Wednesday, June 29, 2011


This is my 100th blog post! I can hardly believe 1.) That I have actually kept up with this and 2.) That apparently more than just Mom, Dad, and Laura are reading it! It has been such a fun experience and now when something inspiring, exciting, and even slightly embarrassing/humiliating happens I always think "Ohhh, I can't wait to blog about this!". In celebration of this "blogging achievement" I am working on a special profject: getting Blair to write a guest post. So far this has proven to be an absolute miserable failure but I am not giving up yet.

In other news/accomplishments, my "OCD tendencies" have reached a new milestone with my wedding planning station. That's right, I am talking color coded folders, spreadsheets, pro/con lists, etiquette books...and candy (probably not on the pre-wedding diet, ooops). This is the station (aka the dining room table) after I tried to get things slightly under control...

It may not look super crazy but appearances can be deceiving...
So it is here I sit with my m&m's, dog-eared pages, "favorite" websites, and Blackberry. I have been trying [Blair has done an excellent job of making me] focus on what the day is about; a celebration of us, the start of our life together, and those that matter most to us.

I can't wait to see all that life holds with the next 100 posts; thank you all so much for continuing to follow along and as usual, thanks for reading!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Whirlwind Weekend

This past weekend Blair and I were so excited to celebrate our engagement with several of our friends from Wofford (and new ones from Columbia!); it was such a joy and I think Blair summed it up perfectly when he looked at me on Saturday and said "We are so lucky to know people like this". Couldn't have said it better!

Friday night Blair and I went to Limeleaf with our friends Whitner and Sarah. Whitner and I met at freshman orientation and have friends ever since and over the years Blair and Whitner have become especially close. We have had the pleasure of getting to know Sarah since she began dating Whitner and just feel really lucky to know such a fun-loving and generous pair.

Smiles all around!

Survivors of many Clemson games...and more to come!

So sweet

Saturday Blair and I went to lunch and then got his house ready for the par-tay! It was intended to be a surprise after Blair proposed but it was nice to plan it together as a small way to say thank you and spend time with our friends. There were a few surprises (Candace, Sam, and Zeco) and lots of fun/dancing.

Awaiting our guests for the semi-surprise party

Bev, me, and Megan, so glad they were there

The Yellow House (and Candace)

Friends since freshman year all the way to marriage, grad school and more!

Blair with some of his friends who made the trip

If you have never played "Just Dance" you should; it's fun for the whole family

Reath brothers showing off their moves
A BIG thank you to our friends who made this weekend so special. Blair and I were saying on Saturday that it was so great that there were going to be some people there that have known us since and before we started dating as well as some wonderful new friends who have come to mean a great deal to us both. Making the weekend even more memorable; Vivian the Volvo is feeling slightly temperamental so thanks to a car swap I got to see my dad!

Groom and Father of the Bride!
It was another very special weekend and Blair and I are just so extremely thankful to have such loving friends and we can't wait for the celebrations to continue! I hope you all had a great weekend and thanks for reading!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

With This Ring

Still riding on the newly engaged joyride! I told Blair the other day that I went home for lunch and on my way back to the office a song came on the radio (one that did not relate to us in any way shape or form, I can't even remember what it was) and I started crying because I am just so happy and excited. I am sure Blair is now terrified that he is marrying a crazy person but I can't help it!

This weekend I am going to Spartanburg to start a little bit of planning and a lot more celebrating. Tomorrow night Blair and I are going to dinner at one of our favorite "date night" spots with our friends Sarah and Whitner. On Saturday we are planning on eating lunch at Ike's (Go eat here if you are ever in Sparkle City; seriously. It has been a staple of our long distance diet) and then getting together with a few friends at Blair's house. Apparently he was intending to propose this weekend and surprise me with this party but he said that once he picked up the ring he just couldn't wait. Love it. Grinning ear to ear. Floating around the office all week.

My friend Erin said "It just looks like you".
I am sure I will have more details to share after the weekend; I just can't wait to spend time with Blair and several of our friends from Wofford and beyond that have meant so much to us both over the years. Thank you again for the kind words and well wishes; all of the notes, phone calls, e-mails, etc. have been so special for us to share and we are so grateful.

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


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Will You Do Me A Favor?"

As promised, I am back with details (and pictures) from the weekend! Now, bear with me because this might get a tad lengthy but I want to be able to include as much as possible. I will try to provide a little bit of the backstory, including how sneaky Blair was, and then share some pictures with you all.

We had been planning for several weeks to be in Knoxville this past weekend and Blair has been telling me that on Saturday morning he was going to go to Ashe's, a Knoxville wine store, to meet with a family friend [Not unusual, Blair works in the alcohol industry, I am not suspicious at this all]. Blair's dad was going to join, Lisa was going to go to the grocery store, Lindsey was sleeping in after a long week at work and Phil and I were going to go for a run in a nearby neighborhood. Everyone returns from their respective errands and I put on my bathing suit because I was not going to miss the chance to enjoy the day at his parents' pool. The weather had other plans and after a brief monsoon [During which Phil left the house, mumbling something about needing to go to the bank and the mall...] the sun shone through and I was pool ready!

