Maximizing Small Spaces: Coffee & Wine Bar

If you’re a newlywed or going to be a newlywed soon, chances are you’re weathering the challenges merging two lives brings to the table. This may include attempting to make room in the closet for a second person, trying to “de-feminize” every little accent in the living room, or clearing a few drawers in the bathroom. You are soon going to find that another person moving into your bachelorette pad means making a few sacrifices. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up style!

For G and I we are creating our first home in my current apartment, a cute little space in our sleepy downtown beach town. With a little less than 800 square feet, our home is tight as we begin moving G’s belongings into the space. That means the few rooms have multiple uses such as the second bedroom playing the roles of storage, office, and workout station, and the dining room also acting as craft room, library, and drink bar. So as we trek into “spring cleaning” and looking to donate any items throughout our two stocks of belongings, the question of essentials comes to mind. Today I wanted to touch on how you can keep style with your coffee and wine bar while utilizing the best spaces available.

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Blog Update: New Additions & Focused Direction

The wedding is almost a month away and with that quickly approaching date I have been doing a lot of thinking in terms of where I would like Uncorking Peonies to go from there. With talking to a few friends who are some of my regular readers (hey lovelies!), I was happy to hear I am not the only one who would be sad to see the blog end. So! With a bit of soul-searching and advice-seeking, I am excited to launch a few new features onto Uncorking Peonies this coming week.

Uncorking Peonies will continue to be my little bubble into the wedding and event world since I have experience and passion for that arena. There will be plenty still to discuss even after I am no longer a bride-to-be! However, there is going to be plenty to talk about as I transition from a single woman to a wife. From the victories and falterings of the newlywed life to creating a home in a small apartment as we save to become homeowners to balancing social lives outside our marital obligations, I can only imagine the fun lessons I’ll learn over the next year (and rest of my life!) Marriage is going to be work, but I have the best partner in the business, so Uncorking Peonies is expanding to encompass all the highs and lows that are sure to come.

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My Forever & Always

All the relationship advice in the world could not have made a difference in my past experiences of choosing the wrong men. As the saying goes, I was trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. I would try to find happiness in the wrong relationships, changing myself or attempting to change my SO. I’d try to convince myself I felt a certain way or convince myself that the SO felt a certain way for me. Only to end in tears, heartache, and questioning what I did wrong, why I couldn’t seem to find the right fit, and why I couldn’t get the love I desired.

I spent so much time chasing after guys who wouldn’t or couldn’t give me what I wanted, and then wondered what was wrong with me. The problem was simple: I was choosing the wrong men. I fell for guys who felt right due to commonalities or adventure or chemistry or familiarity or even loneliness sometimes.

That was why my beginning with G was so unexpected. I was accustomed to either temporary relationships that would slip easily away or comfortable relationships where priorities were skewed. However, meeting G was a life-changing experience that has only gotten better with time.

G gave me all the right feelings from Day One.

He has made every effort to put me as his priority and has supported me in every trial, endeavor, and achievement along the way. He loves the person I am even as our personalities differ. He’s proud of me and proud to be with me. He is my calming voice during rages and my comforting home during sorrow. He is the reason I smile throughout the day. He fights for me even while we’re the ones fighting. He loves me deeply now and talks of materializing dreams with me in the future.

And I believe every single word he says with no reason of a doubt.

He is, in the simplest of terms, my Forever & Always.

Now, don’t roll your eyes. I am not saying I found the One. (I don’t believe anyone in this world has a “One.”) But I did find someone I liked and cared for and have a high degree of compatibility with in my little corner of the universe. I found someone who increases my happiness and makes me a better person. I found someone I want to do life with forever.

That doesn’t mean our relationship is flawless though. Neither G nor I found the One to make our futures perfect.

Bottom line: every relationship is a lot of work. G and I recognize this and are willing to commit to working on ourselves and our relationship for the remainder of our lives.

We know we will always be a work in progress.

And THAT is what makes all the difference!

G and I will continuously learn from one another, grow together, attempt to give the other our best, and forgive constantly when we falter. We’ve actively chosen to embrace every raw part of one another  — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And that is how we move forward with the last 50 days of our engagement and the entirety of our marriage.

Thank you for choosing me to be your Forever & Always, G. I cannot wait to become your wife in only 50 days (HOW IS THIS A THING?!) and begin growing together as a married couple. I love you.

-A

Real Wedding: Rachel + James

When I think of my childhood, there is one smiling face that shows up in more than half of my memories and that is the face of my friend Rachel. Our friendship has been nothing short of adventurous: from riding ATVs up north with no helmets and watching her cousin bite worms in half in order to “fish better” to staying up ungodly hours of the night to watch trash TV to cruising the Caribbean twice to witnessing drug busts in the nation’s capital to acting as one another’s wedding Plus One’s to surviving puberty, high school, and a number of break ups, we have done so much together!

