An Inside Look at a College-Football Inspired, Elegant Southern Wedding

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My brother and sister-in-law just got married a couple of months ago or so and the wedding was to die for! Both Brent and Hayley lived in Athens, Georgia (home of the Georgia Bulldogs) during their college years, so the city and the university are near and dear to their hearts. Hayley did such an amazing job putting together a seriously gorgeous, southern charmed wedding with little touches of the team they both love, so I had to give you guys an inside look. Get ready for wedding envy in 3… 2… 1…

The Gifts

Hayley picked out a gift with several sweet items for Brent, but one of my favorites was a pair of University of Georgia cufflinks that he’ll cherish forever!

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If you want to sob a little, take a look at one of the gifts that the groom got for his bride… a beautiful white bible, with her new name inscribed on it.

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Or these absolutely adorable mother-of-the-bride and father-of-the-bride gifts!

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Getting Ready

I’m so obsessed with these blue hydrangea robes that Hayley gave to her bridesmaids and Tame Style Bar did an amazing job dolling them up!

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The Ceremony

The ceremony was held at the iconic, UGA Chapel, located on the North Campus of the University of Georgia.

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And of course, they had to officially seal their marriage with a celebratory ringing of the Chapel Bell!

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The Reception

H & B’s reception was held at the Taylor-Grady House just outside of downtown Athens.

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The food was catered by the Athens’ favorite, Mama’s Boy, and boyyyy was it good!

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And yes… this cake was as perfect as it appears.

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Not to mention, she didn’t leave one detail untouched, from photos of their parents’ wedding days to mercury glass decor and hydrangeas and greenery galore.

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UGA Inspiration

Now for the Georgia Bulldog touches you’ve been dying to see. 🙂

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This Groom’s cake by Callie’s Cakes. ❤ ❤ ❤

https://www.facebook.com/CalliesCakes/?ref=page_internal

A visit from Hairy Dawg!!

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And of course an exit with red and black poms and Georgia themed music!

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And did I mention that even though it rained almost all day that it was still one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to and this bride stayed as gorgeous and sweet as ever?!

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So what do you think? Are you as in love as I was?

Congrats to Brent & Hayley – I’m so excited to see what your lives have in store!

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

Photos: Alyssa Alig

 

 

 

26 Reasons I’m Excited to Turn 26

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Yeee! I can’t believe it’s already August and that my 26th birthday is here! I feel like it was just the new year, or better yet, that I was just telling all of you about the 25 things I had learned in my 25 years of life. But nonetheless, summer is coming to a close, kids are going back to school and I’m celebrating 26 years of memories and life experiences!

So, of course, I’m thrilled because that means birthday cupcakes and glasses of champagne, but there are a million other reasons turning 26 is so exciting. Here’s just 26 for your enjoyment…

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1.I’ve lived one more awesome year of life and I’ve still got 4 years until I turn 30! Thank God.

2. IDGAF what anyone thinks.

Just kidding… I probably care what people think more than most. I am always so nervous to offend or hurt or put off anyone, but I guess I more so mean I don’t care in that, I’m not afraid to be my true self. I feel like when you’re younger, people are so critical and don’t embrace being different, but the older you get, the cooler it is to be unique and be yourself. So if it’s lame to be obsessed with the Michelle Branch Pandora station, if it’s fat to eat ice cream twice in a day or if it’s not cool to take 1000 photos on every trip you go on… I don’t care because it makes me happy. 🙂

3. I’m old enough to be treated like an adult, but still young enough to make mistakes without being crucified for them.

4. This year is for my career.

I feel like each year in life is filled with something that takes up a lot of your time or is your sole focus. Some years that’s been graduating from college, other years it’s been getting married, spending time with a sick loved one or buying a house, but this year I really think I’m going to get the time and space to make my career my top priority. I’m in a really good place in my life in general and I’m hopefully not looking to make babies anytime soon, so I’m excited to really dig in and see where my career can go.

5. I have a savings account and my 401K actually has a good bit of money in it.

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6. My family (on my husband’s side) is complete.

With our last brother-in-law getting married in June, we now have a full family on our own. I’m really excited to become true sisters with both of my sister-in-laws and to be a good aunt to my sweet, new nephew. Did I mention I can’t wait for Christmas?! It will definitely entail some major spoiling!

7. I bought a king size bed.

That’s a funny thing to be excited about, isn’t it? But it’s big and beautiful and has a gorgeous tufted headboard and I can’t wait to spend a gazillion hours in it.

8. I have plans to travel.

I absolutely love traveling and want to see as much of the world as I can. Luckily, I’ve already got a couple of trips in the books and am trying to plan a few more.

9. My husband is turning 27 this month.

Sucks to suck, bro. haha I’m just kidding, but it totally makes it better to say that I’m still in my mid-20s and he is officially in his late 20s!

10. No quarter life crisis here!

I think I told all of you guys when I wrote about 23 Reasons Being 23 is Awesome a few years back that turning 22 was really hard for me and I was excited to be done with that year (sad to think I really felt that way now, but oh well!). I had an early quarter-life crisis. So when a ton of my friends told me turning 26 was really hard for them, I was nervous. However, I really think the whole 22 fiasco was a life saver for me, because it hasn’t been hard at all. I’ve come to realize that 26 is really young and this is a really exciting time in my life.

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11. I’m getting my eyebrows microbladed!

Ever since I waxed my eyebrows too thin in the 7th grade, I’ve struggled with them. Cheers to not having to fill them in anymore and having beautiful, thick brows. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to post on the blog all about how the process goes, before & after pics, etc.!!

12. Everyone else is having babies.

This is kind of a sad thing sometimes because people aren’t available to go to brunch at the drop of a hat or spend a weekend at the beach with you, but it’s also so exciting because you get to enjoy all of the cute, happy goodness of babies without having to deal with the crying, pooping mess of it all.

13. If for some reason I do accidentally get pregnant, my parents won’t be totally pissed about it… they might even be happy.

14. Granny panties are life and I ain’t even mad about it.

15. When people meet me, they still think I’m 18.

This used to drive me crazyyyy, but considering that at 26, forehead wrinkles and gray roots are a real thing, I’ll take it!

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16. Jennifer Lawrence is 26… and she pretty much rocked it this year, so inherently, that means I will too, right?