After grabbing my sunglasses I headed outside, a little confused as to why the rest of his family wasn't as eager to soak up the sun as I was but didn't think much of it. Blair was already down by the pool...

Blair then started to tell me how glad he was that I was able to join him that weekend. I thanked him for inviting me and said I was so happy to be included. Blair walked over to the area where I was standing, fussing with my towel and where to put my camera and sunglasses. He then proceeded to talk about how special our relationship is to him and that it is heartbreaking when we have to say goodbye to each other. I reminded him that we both know it won't always be that way (how ironic) Then he says "Will you do me a favor?", I am still not really understanding what it is going on as he reaches into his pocket, pulls out a ring box and gets down on one knee,
"Mary Branch, I love you. Will you do me a favor, will you marry me?"
After much hugging, laughing, and a few tears we went inside to tell his family. I then realized that Blair and his dad did not go to Ashe's, Lisa did not go to the grocery store; they went to check on the final the setting for the ring...which Phil went to pick up later that afternoon. My family already knew, as Blair had discussed "ring things" with my sister and asked for my father's permission when my Dad was in Columbia for a visit two weeks ago. Sharing the phone calls, happy tears, and "the story" with our friends and family over the next few hours was so much fun for us and the festivities continued as Uncle Al, Aunt Sara, their son Jackson, and several of Blair's friends joined in the celebration.

There are so many things that I love about that day. I love that it was just the two of us, having a normal [or so I thought] conversation, that I was surprised, that my family knew, that it was "us" [the ring box got stuck in Blair's pocket], that Blair asked if I would do him a favor as if I was going to pick up milk from the store, and that for the rest of the night we could not wipe the smile off of our faces.
Newly engaged!

Running buddy/Blair's partner-in-crime/future brother-in-law extraordinaire

Blair and his parents

Blair and his Aunt Sara; so sweet!

The Reaths!

"The spot" (Note: Towels still sitting where I put them, never got that pool time...)

Blair and I with his wonderful friends

Can't. Stop. Smiling.
This has been a phenomenal past few days as Blair and I have been overwhelmed by the love and support that we have received from our amazing friends and family. We are so excited for the journey that we are about to embark on together and I can't wait to share it with you all!

Thanks for reading this crazy/way too long/still slightly giddy blog post!



Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Most Special Surprise

Well it looks as though Blair and I have another wedding to add to our tour, and this one is pretty important because it's...OURS!!! 

Blair proposed at his parents home in Knoxville on Saturday afternoon and I truly mean it when I say I was totally 100% surprised. I just told Blair that I really do feel like I am still floating. Our hearts feel so full with the kind words and best wishes that we have received over the past day; it is simply incredible. I promise to post all of the details later but right now I am just trying to soak up every single moment of this moment that we get to share with with those that we love most. 

I can tell you that his proposal was perfectly sweet, heartfelt, and just so "us". I always joked with Blair that his behavior before he proposed would give it away but he totally had me fooled. We were just saying that I am still surprised that is was such a good surprise (make sense?). I think because I had no idea it was coming I am able to remember everything about it; which I love. I can't wait to share all of this with you all soon. We would also both like to thank our families and friends whose excitement and love for us has made this that much more meaningful and something we will always treasure.

Thank you all so much for reading. I hope you had a great weekend and a very special Father's Day. Can't wait to share all that engaged life has to offer!


Friday, June 17, 2011

World's Greatest Dad

In honor of dear ole' dad, a man who says a lot with few words ("I love you", "I am proud of you", "Good job" "Hey Mary, it's your Dad [voicemail] etc.) I would like to share a few photos in honor of Father's Day that make me especially happy and extremely grateful to have such a great dad, plain and simple.
Wow Mom & Dad; thanks for the super flattering haircut! Look how happy though!

Hey Dad, I found some sand that I would like to share with you. There is really not enough to go around so you're welcome.

This is one of my favorites because if you look closely you will see that the cake actually says "Happy Birthday Tom"...Not Mary.
So a big shout-out to Dad, Laura and I love you very much and we are very lucky to have the World's Greatest Dad! (He has a coffee mug that says so, fact)

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Closet Crisis

I love everything about living in The Yellow House...except our closets. I have a very small closet (which is full) so have some things hanging in the hall closet and some things hanging in Sam's extra closet space. Trying to pack with this closet situation is not very efficient, coupled with the fact that I usually do not know what to actually put in my suitcase. This weekend Blair and I are traveling to Knoxville to spend the weekend with his family and I keep thinking to myself "Self, packing would be so much easier if you have a closet that looked like this..."

