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Friday, December 31, 2010

So we're at the END of 2010!

WHEW! WHAT A YEAR! We've had some good times, we've had some bad times, some up and some down times -'s time to say GOODNIGHT!

I can't believe in a few short hours we will be saying sayonara to 2010! When I think about it, this year absolutely FLEW by, which everyone always says...but I really feel like I blinked twice and here we are again entering a new year! Ever since we got engaged and I started keeping track of each month that goes by, and that time seems to go by faster and faster.  Before you know it we will be counting down hours instead of months - which is absolutely nuts!

Every year I feel like I grow and learn more and more about myself and what I want to accomplish in my life.  This year especially, I feel like I have gotten to know more about what I want to do and where I want to be.  Throughout the year, I opened my mind and my heart into new situations I wasn't particularly familiar with, but I took those experiences and ran with them.  Looking towards starting a new year, I want to reflect on what I've taken with me along the way:

January/February: I got to be a bridesmaid in my dear friend Court's wedding!  I remember thinking to myself, I hope this is the year I can start to plan my own wedding.  Mr. Hess and I traveled to the NBA All-Star game in Dallas, TX.  We look forward to this trip every year as an escape from our every day lives, but this year was different.  We learned a lot about who we are and who we are not.  We both got a wake up call to leave the craziness behind us and surround ourselves with positive and supportive people.

March/April: I turned the BIG 2-5.  Everyone asked what I was doing and where I was going out to celebrate.  Well, truth was the number kind of freaked me out at first and I didn't think it was something to celebrate.  Luckily, Mr. Hess took me to St. Augustine for the weekend to forget my silly sorrows for a few days.  We had such a good time and I remembered how much fun we could have going out just by ourselves.  I was beginning to value time with my family more than ever.  These few months I wasn't sure where the year would take me, but I was trying SO hard to figure it out...

May/June: The NBA Playoffs came and went!  The Orlando Magic made it to the Eastern Conference Finals again this year, which is always and amazing experience!  You can see Mr. Hess supported our time in a huge way by his hair color!  We celebrated birthdays and engagements a lot this year and the wedding train still keeps on going.  I trained hard every day during this time and was in the best shape of my life.  I used the last few weeks to get ready for a pretty BIG audition - I WENT BLONDE and my hard work enabled me to keep my job for another magical season. 

July/August:  After a hard summer of training, Mr. Hess and I celebrated with a weekend away at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort.  This was just the beginning of a great summer with him since it was only a short month later when he surprised me with a getaway proposal in the middle of a week of being home to see his family in Arkansas!  Everything seemed to fall into place.  I have never felt more love than I did the day he proposed that ended with a surprise Engagement Party with all of his family AND a surprise visit from my parents!  Also, this is when I was able to dance at my favorite place in the world - our church! We performed to one of my favorite Kari Jobe songs - You Are For Me, and it was this day I realized how much I missed performing with the dance troupe there.  One of my big goals for next year is to get involved more in our dance worship ministry.

September/October: My parents threw us an Engagement Party for our friends and family in Orlando, I finally got MY RING, and I selected my 9 beautiful bridesmaids to be a part of our special day!  I selected the bridesmaid dresses right away, and tried to meet with the majority of my girls along the way.  At least having girls in your wedding makes an excuse to see one another!  In October, Mr. Hess celebrated Halloween by dressing as Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders - and saw a lot of shocked faces!  About the same time, the entire city of Orlando celebrated with the opening of the brand new Amway Center, and we are still feeling blessed to be connected to it all...WHIRLWIND!

November/December: Got to be a C-MOH in my friend Britt's wedding!  She moved away to AZ, but this is the closest I have felt to her in a while.  She has helped me since before day 1 of our engagement and is a huge wedding planning mentor to me!  These are definitely the months where I truly understood the meaning of working "day and night" to save for our wedding!  Picking up all the extra shifts I can, working extra games, and doing anything I can to help us have the wedding of our dreams!  Getting a HUGE start on booking our big vendors and getting organized with our wedding plans! Finally got Christmas decorations of our own and celebrated Christmas with friends and family, and starting traditions of our own at home!  Unfortunately, this is also when my beloved 2002 Mercury Cougar and I had to part ways.  She got totaled in a crazy accident over a week ago.  She will be missed, but I CAN NOT WAIT to show you pictures of our newest addition to the Hess family - she will be arriving within a week or two tops.

