Help me choose my new glasses!

20 April 2015

Somewhere along all of my travels last month, I lost my eyeglasses. While I am very annoyed at myself for not keeping better track of them and therefore having to spend unnecessary money, I’m trying to embrace the upside: sporting a new style! I ordered five try-on pairs from Warby Parker and have narrowed the options down to two. I started with Sibley, Fitz, Upton, Welty, and Nedwin, and the two finalists are Nedwin and Welty. John and I have discussed the options at length and I’ve polled the gals in my office, but I still can’t decide, so I’m going to ask y’all. Here we go:


1. Nedwin. Very similar to my old glasses. The safer choice. One gal commented that you might not remember whether I was wearing glasses at all once we parted ways.


2. Welty. Obviously the bolder choice (GLASSES! as opposed to glasses). In person I like that you can see my eyes better with this pair. Not sure whether I’m cool enough to pull them off on a daily basis.

Keep in mind that I wear my glasses pretty much every day, so I need to be comfortable wearing them in lots of situations. Help a gal out and leave your thoughts?

UPDATE! Thanks so much for your thoughts! I decided to order the Nedwin :)

P.S. Lilly for Target. I showed up at 7:55am and ended up with a romper and a tank after waiting patiently outside the dressing room for go-backs. I’m actually SUPER pleased with the fit and cut of both. Y’all?

Our wedding album from Milk Books

16 April 2015

Friends, we have a wedding album! It’s been a long time in the making (2.5 years!), but it’s here, it’s gorgeous, and I couldn’t be happier.


When we were budgeting for wedding photography, we decided to put all of our resources into purchasing talent, not products. Our “package” only included wedding day hours, not albums or an engagement session or anything else. This was 100% the right choice and I would make the same one again in a heartbeat! Tanja was worth every penny. But, I did want a wedding album at some point – it’s one of my 60 Before 30 goals!


And I didn’t want just any album. We purchased Artifact Uprising wedding albums for our parents, which I loved, but for our one heirloom wedding album, I wanted the works: leather, classic styling, and thick, lay-flat pages.


I looked at Tanja’s albums first. She only offers one option, and it starts at $2,500. As much as I thought her albums were beautiful, there was simply no way that would ever be a feasible option for us. I kept looking, but it seemed like all of the albums I loved were only available through a photographer (not surprising, but still disappointing!). Then, I found Milk Books.


It was as if the angels started singing. Their Cream albums are actually used by photographers for clients, which starts to tell you about the quality. Lay flat board pages? Check. Art paper? Check. White leather, a beautiful presentation box, and simple and elegant layout options? Check, check, check.


Cream albums are still expensive (they start at $595 for a 20-page album), but compared to the options available through most photographers, they are a steal. Also, having been subscribed to the Milk Books newsletter for the past few months, I’ve noticed two nice things – they often run sales up to 50% off (seriously – I’ve seen at least two!), and you can pre-purchase an album at any time (during sales!) and then design and order it when you’re ready. So nice!


The Cream online layout system is good, but not perfect. I wish I had had the option of moving pages around, since it was hard to know how much room to allocate for certain parts of the day right from the start. I loved how simple and aesthetically pleasing the layout options were, though – it would be hard to design an ugly album!


Also: strange to design pages featuring yourself :) But, you know, I figured grandchildren might like to see one day.


Keep in mind, these pages are BIG. That full-bleed photo above measures more than a foot wide, and the wingspan of the open album is a whopping 28 inches!


I think if I had realized JUST how large the photos would print, I would have included a few more of the layouts with multiple photos. Let that be a lesson to y’all! These ended up being some of my favorite pages.



It took about a month for our album to be produced and shipped to us, and we had a mini viewing party when it finally arrived! We haven’t looked at it too often since, but that’s okay – I wanted a real wedding album not because I expected to crack it open every morning, but as an heirloom for years (and people) to come. That’s exactly what we got.


If you’re married, do you have a wedding album? If so, was it included in your photography package, or did you buy it separately? I’d love to hear!!

P.S. More wedding photos.

The kind folks at Milk Books offered me a discount on our album. Regardless, I’m just thrilled to share the best wedding album source I’ve found!

Weekend in Beaufort, SC

9 April 2015

As most of you know, John is the travel planning guru in our family. He does most of the legwork on our trips, as I prefer to be surprised when I show up to our destination! So when he suggested Beaufort, SC when we needed a one-night stay close to Bluffton two years ago, I was game, but didn’t really know what was in store. I think it’s fair to say that we were both blown away by this quiet Southern town – it captured us in a way few other places have. We’ve been eager to return ever since, and this past weekend, we got the chance to!


Beaufort is not Charleston or Savannah – it’s much smaller than both. I think I love it because it seems like a place people lead normal lives – but in a beautiful, idyllic way! The streets are quiet and draped in Spanish moss. The houses are absolutely gorgeous but have people puttering in the lawns or sitting on their front porches. When we ate dinner in the bar of a local restaurant one night, it seemed like everyone knew each other. For any Hart of Dixie fans out there, Beaufort really reminds me of Bluebell – except with slightly weaker accents :)


Like last time, we stayed at City Loft Hotel, and continue to be huge fans of the way the owners have transformed an outdated roadside motel into a chic boutique motel! You can read my much more thorough review of CLH here.


