The Year of 3 Words: A Mid-Year Update

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At the beginning of 2018, I declared this year a year of three words.

You may (or may not) be wondering how 2018 is shaping up to my three-word description. I decided to ease your minds and give you a mid-year update. It is June, after all, and the year is halfway over (whoa, that’s weird). It’s time for a little checkin.

Change. 

Change is inevitable and my Type A self can’t cope with it sometimes, but this year there has been good change, bad change, and uncomfortable change.

Changes in habits: less coffee, more water, more reading & audiobooks, less TV, less clutter, more budgeting, more time with people I love.

Changes in life: Updates at work, new house, new professional accomplishments, new friends, new perspectives.

Not to mention many changes that have pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

Needless to say, change happens pretty much every day and I’m learning how to embrace it and trust God every step of the way.

Do.

I’ve written about wedding planning multiple times this year so you know how the “Road to I Do” is generally going, but just in case I haven’t made it clear, this is the biggest “Do” of the year and I am pumped.

At the beginning of the year, a few other “do” items included: complete my social marketing certification, buy a house, read at least 25 books, and write more letters.

So far, I have completed my certification, we found a house, I have read many books, and love writing letters when I can. I’ve also traveled to places like New York and Boston, worked on a few incredible projects, and have begun training for my first official 5K (a big deal for a non-runner like myself!).

“Do” encompasses so many things, so it has been interesting to see how 2018 has unfolded this way. It’s not always about checking things off. Sometimes a “do” is a mindset, just like my third word of 2018 is.

Joy. 

This is one thing that is not a “check off the list,” so to speak.

Joy is a choice and something that takes focus and practice in order to make it a constant part of your life. I have a post-it note on my mirror that says “Joy is a choice,” and this year, in the good and the bad, I try to focus on that mindset.

An easy way to do this is instead of saying, “I have to…” replace it with “I get to…”  A mindset makes all the difference.

So that’s a bit of a recap as the year keeps flying by! What about you? How are your three words going for 2018? This week I challenge you to revisit your goals and be motivated to keep going!

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Monthly Roundup: May Favorites

May flew by in a blink of an eye! I had a feeling it would…It was such a jam-packed month filled with mini adventures and I loved it!

The busyness of the month is also why I’ve been MIA lately (whoops). I’ve been working on a secret project for you all, yes, but life offline has been a bit crazy in general!

With so many fun things, it was hard to pick just a few to share as my May Favorites, but below is the list so check it out!

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{ONE} Brooklyn Bridge

I kicked off the month by escaping to New York City for a girls weekend with my mom and cousins. We traveled to Chicago a few years ago and decided to plan Girls Trip 2.0 a little closer to home this time.

We checked many things off the bucket list including trips to Central Park, the Alice in Wonderland Statue, Alice’s Tea Cup Cafe, Chinatown, Little Italy, and a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I’m a fan of all-things adrenaline but I have to be honest, at the top of the bridge I felt a little shaky! It may have been the wooden boards and being able to see the water when I looked down, but it was still something I’m glad I did.

{TWO} Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, New York City

Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum was another place I wanted to visit while in NYC. I had read reviews and seen a few pictures online and thought that although it looked weird and a bit creepy, I had to see it for myself. I’m so glad we did! It ended up being the highlight of the trip. The wax statues were unbelievably realistic and the gallery included statues of Michael Jackson, Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Ronald Reagan, Usher, The Rock, and Amelia Earhart. Definitely a must-see!

{THREE} Engagement Photos

Luke and I had our engagement photos taken in May. After rescheduling the photoshoot three times due to absurd DE weather, we finally had a beautiful (hot!!!) afternoon and went to Winterthur Museum & Garden for the day. Stacy Hart Photography did an incredible job and you can view the entire gallery here.

Dress: Dress Barn // Shoes: Payless

{FOUR} Registry

May was the month of checking random wedding to-dos off the list. We had fun scanning things and creating our registry at several of our favorite stores. I never knew I could be so excited about registering for plates and kitchen utensils, but alas here we are. #Adulting

{FIVE} The Knot Wedding Website

I mentioned in a recent post, 5 Wedding Planning Tips From a Budget-Friendly Bride, that I would be saving paper (and money) by creating digital RSVPs instead of requiring my guests to send back paper cards. The Knot makes it easy to create a personalized, user-friendly website and it’s been fun creating one for our guests. I even linked our registries to the website, too!

