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    • Lifestyle

      And the Bride Wore.. All the Details!

      I got engaged in January and unlike most brides, I had no idea what to do so in true "Emily fashion", I did nothing. Around March I finally hired a wedding planner/angel sent from God, Ivy Robinson, and she handled everything and gave me checklists of things I needed to get done. Top of the list was getting a dress. She sent me to Hayden Olivia Bridal Boutique and the sweetest girl ever, Whitney, didn't even freak out that I needed a dress in a matter of weeks. After a full day of trying on dresses, I finally picked one by Modern Trousseau but wanted to do something a little different, so we added the blush colored accents. I also knew I wanted a big princess dress because when else can you dress like a giant cupcake and not look absolutely ridiculous?? And because I'm convinced she and Ivy are bridal MacGyvers, she pulled out a detachable skirt that I could take off for the reception. As far as accessories, I wanted to keep things more low key since we were getting married on a farm, so I decided I wanted to wear a leather belt instead of the typical wedding sash everyone else wears. I swear.. it made sense in my head but after looking everywhere I was about to give up. I even went to tack shop looking for a leather belt. "And the bride wore.. Wrangler.."   Just what every girl imagines for her wedding day, right?

      It was totally divine intervention, because I ran into Mechelle from Our Place Boutique and in my book, she has the absolute best style in Charlotte and I knew she would have a better idea. She searched high and low and pretty much planned my entire wedding look in two weeks. Basically she's a magician.  For my jewelry, Mechelle helped me pick out a stack of S.Carter bangles that I wore for the ceremony with a pair of earrings I designed with Towne & Reese. I also wore a beautiful ring my new mother-in-law gave me and an antique diamond watch my mom and dad gave me the day of my wedding.  For the reception I added even more S.Carter bangles and a bunch of necklaces to make the look more "me" because let's be real.. for me, when it comes to jewelry, more is better. If you're in Charlotte, check out Our Place Boutique in Phillips Place and I promise it will become your new favorite store.

      I always say that Ricki was more of a bridezilla than I was during the entire wedding planning process. I swear she tried on every dress, belt, earring, and shoe at Hayden Olivia. Since she wanted a strapless dress she immediately decided she wanted a Modern Trousseau "Teacup" wedding dress, but as her mother there was no chance that was going to happen. Thankfully they were able to customize the dress to give it straps and it looked like it was made for her! She picked out a sash and headband by Whitney Alyssa and sandals by Kate Spade to make her feel even more like the princess she is.

      For my makeup, Ivy introduced me to another angel on Earth, Lindsey Regan Thorne, who made me feel as beautiful every bride dreams of feeling. But not only that, she was the best friend every girl needs on her wedding day.. she kept me calm, made me laugh, and made the whole day so much fun. I wish I was brave enough to show you all the before picture, but let's just say the girl knows how to make a girl look her best! So many makeup artists just paint on the exact same makeup they did on the bride the week before and you don't even recognize yourself when you look in the mirror. Lindsey took her time, listened to what I wanted, and made me feel the most beautiful I've ever felt. Now I just need her to come back to my house and teach me all of her tricks.. Hint, hint, Lindsey! :)

      I truly had the dream team when it came to my wedding and I'll never be able to say thank you enough to each of you.

      DRESS: Modern Trousseau BOOTS: Ash & Golden Goose / NECKLACES & BRACELETS: S. Carter from Our Place Boutique / EARRINGS: Emily Maynard for Towne & Reese/  BELT: ADA/  MAKEUP & HAIR: Lindsey Regan Thorne / RICKI'S DRESS: Modern Trousseau / HEADBAND & SASH: Whitney Alyssa/ SANDALS: Kate Spade  

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    • Lifestyle

      I'm Back... as a Married Woman!

      Oh me... Where do I even begin? I guess I could come on here and say I've been crazy busy and haven't had time to blog,and blah, blah, blah, which would be totally true. But to be honest, I just really wanted to take the time to enjoy being married, my new family, our new home, and really just LIFE that I kind of checked out on life for a little while. It's been the best summer of my life, but now school is back in session which means I have the time to devote to my blog again! I've missed you guys! If you follow me on Instagram, by now you've seen pictures from our wedding but I figured I would share a few (ok.. maybe a lot) more because it truly was the most perfect day ever!  I've always wanted to have a surprise wedding, and with the help of the most amazing planner, Ivy Robinson, and swearing my family to secrecy, we almost pulled it off. To be honest, I think most people knew what was happening, but I just wanted the day to be about the love God has brought together and not seating charts, presents, and bridesmaids. Can you believe it was so romantic two couples got engaged?! I have to give our Pastor, David Chadwick from Forest Hill Church all the credit on that one though. I think everyone was crying after the beautiful words he gave.  I wanted all of our family and friends to show up wearing whatever they wanted and ready to have a good time at an "engagement party". It was everything and more that I ever dreamed of and I have a million people to thank for making this the most special day of my life. But as a blog reader, I know you guys are here to see pictures so here ya go!

