Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

My very favorite post to do each year is our year in review post. I think that this has been our very best year yet! Let's check it out, shall we??

January: We celebrated my birthday in Key West and then went to Miami to watch as Bama clobbered Notre Dame for the National Championship! I may have gotten the stomach bug the night before the game, but I rallied--I had to check a Championship win off of my bucket list!

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February: Forrest went skiing in Colorado and I got to go to Montgomery with my sister as she was honored as Miss Alabama by the legislature. I also started Couch to 5k!

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March: A very large storm left us without power for 4 days! I did my 3rd Girlfriend Gala table with Farrah: "Southern Hospitali-tea". We went to Atlanta for the Hinman Dental conference and Forrest got a new truck!

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 April: April was a month of parties! We celebrated Krystal and Drew's wedding, Brett and Kayla's wedding, and Hudson and Henry's 2nd birthday parties, as well as the Highlanders Ball! I also ran my very first 5k!! The Borders took us to see the NCAA basketball tournament, and on the very same day Forrest got to go to the Masters! It was a great year for sports in our family!

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 May: After a year and a half of hard work, Forrest's dental office, Smith and Bailey, opened! I am still so proud of him! I also went to the Kentucky Derby with Deborah. Davis and Megumi got married!

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June: I spent a week in Vegas as my sister competed in Miss USA! The entire week was a whirlwind--pageant parties, limo rides, glitz and glamour! Forrest and I celebrated our 4th anniversary while we were there. We had an amazing time at the pageant and were THRILLED when my sister was named 1st runner up!

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July: The rainiest month EVER! The 4th of July was a complete wash, but we did squeeze out a couple of sunny days at the beach!

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 August: We had weddings on the brain! We celebrated with Troy and Kaci and Megan and Jon! We also kicked off the football season in Atlanta with a big Bama win over Virginia Tech.

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September: We flew to Texas with the Hayes for the Alabama v. Texas A&M game. Mark it down--it was the absolute hottest we have ever been! Despite the heat, we had an awesome time tailgating with the Gartons and the Weeks!

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 October: We went to Kentucky for the Bama v. KY game. The weather was beautiful and we had an awesome time at the Keeneland horse races! Matt and Alana Foltz were amazing hosts during the weekend!

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November: The Gadsden Service Guild had a very successful rummage sale, and Forrest spent the weekend in Atlanta to watch a Georgia Tech game with my brother.

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 December: Happy 29th to Forrest! We celebrated in Chattanooga with a quick weekend trip. Then the following weekend we celebrated Ashley and Jeremiah's wedding!

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With such a great year behind us, I'm almost sad to see the year end! However, I'm anxious to see what 2014 has in store! Happy New Year!
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Monday, December 30, 2013

What to Wear...

Over the holidays, we attended several events. At those events, I was acutely aware of a startling fact: people have no idea how to dress any more. I do not profess to be a beacon of style, and that is not what this post is about. When I say "how to dress" I mean how to dress appropriately for different events. Yes, there is a right and a wrong and yes it matters. Wearing the correct attire shows those around you that a) you care about the event and the people that are throwing it and b) you have some sort of knowledge of how to behave in public. You might not think that people care but they do--not in a snooty way, but because what you wear says so much about what you think about the people you are around. When those in the know see you dressed inappropriately at their event, then they think that you don't care about it/them--and that is something that you really should be conscious of and care about! Let's run a few examples, shall we?

Weddings


Weddings are always SO hard to dress for in my opinion because honestly brides mess them up. You may get the impression that the wedding is a casual event because of the bride's casual invitation, but when the wedding says 7pm, that means it is at minimum a cocktail event. You should always dress for the time of the party. However, that may be uncomfortable if you show up dressed appropriately and the rest of the group hasn't. What to do!!?? Here are a few simple rules of thumb based on the time of the event:

Afternoon wedding (like 2pm)
Wear something dressy that you would wear to a bridal shower or dressy church. A day wedding does not mean "casual", it means that you wear appropriate wedding attire for the day time. The is the only time you should ever wear a sundress to a wedding--never in the evening (unless it is maybe on a beach).

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Day time wedding appropriate. Too dressy for a shower probably.