 

17. I’m redesigning the blog.

I know I’ve said this for foreverrrr, but when you aren’t a full time blogger and you have a job that truthfully is more than full time, it makes things hard. However, the redesign is not that far in the future and I can’t wait to unveil it for all of you!

 

18. People in my field are really starting to respect me and value my knowledge.

In the world of marketing, sexism and ageism are a real issue. So when I first started my career, it was really hard meeting with older men (and sometimes women) who thought I had no idea what I was talking about. I’ve really gotten to a point though where most of my clients consider me a marketing guru and want my opinion and that’s really cool.

19. I’m honest with myself and my friends.

I’m not trying to pretend that my life is perfect or that I don’t sabotage myself from time to time. I may cry about not having anything to do or anyone to do it with sometimes, but I also tell myself, you are bad about ignoring text messages and refusing to get up from your Netflix binge to wash your hair. Some days I want to be a ray of sunshine for my friends and other days I have to straight up tell them I’m lost and sad. No one’s life is perfect all of the time and I’m learning that’s okay.

20. Birthday coupons!

What can I say? I love to shop online and I love to eat! When I started getting floods of birthday coupons from my favorite boutiques and even a free birthday burrito from Moe’s, I instantly knew this was going to be a good year. #NotTooRichtoUseCoupons #NotTooOldtoTurnDownaFreeMeal

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21. I’m really starting to see the value in family and quality time.

I have always been super thankful for what a wonderful family I have, but as I get older they truly become more and more valuable to me. I’ve realized how important it is to call, just to talk, even when I don’t feel like it. I’ve learned that time spent with family, even if you’re not going anything, is time well spent. There’s something really special about how much your family will unconditionally love you and you really shouldn’t take that for granted.

22. My birthday is on the weekend!

I can’t explain how excited I am that not only do I not have to go to work on my birthday, but I can also sleep in… which never happens! I seriously can’t ask for much more.

23. I’ve learned that if you’re aggressively paying off debt, it’s okay to splurge sometimes.

24. I’m figuring out what causes are important to me in life.

26 years in, chances are you’ve dealt with some heartbreak or seen some sad things. Last year, I wrote about how the world lost the most beautiful soul and it really changed me. I’ve participated in fundraisers like Relay for Life, the American Red Cross Hero campaign, flood relief, coat drives, Toys for Tots, etc. my whole life. All of these things are obviously important to me, but fighting cancer really has taken on new meaning for me. That’s why in November, I’m putting that passion into action and walking the Susan G. Komen 3-Day to help raise funds to fight breast cancer.

25. There are a lot of exciting things I want to do in year twenty-six and I think I might actually have the drive and focus to do them.

26. Cake. Cake. Cake. Cake. Cake.

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Thank you all SO much for the sweet birthday wishes. Cheers to year 26!

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

 

What to Expect When Buying Your First Home

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So kind of surprisingly… kind of not surprisingly, my husband and I just bought our first house. (insert cheers, yay, so exciting, right? – thanks 🙂 ) Honestly though, we weren’t really looking… or preparing, which is how I think a lot of people our age end up going about their house buying process. During the marriage counseling we did a year or so ago before our wedding, we had started talking about and looking into Dave Ramsey. In the vein of what he teaches, I kept an envelope of $1000 in my drawer for safe keeping. Eventually though, that became way easier than going to the bank or something, so an envelope in a drawer became my savings… which probably wasn’t the smartest, but I’m still young and learning.

As far as the house buying goes… a lot of people plan to buy a house, figure out the timeline to work out with the end of their lease or something and then search and go look at homes for months until they find the perfect one. That wasn’t us either.

On top of all of that, I have always wanted to move to another city. I’ve been applying to jobs in Charlotte, Greenville, Nashville, etc. since before I graduated college (4 stinkin years ago!) and just nothing has been the perfect fit yet. So, we were content in our townhouse and I liked renting because that meant at any minute if I was offered a job in another city, we could drop everything and leave. But recently, my job has expanded and I’m growing and I love where I’m at and I love the opportunities it gives me, both to travel and to reach my career goals, so I’m not necessarily looking to leave a good thing behind, just because it’s not in my favorite city.

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So, then comes us buying a house out of the blue. I guess this is back in March or so, but we had chosen to extend our current lease at our townhouse and we were planning our anniversary trip to Mexico. I have a thing for looking at houses online though just to see how people remodel them and to figure out what I like, when one night around 11 pm, I stumbled upon this house that I just loved. I showed my husband, like I always do when I love a good house, and he loved it too – which NEVER happens. So being crazy people, we jumped in the car, drove 20 minutes or so to this house in the middle of the night and drove past it like 3 – 4 times to see all we could from the outside, haha! I hope they didn’t see us lurking outside.

And now we’re here! In the little tan, colonial house on the corner, STILL unpacking boxes, taking care of our own yard (well him, not me) and drinking Spiked Selzters on the back deck (well me, not him haha).

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So… all of this rambling about me, actually brings me to you, future, potential home buyer. I know whenever I thought about purchasing my first home, not only did it scare me, but also I had no idea where to start or what to do or how to prepare, etc. Hopefully, this post will help you out.

Here’s what to expect when buying your first home:

 

1. Money is everything

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Yeah, I know, it sucks. I have never been in the perfect monetary situation. It’s not that I rack up credit cards and do crazy things with my money, but I do have a good bit of student loans to pay off and I haven’t always been the best at saving. I had just recently started saving in attempt to be more adult-ish and smarter, but I should have started saving a long time ago. Luckily, I found a local lender who helped me to figure all of that out. I would seriously suggest finding someone local who will take the time to help explain things to you and meet with you, rather than something like Rocket Mortgage like you see on TV (don’t do it!!)

So I would say to you, your first step needs to be to save some money. Then, when saving that money, make sure you’re putting it into some sort of account. Why? Well, remember all of that money I told you I was saving in an envelope? Well… I couldn’t even use that towards my house down payment, because there was no money trail. Who knows? It could have been drug money or I could have borrowed it from someone or something weird like that (at least that’s what they told me haha). So first things first, they want to see that you have savings in your account that have been there for at least 6 months or so, to be legit.

