Friday, October 21, 2011

Engagement Pictures

Happy freaky friday, ya'll! :)

Time for a post I’m sure some of you have been waiting for…


Woooooie hoooooie.  

Isn’t this wedding stuff just so much fun!?

So, last Sunday afternoon, we were scheduled to have our engagement pictures taken by our wonderful photographers, Just Love Me Photography + Design.

We had been prepping for these pictures for a few days – trying to figure out what we were going to wear, how we were going to do our hair, what color was going on our nails…

Ok, so maybe that was just me. 

I did drag Justin out to Woodfield Mall on Saturday night to pick out a couple new things for the pictures, and he was such a good sport.  

I rewarded him with going to watch a bunch of college football afterwards ;) 

{I actually find it hilarious how much men hate shopping...hehe (I know, I'm bad)}

I decided last week that I should probably go have my hair and make-up done for the pictures.  I wasn't going to at first - but then I realized that, hey, this is kind of a big deal, people! 

So on Sunday morning, we had all of our clothes and everything (down to my earrings and socks!) laid out for the pictures, so we would pretty much be good to go. 

With that done, the only concern was the gross weather that was taking place outside!  It was cloudy, chilly, and RAINY all Sunday morning. 

So, I scurried off to the salon to get pretty with my fingers crossed things would clear up. 

I decided to go to the Mario Tricoci that is close-ish to our apartment, because it is really one of the only places open on Sundays, and I think those salons are usually a “safe bet.”

I wanted to have loose curls and some sort of make up to bring out my eye color, and Mario Tricoci definitely delivered.

I was very impressed with my hair stylist, Gina, and my makeup artist, Elle.   I would highly recommend them to anyone who lives in the Northwest Suburbs (the salon is in Arlington Heights).

After I was all primped, I came out of the salon to sunshine (yesss!), and went home to gather everything up to head out to Kline Creek Farm in Carol Stream.

I had previously spoken to one of our photographers, Jessi Cabanin, about our “vision” for the pictures.   

I didn’t give her a whole lot to go off of, just that we wanted something more “country,” than urban. 

Jessi suggested the farm, and I cannot even tell you how SPOT ON she was with this setting.

It had everything that we wanted – gorgeous fall colors, cornfields (we’re both from Indiana, and we’re getting married back there – so I thought cornfields would be fun!), and lots of other fun spots to shoot.

We had SO much fun taking our pictures.  

The session lasted just a little over 2 hours, and I think we got some amazing shots.  We did a good mix of serious/fun, modern/traditional pictures.  We had one outfit change and took pictures ALL over the farm (even with some GORGEOUS horses!).

I got to see just a couple of the pictures after they were taken by looking at our photographers’, (Jessi & Julie) cameras, and I GOT SO EXCITED.

After we left the farm, Justin & I decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants, Yardhouse, to watch the Bears game and have dinner. 

I was literally GLUED to my iPhone the whole dinner (sorry Justin!), anxiously awaiting the “sneek peaks” Just Love Me posts pretty quickly on Facebook.

One, by one, by ONE, they started coming!

This one captured exactly what I pictured for our photos - LOVE it. 

We did one outfit with IU colors - and one fall look in our wedding colors.

Thanks to Gina & Elle for the hair and make-up! :) 

I was giddy when I saw the pictures. 

I could not stop looking at them!  

The ones we have seen so far are so much more incredible than I think either of us could have imagined.

These ladies really know what they’re doing – they know all about the best lighting, the best angles, how to bring out amazing colors, and how to help you relax as a couple so that your relationship can be captured on camera.

I am so very happy and confident with our decision to use Just Love Me Photography & Design as our wedding photographers.   

I cannot wait to see the rest of our engagement pictures, and I am so excited to have them capture all of the amazing moments on our special day!

If anyone in the area is looking for a photographer for ANY reason, I highly recommend looking into Just Love Me Photography + Design



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Correction: All Things Fall

I need to issue my first ever correction (retraction just sounds way to formal).

These pumkins:

Are NOT from Michael's.

They are from Hobby Lobby.

Also an awesome place to get a bargain on seasonal decor.

However, I still stand by my statement about Michael's! :)

All Things Fall

Good afternoon, everyone!

Happy hump day! :)

If you know me, you know I love every little thing about fall.

