Friday, December 13, 2013

South Africa

I just returned from a very memorable and long anticipated trip to South Africa. There was a clan of 11 of us, and thanks to Mom and the travel agent, every minute of our 9 day vacation was planned.

After the world's longest commercial flight (literally), we landed in Johannesburg then hopped a plane to Hoedspruit, a city just outside Kruger National Park. Our safari was on a private game reserve called Kapama which is comprised of 32,000 acres.  Unlike our wardrobes (if someone says you can be stylish on a game drive, they're lying), our accommodations were very impressive!

Our typical day started with a 5AM wake up call followed by a 3 hour game drive. During the day we rested, visited the spa or relaxed by the pool. Then at 4PM we had another 3 hour game drive ending with a toast somewhere on the reserve as a group. We ate all meals together, and at dinner time, our safari guide would eat with us too.  Here are some of the highlights.

After 3 days, it was on to our next destination, Cape Town. I had heard so many great things about Cape Town, and my expectations were definitely met. We visited the Cape of Good Hope, Seal Island and a number of gorgeous vineyards.  As beautiful as the coast was, I think the countryside was my favorite part of the trip.  I only wish we had more time to spend there!

On our last day of the trip, Nelson Mandela passed, and it was truly amazing to be in South Africa witnessing the goodwill and kindness of the nation as they celebrated his life. The entire trip was unforgettable and I am ready for another vacation!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Virginia Engagement Party

Will and I celebrated our first Engagement Party in Virginia earlier this month.  Our hosts threw a great soiree at the Hampton Yacht Club and Will and I were so grateful for all of the friends and family who traveled the many miles to come support us. Here are some (blurry) pictures from the memorable night!


Less than 7 months to go!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

DIY Fall Wreaths

It may be almost Christmas, but there is still some time to decorate for Fall.  Wreaths are a fun and easy way to make your house/apartment/whatever feel more like home. Here are two quick and easy wreaths I made for the season:

$8 oval wreath

$6 bouquet of artificial flowers

Pop the stems off

$4 wire to attach the flowers to the wreath

Attach the wire between the flower and base and secure to wreath

$8 hay wreath

2 artificial Autumn arrangements, $6 each

Remove the stem and use a pen to push the leaves into the wreath

Use a glue gun to add any extra decorations

Wreaths are fun and affordable gifts to give, and a DIY wreath makes the gift more personal. Find several more Fall Wreath ideas here!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Proposal Part 2

After the proposal, I was on Cloud 9 and it was so fun hearing the back story. I didn't even get a look at the ring until about 15 minutes later, because it was dark. Once we got to the other side of the property, there was a bottle of champagne waiting for us, compliments of his firm.


Will told me all the details.  He asked my Mom for my hand on Memorial Day weekend while we were in Virginia.  My Mom has been working with a jeweler in New York City for years, so once Will had designed the setting, Mom hopped on a train to the Big Apple with the diamond and a picture of Will's design. A week before July 4, the ring showed up at Will's office, and it was perfect!

The center stone was my Mom's 25th anniversary present from my Dad, so besides being a gorgeous diamond, the story behind it is just as beautiful.  I am so grateful and honored that my mother passed this special family stone on to Will to give to me.

Will and I headed over to Will's parents house to show them the ring.  When we walked through the door, my Mom, brother, and brother's girlfriend popped out with streamers.  Will had flown them in to surprise me because he knew how important it was to me to be with family.  

A few of my friends had sent presents ahead of time for us to open that night which was very special.  My college room mate Bethany sent a print of the restaurant in Miami where Will and I had met. She bought it a few months after Will and I started dating and had been holding on to it until our engagement. I was speechless!

Jess and Jon arrived at 11 that night, and the rest of the July 4th weekend was spent celebrating.  Mom left the next day, but the rest of the gang stayed all weekend. Although it was rainy, there was no raining on my parade. I was surrounded by my friends and family and future husband. It was by far, the best weekend of my life!

Thank you to everyone who went out of their way to make our engagement so special!