 Evening Wedding:

The later the wedding, the dressier you should be. Anything "after 5" is considered cocktail attire, but you should be dressier for a 7pm wedding than for a 5pm wedding. A cocktail dress is obviously appropriate, as is a heeled shoe. For the love, do not wear a cardigan with your cocktail dress--cardigans are for day time, hence the cotton/knit fabric. Pick up a pashmina please! If you are going to an outdoor wedding during the cocktail hours, it is appropriate to wear wedges or other suitable shoes for standing outside. NEVER wear flip flops (again, unless maybe you are on a beach OR if you are getting your dance on!).

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7pm wedding requires cocktail all the way! Would you stand up next to this gorgeous bride wearing flat boots and leggings? I think not!! And girls, please politely instruct your dates on what to wear--they are not always as savvy as us!!

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Remember this dress from the day time wedding? I recycled it for an evening wedding that was outside. The jewelry still works for night time and I wore metallic gold wedges since we were outside. (Forrest was wearing a tie before we started dancing...)

Cocktail Parties

Cocktail parties require a cocktail dress people! This usually involves some sort of shimmer, sequin. You cannot wear a church dress to a cocktail party--you cannot wear a cardigan to a cocktail party, and unless you are really old or incredibly chic, you can't wear pants. You can get a cocktail dress for $20 at TJMAXX. A cocktail dress requires appropriate heeled shoes (NO flats and no flip flops and probably not a wedge, although I've seen some wedges that are cocktail suitable) and accessories (no cardigans and no plastic day time jewelry). Tights are now being worn with cocktail dresses but do this at your own risk. I like the whole cocktail dress/tights combo because it's an easy way to dress down a cocktail dress for something like a rehearsal dinner or evening party when you know the attire is dressy but not quite "cocktail". However, don't wear tights with your cocktail dress at a real cocktail event--you will be too casual.

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If boys are wearing tuxes, do not wear tights!

Brunch/Day time showers

A morning brunch is quite dressy--you should wear what you would wear to a day time wedding or shower. Church and even work clothes are quite suitable! Break out as many cardigans as you want for a brunch or shower. You can also get away with pants and even flat shoes.

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Here we are meeting with the Governor of Alabama. All of our outfits and shoes are perfect for a day time shower or brunch. We are all probably not dressy enough for a wedding, however.

Christmas Eve Church Service

I thought I was going to die at the Christmas Eve Service at my church--people were wearing jeans and tennis shoes! Now, I'm all for being comfy at church. I'm the first one to roll into Saturday evening Mass with no make up on. I'm pretty sure God would rather have us there, you know? BUT--it's Christmas Eve--can we not make a bit of an effort please? It's not just any church service, we are praising God for sending us His Son to save us all! I know He sees us in our jammies and loves us anyway but I can't take you seriously if you are a fully grown man wearing jeans and tennis shoes. At least put on a sports coat or a lame Christmas tie. Give me some effort. All I see when you are dressed like that is that you really don't want to be there and you really don't care. It's one hour, one day a YEAR! (Except Easter--you should wear the good stuff at Easter too). Just wear a nice outfit, perhaps a dress or skirt and for men, a shirt with a collar and shoes that are not suitable for the playing of sports.

 photo 2112BC84-8FF1-427C-9EF7-06B14F2B33E0-19607-00000999A318E933.jpg Now this is how you dress for Christmas Eve Church. The guys wore jackets and ties to the service but even if they hadn't, this is better than nothing. (I'm wearing that same outfit today at work...hmmm)

Some specific no-nos that I see particularly with younger girls:

Flat, tall boots are not dressy. Leggings are not dressy. Scarves are not dressy. It is also never appropriate to have your bra straps showing--we are not Carrie Bradshaw. Super high stripper-esque shoes may be cute but they are not appropriate during the day--not at work, not at a shower or a wedding, and definitely not at church. When you are going to an event, you should be worried less about being trendy and stylish and more with wearing the right type of ensemble. Of course, you want to be stylish but just because chevron scarves may be in style does not mean it is correct to wear one to your cousins' 7pm wedding.

