Saturday, April 19, 2014

hoppy easter!

When Spencer and I started dating six years ago, the first thing I gifted him was an Easter basket, given that we started dating in March and that was the next gift-giving opportunity. Ever since then, I've given him a basket every year out of tradition. The poor man will be 75 years old and still getting chocolate bunnies and jellybeans, but until I hear him complain I'll keep on layering plastic eggs on top of plastic grass in brightly colored baskets. :)

We're staying pretty low-key this year, but I still hope there's a cup of strong coffee and some chocolate eggs for myself involved at some point. 

Happy Easter from our spirited, chocolate-overloaded home to yours!

yes, my fiancee is almost 30 and still gets an easter basket from me every. single. year. 
happy easter, peeps! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

my big fat cable braided knitted bib necklace

Say that three times fast. ;)

It's been a while since I've shared any knitting projects with you! Truth be told, I am just now getting my knitting mojo back. While I love to knit, I sometimes let life interfere and eventually branch away from what I love to do. But... I'm back!

I made this bib necklace yesterday. The pattern is cabled, but it's done in such a way the cables look like braids. I love the construction of this piece.

I had intended to get just far enough to work on it a bit at knit group on Sunday morning, but fell instantly in love and spend the whole afternoon working on it. It was an easy knit, but I love the big statement it makes! I want need one in every color to complete my spring wardrobe!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

v e n u e {shopping}

After what felt like months of coordination, we were finally able to pack our bags and head to Austin last weekend to meet with a couple of potential wedding venues! Coming only a short four months(!) after our engagement, this opportunity was welcomed!

Because I'm absolutely an obsessive compulsive shopper (please, and thank you!) I researched venues for months. Like literally, Santa has nothing on me. I made lists, checked them more than twice, and found out exactly via Yelp! reviews who was naughty and who was nice.

OK... I really couldn't resist that last one. 

Somewhere in there, I even took a couple of non-consecutive days off of work in order to get some of the major planning out of the way. I take my 'Bride' title extremely seriously, ya'll. Anyway...

Our venue search began immediately, and I mean that quite literally. We had a very narrow window of time once our airplane landed to jump in the car and catch a last-minute appointment at one of our top two picks. Talk about stressful! Let me also not fail to mention that our flight was delayed an hour leaving San Diego... Thank goodness for Southwest Airlines, where the motto should be 'sit down, shut up, buckle up!'. The pilot did some fancy flight work and got us to our final destination only 20 minutes behind schedule. 

The first venue we looked at is a beautifully restored 1883 Victorian mansion seated in downtown Austin. Architecturally, it is gorgeous. The space has high ceilings and creaky old wooden floors and a gorgeous wrap around porch, perfect for a cocktail post-wedding ceremony. The interior is a little small, but elegant, warm, and inviting nonetheless. The exterior features a century old Oak tree, meticulously wrapped in twinkly lights with crystal chandeliers hanging from it's low hanging branches. Absolutely stunning! 

Our next appointment wasn't for another day, so we had a day to explore our old stomping grounds. Following an early morning [Central Standard Time] wake-up call and fueled by Starbucks, Spencer and I met his family (who were in town visiting) for brunch before heading out to McKinney Falls. Despite the unseasonably chilly weather, we had a great time and took some gorgeous pictures in the bluebonnets. The next morning, my parents picked us up from the hotel and took us out to a late breakfast so we could catch up a bit before our last appointment. 

Despite the rainy weather, we were excited to see our second venue! Completely different than the first, this one is a a 17-acre secluded ranch-turned-wedding-venue perfectly situated for gorgeous views of the hill country. Also a historic site, it was purchased by the current owners who have taken extreme care to keep the property native to the land. The ranch features the original fireplace, reconstructed using natural stone found on the site, as one of the primary wedding ceremony backdrops as well as reclaimed pine wood trusses from the nearby 2011 fires on the interior. A darling little preserved 1800's-era log cabin sits just outside, begging to be the center of outdoor attention. A bit more sprawling than the previous, this place has a little bit of everything all in one spot!

Once we had seen both locations, we knew almost instantly where we wanted to be married. Of course, I started stressing immediately. What if the date we wanted is already booked? Will it be too cold in the early spring for an outdoor wedding? What if all the nearby hotels are already booked up? We didn't waste any time starting the phone calls around town, checking on pricing and availability, all the while I played Devil's Advocate with myself weighing out the pros and cons of each location. 

After several hiccups and one very stressful 24 hours, we finally reached the conclusion we had been waiting for. We booked our wedding venue! However, because we have yet to sign a contract; I'm keeping all information strictly tight lipped until we sign on the dotted line. Superstitious, you know.

 But in the meantime... yay! We can't wait to start this next chapter in our lives!

because we had a 'venue shopping entourage' at our last location,
my mom snapped a couple of pictures of Spencer and I. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

bluebonnets + mckinney falls + austin, texas

The early indicators of spring in Texas can only mean one thing: Bluebonnets

If you're not familiar with the state flower of the Lone Star State, allow me to give you a brief introduction. Bluebonnets, or Lupinus texensis, are temperamental little flowers that must be given proper wind and rain over the course of several months in order to bloom like crazy for a very short amount of time in the spring. In other words: they are weeds

But we Texans have a soft spot for them. 

In fact, the region of Texas where I grew up is widely acknowledged as being one of the best places to come and view them every year, namely because of the wide open spaces. We home-towners know that as soon as you see the first speckles of that deep cobalt blue, you'd better find another route into town because soon the highways are soon crawling with people who come from all over the state to take "bluebonnet pictures". It's equally annoying as it is flattering. 
Fun fact: It is widely considered illegal in the state of Texas to pick bluebonnets. Of course, this is actually a myth, perpetuated by our mothers, but to this day I have never picked/harmed/destroyed a single one. True. Story. 

We just returned from a long weekend in Austin, Texas to do a little venue scouting [more on that later]. While we were there, we had the privilege to see our beloved state littered with blue and white flowers. These flowers grow wild along the side of the highway, in open pastures, and in every nook and cranny imaginable. Like I said, for all intents and purposes they are weeds...but they are gorgeous. 

While we were visiting, we hiked McKinney Falls State Park and took a stroll through the lush fields of bluebonnets. Because the flowers grow wild all over my parent's property, I've never taken "bluebonnet pictures". Seeing as how we had the opportunity right in front of us, Spencer and I took advantage. We were both surprisingly pleased at how well they turned out. Of course, the backdrop was a great place to start. 

Once we took pictures, we began our hike around the Falls. Unfortunately, the water was too low to see the waterfalls in action, but that didn't stop us from enjoying the crisp, cool natural beauty of the park. Here are a few pictures from our afternoon. Enjoy! 

Warning: This is a photo-heavy post, but with Texas Hill Country views like these, it must be so.