Weekend Recap: Wedding Details

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 27, 2017
This weekend was so fun! Now that my sister has booked her wedding venue, the planning has officially started!

Friday Night:
Bethany and I enjoyed some time together, shopping and catching up on the Bachelorette (we're still behind, but we're getting there).

My day started in the best way possible! At breakfast, my sister officially asked me to be her Maid of Honor (in the cutest way possible). I don't know if you know this, but my sister is super artistic! She hand painted the outside of the box that she asked me with and it was beautiful! Inside, there was a sign that said "Will you be my maid of honor?" and a hand-painted a photo of the two of us. She also included some bridal stickers and a wedding planner notebook. I absolutely loved it and of course, said yes! From there, my family headed to do something very exciting: wedding dress shopping! My sister tried on some beautiful gowns (it's not hard since she's a stunner), but ultimately fell in love with one dress in particular. She looks so gorgeous in it and the dress is so "her." She couldn't have chosen a more perfect dress.

Saturday Night:
Bethany and I planned a sister-date night out to see Billy Currington. I've always wanted to see him, so when I found out he was performing at the Taste of Joliet, I immediately asked Bethany if she wanted to go. His music is some of my favorite, so naturally, I had a blast! Country concerts just scream summer to me, so spending the evening singing and dancing with my sister was the perfect summer night. 

Sunday was spent relaxing, sleeping in and watching some TV.

How was your weekend?

The Best Things about Summer

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 25, 2017
It is officially summer! To be completely honest with you, summer is my least favorite season because I really hate the heat. I'm all about that 70 degree sunshine instead of the 90s with humidity. However, there are definitely some things I love! When there are days that seem too hot, I just stop and remind myself of some of the best parts of summer.

If you need a reminder, too, here's my list:

1. Sunsets in the summer are so beautiful - all the pinks and purples are gorgeous.

2. There's an excuse to rock bright nail polish colors.

3. There are tons of country concerts for me to get excited about.

4. Flip flops, all day everyday.

5. My Starbucks drink officially switches to the deliciousness that is iced lattes.

6. All of the amazing fruit that's in season, like blueberries, cantaloupe, and peaches.

7. The happy, carefree summer vacation vibe that everyone has.

8. There is always something fun to do on the weekends.

9. The Southern Magnolias' planner in me is so happy it's the middle of wedding season.

10. Everything is in bloom, making the outdoors that much more colorful.

11. I'm a pale chick, so the sunshine means freckles galore!

12. The summer breeze. It's warm, but cooling, and the perfect reprieve from the heat.

13. My favorite HGTV show, Brother vs Brother, is back.

14. My ultimate summer fave: fireworks. There are so many opportunities to see them! I've already seen them in Chicago this summer on a boat!

15. And of course, an adorable summer wardrobe.

What do you love most about summer?

Gift Guide: Father's Day

in , by Lavender Elizabeth, June 14, 2017
With Father's Day just around the corner, it's time for a gift guide! When I created this list, I completely had my dad in mind, choosing some of his favorite things. His favorite cologne right now is Nautica; has more watches than any one person needs; loves to grill; is building a bar; and drinks coffee by the gallon. I hope some of my dad's favorite things inspire your Father's Day gift for your best guy.

Bible Verses to Give you Peace

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 11, 2017
peace (pees) noun a state of tranquility or serenity

I think that God had me wait to look into this letter in my Alphabet Word Study until now. I've been experiencing a strange time in my life, with a lot of transitions and uncertainty. Trying to decide where to live and what I'd like my future to look like has been a winding road. I'm still figuring it all out, but looking through these verses, I have a sense of peace. I hope these verses bring you a feeling of peace, as well, and that the Lord calms your spirit.

Psalm 4:8 "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety."

Proverbs 14:30 "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."

Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."

Isaiah 26:12 "Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us."

Micah 5:5 "And he will be the source of peace."

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Romans 5:1 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Romans 15:13 "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."

2 Corinthians 1:2 "May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace."

Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Jude 1:2 "May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love."

To read letters A-O in this Alphabet Word Study, click here.

Saturday Shopping: Cold Shoulder Tops

in , by Lavender Elizabeth, June 10, 2017
I am having such a moment with cold shoulder tops - I'm just so in love with them. I find them super feminine. Some have ruffles, others have flowers, and all of them have beautiful necklines. They're easy to dress up or down and are always flattering. I just recently starting stock piling them (Marshall's has had some super cute ones lately) and even borrow my sister's on occasion. In fact, today I rocked the one she wore when she got engaged

Why You Need a Day-of Wedding Coordinator

in , by Lavender Elizabeth, June 07, 2017
As a wedding professional, I'm often asked what every bride needs but rarely has. My answer?
Hire a day-of wedding coordinator.

A day-of coordinator starts working with the couple four to six weeks prior to the wedding day to help with logistics. His/her role is to ease the stress of the bride and groom during their last month of planning.

Tips for Feeling your Best at a New Job

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 05, 2017
Starting a new job can be nerve-racking! I would know - I started my new job today! What helped calm my nerves were some tips I found online. Throughout my trip in the blogosphere, there were a lot of recommendations - like bringing snacks or going to bed early. While these are solid ideas, they weren't the ones that stood out to me. What resonated with me were the ones that had to do with preparedness and confidence. If you're about to start a new job, here are some of my favorite tips.