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Vegas clothes--not appropriate for much else than Vegas, although perhaps for the right wedding or cocktail party. Maybe New Years?? Can you tell I'm dying to bust out the blue dress again?

Whew--I feel so much better. I promise that if you remember just a few of these simple rules, you will feel confident that you are walking into a party appropriately clad. Your host will know how savvy you are, as will all of the other guests! Not exactly sure on which side to err? Always err on the dressier side--you'd rather be slightly too dressy than slightly too casual. Wouldn't you rather feel elegant and pretty in a room full of too casually dressed people instead of feeling like you are dressed for a ho down when everyone else is dressy??? Of course, take all of this with a grain of salt. You know what works best around your family and friends!

What are some fashion blunders that drive you bonkers?? What else would you add to my list? 
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Friday, December 27, 2013

I'm Loving It: Christmas-ing!

Merry Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a fantastic holiday! I'm still on Christmas overload--I'm full and exhausted, which means I totally did it right! Here is a quick look at our holiday:

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Santa Claus dance! One of my most favorite things we do every December! I was so excited to get a new dress, and lo and behold Megan had the same one! Great minds think alike!

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After Christmas lunch at Aunt Jan's, our dinner club went to Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham for our annual Christmas dinner on the town! As usual, the meal was incredible, right down to the homemade doughnuts!
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After Christmas Eve Mass and then dinner at Aunt Sue and Uncle John's, we went to Aunt Susan and Uncle Bruce's to have a very Bailey Christmas. I was pretty proud of myself because little Brooks LOVED his jacket from us! Isn't he a handsome little guy?

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Afterwards we went to Forrest's parents' house to open family presents. I got to play Santa and pass out all of these gifts! We are so blessed!

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We spent Christmas morning with my parents and then went to Birmingham to have lunch and open presents with my mom's side of the family. All of us cousins are getting OLD!!


 Whew---didn't that tire you all out? We were so lucky to have all of our family in town and to be able to celebrate with them! Merry Merry!!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

I'm Loving It

Today I'm loving Christmas vacation!! It's as simple as that! Now, while I don't technically get a real vacation, I do get some time off. We have our work Christmas party on Monday afternoon and then we are off until the day after Christmas. Of course, the Courthouse is basically shut down so we won't really be doing much at the office, just handling paperwork and putting out fires. Then of course the next week is New Years so we have some time off then. I'm just really looking forward to a couple of low key weeks around the office. Of course, things will be anything but low key at home, what with all the Christmas-ing we will be doing, but that is a fun kind of busy so I'm super excited to get all of that under way! I'm also going to be taking a blogging vacation next week. I may get a post or two in during the days I'm at work, but I'm giving myself a break from all responsibilities  and that includes blogging. I'll still be around Instagram and Twitter so follow along if you wish! A Merry Christmas to ALL!!

