An Adventurer’s Guide to Kauai, Hawaii

Aloha, we started discussing a winter vacation to a paradise last summer with our very adventurous friends Pure Adirondacks. Hawaii came onboard as an idea when my hairstylist told me airfare was about half the price flying out from Toronto, Canada. After that day the ball started rolling for planning and rest is history. It’s crazy to think, even now, we found a way to make Hawaii fit into our budget!

Kaua’i really interested us as the best island to visit in Hawaii as many people had told us it was less touristy compared to Maui or Oahu. We also found when researching that this island was called “The Garden Island” due to its lush greenery throughout the island, which posed to us endless adventure opportunities.

One thing I learned as we started mapping out our trip was that many of Kauai’s attractions for adventures were actually closed down. We found the Napali Coast Trail was shut down due to flooding, Queens Bath was closed due to tourists getting injured, and many other waterfall hikes were closed too. Despite this we found there is still a lot to be seen and do on the island. If you are looking for a good source of information check out On Hawaii Time. We actually met them while we were on vacation and they gave us the warmest welcome and advise for exploring the island.

When we arrived in Hawaii it was very late and we crashed in Lihue for the first night. In the morning we made an early start as we were all surprised to wake up to roosters “cocka-doodle-dooing” every five minutes. We ate a quick breakfast and headed to Shipwreck Beach where the Mahaulepu Heritage Coastal Trail starts. As the trail started the wind was high and waves were crashing into the shore. We made our way around the first bend and could see the whole shoreline. We thought we’d crush the trail quickly but we ended up exploring until mid afternoon!

Basaltic volcanic rocks are the black and porous rocks that line the shorelines of Kauai.
Photo credit to Evan Williams

After we finished the hike we were very hungry and headed over to Poipu Beach to grab a bite to eat. I tried a poke bowl, a traditional dish made with rice, vegetables, and raw fish, for the first time at Brennecke’s Beach Broiler! The view from the restaurant was to die for and the food was delicious.

After lunch we headed back to go grocery shopping and get settled into our Airbnb in Kapaa. We choose to stay in Kapaa because of it’s central location around the island. Kapaa is a cute little town with small town shops and has a beautiful shoreline to watch the sunrise.

Photo credit to Evan Williams

After we settled in we hopped across the street to the grocery store. We really wanted to save money on our vacation by cooking our own meals however, grocery prices here are absolutely outrageous. For example, one dozen eggs was six dollars. A week of groceries was triple the cost of what we pay at home. It was a bummer but it still cost less than going out to eat for every meal. Aka don’t plan on saving money in your vacation budget here.

The second day we took a Catamaran Tour of the Napali Coast. In the beginning of the tour we saw spinner dolphins and were able to snorkel in a cove. We were able to explore the coral, swim with a bunch of tropical fish, and Hilary saw a sea turtle! They said they would provide the snorkels on the tour but if you have your own pressurized one I would bring it. As we left our snorkel spot and approached the Napali Coast the waves started to become rough. Big waves were upon us before we knew it and I headed towards the side of the boat to face them head on or else I would have been sick. Prepare to be soaked and if you have dramamine take it before the ride! The waves our definitely worth it in order to see the Napali Coast up close and personal! On top of that on our way back we saw a glimpse of some humpback whales surfacing too. (I have no pictures from this day because my Gopro was dead…)

On our way home we stopped at a local coffee plantation to get free samples of coffee as we were all feeling it from the five hour time change. It was neat to take a tour around the plantation and see how one pound of coffee is made. It definitely makes you wonder how coffee is not more expensive as we learned one tree gives only one pound of coffee per year. Yikes.

Tip: if you are planning on going anywhere on the island double or triple the travel time. Traffic here can be very slow going during rush hour times and speed limits are also very slow at times due to terrain.

Our third day, Evan and Hilary took the airplane ride around the island in the morning. Kevin and I decided to opt out of this one. They said it was spectacular and you get a whole view of the island. They boasted on how it was worth their while and how cool it was to go in and out of the ridge lines like in Jurassic Park.

We instead took the morning to relax and take in the Ke Ala Hale Makalae Path that started right next to our Airbnb! This trail has a spectacular view as it tracks the coastline for miles. If you have a bike this is definitely a path to bike as we only made it about halfway and turned around because we were walking. The shoreline beach is fun to walk and we saw some black crabs come in and out of the rocks.

