Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Matt + Abbey - The Planning Process

Abbey took a year to plan her wedding which allowed her to make sure everything was just perfect for their wedding day. Today, she's sharing the hardest, easiest + best parts of planning! Missed how Matt + Abbey met or how he proposed? Catch up here

{what a gorgeous Fall shoot!}

1} Did you have your dream wedding already planned?

I have a two fold answer on this one. No, I'm not one of those girls who dreamed about her wedding her entire life. I didn't decide on a color scheme when I was four and keep making slight tweaks to it until engagement hit! However, since I knew after our first date that Matt and I would be getting married, I started taking advantage of Pinterest a few years ago to try to figure out what a wedding might look like. As time went along, I started being more intentional about planning, saving and purchasing a little bit along the way to try to be as wise as possible with decisions I made for the wedding. I ended up choosing a neutral color theme for the wedding, which paved the way to use a lot of greenery, wood, lanterns and family antiques in our decor.

{I love this because in Abbey's first post she mentions one of her favorite dates!}

2} What was the hardest choice you made while planning?

Clothing for the bridesmaids and groomsmen was probably the toughest choice! I decided to go with the neutral color palette for the wedding (Matt calls me the color killer, jokingly of course!?) because I thought it would be easy to just mix things in. Turns out, making neutrals match is harder than it looks! It was also important to me to find a bridesmaids dress that both fit the color scheme and looked great on all of my girls. My poor, sweet friends tried on dress after dress, and I'm so happy with what we ended up with! I think it ended up being a great dress that was flattering on everyone

3} What was the easiest?

The groom! Haha, I guess that one's a given! The second easiest choice was probably where to have it. Thought I hadn't dreamed of my wedding my entire life, I always knew for sure that I would get married at my home church. I'm a pretty nostalgic person, so having it there was pretty special to me. While weddings are fun celebrations, they are also a place of serious commitment and reverence, so I never imagined getting married anywhere besides a church. It didn't hurt that they had recently redone my home church's sanctuary with a beautiful neutral theme! Score! This ended up being so beautiful in the long run, when we decorated the church with greenery, candles, lanterns and wood pieces. Everything about the ceremony turned out to be absolutely perfect!

4} What made planning so special to you?

You've heard the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child"? Well, with our wedding, I would say that our "village" really stepped in and helped make things happen. I really loved all the time I got to spend with my mom working on things to prepare for the wedding. We had a lot of people at our wedding and a pretty strict budget, so it was important to make really wise decisions with anything from decor, to flowers, to accessories. We had a lot of fun Goodwill hunting and bargain shopping over the course of the year that Matt & I were engaged! My dad and brother were also such troopers throughout the wedding planning process; wedding decor literally took over our entire house for a whole year! There are also so many people who spent time with us doing a variety of different things, from helping us prepare for married life, to crafting with us, to directing choirs for the wedding, to helping us decorate, to coordinating the entire event. I am forever indebted to so many kind people who pitched in to make our wedding day so special. I could never say thank you enough to Codie Haddon, Charles Nelson, Kellie Paige, Tony Martin, Brian McCollum, Denise Cornett, Chris McMahon, my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, and so many more people who gave so graciously of their time, resources and energy. My heart swells with gratitude just thinking about it!

These photos by Callie Murray of Achor & Eden are so beautiful. Today I'm just linking to their main page, and next week I'll link to the wedding album! 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tailgate Thursdays: Peanut Butter, Oreos + Pumpkin Spice!

I apologize for missing last weeks #SGGTailgateThursdays post. But this week I'm bringing you 3 delicious recipes.

Cake balls are still all the rage + I love it! I've been in the mood to bake this week + will be making several variations of these this weekend! These might be a little hard to transport to a football game, but if you can keep them in a cooler, then you're all set!

I remember having Buckeyes a few times as a kid + made them a few times in college. Y'all,  they're like Reese's - all peanut butter + chocolatey deliciousness! 

One of my roommates in college {Sydney!} was a pro at making Oreo truffles! After we graduated,  I was so happy that one of my co-workers {Jessica!} was great at making them as well. Here's to hoping mine turn out just as great! 
{you can coat these in semi-sweet or white chocolate, depending on the look that you want}

The last flavor that I'm going to attempt this weekend is Mix and Match Mama's Pumpkin Pie Cake Balls. I made these last year for a shower + then left them in the freezer way too long, so we didn't get to try them. I'm not the biggest pumpkin fan, but I think I can handle these little guys + besides, is it really Fall without a little pumpkin? Maybe mine will even look as cute :-)

Anyone want to come over + bake with me this weekend or just come to eat?