So you can see how fast a year can go by!  Since this time last year, I would say my life has mad a lot of twists and turns, but it seems to me like it's in the right direction - so that's all that matters to me.  Yes, I'm another year older and yes, I still haven't started a "career" I love.  People ask me all the time "What did you get your degree in? Why haven't you used it?" Well, it's because I want to do what I love and what I'm passionate about.  I have two jobs and one is serving people breakfast.  Call me crazy, but that pleases me more than sitting in a cubicle all day crunching numbers.  I have a lifestyle and work hours that are very out of the "norm", but the point of it all is I get to enjoy what I'm doing while I can.  I can't dance my entire life, so I'm embracing the time I have left to do so.  After this year, I now realize what is worth stressing over and what you can just shrug your shoulders to.  I've learned who my true friends are and who I can always count on.  I've finally accepted having a lifestyle of health and fitness, but at the same time allowing myself to have a healthy, but not ridiculously strict diet.  I have embraced my age and am anxious to see where my 26th year in life takes me.  I have a great life, a great fiance, and a great future ahead.  I CAN'T WAIT to see what 2011 has in store for us....



Being a Maid of Honor - The Britt Wedding!

I know I mentioned it briefly in my post about being a bridesmaid 5 times in the last 2 years, but this blog is specifically going through my journey as a C-MOH (or Co-Maid of Honor) to my wonderful, life-long friend, Brittany!

When asked to be a C-MOH, along with my other life-long friend, Missy, I was truly honored to accept the role in my friend's wedding.  At first, I felt a little overwhelmed since I had 2 other weddings before hers to stand as a bridesmaid in...but all I could do what was in my heart, and that was be there for all of my friends who were getting married.

Weddings can get SUPER expensive to be a part of, but what matters more than the struggles through all of the overwhelming feelings and expenses, is that you are there for your friend, through the entire process of one of the most important days of their lives.  I have been a bridesmaid before, but I had never had the privilege of a MOH duty until this day my friend Britty asked me to be hers!  She just got married last month and has also moved across the country to AZ to start her new life out there with her husband.  It still hasn't all the way hit me yet that she's really gone, but she will HAVE to come back next summer to be in my wedding! Needless to say, I was pretty emotional to say the least on the day she became a Mrs.

From day 1, Missy and I wanted to give Britt the wedding shower and celebrations she deserves on such a monumental event!  We brainstormed through dozens of e-mails, phone calls, and dinner dates about how exactly to give her a bridal shower, bachelorette party, and extra touches to make this entire process an unforgettable one.  Finally, we decided on the perfect venue for her.  We had and Bridal Shower Brunch at a great spot on Park Avenue in Winter Park called Park Plaza Gardens.  It was a small and intimate group, so we wanted to treat her to something out of the ordinary, and not just have a few girls meet at one of our houses.  So we got to work, made a check list of things to do and made it happen.

Missy and I had already decided that we wanted to give Britt some kind of scrap book for her wedding gift, since she was moving away, so we hired my good friend Lauren to take shots of the day and create some great photos to use for us.  I can't express how wonderful and special the day turned out.  It wasn't even my day, but I got teary a few times and was just soaking it all in.  Lauren went above and beyond what I could have ever asked for, and I think you would agree:

Britt looking Beautiful! :)
Favors, Cupcakes, Flowers, and Poem about the couple!
Bridal Shower Ladies!

Bridal Party holding the Bride!
She's an amazing photographer, check her website out if you're ever interested in hiring her for your special occasion!

Britt truly enjoyed herself and appreciated the work the bridesmaids all did for her. We even wrote her a Bridal Brunch Poem and made name cards for everyone.  It was so nice to take a day away from the stress of planning a wedding, and the stress that gets into our everyday lives and just enjoy being girls enjoying brunch with the bride.