As far as savings go, I think the best thing to do is to save 20% of the amount of the house you want to buy and if not that, at least 10%. I’m pretty sure that’s what all of the responsible adults in our lives did back in the day and if you can do it – cheers to you!! But, if you’re like the rest of us 20-somethings that kind of, sort of have our lives together, but not really, you’ll be lucky to save 3% – 5%, which means you can only get an FHA loan. Read about these online and they’ll tell you these are a last resort for poor people (thanks internet), but every 20-something I know has done the same thing. We have other things we want to spend our money on right? Like traveling and clothes and lattes and stuff haha.

 

2. You’ll need a lender

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If you are taking your time to buy a house, go ahead and meet with a lender. Let them take a look at your finances. Ask them how much you’ll be approved for (don’t ever buy a house that number because they usually approve you for way more than you need and you can get yourself into a bad situation). Talk through with them what payments will look like and what your price range should be. If they’ll let you, go ahead and submit all the financial documents they need to review for your loan so they can actually get you approved. Our house buying experience was so last minute and chaotic that we were still getting this stuff taken care of up until basically we closed and it was stressful.

Things they’ll ask you for are items like your tax returns, pay stubs, any savings you have, any debts you have, your monthly payments, what you’re doing now, where you live now, bank statements (these are embarrassing btw – I’m sure they were like dang, this girl goes to Chick-fil-a ALL THE TIME), etc. They’ll start by getting you pre-approved which is when they take a superficial look at these documents and decide that they’re pretty sure you’ll get a loan. This allows you, when you find a house you like, to go ahead and make an offer that they’ll consider. Then, once all of that is taken care of, the items you gave them will go into underwriting. Basically, that’s a big word for some financial person violating your privacy for the next month or so as they scour through all of your finances and financial decisions and ask for more and more documentation until you feel like there isn’t one thing in the world they don’t know about you. Sounds fun, right? Then, they’ll give you the actual approval on your loan. But because things can never be easy, they’ll underwrite you one more time before they let you close. Truthfully, they just want to be 100% sure, without a doubt that you’re never going to not pay them back, which I guess makes sense if you think about it.

 

3. Choosing a home

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So, once you get past all of the ugly money parts of this process, some of the process is really fun. There was nothing more satisfying to me than constantly refreshing my realtor.com app to see what was new out there. I basically pretended I was on HGTV being like, oh! they have subway tile backsplash and quartz countertops, but oh no! they haven’t updated that heinous wall paper, until I found a house that checked off enough of my boxes that I considered it move-in ready. Now with this, as weird as it sounds, you need to call a realtor. I didn’t really think so, because me on my realtor.com app were way better at finding what I wanted and seeing it online way before my realtor could tell me it was out there. We live in a different day and age, you know? BUT there are a ton of things I couldn’t have done without my realtor. If your family knows someone, I suggest reaching out to them because then you’ll feel like they have your best interest at heart and you can trust them not to talk you into a home you don’t want just for a sale. They’ll allow you to physically see the homes you’re interested in, in person, and they’ll take care of helping you make an offer, talking with your lender, setting up your inspections, closing, etc. They really do take such good care of you during this process. So, sounds simple, right? Find a house you like, see it in person (still like it?), make an offer. Yes, it is that simple, but no, it’s really not.

 

4. Making an offer

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So you’re ready to make an offer… where to begin? Do you offer what they’re asking? Do you try to offer a little less to save some money? Do you include closing costs or do you ask them to pay for them? It’s all very confusing, which is why it’s so good to have a realtor help you. I don’t know if it’s this way in every market, but in a lot of areas right now, it’s a seller’s market, not a buyer’s. Which means there are a limited amount of houses for sale and there are a ton of buyers looking and ready to pounce. The day we came to tour our house, there were 16 other couples coming to look at it, that same day. We made an offer that day because we knew it wouldn’t be on the market long and there were 5 other offers. We got into a bidding war, which wasn’t fun. And in the end… another home buyer outbid us. What?! You weren’t expecting that, were you? They went about $10,000 above asking price and we just weren’t prepared to do that. So, we were really sad, but we were headed to Mexico, so no big deal, we’d get over it. BUT basically as soon as we landed, we found out that their deal fell through and it was on, we were trying to find a way to make a new offer with limited internet access, one too many pina coladas and all the way in Mexico. This time, there were again several offers, so we asked them to paying closing costs (because we simply didn’t have those funds upfront), asked them to leave the fridge (thank God they did) and offered the $10,000 above listing price they wanted and we got it!! Note though, this process is pretty stressful, because you and your realtor decide on an offer, she/he writes it up in a long, formal contract that you have to sign and you submit it and wait… and those hours of waiting to hear back the next day are brutal. Then, they often counter-offer and wait to hear back from you in the same process until y’all agree on something. Not to mention, you never speak to the actual people until closing, so it feels super weird when you finally do and you realize you’ve been negotiating with the sweet people who are just like you but five years older.

 

5. Leading up to closing

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So, you’ve saved some money, gotten with a lender, gotten approval, found a realtor, found a house, made an offer, etc. The work is not done. You have to have home inspections, termite inspections and an appraisal. With these, they’ll either tell you everything is perfect (not likely) or they’ll tell you some things need to be fixed. You then, have to turn around and ask the seller to fix these things. As if they have not already put so much money into fixing up their home to sell it, not a week or two before they’re done with it, they have to put more money into fixing more things. It sucks, but it is nice to move into a home that you know is safe and sound. The appraisal is also kind of tricky. This is to make sure that your loan matches the value of the house. In our case… it didn’t. The house only appraised for the original listing price, not our $10,000 above asking price offer. So… we either had to come up with that extra $10,000 to give them (which we didn’t have) or they had to accept our lower offer. Here comes another day of stressing, waiting to hear back. They must have just been so over all of this and ready to go, because they accepted it and we were so so so thankful. So once all inspections are done, things are fixed, appraisal is taken care of, you come and do one final walk through before you finally get to close!

 

6. A couple of last minute things

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Oh yeah, I forgot, it’s not quite that easy, there’s still a couple more things to do. Once you take care of all of the things you have to do to move out (that’s a whole other blog post), you’ll have to do a few things to get your home ready for move-in. Get ready to sit on the phone on hold for a while, because you’re going to need to call the cable company, internet company (if yours is separate), a homeowner’s insurance agency, the county wastewater group, the gas company, power company, trash service, pest control group, security company, etc. I also highly suggest having a maid service come in before you move everything in. Our house was clean, but you have to think that the sellers just got done moving everything out and probably didn’t do a spring cleaning before they left, so it’s good to hire someone to wipe out cabinets, clean baseboards, wash carpets, wipe off blinds, etc. so you have a fresh start.

