Bob + Dot’s 60th Anniversary

My grandparents recently celebrated 60 years of marriage – now that’s something to be proud of!



Los Animales




Coming Soon!

Please accept these preview photos of my little sister’s last high school banquet ever (sob). Check back in a few days for the whooooole enchilada. Reminisce with me about last year’s Junior/Senior banquet and I’ll be over in the corner crying my eyes out.


A Best Friend


Dear Robin and I share the same sentiment.

I tried to do some engagement photos on Saturday and we nearly got blown away! It was brutally windy and so, so cold. At one point, some dollar bills I had in my pocket flew out and we spent 5 minutes chasing them around the park (which I’m sure the wind thought was hilarious). Good news! All the bills were recovered and we’ve rescheduled our engagement session. 🙂








: parents of children on Toddlers and Tiaras. (or any untelevised beauty pageant)

Really, America? When did you, as mothers, decide it was ok to dye your three-year-old’s hair, clip in a pair of false teeth,  and tell her she “has to be perfect”? Often the camera pans to the audience, showing a sparse attendance of around 20 people. That’s why you’re waxing your 4-year-old’s eyebrows, telling her to do her “sexy walk”, fake-tanning your 2-year-old, juicing her up on Red Bulls, bribing her with a puppy, and spending $3,000 for one weekend?

“It’s built her confidence so much!” they all gush. “She really shines on the stage and LOVES to do pageants!!!”

HELLO! THEY are BABIES! Not shy college students with introverted tendencies! Tender, impressionable, innocent BABIES.

Your mission is to nurture, protect, teach. If you want to build her confidence, enroll her in a dance class. Want to improve social skills? How about the Girl Scouts? However, putting your baby in fake everything while announcing who won “Most Beautiful Face” sounds like preparation for a hard life of self-doubt, not confidence. Who are you really doing the pageants for, moms? Let’s be honest here.

//end rant.

Homecoming Queen

I could probably title this blog “The Brelynn Blog” because it seems like I’m ALWAYS posting pictures of her! However, this is her senior year, and I’m SO proud of how lovely, hilarious, fun, and beautiful (inside and out) she is! Such a great girl! And…she’s single! BUT the application process is very lengthy and starts with an interview with me, my Dad, then a polygraph, drug test, background check, etc. etc. 😉

Our Wedding / The DIYs Part One

I cannot even guess how many times I explained an idea for our wedding to someone and they gave me the ‘You’re weird’ stare with a forced smile or a “Ohhh…that’s..different.” Friends, family, cashiers, coworkers. They all gave the same response, mostly. This facial expression was usually present:

Or one of these:

In a way, I took those faces as compliments. They don’t get me! I’m so hip and mysterious and mystical with my wedding planning!  Yeaaaahhhhhh. 

I wanted it to be different. Not typical, autumn, or orange. I even had a folder with photos of what I did NOT want at all: The Untouchables Folder. There was a strict No Mums or Pumpkins policy. See image below.

The key to making our wedding unique was in the little details. Knowing that, I decided to do every wedding DIY on the planet. The year before the wedding, I thought I’d be able to do 6,375 DIY projects single-handedly while working two jobs. In the last month before the wedding, I came to reality. Sadly.  I had to cut out a lot of cool ideas, but ended up with some core DIY projects that I really loved.

1. Wedding Shoes

(photo by Jarnett Photography)

These were, without doubt, the most popular element of our wedding. Apparently people thought I made the entire shoe? No, sadly I’m not a closet cobbler. All I did was put maps on the shoes. I got a pair of white flats and used Mod Podge to glue on strips of atlas pages. I hot-glued satin ribbon bows to the tops. It took a few hours to do each shoe, and probably about ten days for them to completely dry. It was worth it! They were so comfortable and meaningful. One shoe had maps from Texas, where Josiah grew up. The other one had maps from Virginia – where I grew up.

