How to Choose a Wedding Venue

Hey loves! It’s been quite a few months since I wrote about wedding planning and figured I’d share a few details! I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for awhile but held off until David and I could make things official… but we chose our venue! We will be getting married next October at the Warwick Melrose Hotel in Dallas! I snapped a few photos of the ballroom, linens, and table set up to share with you guys! I’m completely in love!

Choosing the venue was the biggest relief for me and allowed everything else to fall into place. We saw so many venues and while we liked quite a few, the Warwick Melrose just stood out to us because of their customer service and how elegant it was. It suited our taste perfectly.

But right now, I wanted to share a few tips for choosing a venue with you!

Figure Out Your Theme

Someone asked me what my theme was for our wedding. I kind of laughed and said “the theme is wedding.” I knew right away that I wanted a traditional, formal wedding and needed to find a space that reflected that. The Warwick Melrose has a beautiful, elegant lobby that immediately sold me on the rest of the space. First impressions are everything! The theme of your wedding whether its going to be rustic, modern, minimalist, glamorous, or black tie will dictate the venue you end up choosing.

Make Sure You Have a Budget

This doesn’t even need to be said, but I’ll say it for the people in the back- have a budget!! We saw quite a few places that were over our budget and lots that were under as well. We ended up being the most interested in places that offered on-site catering and provided things like tables, chairs, linens, china etc. Those “little” things add up fast so when they’re included in the venue you choose, its great!

Calculate Taxes and Fees

Most of the time venues give you a total estimate that includes things like taxes, service fees, and gratuity. However, always double check to make sure its included so there aren’t any surprises later. We only encountered that happening once or twice but the few extra thousand dollars had us heading for the hills!

Watch for Red Flags (even small ones)

Not everything about a venue will be perfect but little warning signs should be considered. For example, David and I went to one venue and the event coordinator was 10 minutes late and seemed a bit, how do I put this delicately- high. I knew very quickly that she might not be reliable on our wedding day so we decided to move on.

Luckily, Abby at the Warwick Melrose was super helpful and easy to work with. She answered all my questions and was very reliable. She totally sold us on having our wedding there!

I hope this helps you when you go to choose your venue! Now that we’ve chosen ours we’ve been all about wedding colors (more to come on that!), invitations, and finally- dress shopping!

Favorite Spots in San Antonio (and one’s personal)

san antonio paramor bar

Hey everyone! I’ve been loving this rainy, breezy weather here lately. I spent all of last weekend in a sweater decorating our house for fall! Over Labor Day Weekend though, we went to San Antonio to see friends and family. Since we’re there so often and always have a great time when we go, I thought I’d put together a little blog on my favorite places in SA! Its funny how life takes you full circle- my dad spent quite a few years as a kid in San Antonio since his dad was stationed there. And now years later, I’m marrying a guy from there! Life has a way of surprising you with little nods to your past!

Ok back to my favorite spots!

jokesters 22 bar

Jokesters 22- Southtown Bar and Comedy Club

So I may be biased but if you’re looking for a place to watch a Spurs game or see a comedy show- Jokesters 22 is the perfect spot! David’s sister poured her heart and soul into this bar and it paid off! Its quickly becoming a popular spot to hang out on the weekends and week nights if you like the downtown San Antonio night life scene.

David and I visited a few weekends ago and oh my goodness I have a new love- corn in a cup! Apparently its a Mexican carnival food staple, but this Maryland girl had never had it before and I instantly fell in love with it. Is it healthy? Heck no. But who cares because its so good! Jokesters’ food is actually prepared in a food truck on site and its quite tasty! Definitely visit if you’re in town!

paramour bar

Paramour Bar and Coffee

I’m always looking for a great place to take an Instagram photo and Erica (one of my bridesmaids!) and I found Paramour Bar! They serve handcrafted cocktails and coffee in a super eclectic location. It’s at the top of an apartment building and has a fun outdoor patio and indoor seating with the chic-est couches you’ll ever see! We spent more time taking pictures than we did sipping our cocktails! (BTW- they can be a little pricy so budget ahead!)

paramour san antonio

Like I said, we spent a lot of time taking photos! It reminded me a little of a more upscale version of Central Perk in Friends! If I could have made off with one of their couches or rugs without them noticing I might have considered it! If you’re ever in San Antonio, check out these two spots for a good time! I have a million other places I could recommend but I don’t have cute pictures to go with them so you’re out of luck!