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Day I Woke Up in a Sitcom

So I didn't post yesterday because I had the wildest day ever. I actually hate to say that because nothing bad really happened, it was just beyond frustrating. Murphy's Law was all over me. I will attempt to explain. We were showing our house at 8:30 so I got up extra early to finish some last minute cleaning. I didn't bother to get dressed, other than throwing on some jeans instead of pj pants, and I didn't brush my teeth or wash my face because I knew I wouldn't be gone from the house for very long. I was congratulating myself on thinking ahead and scheduling a grooming appointment for Ruffles that same morning because they like me to get her there super early so she can go first. Ruffles is a total diva and doesn't like to go in the kennels at the grooming shop, so they groom her first and then she gets to tend the front desk (literally, she sits in the receptionist's chair behind the desk, like she runs the place). Plus, it takes about 15 minutes to get to the groomers so I figured the errand would put me back home right about the time the potential buyers were leaving. Forrest took Sonny to Farrah's and I loaded the cats into their carrier with zero drama, packed up Ruffles, and we were off to the groomers. It didn't take long at all and I had some time to kill, so I drove back into town to get some breakfast. I never get drive through breakfast so this was a treat. While in line, my cats start scrambling inside the box. I banged on it and told them to stop fighting. Then the smell hit me. They weren't scrambling from each other, they were scrambling from the stinky mess one of them made in the box. Seriously, this was the foulest thing I have ever smelled! This has NEVER happened before--they are always so well behaved once they are in that box! I mean, I've had to carry them with me into the office for a couple of hours during a showing and they managed to hold it. I have no idea what went wrong this particular day, but it went very wrong. I know the lady at the drive through window thought I was crazy when I rolled up with ALL of my windows down in the 40 degree weather, with the smell of evil permeating out of my car. At least it was time to go home. I was proud of the cats for sitting in the front part of the carrier, away from the smell. At least they had their wits about them in that respect! I pull up my street and of course, the people are still in our house. I pulled into the Hayes driveway and waited there until they left, eating my chicken biscuit with the stink cats. Trying to keep positive, I may or may not have been humming "Smelly Cat" from Friends. Anyway, people leave, without making an offer, and I carry the box of stink into the house. Just in case, I take them into our office and close the door. I should have known something was wrong when they timidly stepped out of the carrier, together, with only their front paws. I pulled Brownie out to assess the situation and that's when I realized--this was no ordinary mess--it was everywhere. They were covered in ick. All positivity goes out the window at this point. I do NOT have time to deal with this nor am I as a person equipped to deal with this. It is physically impossible to bathe these cats alone--Forrest and I figured that out early on and now we just take them to the vet and pay for baths. It's totally worth it. Before I let them set one more claw on my floor, I shut the carrier door and we headed straight for the vet. All is not lost, right? Just throw some money at the problem and be done with it. I roll into the vet with the box of evil, drag it in and start explaining to the techs why on earth I'm polluting their waiting room with this nonsense. At that exact moment, a couple runs in screaming "Our puppy isn't breathing!!! HELP!!"...and all hell breaks loose. The couple is crying and the techs jump into action, hollering for the vet and trying to save the limp little puppy. I am NOT GOOD in a crisis situation, especially an unexpected one. I just stood there with tears in my eyes standing next to the box of stink, waiting. The husband couldn't watch and asked me to go into the treatment room and give me an update. Against my will I did it for this guy because I would want someone to do it for me. Happily, the puppy had started to perk up and I even saw a tail wag. They determined that she probably had a seizure and once she came to all the way, took her back to treatment. Suddenly the stink cats seemed like so much less of a problem, although the sweet tech said not to worry, that they would handle the mess for me. I don't think I can reiterate enough that I love our vet's office, plain and simple. Shaken but relieved, I get back in the car, drive back across town to my house to start getting ready for work (all of this has happened before 10 am I of course have a real job that does not include chauffeuring around animals. Well I hit the door and the groomer's call--can you come get Ruffles now? I could have said no but our groomers are so nice to put up with Ruffles' diva-tude that I of course rushed out there to get her. This marks the 3rd time I've left the house without washing my face or brushing my teeth, but hey, you do what you have to do. Ruffles was of course minding the office so I was glad I took her off of their hands. By the time I finally get back home and dressed, it's time for my 12pm lunch meeting. During the meeting I get a text from my office saying I need to meet with a client at 4:30. Fantastic, but that means I have to get the cats right after the meeting because they have to be picked up by 4:30, and again, I didn't want to leave some dirty cats at the vet when they had other more important things to deal with like seizing puppies. So, I drive back across town, pick up the cats and heavily apologize to the vet for what they probably had to deal with, drive back home, unload them, cover all the furniture with towels and sheets just in case, and head to work, for the first time that day. It's now 1:30 pm. I realized I needed to go to the bank and take out some cash for the housekeeper and since I was passing it anyway, I pulled in. I also had some deposits so I made those first and then pulled up to the ATM, which promptly crashed. This required 2 bank workers, me standing outside in the drive through lane in the shade and in the cold until finally, they just handed me some cash from the teller window and sent me on my way. I arrived at work at 2:16 pm. We open at 8:30 am, in case you were wondering. Anyway, through all of this nonsense and backing and forthing, I just kept thinking how lucky I was that the worst thing I had to deal with that day was cat poop. Yes, I ran all over town with a box of ickiness, and then continued to run around for hours, but I really felt lucky that my "bad day" was not worse. I have a groomer that takes care of my dog's individual needs, a vet that will do even the grossest jobs for me AND will drop everything to save puppies, a job that didn't mind that I rolled in 2 hours and 45 minutes before we close (thanks Dad), a new house which is the reason why I'm showing our current one, a bank that dropped everything to help me, and even a car to drive all over the county.  Yes, I was completely spent and frustrated when I got to work, and I laid on the couch and watched movies all evening long last night, but it could have been quite worse and I was and am really thankful. I did feel bad about missing a day of posting but you know what? The world did not end. We live our lives out loud, in the stinky and the frustrating, not on the screen. That's a good thing! I think it's important, during the holidays especially, to think about what we have and to be grateful, because there is someone out there who has less and is happy, whose day was worse and is thankful, and doesn't have the luxury to write about it. Today I'm thankful for a good night's sleep in a warm bed, a sunshiny day without cat poo, and perspective and optimism. What are you thankful for?
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This pretty girl may not look like it, but she is thankful to be groomed!
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Literary Link up