This day was also one of the only days the North Shore had an ok forecast for the week so we decided to spend the rest of the day exploring north. Keep in mind if you are going to stay on the north side of the island or visit this part of the island you will need to bring a rain coat. The peak in Kauai that gets the second highest rainfall in the world is on the North Shore. That being said this side of the Kauai was absolutely breathtaking. There were certainly times I thought throughout the drive I wish we stayed here. However, Hanalei is still recovering from the floods and all the roads leading to the pier were closed, which was a bummer. We decided to just have lunch here and search for a good beach spot afterwards.

The beach spot didn’t go as planned due to rain and wind on the shoreline so we unfortunately found ourselves back on the road. As a last stop for the day we ended up at the Kilauea Lighthouse National Wildlife Refuge. All birds are protected on the island, which is why you will see so many chickens, and this sanctuary had a whole host of birds to see. We loved the “red-footed boobies” that lined the mountain sides and the Hawaiian goose called the “Nene” (pronounced like nay-nay). The views here were also absolutely spectacular.

Photo credit to Evan Williams

On our fourth day, we decided to explore Waimea Canyon. One of the regrets of this day was not getting up and started earlier to do a hike in the canyon. It took longer than we thought to drive up the canyon and we got a late start. If I could have I would have done Waipo’o Falls Trail. Instead we just enjoyed the drive and views.

so many cairns!

As we traveled back down the mountain into town we grabbed lunch at a food truck called Porky’s. In Kauai there are a ton of good food trucks (I’ll mention more below) and we ended up eating at them often. In Kauai there is a focus on pork and that is because they have feral pigs. We saw some and they we very cute. There is a cool site that highlights all of the food trucks that is a good reference here.

We drove back to our condo and got ready for the Luau! We choose the Luau Kalamaku. It was a ton of fun and the dancing and singing was really fantastic! However, I would recommend against getting the food and drinks. There was a limited selection for drinks and the buffet just wasn’t very good in my opinion (although my husbands would differ). For fifty dollars extra per person I would have rather gone out to eat before instead.

For our fifth day we traveled back up past Waimea Canyon to Koke’e State Park where we would do a day hike to see the Napali Coast. We had read a bunch of blogs with many recommending the Awaawapuhi Trail and the pictures did look amazing but we didn’t want to fall into a tourist trap. We also had gotten the recommendation from our On Hawaii Time friends that the Nu’Alolo Trail was their favorite. We were all leaning towards that trail but that sealed the deal.

The trail is very muddy and slippery due to the mud is not mud it is CLAY! I don’t know why when I read many blogs nobody said “Hey this is clay!” but yeah that would have been very helpful. All of the hikes in Kauai are clay paths so prepare to be wet since the water does not absorb fast and prepare to slip since you don’t sink in you slide. If you can I would bring hiking polls these are very useful too. Instead we grabbed walking sticks at the beginning of the trail and made our way down. The majority of the 3.8 miles in is downhill. This is hard when it is slippery so take your time. The views are worth it trust me!

When we finally started seeing glimpses of the canyon it was just amazing. We saw feral pigs but apparently you may also run into feral goats or cows too! The long waterfall is quite lovely and and of course the coastline is breathtaking. We ate here and relaxed for about 30-45 minutes at the viewpoint.

On the way back up, it was physically challenging to say the least. We all felt more sturdy in our ability to not fall but we needed many water breaks and were huffing and puffing. I definitely was down to just my sports bra, which I never do but hey it’s 2019 and I’m all about body positivity.

It felt so good to take my boots off after this hike. We decided to catch the sunset on our way home at Salt Pond Beach Park Kauai. It was pretty but I would definitely recommend watching the sunset from Kekaha Beach Park or Polihale Beach instead.

By our sixth day we needed a breather. We started off the morning at Rainbeau Jo’s for breakfast! This place was so cute but the owners make it the place to be. Beau and Jo are husband and wife and are just the most happy go lucky, down to earth individuals I may have ever met! Their drinks were delicious and I got their homemade cinnamon raisin bagel with local honey and orange and it was a lovely combination I have never had before.

We met up with On Hawaii Time here and had a nice morning chat about our time so far. After we finished we headed to the beach. We originally spent a lot of time looking for a specific beach but that beach ended up being closed off so we went to Poipu Beach. If I could redo this day I would have definitely went to Kekaha Beach Park or Polihale Beach instead. I know I said this above but we caught glimpses of these beaches when we drove by Kekaha and went by Polihale on the boat and both were hands down the nicest beaches on Kauai. That being said we snorkeled here and saw a sleeping seal and turtle on the beach.