"Until you know the company's culture and dress code, play it safe and wear business casual or professional clothing. As time progresses, you'll be able to add more of your personal style to your work wardrobe, but on day one, let your work make the greatest statement." - Real College Student of Atlanta

"Showing up early shows them that you are responsible and looking forward to your work there." - Simply Bumbling Along

"You think you'll remember everything and inevitably you'll end up either remembering wrong and getting called out on it or having to ask again. You don't want your boss to think you weren't listening the first time around." - Career Contessa

"Make sure to introduce yourself to every person you come across, and do your best to remember their name. You're going to be spending a lot of time with these people, and it's best to get started on the right foot." - Lauren Conrad

"Show up to work as the best version of yourself and let the rest work itself out. You're there because they saw something in you that they think meshes well with their office culture and goals, so let those aspects of your personality shine." - Fortune

What tips do you have for your first day at work?

Saying Goodbye to Urbana-Champaign

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 03, 2017
Today I say goodbye to Urbana-Champaign, my home for the past 20 months. God definitely knew what He was doing when He put the idea in my head to move here. I met incredible, Godly women who helped shape and grow my faith immensely; became a high school leader to help do the same for girls at my church; started my first job; created a business; and best of all, lived with my sister for the first time as adults.

To my Bible Study ladies:
Thank you for everything you've done for me and my faith this year. As soon as I stepped into your group, I was met with loving women. You made me feel so welcomed and quickly became my closest friends. You taught me how to be bold in my faith, trust in God's plan, and lead through love. You were all nothing but supportive and encouraging during this time of transition - something that helped me to push on and continue to pray about. You ladies were such an incredible blessing to me here and I will miss you all so much!

To my High School girls:
You were all so amazing to me throughout this year. From meeting so many of you at CIY: Move, to becoming your full time leader, I had a blast. Although I was leading you, you all led me, too. You taught me to ask questions and search for answers, to get back in my Bible regularly, and how to share uncertainties and pray through them. Wednesdays quickly became my favorite night of the week and I owe it all to you. Thank you for trusting me with your vulnerability and for the continued love you've shown me. You girls are going to do incredible things in Christ, I just know it.

To my first job:
You were my first job out of college (actually, ever) and I couldn't have asked for a better place to start my career. Everyone was warm and welcoming right from the get-go and because of that, I always looked forward to coming to work. I made some wonderful friends here who always took time out of their day to stop by my desk and chat. They became some of my favorite people whilst living here, and I owe it all to you for bringing them into my life. Thank you for setting the groundwork that will enable me to do my job well as I officially enter the world of Human Resources.

To Southern Magnolias:
I am so proud of this company. Although we're not saying goodbye, we are expanding into new territory. For these past nine months, we've served Central Illinois, but starting on Monday, we're adding Chicagoland. I am so happy that we were able to start our business in this town. Champaign has been really good to us, from styled shoots to day-of coordinations, we've been busy. It's been so incredible to see this dream become a reality, and it all started here, in this small town.

To my sister:
Living with you has been the greatest blessing in my life since moving here. Some people thought we were crazy to live together at this stage of our lives, but I couldn't have asked for anything better. Sharing a home that we created together was perfect. It enabled us to start a business, make the same friends, and support each other like no other. Before living together, we were best friends, but now it's the strongest relationship I have. You're my bestest friend. The amount of laughter that has come from living with you is insane. Bethany, I wish I could put you in my suitcase and bring you with me, because leaving without you is the hardest part about this new adventure. I know that we're only going to be 2.5 hours apart, but not coming home to you everyday will be quite the adjustment. Thank you so much for everything you've done for me. You've been there through so much and made this move better than I could have ever imagined. To my business partner, roommate, best friend, and sister - thank you.

Urbana-Champaign has been a great place for me to start my post-grad life, but I have to say, I think Naperville is going to be a close second. I cannot wait to begin this next chapter of my life in a job I'm so excited to start. Chicagoland, here I come!

My May Recap & June To Do List

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 01, 2017
May was so full! I was in Naperville every weekend for different reasons - friends visiting at the beginning and end of the month, spending time with mom for Mothers' Day, and dinner in the city with visiting family. It was a busy month, but so fun! June is about to be just a busy, as I have some big changes happening - I'm moving to the Chicago suburbs to start a new job in Human Resources! I cannot wait to begin this new stage of life. Enjoy May's recap and my June to-dos below.

(Finally) get my Illinois license.
I'm terrible. Next month, it's happening. It has to.

Go through my closet and donate unworn items.
I donated 17 pairs of pants and 43 shirts. All that's left to go through are my dresses and sweaters.

Update my wardrobe with some cute spring pieces (as a reward for cleaning out the closet).
I bought a pair of white jeans and two dresses, but that's all. Still have some shopping to do.

Follow Southern Magnolias' blogging (and Instagram) schedule.
We posted about three of our jewel-toned shoot vignettes: the reception space, cocktail lounge, and sweetheart table.

Try my hand at weekly meal planning.
Definitely didn't do this. Don't even have a good reason. ;)

Begin a new skincare routine.
Yes! And I'm already seeing a difference!

Start sketching again as a way to relax.
Sadly, I never got to this. But I came up with a sketching plan for June.

Share my story with depression in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.
You can read the letter to my depression here (and reasons why I'm happy here).

Celebrate my high school seniors' graduations.
So proud of all of them!

Enjoy a girls' weekend in Chicagoland with my college best friends.
We had so much fun! You can read all about it here.

Spend time with friends during my last few days in Urbana.

(Still) finally get my Illinois license.

Move to Naperville.

Start my new job in Human Resources.

Rearrange and decorate my room at my parents' house.

Begin planning Bethany's wedding.

Get my 50,000 mile checkup done on my car.

Read my Bible every night before bed.

Begin the 30 Days of Gratitude sketchbook challenge.

Find a church in my new city.

What are your June plans?