Friday, August 30, 2013

Rushing fall into existence.

I posted this on Instagram earlier today. I was just really excited about my drink.

This morning, the conversation with a barista at "my" Starbucks went a little something like this:

Me: Hey! When can I get a Pumpkin Spice Latte?
Barista: (whispers) Do you want one right now?
Me: Uh, DUH.
Later, while I'm waiting for my drink -
Barista: (to the next customer) I'm sorry! Pumpkin Spice Lattes are not back until September 3rd.

I hate that a fellow PSL lover was denied the outrageously delicious Autumn drink, but then I realized that it pays off to be a "regular" at a certain location. Not only that, but I almost always go at the same time on Fridays and on Sundays. The same people are always working. It pays off, I tell ya!

But that's not the point of this post.

Everyone is getting real jazzed about fall. The weather, the clothes, the hot drinks. (Imagine! Not having to get an iced latte just because you'd probably have a heat stroke if you drank a hot coffee while walking around outside during the day!)
And I'm not one to deny my love of fall. I mean, it's August, it's currently 90 degrees outside, and I got a Pumpkin Spice Latte today, just because I could. And because I like to pretend that while I drink my (iced) PSL, listen to my overly pretentious acoustic music that it's a nice 60 degree day. I fooled myself so much into those thoughts today that I almost put a scarf on before walking out the door! If that's not getting excited about a season before the previous one is even over yet, I don't know what is.

But I'm a little sad. Summer has gone by in the blink of an eye and I've barely done anything remotely summer-y, with the exception of going to the beach, of course. And part of me, with the wedding approaching much faster than I'd like to admit, wants to hold onto every last bit of summer that I can, even if only to pretend that I have longer to prepare for this huge party I'm throwing at the end of September. But it's not like summer is actually going away... my dad checked the weather and it's supposed to be something like 80 degrees on the wedding day. Also, thunderstorms. *Commence freak out sesh*
(But really, I'm not that sad at all. GIVE ME ALL THE PUMPKIN THINGS ASAP.)

Also, side note: Is it wrong for me to admit that I legitimately hate the taste of pumpkin related food items? I'll drink a PSL, because it tastes like fall (you know what I mean. Right?). And I'll eat pumpkin pie because, duh, who passes up a slice of any kind of pie?

And now, I'll get back to sorting through all my sweaters like a total weirdo.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


This photo has nothing to do with anything in this post. It's actually like 3 years old. It's also the picture that almost always convinces me to cut all of my hair off. Which I want to do so bad... Talk me off the ledge!

Making: final preparations for the wedding, DIY-wise. At the moment, this means burning a million mix CD's for the favors. This is a never ending job and I just want it to go. away. Honestly, though, I feel like I haven't done a lot of DIY stuff for the wedding. My mom has, but it's been mostly favors and programs. I feel like there's so much more that I wanted to do, but now that I should actually be working on that stuff, I can't think of a single thing that I need to do. A little scary, but whatever doesn't get done... just won't get done. Ha!

Anticipating: this weekend! Going to the lake with Blake's family for the holiday weekend, I always love spending time with my future in-laws.

Reading: my bedside table is full of stacked "to-read" books. Currently on the in progress list is Sharp Objects by Gillain Flynn (my "for fun" book), Grace Based Parenting (my "I'm not having kids soon, but technically parenting is almost my job" book), and STILL The Five Love Languages (my "I have to finish this asap because I'm getting married in like 4 weeks" book). I don't know why I'm struggling with this one so much. Usually I devour books of the self-help genre. (Not that it's a self help book, but you know. Whatever.)

Listening to: at the moment, Hillsong United. But in general, I've been playing my "Autumn" playlist a bunch. (Um, YES, Jess. Seasons do have specific music!) It's full of Fleet Foxes, (old) Band of Horses, Joanna Newsom, First Aid Kit, The Dodos.... Sigh. I love music.

