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Monday, August 31

As I mentioned in the previous post, we headed off to Charleston on Saturday to find the perfect location for engagement photos to be taken. We wanted something that would reflect the history of the city, but we didn't necessarily want something that screamed "Charleston!" One of the looks that I really like when reading other blogs and looking through photos is the Old World glamour that can be found in historic city centers.

The area that we decided on is a couple blocks of Chalmers Street, which is one of the oldest parts of the city--the French Quarter, built in the late 1600s and early 1700s. The part of the street we like begins at the corner of Meeting Street. Chalmers is cobble-stoned. The buildings still have the history of outdoor plumbing and earthquake rods. Many of them also have wrought iron gates through which you can glimpse little courtyards.

While we were walking down the street and noticing all the history around us, I made the off-hand comment that this was the block I would look for an apartment on should we ever move to Charleston. (I would rent and not own as I don't want the responsibility of updating and maintaining those buildings.) Right as I said this, we walked past the porch of a house with an apartment for rent. The owner happened to be outside gardening and heard me say this.

She struck up a conversation with us, and we soon learned that she was a delightful Persian lady named Heidi. She got so excited when she learned why we were walking on her block and insisted on telling all the wonderful spots to make sure our photographer includes in our photos and telling us the history of the different buildings. She joked that she's married to a 102-year-old money pit and that everything in the building is loose but the landlady.

She also showed us her basement apartment for rent and made us promise to call when we have the photos done and come down for her housewarming party in the next few months. She's even offered us one of her apartments for our wedding night if she has one vacant. Here are photos of us sitting on her steps:

Unfortunately, Heidi's painters showed up toward the end of our conversation, so we didn't have the opportunity to take a picture with her, but hopefully we'll reconnect with her soon. (Side note: see the planters to the side a couple steps behind us? Heidi growing a lemon tree in one and a Persian lime tree in the other.)

One of the homes that Heidi told us that we had to go see was The Pink House Gallery two blocks down from her. The Pink House used to be a tavern and brothel when the slave trade was in full swing in Charleston. Now it's a gallery, and it also boasts the title of the oldest home in Charleston. It was built in the 1690s.

The house is 3-stories tall and built for very short people (between 4'5" and 5'). We walked all the way upstairs where 4-6 women would entertain their clients. The entire room was maybe 10 x 10 feet; they would create smaller rooms by hanging sheets from the ceiling. The Pink House brags of a few ghosts, as do many Charleston buildings. I don't know how much stock I place in ghosts, but it's hard to deny photos.

You can tell from the photos that the stairways were steep and the ceilings were low.

Mister has already sweet-talked the owner of gallery into possibly letting us have a few engagement photos done in the house's courtyard garden in back so maybe we'll be seeing more of the infamous Pink House.

I would definitely suggest that you visit this area of Charleston if you come visit, especially the Pink House Gallery.
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This weekend, the Mister and I went to Charleston to scope out locales for our engagement photo session (which is happening a week from today!), and while we were down there, we browsed in a lot of the stores on King Street. One of the stores, that I insisted upon visiting was the Steve Madden store.

Part of the reason for that is that I love his shoes part is that I had not found just the right pair of shoes to wear for aforementioned engagement photos.

I have the misfortune of wearing a size 10 (!!) shoe. This means that I usually pay full price for my shoes as my size is long gone before a cute style goes on clearance. So I didn't really bother looking at the clearance rack and went straight to the new styles. Luckily, Ian, the sales associates who was helping me, paid more attention. In addition to bringing the pairs that I requested, he brought me three boxes that were on clearance and the last pairs were in my size.

Now, I didn't realize this Steve Madden store knocks the last pair of a style down to $19.95, but I was very happy with the price on these (original price: $79.95):
Even my Mister likes them. He's usually anti-heel because he thinks that they're impractical.

And the icing on the cake is that Steve Madden now puts your purchases in re-usable shopping bags. I like stylish and eco-conscious.

