Wedding Planning – 4 Month Update

Wedding Planning – 4 Month Update

I can’t believe I’m getting married in just four months! Jared and I have been engaged for over a year, and I’m so glad we decided to give ourselves plenty of time to plan because there are SO many details that go into a wedding that I never even thought of!

With just four months until the big day, we are actually in really good shape. All of our vendors are booked and all that’s left is finalizing details. I did a poll on Instagram (follow me at @thehappyfloridian if you’re not already!) and so many of you wanted a wedding planning update! So I’m going to share the things we’ve done, the things we’re in the process of doing and what still needs to be done!

WHAT WE’VE DONE

Booked our vendors!  

We have assembled the most amazing team of vendors for our wedding. Here is who we’ve booked:

  • Venue and Food: Sweetwater Branch Inn
  • Photographer: Leslie Page Photography
  • Flowers: Garden and Grace Florals
  • DJ: Genius Entertainment
  • Officiant: Jack Edmonds
  • Cake/Dessert: Sugar Babies Cookies
  • Hair and Makeup: Moxie To Go

I’m so lucky because I actually work for our venue as the marketing director, and my amazing coworkers are also the event directors for our wedding day. They have given me SO many great tips and recommendations (thank you Casey and Maria!) and I feel very confident in the team working our wedding.

The Dress!

I found my dream wedding dress at David’s Bridal in Gainesville! I’m absolutely in love with it and every time I put it on I don’t want to take it off! I am still waiting to do alterations until the wedding day gets a little closer, but the dress is amazing and I can’t wait to show it to you after we get married!

Finalized Bridal Party Looks

Jared and his groomsmen got their tuxes from Men’s Warehouse and my bridesmaids are getting their dresses from Azazi.

Finished Our Registry

It took me forever to finish our registry, mostly because I would much rather give someone a gift than ask for one! We decided to just register at Target for things we really need or want to upgrade. We have been living together for 5 years so we have a lot of stuff, but almost everything is a used or given to us from family members. Let me know if you want me to do a separate post about our wedding registry!

WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON

Invitations

I ordered our invitations last week and decided to hand address them. So once those come in I will be working my handwriting magic on the envelopes. We also decided to do digital RSVPs, mostly because the RSVP cards were $100 without postage.

Wedding Website

Our wedding website is almost complete except for a few details. We chose to do very simple invitations and have most of the information on our website, including our RSVPs, accommodations, registry information and more.

Reception Details and Signage

After watching way too many TikToks over the past few months I’ve decided to make all the table numbers and signage for our wedding. Well, at least the table numbers, we’ll see how those turn out and if it’s too hard I might leave some of the bigger signs to the professionals. Here are some photos of what I’m trying to make:

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

It still feels like a million things need to be done! Mostly they’re just small details, like choosing songs we want played at the reception and what shoes I’m going to wear. Here are just a few of the biggest things we’re ready to check off of our to-do list:

Get Wedding Bands

We honestly haven’t even looked at wedding bands yet! Hopefully we will start looking soon!

Figure Out Our Honeymoon

With a global pandemic it’s really hard to get pumped about traveling. We’ve decided that we are going to do a mini-moon a day or two after the wedding, then go on a big trip next year. We just have no clue where to go for our mini honeymoon! We know we want it to be in Florida, we just don’t know where yet. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!

Choose The Food

One of the main reasons we chose Sweetwater as our venue is because they do all their own food, and after working there I know their food is amazing! We are having our menu meeting next month to choose all the food for the cocktail hour and the reception.

There are a ton of things left to do but I feel like we’re in really good shape to have an amazing day! If you have any questions or tips please leave them in the comments!

Summer Beach Essentials

Summer Beach Essentials

Summer is in full swing here in Florida, and while this season looks a lot different than it has in the past, I am making the most of it and finding safe ways to enjoy my summer! This summer we are headed to St. Augustine Beach to stay in a private condo where we can safely enjoy a much-needed getaway. Here are a few of my summer beach essentials!

Continue reading “Summer Beach Essentials”

Six Essential Tips for Working From Home

Six Essential Tips for Working From Home

I’ve been working from home for the past seven weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the one thing that has helped me the most is having a quarantine routine. Currently I work about 65 hours a week between my full-time job, part-time job, freelancing and blogging. It’s a lot, but it’s definitely worth it, and I’ve developed my own work from home routine that I love!

While I love staying busy and working on so many different things, it’s super important to not get burned out. Here are my top tips for working from home and keeping it all together:

Continue reading “Six Essential Tips for Working From Home”

How To Organize An Influencer Event

How To Organize An Influencer Event

A couple weeks ago I hosted an Influencer Brunch for some amazing Gainesville bloggers at the Sweetwater Branch Inn, the most beautiful event space in Gainesville. What started out as just an idea a month before turned into one of my favorite things I’ve done this year! It took a lot of planning, tons of emailing and messaging and some serious hustle, but it was so completely worth it!

