Happy Wedding Wednesday! I’m so excited to share my engagement pictures with you all today. It was such an amazing day and our photographer was absolutely amazing. Every shot was stunning and made me reminisce back on the day over and over again.
We took our engagement pictures in Wilmington and were able plan two outfits. We decided to dress up for the look downtown and went casual for the beach. In each outfit, we still wanted to play off of a similar blue that will be a part of the wedding! I loved that we did it since it makes all of the pictures look cohesive.
I highly encourage you to make sure that you not only get along with your photographer, but that you LOVE their work. Something that drew us to Erin was the effortlessness in her photos. We didn’t want heavily edited photos that were blown out or moody- both which are beautiful, but not us. Not only did we love her style, but her personality was a true fit. She was laid back, joked with us, let us have a pit stop for beer (BIG WIN), and made us feel like we were in our own little world for a few hours! I have linked her below so you can check out more of her and her team’s work.
I plan to post about my prep for the day and additional details next week, but for now…here is a window into our engagement session with Erin Costa!
The weather was perfect, we couldn’t have asked for a better day! We took these photos mid-week on a Wednesday right before the Fall weather decided to visit NC. We chose both downtown Wilmington and Wrightsville beach as it’s where we spend most of our time when on the coast.
Dan and I have spent many nights walking the cobblestone streets and many days laying out in the sun on this sand. It was so important for us to take these pictures in the places we love since we are getting married away from home. We wanted to make sure that these photos were colored with our love and showed off what we call our “2nd home” here in NC. I think we accomplished both!
Picture overload? I just couldn’t help myself! I can’t wait to continue sharing more wedding updates with you guys. Always let me know if you have any suggestions for the series. See you next time!
When used as an adjective, it means “done by people acting as a group”. As a noun it’s defined as “a cooperative enterprise”.
Charlotte Collective fulfills that textbook definition and more. This shop is a retail experience showcasing so many of Charlotte’s small businesses that we often see online, at pop-ups, or within other stores around the city. They have created a beautiful retail space, an anchor for the community, and a supportive space for each other as well.
With the work of local makers, creatives, and passionate entrepreneurs splayed across this prime location in Plaza Midwood; 1222 Central Ave, you automatically feel that you’re walking into something so much bigger than yourself. You’re supporting someone’s dream as you’re shopping through the items for your closet, home, technology, and more!
I got to take a look into the Plaza Midwood location before the grand opening. As I walked into the space, the sun was flooding in through the large garage doors putting an instant smile on my face. I was ready to learn more about where this concept came from and get a behind the scenes look at all the work that’s been put in to get here.
When I reached out to my friend, Amy from Worthy Figures, I couldn’t help but jump right in. She explained that this concept all started out of chance. Although Area 15 in NODA is a close comparison, she has always identified a need for an incubator spot for small businesses to test out having a small shop of their own. When the opportunity came in South End, she jumped at it quickly and started building her list of businesses to bring with her. This list being made up of entrepreneurs and creatives met on the pop up market scene for almost two years.
When looking at the line up, I couldn’t help but then ask a few of the business owners why they took the leap with Charlotte Collective. Lauren, the owner, creative and maker behind Feminist Goods Co., said “At the core of everything I do is the drive to create a community and safe space for womxn to be exactly who they are. For me, Charlotte Collective makes sense because it provides the opportunity to pull together and collaborate with other CLT businesses I love and founders that I admire to create a space where we can build closer relationships with our customers and community! Also, as a plaza Midwood area resident I LOVE that I get to be part of our neighborhood culture“.
Talk about a mission. It seems that the biggest overall goal for this space is to give small business owners the opportunity to have a store front without all the risk or expense. To connect with their customers in person and to grow a community not just with their customers, but with each other. It’s a task they all commit to. Amy noting that the biggest obstacle being the time commitment. Some of these businesses have full-time jobs- talk about hustle! If their mission didn’t sell you on taking a visit, I truly hope their hard-work, hustle, and passion do. The collaboration that goes on to run a store with 16 different small business is no small feat.
Alley, the powerhouse behind The Alley Way Market, confirmed how comforting the concept of the Charlotte Collective is. She said, “I joined Charlotte Collective because my dream has always been to have a brick and mortar shop! At this point in my business I wouldn’t be able to afford a solo stand alone shop. So when this opportunity came around I knew it would be perfect for my business. What I didn’t realize is how much I would learn from all the other business owners! It has been a great experience being around like minded people.“.