-Liz

Why Accepting Yourself can be Your Biggest Challenge

Hey everyone! I wanted to chat about some exciting things going on in my life and share how my mental and physical health journey is going. Some of you may know that I’ve had issues with anxiety and depression (which is why I like to blog about it!) as well as body image issues. All the fun stuff, right? HA! I’ve always tried to be open with others about these personal problems because I think they’re important to talk about. Sharing my journey is at a turning point though- I’ve realized that accepting myself opens a million doors!

The Comparison Game

I’ve spent years comparing myself to other women. I often wondered “why am I not as thin as she is?” or “why don’t I have the beautiful home she does?” All these questions left me drained and feeling unworthy. Let’s be real- how on Earth could asking these questions ever be fulfilling? They’re questions that are designed to tear down the person who is asking them. And I WILLINGLY asked myself these questions.

Comparing myself and my life’s journey to someone else’s is a recipe for depression. Clinical depression isn’t always caused by one particularly thing, sometimes its honestly just a chemical imbalance in your brain, however it can be exasperated and prolonged by upsetting situations or thoughts. I made my own depression much worse and last much longer by asking myself almost every waking moment of the day, why I wasn’t good enough. It literally made me sick.

Understanding My Relationship with Money

I had a revelation the other day thanks to something my counselor said. When I was complaining to her that I didn’t understand why I didn’t have the nice cars other women have, nice home, perfect body etc. she said to me “Your value systems are unique and aren’t the same as others.” My internal light bulb went on. She was so right.

I relish in the fact that I’ve padded my savings account enough that a car repair, an emergency trip home, or a surprise bill won’t make a dent in my budget. I do a happy dance whenever I get to deposit more money into my savings account because it means I’m meeting my financial goals!

Having it All

When I compare myself to other people that appear to “have it all,” I often forget that credit cards and loans are a thing and most American’s carry around a fair amount of debt. The other day I was walking out of Target (not surprising at all) and there was a girl about my age getting into a shiny new Mercedes. I thought to myself “how come I don’t have one too?” Then I thought, OH WAIT! I hate car payments! And if I bought a nice new car, then you better believe I’d have one! So I hopped into my 2007 Ford Edge (a hand-me-down from my future sister in law) and drove away!

My views on money management are simply different from other peoples’ and that’s totally fine. I buy most of my clothing on clearance. I only buy furniture on sale and have no problem doing a DIY if I need to. David and I’s rental home isn’t super fancy but only takes up 1/8th of our paycheck. That, in my opinion, is winning at life. My counselor also reminded me that millionaires can often be hard to spot because they live next door to you and drive old cars. MIND BLOWN. So moral of the story- material items don’t equal happiness, feeling secure and safe does.

Getting Comfortable in My Skin

“If you accept yourself the way you are now, all the things you want will fall into place” this is what my counselor said to me the other day at our appointment. I’ve struggled for the last few years with my body not cooperating with any of my weight loss tactics and it’s been so discouraging.

I didn’t have crazy expectations like having a six-pack of abs or a super lifted booty, but I wanted to see progress in my exercising and calorie-counting regiment. Surprise surprise- my body resists pretty much every attempt at losing weight because of my high stress levels and oddly enough, food intolerance.

