Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

*Tag You're It... Christmas Style*

Merry Christmas Eve All!!!!

Because I am the world's worst (ok maybe not the worst, but close to it) blogger and have had ZERO time these past couple of weeks I am finally getting around to the Christmas Tag post that Elizabeth from Army Ever After tagged me in oh almost a week ago. In fact I so bad that I didn't even realize that she had tagged me in it until a few days after I was tagged in it.  Here's hoping that 2014 will bring more time for blogging (both reading my favorite blogs and posting things of my own!) as I have so many post ideas... so many pictures on my cell phone that I want to use for posts and so many promised blog posts that I really need to get on this.  But for today I am going to work on the Christmas Tag post because well tomorrow is Christmas and I want to make sure that I get this up before Christmas!


1. What do you love most about Christmas time?  Geez... this is a tough one.  There is so much that I love about Christmas time, but what I think I love the most is having the time to spend with all of my family and friends celebrating the joy and magic of the season.  The hubby and I get to spend a few days with each family reflecting on the past year and overall just having a good time together.  I love to see the joy on our families faces when we give them meaningful gifts that they will treasure for the rest of their lives. 

2. Do you celebrate the season in style or is Bah-Humbug for you?  IN STYLE obviously!  As much as fall is my favorite season, Christmas may very well be my favorite holiday.  I love putting up on tree so that the house smells like fresh pine.  I love decorating the house with ornaments, stockings, pine, etc.  My house definitely has a TON of decorations up and I love each and every one of them! 

Just a few of my Christmas Decorations 
A few more of our decorations
3.  Are you leaving anything out for Santa this year so that he remembers to leave your presents?  As we don't have kids we won't be leaving anything out for Santa... but I do remember always leaving him cookies and milk as a kid... plus some carrots for the reindeer!!! When we would wake up in the morning I remember seeing the empty milk glass, cookie crumbs on the plate and the very bottom of the carrot sticks... I wonder which one of my parents actually ate the carrots.... 

4. What is the gift you are most looking forward to giving?  Every year we give everyone in the family a unique Christmas ornament and I love seeing their faces as they open them up.  This year some of them are extra special as we purchased them on our honeymoon.  It is so fun to give our families these ornaments and then to see them on the tree the following year.  We so enjoy remembering what Christmas we gave the ornament to them for and reminiscing about whatever Christmas disaster happened that year (because yes, there is almost always some sort of Christmas disaster every year... from trees falling over, to forgetting to put ingredients in pies, to ornaments breaking before they get opened... never a dull moment)

5. What is your all-time favorite Christmas movie?  All time it is probably "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer" .... but I also love the Hallmark Channel Movie "The Christmas Card" and will not turn it off if I see it is on.

6.  What is your all-time favorite Christmas song?  I absolutely LOVE "Silent Night"!! I also enjoy the "Christmas Shoes" song... makes me cry every time!  The hubby's favorite song is "All I Want for Christmas is You"... the Mariah Carey version... any other version he does the thumbs down on Pandora.  He is crazy but I can't help but love him!

7. If given the opportunity would you participate in an "Ugly Sweater" party would you and what sweater would you wear? (peruse one on the internet or even one from your own closet)  I would ABSOLUTELY go to an ugly sweater Christmas party... in fact I have always wanted to go to one... perhaps I will host one next year!  I love owls... so I would actually kind of like this ugly sweater T-shirt!

8. Have you started any Christmas traditions this year that  you plan on carrying forward?  Every year we buy Christmas ornaments for each member of the family and we also always go to cut down our own tree.  We have been doing this ever since we have been together and it is something that we will probably continue to do for the rest of our lives.  Unfortunately we didn't start any new traditions this year... just carrying on ones from previous years.
The Hubby cutting down our Christmas Tree
The Hubby & Me after we cut down our tree!
9. It's Christmas morning... what does it look like outside where you live?  Well with the way the weather has been recently it is hard to say what it will look like.  Normally it is cold, but sunny... sometimes there is snow on the ground.  But seeing as it was just 70 degrees the other day in PA, I am unsure of what to expect this year... but the weatherman says we might get some snow today... so maybe a White Christmas morning?!

