Wednesday, December 28, 2011

'Tis The Season!

...To be exhausted! Between driving, lots of much needed time with my ever entertaining family, and even some last minute shopping my time at home in Atlanta was definitely a whirlwind. I wouldn't have it any other way though; I even miss the holiday traffic...well not really.

On a walk with my dad while I was home he explained that Christmas always reminds him of his parents and the traditions that they used to share. While this is definitely true, this Christmas more than ever I was thinking about the people that I will be sharing this special time of year with beginning in 2012 and every Christmas after. Blair's job gets a little crazy during the holidays so I am excited to make our new home (wherever that may be!) a special and "Christmas-y" place for both of us.

And in other festive news, Cally and Dave are engaged!!!

The future Mr. and Mrs. Banks!

So excited for these two and can't wait to celebrate with them this weekend at the lake when we ring in 2012 together! I hope each of you had a very merry Christmas and have been enjoying the most wonderful time of the year!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Hopping

A little Christmas cheer from the camera...

A weekend in Greenville

Dave & Cally


The boys

Ornament Shower in Atlanta

Guys enjoying some holiday cheer

Girls looking festive!

Emma, the brave one who tackled Lenox 2 days in a row!

Sunday Brunch with the Willis cousins
Thanks for browsing!



Besides the sounds of the season, I am feel like I am busy watching the days fly by. I cannot begin to fathom the fact that 2011 is coming to an end and soon the year of the wedding will be here! This past weekend Blair and I went to Atlanta for an "Ornament Shower" hosted by my mother's best friend Terri and her husband Jim. We had such a great time (and hope our family and friends did too!) and also got a few wedding items checked off of our list.

Anything With Bacon

I took Friday off from work and drove to Atlanta Thursday night so I could spend the day with my mom and sister. We hit the ground running on Friday with a visit to Sun in My Belly. This is the restaurant that Mom and I have selected for the bridesmaids luncheon and I am so excited! It is in Decatur, which is an old, unique neighborhood in Atlanta and also where my dad grew up. I wanted to be able to incorporate parts of or places in Atlanta that are special to me and my family during our wedding weekend and I think Sun in My Belly will do just that! The restaurant got its name by means of a quote from Picasso who, when asked what compelled him to create, responded with "The sun in my belly". And create they do! Laura got "The Kirkwood"; a traditional eggs, bacon, and biscuit breakfast. It was delicious, their biscuits are awesome.  I ordered "Alison's Famous Pimiento Cheese & Bacon Omelette". I have a bacon weakness (thanks Dad) and it did not disappoint! Mom ordered a great salad, which Laura and I each took a few bites of just to say we ate something remotely healthy. It was so nice to spend some time with them and imagine what that very same place will be like when it is filled with all of the girls and women that will make our wedding so special.

Laura's, "The Kirkwood"

Mine. Aweosme.

Well Deserved

Saturday morning when Blair arrived we had a meeting at Ansley, our reception venue. We were asked several questions about details of the big day and it was in helpful in that it allowed us to get a better idea of things that we still needed to get done. The staff there is extremely helpful and it makes the long distance planning much less stressful. Since neither Blair nor I live in Atlanta currently it was nice to be able to visit Ansley together, especially while it is decorated for Christmas.

After our meeting we headed to lunch at Flip Burger, one of Blair's all-time favorite places to eat in Atlanta. I treated myself that a Krispy Kreme milkshake (that's right) and Blair ordered a Bloody Mary. I loved being able to sit down, just the two of us and enjoy a day together in my hometown at Christmas. It was a great trip and made us both so excited for everything that will follow!

Mine. Awesome...Again.

One happy camper

Thanks for reading!


Monday, December 19, 2011

False Alarm

One night last week I was snuggled tight in my bed when I awoken my the awful sound of glass shattering. I grabbed my cell phone (don't ask me why) and ran into the bathroom that connects to Sam's bedroom. I hear this whisper of a voice saying "Mary? Mary?" and I know that Sam is awake and also heard the crash. We call Marsha, whose room is at the front of the house. She did not hear anything but seeing as Sam and I are both pretty terrified at this point, Marsha decides that she should still hide in her closet as a precaution. Sam and I cautiously make our way up the hall, armed with "The Peacemaker", the baseball bat that Sam keeps under her bed for situations just like this one. This is what we found:

The culprit.

