taken from the Market Pavilion Hotel using DMD

Justin and I spent a lovely week in Charleston last week taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and especially tastes. I truly enjoyed taking pictures in Charleston even though I limited myself to using my cell phone rather than my camera. I think Justin may have also enjoyed taking advantage of the many photo apps I have downloaded onto my phone. This is my first successful image using the DMD Panorama app on my iphone. Isn't it pretty?

Fingerprint Tree

About a month before the wedding, I got into contact with Gaylezoe on etsy and asked if she could draw a cherry blossom tree for me. She was so quick to put together my tree and did such a good job! The tree was shipped within 2 weeks of my ordering it from overseas! Granted, the fingerprint guestbook tree was not really positioned in a good spot for people to see and use. I would definitely recommend looking at the Gaylezoe etsy shop if you find yourself in need of a fingerprint tree or other fingerprint guestbook. She will work with you to get exactly what you want exactly when you need it! What more could you ask for?

10 Summer Vacation Must-Haves

Justin and I are going on vacation soon, and I thought it would be fun to list a few things I feel are vital to our vacation-going experience.

1. A dress. My pick -- Anthropologie's Sunshades Dress

A cute dress that is summery and comfortable is perfect for going out to dinner.

2. Cute shoes. I like DSW's B.O.C. Adie shoes in blue.

I fell in love with these shoes in February, but I held off buying them. Now they are on sale and impossible to find! I managed to snag a pair on clearance for 30% off with a $10 coupon. After searching sooo many stores I was soooo excited to find exactly the shoes I wanted for a much better price than the original price. (Plus, they are super comfortable!)

3. Awesome sunscreen. Try Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunblock Spray for sunblock you can apply even after you are wet!

Some of the kids I babysit for were using it. This vacation will be the first vacation in which I try it!

4. Iphone or Smart Phone.

This really almost feels like a must-have even when you aren't going on vacation. They are great for entertaining children on long rides and saving money with coupon apps. My top coupon apps are Coupon Sherpa, ScoutMob, RetailMeNot, Pocketly, and Entertainment. There are also games that teach children languages, colors, and more! I also love taking pictures with my cell phone camera using Pro HDR.

5. Snacks and drinks for the trip. Aquafina is my favorite drink to take with me.

One of the best things about vacations is trying new and fun food. Obviously we have done research about the restaurants in the area where we are visiting, but it's fun to have treats for the road trip (specifically if you are driving like we are). We also are taking along some water bottles, veggies, and fruit. How fun!

6. Cash.

Honestly you never know when you may need it. Some shops and restaurants don't take cards. Plus you also need to consider whether or not you will be driving over toll roads or paying for parking.

7. Pillows.

I have a real issue with using hotel pillows. I HAVE TO HAVE my pillow. So I bring it. And I get the sleep I expect.

8. Hairspray -- This time I'm trying the Big Sexy Hair: Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray.

I've never used their hairspray before, but it was given good reviews on Good Housekeeping, so I thought I would give it a try. My hair is very hard to manage in humid conditions and most hairsprays I have tried in the past haven't worked. I'm going to try this and hope. If it doesn't work, I have backup ponytail holders for some cute braids and ponytails.

9. A good book. I'm taking The Lamplighter and Portrait of a Lady, one book I've read and one I haven't. Justin is taking The Hobbit.

10. A Friend! How can you possibly go to the beach without a friend or family member?

Hopefully my list has provided some awesome suggestions for your next summer vacation. What do you think is a must-have for vacation?


© Marion Needham

I just wanted to share this picture of the completed chandelier. Remember how Justin was working on it in October? I think it turned out quite lovely. :) (I love how the lights in the background look like stars.)