10. You just found yourself standing under the mistletoe... who comes up to give you a kiss first?  The hubby of course!! He actually did that to me just the other day when we were at my parent's house! 

Now... TAG, you're it!!  If you are reading this blog consider yourself tagged... but I am also going to tag some of my favorite blogging friends!

Tag Ladies... can't wait to hopefully read your posts!! 
Ashley from Our Mitchell Moments
Erin from Sugar Crumbs
Ashleyrose from A Nelson's Nest
Amanda from From E to V
Elizabeth from Get Busy Living
Trish from Olive Oil Overdose
Maddie Rose from Always Maddie Rose

As always... another edition of who I am thankful for.  Today I am thankful for my hubby.  Throughout the 7 years that we have been together he has ALWAYS been there for me.  He has been my rock.  He has seen me through some of the toughest things that life has thrown my way and he has helped me through all of it.  He is my best friend.  He is the one I can always turn to.  He completes me.  I can't imagine my life without him.  So thank you hubby for being one of the best men that I know.  I love you! 


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Blogmopolitian Quiz

So as I was browsing some of my favorite blogs yesterday I came upon a post entitled "The Blogmopolitian Quiz" and I was immediately intrigued.  It seems that Erin over at Two Thirds Hazel has put together a Cosmo quiz for those of us in the blogging world.  I mean who doesn't love reading the celeb's answers to the Cosmo quizzes... best way to learn some interesting stuff about whoever is on the cover.  Well I decided to take a stab at this quiz... so here you go....


I feel like this is kind of boring compared to the celebs, but oh well... I still had fun filling it out!

Before I go, today I want to say thank you to my parents and to let them know what they mean to me (if you read yesterday's post here ... it will all make sense as to why I am ending with this)

Mom & Dad, Thank you so much for everything that you have done for me throughout my 29 years of existence.  You have made me the woman that I am today.  Without your love and support I don't know where I would be or what I would be doing.  You taught me what it was to be kind, to be loving, to cherish  every moment.  You instilled in me so many great values that I hope that I can one day pass along to my future children.  I know I don't say it nearly enough, but thank you for being such amazing parents and role models to me.  I love you both! XOXO 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What Happened to the Mantra "If You Can't Say Something Nice, Don't Say Anything at All."?!

I finally have a day off, finally finished writing all of my wedding thank you notes and was all set to write a blog post about Part I of our Honeymoon in Paris.  But before writing my post I decided to catch up on reading some of my favorite blogs and came upon a post that made me rethink everything that I wanted to write today.  Instead of filling you all in on what happened during my honeymoon, I want to talk about something way more important... bullying.


When people think of bullying I feel like quite often they think of name calling, people being mean to each other, people picking on the "little guy" and things of that nature.  People think of bullying happening in school with children or in college with students being mean to one another.  But people, wake up... bullying is NOT something that only happens with children, adult bullying is a serious problem as well.  While bullying between children is often more physical than verbal/mental... adult bullying usually takes on more of a verbal form.  According to www.bullyingstatistics.org, "The goal of an adult bully is to gain power over another person, and make himself or herself the dominant adult.  They try to humiliate victims, and 'show them who is boss.'"  Often adult bullies were bullies as children or were bullied themselves as a child. Unfortunately it is hard to do things about adult bullies because well most people don't want to go down the road of taking legal action in order to make the bullying stop.  

Bullying has always taken on many forms... physical, mental, verbal, and now with all the forms of technology out there, "cyber bullying".  As of late I have come to realize that "cyber bullying" is a big issue.  



