Goodbye.

Six years ago I embarked on the journey of sharing my thoughts, emotions, and life with you across the vast blogosphere. You have been beside me through broken hearts, questioning my future, career transitions, rediscovering my faith, lost friendships, the joys of milestones, and planning an entire wedding. You have witnessed me fail. You have lifted me during my lows. You have cheered my successes, and you have encouraged my growth.

Uncorking Peonies, once Peonies ‘n Mint, began as a method to express my feelings and muddle through some of my darkest moments. Throughout the years, I have cried many tears as I typed the words kept within the digital confines of this blog. Then it became a fun endeavor of tracking our wedding planning and entering the newlywed lifestyle. Now, though, I struggle to find a direction for Uncorking Peonies to focus.

Additionally, as a new year comes and goes, I have taken into account the priorities in my life, and — being the anxious person that I am — the weight of wanting to write consistent posts has laid heavily on my mind while the busyness of life continues around me. With increasing work responsibilities, home obligations, personal development goals, marathon training, and the desire to find stillness every day, some past passions must be let go. The spark for my most in-depth pieces has been snuffed by a stronger flame of happiness and contentment. Life is good, but sharing my mundane daily habits was never the purpose for this blog. Its purpose, I believe, has been achieved. In its own little right, Uncorking Peonies paints a picture of loss and grief, and the various avenues it took to overcome those dark places and the people who and methods which assisted me along the way.

With this consideration, the time has come for me to say goodbye to this beautiful little reminder of God’s grace and His bigger plans (and sometimes unanswered prayers) along the way of becoming who I am presently.

So to all of you who have stopped by my little corner throughout the past six years, thank you for your valuable time, thoughtful words, and sweet messages during this journey. I am forever indebted to you for allowing me to escape my shell and share the sporadic thoughts of a wine-loving Michigan girl stumbling through her twenties.

With all my love, cheers, my friends,
Ashley

My Favorite Podcasts

What did I do before podcast came into my life? I either sat in silence at work or listened to the same current Top 20 country songs on repeat during my commutes. These days, I listen to podcasts as I get ready in the morning, while I’m driving, when I meal prep for the week, and when I’m at my office desk. I hook up to the living room’s Bluetooth speaker and turn on a podcast as I clean the house or do laundry. I laugh. I nod my head. I’ve cried once or twice. And the time flies as I learn new things with every episode that passes.

In case you may be new to podcasts or if you just want some fresh ideas, I compiled a little list of my weekly listens. I use Spotify as my main podcast listening space as I have an Android, but there are apps out there specifically for podcasting listening (such as Stitcher.) When you find a podcast you enjoy, you are able to subscribe and receive the newest episodes when they’re released. So here are some of my personal favorite podcasts:

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A Coffee-Inspired Bridal Shower Gift Basket

This post is made possible by the delicious chai latte from Starbucks I’m drinking. I’m at the keyboard early this morning, having a little Me Time before heading to Indiana to celebrate the beautiful bride-to-be. It’s wedding season! I love Spring because it is the mark of hitching season. And there is absolutely nothing I love more than celebrating marriages of those who have found their special One.

It is so fun to put together creative DIY gift basket ideas to give to friends and family getting married. I *clap* just *clap* LOVE *clap* it! Today I am sharing a bridal shower gift that is coffee-inspired for the couple who loves mornings together over a tasty brew.

 

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Wine Pairings For Your Easter Brunch

It is about time for another Wine Wednesday, isn’t it!?

Easter falls late this year meaning you have plenty of time to find the perfect wine combinations for your holiday meal. With thousands of wine choices to choose from, finding that perfect pairing can be difficult! Fortunately, creating a friendly and delicious wine menu to pair with your celebration can be made easier when enlisting the help of others. Spring into the season with these foolproof menu options:

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Shout Out To The Pink Tie Ball 2019 Committee

February 2, 2019 will be the fifth year of joining forces with some of the most amazing women in Southwest Michigan to coordinate and manage one of the area’s elegant galas: Pink Tie Ball. These women have become such dear friends to me and one of my center Tribes. Our friendships flourished following one of our darkest days: the unexpected passing of our beloved leader and mentor. Since that time we continue to rely on one another’s strength to gain support for cancer research and care in our community. They are ladies I know I can turn to for advice, hugs, and lots of laughter.

With our event happening in a month’s time, I wanted to give a little shout out to these beautiful women. We have been working diligently to make Pink Tie Ball 2019 the best yet, and I am in awe of every single member of this committee. They deserve so much praise for all their hard work. And 2019’s event is sure to be just as amazing as they are because they’ve put so much of themselves into planning it…

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White Elephant Gift Exchange (With Printables!)

The holiday is quickly approaching and that means festivities are abound! One of my personal favorite parts of the holiday season is to attend and host Holiday/Christmas parties and be surrounded by family and friends. One fun way to increase the laughs and interaction from all those at your holiday shindig is to host a White Elephant Gift Exchange.

Not sure what that entails? In the case you have never participated in a White Elephant Gift Exchange, I have drawn a little list together of how to host one and even provided some graphics for easy planning! Here is how the exchange works:

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Friendsgiving 2018 Menu

Thanksgiving is a traditional meal — gotta have that green bean casserole, amirite?! But Friendsgiving has become a fun new tradition G and I began last year. This year had to be a much more intimate affair due to all those home improvements and limited amount of time to plan, but it was still a great time. We used the time for enjoying more delicious food and even better community.

Talking about food, I wanted to provide some praise for our menu this year in the form of a post. I could go into detail about how to plan your own Friendsgiving or games/activities to play at your own dinner, but I think those topics are too difficult to cover. I mean, you know what works best with your friends’ group and can Pinterest tons of ideas. Instead, I’m going to focus on the dinner table.

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Calculating Drinks For Your Wedding Or Party

Whether you are hosting a party or planning your do-it-yourself wedding, it is a universal no-no to run short on food or drinks. As G and I busily plan the remaining two weeks before our wedding, many of our thoughts are geared towards the plates and glasses of our guests. For a couple catering their entire wedding themselves — yep, you just read that correctly — it is one of our worst fears to think any guest may be shuffling around in his or her seat with no option of seconds.

Today I’m going to strictly discuss how to calculate drink numbers in order to buy the right amount of beverages for your party. Luckily I have a bit of experience in this arena due to my past work experience in the wedding industry. And also because I used to sell wine cases to large parties while at the Winery. So I definitely have wine down pat… Calculating beverages is both a science and art as you can never estimate the exact amount of drinks being drank at your event, but you can get close.

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How To Build An Awe-Inspiring Charcuterie Spread On Budget

When it comes to hosting a great dinner party, there are staples to the night that I cannot skip: excellent food, great (quantities of) wine, and the perfect blend of friends. My secret weapon for any gathering is one thing: a perfectly curated charcuterie board. Not only does it appease guests’ pre-dinner appetites but it’s also chic, classy, and fun to put together!

So today I’m going to share a few of my secrets on how to make a crowd-pleasing charcuterie board and how to do so on a limited budget.

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