Thinking about: all the junk I have to do today. Oh, how I've been dreading today. I have put it off and put it off, but tomorrow is my only day left out of August to renew my license plates. Talk about procrastination, right? Not only that, but I'm switching the title into my name (from my dad's name), too. So I have to get it inspected (and add in an oil change as well, since I'm like a year and a half overdue for one), get a statement from the courthouse about taxes (or something... I don't really know, yet. Hashtag yikes), and then go to the DMV to get it licensed. Can we talk about the stress I'm feeling right now? Too much on my plate today!

Loving: well. I can't think of anything that I absolutely love at the moment, to be honest. But I'll tell you what I'm NOT loving. This weather. What the heck Missouri?? You tease me with beautiful 75 degree weather, then hit me with mid-90s all week?! I'm done with Summer. There, I said it. I'm done!

Hope you're having a wonderful week (and not getting annoyed with my Disney posts. Lord knows I need an outlet for my Disney knowledge).
ALSO. Can we talk about how I get married ONE month from today!? When the time slip by so fast?

xo Haley

PS! If you live in the Springfield area, check out High Street's Worship Night on September 6th! It's at 7pm. Blake is on the worship team, so I got to peek at the set list and holy omg, so many great songs! Stuff off of the newest Hillsong album Glorious Ruins, a few songs that are super popular at the Passion conferences, and *drumroll* Hillsong United's Oceans, from the new album Zion. My stars, that's a great song. Hope you can make it!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Disney Tips & Tricks // Dining Plans

(this is my favorite series of photos the Disney parks blog has done! They merged photos from the past and present that were taken in the same spot. LOVE) via

Ah, Disney dining plans. What tricky business.

When I started planning, I fully immersed myself in everything I could possibly know about Disney World. And one of the biggest things is their dining plan. So, naturally, I asked my mom about the dining plan she used when we went to Disney World in 2001.
She promptly informed me that Disney did not have dining plans 12 years ago, and everything was paid for out of pocket. Yikes. I mean, the savings from a dining plan aren't that much, but it sure does soften the blow knowing that your meals are already paid for when you go to eat.
My mom gave me her planning book as soon as we picked our honeymoon destination, and I started comparing prices of different restaurants that we wanted to go to.
One of the most shocking price hikes was Cinderella's Royal Table (which is located inside Cinderella Castle). For a breakfast at the castle, it cost a little under $25 for an adult. That's pretty steep for a breakfast, right? Well, now? It's a $50 breakfast. Worth it? Probably not! But that's what we knew we wanted to do on our trip, so it was worth it to us.

So. Dining plans. The need to knows:
Basically, a dining plan, based on the package you choose, guarantees you 2 meals (one quick-service and one table-service) and 1 snack per day of your stay. A meal in dining plan terms is an entree, drink, and dessert. Not a bad deal having dessert at every meal! Each meal equals one credit. So, in our case, since we will be at the resort 6 days, we have 6 quick service credits and 6 table service credits.
A "quick service" meal is Disney World fast food. Most of these quick service places have fairly limited seating (or no seating at all), and menus consist of mostly burgers/hotdogs/salads, etc. A table service restaurant is one of the more "fancy," sit down sort of meals. Most of the table service meals only require one of your table service credits. In the case of more expensive meals, like any of the meals at the castle, or at some of the more upscale restaurants, it will require two credits (which is a big time bummer!).

If you choose to go the route of a dining plan, you then get to choose which restaurants you want to go to. While the quick service spots don't require advance reservations, the table service restaurants do and they encourage you to book your meal 180 days in advance. It seems kind of crazy to book these 6 months in advance (I mean, what if you don't want Chinese on a certain day, but that's what you have booked?!), but trust me - once that 180 day mark hits, those reservations are gone.

I quickly learned that before I could even think about choosing restaurants for certain days, we had to know which parks we would be at, and not only that, but we had to know what our activities were.
So I had to check into crowd forecasts for each of the parks, check out opening and closing times, what times parades/fireworks would be that day, etc. It's a lot to do before you can think about food, really!
So once we had a basic idea of where we would be on certain days, we started making food plans.
For instance, we knew we would be at Disney Hollywood Studios on Wednesday, but we also knew that they had an early closing time that day (6 pm!), so we didn't bother making dinner reservations that day, and made plans to go elsewhere after closing time.
There's a lot of factors involved in all of the dining planning that you honestly don't think of!