People take to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, their blogs, other people's blogs, text messages, emails, etc. to at times do nothing but trash talk each other and that is not okay.  These social media outlets while they can do so much good, can also do a lot of harm.  They can make people feel like lesser of a person, they can make people question their decisions, they can make people do crazy things.  I would like to believe that people will only use these things for good, but we all know that isn't true.  I know people will criticize me and say that if people put their life out there in the social media world that they are opening themselves up to to whatever anyone has to say about it... good or bad.  But... Whatever happened to the mantra "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."?!

Why do people feel the need to comment on a picture saying that someone is ugly? Why do people feel the need to comment on a blog post and tell someone that they are living their life in the wrong way? Why do people post statuses about others demeaning them?  When did the world become a place with so much cruelty?

I am not saying that I am above all of this.  I know there have been times where I have said things that I shouldn't have, and usually after I make those comments I immediately regret making them and wish I can take them back.  None of us are above "bullying" at times.  But what matter is what we do about it.  I have decided that starting today I am going to make sure that I remind someone daily of how special they are and how much they mean to me or others around me.  

Today I want to take the time to let Kaitlyn of Wifessionals know how much her blog has meant to me.  Kaitlyn wrote a blog post yesterday that broke my heart and is what prompted this post today.  From following her blog for the past 6 months or so I have formed an opinion of Kaitlyn that was nothing but positive and I was so hurt to read her post and find that she has been the victim of cyber bullying.  Kaitlyn has such a huge heart and is someone who I believe would do anything for her friends and those that she loves and cares about.  She is the one who started the amazing Cara Box exchange that I participate in.  She is mamma to a beautiful little girl.  She is a woman who cares about her friends and family so much.  She does not deserve to be going through what she is going through.  So today I am thanking Kaitlyn...

Kaitlyn, Thank you so much for all you have done for me.  Without realizing it you have helped me to make some amazing new friends through your Cara Box exchange that I probably never would have met otherwise.  You have made me feel more comfortable in the blogging world.  You have made me realize that it is ok to open up on my blog and talk about what I really feel.  Whether people criticize me or not, I am who I am and I will always try to remember that.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for sharing your stories and for being an amazing mom and friend.  I wish you the best as you continue on the journey of life.  I am sure that God has some great things in store for you!  Please don't ever lose hope and know that although some people may want to bring you down, there are so many others that you have inspired to do great things. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cara Box REVEAL

That's right friends... it is that time again... time for the CARA BOX REVEAL!!!!! As many of you know, I first participated in the Cara Box Exchange in August and had a wonderful experience!  In fact I still e-mail quite frequently with my one partner and truly feel like I have made a friend for life in her.

For those of you who don't know what the Cara Box exchange is... it was started by Kaitlyn over at Wifessionals as a way to "Make Friends...Receive Gifts...Share Encouragement". It is basically like having a pen pal like we did when we were in Elementary school, only with these e-mail pen pals we send each other gifts after getting to know one another. The exchange occurs quarterly which gives us plenty of time to know each other and to create a box that truly reflects our partners.

Cara Box

This time around I was paired up with Elizabeth from Army Ever After AND Elizabeth from Get Busy Living.  Funny coincidence that this time I was paired with two wonderful women named Elizabeth because well I am an Elizabeth too!  I wonder if Kaitlyn did that on purpose. This month's theme was "Fall".  Now any of you  who know me knows that this is the PERFECT theme for me because well fall is definitely my FAVORITE time of the year.  I was so excited to be able to put together a fall themed box and was equally excited to receive one!

I sent a box to Elizabeth from Get Busy Living this month and you can check out her Cara Box post here.  Elizabeth is a former teacher who is a momma to an almost 3 year old boy.  She too loves fall and most loves it for sweater weather, celebrating her wedding anniversary and pretty much all things pumpkin (a girl after my own heart).  I thoroughly enjoyed putting a box together that she would be able to enjoy herself, but also with her family.

I received a box from Elizabeth at Army Ever After.  Elizabeth is an Army wife whose hubby is stationed in Hawaii (talk about jealous!).  She loves fall just as much as I do and of course shares my love of pumpkin spice lattes.  I think it was fate that we were paired up together.  I received my box from Elizabeth the other day... after a particularly bad night at work... I swear I always seem to get packages from my Cara Box partners when I need them the most!