My outfit for the engagement photos is complete. Now I just gotta figure out my hair and make-up. BTW, we did find a spot to have our photos done, too. I'll be posting more details on that later.
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Wednesday, August 26

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated for sales made via these links. Thank you for your support of my blog.

A ring-warming ceremony is a special way to include guests at a wedding by inviting them to bless the couple's marriage. During the wedding ceremony, the rings are passed among the guests, who hold the rings for a few second to pray over, bless or otherwise communicate positive energy on the marriage.

This element works best at smaller weddings so there is time for the rings to pass among all guests before it is time to exchange rings. It can be a traditional unity candle or sand pouring ceremony.

I read about the idea of a ring-warming ceremony last week on Offbeat Bride and fell in love with the idea. My Mister and I have decided we definitely want to incorporate this idea into our wedding. It's a very special way to include all our guests and ask for their blessings and best wishes for our marriage. We're certainly going to need those!

[Photos: Chi Photography]

Post Wedding Update

We decided to order a beachy-themed pillow from the Embellishment Queen on Etsy to hold our wedding rings as they passed among our guests. This would prevent them from getting dropped or lost during the ceremony and allow us to have a keepsake from the wedding to remember all the blessings we received from our guests.

Unfortunately, her shop is not active at this time so here are a few other Etsy ideas for your ring-warming ceremony:

Ring Embroidery Hoop from Hardt and Sol

What are your thoughts on a ring-warming ceremony? Did you include a unity candle or another wedding tradition in your ceremony?

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Aleksis at Alpha Blonde tagged all her readers to complete this survey. All the questions are to be answered in regard to me and my Mister.

What are your middle names? Elizabeth and Ervin

How long have you been together? A little over 4 years

How long did you know each other before you started dating? A couple weeks

Who asked whom out? He asked me out.

How old are each of you? Hmmm...I was 23, and he was 29.

Whose siblings do/did you see the most? His. They live in town. Mine do not.

Do you have any children together? Nope

What about pets? Yes, we have a zoo! We have 2 dogs, Gracie and Paige; a cat, Tessa; and two fish tanks. Mister asked me back in June if I wanted a Cockatoo. I was like, "You want to get a bird right before we go on vacation?"

Did you go to the same school? No.

Who is the smartest? LOL, that's a toss up. We each have strengths in very different areas.

Who is more sensitive? Me.

Where do you eat out most as a couple? Well we play trivia at Flying Saucer almost weekly, so probably there. If you're talking about actually restaurants, it would be either Inakaya or Mai Tai.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Washington, we've been twice in the last 2 years (brother's graduation and wedding). By car, Michigan for my cousin's wedding about 3 years ago.

Who has the craziest exes? LOL. That would probably be me. He tends to not date (or even associate with) people who are TOO crazy. Though I wouldn't necessarily call my exes crazy. I've had a few that weren't very bright, but we all have those.

Who has the worst temper? This one is also a toss up. I lose my temper more often and more quickly, but when it comes down to pure anger, he's loses control of himself more.

Who does the cooking? Usually me.

Who is more social? This is a toss up. We're both pretty social; he makes friends more easily. I like to go out more than he does.

Who is the neat-freak? He is.

Who is more stubborn? We're both pretty stubborn, but he's more likely to compromise to keep the piece. I'm too damn German.

Who hogs the bed? Probably him, but I'm a blanket hog.

Who wakes up earlier? He does; I want to sleep as long as I possibly can.

Where was your first date? Flying Saucer

Who has the bigger family? I do, but mine is more spread out so we see much more of his family.

Do you get flowers often? No! In fact, I didn't get even get flowers for my birthday this year. (Hey, Mister! You're slacking off!)

How do you spend the holidays? Thanksgiving we usually split. For Christmas, we do Christmas Eve and his mom's and Christmas Day at his Dad's mom's. We see my family for Christmas either the day after or the day before Christmas Eve. When we get married next year, I think we should start doing Christmas Day at home.

Who is more jealous? Neither one of us is particularly jealous. What's the point of getting upset if we trust each other? However, I'm more likely to notice if a girl is checking him out.