2. Heritage Table

(photos by Jarnett Photography)

Josiah and I both have parents with long marriages. Both of my grandparents have been married for over 50 years, also. To me, this is the epitome of celebrity status in today’s world. I wanted to put a spotlight on all these lengthy marriages and honor them. I designed cards with their names, anniversary, number of years of marriage, and advice from the husband and wife. On the table, we displayed the cards in front of their wedding photo. It was so hilarious asking my grandparents for their advice – they all had PLENTY to say (that I couldn’t fit on the cards!) I’ll treasure these words forever.

3. Atlas Piñata

(photos by Jarnett Photography)

This was so fun to make. I bought a basketball piñata from Hobby Lobby and ripped off all the orange and black tissue paper. Then Josiah and I cut out a TON of hearts from atlases. I used Mod Podge to glue them on in layers, inspired by this. If I was doing it again, though, I’d just use one little dot of hot glue. The Mod Podge made the piñata too durable, and it took some really really hard swings and some hard core bashing on the ground to finally get it to break! Pounding a little piñata with a metal baseball bat into the concrete while wearing your wedding dress? I call that great stress relief.

In conclusion, I’ll share more later – this post is getting entirely too long! Go away! Read some books. Be inspired!

Our Wedding / The Invitations

To say the least, I was consumed.

I’d been thinking and planning since before Josiah and I got engaged, and it got out of hand really quickly. I changed wedding themes about 3 times. Long before Pinterest, I had my own form of it saved in files on my desktop labeled ‘Wedding Plans’. I had separate folders for cakes, dresses, favors, decor, invitations, color schemes, food, etc. I’d see a photo on a wedding blog, drag it to a folder, and type in the name why I loved the idea.

I designed invitation after invitation. To me, it was the calling card to our wedding – the first impression. I spent hours brainstorming how to make our invitation suite different. In the end, after a year in design, I came up with this invitation and information card:

I settled on the idea of a map theme because geography has played a big part in both of our lives. I was born in Pennsylvania, moved to Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and back to Virginia. His Dad is from Indiana. His Mom’s side is from Mexico. He was born in Texas, then moved to Virginia. We met in Lynchburg. He deployed to Iraq while we were dating. Throughout our relationship, we’ve dealt with distance. I wrote him letters while he was in Georgia at Fort Benning with the Army. We talked on Skype from Virginia to Iraq for 7 months.

I wanted our invitations to portray the travel/geography feel, so I was determined to make them a wow factor, indicative of our wedding-to-come. Over the course of a month, Josiah and I lined 150 light blue envelopes with maps from real atlases. Each envelope had a unique map lining. I designed the invitations and info cards in Photoshop and printed them at Piedmont Printing and Graphics in Danville. We used red and white Divine Twine to tie the invitation bundles together. I used a rubber stamp with an ampersand to mark the front of the tag in grey, then wrote the recipients’ first names on the other side.  My talented brother drew a map to include so people could find the ceremony and reception. I scanned it into Photoshop, typed in road names and landmarks, reprinted it, then painted in color with watercolors. I rescanned it and had it printed at FedEx. In the left photo below is what the bundle ended up looking like. You can see the light blue envelope with map liner, then the bundle tied together with twine, including the invitation, map in green, and info card. The name tag with the ‘&’ is tied on top into the bow.

photo by Jarnett Photography

We used  Glue Dots to hold the envelope flap down, then secured with an adorable little white lace heart sticker by Martha Stewart. I hand-addressed each one, and used Merchant Marine stamps with ships (another favorite component of mine!) I hunted all over Lynchburg and Danville for these stamps – since apparently everyone else loved them as much as I did. To all the postmasters that tried to get me to take those ‘LOVE’ hydrangea or wedding bell stamps when I insisted I needed “the ship ones”  for my wedding, thank you for trying. I’m sorry I was so confusing and odd.

Once I had the first one all put together, I was SO HAPPY with how it turned out! Josiah will tell you – as we left the print shop, I kept squealing intermittently over the next few days with, “WOW! I lovethemIlovethem I LOVE THEM!!” and “YAY! They turned out perfectly! They’re perfect!” or “OH MY GOSH. Josiah! Aren’t these great! I love them. Do you love them? I think they’re so cool. Look at this picture I took of them! Do you love them?” Bless his heart – he survived all that. 🙂

It was by far my favorite project from the wedding. My baby.

photo by Jarnett Photography