It was SO loud. I thought someone was about to jump through my window. Despite the tragedy of losing a few ornaments, this is what we learned: Our emergency plan of calling Sam's boyfriend who lives across the street repeatedly on his cell phone is not effective as he seems to be a very sound sleeper, we should just call the police if we think we actually are all about to be kidnapped. Also, Marsha has a great hiding place in her closet, Sam and I couldn't find her, we could only hear her voice. And finally, I need a new escape plan as standing terrified in the hall with my cell phone isn't exactly the most proactive plan of action.

I hope your holiday season has been slightly less terrifying! Blair and I went to Atlanta this weekend for an ornament shower in our honor and I will share stories and pictures soon. I hope you all had a great weekend and thanks for reading!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Season of Giving

Usually I pride myself on being an excellent gift giver. I know exactly what to get for every person on my list. However, this year Christmas has really snuck up on me. I don't know if its the warm weather that has been throwing me off lately or what but I am having a severe case of gift-giving block.

Image via Pinterest
I have my parents gifts covered and know what I am getting for Blair (Blair: It is not a puppy, stop asking) so it's really Laura and my cousins holding me back. I like to get things for my sister that I can really picture her loving and maybe not wanting to get for herself. This is not to say that I am not in the Christmas spirit, tonight my co-workers and I celebrated at our office Christmas party and this weekend Blair and I are traveling to Atlanta for an ornament shower and I am so excited. I hope you all are having a very merry holiday season so far and thanks for reading!


Friday, December 9, 2011

We Need A Little Christmas

Candy Cane Lane

As Sam said after we put up our oh so glamorous lights, "It's the most beautiful house in Columbia!". Truly. Hope you all had a great week and are getting into the Christmas spirit!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thing 2 is 22!

A very happy birthday to you Sister!
Like I told Laura, today is the one-year anniversary of her 21st birthday! People tell you that birthdays after your 21st are depressing, etc. but I strongly disagree; you only get to live your twenties once and I can't believe my little sister is in hers! Wishing her a day that is just a special as she is. Happy Birthday Stinkbomb!

Thanks for reading, hope you all had a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jimmy V

So I have told you all before that I am a "crier". Well, now my fellow Gold's Gym members know it. Picture this: I am getting onto the treadmill and instead of changing the TV to Bravo! per usual, it is on ESPN and they are discussing the upcoming Georgia vs. LSU game so I leave the TV alone. About half way through my run, ESPN begins a feature focusing on "Jimmy V". Jim Valvano was a championship winning coach at N.C. State in the early 1980's, he went on to serve as the Athletic Director there and then worked as a basketball analyst for ESPN. At the young age of 46 he was diagnosed with cancer. In March 1993, he was presented with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the first ESPY's, announced the formation of The V Foundation For Cancer Research and gave this speech:

I was bawling. I had to slow the treadmill to a walk and then stop it completely. The women on either side of me were definitely concerned. Then I obviously came home and tried to describe this episode to Sam but couldn't do it justice. It brought some much needed enthusiasm to my day and I hope you all enjoy as well. Thanks for reading & watching!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Real Thanksgiving Blessing

Sarah and Whitner are engaged!!!

The future Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy!
Whitner proposed on Thanksgiving Day and Blair was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving with Whitner and his family and help celebrate the happy couple. Sarah and Whit are great friends to Blair and I both and I always look forward to the weekends I get to spend in Spartanburg because we get to spend time with both of them. I am so excited for these two and what could we be more thankful for than two of our good friends deciding to spend their lives together? Not much. Well, besides the fact that the Georgia Bulldogs stomped Georgia Tech...I digress. I hope you all had an awesome extended weekend and got your fill of family, food, and football. Have a great week and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks & Going Home

Tomorrow I am heading home to Atlanta for Turkey Day and I am counting down the hours! One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is all of the people that I get to visit with; family and old high school friends alike. Something about driving around Atlanta in the fall also makes me feel like no time has passed since I was 18 and riding up and down on the same roads going to my aunt's home or our old high school hang out.

