Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jumpin' the Broom ....New Orleans Style !

Just thought I would dust off the blog before the years end. It has been a whirlwind for me since the wedding. With no more planning to do, I have been focused on all of the other things around here that took a backseat to the big day.

In November we traveled to my hometown for Thanksgiving to spend time with my family. We did our annual Turkey Trot & dinner at my Aunt's home. We just got back from Charleston, SC for the Christmas holiday with my husbands family. There were so excited to see us, as they did not expect to see us so soon, since we just finished paying for the wedding 2 months ago. We had a wonderful time & I truly hated to leave. I had some type of seafood (shrimp, crab cakes, salmon, stuffed flounder, fried soft shell crab) & grits every.single.day ! LOL Man, I was in heaven.

As I reflect on the end of 2013, I am SO VERY GRATEFUL for all of His grace & blessings in my life, most importantly an awesome husband who treats me like a treasure. I am so happy to be standing in the middle of His will for my life. We had the most wonderful destination wedding surrounded by our family & closest friends. We made some beautiful memories to last a lifetime for sure.

Here is the link to our photographers website with some photos from our special day.....

Thoughts ?  Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Friday, November 15, 2013

We've Been Blogged !

The title of the email was " Coming Soon" I opened it up and to my delight found the following message.....

I have been trying my best to be patient with our vendors (photographer and videographer) since the wedding, because I don't want to rush them. We want them to take their time and do a great job right ? LOL 

But I was super excited to see this little clip on their website. It's pretty short but we are happy with it & can't wait to see the final product.

They were literally the LAST vendor we hired- about 4 weeks before the wedding & it seems as though we picked a great company. Honestly, we were running out of money in the budget & I had to put my sad eyes on the hubs to express how important this would be in the future & I am soooo glad I did ! I am very impressed with the editing, especially the vintage black & white effect in the courtyard. I am so glad that my hubby was willing to stretch the budget in the final weeks &  after seeing this clip, he admitted to me that he was glad I put the squeeze on him too ! LOL

Thoughts ?

Comments ?

Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Our Wedding Second Line !

One of the most exciting elements of our wedding was something that we had both been very much looking forward to..... a Second Line. This is a New Orleans Wedding Tradition & we always knew we would have one from the day we decided where we were going to get married.

My husband and I are music fanatics. He is a huge jazz fan, more-so than me, and has exposed me to so much music that is new to me since we have been together. The love of music is one of many things we have in common. I have been traveling to New Orleans, at least once a year for the last 15 years and since we have been together, we have been numerous times. We love the city, the culture, the food, the music, the people. We just can't get enough of it.

Our wedding was 100% destination. None of our wedding guests live in New Orleans & everyone had to travel there. Now we did have about 5 guests that are Louisiana natives, but the large majority of our 130 guests just weren't  aware of this tradition.  They came from all over.... Charleston, New York, Baltimore, Atlanta, Oklahoma & Texas. We decided months ago to keep it a surprise. What that meant was that we did not tell anyone other than the wedding party & they did not find out until the day before the wedding at the rehearsal. We didn't put anything about it on our wedding website & I knew that waiting until the day before the wedding was the best time to tell the bridal party was the right call. I did tell my sister about 2 months before, but only her & I swore her to secrecy. I still remember the look on their faces at rehearsal when our wedding planner explained it to them & what was going to happen. Everyone was so excited ! We told them that people in the Quarter would join in the parade, take pictures, etc, but honestly, they were not ready for response we got on wedding day LOL.

Our ceremony & reception were both in the heart of the  French Quarter just six blocks apart. After the ceremony the planner passed out flip flops for the ladies  and our monogrammed handkerchiefs to waive in the air. The hubby & I grabbed our umbrellas, white for me and black for him. When the Smitty Dee's Brass Band showed up it was on ! They started out with one of our favorite Second Line songs " Feel Like Funkin' it Up" . If you have ever watched the HBO show Treme, then you are probably familiar with the song. Here it is on You Tube...

