Our Wedding Video

Some of you may know (and some may not know) that Kelly and I got married this past New Year’s Eve. It was everything I could have wanted and more! Through the hustle and bustle of planning the wedding, we decided at the last minute that we wanted to hire a videographer to film our wedding day. We really just wanted something documented and we received an amazing highlight video that captures all the joy and love that was exchanged that day.

I have shared it with you all and I hope that you enjoy!

xx

Wedding Bells: 5 Times When You Shouldn’t Wear Your Engagement Ring

Sweet Mary Louise - Engagement RingI will admit that I am guilty of never wanting to take my engagement ring off and I really feel like I’m missing a body part when I’m not wearing it. It’s grown to be a part of me and is incredibly special to me. However, as special as my ring is to me, I realize that there are a few times that it’s not a great time to wear my ring and I do make the decision to take it off.

Today, I’m going to share a few times that I make the conscious decision to take my ring off, and maybe you should think twice about wearing it when one of these situations comes up for you.

In my opinion, avoid wearing your ring:

  1. In the shower. Taking my ring off when I’m about to take a shower started pretty early for me because my hair would always get caught on the ring. I would be lathering up my hair with shampoo and then have to untangle my hair from around the ring which started to become a pain. And, the soap made my ring incredibly slippery on my finger which made me nervous. I didn’t want it accidentally falling off and then chip or scratch or really anything bad. Plus, my band is made of white gold which can eventually tarnish over the years if over exposed to chemicals in soap.
  2. At the gym. When I was newly engaged, I thought it was so cute to wear my ring anywhere I went and with anything I wore, but I soon came to realize that the gym is no place to wear diamonds. I will say, a lot of women still wear their ring to work out, which is fine, but when I would lift weights, my ring would scratch along the dumbbells and bars and it just didn’t make sense for me to wear it. I was probably causing more damage than I was aware of and I opted out of wearing it to the gym. Plus, in the event that I for whatever reason could injure my hand or finger, I wouldn’t want swelling to prevent the ring to come off and then it would need to be cut off (yikes)! I now just avoid wearing it for that short period of time and put it right back on when I get home.
  3. To bed. I know this one may sound weird. It wasn’t until about 2 months ago that I stopped wearing my ring to bed because I read an article online that mentioned a woman got a prong of her ring snagged on the sheets and her diamond fell out! It’s highly improbable that this would happen to you or even me, but better be safe than sorry. I still find myself accidentally wearing it to bed on occasion but I still like to play it safe. I want to add, I ripped a sterling silver bracelet off my wrist in college when I was sleeping and had no idea. I thought I had lost the bracelet for a week only to find it in my sheets and broken because it had been ripped off. So, I’ll avoid the chance of me taking my ring off and oddly losing it in the sheets.
  4. When baking or cooking. This only applies if you are using your hands to help with the recipe. For example, molding meatballs by hand with raw meat or kneading dough by hand to make a bread or crust. I say this because food can tend to get caught in the ring which is not always bad but it’s not always good. Food getting caught in the ring can make your diamond look dull or if it’s an acidic food, can wear the metal of your band down. I would just advise taking it off while using your hands to be safe.
  5. When you’re swimming. When I say swimming, I mean anything that involves a large body of water (Obviously, Mary!). Whether it’s your personal pool or a lake or ocean, just take your ring off. I am guilty of wearing my ring to the pool a few times this Summer, but the chlorine that’s in the water can affect your diamond over time and it’s best to avoid that. Also, if you’re in a lake or ocean, I can just see it accidentally slipping off and then there’s no chance of saving it. That gorgeous gem will sink faster than you’ll realize it’s off and they’ll be no chance of getting it back. Again, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    As much as I hate taking my ring off, I absolutely cherish it and would be devastated if something were to happen to it. Now, I want to say that my ring IS insured and I am covered if anything did happen, but still, I’ll do what I can to avoid that.

