Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wedding Story: The Decor

I'm going to cover so much in one this post about the details of our wedding!  I did a ton of DIY for a lot of it so I'll be doing a separate post about that so stay tuned!

I planned a wedding during "the age of Pinterest" which I both appreciate and despise.  I appreciate it because honestly, it gave me so many ideas that I never could have come up with on my own and showed me how to DIY a ton of it so I saved money!  I despise it because at times, it makes you feel like you have to live up to some sort of perfection or else your wedding is an epic fail.  This, of course, is not true so you have to remember that it's YOURS and to not compare YOUR wedding to what you see on Pinterest.  You usually only see the rare ones anyway!

First off, I have to tell you how crazy Type A I am.  I had an extensive Excel spreadsheet that had a tab for each and every aspect of the wedding.  It kept me so organized and I loved it!  If you're planning a wedding and are interested in how I did it, feel free to email me at


Though Kevin and I live in the city, we really love the country.  I grew up in a small town where I vowed to never wear cowboy boots, Rocky Mountain jeans or a cowboy hat because there were so many cowboys around me.  Ha!  Once I moved to the city, I missed the country and bought me some cowboy boots!

Since we're a pretty no-frills kind of couple, we wanted a wedding/reception that had a casual atmosphere with lots of fun and food.  A country theme seemed perfect for us because you can dress it up or dress it down and it's still a good time.  So we started looking for ranches/barns that would achieve that feel.


Everyone knows that the venue is one of the first items on your list of to-do's after you get engaged.  Kevin and I got on this right away.  I did some research of a TON of venues in the area and narrowed it down to 4-5 to actually visit.  Had I shown Kevin all of them, his head might have exploded.

Once we visited Jones Barn at Willowcreek Ranch, we knew it was IT!  We both loved the look of the barn, the feel of the ranch, the owners and the location (about 1 hour outside of the city).

{photo by Daniel Dixon}

SIDE NOTE: Please ignore the extra chairs.  That's my fault.  I insisted that they put them all out there, but so many people got there late that they all stood back at the barn rather than taking a seat.  That's probably one of the only things I regret.  Grrr...empty chairs.

You'll see a lot more photos of it when I post about the ceremony and reception.


Since the colors of your wedding determine so much after that!  This is the closest thing I can find to the colors I chose (without the blush):

No, that is not my wedding, but isn't it gorgeous?!?!  We basically used a bunch of neutrals (chocolate brown, light brown, champagne, creme, hazelnut, ivory) with some peach and mint/sage green.  I LOVED it!  This is what I showed people when they asked...

I thought "this could be a disaster or be awesome!"  Thankfully, I think it turned out awesome!  Here's a shot of my bridesmaids that shows how the colors came together...

Aren't we fun?! :)


I was trying my hardest to cut costs since we were paying for our own wedding.  I decided not to do the traditional flowers purchased from a florist just because of the cost.  Instead, I bought baby's breath in bulk from Sam's and my dad grew about 30 little succulents to use as table decorations.  He is a horticulture guy and loves succulents so he just trimmed some pieces off of one of his existing succulents and grew me a bunch of little ones.  They looked amazing!

My mom and aunt made the bouquets which BLEW ME AWAY!  They asked what I wanted and I gave them a bit of an idea and they went WAY over and above!  They used photos on Etsy to get an idea and just started creating.  They made burlap flowers, ordered Sola flowers (made out of wood) and added a few other items to them.  Aren't they beautiful?!?!

{photos by Against the Grain Images}


Oh man, this was a last minute effort but my mom, sister-in-law and her mom were awesome and created something beautiful!  Kevin was helping them put it up the night before...

{see my adorable little nephew trying to help out below?!}

There was a walkway that everyone walked through that led up to a rustic "gazebo".  I loved it somedays, hated it others but I really liked how it turned out.  My mom made the top arrangement for the gazebo and my sister-in-law brought the burlap to wrap.  The venue added the chandelier.

On the walkway, there were supposed to be decorated mason jars filled with baby's breath but somehow the baby's breath was overlooked...haha...oh well!

In lieu of a program...

{my mom found this in an old house she was fixing up and we found another at an antique store}

To get fun photos from the eyes of our guests...

{chalkboard purchased from an antique store; chair belongs to venue}


The walls of the barn were already decorated so well that we didn't touch those.  There were white lights up all around the inside that were great!  So we mostly just had to decorate the tables.  We used ivory tablecloths, a little burlap, wood slices (huge thanks to my parents and the Woolsey's for those), jute wrapped wine bottles, decorated mason jars, baby's breath, rice, candles and beautiful succulents that my dad spent months before growing!

 {wreath purchased from Haute Mess Door Decor and More}


We absolutely loved our drinking mason jars!  We had to order them through a restaurant supply company through a friend but they so added to the fun feel of the wedding!  Unfortunately, we didn't get a photo of the bar and our really cute chalkboard bar menu.