Don't forget to share your recipes today so you can be featured this season!

Last weekend, I got to go to the UGA USCarolina game with my brothers! Boy, I am so thankful my parents had an extra ticket, because it was a great game for us Dawgs! My big brother has pretty much taught me everything I know about sports, so it was fun to be there with both he + my younger brother + our cousins. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Matt + Abbey - The Engagement

This is another "grab the tissues" engagement story, because its just so SWEET!
Also, in case anyone was wondering, the answer is "yes", Abbey's hair always looks like perfection. 

1} When + where did Matt propose?

Matt proposed on January 3, 2014, at the House O' Dreams at Berry College in Rome, Ga. It was a special place, because my mom's parents had both gone to school at Berry. Both worked at Berry to pay their way through school; my grandmother cooked cleaned and served many Berry guests and my grandfather worked at the Berry College dairy. At that time, I was working at the old Berry College Dairy barns, but they were no longer a dairy! They had been turned into a retreat center by the Cathy family, and is now known as WinShape Retreat. The House O' Dreams is a house that was built for the school's founder, Martha Berry, by the students at the school to celebrate its 25th anniversary. It's located at the top of a mountain, and it's not the kind of place you can "just go to". You have to plan a time, reserve a key, and be back down the mountain by a certain time. A caretaker lives there to ensure things are taken care of, and it was always my grandparents dream to become the caretakers of the house after they retired. My grandmother passed away before that dream was realized, but she is buried at a point on the hill at Oak Knoll Cemetery where you can see the House O' Dreams. We had always talked about going to see the House O' Dreams as a family, but we had never done it.

2} Did you have any idea that it was coming?

I knew it would be coming soon because we had discussed that I wanted to be engaged for at least a year to be able to plan and save for the wedding. However, I was completely blindsided by the date/location that it actually happened. He had really thrown me off! On Christmas day, my grandfather told us all that he wanted to go up to the House O' Dreams before everyone went back to school that January. We all talked and settled on going January 3. The more we talked about it, the more excited I got. I even talked to my mom about getting a photographer to come up and do family pictures at the House, since it would be a special day for Granddaddy to get to show us around the house. When we got home that night, I called Matt to ask him about going with us that day. I explained why going to the House was so important to me and why he needed to be sure he could come. But he told me he was having band practice that day for a CD he was recording, and that it was the only day the whole group could get together before school started. He even mentioned that a close friend of ours, who was in the band, was having her boyfriend's family leave vacation early so she could be at the practice. To say I was upset would be an understatement! I spent about 20 minutes crying on the phone, and we ended the conversation on a pretty sour note. I just couldn't understand why he couldn't see how important this day was to me! Little did I know....! Matt would tell you that that night was incredibly hard for him because I was so upset. His mom, sister and my mom were having to repeatedly encourage him to stay strong and push on with the plan. I didn't make it easy for him!

3} I'm telling everyone to have the tissues ready, so tell us how he proposed!

On the day of January 3, I spent most of the day at work until my parents came to meet up with me around 3. It was a freezing cold day, but I was so excited to go to the House O' Dreams I didn't care! Once our whole family had arrived, we started taking some family pictures on the beautiful grounds around the house. From the House, you could look out and see the cemetery where Granny is buried, and that was really special. When we finished outside photos, we went inside to look around the house and to let Granddaddy tell us stories. My cousin Bailey and I went straight for the old books on the bookshelves, as it is a tradition for girls to leave notes behind for their future husbands in the books. After a short time, Granddaddy told us he wanted to show us around the house. My brother, Brock, came with us as we walked through the house, and Granddaddy showed us different things that Granny had done in the house when she worked there. As we headed up the stairs, he showed us rooms used to entertain guests, then, off to the right (and much to my surprise) was a little sun room of sorts and Matt was standing in it! He brought me to the room with him and Granddaddy & Brock disappeared. Stephanie, our photographer, had sneakily gone upstairs without me seeing and captured the whole thing. Matt also had video cameras setup to record the proposal. As we entered the room, he gave me a rose and had me sit down next to him. He pulled out his guitar and played a song for me he had written specifically for the proposal. It was such a beautiful song - probably one of my favorites he has written for me - and it walked through some of our story. After the song, he read me a letter he had written. it was perfect; it brought in elements and analogies from the Chronicles of Narnia and Pilgrim's Progress, which are both special to us. At the conclusion of the letter, Matt got down on one knee, opened a ring box and said those four magic words - "Will you marry me?" I was crying SO hard at this point that I could barely speak! He slipped the ring onto my finger and picked me up in a huge hug. Finally, I managed to say, "Of course!"