    Are there any times that you are adamant about taking your ring off? Or are you a brave soul that never takes it off?

    xx

 

My Weight Loss Update | 5 Tips for a Healthier You

In recent months, I’ve found a new passion for health and a desire for a better me. I will be honest and say that the pressure of wearing a gorgeous wedding dress in front of 150 people at the end of the year weighs heavily on me. But, I’m happy that the pressure of my wedding day has found me because I have great determination to get in better shape than I am now for my wedding day. With that being said, I have no exact number in my mind or loss of inches I’m striving for. Although I believe a great way to work towards a goal is to have specific goals in mind, I don’t want to feel disappointment if I don’t hit that specific number by a certain deadline. However, I do know I have a vision for how I want to look and a way I want to feel and that’s what I’m working towards. Ultimately, I want to feel my best and work hard at reaching that goal until the big day and beyond then.

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Now, I would say that it’s been since the beginning of May that I have been trying really hard to focus on my health and shedding any extra weight I can. It’s been a solid 2 months which is longer than I’ve devoted myself to a healthier weight than any time before. Believe me when I say I’ve occasionally woken up frustrated because I feel like I have zero progress and that I’m working hard for nothing. But, then I get on the scale for a check-in and I’m pleasantly surprised. Would I like for the weight to come off a little quicker than it is? Sure. But I remind myself that it’s a process and it will pay off in the end.

What I want to do today is share what I’ve been doing to focus on shedding weight at a healthy and steady rate. I’m not following any sort of strict diet or workout regimen and am learning as I go. I remind myself, “This is a process. This is a process.” I learn new things along my journey regularly and know I will continue to do so moving forward. Here are a few tips I have for anyone trying to shed extra weight and things that have helped me along the way:


  1. First and foremost, I’m drinking a ton of water. I never focused on my water intake before and this step alone has helped me out incredibly. I make it a point to drink at least 3 liters of water a day. I do this 1) because hydration is a key factor in keeping your muscles functioning properly 2) it can help curb my appetite by tricking my body into thinking it’s more full than it is and 3) it helps shed extra toxins and water weight that I may have been holding. I have a new love for water and will do a whole post about it on another day. But, my strongest bit of advice would be to drink more water. Period. (On a side note, I want to add that I have limited myself to drinking alcohol only 1 day a week.)

  2. Log everything you consume in a food journal. This has been so beneficial for me because it helps remind me what I have already eaten for the day and keeps me on track to make smart decisions throughout the day. Even when you aren’t being strict about your diet, logging it in a food journal helps because it will show you how many calories really are in those mozzarella sticks that you wouldn’t have thought twice about had you not needed to log it. Yeah, guilt can set in because the nutritional facts are a lot worse than you expected, but you will learn that the next time there is an opportunity to eat them and you’ll maybe want to order a healthier option. Or not. It’s all about balance. Logging your food is always a good idea when trying to lose weight because it holds you accountable and conscious of your eating habits. I use an app on my iPhone called MyFitnessPal and it’s technology is way more advanced than it used to be. It measures macro-nutrients of your food, calories, and also reminds you to log your food if you may have forgotten. You can add friends through the app to help keep each other accountable. If you want to add me, my username is: marylsnodgrass.

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  3. I know this one may sound obvious, but it’s so important, and it is to stay active. This one is hard for me because I loathe working out. I don’t enjoy cardio workouts because I tend to get bored, and I hate lifting weights even more because I have no idea what I’m doing. But, I have a goal that I want to reach and I’m not going to reach it without working out on a regular basis. When we moved to Houston, we were fortunate enough to find an apartment we loved across the street from a gym. Once we got settled, I got a gym membership and tried out a few of the classes. Much to my surprise, I fell in love with a class that is taught on Mondays and Wednesday. Through March and April, I saw some results but not much. I learned that a 45 minute workout twice a week wasn’t going to do much for me. So, on the days there was no class, I put my headphones in and went on a jog. I found a nice path that I enjoy and I see it now as “me time”. Since I started working out about 4 times a week, that’s when my results started to really start showing. There are days where the last thing I want to go is put on my tennis shoes after work to go workout, but I do it and always feel amazing afterwards.