Elizabeth sent me a very fun box filled with all sorts of goodies.  I got some chocolates and a charm from Hawaii so I will always be reminded of my new Hawaiian friend (The hubby is excited about the chocolates... in fact when I told him he could have one he responded with "mmmmm I'll have 6 or 7")!  She also sent me some ocean scented bath salts as I absolutely LOVE the beach and now my baths can remind me of sand and salt weather and summer days relaxing lazily on the beach.  She also sent me a fall candle set (I'm not even sure I told her about my candle obsession... so she is good) that smells just like fall.  I can't wait to burn it and have my house smell like all things fall!!  I also received a pumpkin spice sugar scrub for my hands.  I am super excited to try this out because my hands take a beating at work so hopefully this will help them out some.

Overall this was another fantastic Cara Box experience.  I am so glad that I have decided to become a part of this as I have definitely made some amazing friends throughout the experience.  Can't wait until the next one!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Most Perfect Day... and the ROCKY Road it Took to Get There

Everyone told me that my wedding day would be absolutely amazing and that it would be one of the most perfect days of my life.  I have to admit... I was skeptical.  I was so stressed out in the days leading up to the wedding that I was convinced that it was never going to all come together.  The night before the rehearsal dinner was stressful to say the least.  M and I were up until all hours of the night (ok maybe only til sometime between 1 & 2am) finishing up last minute things for the wedding.  We had spent all day running errands and needless to say I was exhausted, but we had so much to do.  I spent most of my night tying knots... knots for the brunch invites we were tying to the out of town bags... knots around the cards we were tying onto the favors to let people know we were making a donation to charity in their honor... knots around the programs for the ceremony.  I swore that if I never had to tie another knot again it would be too soon! I was also freaking out because the table numbers I had ordered for the wedding that were supposed to arrive on Wednesday were STILL not at M's family's house, so we had to create new ones spur of the moment.  I think they turned out ok, but they were so NOT what I was hoping for!

Program making at midnight
Out of Town Bags
Table #s
Of course I didn't get the best night of sleep on Thursday night and Friday I was ready to go but also super anxious about how the day was going to go.  It did not get off on the right track and when we were driving to Pine Barn Inn I realized that I had no idea where my driver's license was.  Of course we had to check in and had some errands to run and things to do before the rehearsal so obviously I was freaking out that I had no driver's license.  Especially since I had to drive back to M's family's house to pick up my wedding dress and bring it to Pine Barn.  Thankfully one of my bff's and bridesmaids was already at Pine Barn so she was able to come with me to run some errands and to pick up my dress while M went on a search for my license.  Thankfully before we made it back to M's family's house, M got there and he managed to find my license... in the trash. After making it to Pine Barn with my dress things finally started to look up... well minus the fact that we were late for our own rehearsal because we had spent so much time driving back and forth between M's family and Pine Barn.  But all was well, because well the rehearsal wasn't going to start without us.  

Oh I also forgot to mention the during all of this we still had not found someone to play the organ for the wedding.  Our original organist informed us that she didn't feel confident playing the organ that Bucknell had so a couple of weeks before the wedding and despite calling every name that people had given us, we were still no closer to finding and organist.  As our luck would have it, there was an organ convention the weekend of our wedding and that was why we were having such a hard time finding someone.  Thankfully one of my amazing bridesmaids, AV, was able to secure us a Bucknell student to play the organ.  AV's father works for Bucknell and the day of the rehearsal he spent most of his day trying to find someone for us.  He found us an amazing Bucknell organ student who was available to play for us the day of the wedding... needless to say we were super psyched and I was sure that things were finally starting to look up. 

