Succulents and Nostalgia

So the start of the school year is almost here and last night I got to meet my brand new 6th grade sweeties! It was so much fun to help them open their very first locker and to talk to their families about all the wonderful things we are going to do with the children this year! What excitement! 🙂

Buttt… with the excitement comes long hours. Lately, I have been working like a mad woman trying to get ready for my new role in KM Create! So exciting, but also exhausting! It turns out that creating a school from scratch isn’t so easy! The other day I was driving home after a long day of meetings, training, and intense philosophical reasoning only to realize that we had NOTHING to eat for dinner. I stopped at the local grocery store to pick up some pasta to make shrimp alfredo (one of my go-to’s). Like most grocery stores, there is a small aisle of florals with mostly cliche stuff like poorly-grown roses and carnations died various colors that are entirely unnatural for flowers to be. However, a small, burlap wrapped pot caught my eye. In the pot was a tiny green succulent. The feelings of nostalgia came rushing in as I recalled the beautiful succulents that were a part of my wedding day only two months ago. Ahh… the incredible smell of peonies came rushing back! This small plant brought me a TON of happiness, so I just HAD to share it! Hopefully it will bring you as much joy as it did for me! Enjoy! 🙂

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What is something that brings you a sense of joy, nostalgia, peace, or happiness? Please share by writing a comment on this post for others to read! Spread the inspiration!

 

The PERFECT Blazer

Well I can’t believe it as I write this post, but it is the middle of August already… CRAZY! With the wedding and honeymoon in June and July, and now my new position at work, this summer has absolutely disappeared! And the weather seems to be constantly reminding us that fall is just around the corner. Ryley and I had some running around to do the other day, and I needed something that said “heyyy- it’s still summer- but yeah… i kinda do need a jacket.” This blazer is the absolute BEST purchase I have made in a longgg time! It is comfortable, classy, and greatttt quality! I know what you’re thinking- how could it get any better? 😉 Well, it is also affordable and OH SO soo versatile!!! As you will see I have paired this with shorts and a textured tee for a casual look, but I soooo can’t wait to wear this with a dress and some heals, or with a nice pencil skirt for a more professional look! From errands to work to play- this blazer could NOT beeee more PERFECT!!! Yay!! 🙂 Oh, and have I mentioned that these new white leather loafers are my new obsession- they go with EVERYTHING!

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Okay, so this beyond believable blazer is from H&M and excellent quality. They are currently sold out, so the link is to a similar H&M blazer! Here is another similar blazer. The black and white tee is very old- just pick a comfy tee of any color to make this look work! This tribal tee from Forever 21 would work great!! Shorts are from Hollister- they are a destroyed, medium wash- similar here. The watch is from The Limited (old- similar here). The amazzzzing chandelier earrings are from Ann Taylor- here is a pair that is probably even more amazing than the pair I was wearing! Sunglasses are Kenneth Cole- see similar here. Annnd- those white loafers I am obsessed with are from Aldo here.

Romantic Dress and a Hay Field

It has been just about a year since Ryley and I became homeowners for the first time! When we started looking for a home in which to begin our life together, we knew one thing- we wanted OUT of the city! We wanted to TOTALLY get away from the hustle and bustle and to wake up each morning to a gentle breeze blowing across the countryside. The only problem- we also wanted a house with modern amenities. We ended up in the quaint small town of Ashippun, Wi. It is a perfect blend of the two things we wanted- it is totally country, but we live in a small neighborhood where we found a newer built home. Now that we are settled here, one of our favorite things to do is to take walks at night after dinner. This is when we often talk about our future, our dreams, and learn about the intricate thoughts that make each of us tick. SOO important! The other night, on one of our walks, I noticed that the farmer in our neighborhood had just freshly cut his hay field. We HAD to sneak in for a few pics in one of the most romantic white dresses you can possibly imagine!!! It has small white textured dots on it, an incredible neckline and a crazy-cute bow around the waste! It is a soft, light fabric- so chic and comfortable! I paired this intricate dress with a pair of blush feminine heals and a matching blush purse. I just love the gold accents on the purse!! It is an amazing shape and is just the right size for an every day piece! My favorite part of the outfit is actually the earrings! They are vintage earrings that pull the whole look together and really emphasize the romantic textures in the dress. This might be the MOST ROMANTIC outfit I could ever find!! It is sooo sweet and sentimental!! There is just something about the ivory and the textures- this dress is all kinds of pretty!