After the shower was over, it was time to celebrate the bride with a bachelorette weekend.  We didn't tell Britt where we were going, and just picked her up for the planned weekend with everything we told her to bring.  Missy and I decided on bringing her to Tampa for the weekend to relax, have some fun, and have some girl time before she moved away.  The weekend turned into a great opportunity for all of the bridesmaids to bond, as well as spend some QT with the bride!

I would say we're ready for a great weekend, wouldn't you?!

Britt Bridal Party lounging by the pool
Bachelorette Party - Ready for a FUN night out!
Britt's breaking in her LV's...SO CUTE!

So there we were, we survived the Bachelorette weekend, and now it was only 3 weeks until the wedding! I'm sure Britt was swamped with things to do...even though she had been a great planner thus far.  To help relieve some of the stress from planning the wedding, she wanted to have a Bridal Pedi Party the weekend before the wedding, and I completely agreed that was necessary!!!  We enjoyed an afternoon of wine, appetizers, and pedicures - what more could you want the Sunday afternoon before your wedding with your favorite girls?

Bride to be - calm and relaxed like she should be!
3 Muskateers ready for Britt's BIG DAY to get here!

Pretty Purple Toes - to match our bridesmaid shoes of course!

So the toes were set and the venue was ready....we couldn't wait for Friday to come, but before it did - we had Britt's rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  She was having her wedding at the Grand Bohemian in downtown Orlando and the site was absolutely beautiful.  Oh, and if you are a Maid of Honor - sidenote - don't forget your duties before the big day include bringing a practice bouquet for the Bride to hold down the isle.  Seems cheesy, but I'm sure she felt special holding it, and I almost forgot! 

Britt and her Groom!

Britt and her dad walking down the isle :)

Bride and Groom with their Flower Girl and Jr. Bridesmaid!
The rehearsal went great.  Everything ran smoothly and I could see the vision of the wedding unfolding.  She was going to have a beautiful ceremony and reception and I couldn't wait! So, we headed off to the rehearsal dinner for some yummy food and the bridesmaids called it "a night".  Or, we did according to Britt.

What she didn't know is that we had already planned to come together after the dinner to put together a scrapbook together of her journey of becoming a MRS.  She means so much to us all, and we knew she would be moving away within a few days so we wanted her to hold on to something she can always look at when she misses us.

Bridesmaids hard at work for our Bride - scrapbook complete! :)

Nov. 5, 2010

The WEDDING DAY is finally here!  I have to say, I started out the day cool, calm, and collected, but on my drive over to the hotel I couldn't help but get teary.  I had so many emotions come over me all at once...

I have known Britt since I was 3 years old and today was the day she was getting married.  It would no longer just be the 3 of us, but now there will be 4.  One day there will be 6 of us, and she is starting the growth of our group.  I was so happy for her and couldn't wait to be by her side on one of the happiest days of her life, but those happy thoughts got overcome by sadness right after - I realized in 2 short days Britt will move to Arizona.  I knew she was moving, but I feel like we were so distracted with the wedding that it didn't really hit me until this day.  I knew that might be the last weekend I see my friend before she comes back to FL for my wedding festivities and that made me very sad! :(

So, I calmed myself, pulled myself together, and drove up to the hotel with a big smile on my face.  Today I had to be a big girl and get my bride excited for the BIG DAY!!!!!

We showed up in the late morning to allow enough time to get ready.  The day was filled with pampering, snacks, mimosas, and toasts.  She had a beautiful wedding ceremony and reception, and I will try to keep the photos to a minimum, but it's going to be challenging!  Love you Britt, you looked absolutely STUNNING!

Britt Bridal Party, Jr. Bridesmaid & Flowergirl! <3
Britt opening our wedding gift to her, the scrapbook!
Our very cute and re-wearable purple shoes and bouquet!
CHEERS to a beautiful Bride on her BIG DAY!
LOVED her dress and her personalized hanger!
Loved my Bride, we are ready to GO! Isn't she beautiful?
Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately for you for the excess amount of picture posting on this one) I left the camera upstairs for the remainder of the night, but everything turned out absolutely perfect.  All of her hard work and planning paid off and she has so many great memories and pictures to look at in her new life in Arizona.  I think it took about a week to finally set in that she is no longer living in Florida, and man was that day HARD!

