Bridal Prep!

As if the wedding day wasn’t stressful enough brides also have to worry about (or I should say bask in) beauty prepping the week before! This means making sure hair, skin, and nails are on point.

Hair… I’ll be honest. I didn’t let anyone else touch my hair except for my aunt, who’s a hairstylist herself. So unfortunately I don’t have much expertise when it comes to picking out a hairdresser. BUT I will say that I made sure to do multiple hair trials (if your budget allows for it) and then head straight home to try on your wedding dress. It’s so important to see what the whole picture will look like. If you have your hair done and your dress on then you’ll be able to envision the exact look you want! And don’t forget to add accessories especially if you’ll be wearing a veil. Make sure your hairdresser knows what kind of hair jewelry you’re expecting to wear that day. And if you have very thin and fine hair like I do you may need to invest in some extensions to get the look you want. I purchased a set of Luxy clip-in hair extensions and it made the biggest difference. The color was spot on, and the clips are made out of real human hair so maintenance and styling is very easy.

Nails… I wasn’t overly obsessive about what my nails were going to look like. As long as they were clean and sporting a neutral color I was good! I did opt for the gel nail polish because it lasts longer without harming your nails as much as the acrylics. Plus I wear contact lenses so fake nails and eyeballs don’t go very well together anyways. DO look at Pinterest for inspiration (not only for nails, but for literally everything wedding-related!). And if you’re a nail-biter I would suggest quitting cold-turkey about three weeks before the wedding. Chew gum, reward yourself, hire a hypnotist, anything! There will a lot of close-up shots of your shiny new ring and you’ll want some clean nails to match it! Whenever I feel an urge to bite my nails I give myself a simple manicure and paint them. Because no one wants a mouth full of nail polish. I would also suggest getting your bridal mani and pedi no earlier than a week before the wedding. Any sooner and you leave room for chipping, fading, or your nails growing out too quickly.

Skin… Luckily, a few weeks before my wedding I stumbled across The Glow Lounge while scrolling through Instagram. They are a custom airbrush tanning boutique and they are seriously amazing and super informative!! I had never sported a faux tan before (Ok… Maybe I’ve purchased one bottle of self-tanner in high school) so I was glad I found The Glow Lounge a few weeks before my wedding. This gave me enough time to test it out a month before-hand to see if sun-kissed skin was a good fit for me (you can read about this experience in one of my previous blog posts). You hear horror stories about turning orange or streaking, but unlike most places, The Glow Lounge always has a professional come in the room and spray you evenly. I’ll be honest… I work in at an OB/GYN clinic where privacy is completely thrown out the window but having someone spray you down while you’re undressed still sounded pretty awkward. But everyone there is really such a professional and they’re able to talk you through the entire process while also giving you tips on how to keep your tan long-lasting. So here are some of my suggestions should you decide to test out yourself (which you should definitely consider):

-Wear baggy clothing: The day I visited the Glow Lounge I decided not to bother with any undergarments (maybe too much information for you guys). Depending on your comfort level this was just the best way to make sure I wasn’t rubbing my tan off on any of my clothing. They do tell you that once you’re sprayed down the tan should stick as long as you’re not getting wet, but I just wanted to take some extra precautions because I was being a bridezilla and needed to make sure my skin was in perfect condition.

-Get your tan two days before the big day: This gives you enough time to take care of your tan and wash the layer of bronzer off (and take a shower!) but also ensures that your skin is still sporting the healthy glow that you wanted. There is a small fragrance that comes with it as well but it didn’t bother me at all. If you’re sensitive to smell then the extra day allows for it to fade a bit more. They did offer me an option where I could choose a fruity or light fragrance but I opted out of that because, like I said, the smell doesn’t bother me at all.

-Grab umbrellas: If your venue is outdoors and there is any chance that it could rain I would definitely stock up on some umbrellas. The last thing you want to worry about is a downpour the day after a spray tan. Not only is an umbrella necessary to keep your glow nice and fresh but to also keep your hairdo and dress the way you had it too!