The cooler-but-not-too-cold temps.

The pretty leaves.


The beginning of Chili-eating season.

Cute boots!

I mean really, I could go on & on!

So it's not surprising that it's kind of been an "all things fall" kind of week around here.

We finally got all of our fall decorations out (better late than never!), including these guys for our high-top table in the kitchen:

I picked these up on CRAZY sale at Michael's when I was out shopping with Justin's mom, Sherri, a couple of years ago. 

I'm pretty sure they were something like 50 to 75% off. 

Michael's is seriously the best place to go for seasonal decorations.  They have a great selection and always have sales/coupons to make things more affordable for us youngins! :)

I love the metallic detail on these pumpkins, and the "rustic" feel really goes with a lot of our other decor.

Also, I have been searching & searching for something decorative to fill a gigantor glass vase that sits on our dining room table. 

Finally, a bright, but probably not-so-creative idea came to my head:

Fill it with some fun & funky gourds! :) 

Ooooo...ahhh...Martha Stewart, watch out! ;)

Alright, I fully realize my amateur decor is not going to be found on Pintrest anytime soon, but it's a start for someone whose home decorating skills have pretty much consisted of picture frames and candles up until now.

I probably could have kept filling up the vase, but, hey, those gourds weren't cheap...

And I'd rather spend my hard-earned $$ on more important things, like:

An over-priced pumpkin exfoliating mask.  Smells just like pumpkin pie. 

Yes, please!! 

If you follow me on Twitter (if you don't you probably should, beyesbtales, holla!), you know that I had an insanely amazing facial on Monday night.  I picked up this mask to help me while I'm at home, and I am so excited to use it every week.

And finally, the most amazing fall thing of all:

Pumpkin Oats!


While you all know I am the queen of oats, I cannot take credit for this festive combo.

My wonderful friend Christina introduced me to the pumpkin oats, which go as follows:

Bowl of Oats (you all know I used my Quaker Weight Control Maple & Brown Sugar!)
Canned Pumpkin
Real Maple Syrup (Christina says you HAVE to use the real stuff - and I'm not going to argue, it's delicious!)

NUTS - I didn't have an walnuts, so I just used some granola with almonds on top.  I also added a spoonful of natural peanut butter for some more protein.

This combo was so yummy and warmed me right up on this dreary fall Chicago day.

**Something to talk about: What are your fall favorites?

Hope you all have a fantastic and happy and healthy day!



Saturday, October 15, 2011

Choosing Our Photographer

Early on, Justin & I sat down to talk about priorities for our wedding.

I had him list his "top 3" most important aspects.  I did the same.  Then we compared. 

Photography was on both of our lists. 

I think the thought we were both having was that once the big day comes to an end, pictures will be the best way to look back and remember all of the special moments.

The pictures from our wedding day will be in frames around our future home, and the homes of our families, for the rest of our lives.  

One of my best friends, Christina, is getting married in 2 weeks (TWO WEEKS!).

I was blown away when her engagement pictures came back, and just had to know who she used for photography. 

I loved the way the photographers captured the beautiful fall colors and how you could really see the excitement (and love!) on Christina & Matt's faces.  I could tell whoever was behind those pictures really put them at ease and helped them to relax so that their pictures came out so naturally. 

It had been in the back of my mind since seeing Christina's incredible engagement pictures that I hoped we would be able to use Just Love Me if and when we were in need of a great photographer for a wedding. 

I distinctly remember telling Christina that hope a while back, so you know one of the first contacts I made once we started planning was to Jessi Cabanin of Just Love Me.  

I set up a time to meet with Jessi back in August.  

Believe it or not, I actually scheduled a time to sit down with her before we even went to look at venues for the reception.  

I knew from talking with Christina that Just Love Me fills dates insanely fast.  So, since at that point we were super flexible on our date, I thought I would check in with them first. 

I'll admit, going into our meeting, I was a little pessimistic about the situation working out.  

Since we are having our wedding back in Indiana, and not in the Chicago-land area, I assumed there would be a hefty travel fee that would probably prevent us from using Just Love Me. 

Before I sat down with Jessi, I did some research on the "best" photographers in the South Bend area, to see the differences in pricing and how things would shake out if there was a travel fee. 