How long did it take to get serious? Only a few weeks. Shortly after we started dating, I got a job offer in Charleston. We had to decide pretty quickly if we wanted to do the long distance thing. Then the job didn't wind up working out so I wound living with him for 6 months. Though, we didn't start talking about marriage as a real possibility until we bought our house 2 years ago.

Who eats more? Him, he's way more active than I am and needs the extra calories.

Who does/did the laundry? Whoever happens to be home. We split a lot of the housework.

Who’s better with the computer? We're both pretty good with computers. He knows more about our Apples since he used to sell Apple. I use Windows at work, so I'm still pretty savvy with PCs too.

Who drives when you are together? He does. My driving scares him =)

I don't really have very many readers, so if you want to do this survey, go for it. If you don't have a significant other I want you to do 'the list' which is to name the 5 celebrities you'd want to get down and dirty with!
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Monday, August 24

As I've mentioned before, our race was on Saturday. And the last run I posted about turned out to be my last training run because of a headache on Wednesday and a storm on Thursday.

So how did we do?

Here are our times and links to proofs our pictures:


My goal was to finish in less than an hour so I am enormously pleased. The first place runner finished in 16:31. That's crazy! All the results from the race were posted on Strictly Running's website.

Erik and I are set to run again this evening because I still have Nike goals to finish this month (4 more runs and .95 miles) and we've picked our next race: The Great Pumpkin Road Race in Rock Hill on October 24.

This will be another 5K. I guess I should set some goals for improvement. Obviously, we know I can do the distance.
  1. I'd like to improve my time before my first walk. Right now, I can run between .4-.5 miles before I have to walk. Let's see if I can make to between 3/4 and 1 mile before I need to walk.
  2. Let's see if I can improve my overall time to 35 minutes or less. Do you think I can shave it down 2 minutes in 8 weeks? We'll see!
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Wednesday, August 19

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was attending a baby shower. The little bundle of joy arrived last week, and she is a beauty. I don't have the specifics on how many inches and pounds because my Mister was the one who got the news from the proud mommy. Men are just no good with those details.

Here are a few quick shots from the baby shower:

My Mister and the mommy-to-be used to work together at a printing shop. She printed this wonderful banner at work. It's pretty and professional.

You would not believe how yummy that cake was. The baker is a friend who does cakes for fun.

Gifts! I put together the basket with the pink cellophane.

Last but not least, a picture of me with the very preggo mommy (who also happens to be barefoot and in the kitchen). Congrats to my very pretty lady! Both your children are beautiful.
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Meet my niece. She started school this morning, which amazes me. As she informed me last time I came up to visit, she's 5 now.

She's also going to be our flower girl, wearing this dress:

It's very questionable who's more excited--her or me!
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Tuesday, August 18

My MOH is super excited to be planning a bachelorette party for me. So excited, that she began the weekend I got engaged. I've told her several times that I'd much rather have a lingerie shower than a stripper. (K, are you reading this??)

Shops like Eberjey are why:

Now I'm not delusional. If I ask for a lingerie shower, my girls will fill my collection with trashy, racy pieces too, but these are so pretty and feminine.

P.S. Why is it that my best guy friend knows more about my bachelorette than I do? Oh well, I have months before I need to worry about this.
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Monday, August 17

Well, today I had taken some photos of my cute running outfit to share, but my camera is not cooperating so maybe that won't happen.

After taking most of last week off, running today was a challenge, but I felt great afterward. You can see results of the run HERE.