I think this pretty much covers it! Image via Pinterest
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend plan that includes (but is not limited to) spending time with family and friends, eating and drinking, maybe doing some shopping and definitely lots of football watching. Thank[ful]s for reading!


Sunday, November 20, 2011


Um where is 2011 going!? Don't get me wrong, I am very excited that April 21, 2012 will be here before we know it but there are definitely times where I feel as though the list of things left to do is double or triple as long as things that have actually been done. So, as a month has passed since six, Blair and I have gotten a good bit accomplished in the past month; mainly one of the things that I was most worried about with Blair who has intense mall-phobia: registering.

71 Casserole Dishes?

Blair and I tackled Pottery Barn a while ago and it was actually a lot of fun. Electronics stress me out so Blair was put in charge of the scanner and off we went. Following a brief distraction thanks to the "Pocket Pets" that were being sold outside the store, we managed to get a lot done and got really excited about building our first home together...until we both started to get a little punchy. Blair tried to convince me that we needed to register for a globe and then wanted to ask for a decorative iron phone paper weight (I am not describing this well), which he proceeded to pick up and talk into as though someone really was on the other line. This behavior prompted the Pottery Barn register boss to [not so] politely ask us if we were done. Oooops.

Then we tackled Belk and to just be completely honest, the women at Belk loved Blair. They thought it was so sweet that Blair had agreed to join me and that he seemed so excited. And we were, until favorite employee #1 printed out our registry to see what we had so far and it turned out that Blair had accidentally registered for 71 casserole dishes. Yikes. We also picked this out and I know Blair would like to extend a personal thank you to anyone that is kind enough to provide this for us as a gift in our first kitchen:

The one-egg pan. Blair was all about this.
More importantly, Blair willingly entered the mall twice of his own free will. It really was a lot of fun and I am thankful that we got to do this together. April here we come!

Thanks for reading and I hope you all had a great weekend!


Thursday, November 17, 2011


Image via Pinterest
Hope you all have something fun planned & thanks for reading!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor in Chief of The New York Times,

I really appreciate that you let me read 20 free articles a month regarding world news, travel, books, fashion, etc. (including your Civil War blog...nerd alert!). However, this is also my complaint. Am I too much of a penny pincher to actually buy an online subscription? Maybe. My strategy of trying to keep count in my head of how many articles I have read so far this month is already failing. So, as a favor to your more money savvy readers, may I suggest you create a tally icon to be placed somewhere on the screen so that I do not find myself in current predicament again; its the 15th of the month and I am fresh out of articles. Keep up the good work [on a budget].

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

364 More

Like I said, I love birthdays and yesterday was not a disappointment. A nice morning at work, lunch with friends, the afternoon off and dinner with the yellow house and the Wofford girls and I was one happy birthday camper!

Brownies. Chick-fil-A biscuit & calendar with coupons. Do my co-workers know me or what?

Flowers from my sweet friend Jenny and our collection of birthday cakes

Thank you for all of the texts, e-mails, facebook messages, and cards. It was a wonderful day and only 364 days until the next one! This weekend we are watching the Terrier take on Georgia Southern (ew) and my dad and Aunt Susan are coming up for the game and I am so excited! I hope you all have something fun planned this weekend, thanks for reading!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wish List

When did my birthday list turn from this...

I'm a Barbie girl. Not even a little bit ashamed.
To this...

I absolutely want a sound machine for my birthday/Christmas/so my co-workers don't hate me.
Where did the years go!? I will be 25 tomorrow and cannot believe it. I love birthdays (yes, selfishly I love my own too) because I think they are a great way to remind someone of how special they are and celebrate that person; whether its a parent, sibling, friend, whatever, I am one of those "birthday people". My greatest wish for tomorrow though is just to just enjoy it, this will be my last birthday with my roommates in the yellow house and I am so excited about spending time with them and the Wofford girls tomorrow night...and maybe a Barbie or two.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Celebrating The Old

Five years ago this weekend Blair and I began officially dating (wahoo!). Now, Blair says this doesn't count as an anniversary because our wedding date will obviously take the place of that but I say it does. What are our plans for this weekend? Glad you asked. Tomorrow is "date night". Not sure what that means yet but I want to see the J. Edgar Hoover right? Saturday=football for Blair and a trip to the J.Crew outlet with my friend Sarah for me. I guess the day that we are meant to celebrate "us" we should be doing exactly what we would normally do. Fine by me! But first, a brief walk down memory lane...



