And Party We Did

Thursday, September 26, 2013
9 DAYS!!!! Holy moly, the wedding day is so close I can begin to feel the swish of my dress, smell the scent of fresh flowers, and hear the melody cascading from the violin. I blinked and September is about to end, with a wedding....MY wedding to kick October off. Of course, you can't get married without having bachelor and bachelorette parties. And last Saturday was the perfect day to go separate ways to hang with the best bridesmaids and groomsmen. After hours of man things for fiancé and super girly things for this bride, we decided to put our own spin on the day. So we met up for dinner, all 10 of us, and rehashed the day's events. I think I could have a bachelorette get-together every weekend, okay well at least once a month. And to recap...
^^Getting our nails did...well letting them dry.^^
^^We may or may not have gone to Starbucks and LOFT.^^
 ^^You know just in deep discussion about something wedding related.^^
This is what happens when you try to get a picture of all of us...See above and below. 
^^And the MOH went for a peach cocktail. How appropriate since it's a wedding color.^^
How blessed are we to be surrounded by family and friends in celebration of our upcoming marriage?! Seriously, it can't get any better! Thanks to each and every one of you for taking your Saturday to hang with the guys and gals. It was perfect, at least as close to perfect as you can get. We're so thrilled to have you stand by our sides on our very special day. Thanks to Lauryn and Cary for treating us to such wonderful days...we knew we picked you two as Maid of Honor and Best Man for a reason ;)

23 Years Young

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The most handsome and incredible man turns another year older today!! And yes, I may be biased, but, 23 sure looks good on you! Thank you for being the man you are, the peanut butter to my jelly. I can't wait to celebrate many more birthdays ahead! You deserve nothing but the best my love, and I hope today is nothing shy of amazing. I love you, you good lookin' fella! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FIANCÉ!!! xoxo

It's Official. Autumn, That Is.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
I can let my heart delight in the fact that it is undoubtedly the fall season, as of this past Sunday. And it is glorious. Because, fiancé and I have yet to move into our new home, the fall décor has not been precisely placed, the pumpkin-scented candles have not burned, and I have yet to make pumpkin scones (that recipe I'll post soon). But, no worries, once home from our sweet honeymoon our new home will be made cozy with hints of fall all around. The kitchen will be rich with the aroma of homemade soups and chili, the living room with be lit by the gentle crackle of our fireplace, and the oranges of pumpkins will accent the corners of the porch. There will be twine, leaves, and gourds. If you haven't caught on, I truly can't wait. 

Aw yes, simply, without question, fall is the best and I am reveling in it's beginning. From here on out, I will try to be more patient about the trees turning colors and the weather getting chillier. I am going to bask in every, single day of this beautiful Autumn. Thank you so for finally arriving. 

A Whole Lot Of Peaches

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Over the weekend Pete, his mom, & I spent precious time together making homemade peach jam. With several bushels of fresh peaches and Béla Fleck playing in the background we all worked  at cooking, peeling, and puréeing the peaches until they were ready to be made into the best tasting jam.  

Six hours later, there were 116 jars of jam popping sporadically every several minutes. Every sucessful sealing pop was celebrated by our applauds, cheers, and 'woohoos'. I'm sure it was quite the spectacle...but, it was a whole lot of silly and a heap of fun. I don't think I've ever been covered in more peach juice nor had so much fun cooking for such a long time. The entire canning experience was my first attempt (I plan to do this again) and really a better time than I could have asked for. I can't think of a more wonderful wedding favor to share with all of our guests. It's the perfect way to say, 'thanks for coming' with a homemade touch and plenty of love. Personally, I can't wait to get back from the honeymoon and pull out some peach jam from the fridge to spread on my breakfast toast. 

^^I love it when he wears a bandana *swoon*...I sure am marrying a handsome guy^^

In The Teens & A Celebration of Two Years

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Yesterday, the countdown to the wedding fell into the teen numbers (say what?!). Today the number is nestled in at 18, which means in a week and two days the countdown will stare back at me as a single number. Where did all the time go, from the very beginning of the wedding countdown? I am at a loss of words to describe just how joyful I feel in knowing that I will be a wife to the most amazing man in such a short amount of time; it's simply incredible.   