Once I had my dining schedule mapped out, I waited for my 180 day mark to come. Oh my gosh - I was SO stressed out over this. I had never dealt with anything like this before, and I was nervous to make reservations! I had been told that I needed to be on the phone with Disney reservations at 6 am that day, but considering 6 am in Orlando is 5 am here, I was freaking out a little. I decided I was going to try booking reservations online first, before I called Disney.
I got up at 4:30, made some coffee and prepared everything so that I would be nice and organized when 5 am came.
I got on Disney's website, logged in, and started making reservations. I made my first reservation for lunch on Monday at Epcot. Success.
I then moved on to make our breakfast reservation at Cinderella's castle.... not a success. I started to freak out a little. My heart was pounding when I realized the website wouldn't let me make a reservation past Monday. Uh, NO. Not cool. I was pretty positive that if I was staying on property, I could make reservations for up to 10 days of my stay. I started googling the crap out of everything and somehow, I found a weird loophole.
I can't tell you if this has been fixed yet, but on their new website, which implements the "My Disney Experience" platform, there was a little glitch where it wouldn't allow you to make reservations past the first day of your vacation. I can't remember how I found it (I'm so sorry about that!), but there is a crazy loophole where you can access the old website! I found it through a weird web forum I found while googling why the site wouldn't let me access reservations. Anyway - if you go through the old site, it'll let you make reservations. At first, I was little apprehensive of it. I'm such a worrier. I kept thinking, "what if it doesn't link to my account, what if it doesn't actually work at all" what if, what if, what if. I ended up checking my reservations all day long just to make sure they were still there.
Spoiler alert: they were! It worked like a charm!

Booking the reservations was probably the most stressful thing I've experienced in our planning. But now that I've done it once, I feel confident enough to do it all over again. It's really not as bad as people make it out to be!
I was nervous to do it on my own, but we ended up getting all of our first choice restaurants at our first choice times (yes, I totally had back up reservation times and back up restaurants). There was ONE restaurant that we didn't get, but in all honesty, I didn't try that hard to get it. Be Our Guest is a new restaurant in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. It is Beauty and the Beast themed, and pretty much my dream come true. Problem is - it's practically booked solid for the entire length of our stay. I tried a couple of times, and have even kept trying for reservations recently, but no luck. However! Their lunch hour is considered quick service, so you don't need reservations for that. Blake and I are going to try our luck at that - I'll definitely let you know how that goes!

Little reminders:
*You MUST have your resort room booked in order to make dining reservations for up to 10 days. You'll need to put in your confirmation code in order to do this!
*As I mentioned last time - seriously, double check your dates and times! Be sure not to book your dinner reservation in the middle of the fireworks show. What a bummer it would be to miss out on that!
*As soon as you get confirmation numbers for your restaurant reservations, write. them. down. I keep them in my binder, in a Word document that I'll print out before we leave for myself AND my parents to have, and also in my calendar app on my phone. I share more about this soon too, when I compile all of my planning resources. :)

This wasn't so much advice, as it was telling you about my experience doing all of this completely on my own - but I hope it helps, all the same!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!
xo Haley

Monday, August 26, 2013


1. Gettin' work DONE. On Saturday I got cracking on my to-do list while working on the wedding favors. Tiresome work, I tell you! I have list after list after list of things to do for this wedding (um, 33 days to go. When did that happen?!). Right now, it seems as if the list never goes away: as soon as one thing is crossed off, another thing has to be added. I'm almost excited to be done with all of this nonsense. (Yes, this is all complete nonsense. Engaged people, JUST ELOPE.)
2. I woke up early to go over to Blake's and make him breakfast. It was a "recipe" I found on Pinterest. Easy as pie until I realized we do not have a toaster, nor did we have any cookie sheets to put the english muffins on when they needed to go in the oven. We had to get creative on that one.
3. My "Hello, I'm from Missouri" shirt is probably my favorite right now. I got it at 5 Pound Apparel in Springfield, and it took a lot of internal warring with myself to only buy one t-shirt. All of their Springfield related designs are the best!
4. On Saturday, I decided to be creative and do something with a random doorway in our kitchen that has been covered. I ended up with this idea (duh, something I saw on Pinterest), and I'm really liking it. I'll probably change things out every now and then. But can we just talk about how perfect the Anthro "T" is on the wall?! I had it on our mantle at first, but I like it even better here!
5. My study on "A Ready Heart" is still going strong! Well, not strong, because I missed last week and am trying to make up for that this week. But you know. I'm enjoying it! It's just crazy that we are *this* close to the wedding. In fact, I got a text from our pastor today that it was time to meet up and discuss the ceremony! I'm kind of freaking out, but in an excited way.

