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A U D G E | flashback: put a ring on it

Wedding season is kicking back into gear and Cason’s wedding fashion post has got me in the mood for some sweet nuptial celebratin’! Whether you’re planning a wedding or attending one, here are a few wedding traditions that you see all the time but might not have realized what they were all about… sneaky little things.
flashbackfriday_edited-1M+JWedding_602I go to a lot of weddings. Like, a LOT. I’m lucky enough to be a wedding photographer, and I’ve seen so many different types of celebrations and personalities all melding together… it’s such a cool thing to be a part of. Plus, there’s lots of cake involved which never hurts. (That’s me down there, doing my thaaaang.)

Audra Starr PhtographyOver the years I’ve started wondering what the meaning is behind a lot of the traditions that are usually incorporated into the ceremonies and even some of the crazy superstitions, so I’ve decided to do a little digging. Here’s just a few to get you going… you ready for this??

Sarah+Dave_IMG_1049_0083the R I N G S | These are customarily worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. It was believed that there was a vein in that finger called the “Vena Amoris” (or the “Vein of Love”) that lead directly to the heart. Science proved otherwise, but us hopeless romantics just couldn’t let go of the tradition. The ring also served as a groom’s “down payment” towards the bride’s price, and was usually included with some other goods… so romantic, right?

Ann+MattIMG_9501 (1)_0101the B O U Q U E T | So waaaay back in the day, there was some pretty infrequent bathing going on. (I read somewhere that in the 1600’s, people would take their ANNUAL bath in May and then get married in June. SICK.) The most obvious reason the tradition started was to mask odors… but luckily we bathe a little more often these days (Atleast, you guys do. I can’t disclose my shower record at this time…). It was also believed to ward off evil spirits and sickness since bouquets often included strong spices and herbs like dill and even garlic.

Ann+MattIMG_5142_0032But the sweetest reason I found was that the bride often tried to send secret messages to her groom through the symbolism of each type of flower. For instance, a honeysuckle represented generosity, a fern was for sincerity, hydrangeas for perseverance, the list goes on. I love the idea of getting to craft a bouquet with a secret meaning hidden in it… but let’s be real. My husband was waaaay too busy checking me out while I was walking down the aisle to figure out what my flowers would’ve meant. Ahh, sweet romance. ;)

first lookthe F I R S T  S I G H T | When arranged marriages were popular and weddings were more of a business transaction between families rather than about love, most of the time the bride and groom didn’t see each other until the actual ceremony was taking place. Even then, there was a veil involved which makes it seem even shadier. The whole “bad luck if you see each other before the ceremony” thing actually stems from the scenario that if the groom laid eyes on the bride beforehand and didn’t like what he saw, he might back out of the wedding all together. So unless you catfished your fiancé and your wedding day is the first time you’re meeting, I think you should be good. Nowadays, a lot of people prefer doing a “first sight” before the ceremony which I LOVE. It always takes so much pressure off of the bride and groom, and you have this sweet time to just be alone without everyone peeping in on you. It helps a ton with logistics too while trying to photograph groups of people before the ceremony so we’re not constantly playing a game of hide-and-seek… just a side note. Think about it… then DO IT. Seriously. You won’t regret it.

Sarah+Dave_IMG_9659_0267There are traditions and superstitions galore wrapped into wedding ceremonies, so this is really just scraping the surface. What’s the craziest one you’ve heard of? Funny to think we’re going through the motions without even realizing why… guess we really are just creatures of habit!

Anywho, Happy weekend y’all!

Until next time,

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J O A N N A | veggie smoothie recipe

DSC_0293If you’re reading this, then I’m grateful you didn’t check out after the blog title… “veggie smoothie”. I know what you’re thinking, “yuck!”… bear with me. I have finally found a great way to get more veggies into my daily routine other than having them as a side with dinner, covered in salt. Try this recipe out for yourself… don’t knock it till you try it!

DSC_0273Veggie Smoothie Recipe

:: Cucumber
:: Carrot’s
:: Broccoli
:: Spinach
:: Kale
:: Flaxseed
:: Lemon Juice
:: Water
:: Apple (optional)
:: Banana (optional)

I use a single serve blender so I add a very small quantity of each item. Basically, you can add as little or as much of something as you want, depending on your taste. You can freeze the veggies and/or use ice to make it more like a shake. I use water so it’s more like juice. Personally, I feel like the apple and banana make this smoothie not only bearable but actually good! Basically, all you taste is the lemon, apple, and banana. If you’re like Cason and can’t stand the citrus taste then just leave the lemon out. Just because this is my favorite combo doesn’t mean it will be yours, so mix it up a bit!Photo Apr 16, 12 45 25 AMOne more day ’til the weekend! Yay!