Continue reading “How To Organize An Influencer Event”

How He Asked: My St. Augustine Proposal Story

How He Asked: My St. Augustine Proposal Story

I’M ENGAGED! It feels so crazy to say! Two weeks ago my boyfriend Jared got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, and of course I said YES! I wanted to share my proposal story with all of you, so read along to find out how Jared planned a super romantic proposal in Florida’s oldest city, St. Augustine.

Continue reading “How He Asked: My St. Augustine Proposal Story”

What’s In My Gym Bag

What’s In My Gym Bag

I used to be the girl that would go to the gym with just a water and my headphones and call it a day. But ever since I started training at Mat Life Training Center my gym bag has become an essential every morning. It’s loaded up with kickboxing gear, self-care products and my favorite supplements and pre-workout snacks.

Since I workout for at least 1-2 hours every day I always have to make sure I’m prepared for anything (like getting hungry between classes or my deodorant wearing off.) So here’s a sneak peak at what I bring to the gym each day.

Continue reading “What’s In My Gym Bag”

I Lost 30 Pounds in 6 Weeks: Here’s How You Can Too!

I Lost 30 Pounds in 6 Weeks: Here’s How You Can Too!

Y’all, something totally amazing happened. I lost 30 pounds in less than two months. Saying it out loud doesn’t even feel real! In six weeks I was able to make a huge lifestyle change that put me on the path towards living a happier, healthier life, and I’m so excited to share the journey with all of you!

How I Got Started

My weight loss journey really started when I discovered Gainesville Combat Fitness. A part of Mat Life Training Center, which also offers self-defense, Ju Jitsu and MMA fighting, Gainesville Combat Fitness offers high-energy workout classes like kickboxing conditioning, combat fitness and barre kickboxing.

I saw an ad on Facebook for a fitness challenge being offered at Gainesville Combat Fitness, and I thought, “This is exactly what I need.” So I signed up! I’ve never done any sort of martial arts/kickboxing training. I decided to step out of my comfort zone because I knew I needed to do something drastic to get myself motivated to lose weight.

I scheduled my orientation for the fitness challenge, and that’s when I met Carly, the founder of Gainesville Combat Fitness. She instantly made me feel comfortable and supported as she outlined what the six-week challenge would entail. She explained the workouts, meal plan, weigh-ins and accountability system that would help me achieve my goal.

The Challenge

The challenge rules were pretty straightforward. The goals were to lose either 25 pounds or 6% body fat in six weeks. Participants can choose to either sign up for a six-month gym membership or pay a deposit. If they opt for the deposit, and meet the challenge goal, they get their money back. The gym also provided participants with the necessary equipment to participate in the classes (boxing gloves and hand wraps), which they could choose to either return or purchase themselves when the challenge was over.

I decided to do the deposit because I knew if I set my mind to it I could meet the weight loss goal. Then it’s basically six free weeks of workouts! I knew it would be worth the money, and trust me, it was!

img_1169

The Workouts

I had taken a kickboxing class before YEARS ago, but Gainesville Combat Fitness doesn’t offer cookie-cutter classes set to music where you punch the air or kick a bag. They offer real, high-energy classes that combine cardiovascular workouts with real Muay Tai kickboxing techniques.

I have to admit, on my first day of class I was terrified! I told myself I had one goal: don’t throw up. But I had nothing to worry about. The classes at Gainesville Combat Fitness are adjustable for all fitness levels, and the moves and exercises can be modified to accommodate anyone.

I didn’t know how much I was going to like the classes, but I fell totally in love! I loved the high intensity of the cardio workouts, the feeling of punching and kicking during kickboxing class and how strong I felt after every class. I went five days a week every week for the entire duration of the challenge. I went every morning before work, and it made me feel so energized and ready to take on the rest of the day.

I went at the same time every morning (7 a.m.) and eventually made some awesome friends! I also got to work with Presley, the most awesome instructor ever, and he taught me so much during the challenge. He was always there to answer questions and he made the classes so fun.

When I started the fitness classes I could hardly get through the warmup, a series of agility drills on a workout ladder. By the last day I could do the entire warmup without stopping or modifying any of the drills.

img_1195
Presley taught all the classes I attended at Gainesville Combat Fitness and he helped me win the challenge!

The Meal Plan

When I started the fitness challenge I was also given a meal plan. It was pretty flexible, which was great for allowing different options into my diet and ensuring that I didn’t get bored with the food. We also got a recipe book with lots of yummy meal ideas!