That's all I got today.
I need to clean (and pack) my apartment in the worst way, but I ended up working for a little while and now I'm laying in bed procrastinating. Mondays are the worst for my to-do list. These are the days I end up watching Law & Order all day long. But I guess that's not such a bad thing, right? RIGHT?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Disney Tips & Tricks

I have a "series" lined up! Ah! This hasn't happened since I blogged on my old blog (or since After Your Heart.. which, by the way, is in the works for a revamp. Feeling inspired).
ALSO. If you're not a Disney fan/aren't planning on going to Disney anytime soon (or ever)/don't like super long blog posts that mean pretty much nothing to you... feel free to skip this post!

So as I was saying.
I have been working on a series of posts based on my experience of planning a Disney vacation. There's a million Disney resources out there, all of which helped me, but I wanted to talk about my own experience planning my Disney vacation, not only as my first time planning a Disney trip, but planning my very first vacation ever. Really! This is the first big trip I've planned on my own and the first without one of my parents! (Okay, so I've been on trips without my parents, but none that have been way out of state. I swear, I'm not a child!)

We haven't actually gone on our trip yet (it's our honeymoon destination!), but as soon as we get back, I'll put together a couple of posts about what I packed that was useful/what I probably needed that I didn't pack/my experience as a whole. I'm pretty excited about that!

So! Part this post is more of an intro to it all, and about how I started out in my planning.
Right from the start, I need to put a tiny disclaimer on this: We were incredibly fortunate to have Blake's parents offer to pay for our honeymoon as a wedding gift to us. We are poor college students, and without them, we probably wouldn't have gone on a honeymoon at all. So we are so blessed to be taking this amazing trip! We did work with his parent's travel agent on this vacation, but the bulk of planning was done by myself. Our agent really only booked the vacation!

When I started planning, I didn't know where to begin. I scoured Pinterest for blog posts (similar to what I'm doing now!), I checked out all the books about Walt Disney World from the library (and, uh, kept one for about 9 months... oops), and I read everything I could get my hands on. I researched the crap out of Disney. Fortunately, my boss, who is a Disney addict, goes to Disney often and has accumulated a ton of helpful tips, which she gladly passed on to me!

We never really worked with a clear budget. Which was hard for me, whilst planning. I had no idea what kind of restrictions or boundaries I had to work with when looking at hotels, dining plans, extra activities. So, what Blake and I did was put together a "Walt Disney World Information Pack" for his parents.
We included information about all the resorts we were interested in (that were at all different price points), we put in photos of the resorts, what restaurants they offered inside the resorts, what amenities were available. From there, we worked with his parents to narrow down what we wanted/could get.
After deciding on a resort (Wilderness Lodge! - which is so out of character for me AND Blake, but we're so excited), we worked on our dining plan (more on that soon!).

