Tag Archive | friends

Brady-Arroyo Wedding Weekend: The Reception

After a year and a half of planning, a busy few days leading up to the wedding, and a beautiful but hectic day, I was ready to let loose and have some fun at the reception.

I had finished my Maid of Honor speech about a week before the wedding, and was feeling decently confident about it: not too sappy, not too funny, and I had it mostly memorized. I told a few stories about my sister growing up, as well as some about Bryan.



Not long after they got engaged, I went to visit Erin and Bryan in Virginia. The three of us went out to dinner, and when we returned to their apartment, Bryan had gotten out two shot glasses and was opening a bottle of tequila (my liquor of choice) before I could even take off my shoes. Best brother ever! So I told this story during my speech, and Bryan and I toasted with shots of tequila. Well, they were supposed to be shots, but I’m pretty sure they gave us like triple shots, and I’m pretty sure “Oh, s***” went through my mind as I stood in front of 130 people taking a shot I was confident would spill all over my face. Ten minutes and no food later, I was definitely feeling it. Oops!

The food was spectacular! After I ate I made my way around to visit friends and family. It was so great having all of them in the same place!

Soon it was time for cake-cutting and all of the standard dances.






Then it was time to PARTY! I had so much fun dancing the night away with my sister, friends and family. I actually went to college with the DJ, Rockin’ Ron, and was definitely not disappointed by the tunes he chose for us to jam to. This was actually Ron’s last wedding, as he is going on to pursue different things, and I’m so glad he could be there for my sister’s wedding–he is awesome!

With the newlyweds

With the newlyweds

With my "little sister" and "baby" cousin

With my “little sister” and “baby” cousin


My Papa is a stud!

My Papa is a stud!

Stella and Penelope

Stella and Penelope

My loving parents

My loving parents

Did I mention that there was a photo booth?! We had so much fun with all of the props, and the photo strips definitely made for an entertaining guest book! Those pictures should be on the photo booth website soon and I can’t wait to share them!

Overall it was such a fun night, and I truly enjoyed celebrating such a happy occasion! Erin and Bryan are currently on their honeymoon in Punta Cana (jealous!), and it’s killing me that I can’t talk to my sister! I hope they are having tons of fun, but I am looking forward to them coming home tomorrow so my sister and I can resume our daily G-chat conversations and FaceTime dates!



Fighting Illness

Last night I got to spend time with one of my good college friends, Becky! She had flown to Florida from Ohio earlier in the week to pick up her car (she and her husband recently moved back to Ohio from Florida), and stopped for a night on her drive back up north. We went out to dinner at The Mill House, a local restaurant known for its pizza. I’ve only been to the Mill House one other time, but enjoyed their pizza and thought it would be a fun place to take Becky. The evening was spent catching up, as we hadn’t seen each other in a while. We called it a night pretty early, since we both had busy days today (me at work and her driving 11 hours to Ohio), but it was so nice to see her and spend time together! I was very excited to have someone stay in my nautical-themed guest bedroom, and Bella was very excited to have someone else to love on her.

As I was looking through my refrigerator for a snack last night, I remembered that I had this Karma Wellness Water I tried for the first time in Charleston recently.



Between my exhaustion from my busy weekend and my air travel, I recognize that my immune system may not be functioning at its full potential. I decided last night to bring the Karma Balance Immunity Booster with me to work today. With 1667% of your Daily Value of Vitamin C, I figured it might be just the thing to help me fight anything that may be heading my way. Well I guess I should have thought of the idea earlier on, because when I woke up this morning my throat was feeling sore and scratchy. I’m at work today with my Wellness Water (and my favorite Nature’s Path Love Crunch Dark Chocolate & Red Berries Granola), and am hoping to nip this illness in the bud before it goes too far!

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My plan is to head to Boot Camp tonight after work, and hope that it will help me sweat out whatever I’m fighting, too. I have a busy weekend full of classes I’d like to take at the gym, and am hoping my body feels up to it!

Since I have off work tomorrow my plan is to sleep in and I can’t even put into words how excited I am! I’m hoping that a combination of a healthy, restful weekend and some good old Vitamin C will be enough to have me feeling 100% by work on Monday!