Make-Up & Hair

© Marion Needham

We waited until the very last minute to book the hair and make-up person for our March wedding. Unfortunately, it back-fired on us waiting so long. I had a hair style in mind that the hair person could not do. I went to two trial runs. Nevertheless, I have a piece of hair sticking out in all of my wedding pictures that simply drives me CrAzY! The hair person was still a student and also friend of my bridesmaid, so we thought she would do awesome. My opinion is that if you are getting paid and trusted to do a job as big as a wedding, it is important/necessary to have the skills to pull off some good images with the photographer. Especially when you are being paid to stay all morning.

However, the make-up artist we got at half price when she discovered her daughter had booked us but would not be able to handle the number of people in our party. She did a magnificent job, in my opinion.

© Marion Needham; edited by me

I think everyone enjoyed seeing the flower girls getting "made up". They felt like princesses, which is exactly what I wanted for them. I know it was super early for them, but I am so glad they were able to spend the whole day with me.

Aubrey © Marion Needham

Annake © Marion Needham

Hair -- Kayleanna Flynt
Make-Up -- Kat Flynt

Also, BIG THANK YOU to Marion for taking pictures of the hair and make-up.

A Weekend in North Georgia (Life Update)

It had been far too long, so Justin and I (and my mom) made our way up to the North Georgia mountains to visit with my grandparents. It was a nice getaway and gave us plenty of time to think.

The trip rejuvenated Justin's love for sewing and my love for reading. (I wouldn't let Justin read. I kept talking to him. lol. Oops.) We also had a chance to talk about important things (like finances. Yuck!). We had a few surprises in store for my grandparents (and they had some for us!). Plus, there may have been a few episodes of Mythbusters in there.

Unfortunately the trip did not seem long enough. . . It never does! We can't wait to go back up there!

DIY Reception Music

Ok future brides, I know what you are thinking. . . "I'll do the music thing later. It won't take very long."


No, I suppose the music did not take as long as finding a dress, finding a venue, working out the wedding day menu, or scouring Goodwills, antique stores, and yard sales for china, but putting music together is not the most simple task either if you do it right.

We started putting together our music approximately two months ahead of time thanks to the suggestion from one of our planners. Otherwise I may have waited until a week before!!!

Luckily I knew what we were going to be playing -- jazz. An odd choice, I know. It's something you only see done in movie weddings. I love jazz though. It's fun. It's romantic. Plus, I took a class on it in college. I knew my grandparents would love it, my friends that love to swing dance would love it, and it is just some very relaxing music. (I had a few friends argue for rock and pop. Yuck. Not my style at all.)

First we nailed down what music the venue had available for us to use. Then we nailed down what we had available. Then the search started. What was popular in the 30's and 40's? I looked at Billboard charts, looked for lists of popular jazz music that were played at weddings, and asked my grandparents and friends that were familiar with jazz for song artists and names. We went looking at music stores for used cds we could get for fairly cheap from a variety of different jazz artists. I listened to music snippets online to determine what I wanted to order from Amazon. I think we spent approximately $200 on jazz music that would last for approximately 5 hours. (More is better. Plus, we were only playing approximately 2 songs from each artist.) For fun, we also included a few songs for the kids ("Everybody Wants to Be A Cat" and "Dynamite").

The conclusion: everybody loved our music! My time paid off! As Justin and I were leaving our reception site, our wedding coordinator told us the music made her feel like dancing! :) It was very relaxing and calming after a stressful couple of months prior to the wedding.

The kicker: I still listen to and enjoy our wedding mix! :)

Wedding Showers

taken by Cheryl Bunn

Justin and I just got to see some of the pictures Justin's aunt took at our wedding shower in February. I am sooo grateful she got some lovely family shots.

taken by Cheryl Bunn

Justin's grandmother wanted to make our wedding cake, so we thought it was incredibly sweet when she made us a "wedding cake" for our shower!

taken by Cheryl Bunn

Digging into presents. No flower girls to help us here.

We did both family showers in one weekend, so Justin and I had a lot of gift opening and talking with family during that weekend. It was fun. Exhausting. Busy. Chaotic. And wonderful to feel so very loved. :)