      * If you need a password use emilytyler 

       

      PLANNER: Ivy Robinson EventsPHOTOGRAPHY: Corbin Gurkin PhotographyINVITATIONS: Ceci New York / MIXOLOGIST: Bob PetersLenny Boy Brewing Co.Tito's Vodka;  Bulleit / FURNITURE: Circa Antiques & Interiors /  CAKE: Wow Factor Cakes / GROOM'S CAKE: Neet's Sweets / POPSICLES: King of Pops/ FLORAL DESIGNERS: John Lupton & Andrew Thomas/ CATERER: Porcupine Provisions / MUSIC: Zachary Kale *We danced to the song he wrote, Marry Me as our first dance. My fave song ever! / The Solemates / Mo's OBX Skeeter Beater / Split Second Sound / Party Reflections / Dee Dee's Gourmet / Helen's Kitchen The Bungalow Picnic Company /

      **The biggest thank you goes to my mom and dad, because without them there's no way this day ever could've happened as beautifully as it did. Mom, thank you for being there every step of the way and Dad, thank you for not complaining about the bill :) I love you both! Also, a huge thank you to Tyler's parents for letting us take over your beautiful farm for our special day! I know at times it seemed like a nightmare, but we pulled it off and I can't say thank you enough! We love you guys!

      And a huge thank you to every single one of you that made this day so special for us! I'm going to do another post last this week to give you all the details on my dress, accessories, and amazing makeup artist!

    • Fashion

      Meet The Newest Member Of Our Family: Nash Johnson

      One could say I have a lot going on right now.. planning a wedding, getting married, selling my house, buying a new house, running a blog, a jewelry line, on top of my everyday responsibilities of being a mom and everything I'm involved in through my community. Yikes. Don't get me wrong, every single one of those things are such a blessing and I'm so thankful that they're all "good stresses". However, adding another animal to our zoo was pretty much at the bottom of the to do list. I guess the saying, "when it rains, it pours" really is true!

      When I came home from church on Sunday Tyler surprised me with this sweet puppy that he found out in the middle of nowhere in South Carolina. My reaction was a mix of, "Have I been drugged? There's no way he's serious and there's actually a dog in my driveway," to "He's cute, but when are his owners going to be here to pick up him because he's not staying with us." His fur was matted with goodness knows what, you could see every bone in his body, and you could tell his poor paws were in bad shape as well. We would be a perfect foster family for him until we could find someone to take him!  Well, somewhere between giving him his first bowl of food, his first vet visit, and an (expensive) trip to Petsmart, we bonded. His monogrammed "Nash" bed will be here next week and we're officially WAY out numbered by animals, but (as I'm trying to remind myself daily!) what fun is life without a little bit of chaos? :)

      PS-- Does anyone have any guesses as to what kind of dog he could be? Anyone done the blood test that tells you? Let me know in the comments!

      Nash4-8-14

      Nash1

    • Lifestyle

      Living In The Moment..More Than Just A Quote On Pinterest

      I know I've said it a million times on this blog, but the past year has been one of the absolute best of my life. I remember about a year ago I wrote about my "pinch me" moment when InStyle Magazine wrote about my jewelry line on their website and still to this day it's crazy for me to even type that sentence! As humans we often get so focused on where we want to be in our life, what we need to do better, things we need in order to feel "complete", and worrying about our future, that we forget to stop and live in the moment. I know every girl out there with Pinterest has some variety of "Live in the Moment" quoted on one of her boards, but what does that really mean?

      As someone who tends to worry about the future and be her own worst critic, to me it means taking the time to really be "present" in each moment and not being fearful about what the future may bring. A few weeks ago Tyler and I were asked to speak at our church, Forest Hill, here in Charlotte and to say I was nervous would be an extreme understatement. I kept thinking, "Why in the world would anyone want to hear what I have to say about my faith? These people have been walking with The Lord for far longer than I have. Everyone is going to leave church asking themselves why that chick from that reality show was on the stage."  I kept thinking that David Chadwick, the pastor, was going to read some of the things people say about me on the internet and call back, saying they decided to go a different direction with the service (aka Christian talk for, "You're not who I thought you were and we don't really care about what you have to say.").