-Take it all off: Again, with the nudity. The first time I visited the Glow Lounge I opted to keep all undergarments on because I felt a bit insecure. This, of course, lead to tan lines that I was always trying to hide. Since my honeymoon was immediately after the wedding I knew I was going to be rocking some bikinis and shorts and the last thing I wanted to worry about was trying to hide any tan lines. So I just threw out any sense of privacy that I previously had (it’s nothing the Glow Lounge girls haven’t seen before) and chose to go with a full-on, all-around even glow.  But of course, do what you’re comfortable with. And take into consideration what kind of straps are on  your dress. Personally, I had a completely open back and deep V-neck cut in the front of my wedding dress, so I definitely could not have any lines anywhere on top.

-Ask questions: There are so many rules as to what products and activities to avoid when you’ve just received your spray tan. While I was getting sprayed I completely forgot to ask questions regarding my nightly routing such as which make-up remover products were ok to use (Side note: try not to wear make up to your appointment!). I ended up just calling them right after my appointment and they were very helpful in answering any questions I had.

For more information check out the Glow Lounge here!

So there you have it! These are all of my pre-wedding beauty tips. The biggest thing is just to get enough sleep and try to stress. Bask in the fact that you get to pamper yourself because it’s not everyday that you’re able to justify a complete package of hair, nail, and skin appointments all in one week! And while feeling like a princess is always great, try and cut corners where you can. Weddings alone are expensive enough. If you have friends that are decent at doing nails or have a relative that has mastered the art of YouTube hairstyle tutorials then by all means give them a call!

Also, remember that your significant other is going to think you are beautiful no matter what. And that alone should make you feel absolutely stunning on your big day! So to my bride friends, good luck and have fun!!



P.S. The photos above were taken by our talented and lovely wedding photographer, Cassandra Oldenburg, of Narrowleaf Photography. Check out her work here.



Honeymoon Bliss

It’s been a few weeks since our wedding and honeymoon adventures but we are definitely still soaking up all the honeymoon bliss! Our story is a little bit crazy because our original Puerto Rican honeymoon that we had planned for over a year was suddenly threatened by Hurricane Irma. So we cancelled our trip the night before and flew down to Key West, FL. Little did we know, Irma would make its way towards us and keep us moving north with the rest of the Florida state until we finally made it safely to North Carolina by the end of our honeymoon.

If you know anything about me you would know that I am an obsessive planner and organizer. If things don’t go the way I planned (especially my honeymoon) then it really throws me off. So you can imagine the stress I was feeling the night before our honeymoon as well as the whole trip. I had strategically planned out every day of our Puerto Rico honeymoon and the destination change 6 hours before our flight was set to depart left me with no time to plan out a new itinerary. I’m sure my brand new husband was wondering what he got himself into during this whole fiasco.

Anyways, we ended up seeing a good chunk of the east coast on our mission to avoid Hurricane Irma. We spent one day in Key West, Orlando, Savannah, Myrtle Beach, and Wilmington before flying out from Charlotte, North Carolina. This actually ended up being a great story to tell and we had a lot of fun exploring a new city every day!

So here is each city broken down and our recommendations:

Key Wes, FL: First of all, the drive to Key West was an adventure in itself. The entire drive from the Florida mainland down to the Keys is filled with beautiful ocean views and quaint little towns (check out all of the overly creative and adorable mailboxes on your way down!). If it’s your first time visiting the Florida Keys (it was our first time) I would recommend stopping by the very first Visitors Center you come across once you enter Key Largo (on the right hand side). The workers were some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met and one of the workers was even kind enough to give us his cell phone number in case we had trouble navigating the island or were looking for more things to do. They gave us insight on all there is to do. Trust me, I did all my research about what there is to do in the Keys but they were able to get us discounts and recommendations you couldn’t find online. They ended up giving us a great deal on a local hotel (which we ended up not staying at due to the hurricane evacuation) and also booked us a snorkeling excursion through Fury Key West. We did the Rum and Reggae Sunset Snorkel package, which was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. If you’re a bit hesitant to get in the waters that’s perfectly fine! On this trip, snorkeling is optional. You can get in and out of the water whenever you please. If you prefer to stay on the boat, they have an open bar and music to keep you entertained. HIGHLY recommend this company and this specific excursion. Plus, sailing during the sunset was the perfect way to begin a romantic honeymoon. And if you’ve never been to Key West, be ready to encounter wild chickens and cats that seem to take over the entire island!