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K A T | old navy fashion

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Have y’all been to Old Navy lately? I’m not going to lie, there were a couple of years when it seemed like all they sold were performance fleeces and flip-flops. Cason and I popped in one a couple of weeks ago and they had the cutest stuff! I’m talking tops, sundresses, totes, and great shades of shorts. (I even had a little nostalgia when I opened the doors and was hit with the smell of rubber and caught a glimpse of the flip-flop wall!) Make sure to check out Old Navy’s summer line before it’s all snatched up. This week they’re even offering 25% off your order online with code: SUPERSAVE.

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Top: Old Navy | Jeans: Forever 21 | Straw Bag: Old Navy | Sandals: Jack Rogers | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Rings: Kendra Scott & David Yurman | Bracelet: David Yurman | Sunglasses: TopShop

Happy Wednesday!

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C A S O N | 2015 summer reading list

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One of my most favorite things about summer is the books I get to dive into. Whether it’s a family beach trip, a weekend getaway with my friends or a Saturday by the pool, you can always bet I’ll have a drink in one hand and a book in the other. Kat and I like to use the phrase “book funk” when we’ve finished a new book. We get sucked up into the lives of the characters and get so bummed when the story is over. That’s awesome that they finally worked it out and decided to be together in the end….buuuut what was their wedding like?! Will they have kids right away? Where will they live? Will their neighbors be cray? In the words of my most favorite AT&T commercial, “We want more, we want more, like…you really like it, you want more!” In the spirit of my impending book funks, I’ve put together a list of books I’m most excited about this summer.

beach-townBeach Town | Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews paints the best settings just dripping with southern charm. Amazon synopsis: Greer Hennessy is a struggling movie location scout. Her last location shoot ended in disaster when a film crew destroyed property on an avocado grove. And Greer ended up with the blame. Now Greer has been given one more chance–a shot at finding the perfect undiscovered beach town for a big budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town. There’s one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino–which will be perfect for the film’s climax–when the bad guys blow it up in an all-out assault on the townspeople. Greer slips into town and is ecstatic to find the last unspoilt patch of the Florida gulf coast. She takes a room at the only motel in town, and starts working her charm. However, she finds a formidable obstacle in the town mayor, Eben Thinadeaux. Eben is a born-again environmentalist who’s seen huge damage done to the town by a huge paper company. The bay has only recently been re-born, a fishing industry has sprung up, and Eben has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. The only problem is that he finds Greer way too attractive for his own good, and knows that her motivation is in direct conflict with his. Will true love find a foothold in this small beach town before it’s too late and disaster strikes?

finding-audreyFinding Audrey | Sophie Kinsella

This one is technically classified as “Young Adult” but so were Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Divergent. No reason to start discriminating now! Amazon synopsis: An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

the-husband-secretThe Husband’s Secret | Liane Moriarty

I’ve enjoyed Liane Moriarty’s other books so much that this one is at the top of my list! Amazon synopsis: At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that is not meant to be read… My darling Cecilia, If you’re reading this, then I’ve died…
Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not only the life you have built together, but the lives of others as well. And then imagine that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything—and not just for her. There are other women who barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they, too, are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

the-girl-on-the-trainThe Girl on the Train | Paula Hawkins

The anticipation to get my hands on this book is killing me. I’ve heard it’s the next Gone Girl. I have a good feeling it will be an upcoming Bupper Club book! Amazon synopsis: Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

the-perfect-letterThe Perfect Letter | Chris Harrison

Yeah, I put it on my summer reading list. Permission granted to make fun of me. I’m a sucker for the Bachelor franchise so odds are I’ll be picking up a copy of host Chris Harrison’s debut novel! Amazon synopsis: Leigh Merrill had spent ten years running away from her past. A talented young book editor on the fast track at a major publishing house, Leigh had been determined to build a life for herself in New York City—a life far from the hay-filled barns, swimming holes, and rolling hills of her grandfather’s horse farm in Texas. And for the most part, she’d succeeded. This new life, one filled with books and parties and romance, was everything she’d dreamt of as a girl. Complete. Happy even, if Leigh considered the future she was building with Joseph, a brilliant, generous man who adored the very ground she walked on. Still, when the invitation arrived asking her to be the keynote speaker at the Austin Writer’s Conference, Leigh couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling that Texas, with all of its tangled secrets, was calling her home. Out of reasons to say no to a free trip, Leigh sees the conference as a perfectly timed escape—just a few days away to catch up with old friends, meet a few potential authors, and clear her mind. But Leigh’s plans for a quiet retreat quickly dissolve when a stack of deeply personal letters from the past are left in her hotel room. After all these years of running, Leigh has nowhere to hide. In her hands she holds the letters that bare her soul and her secrets, the letters she wrote to one man, the love of her life—Jake. With her past and present crashing in around her, Leigh must decide just how much she’s willing to risk for love.