  • What are some of your “tried and true” illness-fighting secrets?

Getting Sexy in the City

After cleaning up from the bridal shower, it was time to head back to my parents’ house to get ready before heading over to Erin’s friend Anna’s apartment to kick off her bachelorette party. Anna and I decided on a loose Sex and the City theme, which could be interpreted however the attendee wanted (wink wink). Our plans were to meet at Anna’s for some wine and appetizers before driving to Cleveland for dinner and a night out.

Becky, Robyn, Me, Erin, Katie and Renee

Becky, Robyn, Me, Erin, Katie and Renee

While at Anna’s we played the famous Panty Game! If you’ve never heard of the game, each girl that attended the party brought a pair of new panties for the bride. The panties could reflect the bride’s personality, make the person think of the bride, make the bride think of the person, etc. Erin then had to look at all the panties and guess who got her each pair.


Erin didn’t do a spectacular job, but there were a few she guessed right away!

Who could these be from? ;)

Who could these be from? 😉

We presented Erin with her veil and sash, opened gifts, and were on our way to Cleveland.

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The folks at D’Vine Wine Bar were extremely kind when I called to tell them we were running late (shocking, I know), and told us our table would be ready when we got there. We were seated as soon as we arrived and started looking over the menu. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. I am one of those people that obsessively looks at menus before going to a new restaurant to see what I might like to eat. For D’Vine, I had it narrowed down to a couple options–neither of which was on the menu when we got there. I scanned the menu for a bit and ended up getting the Ugly Tom (heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette served in a Parmesan bowl), and Tipsy Shrimp (I don’t remember the exact description since it’s not on the menu, but it was shrimp sauteed in white wine, served in some sort of tomato broth, I believe). Both were delicious.

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 From dinner we headed to our hotel to check-in, and were pleasantly surprised! Would you have guessed that this is a Residence Inn?

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The staff there was also extremely accommodating! When we realized that one of our rooms (which was more like a suite), would fit all eight of us, they allowed us to cancel our other room with no charge. On top of that, there was an amazing breakfast buffet the next morning that was included in the cost of the room that I wasn’t previously aware of. It was a steal, that’s for sure!

After checking in to the hotel we hailed some cabs and headed to The Blind Pig to listen to a band and do some dancing. The band, The Faction, was really fun and played everything from Jessie’s Girl to Thrift Shop. At one point they called Erin up on stage to dance with them.

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Around the time the bar was getting ready for last call, we headed outside to get a cab before the rush. We hopped in a van that took us back to our hotel, and proceeded to fall asleep pretty quickly–it was a long day for all of us!

Erin Hit Her Target

My sister and her fiance, Bryan, met ten years ago when they both worked at Target. Erin was 18 and thought Bryan was cute, but was too nervous to ask him to go to Prom with her. So she didn’t. Fast-forward ten years and they will be having an even bigger and better dance party–their wedding! When Erin got engaged, one of the first things I said to her was “At least you already know your wedding colors!” Erin was confused, and I jokingly told her that they obviously had to be red and khaki, and that their favors had to be from the Dollar Spot. I’m not sure why, but she wasn’t a fan of that idea…I think she said something about nightmares. Who knows.

Since Erin nixed my Target-themed wedding idea, I decided it would be perfect for her shower! In my head I referred to her shower as “Erin Hit Her Target-themed,” and this is the invitation I came up with:


The decorations at the shower were red and white, and I tried to incorporate the Target with the heart bulls-eye that I created as much as I could.


Because the party room where we had the shower had limited decorations, I did my best to spruce the place up a bit. I spent the weekend prior to the shower taking a trip to Hobby Lobby and doing some crafting.

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Their wedding date

Their wedding date


Their new monogram

Their new monogram

I’m pretty sure TSA got a kick out of my luggage when they found it full of plastic silverware, bridal shower decorations, and prizes. I’m sure they’ve seen crazier things.