When I tell you we had a ball, we did that !  I wish I could post the videos my cousin put on his facebook page to the blog, but because they are not public, FB won't let me embed the link here.  Me & my hubby were jamming in the French Quarter, ya heard ? LOL When we arrived at the reception venue, they closed it out with " Do What You Wanna" another favorite Second Line song of ours. It was perfection ! Our families and friends were sooooo hyped & excited, having a ball, while people on the street were taking their pictures, filming them & even joining in the parade & dancing in the street with us !  We had a police escort and the traffic was blocked off just for us. This is just what they do in New Orleans.

**** Small world story
About 5 days after the wedding my husbands dad gets a call from a friend who lives in Atlanta, who he doesn't talk to often(My husbands dad & aunts went to college there & have lifelong friends who live there). Someone had filmed footage from our Second Line Parade & was showing it to some friends, just to say, " Hey we were in New Orleans this weekend, look at this cool wedding parade we saw" type of thing.  The person that they were showing the video to (a friend of my husbands dad) recognized my husbands Aunt's who were dancing in the second line & called his dad to say, hey did someone in your family get married in New Orleans, I saw your sisters on a video & his dad said yes, my son just last weekend. LOL .....

Then a week after that one of my bridesmaids sends me this link that her husband found on You Tube, I have no idea HOW he found this but it is random footage filmed by an unknown person of OUR ACTUAL WEDDING SECOND LINE ! It seems as though they were filming it from their car.

The clip is very short, but if you look closely you can see me and my husband coming around the corner, jammin ! You can hear our guests screaming ! LOL  I love it. This just made me smile & relive the moment all over again.

I love NOLA !

Thoughts ?

Comments ?

Questions ?

Beautifully Complex 

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Perfect Day !

They say when it rains on your wedding day, that it means good luck.....well, I don't know too much about luck but we were blessed to have the perfect wedding day. We were in New Orleans 5 days before the wedding & it did not pour down rain until the day of our wedding !  I woke up to the sound of rain, panicked for about 10 minutes, thinking of our outdoor ceremony in a French courtyard ARRRRGH ! Then I got down on my knees for some prayer time, took a deep breath, decided it was going to be a wonderful day  & suddenly had the peace that it would all be fine & it most certainly was.

I am still waiting on my professional photos to come back, but wanted to go ahead & share a few that I have now. I will try to blog about some of the pre-wedding festivities later this week, in the meantime. I don't want to bore you, but we are still super-excited about our big day so I will do my best to not drag these wedding posts out for too long, LOL

Here is a photo of me about 10 minutes before walking down the aisle. While the procession got started, they hid me out alone in an art gallery next door to our ceremony venue. It's called the Hemmerling Gallery of Southern Art & if you are ever in New Orleans please be sure to check it out.

Earlier in the week, I did a Bridal Shoot with a photographer that I met via Facebook. I actually entered & won a Valentine's Day Contest way back in February, that she had on her page to promote her business. She was super sweet and very talented with an artists eye. She was very generous with her time &  spent about and hour & half with me and my sister & even helped my sister figure out how to get me in my wedding dress, which was good practice for the big day.  Here are some of the photos she took....

I love the New Orleans Gas Lamps and the Ivy....

This was taken in the kitchen under the spotlight.

We actually did the photo shoot at the house we rented for our wedding week in New Orleans. We initially had plans to go to City Park, but when the Photographer saw the back yard & the house, we decided to save some time & shoot right there. I had such a fun time. You only get to wear your dress for just a few hours on your wedding day, so it was fun to do a pre-wedding trial run. If you know someone looking for photography in New Orleans,  her website is Renaissance Photo NOLA.

Thoughts ?


Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Monday, October 14, 2013

End of the Engagment

Well, Blogland, my sister arrived last night. She, myself and one of my other Bridesmaids polished off 2 bottles of wine, so it looks like this week is off to a great start ! LOL

By the time I post again on this blog, I plan to be hitched. So this is technically ......... the end of the engagement.  I have honestly enjoyed a lot of this wedding planning & I am so excited to see everything come together this week. I will be back to share after the weddinging/honeymoon & a nice little break.

Just wanted to share a few of our engagement pics that were taken a few months ago.

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wedding Week Randoms !

Well I am in the single digits baby !  I am literally a week away from the big day. I have a little nervous excitement and am just anxious for the day to get here. My mind is all over the place, here are some randoms.....

  • My sister is flying to Houston this weekend so she can ride to New Orleans with us. She has been the biggest help in this planning process. I am so excited about spending some alone adult time with here. It has been a long time since we have done that.

  • I go pick up my wedding dress today at lunch time.  Insert huge smile :)

  • I have promised him that our wedding will start on time. He is a stickler for time & I on the other hand am not. LOL But I do know that even if those other chicks are not ready, I will be & I will be on time ! Believe that.

  • I really love the website, The Knot. It is an awesome resource. It has helped me with so much of my planning. I must admit that I did get wedding fever that I did not expect. I got pulled in, I don't really regret it just want to acknowledge it. LOL I see how weddings have become such big business.

  • I can also admit a little wedding planning fatigue these last couple of weeks. I am ready to get it done. I do want the day to be special & I hope that everything we have planned is enjoyable and meaningful to our guests who are traveling so far.But I am so ready to be finished & married and honeymooning.

  • Speaking of honeymoon. We are going to Destin, Florida. They have some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. (If you are curious, Google some images). We discovered it on a whim on our trip to Florida 2 years ago & decided to head over there for a few days after we leave New Orleans.

  • My former Pastor is flying to New Orleans to marry us.  I adore he and his wonderful wife and so appreciate all they have done for me. This is the Pastor under whom I grew the most spiritually. I met them over 15 years ago when I first moved to Texas. They sent us a marriage workbook that he wrote & uses to counsel couples. We had to read and answer questions.  They even coordinated our pre-marital counseling meetings around his busy schedule and we met in Houston a couple of times for sessions with them both. 

  • We just  found out  this week that one of my loves Uncles and one of my Aunts are not going to make it to the wedding due to some health issues that have arisen. This is AFTER flights have been booked & rooms are paid for. We are so very disappointed, worried and concerned all rolled into one.  Our families are worried too because all of their siblings respectively are going to be in New Orleans this coming week, while they are having procedures and recovering, so it is very tenuous, scary & stressful. I am trying to just pray & not worry. Please pray for my family & for traveling grace.

  • I just decided last week that I am taking an extra week of vacation,so this has been hell week trying to get my desk prepared for someone else to take over. But I have promised myself to let it go after today & not worry. Whatever is undone will be handled. Period. Boy am I looking forward to this huge break from work.

What is going on random with you ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Art of Love

A couple of weeks ago, my friends in Houston came out to help me celebrate my upcoming wedding. My wonderful Bridesmaids who live here, hosted me and several friends at Pinot's Palette.  I was super excited as this is a place I have literally been trying to go to for almost 3 years !

My lovely Bridesmaid

Me & my cousin

Painting with a purpose

The theme of the shower was, " The Art of Love" and I must say I truly felt loved on this day. I have wonderful friends who care for me.  The two Bridesmaids who hosted brought a nice spread of food, decorated the place and paid the fee for all of my guests to paint. My guests bought plenty of wine for us to share & I got some lovely gifts that I will enjoy on my honeymoon.  I ended up putting my painting up in my utility room. It really looks nice there.

A nice spread

My beautiful hostesses !

Having a blast

We had a really cool instructor who was funny & cool. As the wine flowed, we got a little rowdy and a little risqué and she hung right in there with us. We got to bring in our own music, so you know it was going down ! We had a nice little private party.