My AMAZING friend, Jennifer, baked the cupcakes (in lieu of a wedding cake) for us and together we made oreo balls that looked like baseballs (in lieu of a groom's cake).  This saved us a ton of money and our guests loved it!  Everything is baseball themed because Kevin LOVES baseball, obviously!

Wow!  That was a lot of photos!  Hope you enjoyed them!

Love Always Nancy J
Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In The Word: His Way is Perfect!

So when I was in college, I did a lot of youth ministry my first couple years and LOVED it!  I served as the interim youth minister at a small church outside of Waco, Texas from the end of my freshman year to mid-sophomore year.  What an amazing experience!  My kids were awesome!  I still keep in touch with a lot of them today.  Most are grown, married and have their own children now!  Eek!  That makes me feel old!

Every Tuesday, the kids would come over to my house and we'd have "ITW" which stood for In The Word.  We would focus on one bit of Scripture that week, memorize it and apply it to our lives.

I love this new series with Cassie and Cassie called the exact same thing!  Check out their posts as well!  I believe in being in The Word daily and just love getting to share some of it with you each Tuesday!  I'm most definitely not perfect and don't always achieve it daily but I'm working towards it.

Today I want to share my favorite Psalm (or parts of it so I don't lose your attention).  It was written by David after he had been rescued from his enemies (Saul and his men).  Often, I try to dig dig dig into Scripture to try to get something out of it to apply to my day.  But I think that sometimes, we need to just stop and praise Him for rescuing us, for loving us so deeply as to send His Son to die for us.  Sometimes I read this Psalm as just that.  I praise Him for rescuing me, His ways being perfect and for being my Rock!

Psalm 18

I love you, LORD;
you are my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and he saved me from my enemies...

...He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters...

...God's way is perfect.
All the LORD's promises prove true.
He is shield for all who look to him for protection.
For who is God except the LORD?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
God arms me with strength,
and he makes my way perfect.
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
enabling me to stand on mountain heights...

The LORD lives!  Praise to my Rock!
May the God of my salvation be exalted!

(NLT, Verses 1-3,16,30-33,46)

I challenge you to declare this often.  If you're a believer, He's rescued you from darkness.  My favorite part is verse 16 - God's way is perfect!  Hallelujah!  Because if my life were determined by me, what a mess it would be!  There are times that I do try to take over and it does become a mess.  That's when God steps in and asks me to trust Him and let Him take control.  I'm thankful to have a Savior that guides me and directs me with perfection!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dark Chocolate Cake and a Healthy Salad!

After doing some yardwork this weekend, my hubby and I are really suffering from bad allergies so we're a little under the weather.  We would appreciate your prayers!  We don't want full-blown sinus infections!

So today's post is quick...

I just want to share some recipes that I made last week.  One healthy, one NOT healthy! :)

Last Friday was my coworker's birthday so I made a Mix and Match Mama bundt cake!  She chose the Dark Chocolate with Chocolate Ganache one and IT WAS AMAZING!  I don't even love dark chocolate but I sure loved this cake!  It was so moist and chocolate-y!!!  There were no leftovers with this one. People from other departments were coming to get a piece of this cake!

Sometimes I try to prepare my lunches for the week ahead of time.  This week, I made The Garden Grazer's Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing.  Delicious AND healthy!

Have a wonderful week, my friends!
Friday, April 25, 2014

Napa Valley/Sonoma Recommendations Needed!

I have a question for my bloggy friends!  My girlfriends and I are thinking about taking a trip to Napa Valley or Sonoma this summer for a winery tour.  None of us have ever been so we're clueless as to where to start planning!  Do any of you have any recommendations on any of the following?

Favorite Wineries
Best Wine Tours
Transportation (Rent a car?)
Ways to Save Money

Thanks a ton!!!  I really hope this trip works out!

Euro Trip: Rome, Italy

Today I'm combining my travel series with the 5 on Friday link-up!  In college, I went on a 36-day study abroad trip and we traveled to 6 different countries in Europe.  I want to share my experiences with you so let's hope my memory works right now!  That was 10 years ago!  It was called the International Business Seminar.  We traveled to various companies and wrote a report on each of them.  It was pretty cool!  In this 5 on Friday, I'll be talking about 5 different things we did in Rome!



We visited Exxon Mobil, Skin High Fashion (not sure if that's the correct name) and got to do tourist activities the other day.

Business women at Exxon Mobil :)

On the runway at Skin High Fashion


We enjoyed lots of delicious Italian food.  This was a memorable meal with my friends!  Italian food, wine, Italian music, being outside...




 Roman Forum

Roman Forum

 This was the prison cell that held the apostle Paul and Peter

Pantheon...I think!


 Trevi Fountain

 The Vatican

St Peter's Cathedral

Crazy packed Spanish Steps!  So you can't see this well but right as I was taking this picture, someone started having a seizure (middle left) and tons of people rushed to help.  It was crazy!


I made so many great friends on this trip!  Kelley (in the pink shirt) and I still talk often and I follow her travels on her blog The Shabby Suitcase.

Thanks for "joining me" on my trip to Rome!  Next up...Florence, Italy!

Have a wonderful weekend!!!