Side notes: Please bring reef safe sunscreen or buy your sunscreen here. Kauai is strict with sunscreen because they know certain ingredients kill their coral reef. Be warned their sunscreen does have a lot of zinc in it, which makes it hard to rub in, and will leave you looking pasty and turn your skin or hair white. While this is not ideal, just deal with it. Also Hawaii has a law that you should stay at least 15 feet back from sea life. Don’t be the dingle bat trying to get a picture next to the sea life or be prepared to be yelled at or ticketed.

We got ice cream afterwards at Lappert’s and it was seriously one of the raddest most delicious ice cream spots I’ve ever been too. I could barely order because I could not choose what to get. I would definitely recommend this place 1000 times over.

Our last day we spent kayaking the Wailua River. We rented kayaks right up the road at Wailua Kayak Adventures. They had double kayaks and everything to hook them onto your car. They even gave us a huge dry bag to take with us. We had gotten an early start but it was around 10 by the time we dropped our kayaks in the river. My advice instead of doing what we did is to rent a kayak for the week so you can put your kayak in when the sun rises. The reason for this is there are tours that run all day and bring a bunch of people on the trail and to the waterfall. Therefore, if you want to explore by yourself this is your best bet. Also, just an FYI they don’t allow kayaking on Sundays on the river.

The kayak was about 45 minutes long and a nice ride through the valley. When you arrive note your kayak number and try to pull it as far up as possible to shore just in case there is flooding. When you come back your kayak will most likely be moved.

Now the hike down to the waterfall looks short on the map but is so muddy and slippery it took almost an hour. DO NOT WEAR anything other than crocs or go barefoot. Hiking boots, shoes, water shoes, etc. will not help and can get stuck. The mud here will come up to your calves at times, trust me. Kevin and I both went barefoot instead.

The river bed following the trail probably would have been easier to navigate than the trail to be honest. The trees were so gorgeous lining the river but we found they are actually African trees that they introduced for lumber but turns out when grown in Kauai they are too soft and grow quickly. They end up being more an invasive species so there are some places where they are cutting them down. They still were pretty neat to look at.

When we got the falls there was probably 30 people there total due to tours coming in and out. The waterfall was spectacular but it definitely would have been a thousand times better being there by ourselves. The water was cool and the rocks were big under the water so watch out for big drop offs if you do go in the water.

We had a quick snack and then headed back towards the kayak. When we finished it took us about a solid four hours total. We met back up with Hilary and Evan to explore a couple more places quickly before we headed back home.

One of the places we stopped to eat on our way out of Kapaa were two food trucks everyone had raved about called Scorpacciata and Wailua Shave Ice. We had delicious brick fired pizza’s from Scorpacciata and then ended with the “lava flow” shaved ice. I would definitely recommend both of those places 100%! Shaved ice is a local Kauai dessert that everyone kept telling us to try and I’m glad we did. It was a lot like the consistency of snow with fresh pressed juice poured over the top for flavor and other natural toppings like fruits and fruit purees and coconut foam!

We were sad to leave this paradise and return back to the cold of Upstate New York. Feel free to share your favorite experiences in Kauai below!

Our DIY Barn Wedding

Ahhh, so I got married last year and I am finally getting around to blogging about it because my wedding photos are finally in! As a DIYer I really wanted to DIY everything in our wedding including my wedding dress (kinda, lol) and we had a tight budget(as in still way too much to spend on a one day) for 250 people.

Now if you just got engaged a little advice – take a deep breath and everything will work out. Our wedding was two years in the making so it doesn’t happen overnight.


We picked out our venue using Wedding Wire. This was the easiest site to use to narrow down venues that would accommodate the amount of people, cost, and type of venue we were looking for. We nailed it on our first visit using this site! We also used this site to create a FREE wedding website. No need to spend any money on a website when they have tons of templates to choose from fooo freeee.

We really needed a big barn to accommodate our large family where we could get married inside or outside depending on the weather. We landed on a gold mine about an hour from where we lived called Barnes Barn . This venue is a working family farm with sprawling acres, set in the beautiful countryside of Upstate NY. I still pinch myself that we found this place! We had the entire week to come and set up, they provided tables and chairs for the reception and ceremony, and they had the best overlook of hills in the area. We also could choose our own catering! This was a huge cost savings compared to other venues as most would force you to use their overpriced catering. Lastly, the owners here are just wonderful people, they were super understanding and helpful throughout the entire process.