We didn't get to spend as much time as we would have liked when she lived here, but now it's almost impossible to get together.  I always go to call her to see when we can meet for a catch-up brunch...but I soon realize that would involve a lot more than writing in in our calendars.  I need to talk Mr. Hess into getting me an iPhone 4 so we can facetime I suppose.... ;)

To a beautiful bride, best friend, and life-long sister....Britt.  You are an amazing person, and I miss you more than you know.  You have always been there throughout the years and I can't wait to have you by my side on my big day.  

THANK YOU for choosing Missy and I to be your Maids of Honor - it was truly an honor to do it.  It has been my only experience leading the way (with Missy), and I thoroughly enjoyed helping you plan every bit of your special day.  I know you're only a phone call away, and I miss knowing you are a phone call right down the road...but I am so happy for you.  You have a wonderful start to a new life with your husband and I can't wait to come visit you!

3 Muskateers Forever! ;)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

We wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Can't believe the end of the year is already coming and Christmas Day has already come and gone...WHEW!  

Let me start by saying, for the last 3 years both Mr. Hess and I have spent the day working, so we usually celebrate the day with Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.  This year, we had some of our friends join us at I was so glad they did.  I always love our services, but I look forward to this one each year because there are literally about 5,000 lights (candles) lit as the congregation sings Silent Night to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  So cool!  This year, I had to get it on video...

After service, Mr. Hess and I headed over to my sister's house for the annual family Christmas Eve gift exchange.  My family and Court's family have been celebrating together every Christmas Eve since I could remember!  This year was special to me, because it was the last year before I am married, as well as the last year before Court becomes a mom!  She and her husband surprised us all by announcing her little girl's name to us - what a great Christmas present!

Girls pic - the women of Court and I's families (and my nephew Colby!)
When we got home from my sister's, we got on Skype to call Mr. Hess's mom.  We've done this for 2 years now, and it's such a great way for him to feel like he can be home with his family as well.  We sat and chatted with his mom and step-dad and opened all of the presents they sent down!  When she asked what we wanted this year for Christmas, we really didn't have much on our list.  "Things for the wedding mostly" is what seems to come out of both of our mouths.  Well, I'm sure we can use some of this at the wedding, and I was so excited to get so much "H" stuff.  I absolutely LOVE "H" stuff! :)

All of our Christmas presents with "H" initials! Seemed to be a trend...
Waking up this morning, both Mr. Hess and I knew this Christmas would be more about Jesus than the presents - and that really is how it should be.  We are saving for a wedding (which is the real reason we agreed not to buy each other gifts this year), but it was so nice to not stress about presents and focus on enjoying our time with each other.  Here we are ready to work Christmas Day!

Ready to spread some Christmas Cheer - especially in those hats!!!
 When we finished at work, we headed back over to my sister's house to have soup and just lay low and spend some time together.  My parents had stayed the night and everyone is going up to Jacksonville tomorrow to have a traditional Christmas dinner and spend time with my mom's side of the family.  Unfortunately I won't be able to join because I am working, so I'm glad that I at least got to see my family today.  Mr. Hess and I both have some pretty crazy schedules - definitely not the classic 9-5 weekday jobs for sure, so we have to enjoy the Holiday seasons with the time we have off.  Can't complain about making some extra money though.... ;)

With presents or no presents, having to miss out on our big family Christmas celebration, and even working majority of the day, this has still been a great Christmas for me!  I tend to be a bit grumpy sometimes about how hectic life can be with working 2 jobs and planning a wedding, but I had a bit of a reality check this week when I got in a car accident.  Even if it's just for an hour, I am always happy to hang out with my family and try not to take even a small amount of time with them for granted.  I forget how hard it must be sometimes on Mr. Hess that his entire family lives in the mid-west.  He and I were talking on the way home about how nice it would be to fly up north one year to spend Christmas with his side of the family. Because of work, we have never done that.  Keep your fingers crossed that that happens sooner than later!