It's hard to believe that the race is this Saturday. I'm not sure that I'm ready, but in the month of August so far, I've run over 23 miles on six different runs. In addition to finishing this 5K on Saturday, I set two other goals that I'm more than halfway to:
  1. Log 10 runs this month. I'm technically at 5 runs because I set the goal after I'd already put one run in, so Nike+ doesn't count it. It's all good though as I have a run on Wednesday and then the race itself on Saturday. I'm pretty sure that I can squeeze three more in somewhere.
  2. Reach a specific distance goal of 18.6 miles, for which I only have 3.6 miles left. Again, I set this goal after I'd put some runs in this month, so I've run 15 miles since I set. 18.6 miles is a random mileage; I believe my Nike+ site was tracking my runs in kilometers at that point.
Just for comparisons sake, Nike+ told me today that I have run 65 miles since I bought the chip and shoes a year ago. I've accomplished 1/3 of that in the last month. Wednesday is my last training run before the race. Wow!
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These are two images from engagement photos taken by Chi Pritchard, the photographer with whom we booked our engagement session. We'll be having photos taken with her over Labor Day in Charleston, and if all goes well, I think we've found our photographer.
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Friday was my 28th birthday. This year was a quiet year, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't filled with fun and love.

Birthday celebrations officially started on Wednesday when I found a delivery of half a dozen chocolate cupcakes waiting on my doorstep. They were sent by my wonderful brother and his wonderful new wife. My evening was not shaping up very well so finding a chocolate fix was a pleasant surprise.

I didn't take a picture of the cupcakes, so instead I'll share a photo of the happy couple from their trip east for a Christmas a few years ago. This was the first time we had the pleasure of meeting my SIL.

Thursday evening we went to a farewell party for some Italian friends who were going to be finishing their studies in Mississippi before heading back to Rome. Nobody has been forthcoming online with the photos from the party though I know I saw cameras there, so I guess I just have to be patient.

On Friday, my Mister and his mom surprised me by getting a small group of my friends together to take me to dinner at Mediterranean Tea Room. This is what I had wanted to do but had called off because most of the invited guests were not able to make it due to work or being out of town. It was nice to be able to go out anyway and enjoy some very yummy hummus, falafel and lamb kebabs.

On Saturday, we headed to Charleston to meet with vendors for our wedding. I'll be posting with more details about that later, but we did stop at the Tangier Outlet Mall on the way out of town because my Mister had promised me a new Fossil handbag as a birthday gift, which I'm thoroughly enjoying. I love the vintage prints that Fossil uses and have a modest collection of their bags in various shapes, sizes and colors.

Finally, I met this lovely couple for a few drinks that evening at my fave bar The Flying Saucer. They have bravely volunteered to help me when it comes to baking for the wedding favors (I'm not saying what they are but they're going to be awesome!) by taste testing them. How generous!

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Wednesday, August 12

Today's real wedding featured on The Bride's Cafe is simply stunning. I love the petal aisle. How cute is the flower girl?

Photos by Sedona Bride
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Yesterday my MOH and I began discussing bridesmaid shoes. My step-mom and I agree that a strappy sandal would be very cute, especially if we can have it dyed to match.

My MOH really likes these:

Sharmain by Touch Ups
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Tuesday, August 11

Courtesy of snippet & ink

Seeing other weddings that integrate my wedding colors reinforces my color choices daily. Don't you just love the handbags?
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I love how clean and easy this invitation looks. Found at Minted.
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Monday, August 10

On Saturday, I met up with my sister, step-mom and niece, and we headed off to David's Bridal so that my sis could try on bridesmaid dresses. Here are photos of her in the top two that I had narrowed down:
In the end, we decided to go with the top dress, which is the same as the dress in my previous post, in the colors Oasis (color not pictured) and Pool (same color as bottom photo). I'm very excited to have this decision made so that I can move on to more important shoes!

This weekend, we'll be meeting with our restaurant and photographer of choice. Crossing my fingers that these appointments go well.
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Photos by Sharon Elaine Photography

Today I had a great time enjoying the recap and photos of Christine and Greg's wedding, which was featured by The Professional Bridesmaid. I loved the rock star attitude of their wedding. You can read more about their wedding at Christine's blog, My Wedding Rocks.

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I promise that I do have other things to write about; I just haven't had a chance to sit down and upload all the photos that I want to use. You can see the results of yesterday's run HERE.