And speaking of numbers, two days ago fiancé and I rejoiced in two wonderful years together. We celebrated at The Melting Pot in Charlottesville with milkshakes to follow. I couldn't have dreamt up a better partner for my life and I certainly wouldn't trade the last two years for anything. Thank you fiancé for the best moments of my life and all the moments left to come! 

 ^^Downtown Charlottesville is so adorably charming.^^
 ^^The wine selection and our choice of drinks. It's always fun to try a different cocktail concoction.^^
^^Spinach Fondue...I told you I love anything spinach.^^
^^And these lovely origami flowers made by fiancé. Inside every flower is reason why he loves me, and I open one a day until our wedding day. Really, how did I get so lucky to get such a sweet and romantic guy?!^^

Happy 2 years Pete, I love you so!

Goodbye To The Last Of Summer

Friday, September 13, 2013

I'm not upset to wave goodbye to the summer days, if only because fall days replace them. And with mid-September approaching this weekend, I think it's fair to say that months of summer have come and gone (even though I think they started to fade out about a month ago). But before all the goodies of the season are gone, Pete and I will be stocking up on peaches for a jelly-making good ole' time this weekend! And obviously, while at the farmer's market we'll be grabbing more fresh cider too (can't pass up on that!). So, so long sweet summertime, thanks for the tan lines, farmer's markets, and teasing fall weather. See you next year! 

p.s. don't forget to share your fall recipes with me, please

Share The Fall Love

Thursday, September 12, 2013
I am over the moon that I get to start married life off during the fall. Really, what could be better than moving into a sweet home (with a fireplace) and making it super cozy with fall décor, sweater weather scents, and the wafting smells of seasonal dinners?? I am really looking forward to every single bit of it and to prepare, I want to gather a bunch of favorite fall recipes. I need your help by sharing your go-to dishes for every fall delicacy from soups, pies, and crock pot dishes to ciders and sweet treats! Please share away and stock up my recipe book for a newlywed Autumn!

One Of Those Days

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
It's been a day of ups and downs; I've found more often than not, that life these days is full of fluctuations as fiancé and I prepare for all the upcoming transitions and I'm just ready to get off of this roller coaster (and I love roller coasters). I've even found myself wishing I could escape all the adult responsibilities and retreat back to the carefree days of childhood...don't we all? 

So, after having a great morning, I was thrown off when stress sank in like a deep anchor this afternoon. Instead of fighting the thoughts that come with all the stress, I let myself feel the worry in every part of my body. It didn't take long for my mind to overflow with finances, job possibilities, and the future, so much so that I wish I had an off button or at least a good movie to try to distract myself with. But no, that wasn't the case and the wheels in my mind just kept turning. So, I thought I would attempt to preoccupy myself by stepping away from job applications and start reconstructing moving boxes. Standing there taping the bottoms closed, I realized that as bad as my day feels, this particular day 12 years ago was far worse than what I am experiencing. 

And so, I started reflecting on all the ways I am blessed. God has provided every step of the way, which allowed Pete and I to take a leap of faith in moving home. With so many variables, He continually saw us through, first securing the possibility of an October move, followed by a job for fiancé that will help him pursue his aspirations of a Master's degree in engineering, and most recently a place for us to call home in the Burgs. God has been so good and so faithful to the two of us. We've come this far and He's not leaving us now...not ever. The struggles have made the blessings so much sweeter. 

Plus, it doesn't hurt that fiancé brought home some delicious burgers and fries to turn my frown upside down. (check out the baking sheet we are using because all of our trays our packed). 

Hot Apple Cider & A Side Of Sherlock Holmes

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On our trip to Maryland, through the country roads of Virginia, fiancé and I passed a roadside stand selling fresh apple cider, peaches, apples, and other homegrown goods. Like I said, we passed it, and upon quick thinking took the next turn to whip ourselves back around to make a pit stop. We parked the car in a spot of dry dirt with little to no grass, delighted that we had made such a fast decision to come back the way we had come. A man with graying hair greeted us and opened a cooler with fresh apple cider, which had been juiced just two days before (how much more fresh can you get?!). Already knowing that apple cider would be one of our purchases, the fact that it was so fresh just confirmed we weren't going wrong. Five peaches and pumpkin butter rounded out our selections and again we headed North. 