My mom reading a Christmas story to my cute.
Mr. Hess boxing my bro-in-law...maybe it's because he's wearing a Laker's shirt?!

I won't bore you with any more Christmas pictures, but I will say I am SO thankful for the following thing on this special day:
  • Mr. Hess - he has felt sick as a dog all day, but did his job and came with me to see my family two days in a row.  I am so blessed to have him in my life, and I can't wait for next Christmas when I can call him my husband.
  • My family - even though we don't get to spend as much time as I would like to together, it's comforting to know that doesn't matter.  I have been blessed with a great group of mentors, supporters and friends I call family.
  • My health - like I mentioned earlier, I got a reality check this week by getting into a pretty traumatic car accident.  I complain sometimes about getting older, but in reality I am very thankful for what my body allows me to do.
  • My job(s) - I tend to complain at times how hard it is to work 2 jobs, but when it comes down to it I'm lucky to even just have 1.  And right now, I love my 2 jobs - I realize this is not something everyone can say I'm pretty lucky to have found something I love as a career.
  • My friends - I have 9 beautiful bridesmaids all happy to stand by my side for the big day.  Other than those group of girls, I am always pleasantly surprised to find out around the Holidays what my friendship means to others and I feel blessed to have everyone in different parts of my life.
  • This blog - has not only help kept me organized, but has allowed me to share my stories and experiences with my loved ones.  I originally started it to keep Mr. Hess's family in the loop with the planning process, but it really has turned into something I look forward to doing.
  • Jesus Christ - without him, Christmas Day wouldn't even exist! We should take more than one day out of the year to recognize the sacrifice He mad for us. With that said, it is at least comforting to know there IS at least one day out of the year I know people will recognize His life for us and His story.

Had to sneak this last one in there...

208 days left...

Until next time bloggers, 

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Wedding Hint #1

    As the BIG DAY is starting to approach, I will randomly give out hints about our wedding and what it you can expect to see come together in our ceremony and reception, without giving TOO much away.

    Both Mr. Hess were on the same page with this one...

    And (hopefully) LOTS of them! :)


    OMG, OMG, OMG! Today, the wedding is officially...

    7 MONTHS AWAY!!!!

    I can't believe it!  I feel like we have a lot of the big stuff covered, but I'm also starting to feel all of the pressure of having to get everything done.  Good news is I now have a monthly "TO-DO" list, and I seem to be checking off almost everything every time!

    So far, in December we have:
    • BOOKED a Florist! Can't wait to see the final designs...
    • Attended 2 cake tastings, called around for more pricing, and BOOKED our wedding cake baker for a steal!
    • Begun to discuss and book our table and chair rentals with our venue!
    • Set up our Engagement Photo Session (less than 2 weeks away!)
    • Contacted a linens company that we met at the bridal show.  CAN'T wait to see their stuff in person.
    • Contacted DJs and lighting companies.
    • Gotten a LOT done on our wedding website...not releasing it until it is fully COMPLETE!
    By the END of the month (about a week and a half to go!) we need to get the rest of the list checked off:
    • Order our signature monogramed stamps.
    • Go over our budget (eek!)
    • Finalize guest list and begin to put addresses together for Save the Dates! (AHH!)
    So, in retrospect, we seem to be well on our way for now.

    On a side note - I was in the best mood today thinking about our wedding.  7 whole months is all that's standing in our way to being married, that's CRAZY!!!!!  On my way home tonight from a long day, I was thinking about what we need to do and completely out of nowhere BAM!!!!!!! There is a guy in the middle of the road who apparently ran out of gas and failed to put his blinkers on right in front of me.  Well, the road was dark, and he was wearing all black, so of course I didn't see it until it was too late.  I slammed on my breaks but hit the car head on, my airbags went off, and I knew right away my poor little car was totaled. 

    I have been debating for the last year on when a good time to start car shopping would be, and let me tell you now is NOT the time.  It's WEDDING SEASON people, don't you know this?!?!? Luckily, there were no citations and the cops understood where I was coming from.  Let's just keep our fingers crossed that my insurance company is very nice to me.  For now, I do not have a car and I start the search for a new car....well, right now.