I will say I am pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced Just Love Me's packages are, given the quality of their work and the extremely high demand for their services.  

So, I guess you could just say I had my fingers crossed walking up to that Starbucks to meet with Jessi back in August, but I was trying very hard not to get my hopes up. 

When I met with Jessi, I could sense that she already knew that I was wondering about the travel fee, and that was one of the first items we got checked off the list.  

With the logistics of our wedding, no travel fee


I took a huge happy sip of my skivizzle (skinny vanilla latte), and got to chatting.  

I was instantly impressed by Jessi and knew that we just had to have her there for our big day.

Jessi is such a warm person, she is so so so creative and accommodating, and I knew she and Julie were going to do the absolute best job capturing every moment. 

Looking through a bunch more of Just Love Me's work and some fun products, like wedding albums and guest books, I was becoming more impressed and excited by the minute.  

We then got to talking about another biggy - the date. 

If you go back and read my story about how we chose our date, you will see that Just Love Me was, in fact, very booked already for next fall. 

Unfortunately, the date we were landing on (September 15) was originally already taken by another couple.

Just as I was preparing myself for disappointment, I heard back from Jessi that, miraculously, they had decided to go with another date. 

Wooo HOOO!

So, it was a match made in photography heaven.

We are SO excited to have Jessi & Julie of Just Love Me {Photography & Design} capture all of the amazing memories we have ahead. 

Stay tuned for a recap on our engagement session (scheduled for tomorrow, weather permitting!).  

Should be a blasty! :) 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Love is in the Air

Hi there! :)

Hope you all had a great day and are settling in for a relaxing Thursday night.

Justin & I headed out after work today to Lynfred Winery in Wheeling, IL to pick up a bunch of wine.

No, we are not throwing a party.

This visit was actually due to my procrastinating.

You see, I joined Lynfred's "wine club," which is super cool, but, of course, not as cool as my OTHER wine club.

In Lynfred's wine club, you give them your credit card/debit card information, and they charge you ahead of time for a bottle of the "wine of the month."  I believe you can specify what "types" of wine you like, or go for the variety and be surprised.

Technically, I'm supposed to go in each month to pick up my bottle of wine, but in case you haven't noticed, I've been just a little bit busy lately.

Anyway, Justin & I picked up 4 bottles (I apparently haven't been in since June?!?) and enjoyed a tasting.

On the way there, we saw something pretty cool...


I have never seen a double rainbow, so I was pretty excited.

We joked about how great the pot of gold at the end of THAT must be.

The funny thing is, I distinctly remember believing that there really was a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow when I was a kid, and I'm pretty sure my friends and I looked for it once.

Yep, I'm pretty cool.

Now, to get to the actual point of this post, I wanted to share the most amazing story with you all tonight, because it is just to darn cute to resist!

Today, my friend & sorority sister, Becca, was proposed to by her very sweet (now) fiance, Matt.

But, this was no average proposal, let me just tell you.

Take a look for yourself!

Start here: The Love Story.

And then go here:  Proposal.

How adorable is that!?!?!

I am so so SO happy for Becca & Matt.

Becca is one of the sweetest people I know, and absolutely every nice thing that Matt said about her is 100% true.

Me & Becca @ the Cardinals Stadium for Pictures 

Justin & I also had the pleasure of meeting Matt and spending lots of time with him over our friends' (Ashley & Tyler) recent wedding weekend, and we felt like we instantly connected with him too.


I hope you enjoy every minute of this very exciting time! :) 

**Something to talk about: What's the sweetest/coolest/most "out of the box" proposal story you have seen/heard of?? 

I heard of this one proposal, where this couple went to Maui after the girl finished the Bar exam, and the guy took her out to a secluded cliff to watch the sunset... :)



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WIAW Breakfast & Fall Country Playlist

Good morning, friends!

Happy hump day! :) How are you all doing this Wednesday morning?

I'm doing just peachy over here. 

I set my alarm for 5:00AM so that I could get up and head to the gym, but guess what??

In the epic battle of warm cozy bed vs. the gym, cozy bed won this morning.


Here's to hoping I can squeeze something in tonight before X Factor.

I thought I'd pop in first to get WIAW (what I ate Wednesday) started.

Here's the spread:

Honeydew, bowl of my favorite almond & dark chocolate granola (Cascadian Farms) + almond milk + raspberries, water, and, of course, coffee. 