Fall House

The Row



My mother's favorite
Hope you all have a great weekend and thanks for reading!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm Coming Home To You

Well Homecoming 2011 was a success as was expected. Despite some nasty weather on Friday night, we still managed to enjoy a small cookout at Blair's house and then headed to the row to revisit our old stomping grounds/really just be looked at like we are old and stomping on other peoples' ground. Oh well!

Kickoff Cookout at Blair's Friday night

The grill master braving the rain

"The Girlfriends"; we survived!


Just as it should be
Saturday we all regrouped and headed back to campus to watch the Terriers pull off a great win against Elon. Saturday afternoon and night was spent watching lots of football and hanging out with our friends

Megan and I at her parents wonderful tailgate

Go Terriers!

Blair with 2 of his roommates from his senior year

A little fun in the sun.
Still scratching my head wondering where the weekend went but going back to Wofford makes me so thankful for the time that I was lucky enough to spend there. One of my non-Wofford coworkers was saying to some of the Wofford work crowd that they didn't realize homecoming was such a big deal. One of my Wofford coworkers response? "Psh! Only the biggest!" Couldn't have said it better, thanks for reading!


Monday, October 31, 2011


On days like Halloween I realize what a funny stage of life people my age are in. Growing up we obviously dressed up every year and our mom went all out with pumpkin carving, decorations, etc.. Moving on to college everyone still dressed up but there was obviously a little less trick or treating and the costumes got a bit more creative/inappropriate. Tonight, at the home of some sweet friends people were arriving at the door with their children and I am looking at these parents thinking "Ok, if I am a week away from being 25 then you are maybe 28, 29 tops!". I am not at all complaining, its just funny to me that on a night like Halloween people of all ages celebrate in their own way.

A classic in the Branch house growing up during Halloween. Oh Booooooooook!

Hope you all had a very happy Halloween and a wonderful weekend, thanks for reading!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Homecoming!

On our way to see the Terriers play!
That's right; the most wonderful time of the year (well, after Christmas I guess) has arrived, Wofford Homecoming!!! What does this mean exactly? Well for me it means I get to wear all of the black & gold I want without my coworkers giving me a hard time, I will hopefully get asked if I am enjoying my freshman year so far (this happened to me last year and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face), and my friends and I will run around the row like we still own the place. Can't wait!

Reporting back with pictures, stories, etc. Hope you all have a great weekend, thanks for reading and go terriers!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beth Dies!?!

There are two books that I read at least once every year. One: To Kill A Mockingbird. Two: Little Women. Is this a little bit strange? Yes. Even stranger? Instead of "playing" school or house growing up, I often forced Laura to "play" Little Women. All this really meant was that Laura and I pretended to be very cold (we were growing up in Massachusetts after all) and I got to play Jo [obviously] and poor, little Laura had to be Beth. That's right, Laura/Beth died. This has lead to lots of teasing back and forth as the years have gone on so yesterday, on sort of a ho-hum average Wednesday, I get a message from Laura that says: "Little Women is on, always makes me think of you!". Again, sometimes it's the littlest (no pun intended) things that can turn your day around.

Yea, I own this on DVD.
And yes, this post's title is a Friends reference from the one where Joey and Rachel agree to read each others' favorite books; Joey's is The Shining, which he puts in the freezer whenever it gets too scary and Rachel's is Little Women. Joey gets confused, thinks that Laurie is a girl, Jo is a boy and then when he finds out that Beth dies it is just too much for him to handle and the book goes into the freezer, "Beth dies!?!".