Yesterday wasn't a good workout for me. It was a 105 degrees outside so I think I got overheated. My ankles and calves were also causing me some pretty bad pain. I wound up walking more than I ran.

I'll be doing some yogalates tonight to limber up and stretch out so that I can get back on track with the running portion of the training.
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Sunday, August 9

Friday was a rest day for us as far as training goes, so I went to the gym after work with the intention of working out on the Elliptical and maybe doing some strength training. Well the Elliptical machines were occupied so I started on the StairMaster, but it was doing nothing for me. So, I made the mistake of thinking, "Well, maybe I'll do a quick 20 minutes on the treadmill..."

Well, I kept up the pace, but my ankles were killing me after only 20 minutes. My body just did not want to run for a 4th time that week and told me so in very loud, clear terms. However, I do have a short run to show for my stubborn stupidity; results are HERE.

After the gym, I met Erik and Ryan around the corner at Fleet Feet, which is a shoe store that caters specifically to walkers/runners. I needed new stability inserts for my running shoes. Erik and Ryan were in the market for new shoes.

I like Fleet Feet because they will take the time to measure each foot and put you on a treadmill where they take video of the way that you run. The employee will review the video with and show you the quirks of how your feet behave. Then, they will help you select a shoe that is suitable for how your feet behave. I happen to pronate with my left foot so I need a stability shoe; I also happen to have wide feet.

When I got my shoes last year, I think I tried about 6 different shoes, both in men's and women's styles before we settled on a pair of Nike Bowerman series shoes along with some Superfeet stability insoles.

On Friday, it didn't take Erik and Ryan nearly as long as it took me to get fitted and select shoes, but now we all have appropriate running gear. Our next training run is this until then, Happy Moving!
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Thursday, August 6

Today, I really pushed my stamina limit. I know that I can handle the 5K distance, but I want to be able to actually run about 1/2 of it. Since I don't have 12 weeks to train (which is illustrated through the Nike Running site I use), I've been pushing myself pretty hard. Not to the point of injury mind you, but maybe to the "I think I'm going to die, but I'm going to keep going at least until I get around that bend" limit.

Looks at today's run results, I can see differences. Compared Sunday, which was the same trail, I'm holding my run for longer before I have to walk. Not a lot, but still there are differences. I'm excited to see my run improving, especially since I'm not a runner by nature.

Check out today's run results HERE.

I'm also really proud of my friend, Ryan, who is running with me. He is a self-identified non-exerciser and is running this 5K in order to get more movement into his lifestyle. Today he did awesome. I know he walked some, but it seemed like for the first half of the trail he never stopped running. He says that he did the same amount of walking that he usually does, but (1) it sure didn't look that way to me and (2) he's incredibly modest and self-depreciating.

My mister as usual, ran the first half without stopping, walked while he waited for us to catch up and ran the second half back without stopping. Sometimes, he's just too darn good.
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Tuesday, August 4

These cupcakes today featured in Real Simple are making me hungry.
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Monday, August 3 the sneak peek of my friend Rachel's wedding. She was married at the Frances Marion Hotel in Charleston, SC. Sooooo beautiful!
Photos are by Evan Laettner
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Today was hard...but we still did a little over 5K. Check it out HERE. The picture above is from the Riverwak, where we've been running/jogging/walking.

Props today to Erik, who really set the pace for the first part of the run. He just didn't stop. Though I beat him up the final hill. =)
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Sunday, August 2

My favorite bar, The Flying Saucer, sponsors a 5K every summer called the Beer Run, and this year I've signed up along with some members of my trivia team. We've got about 3 weeks to train for the run, which means that we need to be moving three to four days a week. Today was our first session.

If you'd like to see how we did, click HERE.

I'm not going to lie. Even just the training is hard. I'm not active by nature, and I'm certainly not a runner. Execpt for my Mister, none of works out regularly. But today, we ran/walked downtown the riverwalk and back. We more than covered the distance of a there's no question that we can do it.

Next training run is tomorrow. We'll see how we do!
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