The menu for Erin’s shower included:

  • A salad bar with grilled chicken and plenty of topping options (tomatoes, peppers, hard-boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, baby corn, etc etc)
  • Fruit cornucopias (ice cream cones filled with fruit)
  • Mini quiches
  • Deli spirals
  • Dinner rolls
  • White wine sangria
  • Arnold Palmers

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And for dessert:

  • Dark chocolate fudge and funfetti cupcakes
  • Milk and Dark chocolate-covered strawberries
  • Red and white M&Ms


We also played a few of the typical bridal shower games. Back in March I visited my sister and Bryan in Arlington. One day while my sister was at work I asked Bryan a few questions…and recorded it. Some of the questions included:

  • If you could be any animal, what would you be?
  • What was your first job?
  • If you could get rid of one item in your apartment, what would it be?

There were a total of 15 questions, and I started by giving Erin 25 one dollar bills. If Erin answered a question the same way Bryan did, she got to keep her money. If she got a question wrong, she had to give a dollar back to me. The money is supposed to go towards doing something fun on their honeymoon. Erin was nervous about the game, and got about six questions right (thankfully I had basically given her $10 to start since there were more dollar bills than questions). I have to admit that some of the questions were pretty obscure, and Erin was surprised that she got some of them right.

The next game was to see how well the shower attendees knew the bride and groom. Sample questions were:

  • What did the bride and groom do on their first date?
  • What is the bride’s middle name? The groom’s?
  • How long have the bride and groom been together?

Out of 16 possible points, I believe the winner got 14, but prizes were awarded to those who got 12 or more correct.

The last game was Bridal BINGO. Before opening gifts, I gave everyone a blank BINGO board that they had to fill in with gifts they thought Erin might receive. If she opened one of the gifts on their board, they got to mark that square and hope to get five in a row. I had played the game in the past and enjoyed it because it gave the shower attendees something to do while the bride opened gifts other than just watching.

Erin got so many wonderful gifts! Some were things from her registry that she really wanted.


Others were gifts that the giver put a lot of thought into.


And leave it to my mom’s crafty friends to stick with my theme on their gift-wrapping!

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After opening gifts most people started saying goodbyes, and we took the opportunity to snap some pictures!

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Grandma and cousins from my dad's side

Grandma and cousins from my dad’s side


Cousins from my mom's side

Cousins from my mom’s side 


Erin and her bridesmaids

Erin and her bridesmaids





Trip to Charleston

I know I’ve been slacking lately with my blog posts. I’ll blame it on my upcoming trip to Ohio this weekend and all the preparation that has gone in to the weekend’s events! I promise to do better!

A couple weekends ago I took a trip down to Charleston, SC to visit some friends for the weekend. I had never been to Charleston before and was excited to explore a bit!

When I first got to Charleston, I met my friend at Folly Beach where we spent some time catching up (we figured out we hadn’t seen each other in over a year and a half!) and soaking up some sun.

folly beach

I’d say the majority of my trip centered around food, and I did my best to eat semi-healthy while also trying out some new things!

After we left the beach, Rachel and I were hungry and she decided to take me to one of her favorite places: Black Bean Co! I had driven past a Black Bean on my way to meet her at Folly and was intrigued, so I was excited when she suggested we go there for a late lunch!  Black Bean’s “thing” is that they serve organic, all-natural Energy Food, and everything on the menu sounded so good! Eventually I chose the Spring Street wrap: chicken, hummus, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh homemade tzatziki, mixed greens and sprouts with a side of fresh fruit salad. It was delicious and I forgot to snap a picture until I was halfway through!

black bean

I also chose a Karma Wellness Water out of the cooler. Karma’s flavored vitamin waters are unique because you add the vitamins from the cap yourself in order to gain the maximum benefits of the vitamins. I went with the Raspberry Guava Jackfruit flavor. While the flavor was different, I enjoyed it and was excited when I found some other flavors at my local TJ Maxx! It wasn’t until I had finished the water that I noticed that each flavor has a specific wellness benefit. The flavor I got was a Fitness Accelerator, which I didn’t necessarily need at the moment but will keep in mind for future purchases!

That evening Rachel and I went to “The Joe,” the home of the Charleston RiverDogs Minor League Baseball Team. Rachel plays on a Charleston Sports and Social Club Kickball Team and there was a huge party as well as playoff Kickball games being played on the field.  The league offers other sports, as well as social and competitive divisions. It was so fun to watch Kickball being played in a huge baseball stadium, and I’m pretty jealous that they have such an awesome program! I might need to move to Charleston someday just to participate in this league!