The basic outline of the meal was:

Breakfast – Carbohydrate, Protein and Vegetable

Lunch – Carbohydrate, Protein and Vegetable

Dinner – Protein, Fat and Vegetable

I just could not eat vegetables for breakfast, so I doubled up at dinner to make up for it. We were also encouraged to drink two protein shakes a day. I chose to drink Protein2O, a protein water that tastes way better than a shake and has pretty similar nutrition.

cbbd9549-c739-458a-8649-dba5a9ddc6f5
This is what my fridge looked like at the start of every week. My diet staples were green beans and broccoli, greek yogurt, egg whites, berries, protein water and water!

This is what a normal week of meal prep looked like for me: lots of veggies, rice and chicken. For breakfast I usually had Greek yogurt and berries or egg whites and potatoes.

img_1031

I also allowed myself one or two cheat meals a week. It prevented me from bingeing when I had a craving for something, and helped me remember that it’s ok to have treats in moderation.

One big thing I changed besides my diet was the amount of water I was drinking. I went from drinking two or three bottles a day to drinking at least 100 ounces every day!

Our challenge leader, Natalie, made sure to check in with each of us every week to see how we were doing with the challenge. She always cheered me on with every pound lost and was super motivating!

The Results

img_1199

After six long weeks of training hard in the gym and eating right, I felt better than I had in years. In the first week I dropped 10 pounds like that, my body was in a total shock. Every week the pounds were steadily dropping. Then, the final weigh in day came and the results were in…

I lost 26.4 pounds! That amount in such a short amount of time was HUGE! And it was just the start. I’ve lost 30 pounds since I started the challenge and I’m not stopping there!

I’m so excited to continue working with Gainesville Combat Fitness to promote wellness and a healthy lifestyle. Stay tuned for more posts as I continue on my journey towards my happiest, healthiest self!

img_1062

Join The Challenge!

Are you looking for a sign that’s it time for you to start living healthier or lose some weight?? Well look no further because this is it! Gainesville Combat Fitness is continuing to offer more fitness challenges. To get more information or schedule a tour and get a free week of classes click here! You’ll be so glad you did!

 

 

Florida Skincare Essentials

Florida Skincare Essentials

Let’s face it, the Florida weather, although mostly beautiful, can wreak havoc on your skin. The sun and humidity can turn your complexion from peaches and cream to tomato-like in minutes.

I have rosacea, a skin condition that causes your face to turn really red, especially on your cheeks. So, I have to be extra careful with what I put on my skin. The hot Florida weather can make my skin extra irritated, but luckily I’ve found some amazing skincare products that are cooling, calming and make me feel refreshed!

These products are perfect for any Florida or warm-weather-living gal. They have great ingredients and are perfect for relieving your skin on a hot day! Here are my Florida skincare essentials:

Cucumber Face Masks

Cucumber is a great soothing agent for your skin. There are tons of facemasks out there, but I’ve found that ones with cucumber work best for my skin. My favorite ones are the Yes To Cucumbers Calming Paper Mask and the Cool As A Cucumber Sheet Mask from Bath & Body Works.

Cool Off Gel Lotion

This is the best lotion for hot days or after a workout! I don’t use it on my face but I do use it on my arms, legs and chest to cool off quickly. The lotion is made with aloe, cucumber, vitamin E and kaolin clay. It’s made by Bath & Body Works but they no longer sell it in stores or online. But it is available on Amazon!

Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser

The Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser is THE BEST cleanser for people prone to redness. It’s extra gentle and helps calm visible redness and irritation while melting away makeup and impurities. My skin always feels so cool and clean after I use it.

ULTA Active Cooling Hydration Face Stick

I never leave the house without this. I run the ULTA hydration stick on my cheeks whenever I feel them getting red or when I’m sweating. It cools my face off instantly and it doesn’t leave it feeling greasy.

S.W. Basics Peppermint Water Spray

I just bought this peppermint water spray by S.W. Basics a few weeks ago and I’m obsessed with it! It’s only ingredients are peppermint and water, and the cooling face mist makes my skin feel instantly refreshed.

Finally, one final pro tip: buy yourself a jade roller and keep it in your freezer. What, the freezer??? YES! The cold jade roller will feel absolutely amazing on your face after a long day. This is the one I use.

Let me know in the comments if you want to see more posts like this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy and Healthy 4th of July Recipes

Easy and Healthy 4th of July Recipes

The Fourth of July is just two days away! It’s a day to celebrate freedom with family, fireworks and of course, food. With all the burgers and hot dogs, starchy sides and beers and sweet teas that usually accompany holiday parties here in Florida, it’s hard to stay on track as far as healthy eating goes.

One sure-fire way to make sure there are healthy options for you at a July 4th cookout is to bring them yourself! Making some yummy, healthy alternatives to the heavier food choices will guarantee that you’re not feeling guilty after you eat, but the hostess will also be grateful for your contribution to the party.

Continue reading “Easy and Healthy 4th of July Recipes”