The peaches we have enjoyed for the past two days, the pumpkin butter we are waiting for a fall weekend to spread on toast, and the cider we decided to heat up cider up tonight. It tastes like fall in my mug and I love it. Paired with a Sherlock Holmes episode and a cuddly fiancé, this night can't really get any better. Cheers!

Dining Out With Grandmom

Monday, September 9, 2013

Grandmom's house has always been the cliché grandmother's home, where my cousins and I rummaged through her closets to wear her collection of high-heels and silk robes, baked in her kitchen, sewed with her in the den, played cards until our scores finally beat hers, and had sleepovers for multiple nights in a row just because we could. Nothing has really changed now that we're all adults; those childhood tendencies never really went anywhere and once we all went away to college, one of our favorite things to do with Grandmom was to meet up & dine out. 

She always lets us pick, even when we want her to make the decision, and she's never short of conversation, and some good laughs. So of course, when we can all find time in our varied schedules to head to Grandmom's for dinner and time together, we take advantage of it. Last Thursday was one of those days and we found ourselves out and about for some Grandmom time...some much needed Grandmom time over fried pickles & spaghetti :)

A Few of My Favorite Autumn Things

Friday, September 6, 2013
Hello, sweet September and the unofficial start of Fall. Autumn is by far my absolute favorite and I begin to get excited for its loveliness well before it actually arrives. I can't help myself; I get swept up in imagining the chilly autumn air, the color-laden trees, and all the pumpkin that will be going into recipes. There's nothing better than a fire crackling, a crockpot full of chili, and a blanket to cuddle up under. Per usual, I have begun falling in love with the newest fall line and here are a few of the things I am looking forward to most! 

They'll Name A City After Us

Thursday, September 5, 2013
Dear Fiancé,

Thank you for.....

 making me smile on days I'm feeling down.

 being the kind of person that hides gifts 
all over the place for an unsuspecting me to find.

loving my quirks and flaws and letting me embrace them.

being my best friend, secret-keeper, & biggest fan.

letting me fall asleep on your chest without a moment's notice, 
especially the times you let me sleep even though your
arm numb & you can't reach the remote.

being a goofball with me and having fun with life,
even if it means people are going to stare.

showing me what unconditional love is 
by loving me to your fullest always.

wanting to share all of your life with me. 


p.s. I can't wait to marry you in exactly ONE month!!!

Pep In My Step

Wednesday, September 4, 2013
I've been in Blacksburg for 8 weeks now. Leaving Maryland was one of the hardest decisions, but with possibilities of relocating back to the area, it was up to me to be proactive about finding a job for myself and place to live for the newlywed Hills. Finding both of these, has been quite a difficulty (no luck yet, but do let me know if you have any leads). If it weren't for the exercise regimen my cousin inspired me to partake in, I might have gone a little crazy with all the searching, wedding preparation, and distance standing between fiancé and I. Boot Camp Challenge has been a complete blessing to me and has boosted my motivation, health, and physical well-being. With camps lasting in five to six week increments, I have a goal to work toward in a specific amount of time. And tracking my food, measurements, and strength helps me to see the progress I'm making and continue on. It's been a wonderful program to be a part of, with fellow campers to keep you accountable, a sergeant to keep motivating and pushing you forward, and results that lift your spirits! I couldn't be more thrilled with my decision to join, and if you're looking for a workout that will break a sweat, make your muscles sore (in the best way) from a day's exercise routine, and give you a jump start on a healthy lifestyle change, then this is it! I've never felt better and taking time in my life for the betterment of myself has really brought back the pep in my step! Can I get a HOO-AAH?! Leave a comment if you're interested in the program!

The Soon-To-Be Hills Have News!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

After thoughtful deliberation and the constant tug of our heart strings, we have decided to begin married life in the place we first met, became best friends, and fell in love. We couldn't be more thrilled to come back to one of our favorite places and create new memories as the Hills. This blessing has given us so much to look forward to and we are anxiously anticipating our return, which just can't come soon enough! So Blacksburg, get ready because we may never leave! 

And to all our friends and family, set some time aside to get together! We've missed you!!