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Photos taken by my husband in Ashippun, Wi. This incredible dress is from Ann Taylor. The shoes are from Famous Footwear (old- similar pair here at Aldo). Purse is from The Limited (similar here). The earrings were purchased at forever 21- these are a MUST HAVE- so versatile and yet so detailed (I love this pair! Or these! This pair is the closest to what I am wearing above! Also very close!)

Enjoy an evening out in this beautiful, soft, romantic ensemble!

 

Tomato Red Dress

Last spring, Ryley and I wanted to plant some things in the gardens that surround our new house! Having slightly brown thumbs, we asked my dad, the gardening guru, what we could plant that might be durable! One of the plants he recommended was a tomato plant. He ended up giving us a small seedling that he had already started growing. When we planted it, deer ate it off time and time again, but it kept growing back!!! When we got back from our honeymoon in July, we were sad to see that almost every plant we had planted all spring had dried out and died while we were gone. Our beautiful, tenderly cared for landscaping had turned into a plant cemetery of sorts. It was actually quite tragic. However, that little tomato plant had actually grown and was healthier and stronger than ever! This week, we picked our FIRST TOMATO from that plant!! And there are many more green ones to come! So here is an AMAZING tomato inspired outfit! This dress is bohemian, but also very girly. It has an amazing texture around the sleeves and the bottom of the dress. I just love how the bottom of the dress is cut out to see a little skin, but not too much! I paired it with an adorable beige clutch for a neutral look that wouldn’t outshine this incredible dress! I also wore my fav white leather loafers for a laid back look that is perfect for lounging around the yard, but I could also see myself wearing this dress with some heals to dress it up a bit! The dress has incredible detailing around the neckline and is so flowy in the wind!

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Photo credits given, once again, to my hubby! Thanks babe for chasing me around with a camera while I look like a goon in a dress! This incredible dress is from a small, privately owned gift shop in New Berlin, Wi.  The clutch is from express (currently sold out- similar here with a nice shoulder strap!) White leather loafers are from Aldo (on sale!). Sunglasses are Kenneth Cole (similar here with a black frame- love it- so classic!)

World Cat Day

According to Ellen, it is World Cat Day today!! Being an animal lover, I just couldn’t pass this up! Now I actually don’t have any cats, but my mother in law has a zillion because she lives on a farm in Shullsburg, Wi and is able to have as many cats as she wants. They live in the barns and she doesn’t have to worry about cleaning up all the hairballs! She calls them the Sunshine Gang because they are all a pretty sunny orange or orange and white color! So here’s to those adorable kitties that make us smile! 🙂

Photo credits go to Emily Steffen.

Ladies LOVE Lace!

This past year in April, Ryley and my spring break schedules didn’t line up so Ryley took a personal day to spend time with me during my break. Aweee… Anyway, there was snow on the ground but we were both itching for sun and spring, so we ventured off to find a nature park near our new house! We stumbled across this beautiful park just a few blocks away which was breathtaking even with all the yucky snow! They even had a small mini-golf area with a big Snoopy (see below!!!) ! We knew we HAD to go back once it got nice! During this time of year, I love a comfy, chic tank with lots of romantic detail. I also ADORE all white! Nothing like a romantic lace tank to make you feel like a lady! You just CAN”T go wrong with lace and all white this time of year!! So feminine and elegant! I decided to pair this tank with a nice big shoulder bag with a beautiful texture since another school year is about to start back up and I just know I will need a nice big bag! And the loafers I picked here are feminine and girly and look great with the brown bag!

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All photos were taken by my loving husband! This amazing CLOSET STAPLE- the lacy tank is from Express. White jeans are from The Loft. The shoes are from Marshalls (old- similar here at Forever 21 for only 16.80- what a steal!). Bag is from The Limited (old- similar here in a beautiful caramel brown!)

Mmmm… Forest Green

So this is my first fashion post! Hooray! 🙂 This past weekend was one filled with nostalgia and smiles for me. Why, you might ask? My little sister was home, my mom and dad returned from their 2 week cruise that felt like forever, and the three of us girls went SHOPPING!!! Hence, the first fashion post was totally necessary to show off some of my great finds! These printed shorts are soooo in! They are great this summer with a textured tank, but more importantly, they look FANTASTIC with fall colors and cozy forest green blouses!

 

The shorts (not sold online) and blouse are from H&M. Purse (old- similar here in amazing blue!)  is from Francescas. Shoes and mid finger rings (old- similar here from Express) are from Aldo. Watch is from The Limited (old- similar here at Aldo). Happy shopping ladies!