Orlando, FL: Of course, when we made it to Orlando we decided to spend the day at the happiest place on Earth, Disneyworld! Ever since I was a little girl I always thought the Disney parks were such a magical place and I dreamed of sharing the experience with my significant other one day. We got the 1-day park hopper pass that allowed us admission into Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. We were able to hit three of those parks. One of the things we really wanted to do was visit the brand new Pandora (for all my Avatar fans out there) theme park located in Animal Kingdom. It was amazing and better than anything I could’ve imagined. However, since it was so new the wait time for the rides were over an hour and half long.  So we opted to just do one. We ended the day with our inner kid-selves completely satisfied.

Savannah, GA: I was really excited to visit Savannah, GA (mainly because I’ve been connecting it with my name my entire life). Arriving in Savannah feels like something out of a fairytale. The trees and historical buildings make you feel like you’re in a movie. First, we started our exploration by attempting to find food. By this point in our honeymoon, the hurricane had caused some pretty intense commotion among these southern states and most businesses had closed down for the weekend. However, we came across a fun and festive tex mex restaurant called Tijuana Flats. The food was average (although Nathan claims it was the best burrito he’s had), but the best part was the outgoing staff and raunchy yet lighthearted decor (see photo below). We also had dinner at Savannah Seafood Shack, where we tried the low country boil. It was AMAZING! We don’t have anything like it up in the Midwest so this is going to be added to the list of must-try restaurants. Since we got to Savannah so late in the day many of the historical museums and tours that I so badly wanted to visit were just closing down for the night. So we decided to just take a walk through Forsyth Park, which is just breathtaking. Every single local we talked to recommended we stop at Leopold’s ice cream and if we didn’t then we’d be losing out on the whole Savannah, GA experience. Of course, Leopold’s was closed down for the weekend as well so we will be saving that for our next adventure there.

Myrtle Beach: I’ve always wanted to visit Myrtle Beach so of course we made it a must-stay destination on our impromptu honeymoon. We opted for the beachfront DoubleTree hotel which turned out to be one of our better ideas on this trip. We had dinner at Simply Southern, an authentic southern buffet full of fried chicken, grits, mashed potatoes, and any comfort food you can imagine. While the food was good, we ended up enjoying the staff and atmosphere of the restaurant more than anything. One of our favorite memories of the trip was getting to hear a local church choir belting worship songs while we enjoyed our meal. We spent the rest of the day lounging on the beach, playing mini golf at one of the hundreds of mini golf courses in the city, and then sipping on drinks while watching the stars and listening to the crashing waves from the comfort of the hotel patio. It really was a perfect and romantic way to spend the last night of our honeymoon. 

Wilmington, NC: When I realized that we would have to eventually end up driving all the way north to North Carolina to avoid the evacuations I automatically penned Wilmington into our itinerary. I am a HUGE One Tree Hill fan and much to Nathan’s dismay we decided to make Wilmington our last stop before our flight out of Charlotte. Of course, the first stop I wanted to make was to the River Walk (downtown Wilmington) where my favorite TV couple, Nathan and Haley, had their first iconic scene together. I really do have to applaud Nathan for being such a trooper and happily posing and taking pictures wherever I asked him to. It was surreal being able to tour the very town that I grew up watching on TV. We also made some stops to different homes featured in the show, and if you’re as big of a fan as I am you’ll be able to recognize which houses belonged to which characters. On our tour of homes we did encounter some of the people that actually lived in the homes, who reassured us that it was ok if we wanted to get a photo in front of their home because ‘it happens all the time’. We also stopped into Poodle’s Island Wear gift shop that houses tons of OTH apparel and I just needed to own my very own ‘Clothes Over Bros’ baseball cap! Even if you’re not big into One Tree Hill, Wilmington is such a gorgeous town to spend time in. Nathan loved the atmosphere and even wished we would’ve spent a night there just to explore what the rest of the city has to offer.

So that was our crazy honeymoon adventure! Although nothing turned out as planned, we ended up getting the vacation of a lifetime and got to see a whole lot more than we were planning. It was memorable and we now have a fun story to tell everyone! It really didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing. I was just happy to be able to spend some time alone with my brand new husband and cherish this beautiful marriage that we’d just established.

