We ran out of milk this morning so I made a solo trip to the nearest Dollar General for some more early this morning. Just my luck, the store didn’t open til 8 and I got there at 7:40. That seemed like too long of time to sit and wait in the parking lot, so I headed down to the river to pass some time and look at the water. I have always found such serenity and peace by the River.
I wasn’t there for any more than ten minutes, but after more than a week locked in with sick kids, I needed this mini-trip to town to clear my head. I guess it was a win that I showed up to the store before they opened because otherwise I would have missed out on this beautiful scene that I was able to witness this morning as the early day glow was rising on the bridge. Surprisingly, I was the only one down there so I got to soak it in all by myself, almost as if the sunlight was put there to comfort a Mom lost in motherhood much like myself.
One of the many things that a good wedding photographer will try to capture are all of the many small details about your wedding that often go unnoticed by the guests, but might be special to you (since you chose to incorporate them into your special day).
Today I wanted to share some of the small (but special) details that I incorporated into our wedding. I totally recommend getting a list of the small things that you definitely want captured so you can make sure your photographer captures all of the intricate details that you put thought and effort into!
Good morning & thanks for joining me on another Smoky Mountain wedding review! Today I’m here to talk bridesmaids!
These will be your go-to gals and if you go the traditional wedding route, will be vital in staying sane on your wedding day.
It was a tall task for us to ask an entire wedding party to make a ten (or more) hour drive to Tennessee, but we have amazing friends that were down to have a mini vacation in the mountains with us. We had five Bridesmaids and five Groomsmen join us, which was great!
When planning a wedding and choosing a date for the ceremony, it’s important to consider which season and background and foliage you want. I am an October baby in love with the fall, so I always knew I wanted to be married in October. I love when the trees change color and the pops of orange, yellow, and red give the scenery a warm glow. I chose green and orange to be my main wedding colors, along with accents of red and brown. My bridesmaids all wore different colors and different styles of dresses. I actually let my girls pick their own color and style of dress so that they could pick something that was comfortable to them and made them feel confident. All I gave them was a color palette and tone to choose along the lines of, but they all chose excellent dresses!
I’ll write more about my flower arrangements later, but I accented each bouquet with the colors of each dress making the colors all flow beautifully together. I highly recommend having your ladies where an arrangement of colors or styles because in my opinion it really gives the look more definition and opportunity for expression. Although the foliage in Tennessee at the beginning of October was just beginning to really change, the collage of fall colors really made everything pop and have a real sense of autumn.
Moms should get extra sick time to use for their children.
I have a good job that offers great benefits. Jan 1 I was given 40 hours sick time for the year.
After today, and only 19 days into the year, I will only have 3 days left for the rest of 2023.
I have spent exactly zero hours burning my sick time on actually being sick myself. Last year I burned all of my PTO and sick time on lack of daycare or ill kids.
So when I fall sick later this year I’ll end up resorting to burning my vacation time instead of using it to spend with my family. It’s a cycle that I just have to accept, I guess. Although an actual vacation sounds pretty nice.
I wish working families better benefited from the work they put in. Of course I’d love to spend more time with the people that matter more than any job, but unfortunately society requires income and raising good humans doesn’t pay the bills.
Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over, and I have committed to spending less time on toxic social media platforms, I have more time to commit to my writing. I got married in October of 2022 near The Great Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. I did my wedding fairly inexpensively and we still had a beautiful wedding of our dreams. I spent less than $10,000 on our wedding, so I am here to share my tricks and advice on how I was able to save money and still have a wedding that was beautiful and just to our liking.
I started wedding planning right after we had our son Leon. He was born October 27th of 2021, and as a matter-of-fact, I believe we chose our wedding date while in the hospital for his birth. Anyway, it was 26 days short of being ONE YEAR that I spent planning, preparing, and readying for our wedding day. Now this was a lot of pressure! Dylan and I have been dating since 2016, had our first daughter and got engaged in 2018, had Leon in 2021, and then finally tied the knot in 2022 after nearly four years engaged. Once we had Leon, I think we both realized that it was finally the right time to focus and put the money towards officially becoming one. Raising kids in a relationship is hard and we have never really cared much about the labels. We love one another, cherish the family we have created, and it was finally time to wrap it up in a pretty little bow. I was VERY excited to finally share the same last name as my partner and two children.