After checking in, we immediately hopped on City Loft’s complimentary cruisers and pedaled toward the Point, the beautiful historic district right next to downtown. I was in my happy place – there are few activities I enjoy more than biking or walking around an old neighborhood with John at my side. We even chatted up a few of the residents!




I could go on and on…




…but I will stop there! Aside from biking, we also ate some delicious food. We had lunch in Bluffton, which is between Savannah and Beaufort, at The Cottage. It was good; any place that serves free pimento cheese to start is a-okay in my book. Dinner was at Breakwater Restaurant, right next to CLH. We ate at the bar (celebrating after Duke’s Final Four win!) and I think it was the best meal of our trip. Highly recommended! Finally, we had Easter brunch at Wren. Charming decor and yummy food. We didn’t make it to my store crush, Lowcountry Produce, for a meal, but I couldn’t resist popping in for a quick visit!


Easter was celebrated at First Baptist Beaufort. I will admit I lingered on the front steps after the service, trying to soak in the conversations of the locals around me, imagining what their lives were like! Hopefully that’s not too creepy :)



We are now engaged in an active campaign to get John’s parents to retire in Beaufort, at least for the winter. Fingers crossed!

Weekend in Savannah

6 April 2015

The first and (until this weekend) last weekend we visited Savannah, I had a major attack of seasonal allergies, limped around on a bleeding foot, and scratched my cornea. John had a blood sugar crash. Needless to say, we owed this Southern city another shot, and finally, six years later, we returned!

Savannah is about a 5.5 hour drive from our home in NC, which means it is a long but doable weekend road trip. We set off early on Friday morning, and after hitting some traffic, arrived around 2pm. Our first stop was Gryphon Tea Room. It’s a restaurant run by SCAD in an old pharmacy, with original Tiffany glass panes and furnishings. It was beautiful and felt like a library! Our table was up on a podium, with really comfortable velvet chairs. The leopard carpet was a nice touch :)


The food was good; the service was quirky (SCAD students!). The highlight was our drinks – blackberry pomegranate lemonade and peach rosemary lemonade. After lunch we started wandering in the direction of Forsyth Park, pausing in several squares and oohing and ahhing over many houses. One of my favorite activities!




The weather was perfect – low 80’s, sunny, with a light breeze and lots of shade from oaks and Spanish moss.




Savannah and Charleston get compared a lot, but to me, they seem very different. Savannah is darker and a bit more Gothic, with lots of wrought iron and Spanish moss — more similar to what I’ve heard and seen of New Orleans. Charleston is preppier and brighter.

After popping into several shops (Fest, Number Four Eleven, One Fish Two Fish, Sylvester & Co General Store), we jumped back in our car and drove 15 minutes outside of Savannah to McQueen’s Island Trail. Our quick run along the Savannah River was lined with palms and and came complete with a marsh view! Highly recommended for stretching your legs.


After checking into our hotel for the night (the Andaz on the waterfront – we got a good rate on Priceline and were very pleased with it!), we walked over to Chippewa Square for a Good Friday service at First Baptist. Then, we walked back to the waterfront and settled in for dinner at Treylor Park. It was lovely to stroll from spot to spot!


We did have trouble deciding where to eat – restaurants we researched seemed either old-school fancy and too expensive or not enough of an experience for dinner. Treylor Park’s menu looked intriguing, so we decided to give it a go! We started with the PB&J Chicken Wings (tossed in a peanut/pecan butter and served with a peach jelly sauce) and the Pigs in a Biscuit Blanket (artisan sausages nestled in biscuit blankets with spicy mustard). We loved both concepts and they were also delicious. For our entrees we went more traditional – a burger and a BLT. Sadly, the execution was pretty average on both. One other note – the noise level was high, since the tables and bar area are one and the same.

We considered going to Leopold’s for ice cream, but headed back to the hotel when we saw how long the line was – it was probably 100 people deep!


On Saturday morning we had a quick breakfast at Goose Feathers Cafe, then hit up a few more spots before heading out of town. One was The Paris Market, probably the most famous shop in Savannah. We both loved it! It was one of those beautifully curated stores that is inspiring to just walk through, even if most of the goods were too expensive for us.


Our final stop in the Savannah area was the free Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. You can drive through it on a beautiful four-mile track surrounded by marshlands. We saw all sorts of water birds, turtles, and, oh yes, 28 alligators!!!




We had some beautiful weather in Savannah and loved getting away – but as a final review, 9 times out of 10 I would choose to visit Charleston. In my experience, it has a little less of a party vibe (feels a bit more refined), the food is better, and it’s an hour closer to our house. If any of y’all have visited both cities, I’d love to hear your thoughts and preferences!

Saturday night was spent in Beaufort, SC – report coming up next!