4} What was the first thing you did right after the engagement?

Right afterwards, we went downstairs to greet our family. I didn't know that Matt's mom & sister were there, too! After a few more pictures at Berry, we headed back to Cartersville. My mom encouraged us to stop by another set of my grandparents', Mama Gail and Pops, to show them the ring. Soon after we arrived, I realized that all of my family and several of my closest friends were there! It was such a fun night and so special to get to celebrate with everyone that night!

Matt, I doubt you're reading this, but ahhh how romantic!!! This just fit Abbey so well + that made it even more perfect. 

If you think the proposal photos are great, wait until you see engagement photos, next week!

All photos by Stephanie Anne Godfrey.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Love Story #4 - Matt + Abbey Tillman

I'm excited to introduce y'all to this next couple! Just look at this photo - how adorable!!! Abbey + I met during her freshman year at UGA. She shared the sweetest memory from their wedding on Facebook recently + my roommate said "you HAVE to see if Abbey will share on your blog!" So here is the first part of Matt + Abbey's story! 

1} How did you + Matt meet?

As crazy as it sounds, Matt and I met through his mom through a program she and I were both involved with called Distinguished Young Women. Right before we both left for college in 2009, I was over at her house for a pool party with a group of girls, and she and I sat and talked, she said, "You have got to meet my son!" A few days later, I met Matt for the first time. As he'll tell you, he thought I was pretty, but also a weird theater girl that he probably didn't have much in common with. We maintained a friendship for the next two years, where we would see each other here and there at Distinguished Young Women or when I would come for a visit at Georgia Tech to see my best friend. It wasn't until two years later, at the same pool party, that I stayed late to hang out and talk with him and his mom that he finally saw the light :) I think it was because I mentioned that I loved David Platt!

2} Tell us about y'all's first date.

As I was driving home from the pool party in 2011, I got a phone call from Matt. I assumed he was calling to say, "Mom wants you to let me know when you get home!" Turns out, he was calling to ask me to go to a Christian movie screening with him and his pastor and his pastor's wife (Kevin & Charity) the next day. He made it sound like his mom was planning to go and couldn't go anymore, so he asked if I would fill in. I easily said yes, assuming it would just be a fun evening with a friend, definitely not thinking it would be anything else. Little did I know he told his pastor that afternoon before the movie, "I think I am going to marry this girl!" After the movie that night (which wasn't so great), we all went to Chili's for dinner, where Kevin & Charity asked me lots and lots of questions! At this point, I still didn't realize it was a real date. However, after dinner as Matt & I got back in the car, he started asking me some really intense questions, like "What's your biggest passion" and "What's your biggest spiritual insecurity", to name a few! The longer we talked, the more I realized that this was not just hanging out with a friend. As we talked about life, I realized that I had just experienced my last first date. And the rest is history!

3}  What is your funniest memory together?

For our first Christmas together, I made him a book of dates for us to go on. One of them was to visit a bookstore and sit and read children's books! It turned out to be one of the funniest and best dates we ever had! We fell in love with Mo Willems books and had an absolute ball reading Elephant and Piggie books out loud in the children's section. I'm pretty sure there were groups of kids gathering around to listen. We've enjoyed starting our children's book collection with Elephant and Piggie books...and we really enjoy sitting and reading them at home, now!

4} What has been your favorite date?

One of the memories that is closest to my heart is the day that Matt asked me to "officially" be in a relationship with him. He picked me up from my best friend's apartment at Georgia Tech, and presented me with a single rose. We enjoyed a delicious southern dinner at Pitty Pat's Porch (Gone with the Wind is one of my favorites!), then followed it up with a walk to Piedmont Park. We found a really pretty spot on a pier to sit down, and Matt began to talk about the rose he'd given me earlier in the evening. He used the rose as a symbol of our relationship, starting out new, fresh and beautiful. For most, when the newness wears off, the rose is discarded and forgotten, just as often relationships are often discarded once the newness wears off. "But your'e different," he said, "because you treasure the dead rose." And, indeed, I have always loved to keep my old flowers. He asked me to keep the rose and treasure it always, appreciating the antique of it more and more as the days go by. That sweet old dead rose will always be held close to my heart as I remember the beauty of the beginning and the joy of the days since.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Tailgate Thursdays: Puppy Chow

I'm on vacation this week, but still wanted to share a tailgate recipe with you.

Puppy Chow, White Trash, Mud Buddies - it goes by several different names, but it's so good. 
Some people add peanuts or pretzels to the recipe, but I like to stick to the basics. 