Packing can be so stressful. Good thing this closet has a space for me to relax (Picture via)
Color coded? The OCD in me says yes please! (Picture via)
Paris Hilton's closet. Annoyed by her; not by her closet. (Picture via) love. (Picture via)
 It never hurts to dream. Thanks for reading!


Monday, June 13, 2011


Jonathan Taylor wore the #2 jersey on the University of Georgia baseball team; JT-2. JT-2 is also what is painted on the stadium's outfield wall and what is painted on the back of his teammates' batting helmets. Following a March 6th collision in the outfield with teammate and friend Zach Cone, Taylor was paralyzed from the waist down.
Picture via
Picture via
This past Wednesday, Taylor was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 33rd round of the Major League Baseball draft. Kip Fagg, the Rangers Director of Scouting said, "This was the right thing to do. It was about respecting how the kid went about his business, and it was a way to honor him and the way he played the game". UGA baseball coach David Perno said "This was truly a classy move and a great gesture on the part of the Texas Rangers organization". Celebrating with his doctors and family at physical therapy, Taylor was overjoyed and "His face lit up when he got the call".  Doctors at the Atlanta area Shepherd Center where Taylor is undergoing treatment say that most people with Taylor's injuries never walk again. Taylor says he plans on walking again...onto the baseball field.

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


Friday, June 10, 2011

Pull Over & Grab A Fork

A recent phone conversation with my friend Erin:

Erin: Well, it looks like we have another wedding to go to...
Me: I am driving on the highway so if it's your wedding I need you to let me know if I need to pull over.
Erin: You should pull over.

That's right, Erin and Collier are ENGAGED! I could not be more excited for this sweet couple; several of us are planning a girls trip in July to go celebrate with Erin and I am already counting down the days, congrats again!

In other wedding related news, cake:

This is the perfect portion size for me. (Picture via)
Yes, I had a piece (or 2) of Mary Loyal and Lash's wedding cake and it was phenomenal. I know you all probably think that I forgot since I neglected to mention it in my post about their wedding (complete lapse of sugar-loving judgement on my part) but don't worry; I stayed true to my commitment to sample any and all sweets at any social event. In addition to sampling the scrumptious cake at the Laffitte-Springs nuptials; I have been invited to a cake testing this Sunday. That's right; you know you are the "fat kid" when your engaged friends are inviting you to their cake testings.

In all seriousness it is actually a cake tasting "party" as Meagan and Katy are making the wedding cakes for Ashley and Michael's wedding in August and Anna and Steven's wedding in October. I am already mentally preparing myself for the amount of baked awesomeness that I am sure to consume and I guess I will leave a few crumbs for the brides and grooms to be...maybe...

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Monday, June 6, 2011

"The eyes of the world are upon you"

So I know that I often let my major history nerd self shine through and today is no different. June 6th, 2011 marks the 67th anniversary of D-Day; the Allied invasion of France. Around Thanksgiving I told you all about the desire to visit Normandy and after reading several articles and watching multiple interviews with various veterans earlier this evening I am only more determined to make it there one day. I am reminded of the enormity of this day and the effect that it had on the outcome of WWII, America as a foreign power, and our lives still today. I am also in awe of the men participated in the invasion that day; boys essentially Blair's age and often times younger, two of them being my grandfathers. Anniversaries like this remind me to attempt to act with the sort of integrity and courage that would have made them proud and for that I will be forever grateful.

"I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory"- General Dwight D. Eisenhower's Order of the Day June 6, 1944
Thanks for reading!


Just Another

You know it's a Monday when you are making your lunch to take to work and after preparing your sandwich you think that the dishwasher is the proper place to return the mustard...Wow.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Check your dishwashers when you get home,

Friday, June 3, 2011

Stormy Weather

The storm that ripped through Columbia last night was no laughing matter. I found that out the hard way as I was stepping out of the shower when the power went out and I was home alone. I got dressed, lit some candles and sat at our dining room table for a while and watched the rain...and the lightning...and the wind...and the sky that is now this very strange pink/gray color. Ok no more of that, off to the hall my little chicken self went. From the hall I proceeded to call Blair, grab a bag of cookies leftover from my roommate's work party (yes, a whole bag. I thought it might be my last meal. Don't judge) and sat myself down in our hall closet. Was this just a tad dramatic? Maybe. However, while I was in there I got to thinking about a few other items that would spruce up my thunderstorm hide-out:

A bed like this to read/sleep/eat/watch movies in; I think this would definitely fit in the hall closet. (Picture via The Bella Cottage)

A few midnight snacks once I run out of cookies (Picture via The Recipe Girl)

Yep. I think that pretty much does it. (Picture via Suddenly Susan)
I would obviously leave the hall closet to get Chick-fil-a for breakfast but other than that I really think I would be set. Hope everyone has a great weekend and thanks for reading!