paper-townsPaper Towns | John Green

I love reading books before the movie comes out. This John Green novel (author of The Fault in Our Stars) came out in 2009, but the movie will be released this summer. Amazon synopsis: When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

royal-weddingRoyal Wedding: A Princess Diaries Novel | Meg Cabot

Y’all, I’m not ashamed to say that the Princess Diaries movies are a HUGE guilty pleasure of mine! Julie Andrews + awkward Anne Hathaway + dreamy Chris Pine = ultimate girly-girl chick flick. This is the first adult installment which follows Princess Mia and her prince charming as they plan their fairytale wedding. Umm…pre-ordering mine today. Amazon synopsis: For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia’s gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn’t need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui. But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother’s leaked “fake” wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia’s father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone—especially herself—that she’s not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?

the-vacationersThe Vacationers | Emma Straub

This book came out last summer and has been rated a best beach read for 2014. I had my eye on this last summer but never got around to purchasing a copy. It will definitely be on my list this year! Amazon synopsis: For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated. This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.

That should be enough to get you started! If you know me and Kat, that will last about a week if we’re getting lots of pool time. For those of you that read entire books more often than you wash your hair (ME) I will have to do a round 2 later in the summer. In the meantime, enjoy these reads and try to avoid those depressing book funks!

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A U D G E | the getaway bag

I’m desperately ready to pack my bags and head to the beach… I can just hear it faintly calling my name from the distance. It’s luring me, taunting me, wishing we could be united once again… (*sigh*). Soon, and very soon! Spring is always such a busy season, and the things taking up our time are all good things, but after being pulled in a million different directions for awhile it’s exhausting. So in honor of my beachy daydreams, we’re soaking in the blues… the color palette that reminds me of my favorite place! It’s always been so soothing and calm… Is there a better way to start your week?? (Other than being on the real beach itself… obviously.)

Hope you’re feeling completely mellowed and motivated to conquer your week… or atleast have a nice little shopping distraction to get you through the grind! ;)

Until next time…
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J O A N N A | atlanta spring festivals

The weather could NOT be better these days and I personally think we should celebrate! It’s time to exchange the days of sipping on hot coffee and binging on Netflix for iced coffee and frolicking outside. I’ve put together a list of some fun excuses to get you and your’s out of the house and into the sunshine! Check out these upcoming Festivals in and around the Atlanta area that are sure to be a blast…

Atlanta Dogwood Festival

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Festival on Ponce

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SweetWater 420 Fest

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Inman Park Festivalipf-art-logo-2015Inman-Park-Festival inman

Be sure to pay attention to the dates… some of these are right around the corner! (As in, this weekend!)

Hope you find yourself at one of these events making some great memories. Happy Friday!joanna_crop

K A T | pasta salad recipe

Cason and I have been whipping up different versions of pasta salad for years and I think we’ve finally settled on our favorite one. It’s the easiest (and best) pasta salad we’ve created yet! I made it for our book club several months ago and it was a hit. (I’m talking no leftovers and requests for the recipe!) I’ve been holding off on sharing the recipe with y’all because I wanted to wait for the perfect time of year. Well, it’s officially picnic and barbecue season and you’re going to want this side dish there!

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Pasta Salad Recipe

:: 4 cups bowtie pasta
:: freshly chopped basil
:: 1 cup feta cheese
:: 1 cup, sliced cherry tomatoes
:: 1 cup Newman’s Own Italian salad dressing
:: McCormick’s Salad Supreme

Boil 4 cups of bowtie pasta, (or whatever noodle you prefer) drain and set aside to cool. Once pasta has cooled, toss in freshly chopped basil, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, salad dressing, and a few generous shakes of McCormick’s Salad Supreme. I typically don’t measure the dressing, so add a little more or a little less depending on the amount you like. I kid you not, the Salad Supreme seasoning makes the pasta salad. It’s delicious and came VERY highly recommended! There are entire blogs written about this stuff. When Cason and I went to the grocery store to buy the McCormick’s seasoning someone even commented on it when they saw us grab a bottle in the aisle! It’s got a cult following and I kinda understand why. Toss everything together, chill, and it’s ready to serve!

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You can run wild with this recipe- add your own favorite fresh veggies and make it for your next event. Memorial Day will be here before you know it!

