Friday Favorites

Man, it’s hard keeping up with writing on here! Not because I don’t have the time or even the energy, but more so because everything I write I end up wanting to keep private or don’t have the heart to finish. Today I figured I’d go back to writing about a few of my favorite things. I was tempted to post five different dogs, but I thought this list would be a little more helpful.


Tony’s Chocolonely. I honestly haven’t had anything better, and they’re a really cool company because they focus on making chocolate humanely. Did you know that slavery is still a huge problem, particularly on cocoa farms? It’s crazy to me that one of my favorite foods is actually hurting others, and I love that Tony’s is committed to making all chocolate become slave-free. Go get a bar of the milk chocolate sea salt caramel today. It is a new necessity for me “that time of the month,” and I’m happy to add it to my survival kit.

chocolate.png

choc lab jax.png
Jax is obviously my favorite chocolate thing on earth, though.

Billie Eilish — specifically “Bad Guy” featuring Justin Bieber. I didn’t know if I should put him as a favorite too because honestly his lines are so darn catchy and remind me why I liked the Biebs so many years ago. Billie is an interesting entertainer because she totally breaks the mold of anything we really see in the pop music world. I like that she seems to be unapologetically herself and hasn’t conformed to what Hollywood thinks sells albums.

 

Colorful flowers. I love having them to brighten up our home, and Robert got me some really bright and fun ones from a summer collection a few weeks ago. I used to always say Gerbera Daisies were my favorite kind of flower, but now I like pretty much everything under the sun.

flower.png

Crime Junkie. I am a huge fan of podcasts, and Crime Junkie happens to be one of my favorites. Granted, it’s made me a little wary every time I go to the basement to do laundry, but overall the mild paranoia is worth listening to Ashley and Brit tell us about famous — and not so famous — cases. It’s a great thing to listen to during a commute or while doing household chores; just don’t listen late at night when you’re by yourself unless you want to be up all night listening for intruders.

crime junkie.png

Finally, Taylor Swift released her song “Lover” last night and I am OBSESSED. She’s back to writing her beautiful love songs and I couldn’t be more here for it!

Something Borrowed Blooms Review

What do you think about my bridal bouquet? I chose a simple style with a nice amount of greenery because I wanted my dress to be the focal point of the photos.

flowers.JPG
Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography

Wedding planning is stressful, and there are a million different details that go into it. Things you wouldn’t think about like napkin colors and textures, what kind of “save the dates” you want to send out, party favors, and of course, what kind of flowers you want for each and every part of the day. You try to figure all of this out while sticking to a budget and it isn’t easy.

I was so lucky that my mom stumbled upon a company called Something Borrowed BloomsThey make bouquets and decor so easy, and are a whole lot cheaper than going to a florist. I chatted with one of the founders of the company, Lauren, about possibly doing a review in exchange for a deal on the flowers. Before I could agree to doing a partnership, though, I wanted to see the flowers in person to make sure I liked the quality for my wedding day. She happily sent me the bouquet from the Sophia collection I had been looking at, which gave me the peace of mind I needed to book all of my flowers with them. Although up close you could tell the flowers were not real, they still looked absolutely beautiful, and the pictures didn’t show that they were created with fine silk. I also learned from this test run that I did not like the scent they used in the bouquets, so I ordered mine without perfume.

We rented flowers for the chairs at the ceremony, and SBB makes it really easy to order in bulk by sorting everything into matching collections. You can mix and match some, however I really liked having a cohesive look for the day. I used the Olivia collection for almost everything, but there was one problem that arose when I placed my order. They were out of the Olivia bridal bouquet! To fix this problem, I ended up ordering The Olivia bridesmaid bouquet for myself (Which was a little smaller than the bridal bouquet, but still a good size), and got a different bridesmaid collection for my girls to hold. I chose The Charlotte collection for them, and it ended up working out great.

chair.JPG

ceremony.JPGdad.JPG

bridesmaid.JPG
Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography
Krista_Portraits_062 copy.JPG
They even have Boutonnieres to rent for the men’s jackets.