 

7. Closing time (I’m totally singing the Semisonic song in my head while typing this, lol)

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YAY! So it’s time to close on your house, finally! The month (or possibly way more) of waiting in limbo is over. You, the sellers, their realtor, your realtor and your lender all meet together at the lawyer’s office. He goes through a spiel and then hands you 100,000 papers to sign (not really 100k, but it definitely feels like it). You have to sign papers about deeds and taxes and the property and a bunch of other stuff that you should probably read, but you don’t, because you’re just so excited to be done and get out of there. When the papers are signed and everyone is happy, they hand you the keys and you can’t wait to go yell from the hillsides! It’s done and the home is yours.

This is probably one of my longest blog posts ever and if you’re not in the thinking-about-buying-a-home stage in life, it’s probably too boring for you to read, but if you were like me, looking for anything and everything online to help me figure out what buying a home was like, you’ll be so glad for all of these nitty gritty details. I just wanted to ask anyone like me who was in a similar financial situation and who had finished buying their home a million little questions because I was constantly stressed the whole time, haha.

If you are looking to buy a home, please don’t be afraid to reach out to me! I’d love to answer any questions and help calm you down during all of that!!

And because I love my readers soooo much, I created a self-made short dictionary for you below for all of the phrases you don’t know, but need to. 🙂

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

Anna’s Home Buying Dictionary:

Conventional loan – The most responsible, most highly looked upon home loans. You’ll likely need 20% of your house price for your down payment and you’ll get better rates and avoid a PMI.

PMI – Private mortgage insurance or basically the bank’s insurance policy on you in case you stop paying your loan off. Because you have less money to pay upfront, they charge you more money each month. It sucks, but that’s basically how things go in life.

FHA loan – This is a type of loan a lot of 20-somethings and first-time home buyers are getting and it only requires 3.5% down. Most sites online say this is good if you have not-so-good credit, but you get worse interest rates. Luckily, for me, my credit score was really good, so I still got a good interest rate.

VA loan – This is for veterans and doesn’t require any down payment.

USDA loan – This type of loan also requires zero down payment for homes in rural areas.

Underwriting – When the people at the bank look through all of your financial documents to assess if you should be approved for a loan.

Closing – When you transfer everything about the house from the seller to you and essentially close the deal.

Offer – The amount you propose to give the seller for their home

Closing costs – Around 2% – 5% of the price of your home. This has to be paid at closing and is different than your down payment. It includes fees for underwriting, realtors, lawyers and other stuff I guess? It can be harder to get sellers to cover this when it’s a seller’s market, but it’s worth trying!

Down payment – The amount of money you have to put down out-of-pocket, outside of your loan amount towards the home.

Earnest money – This is money you have to pay as soon as your offer is accepted to basically show good faith that you are going to make good on your offer and close on the house. I think it’s usually $500, but our sellers asked for $1000 since one offer had already fallen through. This is deducted from your down payment at closing though, which is nice.

Appraisal – This is when the people lending you the money come determine how much your future house is worth. You have to pay these people too. This is money we weren’t anticipating, so just know upfront to have this cash ready. Ours was a little over $500.

Home inspection – When you find a 3rd party inspector to come take a look at your house and determine if anything is wrong. They find all of the small details like water valves missing under the sink or support needing to be added under a step. This is another cost you won’t be expecting, so be prepared for that too. I can’t remember exactly how much it was, but it was a couple of hundred dollars. And if you’re smart, you’ll want them to come and re-inspect right before closing to make sure everything was legitimately fixed.

Interim interest – This was another unforeseen cost for us. At closing, we found out we had to pay $1000 more than we were expecting. This covers interest for the month that you won’t be paying a mortgage payment. For example, we closed on June 1 and won’t pay our first payment until August, so it covers that time in between.

Mortgage – The legal agreement for you borrowing the money from the bank to buy your house. This is what you’ll be paying back each month.

Escrow – This is an account the lender sets up during your home buying process to cover different fees. For example, our lender used that to pay our annual fee for homeowner’s insurance and then those monthly fees are just included in our house payment.

5 Tips for the College Graduate About to Enter the Real World

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My Insta and FB newsfeeds have been filled with images of caps and gowns and degrees and “I did it!” mantras. Congratulations class of 2017, you did it! You have completed 4 (or maybe more) years of studying, testing, cramming and… fun-having. Graduating from college really is such an accomplishment, but now, what are you going to do with that degree you’ve worked so hard for? Looking through my Timehop, I realized that I have been out of college for 4 years now. Say what?! I feel like I just left UGA yesterday, but yes, time has flown by.

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College is supposed to prepare you for the real world, but truly, I don’t think there’s anything that can 100% get you ready for what’s next. So, with my 4 years of experience so far, I’m going to bestow upon you my professional opinion. 🙂 Here’s 5 tips to help you in these next steps of life.

1. Don’t settle for a job, but also don’t expect to get your dream job just yet

5-tips-for-college-graduates-entering-real-world

You’ve worked hard in school, so of course, don’t go out and accept the first job you find, BUT don’t be entitled either. So many graduates come out of school thinking they’ll make $50K right off the bat and that they shouldn’t have to do menial tasks like they did in their internships, but lemme stop you there! You’ve done internships, yes, but you really don’t have any real experience, so employers are taking a chance on you. Unless you are becoming an engineer or something of that sort, you’re not going to make $50K and you should be super glad that someone is willing to invest in you, pay you relatively well, considering you have no experience, and give you benefits. Just remember, every job and opportunity is a stepping stone to getting you where you want to be in life.

2. Never ever ever say “that’s not in my job description”

This is not only one of my biggest pet peeves (and will be of your co-workers), but tons of bosses I have talked to will tell you, that this is the biggest turn off in an employee. It definitely makes you seem like you’re not a team player and don’t care about the success of the business as a whole. Plus, you know how Drake says “started from the bottom now we’re here”? Yeah… you gotta start at the bottom if you want to get anywhere.

3. Bond with co-workers over lunch, but don’t go out to eat every day

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Think the freshman 15 can only happen your first year of college? Think again! I loved going out to eat with my co-workers at my first job, but I literally put on 15 pounds, which definitely added to that early quarter-life crisis thing I went through. Plus, going out to eat for lunch every day starts to add up. Entry level jobs don’t pay that well, so you should probably save every dime you can.