I shopped my way through the store grabbing more than I’d like to admit. More than anything though, I left inspired. It takes a lot for a small business to take a leap on physical retail space. For all of them to come together to make each other’s dreams come just a bit more true can’t leave you anything but inspired.
Here are the brands at the Charlotte Collective along with their Instagram!
Their official grand opening is tomorrow, July 13th from 10am to 8pm! You can RSVP here. I’ll also link all of their social media stuff below as usual so you can follow their journey. Their normal hours of operation will be Tuesday- Friday 11am to 7pm, Saturday 11am to 8pm, and Sunday 11am to 6pm.
Do not sleep on this CLT shop- keep an eye out for what’s to come for Charlotte Collective. They may be small businesses, but there’s nothing small about their passion, business savvy, hustle and impact within the Charlotte community.
You ever meet someone by chance and you can’t help but know their story? That sentence is the absolute description of my experience with Ryan, an author, speaker, host, father, and founder of Black Fathers Rock!. This local spotlight is all about a local non-profit organization that started as a dream, turned into an event, and is growing as an organization. This organization’s mission is to disprove and dismantle the stigma around black fatherhood.
You may be asking my connection and interest in this movement, right? Well, I don’t actually know my dad. An organization willing to help fathers in the community re-unite, better, and connect themselves with their family is something I definitely can get behind. Ryan put it perfectly when he told me, “You often overcompensate as an adult where you had an absence as a child.” and although he was primarily connecting this to fatherhood, I believe it’s a blanket statement for life.
Do I have your attention? I hope so because this story is not one you’ll want to skim over. Growing up as the oldest of two boys with a single mom, Ryan came from a household in Ohio that was filled with his mother’s love, but absent of his father’s presence. Growing up with no longing for kids, he now has a baby boy and adorable daughter to dote over as his wife continues to grow her career. Then life hits you. Imagine the summer of 2017 and having an overwhelming feeling come over you that just inspires you to build an event. An event comprised of two and a half pages of notes that come to life the following year. Then once that event is over you receive a large donation from someone outside the community that pushes you to start an organization. Literally within a year, the course and mission of your life has changed and grown. That is the synopsis of Ryan’s story.
From a small black book; that he carries around to this day, to building an event almost 150 people attended and extending six awards to deserving fathers in the community, and to now having a non-profit to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the community. While also being able to support and assist fathers in building success stories- all the while ensuring you’re growing and balancing your family life. That’s Ryan.
When you meet Ryan, the conversation comes easy and you can tell that the mission he has for his organization comes from the fire in his belly. He has lived his mission full circle. This year’s award celebration for Black Fathers Rock! will consist of six fathers in the community being recognized as well as two performances. It is this coming Saturday, January 19th at 6pm. This award celebration will actually be the LAST event at Pease Auditorium, so if you would like to experience this amazing event, make sure you buy tickets!
As I pulled information from Ryan, I couldn’t help but ask him what’s next once Saturday passes and he didn’t disappoint. He mentioned that he has two book concepts he will be working on, the organization will be aiding the initiative to place changing rooms in men’s bathrooms, and there will be a lot more programming being built for the community. He mentioned his wife will be helping and leading the programming, so we can expect to see some events coming up like “Donuts with Dad”, a parenting workshop, and a Fatherless Forum.
Ryan has big goals for Black Fathers Rock! this year. He described the organization as a necessary movement and explained that he hopes to see more success stories this year; at least one a month. 2018 treated Ryan well and the organization even better, when he told me a success story that made this all just a little more real for me. An honoree from last year was able to reunite with his children after a custody hearing, with the BFR award being a part of his story. These men that are being honored are fathers that take that title seriously and continue to find ways to better themselves in order to be their best for their families and community.
Truly, if you have the time to dig into your community and find organizations with great stories, take the time to listen. That’s what this series is all about! Not only is this organization starting a conversation and a movement, but it’s giving back to the community in so many ways. I couldn’t have picked a better Local Spotlight for this week.
2019 Award Recipients are below as well as how to follow Ryan and the Black Fathers Rock! organization. A link to donate can also be found on each of these pages.
