Friday, November 22, 2013


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.