After we chose the venue I started looking for a florist. This was really frustrating because I had no idea how expensive flowers would be. After just about giving up altogether I decided to make my own arrangements. I Pinterested flower arrangements of what I liked and walked into JoAnn Fabrics on a mission. I spent about two hours arranging the bouquets until I landed on something I liked. In hindsight I probably should have done this last but it ended up working out. Outside of the flowers I only had to buy a couple of spools of twine, heavy duty scissors, mens pins, and women’s bracelets for accessories ($30). I basically just put the flowers together the way I wanted and wrapped twine around it with a couple of knots. No fancy stuff needed here. Also JoAnn Fabrics has 40% sales all of the time so I waited for those to come up to buy all the flowers as I finished each project. I ended up spending about $700 total on my flowers for the entire wedding (including some real flowers too). I went out the week before and bought potted flowers to decorate our ceremony and entrance way to the barn. We then repurposed these flowers in our landscape at our house, which was a double bonus.

I had to do a little problem solving that week before to try to figure out how to cover or replace the plastic bottoms of the potted flower arrangements. I ended up buying burlap fabric for super cheap at again, JoAnn Fabrics! I then cut that into large pieces to wrap around the existing pots and secured them with twine. Overall, I was very pleased with the end result and it only cost me some time and about $15 for the fabric.


I found that what helped me the most with decorating the venue was looking at what other people had done on the venues facebook page. That helped me envision what I liked and disliked. I found the whiskey/wine barrels were something I really wanted for decoration with the barn. However, finding barrels to rent became a huge headache. I had exhausted all avenues as most quotes to rent barrels were about $1000 dollars for the day (wtf?!?!?). Finally we got a reasonable quote from the The Finger Lakes Barrel Co. The owners were so sweet and even delivered our barrels an extra 50 miles total round trip for us.

The welcome sign I originally was going to buy from Etsy but then I saw the price tag for that too….are you seeing a trend here? Everything’s expensive when it says “wedding” on it. I ended up borrowing my Sister-in-laws chalk board and bought chalk pens on Amazon. I was really nervous this would ruin her chalkboard but I bought their cleaning solution and it came right off.

I also knew I really wanted drapes for the barn door openings. A bunch of other couples who had been married had them and I thought they looked so pretty. I found some sheer white curtains on Etsy that were perfect! We needed them to be a really large size as the barn doors were 15 feet high. Now I didn’t realize they came only as one piece but that was no problem in the end. We just cut them in half to make two pieces and placed the cut sides towards the doors.

One thing I regret was renting the tablecloths through the caterer. I had specifically requested floor length and certain table sizes and we definitely did not get that. At the end of the day we just rolled with it and made the best of it. I think it still ended up beautiful.


I wanted to keep the decor simple since the barn was very intricate itself.

I have broken down where I got each piece of decor above. The old apple crates were antiques my parents had that I borrowed. My in laws had brass candle sticks just laying around waiting to be used. I bought Magnolia candle sticks from Target to put in each brass candle stick holder. All of the votive candles were 10 hour candles from JoAnn fabrics. The burlap cards banner was from Amazon. The card holder was from JoAnn fabrics. My father in law cut the wood slabs for us from his backyard. The guestbook was from the dollar bins at Target. The table numbers were from JoAnn fabrics. All of the picture frames were from Marshalls ($70 dollars total and I think I had gotten 10 frames). The wine bottles were either from us or we bought some for super cheap on Ebay.

The biggest DIY undertaking went to……. the flower boxes and the seating chart!

For the seating chart I had an idea in mind from someone else but I could not find anything remotely close to that online to order. I started by finding an empty frame to match the wood of the apple crates. I would like to take a moment and say I on a personal level choose not shop at Hobby Lobby but I ran out of options of places to look and did find my frame there. Then I needed to find chicken wire. We found some at Lowes but let me tell you – be careful- this stuff is sharp and not easy to cut. At home I used a staple gun to adhere the chicken wire to the back of the frame. Then I bought stencils at JoAnn fabrics and used leftover white paint at home to color in the letters. I used some white card stock and little white clothes pins from JoAnn fabrics to pin up the table assignments and boom it was finally done!