We also used Something Borrowed Blooms for every single centerpiece, and they looked absolutely beautiful. I love the pictures we have of our setup because it makes me remember the event so vividly.

table.JPG

table2.JPG
Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography

These bouquets were well worth their price. For $20/centerpiece, we not only got the overflowing greenery and  flowers, but the they came in beautiful silver vases as well. If we were to have done the same concept with real flowers, they would have been at least twice the price. It was so easy to take them out of the giant cardboard box they came in, and literally just set them on every guest’s table. All we had to do after the wedding was throw them back into the box and ship them back to the company. It couldn’t have been any easier, and we felt good about using something that was environmentally-friendly and wouldn’t be thrown out in just a couple of days.

bouquet.JPG
Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography

Overall I would recommend these flowers to any bride who doesn’t have florals as their #1 priority. Most of us are more focused on the dress, the music, and the party, and these flowers made for the most beautiful finishing touches, but didn’t break the bank. They have enough styles to suit the majority of weddings, and phenomenal customer service in case you need help choosing a collection. Since there are so many different things to worry about when planning a wedding, SBB takes all of the organizing and guesswork out of florals and does the work for you. This company is absolutely a godsend and I couldn’t have been happier using them for our own special day.

 

Money Can’t Buy Love

But it sure can show love!

The first Love Language I want to touch on is “gift giving” because although it seems incredibly simple and is arguably the “easiest” of the five, anyone with this as a top LL will tell you otherwise. It’s not at all materialistic or about the amount of money you spend. Gift giving as a love language is never about money; it’s all about the time you put into thinking about your partner for picking out something you know they’ll love.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 6.01.48 PM.png

I would definitely argue that nurture plays a large role in developing your Love Language as an adult. Ever since I was teeny tiny my mom has always loved surprising me with little goodies and treats. When I was a kid I would sometimes crawl into bed at night and feel something fuzzy against my feet. I peeled back the covers to find a little stuffed animal with a note attached, telling me that I was special and incredibly loved.

When I reached high school she still loved me this way and often left little cookies and notes scattered in the kitchen for me to find when I got home from cross country practice. I still have some of those cards to this day, and I have a really hard time throwing away letters because they are one of the most special things to me.

Even at 26 I will sometimes come home to find a little tube of lipstick or another fun cruelty-free beauty item on my bed. It makes my day every time, and the notes always give me a smile and my heart joy, too. Just knowing someone is thinking about you when you are away is a really special feeling.

Since I feel well-versed in gift giving, I wanted to come up with a little list to help people who might not be fluent in this love language yet. Just because one of the LL’s isn’t important to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t to your partner! It’s great taking this quiz and knowing your significant other’s results, as it can be hard to use LL’s that feel foreign to you. Working on speaking your partner’s language, though, can be a really rewarding task. I highly recommend reading the 5 Love Languages book if you haven’t! It teaches how to love on a whole new level.

Ideas for Guys to implement this LL:

  • Flowers. This is the answer to so many of life’s relationship problems. If you get in a fight flowers are great to say you’re sorry, but they’re also amazing for anniversaries, birthdays, sick days, and even “just because.” When gift giving was my top love language I used to always say that someone could go outside and pick me a bouquet of dandelion weeds and I would still find the gesture incredibly sweet. As I said before, it’s not the price sticker on the bouquet that we find so charming, rather it’s the sentiment that goes behind the gift that really matters.
  • Bring her favorite dessert home. This is one of the most underrated things, but I’m going to give my mom props in this post for always bringing me a new dark chocolate bar to try. She keeps my “chocolate drawer” (Yes, this is a thing in my household) stocked with my favorite Trader Joe’s 73% dark chocolate, and often brings home little treats from trips to the grocery store or when she goes to the neighboring town that holds the best gluten-free cupcakes around. The chocolate is great, and it always makes my heart so happy that she thinks of me even when I’m not around.
  • As a special treat girls love jewelry, but we know it’s expensive. Robert happens to be the best guy I’ve ever known about picking out beautiful jewelry. I’m always wearing something that he gave me, and it makes me smile and think of him when he’s not around. When we first started dating I wondered if this was Robert’s LL, as he always seemed to have a new little present for me. Two favorite stories come to mind with Robert. First, was a journal he bought and gave to me on our fourth date. It was a really beautiful leather journal — the kind I had always dreamed about getting, but could never justify buying for myself. I wrote in it the entire time he was deployed, and I just recently finished the last page. The second was actually a really goofy gift. I told Robert about someone calling me a mean name on my blog when I first started writing it, so he got me a book called, “Insults And Comebacks: Lines for All Occasions,” and told me to flip through it the next time someone got nasty with me. I’ve never actually used it for that purpose, but it made me laugh and cheered me up — and prepared me for the very few nasty comments I got during the Tom Brady YouTube video going around (Listen, I’m sorry I don’t watch football and had no idea I was “interrupting playoff season — I was just trying to do something nice for someone I love!). I still keep this book on my desk as a reminder that I am loved by the people who truly know my heart, and to write about things that scare me, even if I know everyone won’t be a fan. I’m still working on that.
  • Leave a sweet note on her pillow. This melts any girl’s heart, and whether she goes to sleep before or after you, it’s great to fall asleep with a smile on your face or wake up to a bright “good morning” from a loved one.
Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 6.00.34 PM.png
My dad recently got my mom the most beautiful bouquet of red roses for their 30th anniversary. This made my heart so happy, especially when I heard that he actually went into DC to find the best florist around, and asked for a specially made bouquet.


Ideas for Girls to implement this LL:

Since I feel very familiar with gift giving as one of my love languages, I’m going to use all personal examples. Please feel free to sound off other ideas in the comments! I am always looking for new ways to love, and would appreciate your tips.

  • “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” There is a reason this is such a popular idiom that is thrown around — because it’s so true! I am going to make a massive generalization and say that 95% of men love to eat. Bringing him his favorite dinner, surprising him with a treat, or packing a Snickers or Almond Joy (Yuck! That’s Robert’s favorite and I always feel funny buying it; I wish we were friends when we were younger, as he would have been the best person to trade candy with after a giant Halloween haul… “Here, I’ll trade you all my Almond Joys for your Peanut M&Ms and Junior Mints!”) in his lunch is a fantastically simple way to show him he’s on your mind. Add a note for extra sweetness!
  • Guys are so darn hard to shop for — at least the men in my life are — because they seem to buy the things they want. Pay close attention to what might be old or worn. I gave Robert a gift from Tom Brady and the Patriots on his 30th birthday this year (Oh gosh, I need to tell this story soon! I can’t believe I keep forgetting), but it was so darn hard to figure out what I wanted to buy him this year. I treated him to dinner and gave him a present 4 months late because no matter where I looked, I couldn’t find anything that screamed “Robert” to me. I ended up realizing the answer was right in front of me when he pulled out his worn leather wallet to pay for a toll to Boston. In that moment I smiled widely and decided that I needed to get him a nice new leather wallet. Not only would he think of me because he would see it every day, but he deserved to have nice things that were used as often as a wallet. I think this is hilariously enough one of the proudest presents I have purchased, as it took me such a long time to come up with it.
  • An experience can be a great gift to give a guy who is difficult to shop for. Whether it’s tickets to a football game or concert or an impromptu date night, he’ll be excited that you took the time to come up for a special day just for him. This is a great gift for guys who really value quality time as another love language.
  • Jerseys, event tickets, and video games are all nice presents, but they can be expensive to do on a really regular basis. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, get creative and make little surprises that he’ll love. Whether you go back to my #1 tip about food and decide to bake his favorite food or put together a nice picture frame for his room, you can always get creative with your presents.