The rehearsal went well and I was very confident that the day of the wedding would go smoothly.  Part of the reason that I was so confident that things were going to go well was that my amazing wedding coordinator Courtney, of By Design Events PA, proved once again that it was one of the best ideas ever to hire her as a day of wedding coordinator.  Courtney was there making sure that the rehearsal ran smoothly and I knew that the day off would go just as smoothly with her there.  We met our organist for the first time at the rehearsal and OH. MY. GOODNESS. was he AMAZING! I know I have said in the past that things definitely happen for a reason, well we definitely couldn't have asked for a better organist to play for us for the big day!

Rehearsal dinner was a lot of fun... got to see a lot of friends from out of town and to spend some time with our wedding party and family members.  After the rehearsal dinner we all headed to Bull Run for a drink before heading back to the hotel to get some sleep for the big day!

Of course I didn't get much sleep the night of the wedding.  I was up to close to 2am writing thank you notes (yes I am that crazy) because I couldn't sleep and I was awake at a little before 6am and ready to get the day started.  I behaved myself and instead of going to get coffee like I had wanted to I texted Courtney to ask her to pick some up  before the day started.  At 7am my bridesmaids started arriving to my room to get ready for the big day.  It was such a fun morning getting ready... AV provided music for us (I wouldn't have expected anything less from her) and we had a great time just hanging out together.  My bridesmaids made me a photobook with pictures and letters that they had all written to me about our friendships and how they would always be there for me.  The book really made me want to cry, but I was trying to avoid it because I was afraid if I started crying too much and blinking that I would blink my contacts out of my eye and I was not about to do that.  Later on my bridesmaids made fun of me because they said I wouldn't be able to blink my contacts out but I was pretty convinced that I could!



After getting ready the rest of the day was pretty much a blur.  There was just so much going on that I can't possibly put it all into words.  A few highlights of the day that I remember included:
- M not being able to look at me because he would get all teary eyed every time that he did
- Dad forgetting to lift my veil up after he walked me down the aisle
- Tripping on my dress walking up the stairs after lighting the unity candle and giving our moms' their roses
- The incredible feeling of joy that I had once we were united in marriage
- Hanging out with our wedding party before the reception
- Seeing all of our friends and family enjoying themselves at the wedding and reception

Now for the part you have all been waiting for... here are a few of my favorite pictures that were snapped by some of our friends and family members throughout our wedding day!





















And if you want to see some more pictures, feel free to check out the sneak peak of our professional photos via Carden's Photography here.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Almost Mrs. Elizabeth Anne Dietz

Well folks, we are coming down to the wire.  Only a few more weeks left until the wedding.. 15 days to be exact... I can't believe it!  So much has gone on this past month that I feel like I have barely had time to breathe, let alone blog.  Yesterday I let you all in on the main reason for why I haven't blogged much in the past month, and today I am putting that behind me so that I can tell you about one of the most amazing things that has gone on in the past month.

On September 14th my bridesmaids, along with my mother, threw me the most PERFECT bridal shower a girl could have ever asked for.  These women put so much time and effort into planning the perfect day for me and I can't even put into words how much it all meant to me.  Seriously the day was beyond PERFECT (am I overusing the word perfect here... because seriously I don't think these is any other word that could be used to describe it), and I don't think I could have asked for anything better.

The weekend started on Friday when one of my fabulous bridesmaids, CS, came to West Chester to pick me up on her way to NJ to the shower all the way from Virginia.  I had originally planned on taking the train home because MD was unable to take Friday off from work and we didn't want two cars up there, but since CS was already driving this way she graciously volunteered to pick me up.  It was so nice to drive up with her as we don't get to see each other very often, so it was fun to spend an uninterrupted 2.5ish hours together in the car.  I was also really excited for CS to "meet" my mom (they don't remember meeting each other in the past... even though they have totally met twice I think!) because they had communicated so much via e-mail to make sure that the shower went exactly as planned.  We made it to NJ with no problems and made plans to get together for dinner for pizza at my parents' house once a few more people arrived!