As a whole, the starts of my planning were really scattered and all over the place.
A lot of Pinterest posts I saw recommended keeping a binder, and while that is a great idea, and I even have one now, it really didn't help me when I was starting my planning.
What did help though, were these few tips I've learned here and there:

1. Research all of your options. All of them. All different price points, even if you think something is out of your budget, still look into it. At first, we really didn't even look into "deluxe" resorts because of the price. In the end, we chose a resort based on location and atmosphere: we are on our honeymoon, and we wanted something that wasn't going to be completely swarming with a ton of families (of course, this is Disney, after all. There will be families at any resort you go to. But the amount of families at a deluxe resort, compared to a moderate resort is vastly different!). If you're a family, though, you're not going to want to stay at a resort like The Grand Floridian. Another big thing was the location - all of the main deluxe resorts are in the Magic Kingdom area. 3 of them are on the monorail system which will take you directly to Magic Kingdom from your resort. The Contemporary Resort is on the monorail system, and not only that, but you can request a "castle-view room" upon your arrival. I went to Disney when I was 10, and my parents requested this - we were able to see the Wishes fireworks show at Magic Kingdom from the beds in our room! So be sure to look into these sort of things, if that's what you want out of a vacation.

2. Look into discounts that are available. One of the big advertised discounts are the 20-30% off of room prices in the spring and the free dining plan in the fall. They do these specific discounts mostly when crowds are at their lowest. For instance, the free dining is a discount available to us right now, and it's offered in the height of hurricane season. As soon as that discount became available I looked into it a little more, but then realized - it's just not right for us. Yeah, it would save some money, but the overall savings is not substantial enough for us to go through the hassle of canceling our room reservations and rebooking, just to get the discount. Now, for a family of 4 or more, it's definitely a good discount. 2 free meals a day for a whole family? That's not a bad deal!

3. Check dates. Check dates. Check dates. One of our big things was wanting to go to the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and it really worked out that we were going to be there during the party season. (I'll touch on party schedules when I get to itinerary planning!) Check crowd forecasts for the week, make sure you aren't going during the week of a holiday (unless, you know, that was your original plan. Then by all means, go!). Another big factor in our trip was making it there for the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot - it starts the weekend we arrive! So if there is an event you want to go to, or even want to avoid, double check your dates!

That's all I have for now!
I'll be back soon with what I've learned from dining plans (there's a lot to know about that junk!).

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 23, 2013

 Blake is fully moved in! He's ecstatic about the move (much to his mother's dismay, I'm sure), and I'm pretty sure he's dreading the day that I'll move in... I think he's going to enjoy his last month of bachelorhood! We've already butted heads about house things - not so much decor, but the way things works (coat racks are not for all of your cardigans! You don't use our brand new Anthropolgie tea towel to wipe your hands on!). I'm sure we'll be just fine, though. ;)
 This is... pretty much all we have in our apartment at the moment. Blake has never lived on his own before, so all he had to move was a couch, his bed, and the kitchen table. All the other stuff is at my apartment, where it will stay until I move (I don't know, something about living in a nearly unfurnished apartment bothers me!). So hopefully come October, I will have more interesting photos to share!
Blake and I made dinner (tortellini soup!) the other night with all of our brand new kitchen things... I think making a meal there made it feel much more like a home. Is that odd?
As things progress with the house, I will share here! (You know me, I love sharing photos of my living space....) I'm just super excited about all these huge changes that are happening! Things are getting very real, very fast!

A couple of side notes:
*Breigh is in the hospital again, she was admitted on Tuesday night. As far as I know, it is connected with her kidney disease; her magnesium and potassium levels were really low, causing her to keep throwing up her meds. Update: She's been released! She was released... and immediately went to the salon to get her hair dyed. #priorities
*I mentioned this on Instagram a couple of times, but my bff Cassie is finally starting to live her dream! She moved to LA at the end of May and has been working and auditioning since then. Well... On Saturday, she found out that she had gotten a part on the show Revenge for 2 episodes! It was just for a "featured extra" type of role, but it's a start, am I right?! They filmed the 2 episodes all day on Monday, and while filming she learned that she had gotten another small part on an episode of Workaholics! She filmed that yesterday. I'm waiting to hear more about those experiences! We talked to her mom at my shower on Sunday and she kept saying, "well, it's long hours for very little pay.." which is so true (and the life of that industry; I couldn't do it!), but it's a start, and we are so excited for her!
*I feel like I had another thing to mention, but apparently I don't. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

On differences.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it. 
- Aristotle

On the first day of my English class (during my senior year), my teacher told us this quote, and how she hoped it would be a quote that we could live by, and prove true.
I had nearly forgotten about it until the first day of school this year, when she posted the quote on Facebook (I just love Facebook, you know!). And then... I started thinking about it.