The flower boxes I bought unfinished from Joann Fabrics and stained myself. I then took my leftover chicken wire and cut it to fit the square hole. The long part of the process was cutting and arranging the flowers how I liked them. Originally this was going to be my centerpiece idea but the boxes needed so many flowers and it was super, painstakingly difficult that I gave up after two were completed and decided to use them as another piece of decor for the wedding.

We used compostable plates and utensils because we really wanted to “Go Green” for the wedding. These were so cute and also a huge cost savings as it cost us about half the price of renting real tableware from the caterer. Our napkins were linen and the caterer supplied those. They came pre-folded which was such a relief for setting up!

Our wedding was catered by Seymour’s Catering and they were fantastic. We really liked the idea of having Barbeque and they were literally right up the road!

My neighbor, bridesmaid, and one of my best friends made our cake for us. Now she could have made extravagant cupcakes and flavors but we really wanted to keep it to simple flavors and colors. I took some of the leftover flowers and gave Danny the arrangements on each tier and it came out perfect. Ughh, she is so talented! She also made the arrangement platters for less than $20 all together! She bought the most beautiful glass plates from the salvation army and glued on glass candle stick holders from the dollar store (ahhhh they were so elegant).


One of the last priorities on our list was invitations. You can really save a lot of money by using the online sites when they have sales. We used Shutterfly but there are a ton of online sites for this stuff.


We had our rings custom made by a family friend so there is no other ring like mine and its rose gold! For pictures I put it in a vintage ring box from my grandmother and this is her handmade vintage table runner she handed down to me too. Not pictured was the rest of my wedding jewelry. I got matching rose gold earrings and a bracelet from this cute Etsy shop.

Update: I recently had my ring sauntered together so that it doesn’t move around as much! Also getting the ring handmade will save you literally thousands of dollars compared to buying it in the store. Spending a little time looking up if there are any local jewelers in your area can definitely save you money.

We started the day by getting ready in the dressing room built right into the barn! It was so cool! The ceremony was not until 4 pm so we had the entire morning to get ready at a relaxed pace. One thing I had not thought of was lunch the day of, ekkk! I was so lucky to have wonderful friends who went out of their way to bring us subs so we didn’t starve until dinner!

My hair was a main focus of mine. I tried out a couple of hairstyles but at the end of the day it just looked better down and curly. One of my coworkers where I work is a hair dresser so she came to do everyones hair for the wedding which was really lovely. I wanted my curls to be very tight and then she hand separated them instead of combing them out. I go back and forth with what I should have done because I don’t necessarily like the the uncombed out look but my hair snarls in the back easily and my curls usually fall quickly so we decided to just hand separate. I think it was the best choice as you can see by the end of the day the curls were definitely falling.

I want to take a moment to say that we did not buy any fancy outfits to get ready in (I bought myself a romper of course lol) just because everybody in my group had different styles and I just thought it was more us to just be ourselves. This also allowed me to get a meaningful gift for everybody instead. I found the cutest personalized leather clutches for my bridesmaids and matching rose gold with crystals bracelets for the moms.

Makeup was a toughie too. I was originally going to do my own makeup but then I started to panic the closer we got to the wedding. I’m glad I chose to get a makeup artist because my makeup lasted all day and was better than anything I could have done myself. You get what you pay for! I was able to do a make-up trial and I would highly recommend it – we changed a couple of things before the wedding day.

Picking out my dress was by far the longest decision I made in the whole wedding planning process. I probably tried on over 100 dresses in total. There were so many that I loved but they just didn’t feel like they fit my personality. The more I dress shopped the more I was able to define what styles I liked and what flattered my body type. Still there wasn’t a dress where I loved the top and bottom together as a whole. I also knew I really wanted a blush colored dress so that was always in the back of my mind although I was open to white or ivory. If I could have found mermaid or a trumpet style dress in blush I would have, even today, but the dress just did not exist.

What did I end up doing? I found bridal separates. Yep you heard me right. The skirt of my dress is by Martina Liana and is called the Stevie Skirt in blush. I literally could have never, ever, ever in my wildest dreams, afforded this skirt but I found one on a used wedding dress site for 1/5 of the tag price that had never been worn and snagged it. The top, made by Watters, I had been eyeing was from BHLDN (the cutest bridal site!) but I really couldn’t afford it. Then magically it went on sale for half off and I bought it! I was literally sweating bullets with every passing second trying to imagine what would happen if it arrived and didn’t match but thankfully the colors went perfectly! I paired everything up with a belt I had bought on a whim while dress shopping earlier at Davids Bridal (I don’t think they sell this anymore b/c I could not find it). For my shoes I needed a heel because my skirt could not be hemmed and a wedge just in case the ground was soft so I didn’t trip. I found a really cute, comfortable nude wedge from DSW for $35 that fit the bill (I now wear them to every wedding I attend because they go with everything). Last but not least was my veil. At first I thought I was doomed but Davids Bridal started selling plain champagne veils a couple of months before the wedding at a reasonable price of $50 dollars.