I also recommend this exact same itinerary for anyone looking for a fun, on-the-go vacation. If you start in Key West and head north to North Carolina you’re bound to make some amazing memories meeting the locals, visiting historic sites, and crossing off bucket list items. If you’ve visited any of these spots and have any recommendations let me know! We are hoping to revisit these places and be able to spend more time enjoying things that we’ve missed.



Advice From a 2 Week Post-Wedding Bride

You guys! I’M MARRIED! And after 2 weeks of honeymoon bliss and getting our married life routines down I feel like I can finally relax a bit to let you all know how our big day went (which was perfectly, by the way). And if your wedding day is creeping up on you too then here’s some advice from a 2 week post-wedding wifey: It’s all going to be ok!

I’m not sure if there is anyone else in the world that is more of an organized control freak than I am and I somehow managed to pull off planning an entire wedding without crying or ripping anyone’s heads off.

But I do want to touch on a few things about our wedding. And hopefully some of this is helpful for my future bride friends as well!

-The small details don’t matter (SERIOUSLY!): During the wedding planning process I heard this line probably 500 more times than I really cared to. As I debated over whether the white tablecloths would clash with the off-white chair covers people told me that I was silly for stressing out over these details and instead of laughing with them I cursed at them in my head for making a mockery of my entire wedding (I was a little emotional and overdramatic at times). But really, when it came down to it, all of  my guests (including me) were too busy socializing and enjoying ourselves to notice the little things that got screwed up. Some of the chairs were missing chair covers. Some of my flowers were falling off of the flower wall I built. The seating chart looked like a tornado had ran through it. But I can tell you that it was the most beautiful wedding (in my totally unbiased opinion) and our guests are still raving about it. So here I am… Being that fly in your ear telling you once again that the small details don’t matter!

-Splurge on your photographer and definitely consider hiring a videographer! Of course you’ll always have the memories of this super special day but it’s always nice to see photos and videos of what was going on. Sometimes the photographers/videographers might also catch something that you missed or were too busy to notice. And when you talk about how beautiful your day was you’ll want some beautiful photos to show off as well. We spent a little bit more than we originally wanted to on our wedding photos but it is sooo worth it!! We haven’t even gotten all of our photos back yet but I was blown away when I saw some of the sneak peeks our photographer gave us. As for videographers, just do it. I’ve already watched mine 1,001 times and I’ve cried almost every time. It was such an emotional day filled with all of our loved ones and I’m so glad we captured it on video to show everyone and to re-watch for the years to come. (P.S. I’ll be posting that video in the near future as well so keep an eye out!).

-Make sure your maid of honor is highly skilled in organization, aggressively instructing your guests and wedding party, and talking you down from whatever situation it is that is getting in the way of you enjoying your day. Basically make sure she has all the qualities of a mom. Although I only limited myself to one bridezilla moment on my wedding day, I probably would not have survived without my best friend by my side. The role of a maid of honor is so important and if you don’t have their 100% support then it’s easy for your wedding day to get chaotic. So here’s a quick shout-out to my  main lady, McKell, for always  making sure I had what I needed and being part of the reason why I was able to keep my stress levels down and just enjoy the day. I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!

-Lastly, enjoy your brand new husband and cherish every single second of your wedding day. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the flowers and cakes and to forget that at the end of the day all that matters is your new marriage. Very rarely do all of your family and friends come together to just celebrate you guys as a couple. And if that’s not enough to make your heart explode then I don’t know what will.

So, there you go. Now that I’m married I’m kind of sad that the wedding hoopla is over because I really did enjoy planning one of the most important days of our life together. But then I remember that I get to wake up next to the most amazing human being every single morning and that takes the [wedding] cake any day.

So to my future bride friends… Have so much fun during this exciting time in your life. I promise it really will be one of the best days of your life.

P.S. Shout- out to our amazing wedding photographer, Cassandra Oldenburg, with Narrowleaf Photography. You can check out more of her work here.

P.P.S. Shout-out to our amazing videographers, Matt and Dana, with We Do Wedding Videography. You can check out our video as well as more of their work here.