      For so many years I have questioned why He would bring me through something like The Bachelor and eventually The Bachelorette, knowing all along I would meet my husband through church just a few miles from my house. Couldn't He have spared me so much heartbreak and humiliation? Well, as I was praying for Him to give me any excuse NOT to speak at church, I kept getting the same message: THIS was the very reason. I have gone through many storms in my life, only to have God bring me through to the other side and now was my chance to give Him all the glory. I have been so caught up in worrying about my past and trying to move forward, that I didn't even realize that He had already brought me through. So I guess what I'm trying to say is don't be so worried about the future and the person you want to be, that you forget to recognize that maybe you're already there and you've already become that person!

      If you want to check out the video from last Sunday, here's the link! You can also download the Forest Hill app and watch any of the services from your phone. If you're in the Charlotte area and are looking for a church, I can't say enough wonderful things about Forest Hill and how much it has impacted my life!

       

    • Lifestyle

      You Heard It Here Last.. I'm Engaged!

      Assuming you haven't been living under a rock, you've probably heard the news but if not, I'm here to let the cat out of the bag. I'm ENGAGED! And no, it's not to someone I met on a reality show or even a dating site, but to an amazing man I met through my church, Forest Hill, in Charlotte. I should've known all along that God was going to do things His way!

      And trust me, I can already hear all of the Debbie Downers out there saying, "Again?!", but let me be the first to say, this time it's the real deal. I promise! We've been dating for over a year and have known each other for much longer. I used to teach a jewelry making class at a middle school that my church adopted and Tyler was one of the coordinators of the  program. Well, every Thursday I could count on him to come help me carry all of my beads out to my car at the end of class. The only problem was he was so good looking that I could barely make eye contact with him, much less have a normal conversation. I kind of pride myself on being able to have an interesting conversation with a wall if need be, but for some reason I was so intimidated by him and the fact that he showed me no interest at all just made it that much worse! Fast forward a few years (and a few attempts to find love on tv) to our first date and we've been inseparable ever since! I'm so grateful to God for bringing him into our life because he's been the biggest blessing to Ricki and I both. I can truly look back now and see how God has guided me through everything, even the hard times when I thought I'd be alone forever, and used it all to make me the person I am so that I'd be ready. Goodness knows I have a long way to go to be the person He created me to be, but I couldn't have picked a more amazing man to get to spend the rest of my life with and I can't wait to see what all God has planned of us as a family!

      And because so many of you have asked, here's a pictures of my ring(s)! I told him I didn't want a traditional engagement ring and that I just wanted some simple bands. He went above and beyond to say the least and they couldn't be more "me". I got a good one :)

      ringsmall

      With all of that said, I need some serious advice. HOW IN THE *#&@! DO YOU PLAN A WEDDING?? If it were up to me, we'd run off to Vegas tomorrow but I know my mom would probably never forgive me. The only problem is, I don't even know where to begin! I went to a wedding convention (who knew there was even such a thing?!) with a girlfriend and literally walked around in a daze. So, for all you wise, married women out there.. What would you have done differently? The same? What's the next step after pinning everything you can possibly pin? Can I just give my wedding board to someone have them figure it out? Do I even need a wedding planner?

      Ok.. I'm officially stressed out. Clearly, I need some help so leave me all your tips in the comments!

      And just because I think he's the biggest babe on the planet, here are some more family pictures :)

    • Lifestyle

      Gift Guide: Your Friend That Has Everything

      If you're anything like me, you're running around just days before Christmas finishing the last of your shopping. So, I feel the least I could do is give you all some ideas on what to get your friend that has everything! My sweet friend, Amy, gave me a phone case similar to this one and I love it! It's a regular case and also has another case that slips on top when your battery needs charged on the go. And what girl doesn't love getting something sparkly? These earrings and ring are perfect for the holidays!

      Has anyone else not finished their shopping yet? What else do you have on your list?

      Don't forget Nordstrom still has some really great things on sale!

    • Lifestyle

      Happy Thanksgiving!

      First of all, HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone!  I hope you're all spending the day with the people you love the most. But let's be real.. We'll all need a break from that at some point, so lock yourself in your room for a couple minutes and check out all the sales going on today! Here are some of my favorites..

       

      Nordstrom Sale: Save up to 33% off

       

      ASOS Sale: 20% off site wide with code GIMME20

       

       

      Now go get back to your family! :)

    • Fashion

      Gift Guide: The Crazy Cat Lady

       

      We all have a "crazy cat lady" friend and for my friends, it's me. I like to consider myself an OG cat lover because I loved them before all the hipsters (do people still say that word?) thought it was cool to post cat pictures on Instagram. So, for all of your true cat lovers and even the allergic ones that just think they're cool, I have the perfect gifts for you!