Just a quick side note. I had no idea what type of bra to wear with this top since I am large chested (34DD or 32DDD) and the back went down lower than normal. I ended up finding a really cheap option that actually worked from Target that was stick-on! I know, right?!?!?! I never thought I’d say a stick on bra worked but it did! I had to buy two of them because of trying the dress on for alterations and just saved the second one for the special day.

When we picked out the bridesmaids dress color and the suit color I had to bring the flowers and swatches just to double check they coordinated with everything. The men ended wearing a mute navy from Tuxedo Junction. They were quality material and the only place we could find where the navy that wasn’t that bright blue. The girls all chose the same dress (I originally thought they’d want to chose their own style but turns out I was wrong)! They chose a long, one shoulder dress with a cute slit on the side in the color Sangria, which was a little more pinky of a wine color, from Davids Bridal.


I learned when planning our timeline that if you have an early wedding you don’t need to do a first look but if you have a late wedding like us at 4pm there is no time for pictures after the ceremony. Therefore, we did a first look even though I really wasn’t fond of the idea. I wanted to make it more personal than just looking at each other lol so we decided to read our vows aloud to each other at our first look for a personal moment together.

^^^^^such a cutie ❤

We also really wanted to include our dog Birdie into the wedding but didn’t want the responsibility of actually taking care of her on our wedding day. We ended up paying a friend to drive her up to the wedding for pictures to hang for a few minutes and then return her home. We wanted to dazzle her up for the day so she got a bath in the am and a handkerchief to wear! It took me forever to pick one out on Etsy but I finally found the perfect handkerchief!


We really enjoyed our photo shoot time but we wished we had looked up poses and actually practiced a couple prior to the wedding. When it came to the day of we had no idea what to do even though I have a million pins of what I liked. Definitely would have come in handy.


One of my favorite gifts was from my Mother-in-law. I was really close to my grandparents when Kevin and I first met but they both had passed away over the years before we got married. She had charms made for my bouquet so they could be with me on our special day and I just think it was the most thoughtful gift.

Then it was finally time to get married!!!!! We had our DJ play songs for the guests as they sat down. We chose the songs for this playlist. This was definitely a fun little touch. Now I have to say I am not super emotional in public but when I heard the music I chose to walk down the aisle to start playing I was actively trying not to cry. I chose for everybody, including me, to walk down the aisle to the acoustic version of “How Long Will I Love You” cover by Ellie Goulding.

We chose the half circle set up for the ceremony 🙂
My mother in laws dress was to die for!
My one niece was perfection while my other niece was crying haha. This was actually perfect timing for me because it stopped me from crying and kept me laughing down the aisle.
My sister-in-law had gotten these unfinished baskets for when they go apple picking in the fall and I asked if I could stain them for the wedding and she agreed! We bought fake flower petals on amazon for them to throw down the aisle!

We planned our ceremony to be 10-15 minutes long total. Neither Kevin nor I like the attention on us for too long. We also wanted to make the ceremony as “us” as possible. Our best friend, groomsman, that we lived with for about a year while I was going to school married us. I had my Grandma read the St. Francis of Assisi Prayer as our one and only reading (my grandfather who passed loved that prayer and his name was Francis). Then we shared our own vows. This was really hard. We both promised to keep them short so that helped. Our best friend also put some speech stuff in before, in between, and after each of us and he blew it out of the park! I think all in all it was 10 minutes total and that was perfect!

“Jane: You know how the bride makes her entrance and everybody turns to look at her? That’s when I look at the groom. Cause his face says it all you know? The pure love there.”
-27 Dresses

Now our biggest regret of the day was not doing a receiving line. We thought since we had so many guests and the reception was down a big hill that we would just make our rounds during 1.5 hour cocktail party and let everyone start to get food and beverages. However, we were wrong! There were so many people to talk to that we had to split up to conquer! Just do a line…

We wanted our reception to feel laid back and fun so we included an outdoor area with lawn games and table games to play throughout the day and night. These were a big hit!