So the first detail I really want to dive into about our special day is the veil.
As I was searching for photographers, I went online and looked at wedding shots that I wanted to make sure I got. I found beautiful photos of couples underneath a beautiful, long veil and I just knew that the Cathedral veil was for me. From the get-go, I knew I wanted to reenact those photos – and let me say, I am so pleased that I did because they are quite possibly my favorite shots from our wedding.
When I went shopping for my dress, I tried on several veils while at the store. Each one of them was no less than $400. Now, Dylan and I were paying for a majority of the wedding ourselves so I absolutely knew that a triple-digit price point was not going to work for me. So what did I do?
What any cheapo Mom does.
I got on Amazon.
And believe you me, I found the veil that you see pictured here. For LESS THAN $40!
I have never been one to care about the glitz and glam of name brand items, so going cheap never bothered me. If you are one that has the capability to spend the money on pricier accessories, go for it! But that won’t be what you find on this page, because I put together my entire wedding as cheap as I could and only splurged on certain aspects.
My advice on choosing the veil of your dreams:
Research styles and get an idea of which type of veil is best for you before you go dress shopping. If you aren’t willing to spend a ton of money on accessories, do not let the salespeople at bridal stores talk you into items that are outside of your budget. They are trying to make a buck, so be prepared to stick to your guns if you are on a strict budget.
Try the veil on with your dress before you buy! One thing about ordering online is that you may have to go through the return process if it doesn’t end up suiting your desire. It is best to research which veil styles work best with certain styles of dresses.
Don’t be ashamed if you have to stay “cheap.” I spent 1/10th of the price on a veil and nobody would even know if I weren’t writing this right now. You are wearing this outfit ONE time, so in the grand scheme of things, you have to weigh how much money you are willing to spend on something so miniscule as a veil. It is a beautiful garnish, but a veil does not define your beauty on your wedding day.
Sickness has been running through our home off and on for the last two weeks. Seems like the Mom is never the one that gets to rest when illness runs it’s course.
The kiddos aren’t sleeping, battling fevers, but no puking so far (fingers crossed).
I am exhausted- still trying to work when I can while toggling sick children and a husband, I finished up my intermission college course and started a new semester, and if I have to change one more bedsheet I think I might faint… all on less than desirable rest. I have now forgotten the last time I slept through the night without being wakened by the needs of a crying, snotty-nosed child.
But I’m holding strong. Like all mamas do.
I will continue to wipe the noses, hold them in my arms, and look for the light of a new day.
It’s a new year! Happy New Year to all my readers! I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday.
I am welcoming 2023 with open arms and hoping that it is a great year. I have set some goals for myself in 2023 that I want to take seriously. I read that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you simply write them down, so this is my version of putting pen to paper.
Here are a few things that I am focusing on in the New Year.
Spending so much time on social media
I spend far too much time pointlessly scrolling on social media. It takes away time from my family and does no benefit to my mental health. One thing that you have to keep in mind while on social media is that everyone has an appearance that they are wanting to sell on social media. Whether that image is reality, is not always portrayed accurately. I have the downfall of comparing myself and what I do or don’t have to what I see on social media. Maybe I’m not skinny enough. Maybe I feel like I got left out. Maybe I am creating a fake scenario in my head simply because of what I see online. I am smarter than wasting any more energy on sh*t that doesn’t matter. In the end, those that want to be in my life will be present whether or not I am on social media. I deleted Twitter months ago and haven’t been very active on Instagram for nearly two years now. I deleted Facebook on Jan 1 and don’t plan to spend much if any time on the platform any time soon. In 2023, I am committing myself to my family and my physical and mental health.
This holiday season had me dealing with a lot of emotion, burnout at work, finishing up a semester and starting another in school, all while still trying to keep alive the holiday spirit for my family (which I love doing, btw). Work really had me feeling down, so I’d get the kids down of an evening and have a drink a few nights a week. Not that that was even all too bad, I just know that the toll that it can have on my body and wallet just isn’t worth it. I enjoy drinking mainly in social settings, but now that Dylan works nights four nights a week, I have been using alcohol to let loose more often than before.