Worthy + Badass, what a name right? Well it’s not just a name it’s a movement, it’s a passion, and it’s Justine. Justine is the Boss Babe behind this killer business and brand! Worthy + Badass is a local small business that creates a collection of minimalistic jewelry and stationery. She also partners with other creatives on her site, teaches classes, and tries to expand her offerings constantly; like to “badass” t-shirts and NC state Christmas ornaments. I actually found Justine through Instagram with her necklaces and then was able to connect at a Girl Tribe pop-up before attending her event.
More about her later, but let me tell you why I chose this business to feature! I was lucky enough to attend an event and photoshoot held by Justine on the 4th of January. I walked into the building and instantly heard music and laughter. I entered the room and saw a DJ, Photographers, and Hair and Makeup artists- all volunteering. Volunteering their time for a day to make women feel powerful, beautiful, and well, worthy. Balloons on the floor, jewelry displayed, and women everywhere. Women of all ages, races, and from different paths of life. It was the most beautiful and overwhelming first take I have had at an event in a long time. An event that completely embodied the message it pitched.
Before I got my chance in front of the camera…which was hysterical and fun, I pulled Justine aside. If you ever get the chance to meet her, you’ll know who she is as her warmth radiates through the room and makes you instantly comfortable. So why did she build w + b? Two years ago after she came back from Basic, she wanted to rebrand the company she had into something that defined her more now than it did before. She opened up about her struggles and how building her business from a passion project helped her cope and grow. This rebrand whole heartedly represented how she now felt in the world and how she wanted to make more women feel.
I asked her to describe w + b in three words. Simple. Quality. Powerful. I attest to those words. I love my state necklace I have because it is simple and beautiful, I wear it often. It’s made of quality materials and if you haven’t gotten the feels already, this business has a powerful message.
Now the hard question, I asked her to describe herself in three words and I loved it. Badass. Innovative. Determined, although she more eloquently said “Bulldozer” first! My favorite answer from Justine though was when I asked her about her inspiration. All of her stamps for her collection come from a personal place. Each symbolizes something so personal, especially the butterfly and bee necklaces. The minute she started to answer the question, she lit up even more and you could tell that she puts so much of herself into her craft. She’s a hustler and she’s a fighter.
I was inspired and empowered by this event. I connected with women and listened to their stories. There was a flood of joy that washed over you at that event! It was a no brainer that I would feature Worthy + Badass. Justine has a stamping event coming up for Valentine’s Day as well as a few events TBD that she hinted at. She also does custom work if you’re looking for a gift for someone special or to treat yourself! Make sure you follow her and support her journey. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.
I wanted to share something with you guys that Justine asked each woman to share which evoked a lot of thought for me. “What makes you worthy + badass?” In short, my spirit and story makes me worthy + badass. In my life I have been tested often and failed some, but with each challenge I learned more about myself. I gained confidence and I learned my value. I found my worth sometimes in the darkest of struggles I faced. My story is still a work in progress, but you can bet that with each struggle I’ll have a story for it. A story that will be full of my accomplishments, failures, and most importantly, my lessons. A story that will embody my resilience and toughness- dare I say badass-ness . I could be more specific, but this isn’t the post for it. So I hope this small piece of myself is enough of a window into my soul.
Ask yourself the same question and own whatever comes to mind. You are worthy and you’re a badass, in case you needed someone to remind you!
So will you guys be checking out Worthy + Badass? Let me know if you do! Have a local place or business you want me to check out? Make sure you reach out to let me know and you might just see it as a local spotlight! As always, thank you for stopping by and I’ll see you next time.
Hey guys! Today I wanted to share some items for your couple friends. Sometimes I find that it’s easier to gift for the couple instead of the individuals. I tend to do this for friends that have already checked the boxes for what they wanted for Christmas. If you can relate, but don’t want to gift a material item then go check out my Couples Guide for Experiences that was posted today as well!
Today I am sharing some experiences for your couple friends! Depending on the couple, I find that it’s easier to gift for the couple instead of the individuals. If you can relate, this is the guide for you! In the case that you don’t want to gift an experience, then go check out my Couples Guide for Materials that was posted today as well- gotta love choices! I have included places in Charlotte to check out as well as places Dan and I have visited over the years. I know that does not apply to everyone, but it gives you an idea of the experience to possibly purchase for the couple in mind.