Life size Jenga! My brother-in-law and his girlfriend made these for us and gave it to us as gifts at our bachelor and bachelorette parties!
Cornhole 🙂

The rest of the night went pretty smoothly. We had dinner, gave speeches, and danced the night away. We skipped the cheesy stuff like cake cutting and bouquet tossing, etc. We even got to sneak off to the tip-top of the property to take some sunset pictures for 30 minutes and enjoy some time together alone. It was sincerely the best day ever.

My mom and dad are so cute ❤
First Dance Song was Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, The Rest of our Life.
Mother and Son Dance. Song choice Thomas Rhett, Unforgettable.
(Ugh isn’t this photo is just lovely<3)
Father and Daughter Dance – Song choice John Lodge, Simply Magic.
Our family is huge 🙂

We did get to sneek away to the edge of the owners property at sunset for a little alone time. We were floored to see almost a 360 view of the rolling hills. Definitely one of my favorite little moments of the day.

This is my favorite photo of us ^^^^^

Last but not least I did change into my rehearsal dinner dress for the last hour of dancing since my skirt was big and the dance floor was steamy. I had packed it just in case! I pulled a quick hair change to a low pony and I was ready to really get low on the dance floor.

Just want to give a huge thank you to our photographer who flew half way across the country to take photos of our wedding. Her photography, Kara Gardner Photography, is out of this world and she is just a lovely human being. We were so blessed to have her there with us to document our day.

Pretty in Pink on Valentines Day

My favorite things for this February happen to be pink and are perfect to wear for your Valentines Day date! I’m obsessed with the color of all these products because they are the perfect colored blush pink and so affordable.


1.Cold Shoulder Sparkle Top from Old Navy $8.50

I could not find online the color blush that I found this top in but it is so cute and such a steal. Usually cold shoulder tops look terrible on me since I have a bigger bust but this one lays flat!

2. Essie Nail Polish in color “Not Just a Pretty Face” from Marshalls $4

I can not paint my nails for the life of me and Essie is the only nail polish that actually works for me but they are so expensive. I have been racking up colors by shopping at Marshalls or TJMaxx because they are always 3-4 dollars. I absolutely adore this color.

3.Rose Gold Choker from Franchescas $20

I actually bought this for a holiday party and loved it! Its dainty yet still a statement piece.

4.Strapless Bra from Third Love $66

I have needed a new strapless bra for forever but just have been putting it off. Now I found myself in a predicament because I bought the cold shoulder top but had no strapless bra for Valentines Day. I’d heard of Third Love and honestly thought oh com’n whats all the hype about. While it is more pricey than bras I’ve bought before the reviews were amazing and you can return the bra in 30 days so I thought ehhh just do it!  I’m so glad I took the plunge and tried it because it fits perfect and doesn’t budge even when I jump up and down. Now I’ve never had a bra do that, especially not a strapless. The best part is not only does it fit well but it lays perfectly with the cold shoulder top!

5. BareMinerals Pressed Ready Blush in color “The Indecent Proposal” $20

Getting that perfect mauve color on my cheeks is difficult. Every time I’m at makeup stores and the color looks perfect on the shelf but when I try it on my skin it looks way to pink. I had the girl at BareMinerals put basically every color blush on my face until we found this one. She was so surprised because she had never used this color before on anyone. Moral of the story try them all.

6. BareMinerals loose powder All Over Face Color in color “clear radiance” $21

I actually got this color for free with a kit I bought from BareMinerals and its the perfect everyday eyeshadow. It’s subtle and matches perfectly with the blush.

7. BareMinerals Matte Liquid Lip Color in color of “Swag” $19

I have Matte in Boss which is a great work color and fall color but I love swag. It’s that perfect mauve pink that completes the look. Now normally I do prefer a lip pencil but this matte lipstick does not come off and it is fiance approved. I’ve worn this lip color everyday since I bought it.

8. Piccadilly D30 slim protective phone case in the color “Rose” $21

Well long story short my phone was lost this week and I had to buy a new one. While that was a bummer, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. While shopping for phone I found this phone case. It’s super cute, durable, and affordable and of course has that pop of pink on the side. I’m obsessed!

Hope you love these finds and have a glamorous Valentines Day! Feel free to share your any pretty in pink finds you’ll be wearing the 14th!