So I had a totally different post ready for today but then I found this link up through my sweet sponsor WENDY and I knew I had to join! I'm a total book nerd and I love to write so I thought participating in this link up would be fun! (Plus, truth be told, I'm writing this at 4:13 pm--I needed a fun and easy post!) I hope all of you readers out there will link up as well!

  Pink Heels Pink Truck

1. If you could write a book, what would it be about?
I don't know if I actually do want to write a book. I have several different ideas tucked away on my computer and I'm always thinking about writing a novel, but I don't know if that is exactly "my type" of writing. 

2. If you had to read one book or trilogy for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I simply cannot answer this! There are so many great books out there! I would probably pick something funny, like maybe a Jen Lancaster book?? She always keeps me laughing and if I'm reading one thing for the rest of ever, I want to be laughing. 

3. Who is your current favorite book character and why?
I'm digging all of Joshilyn Jackson's protagonists right now. She creates characters with such depth and dimension! Honestly her books make me NOT want to write--she does it so well, that if I can't write like her, there isn't even a reason to try! 

4. Is there a book you read every year during the holiday season? If so, what is it and why?
Not really, although I loved Christmas Jars

5. Do you have any books on your Christmas list? Name a few.
Jeanette Wall's The Silver Star and the new Emily Giffin (which won't be out by Christmas but I still want it)

6. What is a book you read and loved that you didn’t expect to?
The Hunger Games trilogy! My friend had to beg me to read it. I just didn't think I'd get into all of the suspense and action, but man was I wrong. All I did for 10 days after work was read. It was during the Christmas holidays and I would be sitting at Christmas events wishing they would just end so I could get back to my book! If it had been any other time of the year I would have gotten through them faster than the 10 days for sure. 

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Ashley Getting Married

If you didn't know from the copious amount of wedding posts I did last week, my cousin Ashley got married this weekend. I love weddings, but a family wedding is so special. I have watched Ashley grow up and it was so special to watch her get married. Forrest and I spent Friday night at the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. I went to rehearse my reading for the ceremony, but ended up being Ashley's proxy. That was so meaningful to me because she was  my proxy at my rehearsal. Now Forrest has "married" Ashley and I have "married" Jeremiah--too sweet and funny.
I honestly can't describe the wedding day very well. It was a flurry of emotions--shrieks and squeals and sniffles and tears. We took family pictures with the bride prior to the ceremony and oh my gosh, was she lovely. She wore her mother's dress, with a few updates. Since pictures are worth 1000 words, I 'll let them do the talking for me. I don't think I can be as eloquent as I would like to be!


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Ashley looked absolutely stunning in her mother's gown. I loved how she added the sash! Her veil was made with lace from her mom's veil.

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Getting married! Something about saying the vows that people have said for hundreds is so sacred. Despite the solemn look on Jeremiah's face, this was the highlight of the ceremony!
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Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Bishop!!
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Not the best picture ever but I wanted to show you the back of Ashley's gown. This was their first dance as husband and wife. She danced with her father next, and they SHOCKED the crowd by doing a choreographed dance---not just ballroom, but there was some "Wobble" in there as well!

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Toasting each other!