4. Don’t let being out of school make you sad

There’s a good chance you’re going to be jealous of your friends who have continued on to graduate school and can go out during the week, get a spring break and that don’t have to dress up every day, but just remember you’re getting experience, starting life and who knows, you could very well end up 4 years down the road making $100k/year while they’re just starting to pay off their student loans. And yeah, it’s okay to miss your college days, but at some point, you do have to move on and once you do, you’ll realize how fun your 20s will really be.

5. Make financial plans

5-tips-for-graduates-financial-planning

Yes, you have finances now and they are very easy to mess up, so make plans. It won’t be fun to take away from your already small paycheck, but be sure to set up a 401K right away. Anyone who is older and didn’t do this, will tell you to do so. It comes out before you even get your paycheck and many employers will match your funds, so don’t miss out on free money you could be getting. Also, be sure to save money… don’t spend it all in one place. You don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck forever and that takes being conscious about how you allocate your funds. I highly suggest looking into some of Dave Ramsey’s advice. He’s really helped me to not get overwhelmed by my student loans and debts, but also not get in a bad situation. I couldn’t follow his rules to a tee (they’re super hard and I’m going to online shop every now and then), but he has some pretty good nuggets in there.

Graduates, don’t be afraid of the real world! It’s definitely different and takes a lot of learning and adjusting, but it really is so much fun. Looking for any other advice? Shoot me over a message and I’ll see what I can do to help! 🙂

C’est la vie,

Anna

My Insatiable Itch to Do Something Remarkable

my-insatiable-itch-to-do-something-remarkable-susan-g-komen-3-day-walk-to-fight-breast-cancer

Do you ever have an itch that can only be satisfied by doing something remarkable? I always wonder if I’m the only one. I go through periods of time where I get wild hairs and think, “what have I done with my life and what am I going to do”?  It’s times like these that I do silly things like pierce my tragus or go on a trip abroad, but there is something so much more rewarding about challenging yourself and doing so for a good cause.

A few years back, I heard about the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk. The SGK 3-Day is a 3 day, 60 mile walk that’s making a real difference in the fight against breast cancer. I read it over and although I knew it was something I wanted to do, I couldn’t help but think “I can’t raise that kind of money” and “I can’t walk 60 miles in 3 days”. Since then, this event has remained in the back of my mind and has really been pressing on my heart, so I’ve decided, that I can do anything that I put my mind to.

susan-g-komen-3-day-walk-for-breast-cancer

That’s why I have decided to embark on a life-changing journey, not only for me, but most importantly, for those that are affected by breast cancer. If you sit back and think about it, we all know so many people who are plagued by cancer and the only way it’s going to come to a stop, is if we do something about it.

susan-g-komen-3-day-breast-cancer-walk-san-diego

So, for the next 27 weeks, I will be training, pushing myself mentally and physically, and raising every dollar I can to support the fight against breast cancer. Every dollar counts and I would be FOREVER grateful for your help! Want to join me on this journey? Just click below! 🙂

susan-g-komen-3-day-walk-fight-against-breast-cancer-donation

Over the next few months, I’ll be sure to keep you all in the loop on my progress – giving you updates through the training, blisters and dollars raised up until my walk on November 17th – 19th in San Diego, California. I can’t wait to get started!

If you are interested in walking with me, be sure to check it out!

C’est la vie,

Anna

Travel Review of Riviera Maya, Mexico

Travel-review-of-riviera-maya-mexico

If you read my latest post, A Snapshot of Our First Year of Marriage, then you know that my husband and I recently celebrated our one year anniversary. Woo hoo! 🙂 A few months back, as we were thinking about summer plans and how we should celebrate, we decided the perfect gift to give each other would be a trip somewhere… or a second honeymoon, of sorts. We had the hardest time choosing where to go next, but I’m so glad that we discovered Riviera Maya. If you are thinking about taking a trip soon, I highly recommend it!

Traveling To & From

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One of the things that we loved about our honeymoon in Montego Bay, Jamaica was how quickly we got from the airport to the resort. I remember hopping on the bus, seeing a few sites and arriving at the resort in just a few minutes. This was not the case in Riviera Maya. The closest airport is in Cancun, which is about an hour or so away. Also, because we’re travelers on a budget, we used a shared shuttle which meant lots of stops. All in all, I think our trip from the airport to resort took about an hour and a half and it wasn’t a scenic route. Instead of seeing the city, the people and the culture on our way, we rode down one road that had huge resorts down the whole stretch. All in all, it was fine because it gave us some downtime and some time to talk to our driver about the area, but it was a little longer than we expected. The flight was super easy though. I think it was around the same amount of time as our flight to Jamaica and you cross over time zones, so you get an extra hour on the way in!

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Where to Stay

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Y’all already know I’m a fan of all-inclusives! There’s something so great about paying for your trip ahead of time and then once you arrive, having all of your food, drinks, entertainment, etc. included. This time we stayed at the Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa. It was beautiful and huge! My favorite part of this resort was their dedication to conservation and the environment.

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While you’re there, you really feel submerged in it since there are unique plants all around the resort and even cooler animals! The food was decent. Not as good as when we stayed at Secrets, but Secrets has four or so resorts in the area, so those are good options as well. The pool was tons of fun, with a swim-up bar and in-pool chairs.

travel-review-riviera-maya-mexico-grand-palladium-resort-pool

We don’t have kids yet, but if you do, there’s tons for them to do. All in all, we liked the Grand Palladium, but seriously, every big name resort is on one stretch, so you have your fair share of options!

travel-review-riviera-maya-mexico-nightlife

 

Things to Do

I know some people love to go to all-inclusive resorts so that they never have to leave, I’m not that girl (I’ll be posting soon about why you should always book excursions on your trips – so be on the lookout)! Our excursions were our very favorite part of our trip.

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We used Expedia to book with a company called Aventuras Mayas and they were amazing. If you book with them, make sure you ask for Gabby, she’s even more amazing! On our days away from the resort, we went rappelling, ziplined over the jungle canopy, went snorkeling in a beautiful cenote and visited the ancient mayan ruins of Tulum. We even got to eat at a local restaurant and enjoy authentic Mexican food, which was delicious!