What to Wear For Your Engagement Photos

If you’ve taken the time to click on this post then first of all, congratulations!! Getting engaged is such an exciting time in your life and, of course, you want everything to run as smoothly as possible. The last thing you should stress about is your engagement photos because it should be a time to focus and truly capture the relationship between you and your significant other.

I’m currently a part of a Facebook brides group and I realized that there were a lot of ladies asking for fashion advice so what better way to kick off my last month of being engaged than to share with you some of my engagement photo fashion tips. Plus it’s another chance to show off my engagement photos before I’m able to start over-sharing my wedding photos!

-First and foremost, this shoot is about the both of you! Don’t feel like your engagement photos should reflect something that could grace the cover of Vogue. If you’re both quirky or silly that’s fine! Let your photos reflect that.

-My suggestion is to have at least one formal (or dressier) look and one casual look during your time with your photographer.

-Keep your partner in more neutral colors. This gives you more leeway with what you can do with your outfits. I know it’s not just all about you but you are the bride-to-be and this is the time for you to stand out!

-Matching does not mean you need to be wearing the same colors (says the girl that matched her dress with her fiancé’s outfit as well as the background. See photo below). Just try and keep it all within the same color scheme OR just keep all the tones neutral with at least one bold accessory or clothing piece.

-Wear neutral colored pants (black, white, jeans, etc.) and shoes. Then, keep a plain shirt on throughout the entire shoot and just keep switching out of different tops. For example, I wore jeans and a plain black long-sleeve and just threw a sweater over it. In between shots I would switch out of that sweater and throw on a cardigan or a vest. This gives you multiple different looks in a short period of time. Plus, no changing rooms necessary so that’s a definite plus!

-Props! I know this isn’t necessarily a fashion tip but I think sometimes props are completely forgotten about because people spend their time worrying about the outfits. Balloons, bubbles, streamers, flowers, confetti, etc. All of these add so much movement and originality to your photos. Plus, if you’re one of those people that doesn’t know what to do with your hands during a photo then these will be a lifesaver.

-This one isn’t necessarily a fashion tip either but during your session don’t feel the need to be so posed. I know as future brides, we spend hours (or days!) on Pinterest scrolling through the most perfect engagement photos and hoping to mimic those exact looks. But I guarantee the photos you’ll love best are the shots that were taken in between when you didn’t realize the photographer was shooting. So while you’re in front of the camera just keep moving, laughing, and joking around with each other.

Also, don’t sweat the small stuff! I had gotten my hair done the morning of our engagement photos. I told the stylist I wanted voluminous waves and I walked out of there with tight Shirley Temple curls. I complained to my fiancé during the entire two hour drive to our photo shoot all the while he was assuring me I look great no matter what. I could tell I was really putting a damper on this experience for the both of us so I finally just sucked it up and pretended that I didn’t look like a poodle (luckily my hair can’t hold curls anyways so it fell flat before we started shooting).

In the end, the goal is to get nice pictures to show off but the engagement photos are also a small part of the whole ‘being engaged/wedding’ experience and you’ll want to remember it as a fun one that you can cherish when you look back at these photos.

Have fun and be yourselves!

P.S. These photos were taken by the amazing Cassandra Oldenburg with Narrowleaf Photography and you can check out more of her work here!




My Bachelorette Weekend

I survived my bachelorette weekend! Although I am writing this post while half asleep… I was able to spend two days with my closest girls and I can’t even describe how much fun we had.

I must say that I was blown away by all of the cute decorations that the girls had put up! They all were amazing in putting this whole weekend together.

We spent our Friday night just enjoying each other’s company with drinks, fun games, and a quick dip in the hot tub. And although this is a little “off brand” the highlight of our night was the Pure Romance party. Our reps were amazing! They kept the group laughing, talking, and made us all feel comfortable. I would highly recommend this for your next get-together with your girlfriends!

On Saturday we met up with my fiancé and his groomsmen as well as some of my family members for a small wedding shower. We spent the day on the lake and filling up on good food!

That night some of the girls and I spent a night out on the town in Minneapolis. I always love a night out dancing with my gorgeous girls!

I’m so glad that all my bridesmaids could make it into town for this special weekend! I truly do have the best group of girls that care so much about me and about making this whole experience memorable.