I applied it to political things. I applied it to personal beliefs. I applied it to religious beliefs.
And it was then, with the religious beliefs, that it hit me pretty hard.

What if all Christians were able to entertain ideas that are different than their own beliefs, without accepting it?
How differently would we be perceived as a whole, to non-believers... to the rest of the world?
We would automatically become more loving, more forgiving, more accepting of those that think differently, and believe other things.

I have a hard time with people that refuse to even listen to "the other side" of things.
Like Obama - you either love or hate him, right? And the war? If you don't support the war, you don't support our troops. (Who's idea was that, anyway? What a silly notion.) And I see this stuff mostly on Facebook and other social media. People fight online about the silliest things, refuse to see the other side of it, slam someone for believing differently. And then say that "God will deal with you," or my favorite, "Obama will have to answer to God someday. Let's impeach!"
The people who even refuse to entertain the idea that there is something different out there, but they refuse the idea entirely - they are almost always the first to say, "but hey, I'll pray for you."
What kind of message is that sending to non-believers? What are we saying to them - "Everything you believe is wrong and you are definitely going to Hell, but hey brother, I'm gonna pray for you."

We need to stand up for our beliefs, yes, but we need to be educated in this; we need to be the first to say, "I respect your beliefs, I respect your decisions, and I'm going to listen to your opinion." Because that is their right, just as it is our right to believe what we believe.

I am doing my best to live by this quote. To continue in my beliefs, and hold onto them, all while learning everything I can about other ideas and other beliefs. How can I believe what I do, when I know nothing about what else is out there? How can I stand up for my faith, for my politics, for my morals, when I know nothing about "the other side?"

/word vomit.

Thank you for listening, today. As always. <3

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


 This past Sunday was my first wedding shower! It was held at a new tea room just outside of Springfield, near my hometown. My closest family and friends from my hometown were invited, and it was a small, yet fun little party! Morgan (Blake's cousin/my bridesmaid) and Breigh (maid of honor) teamed up for this one, and it was so perfect! To make it all the more perfect, Claire decided last minute that she would make the 4 hour drive to arrive just in time! She ended up staying the night with me, so we could keep our tradition of breakfast at Gailey's before she heads home. I sure do love time spent with these gals. (Only one missing out of the bridal party here is Colby - poor guy had to work.)
No one really thought to grab a "real camera," so all of these are iphone shots that I nabbed from Claire and Blake's mom, Tammie.
(Breigh and I were really emotional. Like, all day.)
(A few of the Tucker ladies; Blake's grandma, Morgan, and his mom.)
(A few of the ladies in my family! My mom, her mom, and her sisters. Oh, and Savannah, my sweet cousin!)

Blake and I received so many generous and thoughtful gifts over the weekend. I am a little awkward when it comes to being the attention of a bunch of people, and that is only multiplied when I am opening gifts in front of people (oh the awkward!).
But I am so grateful for all the people in my life that have loved and supported me - Blake and I are lucky to have such giving, loving people to call friends (and family).
With all the fun stuff we received, Blake and I made dinner at his apartment - we even used our brand new dishes (and oh my goodness, they are beautiful!). We are so thankful!

And thank you to you guys, who are so sweet to me. I appreciate the love you've shown me (and Blake) since our engagement. We are thankful for each and every comment, tweet, and email.

38 days to go!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Newlywed Home Pt. II

You know how when you get so excited about something and it's like, "oh my gosh, this is really happening!" Then you realize that it actually won't happen for at least another month or two? Well, that roller coaster of emotions happened to me yesterday morning, and really - I'm still on that roller coaster.

Yesterday, Blake and I picked up the keys to our very first apartment together.
It was overwhelming, exciting, scary and overall, wonderful.
My dad pulled up right as we were finishing up all the paperwork, so we, of course, gave him the first tour of our new place. Unlocking the apartment doors for the first time brought such a rush of excitement and happiness that I can't even explain! Soon after, my dad left, and Blake had to leave so he could get to work, so I was left by myself. I kind of just stood there looking around, marveling at the pretty floors, the (nonworking) fireplace that I am so eager to decorate. (I then, of course, set out to take photos of everything. Because, I mean, my mom's gotta see it asap, am I right?!)