{SIX} The Royal Wedding

Yes, I was one of those suckers who woke up at 5am to watch The Royal Wedding. Judge me all you want, it was worth it. If not for the fashion then definitely for the memories of my mom and I drinking tea and watching the event unfold across the pond.

{SEVEN} Mercy by Jodi Picoult

2018 is all about change and one of the habits I’ve recently changed is avoiding social media before bed. About 30-45 minutes before I call it for the night, I open a book instead of the Instagram app. During a recent thrift store visit, I picked up Mercy by Jodi Picoult (my favorite author of all time!) for $2. Best two bucks ever spent because I’ve been reading Mercy and it is phenomenal. Picoult wrote it back in the ’90s, but it is a timeless, thought-provoking, and captivating read.

Monthly Roundup: April Favorites

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It finally feels like spring (and sometimes summer!) so to say I’m excited is a MAJOR understatement!

This April roundup is being posted a bit later than I wanted, but that is because I have a very exciting announcement coming soon, so I’ve been working on that a lot behind the scenes!

April was a month of unpredictable weather, lots of coffee, and slowly (but surely) checking things off. We’re also official less than 200 days away (!!) from saying “I do” so the to-do list is growing like crazy and we couldn’t be more excited for the big day.

Here are a few things that have been on my radar in April:

{One} Audiobooks

I’m a book lover with limited time. Nothing can replace the feeling of a book in your hands, but lately I’ve found myself obsessed with audiobooks. I listen to them while driving and at work when I’m not in the mood for the radio or my iTunes playlist. My latest listen: Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres (published in 2012, but still just as funny!).

{Two} Florists

I found a florist! Cue all the praise hands. After months of researching and sitting down with different vendors, I found one who is reasonably priced and extremely talented. I can’t wait to work with her to make the ideas in my head come to life!

{Three} A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place was one of the most well-done movies I’ve ever seen. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and never once was bored or sick of the plot. A must-see, but be warned there are some gross scenes so if you have a weak stomach (like I do!), consider this a warning!

{Four} The Movement Challenge

I challenged myself to move more in April. I wrote about it in a recent post (check it out here!) and it was definitely a life-changing experiment I will continue in May and beyond. I’m a firm believer in always pushing yourself and creating challenges to overcome so The Movement Challenge was a great way to do that!

{Five} Cherry Blossoms

All the cherry blossom trees bloomed the last week of April and I was in love. The photo above is from my front yard and when I woke up one morning, seeing it in full bloom was an incredible sight. Gotta love spring joys ❤

5 Wedding Planning Tips From a Budget-Friendly Bride

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As some of you know, I’m engaged! So far wedding planning has been a whirlwind of to-dos, appointments, and meetings, but I’ve been having a blast dreaming and preparing for our big day.

It blows my mind how much money brides will spend on their day. I am all for big dreams and beautiful weddings, but I am also budget conscious and proud of it. It’s been a fun challenge to find creative ways to save money while also planning the wedding of our dreams.

Here are 5 ways I’ve stayed budget conscious as I plan for October!

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{ONE} Save-The-Dates

Save-the-dates were one of the first things I checked off my to-do list because… I’m not doing them. Many of our friends and family already know when our wedding is either by word-of-mouth or by asking us, so I’m saving money and only sending out official invitations instead!

{TWO} RSVPs

I haven’t officially sent my invitations yet, but I already know one thing I won’t include when I do: RSVP cards. Creating a wedding website where guests can RSVP, find location details, registry information, and more not only saves on postage, but it also keeps all of the RSVPs and necessary information in one place.

{THREE} Dinner

This is total preference, but I love buffet-style dinners as opposed to multiple-course dinners. It allows guests the flexibility to eat what they want while also making sure you don’t over-order and over-spend.

{FOUR} Cake

Do you remember the cake from the last wedding you attended? Probably not. Instead of cashing out tons of money for an extravagant and multi-tiered cake, I will order a giant sheet cake and serve it pre-cut to our guests. To keep up with tradition, we will most likely still order a smaller cake for photos and tasting, but since my fiance isn’t a huge cake person, stay tuned for possible alternatives. 😉

{FIVE} The Dress

love my dress for many reasons but one of them is the fact that I didn’t spend thousands of dollars on it. I watch TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and am baffled by the amount of money some brides spend on a beautiful dress they will wear once. Don’t get me wrong, I think the dress is extremely important, but will I spend a down payment’s worth on it? Absolutely not. I’m a witness to all you brides out there: It is possible to find your dream dress without breaking the bank!

Do you have any budget-saving tips and tricks? I’d love to hear them so comment below!