As we were leaving Black Bean on Friday, the workers offered us two free salads that they had made on accident. Naturally we accepted them and saved them for lunch on Saturday!


That afternoon we met up with a friend, her husband, and their three children to head to Kiawah for a day at the beach. Unfortunately no pictures were taken, as my valuables were safely tucked away in the car since we got rained on sporadically throughout the afternoon. The kids didn’t seem to mind and we had an awesome time playing with them in the water!

After cleaning up, Rachel and I headed to dinner and drinks with a couple of her friends. We ended up at Poe’s Tavern in Sullivan’s Island. The atmosphere was very laid-back and we sat at the bar for a bit while we waited for a table to open up. Once we were seated, I apprehensively ordered fish tacos with citrus marinated mahi-mahi, pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, and chipotle sour cream. I was pleasantly surprised and had no problem finishing them!

fish tacos

We attempted to go out to the Cocktail Club in Downtown Charleston following dinner, but didn’t stay long before we were all ready to go home and go to bed. Such old ladies, we are! I’m really bummed that we were all so tired because the atmosphere at the Cocktail Club was really fun and I would have liked to enjoy it a bit more. I’m hoping on my next trip to Charleston we can check it out again! Funny story about the time we did spend there: When we arrived at the bar and were waiting to order drinks, we sampled some of the bacon-flavored popcorn that was sitting on the bar. It was DELICIOUS and we all couldn’t stop talking about it! As we were leaving the bar and waiting for everyone to close their tabs, I was looking at the menu up on the wall and noticed that the bacon popcorn was $4–which meant we were either eating someone’s leftovers or stealing their popcorn from under their noses. Oops! If/when I go back, I will be placing an order of that popcorn for sure!

I had to drive home on Sunday, but not before heading to brunch with Rachel and her friends. We went to one of Rachel’s favorite places: Triangle Char & Bar in West Ashley. Again it took me some time to decide what I wanted since everything on the menu looked delicious! I settled on the ham & cheese folded eggs with a side of fresh fruit and grits. Oh, and dollar mimosas! This was only my second experience with grits, and I absolutely loved the cheese-topped ones at Triangle! While they may not have been the healthiest option, they definitely were delicious and worth every calorie 😉

triangle brunch

Following brunch, Rachel and I headed to downtown Charleston to check out the Charleston City Market. We walked around for a bit and looked at all the fun stuff the different vendors had. I feel like I could have spent hours looking through there! Sadly it started raining, and Rachel and I headed back to the car before we got stuck in a downpour. Upon our return to Rachel’s apartment I packed up my things and hit the road. The trip to Charleston was way too short and I definitely have to make another trip soon. Maybe next time I will do a better job of taking pictures of something other than my food (like people, perhaps?)! Thanks to Rachel for hosting me and showing me around the city! It was definitely good to see some old friends, make new ones, and explore a fun new city! I’ll be back, Charleston!

  • What are some of your favorite spots in Charleston?
  • Any other South Carolina cities I need to check out?

Columbus Wedding Weekend

My 4th of July Weekend started bright and early when my alarm went off at 3:30 in the morning so I could get up and drive an hour to the airport to catch my 6:50am flight to Ohio! After a brief layover in Chicago I arrived in Columbus by 11am and was ready for bed! I checked into my hotel and waited for my friends Kelly and Becky to arrive so we could get ready for our friend Johanna’s bachelorette party! [Side note: Kelly had gotten engaged earlier that week so it was super exciting to congratulate her in person and check out her rock!] After getting ready, we met up with the rest of the girls at Thurber’s, a restaurant inside the hotel the other girls were staying at. At Thurber’s we had wine and appetizers and watched Johanna open her gifts!

From there we headed to Gordon Biersch where we enjoyed more drinks and dinner, and watched as Johanna completed some of her bachelorette dares, such as getting our server to dance with her.