Dinner Friday night was awesome... so low key and relaxed... just what I needed!  My mom's roomie from college had come up early to help with preparations so she joined us for dinner as well as CS, my maid of honor AW and one of my other bridesmaids SP.  We all had such a great time catching up (and for some just plain getting to know each other).  We were all up fairly late just chatting and it really was nice to see everyone from the different stages of my life getting along, relaxing, and just having a good time with each other.

We had a gorgeous day for the shower which was amazing because the plan was for the shower to be outside under a tent that my parents had rented for the occasion.  Setup for the afternoon began early... I think most of us were awake well before 9am.  Two of my amazing bridesmaids, SP & AV, had actually spent the night at my parents' house, so after some coffee they were good to go with getting ready.  Next think I knew AW was there dropping stuff off, followed shortly thereafter by CS, followed shortly thereafter by a bunch of my mom's friends.  We had so many people helping to get ready I didn't know what to do!








I had wanted to help set up for the shower, but everyone kept shooing me away.  Thankfully I had anticipated that, so I had made an appointment with my neighbor, who is also my florist, to discuss flowers for the wedding.  It was great getting to meet with Mrs. Ruesch and to figure out what exactly it was that I wanted for my flowers.  As much as I thought I didn't know what I wanted, I found that the moreI talked to her, the more I did know what I wanted, just had to figure out how to put it into words.  By the time we had finished getting all the flower stuff taken care of, it was time for me to head home and get dressed for the shower!  By the time I was dressed and ready, the guests had already begun to arrive!





My mom, my bridesmaids, and my mom's friends put together an AMAZING luncheon. Everyone who cooked made such delicious food and the catered wraps were also fabulous.  The amount of time, effort and energy put into cooking such fabulous food... I can't even imagine.  All I  know is that everyone throroughly enjoyed the food!  I was also very excited for Mom's famous champagne punch!  This punch was the one thing I specifically requested for the shower because I remember my parents serving it at New Year's Eve parties when we were growing up as kids and the adults all always seemed to love it.  I have to say... the  punch was worth the wait (or maybe it wasn't worth the wait and I should have tried to swipe some from parties when I was underage!).  The punch was definitely a hit... and I knew everyone would love it as much as I did.




Before lunch my bridesmaids had prepared some fun trivia games for my guests to see how well they knew me.  It was definitely really interesting to see everyone's responses to the questions.  It also made me question the fact that my all time favorite color is pink... most people seemed to think it was the combination of orange and blue (hmmm... I wonder why... "Ray Bucknell!!).  It was also interesting that most people thought that Mark had wrestled in high school (not going to lie, I originally thought he did too... but nope, I was wrong).  Once the games were over the food was set up for lunch and everyone dug right in!

After lunch it was time to open some gifts... it is incredible how much amazing stuff Mark and I received from everyone.  It will be so nice to finally go through all of our stuff and to get rid of everything that we have from our college days and start fresh!  It was also a lot of fun watching how into "Bridal Bingo" all of the guests got. Everyone was paying lots of attention in an attempt to get bingo!





After the gifts it was time to cut our cake.  By that time Mark was back from going out to lunch with my dad and the other guys, so everyone thought it would be fun if we gave cutting a cake together a try.  Let's just say, if my shower is any indication of how things are going to go at the wedding... WE ARE DOOMED.  Trying to cut the cake with Mark I could NOT STOP LAUGHING... it took forever to get myself under control so that we could finally make a single cut in the cake.  Then of course I notice that Mark, the delinquent that he is, had stuck his finger in the icing and was heading to try and put it on my face.  Thankfully I still had the knife in my hand and well let's just say he thought twice about coming near me with the icing.  Everyone got a good laugh out of the situation and there are definitely some funny pictures of the two of us during the entire encounter.






I was definitely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love by all of my family and friends who made the trip to celebrate my bridal shower with me.  I had friends from as far sound as Maryland and Virginia, friends from Pennsylvania and Delaware, friends and family from all over New Jersey... all there to celebrate with me.  I felt so incredibly blessed to have so many people who care about me there to celebrate our upcoming wedding.  Seriously, words cannot express how much the shower meant to me.