    A BIG THANK YOU to Mr. Hess tonight for saving me from a horrible nightmare.  It's so good to know that he will always be a phone call away to come whisk me away from life's uncertainties and it's crazy how great just a hug from him can feel.  I'm so lucky to have him on my side no matter what, and instead of getting upset he kept me calm and told me everything was going to be okay.

    Also, he happened to notice today was 7 months until our big day, and decided to bring home something special for me.  Someone must have told him I was going to need these today...

    They are even lime of our colors! :)

    LOVE YOU MR. HESS!!!!!

    211 days and counting...

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Cake Tasting...we're on a mission!

    Today was a day I've always looked forward to ever since we got engaged.  Actually, going cake tasting is something I've been looking forward to since I can remember!  Ever since I was a little girl, I have anticipated what MY wedding cake will look like.  Well, today I actually got to find out!  And I must say, dedicating an entire afternoon to eating cake and picking our colors to and styles for your cake to match your wedding can be pretty fun!!!

    Excited to be there and hoping to find the cake we want!
    So we started the hunt to find our cake maker this afternoon by going to Party Flavors.  Their shop is pretty cool, filled with all different shapes and kinds of cakes! We spent a good 10 minutes just walking around and looking at everything.  We went into our consultation not really knowing what we were looking for.  We know our wedding theme is more on the contemporary side, so we knew we wanted our cake to be fun and colorful, but that's about it!

    Mr. Hess thinks this cake looks YUMMY!
    Which flavors to choose? They're ALL yummy! Seriously.
    From Amaretto to Marble Cake, Double Chocolate to Carrot Cake - I really loved every single cake we tried.  It was getting harder and harder to choose what we wanted! Luckily, by the end of the meeting we had our flavors picked and a sketch! A sketch of a cake both Mr. Hess and I LOVE!!!! From the look of each tier, to the flavor of each piece, to the cake topper - THIS was the cake for our wedding!!!! Absolutely LOVED IT! There's just one problem - the cake we want is literally twice the amount of money we budgeted for.  OUCH!!!! So we left the shop, inspired and thrilled that at least we know what we want, but also a little let down that we apparently have expensive taste.  I took my sketch, and hoped the next meeting would go just as well with a little less $$$ as a final's hoping:


    Here's that picture of the amazing cake we saw that was inspired from Alice in Wonderland:
    I'm pretty sure Mr. Hess would pick this cake for our wedding if he could!
    So there we were, on our way to the second cake tasting of the day.  Super pumped and convinced our second quote would be considerably lower, we arrived at our meeting place a little early to grab a bite to eat.  I know I know - we were going to eat cake, but there's ALWAYS room for that! We got a bit of a late start because she was running behind, and we decided not to tell her we already got a sketch of what we're looking for because we wanted to see what she could come up with too!

    We talked about colors, shape, size and she came up with a design just as cool.  I'm not in love with the cake as much as the first one, but it was gorgeous and I would take it as my wedding cake anyways!  Feeling good and from what I've heard, she is very affordable, so I was hopeful and anticipated the end result in what price we're looking at...then dun nuh nuh...there it was - and OVER our budget again - wayyyyy over our budget.  What the heck?! I budgeted a fair amount, almost $200 over what I WANTED to pay....and this was almost double that THAT! I really can't believe how expensive a wedding cake can be!  I guess contemporary and unique, trendy designs come with a price.

    So, we still have some more work to do on this.  I'm really glad we got to do some tastings and meet with 2 cake bakers today.  But, the hunt for a wedding cake continues...I'll leave you with this video that pretty much sums up the rest.  And oh yeah, I'm pretty sure we were both on a sugar high from all of the different cakes and icings we tried (especially my co-star!) AHHHHH! :)

    Yeah, we were a bit ridiculous.

    I must say, even though the day turned out to be a little bit of a let down at the end, we learned a lot from it.  We have an idea of what we want, and we are determined to get it - in budget.  If you know of any great cake makers in Central FL, send the info on over...I would love to keep trying to find a cake we LOVE that fits in our budget! :)
    219 days and counting...

    Until next time bloggers!
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