Needless to say, when Rach texted me one January morning to tell me she was now engaged to her high school sweetheart, my heart was bursting! Not only because IT WAS ABOUT TIME, but also because our conversation turned to wedding plans and logistics. As an event coordinator at the Winery still, I started to cry when she took me up on my offer to host her intimate nuptials at my venue AND allow me to help coordinate the Big Day.

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I Was Taught Strength

I’ve always known what strength a woman can have. I have a strong mother and I have strong grandmothers. I grew up learning from strong female teachers and have been blessed with strong female friends. They have all been role models to me, showing me the different forms strength can take, giving me a goal to set since I was only a toddler.

I had been a good little student with notebook and pen in hand, jotting notes on what strength looked like, yet with all the strong women I watched I did not possess genuine strength myself. I was a caterpillar in a cocoon, waiting for that all-consuming metamorphosis which would truly teach what strength was to me.

It was not until April 19, 2016 that I was taught what strength I carried myself.

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What Happened When I Wrote in a Gratitude Journal for a Week

I am an extremely grateful person and try to show appreciation every time a new blessing enters my life, but sometimes I find myself lacking in consideration of those blessings, especially the small things. Sometimes I even find myself vying after things I don’t possess or talents in which I am weak which ends in stress, insecurity, and frustration. I was intrigued, then, when one of my friends mentioned that she tracks gratitude every morning by writing a blessing on a slip of paper and burning it during her yoga sessions.

As I constantly am working to better myself, I thought tracking the things I feel gratitude towards might be a great stress-reliever as well as medium to truly expressing the joy I have with the world around me. In order to do so, I decided to try writing a gratitude journal. Here is how my first week went…

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Women’s Day Retreat of IF:Gathering

It has been almost two months since I left the event industry and began a new career. And I have to say, I’m quite in love with my new arrangement. Not only have I found necessary time for myself and my loved ones, but I have found abundant free time for writing, reading, and experiencing life which means many scheduled posts in the upcoming months. God is good!

When I still have those urges for event planning, though, I am also in very good hands. On March 3rd I was lucky enough to assist in orchestrating an amazing women’s retreat called If:Gathering at my church for 300 ladies passionate for God, strengthening their faith, and performing discipleship. IF’s mission is to equip women with gospel-centered resources, events, and community so they may learn more about who God is and disciple other women. (You can find out more about the organization here.) Talk about an amazingly inspirational day, and some seriously deep thoughts coming from asking “What IF…”

IF began with a heavy discussion on the darkness of Life: doubt. (Literally this was the topic covered minutes into the first speaker’s speech, guys, so talk about a solid foundation for the day’s agenda.) Questions such as “How would you describe the season you’re living?” and “What makes you weak?” were asked. Imagery of sparking fires within ourselves to grow and flourish were mentioned. Each woman’s purpose in Life was explored. And a stirring occurred within me which made me reevaluate a few of the only negative things still hanging around in my life. It was quite the day, friends!

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Cheers to Transitions

I began my position at the Winery on April 3, 2017. I was given the title Wine Club Manager and Event Coordinator, and was placed in charge of over 750 members with the goal of developing events to not only attract new members but also keep current. It has been a crazy year full of both known and unknown territory. I’ve created amazing relationships with many of my members and now call them my friends. My teammates at the winery have been incredible as well, offering assistance where needed, advice when asked, and numerous laughs along the way. I could not be more thankful.

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Goals for 2018

How is it already 2018, friends?! This holiday season has been a whirlwind on my end, and I apologize for not staying up-to-date on my blogging — there has just been too much good happening that the Blogosphere was not on my mind! However, after spending so much time with family and friends over the past month, I am rejuvenated and rearing to go on all things Uncorking Peonies… I hope you’re ready for a lot of updates!

As always, though, with the new year also comes new goals, and I want to take a few minutes to state my 2018 Goals to help with accountability (and memory.) Unfortunately many of the goals I set for 2017 were not met to the extent I set them — I was a bit too enthusiastic in January 2017 — but I am very happy with how the year ended and what I was able to accomplish throughout the last year. Especially with so much change hitting me within one year!

For 2018, I am sticking to my tradition of not setting resolutions in this New Year, but rather setting goals. Even though this upcoming year is bringing quite a bit of change in itself, I want to continue to work to better myself every day I’m alive. So here are the goals I am setting for myself to accomplish within 2018:

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