I recently read an article about the younger population using alcohol less and how non-alcoholic bars and settings were on the rise. It went on to give some pretty gnarly facts about the effects that long-term alcohol abuse can have on the body. One study reveals that between 2002 and 2018, the number of student adults aged 18-22 in the U.S. who abstained from alcohol increased from 20% to 28%, and from about 24% to 30% for those not in school.
I wouldn’t consider myself to have an issue with it, but I know that my health and wallet will greatly improve if I just cut it out. I may share cheers in a social setting with friends from time to time, but I am participating in Dry January and hoping to continue that habit indefinitely. I bought some Welch’s sparkling grape juice for our New Years party with the kids, but of course Della was not down to even try it. Dylan and I shared the bottle over dinner and found that it really was a pretty good replacement to scratch the itch if we ever are wanting some wine! I encourage you to look into “sober curiosity” if you get the chance.
Some health benefits to giving up alcohol that I found are:
Potential to lower mental health issues including anxiety and depression
Weight loss and easier weight management
Decrease in inflammation, digestion, and bloating
Increase focus, memory, and energy levels
Aside from giving up social media and alcohol, I am also making a more conscious effort to get a workout into my daily routine. The last two nights I have put the kids down and gone to the gym. I have a treadmill, bench set, some weights, and other equipment down in my basement, so there is really no reason why I can’t get down there even if for a small amount of time. Working this into my routine is going to help me tremendously because I really do feel better and have more energy when I get up and get movin’.
So here is to 2023 and making it a happier and healthier one! I am excited to see what is in store!
I just wrapped up my last assignment for my final fall semester of college. I am now one semester away from having my degree – a feat that no one in my family has accomplished. But that’s not why it’s important to me.
I have fought for every inch I’ve gained in this life. I want something, I go get it.
I have worked through my school work all while actively serving my country (also a first in my family), working full-time, bearing and raising two children, and managing to stay (half) sane. Next spring I will have my Bachelors in Public Administration with a Minor in English to accentuate my honorable Military discharge and Associates of Arts degree.
None of this has been easy. I have progressed and succeeded without the help from any parents, but instead leaning on my husband and into the love of my children. I do it all for them. I yearn for the day where my family can see in the impact I have on our world, using the knowledge, skills, and experiences learned from my education and service to others. I want to be the good in the world that they never give up on.
Life is a challenging and messy road. Right now, so many aspects of our world feel hopeless, lost, and unnerving. I hope my family always finds stability, passion, and a strong foundation in the woman I am; for I am constantly in a state of construction, looking for ways to repair, build, and amend the pieces of me that are broken.
I hope they grow to notice and appreciate the values I try to live my life by. I hope they subliminally and intentionally adapt these values on their own, as being an honest and hardworking and appreciative person goes a long way in this world. I hope they never give up on their dreams, even if they feel unobtainable or of great lengths to reach. I started this journey in 2015 and will finally reach my goal in 2023. Many times it felt like I was on the wrong path or in the wrong place, but it has always played out in a manner that was better than I expected or anticipated. Life can feel so gloomy, but it can also bring the uplifting wonder of glorious surprise. I hope they never lose their sense of hope, for I too have been guilty of falling into the treacherous depths of depression and lack of understanding. I hope they choose not to lean against the feeling secured deep in their guts; the feeling of intuition and trust that is nearly always accurate in guiding us to the right path. Trust it. Lean into it. Let it guide you to the life you deserve.
It’s been while! Just over 8 weeks since I last posted on here. It’s few and far between these days, with a full-time job, two kiddos, a new husband, and I’m also wrapping up a semester in college.
As the headline states… You can call me Mrs!
After six years dating, nearly four years engaged, and two kids later… Dylan & I finally tied the knot down south in Tennessee on 10/1. More to come on that, but I’ll leave you with a few photos from our special day!
I managed to put together our wedding & reception together in less than $10,000 (Todays average cost of a wedding is $30,000)!
More in-depth details to come later, but I wanted to introduce you to the new Chrissy Ruble 😊