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If you haven’t experienced a cenote, I highly recommend it. They are underground bodies of water that were known for being sacred and having healing powers. Nothing can explain how beautiful they were inside or the feeling you have after swimming in them.

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There were so many things to do in Riviera Maya, that we didn’t have time to experience them all. I’d love to return some day and visit Chichen Itza (one of the 7 new world wonders), the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary, and all of the other beautiful things there are to see.

If you haven’t been to Riviera Maya yet, I definitely think you need to add it to your travel list. Have any questions? Ask me – I’d love to help you plan your trip!

Adios!

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

 

A Snapshot of Our First Year of Marriage

A-snapshot-of-our-first-year-of-marriage

My husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this week. I feel like I was just telling y’all about my first 2 months of marriage and what all I had learned so far. A lot has changed since then, but truly this first year has flown by so quickly and I can’t believe how hard we’ve loved and how much we both have grown in just 365 days. Since this post would be forever long if I tried to tell y’all all about it, here’s a quick snapshot.

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Shows we watched:

  • Girls
  • Prison Break
  • Silicon Valley
  • Fixer Upper
  • Designated Survivor
  • 13 Reasons Why

a-snapshot-of-our-first-year-of-marriage-anniversary

Things we did:

  • Honeymooned in Jamaica
  • Moved in together
  • Threw lots of wedding and baby showers
  • Became an aunt & uncle!
  • Enjoyed dinners with friends
  • Endured my first real surgery
  • Bought a new truck for Bryan
  • Paid off a good bit of debt
  • Built things together
  • Fought over silly things, like where to eat
  • Binged on Roku
  • Loved hard EVERY day

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Restaurants we loved:

  • Pizza Central
  • Eli’s American
  • Wifesaver
  • Miyabi Jr.
  • Twisted Burrito (him more so than me)

a-snapshot-of-our-first-year-of-marriage-love

Gifts we gave:

  • Nikes
  • Love notes
  • Kate Spade purses
  • Sweetart jelly beans
  • Twizzlers
  • Flowers
  • Golf clubs
  • Breakfast
  • Gift cards
  • Writing desk
  • Handmade kitchen table
  • Jackets
  • Trips

a-snapshot-of-our-first-year-of-marriage-wedding

Traditions we created:

  • Sponsoring a Christmas tree angel
  • Picking out a real Christmas tree
  • Friday night couple dinners
  • Movie night

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Meals we ate… a lot:

  • Taco soup
  • Chili
  • Spaghetti
  • Chicken and broccoli

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Meals we failed at:

  • Bryan’s teriyaki chicken and fried rice (he should leave the Asian stuff to me, right?) 🙂
  • Anna’s barbecue chicken baked potatoes

a-snapshot-of-our-first-year-of-marriage-engagement-photos

Things we learned:

  • How to help each other through the grief of losing a loved one
  • How to compromise (well… still sorta working on this one, haha)
  • Couple poses for professional photos
  • How each of us cleans differently and how to meet in the middle on it
  • The pros & cons of non-stick pans
  • How fighting feels different when you’re married
  • A million other little things

a-snapshot-of-our-first-year-of-marriage-shoot

There’s no good way to sum it up… but if I tried in one sentence, I’d say the first year of marriage is… an emotional overload, the best feeling, lots of adjustment, tons of compromise, sometimes hard, sometimes fun, sometimes very adult-ish, so exciting… but overall, homey and happy.

Thanks for coming along for this first-year-of-marriage ride, I’m excited to see what unfolds in year 2.

I’d love to hear from other newlyweds (although I know I’m technically not still a newlywed lol). What was your first year of marriage like?

C’est la ive,

Anna

Photo credit to the wonderful Georgie at Sundaze Photography

 

How to Throw a Shower in Ten Easy Steps

How to throw a bridal or baby shower in 10 easy steps

So, just recently, I’ve entered this stage of life when all of my friends are either getting married or having babies. It’s honestly really exciting, although sometimes I look at myself and think, I’m still a kid, how is everyone else having their own kids? The fact that I’ve been married for almost a year now, seriously blows my mind. When did we all get so old?!

Nonetheless, being in this season of my life, I have been throwing my fair share of showers. I know from talking to other people that throwing a shower can be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. Luckily, I’ve been around event planning for a long time, so it’s not quite as scary to me. Not to say, it doesn’t have it’s stressful moments, but overall,  it’s something I do enjoy doing. Plus, what’s better than treating one of your favorite friends to a day all about them to help them prepare for either their marriage or soon-to-arrive baby? It’s the best!

If you are one of those people though that has never thrown a shower and is also entering this stage of life, then I have put together a ten steps to help you out. Plus, here’s a sneak peek of how I threw three showers in the last few weeks! Don’t worry, more details on each of those showers is coming soon on the blog!!

 

Step 1: Sit down and word vomit on a piece of paper.

how to plan a shower in ten easy steps brainstorm and make a list

Think about the personality of your bride or mommy-to-be, start brewing some ideas for themes, think about whether you’re going to have it in town or out of town if they happen to be a long distance friend, etc. During this time, also be sure to ask them what town they prefer to have it in, some dates that they are available (likely other people are also throwing them showers, so you’ll want to know what their schedule looks like before the planning process begins), an estimated number of guests she expects, etc.

Step 2: Search for a venue and ask your guest of honor to begin working on a guest list.

how to plan a shower in ten easy steps choose a venue

Chances are if your guest of honor is a bride or mommy-to-be, she has one million other things on her mind than putting a guest list together for you, which totally makes sense! That’s why it’s important for you to ask her early on, so she has time to get it together. Plus, the earlier you know her list, the better for you, so you can plan for an estimated headcount and can get started on invitations. This is also important when searching for a venue. Some venues can accommodate more people than others and you don’t want a venue that is far too small or far too large.

Things to think about when choosing a venue: 

  • How much money do you have to spend overall? You want your venue to be nice, but you don’t want it to suck up all of your budget.
  • How many people will it hold?
  • Does it come with tables, chairs, linens, etc.?
  • What other fees might they have for cleaning, security on staff, etc.?
  • Do they allow outside catering or must you use their in-house catering service?
  • How many hours do they allow you to use the venue and if you go over, are there any additional fees?

Some venues will really nickel and dime you, so you have to be sure to read all of the fine print.

Step 3: Choose a theme and start looking for items that fit that theme to make sure it will be easy to execute.