I went off to work at Red Velvet and was sitting there just thinking: Oh, hey. I'm not going to actually live there until October 5th. It kind of bummed me out, to be honest. I was so hyped up over getting the keys and the process of getting Blake moved in that I almost forgot that I wasn't moving in just yet. October seems so far away when I start *really* thinking about it! (But really, it's not. I mean, the wedding is 42 days away!)
BUT, I'm still excited - I know I'll be over there all the time, and Blake's going to let me decorate it even though I'm not living there quite yet (he's pretty sweet to me!).
So. Here it is! These are just a few quick snapshots I took!
 *My awesome boss got this as a housewarming gift for Blake. I think it's quite appropriate for Blake's personality. 

If we're being quite honest - I'm really picky when it comes to apartments. When I first moved out (with Anna!), our apartment was in a scary part of town. It was a small, but cozy apartment and if it hadn't been for crazy downstairs neighbors, we probably would've lived there for a while! When we moved to the Boonville, we became extremely spoiled with the amazing loft-style apartment (hardwood floors, exposed brick walls and piping, ginormous closets...sigh).
So, luckily, we were able to snag this apartment from the same management company. It came as a complete surprise to us that they were ripping out the carpet in the living room and kitchen because when we first toured it, it was all carpet  (and gross carpet, at that). So the hardwood floors were an unexpected, but wonderful addition to the space. I'm really excited to make this place *ours.* I have a feeling we'll be here a while. :)
(Also, there's a really great mirror on the closet door and I suspect that a lot of selfies will happen here. So.... sorry in advance. Ps. Can we talk about how long my hair is getting?! I think this is the longest it's ever been! pps. Short dress alert. #sorryboutit )

xo Haley

On an unrelated note: Congrats to my friends Krysta and Taylor on their engagement! I've never really known them as individuals, but as a couple. And let me tell you - never have I seen a more Christ-ordained couple than this one. What a blessing these two will be as a married couple. So happy for you guys! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Our Wedding Invitations

So, today... I'm sharing the process of making our invitations! (Since, I think, most guests have received their's by now!)

We did this all from scratch, completely DIY. I had been browsing invitation websites for forever (seriously, nearly 14 months) looking for the perfect design, and after finding this one, I REALLY loved it, but kept looking around. From the get-go, my dad's bff had offered up his graphic design services as a gift to us, so I gave him a few samples of what I liked, and after months and month (and months) of me changing my mind, we finally decided on going off of the original design that caught my eye! I'm really amazed that he recreated it so well for us!

(As soon as the wedding is over, I'll post a full photo of the invite, but until then, here's a few snapshots)
After Jeff designed them, he emailed me a file of it, I put it on a flash drive and took it to Staples to be printed. I was a little nervous to print them through Staples, but it was MEGA cheap, so I went for it.

We printed 100 invitations (2 could print per page), at $1 per print. After being printed, he cut them down to size, for $2 per cut (since they can cut 100 pages at a time, he only had to make 5 cuts). The total cost came out to be $65, which, seriously - that is cheap when it comes to invitations!
When I got to my mom's house to start making all of the other elements, we then realized the guy didn't actually cut them down to the 5x7 size that we needed to fit the envelope, so.. my mom had to go through and cut them down again.

For the extra little elements that went inside the envelope, we included a card that had all the RSVP/wedding website information, a card that had all the information guests need to know about dinner (we are having dinner prior to the ceremony!), a little slip of paper with a hashtag for our wedding (totally jumped on that bandwagon), and a heart cut from different patterned papers (my mom's idea!). It was all tied up with grey and white twine, too!
I "designed" all of the extra info papers myself (I use the term design loosely, just FYI!), and we printed them on kraft paper from Hobby Lobby (so stinking easy!).

