A Slow Return

I’m here. Physically, but not really mentally. Mentally I am still in beautiful Tennessee, sitting in a rocking chair with G beside me as we look out over the Smokies from our remote cabin. It has been four days since we left our humble honeymoon abode, and I’m still pining after the memories of that perfect cabin and even more perfect vacation with my husband. (Eek! I cannot get enough of saying that word!)

Luckily, work missed me so much that I have had plenty of projects to keep me grounded in Michigan upon my return. Following work I’ve been getting into the swing of your typical duo-working married life at home: chores, dinner, working out, time together, somewhat early bedtime to start it all over again. I’m finally catching my breath after putting away all our wedding gifts and unpacking from the trip in order to send out a little note to the blogosphere.

I’m excited to begin posts again. Next week I’ll be continuing with Savory Sundays as well as beginning Wedding Wednesdays, which will be posts specifically geared towards all things weddings. I’ll catch up on some topics I wasn’t able to capture before June 16th as well as touch on some things I’m starting to realize now that my wedding is complete. Otherwise, Uncorking Peonies is about to begin writing on some new material never before ventured upon by me: newlywed life. Be it a look at how to maneuver this new way of living, budget-friendly do-it-yourself projects, or methods to better my life, I’m looking forward to sharing more Lifestyle posts with you all!

So with all that joining the mess already going on in my brain — those darn mountains are constantly trying to push all other thoughts out — I say cheers to the future and a thank you for continuing to follow me along this journey.

You’re all the best,

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Side Note: Sorry For Being MIA

Hey friends,

I just wanted to send out a quick note to apologize in advance for my lack of posting over the next week or two. With being under 10 days to the Big Day, I am on crunch-mode and that means all my evenings are taken with wedding preparation. I have a to-do list that is three pages long with new bullet points being added on an hourly basis — don’t want to forget anything!

Overall, I am not too stressed though. The day most likely will not go off 100% perfectly, but by this time in 9 days I’ll be the new Mrs. G and that’s all I truly care about. If you do wish to pray for sunny weather that Saturday, then I won’t stop you. 😉

Following June 16th, G and I will be heading down to Tennessee for our honeymoon. While in Gatlinburg, we have an amazing cabin overlooking Pigeon Forge (complete with bear accents, full kitchen, and a hot tub on the back porch) and plan to enjoy our first week as newlyweds exploring the beautiful scenery in Tennessee. Then we will continue Nashville for the weekend and celebrate down Broadway and with a show at the Grand Ole Opry.

I cannot believe I’ll be marrying this amazing man in less than ten days; I am truly one blessed girl.

So with that, I say adieu for a few weeks. I’ll be back to posting as soon as I return home and catch my breath. Promise!

xoxo, 

Savory Sundays: Russian Chicken

I am seriously becoming little Susie Homemaker over here. G and I are loving our time spent cooking and grilling at our little abode this summer, and are so excited to begin married life. As we slowly move him into the apartment, we use our time together making dinner and chatting at the dining table. I think we are going to enjoy this whole spouse thing…

Enough with the mushy talk though and onto this week’s recipe! Chicken is our weekly meat-of-choice and do I have a winner for you today: Russian Chicken. YUM! You always need a couple of staple meals to rely on when you have company over for dinner, or just want a easy, hassle-free dish after a long day at work. This Russian Chicken is that recipe for me. It is the dish my mother always makes as a “ministry meal” due to being a huge crowd-pleaser. It even made the team recipe book back when I played volleyball in high school — all the girls on my team loved this on team bonding nights!

Perhaps you’ve already made this before, or maybe you’ve never heard of it – but let me tell you, it is SO easy and really good. Four ingredients in a 9×13 baking dish, bake for 45 minutes to an hour and serve over instant rice. Easiest. Dinner. Ever. My high school volleyball girls still talk about this chicken when I run into them, and G has become a huge fan. If you’ve never tried it before, give it a shot. You won’t be sorry!

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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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Advice To Myself At 18-Years-Old

Last Friday G and I were leaving the county clerk’s office to apply for our marriage license when we ran into one of my high school teachers. Even though I graduated eight years ago (O.M.G. has it truly been that long ago?!) we recognized one another right away. Partly due to me working for him at summer camp for several years, but also because I come from a high school boasting an average of 30 graduating students each year. In other words, there aren’t that many students to forget.

After a bit of catching up, I asked him how his school year had gone and how many more days until summer break. I don’t keep up with my old high school so I was surprised to hear the senior class would be graduating the next day. The whole encounter had me vaguely reminiscing on the past and all the changes which have happened since I stood on the stage myself in my cap and gown.