Some things to think about when choosing a theme are:

  • How is the mommy-to-be decorating her nursery or how is the couple decorating their home?
  • What are some of your guest of honor’s favorite things?
  • Are there some things on your guest of honor’s registry that can guide you in the right direction or that you might even be able to purchase for her so she can both have what she needs, but you can also use them to decorate her shower?
  • Are there things your guest of honor hates or finds cheesy?
  • Are there items available that you can use to portray this theme or will you have to have everything custom made?

Step 4: Decide the time of day you’d like to have the shower and let that help you decide your menu.

how to plan a shower in ten easy steps menu

When choosing the time of day, you want to consider how formal you want the shower to be. Whether that’s a fun brunch for a mommy-to-be or a night time party for a couple’s shower, the time of day will not only set the tone for how people will dress, but it will also help form your menu.

A few things to think about when deciding your menu and your time of day for the shower are:

  • If you are on a tight budget, choosing a shower time that falls in between normal meal times will help save you money. For instance, throwing a shower around 10:30  am or 2 pm will often mean you can serve heavy hors d’oeuvres rather than a full meal.
  • If you choose a meal time and plan to serve a full meal, will you be cooking everything or hiring a caterer?
  • What are some of your guest of honor’s favorite foods and what are some foods she hates?
  • How many people will you be feeding?
  • Do you have the serving dishes, utensils, etc. you will need or will you need to purchase those?
  • Will you have for dessert? A nice cake? Custom cookies?

Step 5: Once you receive your guest of honor’s guest list (you may have to remind them a couple of times, haha) you can choose your invitations and send them out.

how-to-throw-a-shower-in-ten-easy-steps-bridal-and-baby-shower-invitations

You’ll want to choose invitations that not only match your theme, but are also cost efficient. Beware of odd shapes or large sizes that may cause postage to be more. You’ll want to be sure to send invitations out pretty early, so people have time to plan (especially if it’s out of town), but not so early that people put it on their fridge and forget about it when the times comes.

Step 6: Decide on the entertainment and decorations for your shower.

how to throw a shower in ten easy steps bridal and baby shower decorations and games

People will need things to do at your shindig and you’ll want it to look pretty, so this does take some time and effort.

For a couple’s shower, you’ll often be thinking about things like…

  • Do we want to provide alcohol?
  • Will we have someone playing music or at least some sort of stereo system with a great playlist?
  • What games will we play? (I myself am not a huge fan of lots of traditional shower games, but it can’t hurt to throw in one or two).
  • Is there something I can provide so people can mingle and have something to keep them busy? Ex: cornhole, filling out items for the bride and groom, etc.
  • How would you describe this couple or what are some of their favorite things to do?
  • What items can you provide that they can then turn around and use in their new home?

For a baby shower, you’ll want to think about things like…

  • Do we want to provide alcohol? That sounds funny, but is a serious question. Sometimes it’s no big deal at all, but other times it can make the mommy-to-be feel left out.
  • Will we have some sort of light music?
  • Will we play games? Does this mommy-to-be hate having her stomach touched or attention brought to her size?
  • What are some ways to make the mommy-to-be feel special or ways to make her life easier?
  • Is there a color scheme you should stick to?

Step 7: Write it all out. I’ve told y’all before that I’m a lists person, right?

how to throw a shower in ten easy steps bridal and baby shower decorations and games

Whenever I throw a shower, I literally draw out a diagram of where everything will go and everything I will need. I know some people don’t have to do this, but if I don’t, I will forget a detail. Plus, it gives me peace of mind.

Some things, you’ll want to include on this diagram are:

  • Where will you set up tables for the buffet, cake, gifts, games, for people to sit at, etc.?
    • Then break down each of these tables to the very last detail (linens, centerpieces, decorations, everything needed to play a game, etc.). This will help you build your shopping list or see items you may already have/can borrow from someone.
    • Example breakdown:
      • Gift table –
        • Table linen
        • Topper
        • Framed chalkboard sign with “Gifts” written on it
        • Large & small mason jar with flowers (water to fill jars)
        • Votives (lighter)
        • Wooden letters of couple’s initials
          • wooden letters
          • chalk paint
          • sand paper
          • coating
  • How many tables and chairs will you need for seating?
  • If you are having a photo back drop, where will it go?
  • Will you have any signage? Will you purchase pre-made signs or write them yourself?
  • Where will people enter? How will you jazz up the entryway?
  • Will you need any sort of decoration on the front door?
  • Do you want to include any decorations in the bathroom?
  • Are there places in the venue you want to accentuate like a fireplace mantle, buffet or patio area?

Step 8: The week before the shower lay it all out.

how to throw a shower in ten easy steps organize

So now you’ve planned everything, created your organized list and picked up all of the items you need. It’s a good idea now to create bins for each area of your shower. Then, you can go through your diagram and make sure you cross off every item on the list as you put it in the bin. This will help SO much to make sure you don’t forget anything and also, it will make it easier during set up.

Step 9: Arrive to set up as early as you can and ask for help.

how to throw a shower in ten easy steps set up early ask for hel

One huge mistake I see a lot of people make when throwing a shower is thinking it will only take an hour or two to set up. This is not only not true, but also will cause you a lot of undue stress because you’ll be rushing through, you’ll miss things you wanted to do and likely, you’ll still be finishing setting up as guests are arriving (you always have those 1 or 2 that show up early!) Show up to set up as early as the venue will let you. If you happen to have free time after, then you can focus on sprucing yourself up and taking a breather before it begins. If you have friends or family near by, ask them for help! Setting everything up can be super hard to do alone, but when you have those you love helping you, everything goes a lot smoother, takes less time and can even be fun!

Step 10: Host & enjoy!

how to throw a shower in ten easy steps set up early ask for help

I am someone who is not the greatest host when it comes to showers, but it is important that you let people know that they can go ahead and eat, that you answer any questions about the food or drinks, that you tell people about the games available and how to play them, that you announce when they’re going to open presents or play a game so you have their undivided attention and that you are sure to thank everyone for coming. Also, make sure to enjoy yourself though! All of this is for someone you love and enjoy being around and you want this day to be fun for them. All of your hard work is done, so make a plate, drink a mimosa or sangria or whatever and spend some quality time with them before they are married up or babied up. 🙂

So that’s it! Your how-to guide on throwing a bridal/couple’s/baby shower in ten easy steps. Have questions – feel free to contact me anytime!!