Spa Date: A couple’s massage or facials can be a great gift for those that need some relaxation in their life!
Nature’s Spa & Wellness
Brows by Hilary
Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa
Savvy Salon & Day Spa
Wine Tour: A wine tour offers a great fun and learning opportunity for the couple. Each winery is different and often come with complimentary glasses!
Konzelmann Estate Winery
Divine Llama Vineyards
Event Tickets: Whether it be concerts, sporting events, or comedy shows- a night out is always a nice thought for a couple who enjoys any of the performers or teams in town.
Justin Timberlake Tour
Luke Combs Tour
Checkers Hockey Tickets
Comedy Tickets: Comedy Zone Charlotte
Subscriptions: Some of these aren’t necessarily subscriptions, but have that feel in which you would need to specify your purchase quantity/time when checking out.
Hello Fresh Meal Subscription
Birchbox: Beauty Box Subscription for Him & Her
Pack Up & Go: A Surprise Travel Agency
The Date Crate Subscription
Food Tour: Know a couple who loves trying to places to eat? A food tour is a solid choice for them then! You can even make one yourself and personalize it- just set the couple up with some giftcards for each place.
FEAST Food Tours
Tour De Food
Cooking Class: If you’re friends are true foodies and want to learn how to cook some favorites then check out this opportunity. From sushi to southern food, there are a ton of options! Another bonus is that it’s usually BYOB, so you can also gift wine or a 6-pack.
Sushi Class at Carolina Meat & Fish Co
Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen
Sur La Table
Skill or Craft Class: Have a couple that has started a new hobby or got a new place? Maybe they want to craft a few new decorations or learn something new pertaining to their hobby. Look into businesses that offers these classes. Whether you pick a class or buy them a gift card, this can be a highly personalized gift.
Crowned Sparrow Co.
Painting With A Twist
Honorable Mentions: Escape Rooms, Horseback Riding & Museum Passes!
Hey guys! So today I’m letting Dan take the reins for the Christmas for Him guide. Let me know how you think he did in the comments below! Let’s jump in.
Are you having a hard time shopping for the man (or men) in
your life? An astounding number of women spin their wheels endlessly around the
holidays trying to find the right gift to buy their husband, brother, or even
father. As a member of the male species, I find this to be extremely puzzling
as we are pretty easy creatures to please. In this post, I dish out some tips
on what you might want to add to your shopping cart for the men on your holiday
When it comes to experiences, men generally can be pretty
easy to buy for. While women crave elegant and intimate experiences such as
musical theater shows coming to town, couples cooking classes, winery tours,
and yoga/spa sessions, guys can be more easily satisfied. The manliness inside
of our bones is super content with any experience where we either get a thrill,
a beer, or a little of both. Check out below where I highlight some of the hot
experience gifts to buy for the lucky dudes in your life.
On The Range: This experience
would fall into the thrills category that I mentioned above. Men are
competitive beasts and also tend to have a natural knack for the thrill that
comes with weapons. To take advantage of this characteristic, you can put
together a day where you take the man in your life out to the range and shoot.
You can turn it into a contest between the two of you to see who is a better
shot, or if shooting shotgun, who can hit the most clays. Is he not really into
real guns? No matter, you can substitute in a day shooting archery bows (which
is really super fun if you’ve never tried it) or even play some open paintball
at a local course. Either way, this man will appreciate you spending time with
him being active and engaging in an area where some women generally like to avoid.
And if the man is a family member, it is a perfect way to get away from all the
technology of the world and bond for a while.
Night: Has your father, brother, or significant other ever cracked a
joke during dinner that got on your nerves? The answer is most likely yes. Men
love humor and all the silly dad jokes you see on the internet on a daily basis
stem from this very passion. We may not always be funny, but it is the effort
that counts. Do and quick search online of comedy clubs in your area and see
who is on the schedule to perform in the beginning of the year. You can turn
this into a night out on the town with dinner, drinks, and a show where you
will both laugh so hard, it hurts.