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Garter toss
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It was seriously FREEZING when they couple left for their honeymoon. I am not sure if I have ever been that cold! I didn't feel bad for Ashley and Jeremiah though, as they were on their way to St. Lucia, while I was on my way to Gadsden.
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My handsome husband and I--married nearly exactly 4 and a half years before.

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Loved dancing the night away with my sweet sister! I may have gotten a cramp from Wobbling too hard, but this old gal still has it in her!

Ahhhh--wasn't that lovely? I took about a million pictures and will probably share some more as the week goes along. Hope you had a great weekend too!

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Friday, December 13, 2013

I'm Loving It!

This week, hands down, I'm loving weddings. Not only is my cousin Ashley getting married but so is my sweet friend Laney. I can't be there for her big day, which makes me sad because she was actually with me when I got engaged! I know she will be gorgeous and that her wedding will be an absolute blast, and I hope she knows how excited I am for her!
Since I'm on a wedding high today, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite wedding memories from weddings past:

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Alana's wedding at Dorgan's Inn in Fairhope, Alabama, was nothing short of a fairy tale. I give it best location, hands down. The sun was setting as she said her vows and we danced under the trees and stars next to the ocean. It was truly magical!

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I have been a bridesmaid 8 times I think. Ellen's bridesmaids dress was by far my favorite. It was SO comfortable, yet stylish! I have to admit the pockets were the very best part--it was great to have my phone and lipstick with me instead of carrying around a purse. Well chosen Ellen, well chosen.

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This is not the greatest picture, which is a shame because I took about eleventy million pics at Jay and Claire's wedding. I went with the picture of the cup because hands down, the yellow hammers that were served at this wedding were the best wedding idea ever, in the world. Yellow hammers are a popular game day drink in Tuscaloosa and they come from Gallette's, served in these same cups. My mind was BLOWN when we arrived at the reception to be greeted with a tall yellow hammer. I would expect nothing less from avid Bama fans!

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Coolest rehearsal dinner venue? Why, the Governor's mansion of course! Zach and Kelly were both working for the Governor when they got engaged, so what better place to celebrate than the mansion! This is actually Jay and Claire, not Zach and Kelley, but that is in fact the governor of Alabama.
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Jennifer's rehearsal dinner centerpieces are darling! They were all different and represented something special to the couple. Since Jennifer and I went to law school together, I chose to sit at the law school themed table. (Think I've been to a lot of weddings? Well, next year I'm going to lots of baby showers--and Jennifer's will be one of them!)
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LOVED these favors at Strudd and Allison's wedding: toothbrushes with the bride and groom's names on them! Perfect for the couple that met in dental school, don't you think?

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I have been to A LOT of amazing wedding receptions and I really can't choose a favorite, but Jess and Brittany's was one of the best. I'm giving them the edge due to the amazing view, the fireworks, and the band that played Nelly songs. (I'm showing you this picture of the view because I look good in it--the ones later, after I started dancing...not so much)

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OMG, Frankie and Becka's wedding. Her DAD was also the officiant! His sermon was so sweet and truly personal and Frankie and Becka were having a blast up there while he spoke. Loved it! (Becka is also on the 2014 baby shower list!)
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Bradley and Laurie's wedding came complete with a dinosaur. Pretty cool if you ask me!

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The food at Kendall and Chris' wedding has been my favorite wedding food ever--no questions asked. I mean look at this spread, right??? (Kendall is also on the shower list!)
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Deborah's ring bearer, Snuggles, was ridiculously adorable. I'm very hesitant about putting children in weddings and was even more nervous when Deb decided to have her precious pooch in hers, but he was the proudest little thing. I was in the wedding so I don't have pictures of his walk down the aisle with the precious flower girl, or of him standing in the chair while watching Deborah walk down the aisle, but as a dog lover, it is one of the sweetest things I've ever seen!
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Stevie and Melissa's cakes are my favorite cakes--I mean can you blame me for that choice? Just look at these beauties! They tasted great too!!

 Wow--that was a lot of weddings, and I know I left so many out. I can't wait to show you pictures of Ashley's big day tomorrow, and I can't wait to see photos of Laney's! Happy Friday y'all!!

What are your favorite things about weddings???
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