Cortisol is the stress hormone and when your body makes too much of it, it can be harder to lose weight. I’m just about the most anxious person I know and something as simple as driving to a new place in Dallas can cause a wave of anxiety for me. Combine my anxiety to simple, everyday things with my anxiety over how my body looks and BOOM- cortisol levels are spiking all day, everyday! So the less I stress about how much weight I’ve lost and how I look, the more likely I am to lose weight. Accepting myself, being happy with the way I was built, and most importantly, being happy with my lifestyle, could actually lead to the results I’ve been pining for.

Surprising Food Allergies

Now let’s talk about that food allergy I mentioned earlier. For years I’ve dealt with constant bloating and stomach pain after eating just about anything. Looking in the mirror all I’d see is a girl with a big stomach in pain. Fun, let me tell ya! It killed myself esteem and made me even more anxious (and sometimes still does). I literally just went to the doctor and he told me I had a severe allergy to lactose. Yeah- my digestive system is afraid of cheese! Insert eye roll here. He told me to take lactose pills every morning and the bloating should subside. One day later, I feel way better!

Key Takeaways

Sorry, this is the longest post ever but I just have so much to say! Accepting myself, my lifestyle, and the way God made me is literally the key to finding happiness and self-worth. How crazy is that? Imagine if we all did that and how we’d feel and even treat others? The comparison game, depression, body image issues, and a million other problems we all have may literally just become things of the past. How great would that be? So I’m encouraging you to reflect internally on who you are, what makes you different, what your value systems are, and how you feel throughout the day. The answers may surprise you!

Date Night Idea: Making Ravioli at Garnish Kitchen

garnish kitchen

Happy Hump Day friends! This summer has totally flown by! David and I have been so busy with work and planning our wedding that we rarely take time out for ourselves. BUT last week, David and I went out with several of his coworkers and their significant others to make ravioli from scratch at Garnish Kitchen! It was such a great night and we got to relax and just enjoy each other’s company. I was that annoying person taking photos of everything but I wanted to share it with all of you!

making ravioli

Garnish Kitchen’s chef and owner walked us through the delicate steps of making pasta dough and stretching it out to the perfect size for ravioli. There’s so much that goes into making pasta but its incredibly relaxing! They gave everyone a nice glass of wine and had Louis Armstrong playing in the background. It felt like I was a gourmet cook living in France! The whole experience was so special!

garnish kitchen

garnish kitchen class

The finished product was absolutely amazing. I never knew I could cook like that (even though I had a little help!) They taught us how to make delicious sauces and how to stuff our raviolis and what pairs well with what. It was a trip for the senses. David and I will definitely be going back for another class and date night!

 

Blooming Tea on a Rare Rainy Day in Texas

Since moving to Texas a few years ago, I’ve come to appreciate the rare rainy day we have! In Maryland, when it rained, it would rain for weeks on end. I definitely prefer the abundant sunshine Dallas has but every once in awhile its nice to curl up in bed with a cup of tea and just relax. Knowing my love of tea, Tea Bloom sent me a set of their flowering teas to steep!

If you haven’t seen a flowering tea before, you take one of the little buds out of the packaging and drop it in a tea pot and then pour hot water over it. After a few minutes, it starts to unfold and “bloom” into a flower. I unfortunately didn’t have a big enough tea pot (mine’s a cute little one from Anthropologie David’s sister gave me) so my flower didn’t quite bloom the way they normally do. You could tell the poor thing was trying to pop up all the way but without the extra water needed it had a hard time. Nonetheless, it was really neat to watch and definitely makes for a gorgeous presentation if you’re having company! Hint: Use a clear tea pot to get the full effect!Β 

The flavor was great too. It’s green tea but other flavor hints make their way through without being overwhelming. Tea is honestly one of the best things you can drink for your health. I find myself sipping it after I’ve eaten a large meal (or a cookie!) and need a little digestive help.

Be sure to check out Tea Bloom’s assortment of teas! They make for a great gift and with the holidays coming, I’ll be gifting this to all my tea-loving friends! Enjoy!

*Product was sent complimentary. All opinions are my own.