern way of life. These fun findings have inspired me to create a new weekly post called "Southern Sundays" that you guessed it, will be posted on Sundays. Behind these post I hope to bring to life some fun sayings, recipes, cities, and things to do if you ever visit the South!

My first official Southern Sundays post will debut next Sunday (June 8th) but until then, if you are someone who considers yourself a southern blogger and would love to be featured on this blog during these post please contact me at: :) I'm looking for anything from post on your favorite southern city, where you live now, your favorite southern saying or recipe! I cannot wait to come back here every Sunday and share with y'all a little bit of my southern heart! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: The Hunt for our Dream Venue

Hello dolls! Oh, I could just squeeze all of y'all in the biggest hug ever because I've missed you so much! Life has been go go go since I got off the road from traveling as Josh and I were trying to make up for a "missed" 2 months of wedding planning when I was away and could not really plan. But I am back for good and cannot wait to kick this summer off with each of you! 

Today's Wedding Wednesday post is all about the hunt for our dream venue. I'm not sure if I have said this before but, up until the moment we got engaged I thought I had my dream wedding all planned out. It's funny though how once you get a ring on your finger and wedding planning becomes real, everything you ever thought you wanted completely changed. Josh and I decided that since neither one of us were dead set on a certain location or venue, we would have tons of fun traveling across the state in search for our perfect one. So with that being said, we have taken the past week and toured from High Point, North Carolina down to Wilmington, North Carolina and in between visiting 9 wonderful venues. Each had their own unique style but we loved a little bit of them all! Without further ado here is a little preview of the 9 we visited in no particular order: 

 The Kress Terrace sits upon the roof top of the Kress Building in downtown Greensboro. It offers a beautiful outdoor space that overlooks the city and then you have a mini ballroom inside where the food is served. Many couples rent a tent outside and decorate with lights.

 Saint Thomas Preservation Hall is located in Historic downtown Wilmington about two blocks back from the river front. Originally a Catholic church, it has been renovated in the past few years and used now as an event venue.

 Revolution Mills is an old textile mill that has been renovated into commercial and event use. Couples typically get married in the gardens outside (pictured above) and then travel inside for their reception.

 The Belmont House has been on my mind for several years now as I would drive past weddings held here every spring. Couples get married on the front steps with their guest sitting under the oak trees and the reception is then held on the side under a tent.

 The Balcony on Dock Street is a very long and open room that provides a fun but sophisticated atmosphere. We loved the mixed look of exposed brick and the wood.

 Growing up as a young girl in Wilmington, I can remember going to a wedding here and dreaming one day I too would be a princess bride. Located right in the center of historic downtown, the Bellamy Mansion offers so many choices for your big day!

 Burke Manor is located near Elon University and is a beautiful home for several acres of land. Couples typically get married in the side gardens with their reception in the beautiful 4200 square foot tent out back.

 The Lofts at Union Square offer so many spaces for a couple to hold their special day. We loved the feel of open space that the windowed walls created and it is truly a room that you can make it your own!

My mother actually found this venue through a Google search and we just knew we had to go visit. The Preston Woodall was the only venue we visited close to Joshua's hometown and everything it comes with just blew us away! Couples typically get married out back and then have their reception in the ballroom. 

If you follow me on Instagram you will see that we decided on a venue last night, paid our deposit this morning, and officially have our date set! I'll leave you hanging on which one we picked so make sure you stop back by next Wednesday to see where we will be having the wedding of our dreams...