For girls and guys:

Let’s mix 2 love languages and add a pinch of “Words of Affirmation” to gift giving. Cards and letters are incredible everyday gifts, as they hold a little piece of someone’s heart inside. I have an enormous box next to my bed that holds some of the most special letters I’ve received from friends, family, and Robert. I call this box my “happy box,” and will sit on the floor and read a handful when I’m feeling lost, sad, or just want to smile a little before bed. Several of the letters have become worn from use, but they are some of my most prized possessions. Each card couldn’t have cost more than $5, but the words painted on the page are what really hold value for me. This is the perfect example of gift giving not being about the money spent, rather the thought put into the gift that really matters.

Lastly, pay attention to the things your significant other loves. This is the easiest way to choose a gift, whether it’s a food or drink or a gift from their favorite store. People who have gift giving as a primary love language don’t care so much about the item you give to them as they do about the thought you put into the present. Instead of spending a lot of money on something just for the heck of it, feel free to choose several small tokens of love to spread out through the month. Giving to your loved ones won’t just make them happy, but I find that giving the perfect present makes my heart even more joyful than receiving things.


This is my first post about The Five Love Languages cheat sheet. Come back tomorrow for tips on using another LL. 🙂

Friday Favorite: The Bouqs Co.

I figured since Valentine’s Day is coming up that I’d share a few of my favorite products with y’all this week. This Friday I want to feature something that is essentially sending a box full of joy — The Bouqs Company!

There is nothing that makes my day more than a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I’ve used a lot of different flower delivery companies in my eight years of adulthood, and I have to say nobody holds a candle to The Bouq’s Co. Their flowers are so incredibly fresh, and they offer a very generous amount in every bouquet.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 11.25.39 PM.png
This was the bouquet that started it all. My friend Kalika sent me these flowers after a bad breakup and I’ve been obsessed with the company ever since!

I got the big bundle of red and white roses to take to the airport to welcome Robert home to the United States with. When I opened the box it felt like I was hit with a wall of floral perfume. It really is more than a gift — it’s a whole experience!

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 11.18.45 PM.png

Along with red, white, and blue balloons and a sparkly sign, this just really pushed the welcome home over the top to a beautifully fun level. A week and a half later and the flowers were still sitting in the kitchen for everyone to enjoy!

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 10.55.18 PM.png

So if you’re stumped at where to start for Valentine’s Day or to just say “I love you” to a loved one just because, flowers are a great place to start. Never forget to write a sweet little note inside too! Cards are my favorite part of a gift because they are like getting a tiny piece of someone’s heart.


BONUS: I noticed that Groupon has a deal right now for 50% off — you can get $40 of flowers for just $20! Most likely you’ll get a more expensive bouquet, but $20 off is nothing to sneeze at… That’s like, 2 burritos from Chipotle and some change. #win

Guarded

My last relationship left me with dust and rubbish. It was as if a storm came in and demolished everything beautiful I had taken so long to build. How could someone else completely ruin me like that? When did I give him that kind of power?

I spent months sitting in the middle of the wreckage. I was paralyzed from the shock of it all and couldn’t move — until I saw a little flower peeking out from the middle of the place my comfortable home used to be. I cautiously walked over to it and took note of the beauty that was before me in such a gray space.

Finally after gaining my strength and seeking help from others, we rebuilt a new, stronger foundation. I had been naive last time, failing to build walls on my home and trusting the man I loved not to destroy it. This time I put up giant concrete walls. No one would even think about trying to break them down; they were my fortress and protection. Nobody could come in, but I couldn’t get out.

Then I met someone new. He tore down my hard, concrete walls and rebuilt a home with windows so the sun could shine through.

Now there’s a garden with flowers and I can come and go as I please. He can come inside and sit with me. I notice the clouds when they’re looming outside, but more days are sunny than not. I go outside and dance in the rain, and I have realized that a life filled with love is completely worth risking another storm. I now know that I can make it through any kind of weather that comes my way and that there is always going to be beauty in my life — even if it’s just a single flower in the middle of a bunch of ruins.

flowers

This picture was taken by my beautiful friend Audrey, who also did my hair and makeup for our shoot. Check her out if you need a photographer in the DMV!