  4. Green tea. I’ve never really been a tea drinker. I am a sole believer in black coffee and will love it to my grave, but I read an article that green tea is extremely beneficial in lowering cholesterol and naturally eliminates triglycerides that your body is storing. I will say, it’s no magic pill, but it does help curb my appetite for a snack in the afternoon and is a bit of a healthier alternative than the cup of coffee I would be drinking in it’s place. It does have somewhat of a bitter aftertaste, but it’s not overpowering to the point that I’m forcing it down with a disgusted face. I enjoy it. Fat loss is a specific goal of mine and I have seen results with the combination of healthy diet, exercise, and green tea. It doesn’t hurt to try, right?

  5. Keep a positive attitude and remind yourself daily of your goals. I know I said it earlier, but there are definitely bad days where I just want to order pizza and drink red wine to comfort myself and relax after a long day. But I know when I get that craving and if I were to buckle and cheat, I would feel incredible guilt and I would erase a lot of hard work that I put forth to achieve results. I’m not exactly sure how much weight I intend to lose and I’m not exactly sure how much more strict I want to be or if I even want to ease up a bit. Like I said, I am learning as I go but as long as I keep a positive attitude and remind myself of what I’m working towards, it will motivate me to keep the path and that results will eventually follow. No matter how big or small. What I do know is I feel healthier than I ever have before and love it.

Everyone’s journey is different and everyone will achieve results in different ways and at different times. I’m learning a lot about myself and my body along the way that success is not achieved overnight. If you have any tips, tricks, secrets, or overall encouragement send it my way! I love hearing different bits of success that people have and I hope to motivate someone with my story. Trust me, I have quite a way to go but I’m excited to see how my hard work will pay off. I appreciate the kind words from everyone along the way and hope to continue to surprise you all!

xx

Wedding Bells: Bridesmaid Style

Sorry for the lack of a Wedding Bells post last week. I was doing a lot of wedding prep myself, and work was absolutely bananas. But, we’re back at it this week and I’m talking all about bridesmaid style. There are SO many trends and directions you can choose for your bridesmaids that when I started the planning process, I really had a hard time figuring out the direction I wanted to go in. Color scheme, expense, style, matching, length, comfort, and the list goes on and on.

When you ask your bridesmaids to share your big day with you, that comes with wearing a fabulous dress on the day, as well! So what do you do? Ask them what they think? Let them pick their own? If I can help in that decision at all, I’m going to show you a few options you can choose from and things to consider when picking your bridesmaid dresses.

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First of all, I say you decide the color scheme or colors you want your girls to wear. Don’t so much worry about the style of the dresses just yet. Focus on color. I knew the colors of my wedding as soon as we picked our wedding date, so I knew I wanted my girls to wear exactly those colors. I think that’s a great starting place.

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Now, I have seen a trend of each girl wearing a different shade of a particular color, and also each girl wearing a completely different color than each other. This is something to consider when you visualize photos that will be taken on your big day.

Once you have chosen which color or colors you want your bridesmaids to wear, I would then think about the particular dress code you want your guests to wear on your wedding day. If you are having a black tie wedding, you will want your bridesmaids in formal floor length gowns. If you are having an outdoor wedding in the heat of Summer, I would consider a casual dress code and putting your bridesmaids in a shorter dress to keep them cool.

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Hi-low dresses are a fun option for a beachy or outdoor wedding and short dresses are SO cute for a country wedding paired with cowgirl boots. Floor length dresses are a classic option that will never go out of style.

It sounds strange to say, but your bridesmaids need to dress to the theme of your wedding. So with that being said, you need to decide if you want them to be in a more formal dress to fit your elegant evening or a shorter cotton dress to tie in to your beach side wedding.

Now that you’ve considered the color and type of style you want them to wear, it’s time to start picturing the fit and style of dress you imagine them wearing. Are each of your girls going to pick the dress they want to wear? Are each of your girls going to wear the same color and fabric, but differing style? You wouldn’t want to pick a form fitting satin dress that a few of your bridesmaids may not feel confident or comfortable in.

