Tuesday, October 25, 2016

You're Welcome Here

October is one of my favorite times of the year. Although leaves are technically dying, to me, Fall represents warmth, homeyness, and yes, change. I'm not the best at handling change, so let's stick with the first two :-)

Over the past few years, and even more so the past few months, I've come to truly realize how important community is in my life. I think I've always known it, but since officially moving away from home, it's finally hit...home...with me. (Lol, see what I did there?!) I've been apart of some amazing communities in my life, some that have come and gone, some that are still around, and some new ones that are beginning to flourish. As I begin to think on this new Fall season and what that means for community, I've decided that this will be my new mantra for life.

Being the "middle" child, I've felt left out a time or two. I'm mostly to blame for that as I was more a book nerd than an athlete like my siblings. Most of the times in my life that I've felt left out or unwelcome, it's been unintentional or all made up in my head, but that doesn't mean the feelings weren't there. The others were intentional, I'm looking at you siblings and that time I came home from my one summer camp adventure in 5th grade and no one would tell me the card trick y'all learned that week...see how long that sticks with someone?

One of those areas that I feel sometimes left out of is the relationship side of life. It's no secret that my dating life is and has been non-existent for, oh, ever. Now, this isn't a "oh I'm so sad about that" post, because although there are many days I feel that way, this will be more about how I'm choosing embrace it. It's true what they say, "this is the most time you'll ever have in your life to do what you want". I know, because I see it all around me. So I've decided to make my life more about community now than ever before. I'm burning the candle. I'm still working out what that actively looks like, but I want those who meet me to know that they are always welcome here in my life. Calls, texts, brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee, ice-cream, movies - you name it. I rarely say 'no' to hanging out with people anyway, but I want to be intentional and open with my friendships. So,

Hey You, You're Welcome Here. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Life Lately

Wow! A lot has happened since I last blogged. So here's a quick update... (sorry, no photos) 

1. I quit my job at the real estate office to pursue my social media virtual company full time in August. It has been a busy and exciting and nerve-wracking few months. Last year as I planned and launched my wedding planning company, I learned so much about the social media side of running an online business. Since the wedding thing didn't take off quite like I had hoped, I decided to put my social media knowledge to use and became a virtual assistant in March. Funny, both ideas, My Bridal Bestie, and The Social Walker hit me on February 13th of each year..the day before my birthday. Birthday crisis? haha, maybe!

My company has grown from 1 client to over 10 and I love what I do now. Some days I can't believe that people are paying me to do this, but I know it is impacting their business and relieves so much stress for them. 

2. I am still working at BHLDN (Anthropologie's Bridal Store) and I love it so much! Mom and I have always dreamed of opening our own bridal store one day, so I thought I should get some experience first. My bosses and coworkers there make it so much fun to go into work and I just love being around them! I always wondered if I would actually like working with brides and their maids, and honestly, I do. Of course there are some stressful days, but seeing how excited a bride gets when all the looks and colors comes together makes it worth it. So Mom, if you're reading this, let's still open our store one day! 

3. I'm an aunt again!! My sister had a little girl this time and I couldn't be more in love! My nephew is the cutest little guy on the planet and such a great big brother. I'm looking forward to the holidays when I can spend as much time with them as possible! 

Now that I work from home, I'm getting a little bit more into a routine with client work and BHLDN hours. I'm going to be carving out some time to blog here more as well. I really miss blogging for myself and getting my thoughts out of my head - working from home most of the day means I mainly talk to myself or the dog...so maybe I should apologize now for all the future posts. haha! 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Updates and Confessions

Heyyy...*waving awkwardly to the old acquaintances that I haven't seen in a while*

Where to start? An apology - I just check the page views and am still blown away by the viewers of this blog when I haven't even updated. So to you, I apologize for leaving you for a little bit. And I thank you for sticking around!

This post could get long, but if it does, I'll try to separate it into a few posts!

My day job has been a bit overwhelming the past few months. I've had some supervisors transfer out and a partial promotion which makes a lot more work but also has been majorly growing me and testing me. Discontentment at work can allow for discontentment to creep in to our/my life in other ways or we can choose to flip it around and allow it to teach us...for many weeks I chose to remain frustrated and discontent with things. Which leads to grumbling and complaining. (more on this in another post!)

Most of you know that last year I decided to start a wedding planning business - My Bridal Bestie. I spent months learning how to grow an online business, plan marketing strategies for social media, and learned all about starting a business. Most of what I learned I wanted to implement for my own business, but I've been able to use it to help the real estate agents I work with. I had always heard that if you wanted to start a blog or a business start with this - "what are others always asking you about?". Well, last year it was about weddings - now it's about social media for RE and other small businesses. At first I was hesitant because MBB seemed to be still in the start-up business, so how could I really be acting as a sort of expert?

Well, I don't know, but now I'm changing my game up. It was hard to start another business or hobby when the first one seemed to fail, but that's one thing I'm learning...sometimes we start and we stop, we change directions, or we restart on the same path. And y'all - That's okay. I am doing nothing that I thought I would be doing 4 years ago when I graduated college or 4 years before that when I graduated high school...and that's okay. For years, I wouldn't let myself believe that or rest in that. But I'm learning this..."I will hold myself to a standard of Grace not perfection" {Emily Ley}

I'll share a bit more about what I'm doing in my spare time (other than Braves games and working for BHLDN - a beautiful wedding dress store) when I am ready to announce this next venture.

But please remember, nothing we do has to be a lifelong job...His plan for us may not look like we hoped it would or assumed it would, but He will always be there to help guide us and teach us and give us a better attitude about the situation (another thing I'm learning!).