What’s manlier than jumping out of plane from 10,000 feet in the air with
nothing but a parachute and a pair of goggles (well hopefully he’s wearing
clothes too)? The answer is nothing and skydiving is the thrill that most men
truly crave deep down inside, but are too anxious to mention or they need a woman’s
motivation to complete. Do a quick Google search and see where you can have
this experience nearby. Usually they have some pretty good Groupons on these
experiences as well. And, if you live in a hip city, they now have these indoor
skydiving places where you get the sensation of jumping out of a plane without
actually doing it. They are super cool, you can check out if there are
locations near you at this link: https://www.iflyworld.com/find-a-tunnel/
If experience gifts aren’t the right fit, there are still
plenty of material gifts that guys love to receive that you can add to your
list as well. See below for the material gift suggestions for guys.
Kegerator: Best Buy $499.99 / Wireless iPhone Apple Ear Buds: Apple $159 / New Sneakers: Nike $100 / Cigar Box: Bed, Bath & Beyond $73.99 / Watch: Fossil $125 / Watch Box: Amazon $37.99 / Poker Set: Target $24.99 / Projector TV: Amazon $99.99 / Sound system for TV: Walmart $198 / Grill: Lowe’s $229.99
Hi guys, welcome back. Today’s guide is for those of you that are wanting to spoil your pup as I do. I have a two year old Border Collie Retriever named Jäger and he is too smart for his own good! We got him as a puppy from a family that couldn’t care for him and throughout the years he has truly taught us a lot. When we have the chance to spoil him- we do! So here are a few items we have gotten him over the years as well as for this year’s Christmas.
My next guide will be on Wednesday for you guys! If you have not already, check out the giveaway I have open until the 12th of December on my “Christmas For Small Business Supporters”. I have really loved putting together these guides and I hope you are loving them, especially because I have six more for you! Any guesses on the next one? I’ll give you a hint, I had to enlist some help from Dan.
Another gift guide and this time with a giveaway! For this third Christmas guide I wanted to share some of my favorite small businesses with you. I have had questions on why I love small business so much and my short answer is because I was fully engulfed in that community in college. I helped start a small business and worked with local small businesses in Potsdam, NY everyday! Small business truly means a lot to me and I want to share that with you guys!
So here are some of my gift suggestions from small businesses that I have purchased from, experienced, and love. These are the small businesses that you can choose from for a chance at a $50 gift card. Check out my Instagram post to know how to enter: here!
It’s December, so naturally it is shopping guide time! I have ten guides coming your way and I wanted to start off with something for him or her. I will be hosting our annual Ugly Sweater party soon, so I felt very inspired.
If you know someone that likes to entertain, enjoys cocktails, or even a game night here there then this is for you! Each item is linked and some are on sale.
Bar Cart: Who doesn’t love a good bar cart?! This one is definitely more feminine, but it’s so cute and on sale right now for $98.99! A bar cart is a great gift as the host or hostess can style and use it in many ways around their home. It also helps conserve some counter space for parties!
Tray: I truly believe trays are underrated. I use trays all over my home and on my bar as well. Trays are a great way to organize your bottles or even keep bar accessories together. This one is $19.99.
Wine Rack: I would be silly not including a wine rack, yes even for you men. A wine rack is a great addition for a host or hostess. It’s a great year-round decor item and this specific one is on sale for $47.49.
Drink Ware & Accessories
Coasters: Any coasters will do, but these are on sale right now for $18.68!
Liquor Decanter: This decanter is a great addition to any bar area. Decanters don’t take up too much space and can be utilized in many different spaces; this one is $49.50.
Bottle Cap/ Wine Cork Collector: I love a gift that can be personalized and these accessories can do just that! These can be wall additions or counter additions. I have a few of these in my home and they’re a fun addition for guests to use as well as being very functional. This one is $19.99.
Entertainment / Games
If you guys have a Xbox, I highly suggest checking out the Jackbox party games. It’s a fun interactive game pack that has games for up to 8 players.
Card Games: We all know and love traditional card games, but sometimes it’s fun to spice things up with new card games such as this one or Cards Against Humanity.
Competitive Games: Does your host or hostess love playing group or pair games? Then Heads Up is a great gift option or anything like this! These games come in handy for smaller gatherings with friends and families.
Board Games: If you’re anything like me, then you love a good board game that you can make into another competition somehow. Battleship is a favorite of mine and is a great addition to any host/hostess’ collection!