      What other gift guides would you all like to see on the blog? Goodness knows I need another excuse to do some online shopping!

    • Fashion

      Fancy Chairs and Perfect Hair

      On most beautiful fall days, after school Ricki and I like to hang out in the very fancy chair in the front yard and just talk about how much we love each other. Of course, I'm wearing a dress, my hair is perfectly curled, and Ricki's long blonde hair is perfectly pinned. We just laugh and she tells me that I'm the best mom in the world..

      And then I wake up from my dream and am forced into reality. I'm running around in cat leggings and Uggs, picking up whatever mess my zoo of animals made the night before.  Ricki's hair is in knots and I'm screaming up the stairs, begging her to at least put a headband on, while we're running out the door, trying our hardest not to be late for school.

      Ricki talked about how much she dreaded the shoot for Charlotte Parent, and to be honest, I was so scared she was going to be crying in all of the pictures. Right before these beautiful pictures were taken, I was upstairs in her room begging, bribing, and praying that she'd just wear the clothes I picked out and smile for a couple pictures. Basically, I was using everything but physical force. Eventually she agreed and can you believe as soon as the camera was on, that little girl thought she was Cindy Crawford, trying to find her best angle and laughing as if I actually said something funny??

      Even though my reality isn't always sunshine and rainbows, I'll take my life any day of the week and wouldn't trade it for the world. Besides, twenty years from now, we'll look back on these pictures and have forgotten about all the fuss. We won't remember all the begging and pleading it took to get to this point and for a minute, maybe we can convince ourselves that we really were the family that sat outside on fancy chairs and talked about how much we love each other.  But for now, I'm having fun every second of being a mommy to this girl of mine and hope I never forget a minute.

    • Fashion

      Great Gifts that Give Back

      I know this is one of those awkward, small talk conversation starters like the weather, but can I just say that the Harris Teeter down the street from me needs to take down the Christmas decorations IMMEDIATELY.  And while we're on the topic, the Santa at the mall on November 1st can pack up his bags too. I'm not ready and in my house C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S is still a four letter word we don't speak of yet.

      But in the name of peer pressure, I feel like I need to at least start thinking about what I'm going to get everyone on my list so that I'm not hiding under my covers with anxiety the week before Christmas. I hate that the whole reason behind Christmas is getting so lost and thats the first thing I think about when I think of December. So in that spirit, here are some great gifts that not only everyone on your list will love but also change the lives of others around the world!

      FashionABLE Scarves and Leather Clutches- Not only do I truly love these scarves, I love the cause and people behind them even more. You may remember in August I had the opportunity to go to Ethiopia and meet the women behind this brand and I wish more than anything that I could put into words the love I felt while I was there. Each scarf is handmade by women in Ethiopia who have escaped their previous life of sex trafficking and hopelessness all because of this amazing line.

      The Giving Keys- I first learned about The Giving Keys on my trip to Ghana when my friend, Kris, was wearing one and I just thought it was a cool necklace. After learning about the meaning behind each key I loved it even more. Each one is engraved with an inspirational word, such as love or hope, and when you feel someone needs that message more, you pass it on to them and hopefully they'll do the same for someone else. Whats even cooler is that the people making the pieces are transitioning out of homelessness and because of The Giving Keys, they're able to open bank accounts, get apartments, and have hope for their future again.

      Fashion & Compassion- I was given this necklace as a gift myself and I get compliments on it everywhere I go! Each piece is handmade by women around the world overcoming poverty and injustice, so by purchasing one of these pieces you're changing the life of not only that woman but also her entire family. To me, the most amazing part is the newfound dignity and hope these women feel in their heart that they most likely never would've without Fashion & Compassion.

      Drop in The Bucket- Can you believe that there are millions of people around the world that wake up everyday without clean water? While you and I can reach in our refrigerator and grab a bottle of water or turn a knob and take a warm shower, people in some parts of Africa and Asia have to walk an average of 3.75 miles just to get a bowl of water. Just by giving this as a gift, you're helping to bring water to the 783 million people who go everyday without. And besides that, my friend Cassie helped start Drop in the Bucket and her passion for the cause is contagious!

      OneHope Wine-  With the holidays brings lots of holiday parties and I think it's the southerner in me that couldn't imagine showing up empty handed, so I usually end up grabbing a bottle of wine on the way. OneHope Wine is one of my favorite tasting wines and they also give half of the profits of each bottle sold to needy causes. Each kind of wine gives to a different cause whether it's breast cancer research, education, animal rescue and many more. And let's be honest, at the end of the day, sometimes nothing sounds better than a glass of wine so I always grab a bottle for myself too!

      Do you know of any other great gifts that also give back? Let me know in the comments!

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