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

Where to Find Cute Bathing Suits Now that Victoria’s Secret is No Longer Selling Them

Where-to-Find-Cute-Bathing-Suits-Now-that-Victorias-Secret-is-No-Longer-Selling-Them

Last year when Victoria’s Secret announced that they would no longer be carrying swimwear, was everyone else as devastated as I was? I mean… I sat and thought about it, and I couldn’t remember the last time that I didn’t buy a swimsuit from Vicky’s Secret during the summer. I think I was in denial since I chose to basically not believe it until I went to look for some new bikinis for my anniversary trip coming up, only to find their PINK line suits were the only ones available, which just aren’t what I need in my life.

In case you are just as devastated as me and are looking for some cute bathing suits for this summer, here’s a compilation of lots of places you can find cute suits. Nothing will be as cute, make you feel as sexy and as affordable as our favorite Victoria’s Secret swimwear, BUT we can get pretty close.

The Affordable

Forever 21

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Target

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-target

Aerie

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-aerie

Sophie & Trey

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Hazel & Olive

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Rue 21

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The Super Cute

ASOS

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-asos

Free People

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-free-people

Pacsun

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-pacsun

Buckle

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-buckle

Everything But Water

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-everything-but-water

Revolve

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-revolve

Lulu’s

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-lulus

The Very Sexy

Beach Bunny

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-beach-bunny

San Lorenzo

http://www.sanlorenzohawaii.com/swimwear/shop-by-collection/summer-passport/

Lolli

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-lolli.jpg

The Basic

Urban Outfitters

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-urban-outfitters

Gap

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-gap

Nordstrom

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-nordstrom

Old Navy

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-old-navy

Macy’s

where-to-buy-cute-bathing-suits-now-that-victorias-secret-is-no-longer-selling-them-macys.jpeg

I’m always looking for new places to find bathing suits – what are your favorites?

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

 

 

Planning a Honeymoon or Vacation? Travel Review of Montego Bay, Jamaica

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Back in April of last year when I got married, I wasn’t really blogging much. I’m so sad about this because blogging about wedding planning and the like would have been so much fun, but nonetheless, I didn’t get to tell you guys all about our travels to Montego Bay, Jamaica and all of the fun we had honeymooning. Our anniversary is coming up in just a few months and as we are planning our anniversary trip, I find myself reminiscing on that beautiful week in Montego Bay full of sunny days, sites to see, the yummiest local rum and love overload.

A ton of my friends are getting married this year, while others are just looking for their next vacation destination… so I thought it’d be the perfect time to tell you guys about all of the fun there is to be had in Jamaica.

Traveling To & From

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As much as I enjoy flying, and riding the bus to your resort can be a good chance to sight see, you don’t want to spend all of your time traveling, when you can be enjoying. A few of my friends went on honeymoons where the flight was a little long, and then they had to ride a bus for an hour or so before they made it to their resort. :/ Flying into Montego Bay was a breeze. The flight itself was about 2 1/2 hours and we landed so close to the resort that you could see the people on the beach as we were making our descent. We then hopped on our transfer bus and were at our resort within 10 – 15 minutes. Not to mention, the drive was through town, rather than back roads, so we got to see some of the local culture on our way in.

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Where to Stay

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Once you go all-inclusive, you can’t go back (or you wish you didn’t have to). There’s nothing better than arriving at your resort and not having to pay another penny the entire time you’re there. There are tons of beautiful, all-inclusive resorts (I highly suggest adult-only resorts) in Montego Bay such as multiple Sandals locations, the Iberostar, etc., but we stayed at Secrets Wild Orchid and absolutely adored it.

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The cuisine was amazing… like so amazing that I gained 8 pounds during our trip. The breakfast buffet is to die for. There are 8 delicious restaurants for dinner ranging from Jamaican to Japanese to French and you can eat ice cream pretty much 24/7. Although we chose to also add in some excursions, the resort had tons of water sports for us to do and we had the best time snorkeling and kayaking.

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The nightlife and entertainment were some of my favorite parts. I never knew I could be so in love with Bob Marley, but once you listen to his songs for a week, you go back to the good ole USA feeling pretty mellowed out and happy. We saw tons of local bands, acrobats, musicians, etc. Not to mention, the club is also lots of fun. I’ve never seen so many pretty shots and bartending performances in my life. We only made it to the club one night though because well.. all-inclusive means all-inclusive and your girl can’t hang.

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Our room was beautiful and so was the view. I think I could have stayed there for like three more weeks at least.

*One note – (& I think it’s this way in lots of honeymoon suites) The bathroom is completely open to the bedroom, so you’re like hello… happy 1st day of marriage, now I have to go #2… like right here, with you in the room, sorry.

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Things to Do

My husband and I left the resort two days out of our trip. The resort had lots to do, but we’re just not lie-around-all-day-at-the-resort kind of people, at some point we get stir crazy, plus we like to see the sites. Our first day out on the town, we went shopping, which I have to say, I don’t suggest. I, myself, love shopping and I loved getting to see the city and the locals, BUT it was so overwhelming. Getting pulled into dark back rooms by myself and having jewelry put all over me that of course I couldn’t say “no” to just isn’t my favorite thing to do. However, we did get some neat items to bring home like rum cake, rum, a painting by a local artist, some little Jamaican carvings and lots of t-shirts (my favorite).

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The second excursion we went on is a must-do if you go anywhere near Montego Bay. I had just finished watching a season of The Bachelor not long before we planned our trip and was so jealous of their rafting date in Jamaica that Bryan and I had to go on a rafting trip of our own.

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Ben & Caila river rafting on ABC’s The Bachelor

We rafted down the Martha Brae and I ate up every second. You have a guide who paddles you down the river and tells you all about the history of the area. It’s so beautiful and we got to stop by a river side shack to grab me a coconut full of rum. Even the ride to and from the location was fun because we got to see the homes in the hillsides and pet goats grazing in the yards.

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I have a long list of places I want to visit, so we won’t be making it back to Jamaica this year, but I highly suggest it! Bryan and I had the best time, ate the best food and honestly, didn’t want to leave.

Have any questions about Montego Bay? Ask me – I’d love to help you plan your trip!

 

Safe travels mon!

C’est la vie,

Anna