I hope you're all having a great week! 

I'm enjoying some much needed time back in South Carolina with my family. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Introducing Tailgate Thursdays!

Y'all football season is officially here!! Which means lots of tailgating + yummy food! I'll be sharing YOUR recipes on the blog + will feature you + your tailgate! Submit your recipes today!

10 years ago, this would not have excited me the way it does now. The only thing I liked about football back then, was being in Athens, Ga with my family {or sleeping in at home} and having a quiet house while all the uncles + boy cousins were off at the game. Tailgating? Never. I intentionally didn't go to late games, because I didn't want to tailgate ALL day. 

Fast forward to fall of 2008, UGA was ranked #1 in the nation + we were crowning the new Uga, so of course I was in the gates early + ready for my first game as a student.  One year, I only had 2 hours of sleep {after being in the ER with my roommates} before I got up to tailgate for a NIGHT game, and no, alcohol had nothing to do with it. It was just my new found love for tailgating and football. Oh, and I only missed 2 home football games my entire time at UGA.

I'll be sharing more memories as the season goes on, but for now, enjoy these pictures from freshman year!
We had to wait in Stegeman to get these pretty little pieces of paper! 

Our first game as students!! 

So you've been seeing + reading about #SGGTailgateThursdays + now its finally here! Today I'm sharing two fairly quick + easy recipes to get you read for this weekend.

1} Grandaddy's Dip. 

This is really just your basic French Onion dip, but after my grandpa passed away in 2008, my youngest cousins kept asking if we were still going to have "Granddaddy's dip". The answer is yes, forever + always. I can't even begin to count the amount of sour cream + soup mix the Stiles Family has consumed over the years {note: a gathering of 25-30 is typical for us}.

This one is super easy.

- 1 box of Lipton Onion mix {2 packets inside}
*also I don't typically get the "golden onion one"
- 2 16oz Sour Cream
*or you can substitute for the same amount of greek yogurt to make it healthier! Still tastes great!

-Mix well. 

We love dipping Ruffles into this dip, but you can also do pretzels, or anything really. 
See, simple + easy! 

2} Roasted Chick Peas

I saw this next recipe on someone's Facebook last year + had to try it. I love most anything that has a crunch, + chick peas are essentially little protein balls right?

I loosely follow the recipe from AllRecipes.  

Rinse + blot dry! 
They will have some skin that falls off + that's okay. No need to peel it off each one. 

I only use a little bit of olive oil {less than the recipe calls for} + garlic salt. 
Use whatever spices + seasonings you love - the possibilities are endless!!

Pre-heat oven to 450*
Place them in + watch them roast! 
I like mine super crunchy, so I suggest 45-55min. 
But watch them, because they will burn! 

This is just one can of peas but I typically make at least two cans.
I almost ate this whole batch, and they'll go quickly in a group once everyone tries them the first time! 

I'd love to share YOUR favorite tailgating recipes! Would you send them to me? I'll feature you + your recipes on the blog! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September Goals

Did you see the teaser for this post on my Facebook page last night? No, well follow me on Facebook to keep up with these little updates!

One blogger I follow, The Mix and Match Mama, writes a post each month about her goals for that month, and then she reviews them at the end to see if she's met them. 

So I've decided to join in with my September goals! 

Ready, Set, Goals...
{how cute is this notepad my Mama got me?! Perfect for this time of year!}

1} Turn Maxine the Mac off at 9:30p

-this will allow me to get in bed earlier, lay out clothes the night before, pack my many things I want to do

2} Read 2 New Books

-I keep trying to read Pride & Prejudice so I promise to finish it this month!
-the other book I plan on reading is over on my Instagram

3} Run/walk 2-3x a week

-I just need to exercise a lot more, so I'm starting out a little at a time

4} Set + implement a real personal budget, not just in my head

-Y'all Christmas is coming, and its better to save up now than to go into debt later!

5} Get back to memorizing Scripture

-You may have noticed that I haven't posted at all for my Scripture Journey in months. Its time to start that up again!

6} Attend or tailgate one UGA game

-Football season is here!! Tomorrow I am starting #SGGTailgateThursdays. I'll be sharing a few quick + easy recipes, plus some favorite tailgating memories. Want to be a part of next week's #SGGTailgateThursdays? Click here to fill out this form !

7}Enjoy vacation!

I'm taking a vacation for the first time in over a year next week! Not from blogging, but from work. I couldn't be more excited :-) 

So there they are! They shouldn't be too complicated, but with my past record, they should be challenging enough for me! 

Do you have any new goals for the month?