Then today my Facebook’s daily memory was of my graduation. Looking through my FB photo album of that day in 2010 had so many memories flowing.  I could recall the feelings on that day: the fears of the future, the thrill of college looming, the excitement of my first summer as an “adult.” It was like looking into the life of a stranger. There have been many lessons learned since that day. So many experiences have brought me to where I am today and molded me into this 26-year-old Ashley.

The memories continued as I was lazily scrolling one of my nightly go-to apps and came across a great question posted by RobbeVermont. The user asked,  “What is something you wished you knew when you were 18 years old?” And as I read through the vast majority of the 10,800+ comments I realized so many of the life advice being provided were 110% on the money. Pulling all three discoveries together — the run-in with my teacher, the flashback of my graduation, and this Reddit question — I started listing a few key topics I wished I’d known upon leaving high school and considered what difference hearing that advice as an 18-year-old would have made. Perhaps none, but then again, maybe some…

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Savory Sundays: Banana Boats

G and I are gone camping this weekend with our bridal party in a joint Bachelor/Bachelorette Camping Weekend. We’re enjoying a number of awesome meals and snacks prepared by our best friends, Luke and Leia, and are positively in heaven. There is nothing I love more than campfires and good company.

As I head off to do some hiking in the dunes, I wanted to leave my recommendation for the weekend’s snacks: banana boats. This is a snack I remember making every year at summer camp as a kid and brings back great memories of carefree days. Expect a savory and sweet treat where forks and napkins are necessities!

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Reblog: To The Best Friend Who Cut Me Out Like I Never Existed

I have gotten into the habit of reading some awesome blogs over the past few weeks. As someone who is trying to grow her blog into something more, learning what sparks interest for both readers and myself seems the best route. During my wind-down time each night, I scroll through WordPress, PuckerMob, and other mass-writing arenas to find new and exciting pieces that catch my eye.

Unfortunately, all credit for this little thinker goes to my mama. (Shout out!) She sent me a link to this article written by Gabby Elizabeth on PuckerMob knowing the topic is near and dear to my heart, especially as I busily plan my wedding. The author is writing a letter to that old best friend who simply disappeared from her life. Actually, she is writing an open letter to any best friend who has left someone’s life. We’ve all been there. We’ve all struggled with feelings of betrayal and guilt and confusion and anger and sorrow after someone we cared for has left us, sometimes with no explanation.

Any relationship is work. And the loss of a friendship will bring about differing views on both sides. As some of the commentary on this article reference, some phrases in Gabby’s open letter make her into a victim. Yes, sometimes that victim-mentally is a result of the end of a friendship. Both sides will have opinions on the “break up.” There’s always two sides to every story. Yet I think there is a lot to say that Gabby is beginning to be at peace with this new lack of a friendship. We each go through grief differently, and if she needs to go through denial before coming to contentment, then all the more power to her. I’ve been there; I’ve done that.

For me, I’m thankful for this open letter and found it calming. Perhaps you also need to know there are a lot of others out there who have triumphed through this same scenario. Here you go, friends — read this and find some solace. Personally, I want to thank Gabby for putting many of our thoughts into words.

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Savory Sundays: Crack Potatoes

I realized most of my recipes involved chicken and all of them were an entree, so today I’m bringing a great side dish option to your table: Crack Potatoes. True to their name, these glorified cheesy hash browns are extremely addicting and typically have no leftovers. This is my usual dish to bring to cookouts, potlucks, and sporting events knowing I won’t be bringing any home. (Which is a great excuse to use a disposable foil tray!) With the first warm-weather holiday rolling around next weekend, I’ll be drawing this little diggy up for Memorial Day celebrations and thought you might need a little inspiration for something new to bring with you…

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Why We Chose An Adults-Only Wedding

Our RSVP deadline was last Friday and though we had received the majority back through the mail, we still had a few invited guests to reach out to in order to confirm their attendance. As one who dislikes any sort of confrontation, wording my messages correctly was important as I didn’t want guests to feel attacked. I considered how best to phrase my inquiries so no one took my affront as saying, “You didn’t send back your RSVP, are you coming or not?” I know better than most how busy life can get and can only imagine replying to a wedding invitation takes second/third/fiftieth priority following Spring ball games, cleaning schedules, school graduations, weekend vacations, etc.

I completely get it.

However, as I took to reaching out to those last 50 or so guests who hadn’t responded, a similar topic arose as to why some would not be able to attend our celebration. As this post’s title states, G and I chose to have an adults-only wedding. Since this is the hot topic of the week, I figured I’d dive into it in case anyone else is mucking through this sticky scenario as well. To the brides-to-be, breathe. This is a long-standing debate among many couples and families — you’re not alone — and one which takes special care to maneuver.

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