I got together with one of my bridesmaids (thank you, Morgan!!), to put these together, and it took maybe 2 hours tops to put them together and stick them in the envelopes. It was easy as pie!
Also! Instead of using the ugly "love/wedding" stamps USPS has to offer, we used these pretty floral ones. They matched perfectly!
*image via @alissaclaire

In the end, they turned out exactly as I had hoped they would. I'm very proud of them!
If you are planning a wedding and are at all hesitant to do DIY invites, I say go for it! Seriously, it was so easy, and nearly stress free. That, and we spent a fraction of the cost that we would have paid ordering through an actual invitation company. Win-win, am I right?

Thanks for looking!

Monday, August 5, 2013


So I just got back from seeing Taylor Swift (okay, okay - she's totally my guilty pleasure and I refuse to be ashamed!), and I originally planned on sharing a few photos and videos from the concert, but this "bible study" was laid on my heart like you wouldn't believe, so I decided to share this, instead. (I probably will still post about T. Swift anyway, though. I just can't resist!) 

A couple of days ago, I pinned a photo that had a bunch of verses listed that apply to preparing yourself for marriage, under the title "A Ready Heart." I did the whole "pin now, read later" thing, and forgot about it for a while. Today, while browsing Pinterest, I decided to finally read what it was all about.
A couple of ladies have blogged about it, and I'm more convinced than ever that this is the perfect time to start a new Bible study. (And I'm no good at Bible studies, so we'll see how this goes.)
Side note: I have been reading the book "A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study" and I LOVE it. It definitely hit me with some major conviction, though. I'm one of those people who reads a book that's about God and about the Bible - and I call it a Bible study, but... I don't actually ever crack open a Bible. So when I read in the book that you can't call that a Bible study, and a true study includes picking a passage in the Bible and really studying it, I knew I had this whole Bible study thing all wrong. 
So when I found this specific study, which gives you a direct passage to study throughout the week, I knew this was the perfect way to start out a new way of reading my Bible (not to mention I bought a new Bible and it is so neat). 

There are 12 verses to study, and since there's only 8 weeks until the wedding, I doubled up on passages for all of August. I think that the actual format of this is to do one passage per day, for 12 days. But I'm going to make this a weekly thing, and spend more time on each passage and really study it and commit it to memory.
I'd like to do it for the 12 days leading to the wedding.. but I'm stressed as it is about this wedding, who knows what I'll be like the 2 weeks before! I know I need to make time for reading my Bible, and that's really what it comes down to (trying not to make excuses!), but I thought this would be a better way to ease into the daily Bible reading flow. :)

I'm so excited to share this study with you all, and if you want to join (single, engaged, married!), please do! I'll be sharing weekly on Instagram, so be sure to follow along, and even share your study, too! I'm starting today with Genesis 2:5-25, wish me luck!
xo Haley

Friday, August 2, 2013

No Matter How Small

If you read here regularly (heck, even occasionally), you know that I see a lot of things on Facebook, often which I'll get super passionate about. Usually, this only occurs with political posts (I know I shouldn't click on those links!). But today, while doing my daily scroll through my Facebook timeline, I noticed a little link to a new local t-shirt company with a very unique platform, here in Springfield, MO.

A child's death is a tough thing to hear about, no matter what stage of life they are at. Many families aren't expecting these things to happen, and with the outrageous funeral costs these days, it's hard for anyone to manage the burden that these costs put on someone. 
This is where No Matter How Small comes in. They use all proceeds from their shop to put towards the cost of funerals and burials for families that have suffered from miscarriages, still births and infant deaths. 
So often we don't hear about the deaths of unborn babies after the 20 week mark. While it is fairly common to experience a miscarriage (holy wow statistic: anywhere from 10-25% of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage), it's rare to hear the stories of families that have lost their babies, yet still had to go through the labor and birthing process. While it doesn't lessen the emotional pain, No Matter How Small does help. I am SO glad that there is now a cause that can help financially support families through this difficult time. 

At this time, they only offer one style of t-shirt, available in adult, youth and child sizes - but I am hoping that as the company grows, they offer more styles!
Be sure to check out their shop, and definitely give their About Page a read. 
xo Haley