Planning My First Trip to Baltimore


I’ve never been to Baltimore, neither has J. Or pretty much my entire immediate family. This weekend we get to go for the first time for a cousin’s wedding. I am so pumped!

The problem I always have with trips (and this one in particular because we really don’t have a lot of time for ourselves), is deciding what to do with my time in a new place. We only really have Friday evening and Sunday morning to explore on our own. Possibly a few hours Saturday afternoon, but we won’t really know until that day.

J and I are driving down early Friday. We decided to check out the inner harbor area after checking into the hotel. There are so many cute neighborhoods around there that I wanted to visit! But having just the one evening, I took the advice of a few friends and settled on the inner harbor. We’ll get dinner and drinks and check it out.

The rest of the family gets in later Friday, so we’ll get drinks or something with them then.

No trip in my family is complete without a visit to the local fort. So Sunday morning before heading home, J and I are stopping at Fort McHenry. I am SO excited.

The only real downside to this trip (besides leaving our fur babies with a sitter!) is that it’s going to be perfect autumn weather at home, and about 90 in Baltimore…

I’ll recap when we’re back!


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5 Love Songs that Make Me Emotional


I can’t help it, I’m a hopeless romantic!

One thing I can’t get enough of are love songs, especially the ones that make me emotional. You know what I mean – the lump in your throat, the teary eyes, the heavy sighs.

Here is a list of 5 of my favorites. Stay tuned for future posts with more songs!

(Each links to a video on YouTube)

  • Love Story – Taylor Swift. I can’t leave this one off. It makes me feel all warm and happy inside. It’s how Romeo and Juliet should have ended.
  • A Part of Me – Alex Band. This one gives me chills every time I listen to it. And that voice! My prefer the non duet version, but I couldn’t find that one on Youtube.
  • Feels Like Home – Chantal Kreviazuk. This one was played a lot when I was growing up (living near Canada means you get all the great CA stations that focus on playing CA artists). I heard it again recently after YEARS of forgetting about it, and it was more amazing that I’d remembered.

What are your favorite love songs?

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Preparing For a Wedding Venue Visit

Preparing for a Wedding Venue Visit

On Sunday J and I are getting  a tour of a possible ceremony location. My fingers are crossed and I feel like I’ll be holding me breath in anticipation all week because I think this could be the one!

In preparation for the visit, I’ve compiled a list of things to prepare for a visit to possible wedding venues.

  • Your wedding planner, if you have one. My twin sister is coming with us because she just got married and knows a thing or two about venue visits. Also, she’s helping us plan the wedding, so while I’ll be flailing around all excited to see the place, she’ll keep the vision in mind and see if it works at this location.
  • A clear vision. I’m not saying you have to have all of the decor or your colors picked out, but if you’re thinking you want an urban feel, maybe looking at barn venues isn’t the right way to go. And that’s a big reason why my sister/planner is coming with us.
  • A list of questions to ask the venue. These will differ based on whether you’re booking the ceremony, reception, or both. Also just depending on what you want or need. My wedding planning binder (which my twin sister got me for Christmas) has a list of questions to ask at venue visits. I’m going to write down the ones that apply to us and bring them along.
  • Your phone or camera to take pictures. So that you remember what the place looked like, and just in case you’re stuck between a couple venues. Looking at photos and seeing which one best fits your vision will be super helpful when you have to make your decision.
  • An open mind. Not so open that you end up booking something you really didn’t want. But you never know. If you booked a tour “just because” and have your heart set on something else, don’t 100% rule it out. Enjoy seeing the venue. I thought since getting engaged last September that I wanted my ceremony at a specific place near my office. But then I saw photos of the place we’re seeing on Sunday and I was curious. I had been ready to book the other location but now I’m feeling that this new place is a better fit. Good thing I didn’t book because I’d be out of the deposit money.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is what I’ll be focusing on later in the week when viewing the possible ceremony location.

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Why I Need My Morning Dog Walk

Why I Need My Morning Dog Walk

I need to walk my dog every morning before work, and not just because he has to go out. My morning walk is like a daily mind reset before starting all the chaos and stress coming later on. We all know what I mean. The job is less than perfect. There’s traffic and bills to pay and goodness knows what else.

Here’s how I maximize on that 10 minute walk every morning:

  • I work at 7am, so I’m usually walking the pup around 5:45am. I know, it’s pretty early. But it is perfect for calming my mind. In my neighborhood I’m often the only person out and about that early. I take in that silence. And even more so when it’s snowing. Bonus if my and my dog’s footprints are the first ones to mark the snow!
  • I take in the sounds around me. Yes, sometimes that includes a rat rummaging through someone’s trash. But usually it’s sounds I relish – birds chirping, train whistles in the distance, my dog’s excited breathing, and NO cars going by.
  • I clear my mind and let go of anything bothering me. Even if it is just for 10 minutes, clearing my mind has a HUGE impact on my stress levels. Once in a while J will volunteer to do the morning dog walk, and I find that my thoughts the rest of the day are all over the place and my stress is less manageable.

If you don’t have a furry friend to walk with, why not grab your partner (or just yourself – just bring that pepper spray as a precaution!) and get out there anyway? You’ll notice a change in how you feel!

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On My Long Engagement (& Why I Love It)

On My Long Engagement

When J and I got engaged last September, the questions from friends and family (his side mostly, since mine were in the throws of planning my sister’s wedding and didn’t need another one) started pretty much immediately – when’s the wedding? Did you set a date? Will it be in your town or his hometown?

Oh my gosh people, give us a second to enjoy being engaged!

Honestly, it was overwhelming. And a bit rude. I know the questions weren’t meant in a rude way, but when we call you 30 minutes after that ring was put on my finger, we probably don’t have any answers to give you!

We decided on a date in October of 2018. Over 2 years away. Crazy, I know.

But let me explain why.

First: we’ve been together at this point for 9 and a half years. There’s no rush when we already live together and have a great relationship.

Second: we don’t want kids. Not that it would matter at all if we were married or not. People have kids without an official marriage all the time. But I know personally a lot of people who want to tie the knot so that they can then start making a family. We already have our fur babies, a cat and a dog, so babies are no reason for us to rush the wedding.

Third: we’re paying for the entire thing ourselves. And I want to have a nice wedding. I’m not talking anything extravagant. But I don’t want to settle on a dress I don’t love because of my budget. I don’t want to settle on a less than ideal venue because we can’t afford what we do want. This way we have plenty of time to put more money aside specifically for the wedding.

And fourth: I just want to enjoy being engaged and enjoy planning! We have our reception venue booked, and hopefully our ceremony location soon. Then we can just sit back and relax for a while! I was never that little girl who daydreamed about her wedding. So I’m starting from scratch. I don’t know exactly what a want, and not jumping immediately into the whirlwind of wedding planning is just what I needed. I get to relax with wine and read wedding mags, and not get stressed out about decisions.

I know plenty of couples who got engaged and then married within a year, and that’s great for them. But I am so happy to get to really enjoy wedding planning and take it slower. To each bride her own, I guess!

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