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If you’re going to put each girl in the same dress, it’s a smart idea to have one or two girls try on a few options and ask their opinion on the fit and style of the dress you like. At the end of the day, you get to decide the dress even if your bridesmaids hate it, but overall you want them to be happy, too.

The last thing I want to stress that will make everyone happy, is to consider your bridesmaid’s wallet in all decisions surrounding their dress. When I say that, I mean for you to consider the dress itself, if it requires shipping for delivery, and any alterations the dress may require. All of these expenses add up and the last thing you want is for after it’s all said and done your bridesmaids are out $500.

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I am looking so forward to the morning of my wedding, getting ready with my best friends, and seeing each of them stand next to me all dolled up in wedding photos in years to come. Each of them would look beautiful in a potato sack, but picking a beautiful dress for them to wear is half the fun. Make sure it’s a dress that they love just as much as you do.

What are some of you brides planning on having your bridesmaids wear?

xx

Wedding Bells: Choosing Your Wedding Date

Choosing your wedding date is a HUGE part of the wedding planning process. There is a lot of thought that needs to go into it and can have a big impact on the overall experience of your day. Although it sounds like something that may be on the easy side of planning, it really is important.

There are a lot of factors that go into picking the right day. First and foremost, it needs to be something you and your fiance sit down and talk about so that there is an understanding that you agree on your day. Something that was important to Kelly and I was that it will take place in the Winter. There is something about the cold weather that makes things seem a little more romantic, and there is no risk of guests being uncomfortably hot or sweating in their gorgeous getup.

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So, what I want to get across is that you start with the time of year you would like to get married in. Whether that be Summer, Spring, outside in the Fall, or even a particular holiday (like us). That’s a great place to start. Then, you look at the calendar and figure out if you want to do a weekend wedding, that there are no other conflicting birthdays or events that may already be on your calendar.

Kelly and I lucked out when it came to our venue, because we had the date picked before we looked at it’s availability and LUCKILY it was available. It’s important to keep in mind that if you haven’t shopped venues, that you be open to the thought that your ideal date is not available at your dream venue. Be flexible. In the end, you won’t remember that your venue wasn’t available on March 14 (random).

Next, I would visualize your wedding day in the aspect of ceremony setting and reception setting. Have you always pictured yourself getting married in nature under a sentimental oak tree? Have you always pictured yourself getting married in a church and then celebrating all night under the stars? When you visualize the setting of your wedding day, keep in mind the time of year I mentioned earlier. The middle of August is not ideal for a 5:00 wedding outside and then an evening reception outside. Your guests may melt. So just be conscious of the comfort of your guests as well as picture perfect moments with your honey. Fall and Spring are perfect times if that’s what fits your vision consists of.

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On a side note, if you are hell bent on having a holiday wedding (like me) be aware that vendors and companies you may want to use for your day will be more expensive. The reason is they have so many other events going on, and they need to pay their staff more for working on a holiday. Kelly and I attended a wedding on New Year’s Eve years ago and I was in love with the idea. I knew after that wedding that I, too, wanted to get married on New Year’s Eve. Having a holiday wedding is a great idea because decorations are pretty much chosen for you and it’s an evening fit for celebration anyway.

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Okay, lastly I want to talk about all the couples that have the right idea with planning a destination wedding. Destination weddings can be to a unique part of the country, to a foreign continent, or on the beach on a tropical island. If you choose to go the resort route, the planning is pretty much done for you. So kudos to that. But, make sure that you choose a time of year where the weather is in peak condition for that area and you give your guests plenty of notice so they can save for your wedded getaway. On a side note, I’ve never been to a destination wedding and am dying to go to one. If you know someone, tell them I’m a rock star wedding guest.

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If you’re planning a wedding or married, what kind of effort went into you picking your big day? I always love hearing from other brides!

xx