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C A S O N | wedding season fashion

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Wedding season is upon us! I’m currently blogging from a family wedding down on St. Simons Island and let me tell you…coming up with something different to wear at each event ain’t easy! Between bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, bridesmaid luncheons, oh..and the actual wedding, what’s a girl to do?! And if you’ve got multiple friends getting married, your wallet is crying a river. Breathe. I’ll walk you through this.

Y’all already know my love for ASOS. I love the prices. I love the free shipping and returns. But most of all, I love that it’s based in London. That means you won’t have on the same dress as 3 other girls at the wedding. Check out one of my go-to dresses this wedding season, how I styled it, and more affordable recommendations. The best part about this particular ensemble? Almost everything is on sale. (In case I haven’t made it clear, my dress is $34. Scoop this one up before they are gone!)

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Dress: ASOS | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Booties: Target (Only a few sizes left, so check out similar booties here and here.) Turquoise Ring: Kendra Scott | Neon Orange Bag: Kate Spade, similar here | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Check out a few more of my favorite affordable wedding appropriate dresses:

Happy wedding season! May all your dance floors be packed, your food be delicious, and your bars be open.
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A U D G E | for the love of the kids

It goes without saying that kids have a looooot of energy that needs burning, especially toddlers. I’m trying to come up with ways to not just keep little Tbaby occupied, but to keep her stimulated and to make new experiences with her. Here are a handful of gems that I’ve come across so far… the list is ever expanding! I’m always looking for new ideas and resources too, so come on mama’s… help me out!

Calm-down-bottles-Gift-of-CuriosityTacie’s teacher enlightened us to the wonders of “The Calm Down Bottle”.  I found this post on how to make them, and man! These things are pretty rad… we might be making one for everyone in the family. It’s a great way to give them a productive time-out to just mellow if they’re just getting super frustrated or emotional and can’t step back from the ledge (if you have a  toddler, YOU KNOW. The struggle is REAL.)

paint in a bagHere’s an activity that both my one year old AND three year old would love – BAG PAINTING. Why have I not been doing this forever?! Just put a piece of paper on the table, and secure a ziploc bag with paint inside over the paper with masking tape. You can even play with primary colors and mixing them to see what other colors you can make… genius.

lm_Courteous_CommunicationOne resource I’ve LOVED having around is the Kids Of Integrity website. It’s a free parenting resource used for building godly character in kids of all ages… and it. is. AWESOME. You can pick a characteristic you want to hone in on for that week (or however long you want to work on it), and they provide Bible stories that correlate with that theme, verses you can memorize, prayers for both you and your child throughout the week, craft and game ideas, and even creative ways to discipline to reinforce the ideas that you’re working on. And it’s not hokey either, it’s the real deal. It’s funny because usually whatever I think Tacie needs to work on, once I start reading through and reflecting on things I realize how much more I need to… The first one we ever did was “Attentiveness”. It took me about five minutes to pull out my phone and completely ignore something Tacie was trying to tell me… whoopsies. Looks like we’re in this thing together.

mom-and-daughter-yoga-laura-kasperzak-2(This is what I envision us looking like when we do yoga together…)

tumblr_n83pguBFDD1shgl8go1_500(But this is probably more accurate.)

Toddlers doing yoga is HILARIOUS. And she loves it! She’ll randomly start doing poses when we’re out in public or in the middle of the kitchen while I’m trying to cook dinner… girl’s just gotta zen, y’know? We got a Kids Yoga DVD for Christmas that was pretty old-school but fun. This article from Parent’s magazine has a few really good easy poses to do with them too.

What else do you have for me?? Bring it on! I’m ready.

Happy Tuesday y’all! Until next time…

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J O A N N A | weekend roundup :: easter edition

DSC_0207I’m excited to interrupt our normal blogging schedule to bring you a post that is strictly bragging on how cute my family and friends were on Easter Sunday. The little ones…were…precious. Brett and I were so thankful to be able to host some family and several friends for Easter lunch this year. I love having a full house… lots of noise and lots of love. I had a full weekend and was very busy, but I loved every minute of it.

I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life. It’s because of God’s grace that we are even able to have fruitful and loving relationships. I am eager to spend eternity with these folks. During these times I think a lot about seeing our son again and it’s only because God sacrificed His own son that I will be able to see mine again. God is good, all the time.

DSC_0240Photo Apr 05, 10 44 41 PMPhoto Apr 05, 10 51 42 PMDSC_0139DSC_0153Photo Apr 05, 10 43 30 PMPhoto Apr 05, 10 43 01 PMHave a great week, y’all!

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