Me & another girlfriend

Yummy Cupcake- Wedding Cake Flavor

I was giving her tips on the technique

The finished product !

More good friends !

Showing off our artistic talent

Of course all of the Wineaux's in the house had to keep the party going !  We left there & because we were not ready to go home ended up at the Tasting Room & did some " Patio Parlaying "  into the early evening with more wine & more laughs. I had a very nice time.

Have you ever been to one of the paint & wine places popping up all over the country ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Perfect Gift

I really love creativity and well thought out gifts. When you can tell that someone went out of their way to do something tailored to you, it really means something.

Two of my Aunts got me the sweetest most thoughtful gift. The theme of the Bridal shower was " Recipe for Romance"

They bought me a beautiful Hope Chest filled with all kinds of  stuff.....

A frame with our "Save the Date" inside

Box full of Love !

A bag of poems

There was so much stuff that I didn't have time to go through it while at the shower, but when I got home & examined it more closely, I was very touched by their thoughtfulness.

All of my recipes for romance..............

The box was filled with a snuggle throw, champagne flutes, candles, chocolate, a bottle of champagne & a few extra surprises.....,

But the most touching thing was all of the poems and words of wisdom concerning marriage that they included in the multiple envelopes.

I know how to follow a recipe !

Heartfelt words from both my Aunts....

The last part was funny. I didn't get it at first. They referred to an ICE Pack & my imagination went wild. LOL What they were referring to was "In Case of Emergency " and all else fails........

HA ! It was a football & an nightie in the form of a referee shirt, an Officiant hat & a whistle to call a flag on the play ! LOL. My intended is a huge football fan, so this was a good joke as to how I could most definitely get his attention in the event of a crisis.

It was too cute.  I really appreciated all of the time & effort they put into creating  a gift that was meaningful that I will use for years to come.

Have you gotten any creative gifts lately ?

What is the best gift you ever received ?

What is the best gift you have ever given to someone ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Recipe for Romance ! * Photo Heavy *

Greetings my Blog Peeps !

I have been MIA, getting ready for the nuptials coming up in.....28 days !

My beautiful sister, along with a couple of my Bridesmaids hosted the most wonderful shower for me in my hometown last month. My little Sissy is super creative and I love her to life !

The invites read...

Help the Bride-to-Be learn to cook up the perfect "Recipe for Romance." Join us and the award-winning Chef Derek Nettle in the kitchen at the Venue 104 Bistro where he will teach us the fine art of making Italian cuisine. Please bring a gift for the Bride to help her and the Groom keep the romance alive.

Myself and 14 ladies had the most amazing day ! We had the entire restaurant for almost 4 hours. They set up one side with tables for us to partner up and cook & the other half of the restaurant was where we ate all the food that WE had prepared under the direction of the Chef.

We had such a great time. I am still getting emails & texts about what a unique, fun and non-traditional idea it was. My sister is the best. She and one of my other bridesmaids put it all together & I was totally blessed that day.   Here are some pics....

They were setting things up

I was focused !

My beautiful Bridesmaid

Even my mama learned something new !

My lovely sister, the creative one.

Trying to get it just right

We were teasing her because she NOT known for cooking

He was teaching me a trick !

On the menu was Panzanella Salad, spinach Stuffed Cannelloni, Classic Turkey Meatballs and for dessert, Butter Cake with Macerated Berries and Mascarpone. It was all delicious and we learned quite a few tips, tricks & techniques from the Chef & his Assistant.

We even made our own croûtons !

Yummy Dessert

My stepdaughter & her baby surprised me !

They were so hungry they forgot to take off their gloves LOL

By the look on her face, the romance gifts got a little spicy !

The Chef was funny & friendly !

Such a fun group !

It was a wonderful day, not soon to be forgotten. I was so appreciative & just happy to be in this place in my life.

What's the most original party idea you have ever experienced ?

Thoughts ?   Comments ?  Questions ?

Beautifully Complex