Friends and Little Women. Doesn't get any better, thanks for reading!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Blair and I realized that this past weekend is the first since the 4th of July that one or both of us has not traveled (well, he traveled to come see me on Saturday); that is insane. We have been on the long distance road for quite a while so that is not something new to us but as our schedules get busier and after we both work a full week, I usually feel like I look around on Sunday afternoon and wonder where the weekend went; really where did my chance to sleep in a little extra wander off to!?

When I returned from Anna's wedding last weekend, I woke up on Monday with a cold. A knock-you-over, maybe-pull-a-muscle-from-sneezing sort of cold. My parents both think that this was my body's way of telling me that I need to slow down; or as Mom says "You have to learn to say no". This presents a challenge for me as I typically like to see how many things I can add on to my to-do list in any given day.

Not last week. I was in a sleep walking/cold syrup induced coma. Direct from a co-worker: "You look like you need to go home". Yea, well I feel like it too.

No longer! After a relaxing weekend in Columbia filled with lots of college football watching, chili-festival tasting, and of course, napping, I am ready to go! Brand new week, brand new things and Wofford Homecoming this weekend where I will be disguising myself as someone who thinks they are still in college.

Hope you all had a great weekend and thanks for reading!


Friday, October 21, 2011


I can't believe that it has been a month since seven! April 21st will be here before we know it! Blair and I have made lots of good progress and I am getting more and more excited with each passing day. At Anna's wedding this past weekend (Here & here) we were asked by several people if it was strange for us to think that we were next. The answer? No. Nothing feels more natural or just absolutely as it should be than for me to be married to Blair.

Say Cheese!

Yup, Blair and I are successfully still engaged post-engagement photo shoot. Not that this is something I thought we would necessarily disagree on but as Angie, our out-of-this-world awesome photographer reminded us; we probably haven't been photographed quite like this since our senior portraits in high school. Yikes. We had a mild, cloudy afternoon but despite the less than sunshiney weather (which Angie said is actually is nice because light is not as much of an issue for her and Blair and I are not squinting into the sun) we took some really great pictures at the church where we will be married and in my Grandmother's yard. My Grandfather, "Fado", passed away a few months after Blair and I began dating and I thought this would be a great way to include him in our day as he designed and built that house and it is where my mom and all of her brothers and sisters were raised. It was hard for me to pick my favorites but here are a few!

Angie said we are laughing in a lot of our pictures. I keep telling myself that this is a good thing

One where we are actually just smiling. These were taken closer to the street where several people drove by waving/honking. Angie said "Just wait til your wedding day; people love to honk at the bride". Great.


To Grandmothers house we go!

The yard where many games were played, knees skinned, and now engagement pictures taken?

Blair asked Angie if he could take a few "Zoolander" shots. I don't think she was quite sure what to make of this at first. This is what we got. I tried warning her that she was going to have her hands full with him; I think she understands now.
I am beyond thrilled with how our pictures turned out. It has been so fun to share them with our family and I am so thankful that Angie was able to capture the essence of who Blair and I are as a pair; I know she pictures that she will take on our wedding day will be equally; if not more wonderful than these. Thank you Suburbanite Photography and Angie!

The Ten

This is how Blair and I have started referring to our wedding party. We each have 10 attendants; is this a large group? Yes, without a doubt. Is every single one of these people important to us and unbelievably supportive of us and our lives together? Duh. It is for this reason that I struggled with picking bridesmaids dresses. It is difficult to find a dress that can perfectly compliment all figures and skin/hair tones but I did my best! I strayed from my original color (A blush pink/champagne color; after doing this Laura felt the need to inform me that she hated that color anyway. Thanks MOH.) Anyway, the girls' dresses are long and "Cornflower Blue" and they are choosing between two different styles so hopefully everyone will feel comfortable, beautiful, happy, and spring-y just like the wedding day itself!

If you are still reading this, then thank you, I will try to make "Five" not as crazy/ridiculously long/bridezilla-ish. Best part of "Six" though? When I informed Blair, like a true crazy person that we were getting married six months from today, his immediate response was "I can't wait!'. Awesome.

Thanks for reading (seriously!) and have a great weekend!