He was a good sport. For dinner I chose Jambalaya with chicken, shrimp, ham, and andouille sausage. It was delicious!

jambalayaAfter a few more dares and the arrival of a few more out-of-town friends, we headed to The Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar where we spent the rest of our evening. We had a blast requesting songs for the pianists to play. If you have never been to a dueling piano bar, it’s something to put on your to-do list. They are so much fun!

The group

The group



Amy, Johanna, Me, Kelly

Amy, Johanna, Me, Kelly


After a fun night, I was ready to pass out when we got back to the hotel and it didn’t take long for me to fall asleep!

The next morning Becky drove back to her husband and son while Kelly and I met up with my friend Emily and my parents for lunch and shopping. My parents came down early for the wedding to spend some time with me while I was in town. How nice! My visit with Emily was way too short, but I am hoping to see her and some other former coworkers when I am in town in September! I spent the day and evening relaxing with my parents, which was extremely nice after such a hectic Thursday.

Saturday morning I spent more time with my parents as we wandered Columbus for pedicures, lunch, and a trip to Target (you KNOW I was happy!). We met up with the rest of my college friends at the hotel later that afternoon so we could all get ready for the wedding. We then made our way to Via Vecchia, the winery where the wedding took place.

Ceremony site

Ceremony site

Husband and Wife

Husband and Wife

Had to get a picture with the parents

Had to get a picture with the parents

Amy, Elizabeth, Kelly, Me, and Megan

Amy, Elizabeth, Kelly, Me, and Megan

First Dance

First Dance

With the bride

With the bride


I had such a good time with my college friends and my parents celebrating Johanna and Bryan’s wedding! Though Johanna and I went to college together, we were also on the same gymnastics team growing up and have known each other for many, many years. I’m so glad I was able to share in her special day! Congrats to the newlyweds!

I was up early the next morning to catch my flight back to Ohio. After another layover in Chicago, I arrived back in South Carolina by 12:30 and was back at my apartment by 2! Though it was hard getting up so early, it was nice being home early enough to do some grocery shopping for the week, get laundry done, and relax a bit before heading to work on Monday morning.

Plus I got to spend some time with this little furball who did not leave my side upon my return home!


Also, huge shoutout to Southwest Airlines! It was my first time traveling with them (and for free with points!) and it was the best experience I’ve ever had. No flight delays, extremely friendly flight attendants, and free in-flight tv! I am so glad to be traveling with them to Ohio the rest of this summer and fall for upcoming weddings/wedding events!

Bon Voyage

One of the hardest things about making my move from Ohio to South Carolina was knowing the amazing family and friends I was leaving behind. I am blessed to have some wonderful people in my life, and I knew it would be hard not being able to see them as often once I moved. These friends and family members threw me two going away parties before I left, and I was overwhelmed by the love and well-wishes I received from them.

The first of these parties was thrown by my parents and my best friend and my parents’ house. So many friends from high school, college and growing up came, as well as several family members.

Party planner extraordinaire!

Party planner extraordinaire!

HIgh school friends Natalie and Haley

HIgh school friends Natalie and Haley

College Friend Biz

College Friend Biz

College Friends Elizabeth Kelly and Megan

College Friends Elizabeth Kelly and Megan

Former camper, slash one of my favorite people ever, Emma

Former camper, slash one of my favorite people ever, Emma

Since I have a strange obsession with all things nautical, especially anchors, Mo and my parents planned my party around that! Mo had people write me little notes wishing me well, and it was so nice to read them once everyone left. I love little sentimental things like that!


My awesome anchor cake!

All in all, I had a great time seeing friends and family and am so grateful to all of them for coming!

A couple weeks later, the night of my last day of work, a couple of my work friends threw me a going away party. Emily and Stacey planned it and provided the food, and I had a blast hanging out with my coworkers one last time before I left. The party was at Terra Cotta Vineyards, a small vineyard with excellent wine and a stunning view. Terra Cotta was one of my favorite places to hang out with my coworkers, so it was only fitting that it was the venue for the gathering.

There was definitely no shortage of food:



This party also had a cute little nautical theme to it, and all those fun nautical decorations are now part of my nautical-themed guest bedroom! Again, I had such a nice time sipping wine and spending time with my coworkers. I had such a great two years working with them and hope to visit soon!