Thank you to my loving husband for taking the pics for me!

A Recipe for Rustic!

The latest and, in my opinion, the greatest new thing to hit the wedding industry seems to be brides that are willing to forego the traditional chapel experience and embrace the beauty of wood, candlelight, and the great outdoors. Rustic weddings are, by far, my favorite wedding inspiration. Having just finished planning the rustic wedding of my dreams, I have a few ideas about how it all came together! So what are some of the ways you can add some rustic flair to your big day? Here are the ingredients to planning a beautiful rustic affair!

 

Selecting your canvas.

The venue that you select is probably the single most important component to planning a rustic wedding! I like to think of the venue as the canvas for which you will paint the picture of your big day. The venue will provide the basic atmosphere for your wedding festivities. It will give your wedding a particular “feel” and possibly even a color palette. Some of my favorite canvases for a rustic wedding are barns, gardens, vineyards, or the great outdoors! At our wedding, we knew we wanted a rustic feel, but we also wanted to have modern amenities, so we opted for the most AMAZING wedding venue- we selected a barn in Poynette, Wisconsin. Be sure to consider amenities when you select a venue. Many of the barns we visited did not have air conditioning, heat or even restrooms! Imagine lil grandma trying to use a port-a-john… not quite the image we all had in mind.

Flowers Set the Stage.

Pick a florist you trust to help you create your rustic vision. Some of my favorite flowers for a rustic feel include peonies, ranunculus, dusty miller, succulents, seeded eucalyptus, dahlias, and baby’s breath. Keep it simple if you are having your soiree outdoors so nature can speak for itself. You will notice my husband and I went with aged buckets of baby’s breath for our ceremony decor- simple, romantic, and very rustic! Bring light pastels into your color palette for a beautiful romantic feel!  Bring flowers into EVERY part of your wedding for an overall intimate day, including your cake, your decorations, and even your centerpieces! I love how the long wooden plantar boxes accentuated the soft color palette we chose for our wedding day! I also love how the beautiful puffy peonies complimented the long, romantic, soft bridesmaids dresses my ladies selected!

 

Personal Touches.

A rustic wedding can’t go without some personal, intimate touches! This is the part that if you are planning the wedding by yourself can feel really crazy to coordinate! But trust me- it is SOOO worth it to have a wedding that truly reflects the love that you and your significant other share together! This is what makes your wedding different than every other wedding ever held at your venue!

We focused on hand-made details that were meaningful to us. We included a bonfire with s’mores after dinner because that is probably what we would have been doing that evening had we not been getting married, we created a rubber stamp that we used on items throughout the wedding day, I learned calligraphy to create hand-made signs for throughout the barn, we incorporated some beautiful flowers that my father grew for us in his garden, we had a guest book specifically designed for us  by a local artist, we included romantic lace everywhere we could and my mother even sewed our lace table runners. I collected some vintage handkerchiefs and had my aunt hand embroider them for a sweet gift to each of our mothers. We created a candy station for our favors where guests could fill a linen bag that we had hand-stamped to take home. We even collected antique pieces of pink depression glass to sprinkle throughout the barn for a more personal feel. All of the plantar boxes for the flowers as well as the table numbers were hand made by a family friend. We lined the entire perimeter of the barn with candle-lit mason jars that we hand-decorated (about 150 lit jars!) and strung globe lights for a cozy feel for dancing! As an added sentiment to our families, we included a beautiful picture of each of our parents’ weddings in vintage frames; after all, they are our examples of how a loving marriage should be. For my something borrowed, I used a handkerchief that has been passed down through many generations of women (including my mother). Since my grandmother passed away shortly after we got engaged, I decided to include her in the “getting ready festivities” by using her antique gold hand-mirror.  On the bottom of the menus, we wrote “Per Centanni” which is an Italian blessing to honor my deceased grandfather who spoke Italian and loved all things Italy. My favorite detail of all, is the small heart-shaped patch that I hand-embroidered (which I learned how to do for the first time!) and sewed on the back of my handsome groom’s tie.

 

Be Yourselves and FEEL THE LOVE!

This is supposed to be the happiest day of your life! One of the trademarks of a rustic wedding is that you and your significant other are sooooo in LOVE that the guests can FEEL it when they watch you look at each other! Enjoy every moment, from getting ready to I Do, and try not to stress! Just be PRESENT. The glow of love is what rustic is ALL ABOUT!

 

All photo credits go to the AMAZING Emily Steffen!!