If any of this resonates with you, I'd love to hear about it! Comment below or email me directly alliedanae@southerngritsandgraces.com

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Derby Day 2016

One of my most favorite days is almost here! 

The 142nd Kentucky Derby will occur on Saturday, May 7th. I can't tell you the last time I missed watching this, but unfortunately this year, I won't be around a tv when it starts.

If you aren't familiar with the Derby, I want to give you a quick run down of what all the Derby entails & info I learned when I visited the track one summer. 

1. The Kentucky Derby is the most prestigious horse race, and is the first in a 3 race series dubbed 
"The Triple Crown". 

2. The other two are the Belmont and the Preakness

3. LAST YEAR!! - We had a Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah! I never thought I'd see one in my day. Okay, maybe one day. There had not been a Triple Crown Winner since 1978. 

4. Its always the first Saturday in May at the historic "Churchill Downs" or "Between the Spires".

5. It is a very fashionable event (see my picks below!)

6. Everyone sings "My Ole Kentucky Home" and drinks Mint Juleps. 

7. The winner gets a "Garland of Roses" for the horse. 

8. Horse riders are called jockeys. 

9. The purse or winnings for the Derby are actually not the highest in the world, but according to the tour we took, that doesn't really matter. If you win the largest purse at some other race, but never have a horse in the Derby....eh, congrats on winning lots of money...? 

10. Placing bets at the Derby is almost a rule, not just an option.

11. Coverage starts around 12p EST with all the back stories, which to me is just as fascinating as the 2 minute-ish race that happens later in the afternoon. Watching those horses run is beautiful. 

Now for a few dresses I recommend for your Derby party
A few from my favorite - LOFT, and some from a new love - Dress Up. 
(None of these are affiliate links)

1. Jardin Henley (LOFT)

2. Ladder Lace (LOFT)

3. Eyelet Stripe (LOFT)

4. Desert Island Dress (Dress Up) 

5. Modest Magnolia (Dress Up)

6. Magnolia Blossoms (Dress Up) 

7. Floral Romance (Dress Up)

8. Bow the Distance - Magenta (Dress Up)

9. Southern Summer (Dress Up)

I could go on and on with everything I know about the Derby, Churchill Downs, and the amazing history behind it all. But I recommend tuning in on Saturday and you'll get enough information from the experts. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Hello, from the Other Side...

...but now I'm back on this side!

I've always wanted to go to Seattle + my roommate suggested we go while our friends live out there. So in January, we picked a weekend + booked our tickets. I guess this is another item to check off the list - just picking a city + going. The morning we left seriously felt like Christmas morning :-) 

Y'all - I love New York for so many reasons, but I think Seattle might be coming in a close second! I have the prettiest Hunter rain boots, so If I ever move out there (probs not) I'll have that covered. It has the big city lights, but also has a small town feel. From what I learned, its divided into all these neighborhoods that are about 10-15 minutes apart and they all feel like little towns. 

Prepare for a lot of photos! 


Clearly I need to clean this mirror, but I bought this kimono the night before the flight. I love it! 

Flying into Seattle!!

These photos do not do it justice, but it was a beautiful day for Seattle in February :-) 

The Space Needle! (you can barely see it in the background of the groupie)

See it even looks great with a white shirt! 

They were giving out free candy at the grocery...J loves Starbursts as much as I love Starbucks.

"City lights are my love language"
That first night, our friends took us to this amazing look-out spot. 

Cider houses are necessary. 


The Public Market!
This is one of the main things Seattle is famous for + it was a typical rainy Seattle day.

 Rows and rows of fresh flowers, handmade items, + lots of seafood. They even do a fish throw at one of the booths!

Still in shock we were here! 

Beecher's cheese came highly recommended by friends - their grilled cheese was delicious. 

Mini donuts? Yes please! 
Maple Bacon? ehh not as great as it sounds. 

The gum wall. 

Y'all...... the FIRST Starbucks. 
It seemed we got to every restaurant right before the lines got long :-)

Oh, Pike Place Market, I'll be back! 

 Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners Baseball) + Century Link Field (Seattle Seahawks Football)

I love baseball! 

When the big bro recommends a beer + your friend takes you there, a picture is necessary. 
A Manny from Georgetown Brewing (I think) 

DAY THREE - Hello, Oregon! 

I mean, how beautiful is this {3 hour} drive?

Astoria, Oregon.
Home of the Goonies! 
{Confession: I've never seen that movie, but stop by the visitor center and the lady can give you all the info on the town!}

I think this is in the movie?

Oh this view! 

So many cool mosaics on this Tower! 

Perfect River views. 


Pano from the top. 

I love these people. 

Old wharf

Love this friend! Thanks for letting us crash at your place! 

So, I ordered clam chowder, because you know, we were on the coast. My friends told me it wouldn't be as good as the East Coast...and it was not as good as I hoped, but it was still delicious. 
*the crackers were even labeled as from the EC! haha joke on me. 

Seriously, this place was gorgeous! Such a cute coastal town. 

The look of spending 12 hours with too many girls. 

We found the coast! 

You can drive on these beaches. 

A guy named Peter ran his boat ashore + was told the tide would take him back out. 
Clearly it did not. 

*insert Adele song lyrics here*

photo cred: JCadleP

So thankful for time & adventures with these friends!

That sunset, though! 
Thanks for driving & putting up with us

Sunset sideviews. 

 Skyline lovin'

Sunday morning brunch + double coffee. 
If you go to Seattle, go to Wandering Goose! 

I miss you already! 

Last Starbucks in the Emerald City! 

Thanks for hanging around to view my trip! 
Have you been to Seattle? What were / are your favorite places?