Beautiful flowers courtesy of Justin's parents, Jack & Sherri! :)

I LOVE using my IU mug at work.  Makes me really miss Bloomington.

By the way, I'm sure you're all shocked not to see a bowl of oats on my desk. 

I am too. 

What's the quickest way to get me to change up my breakfast routine?  Get me to forget my packet of oatmeal at home in the morning! Whoops. 

I have been really loading up on the fruits and veggies this week. 

I feel like the junk in my trunk has been steadily increasing since I got back from Hawaii.  I have been struggling to squeeze in gym sessions and trying to balance lots of celebrations with friends. 

So, I've been steadily bringing back in lots of salads with chicken for lunches and adding more and more fruits and veggies to balance out the taco dip & pizza on the weekends. 

With gym sessions being few and far between lately, my iPhone has been playing a lot less Britney, and a lot more...COUNTRY! :)

I love listening to country music just about any time, but I particularly enjoy it in the fall for some reason!

I finally set up a little iPod dock in my office, so I've been plugging in my phone and listening quietly to all of the amazing new country that keeps popping up on the radio.

I thought I'd go ahead and share a list of my new favorites, for all of you fellow country lovers out there! :)

Jessica's Fall Country Playlist

1) I Don't Want This Night to End, Luke Bryan
2) Friday Night, Lady Antebellum
3) God Gave Me You, Blake Shelton
4) Fish, Craig Campbell
5) A Woman Like You, Lee Brice
6) Keep Me in Mind, Zac Brown Band
7) Remind Me (Duet with Carrie Underwood), Brad Paisley {not really new, but I just started liking it!}
8) Singing Me Home, Lady Antebellum
9) She's a Wildflower, Lauren Alaina
10) Tattoos On This Town, Jason Aldean
11) Amen, Edens Edge

All of these are available for purchase on iTunes right now!

I will create a link to this list and add it when I get home tonight in case some of you want to go ahead and buy the whole list directly.

**Something to talk about: What's your new favorite country song???

I hope you all have a fantastic morning! :)



Monday, October 10, 2011

What a Month!! :)

Hi everyone! 

Long time no talk, right?!?!

I hope you all have had an absolutely wonderful MONTH.

I can't believe it has really been about that long since I last posted.

It has been an incredible month for me - filled with great friends, great food, and great news!

Let's do a little 4-week update through pictures, mmmkay?!

First of all...

My best friend married her best friend over the most BEAUTIFUL wedding weekend in St. Louis.

Adorable cake @ the bridesmaids brunch @ Akra. 
The beautiful bride, Miss Ashley, and her now HUSBAND Tyler! :)

All of the maids in front of Busch Stadium.

Me & Justin @ the reception @ the Ritz Carlton.

I have also been to 2 AMAZING showers for my friend Christina, who is getting married on October 29th! :)

The oh-so-creative invitation display made by the very talented mother of the bride, Mrs. Donna Fiedler! 
4 of the 6 bridesmaids @ the incredible wine & cheese shower.

The beautiful bride Christina and her handsome hubby-to-be Matt! 
More bridesmaids at Christina's aunt's shower. 
The incredible cake (that's right, it's a CAKE!).

I celebrated this past weekend with Christina at a girls' spa & wine weekend up in Wisconsin.

Brunch  @ Paul Bunyon's in the Dells - BEST Cinnamon Sugar Donuts! :)

All the lovely ladies at dinner @ the High Rock Cafe - it was delicious!

Hmm... and what else happened?!??!?!


Oh yeah, I found out that I PASSED a little something called THE BAR EXAM!! :)

That's right people! Woo to the hooooo hoooo hooooo. 

I am obviously feeling very blessed right now and I am really trying to enjoy every little life moment that is unfolding in front of me.

I'm so excited for these coming weeks, because...

Justin & I have our engagement photos;

We might be going back for a Notre Dame game; 

My beautiful friend Christina is marrying the man of her dreams!; and

My incredible fried Marie is also marrying her hunny Cooper. 

I much fun going on over here, I can hardly take it! :) 

So, before I leave, I thought I'd give you a little Monday happiness courtesy of my favorite moment yet from the amazing new show, The X Factor.  

Get out there and have a great Monday, everyone!! :)