Category Archives: Wedding

Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary

Casey Finn

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1Today is our 2nd wedding anniversary.

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-12 years ago, I said “I do” to my best friend on a crisp fall day here in Chicago. I still remember that day so well. The first time he saw me in my dress, the tears that happened non-stop throughout the day, and the permanent grin on my face from the moment I woke up until we fell asleep as a married couple.

chicago-casey-mike-finn-anniversaryThese past two years as “The Finns” has been amazing, but I honestly feel like we’ve been married much longer than that. I suppose it’s because we’ve been together for about 12 years now.

Our Love Story

casey mike finn high schoolIt all started when we were teenagers. He was the cool senior, and I was a junior fascinated by the idea of dating an older guy. He was handsome, in all AP classes, had a cool nickname (“Finn”), and was the captain of the basketball team. Oh and did I mention he could drive?! How could I not fall in love with this guy?

This was long before the days of text messaging and social media, so we would write one another long love letters on notebook paper and pass them in the hall during passing periods. love-letters-jar-built-insI actually still have most of those notes in a jar on our built-ins. (We cringe whenever we whip them out and read a few. Oh the crazy things you’re worried about when you’re 16-years-old).

casey mike finnWe were so young and naive, yet we somehow knew that our relationship was real and deeper than just puppy love. Even at such a young age, we often chatted about the day when we would get married, have a house, and start a family. casey finn engagement

2 Years into Marriage….

2-casey-mike-finn-mistletoe-smilingToday we are married, own a condo, and haven’t yet gotten around to starting that family (much to our mothers’ dismay). That high school love has grown stronger, deeper, and into a friendship and respectful partnership.

Casey FinnThere’s no one I’d rather have by my side as we navigate this crazy world. I still call Finn by his high school nickname (even if my new name is technically Casey Finn, I’ll never get out of the habit.) and I still have him do all of the driving. I guess he’ll just always be that cool senior in my eyes.

casey-mike-finn-anniversarySo here’s to you Mr. Finn. I love you and look forward to a lifetime of anniversaries side-by-side.

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

Oh and if you’re interested in how we’re celebrating, we’re heading up to a bed and breakfast in Wisconsin in a few weeks. Today we’re planning to watch our wedding video, write in our anniversary album, and maybe snack on some cotton candy (the 2nd year is the “cotton” year after all!). Should be a wonderful laid-back day with my bestie.

casey_sig

Catch up on our Wedding Here:

 

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30 thoughts on “Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary

  1. Erin

    awww! high school sweethearts! i love it! happy anniversary!

    side note: october is definitely the best time of the year to get married!!! (our 6 year anniversary is this saturday) and a friend of ours just got married this past sunday! so much fun!!

    Reply
  2. Erin

    awww! high school sweethearts! i love it! happy anniversary!

    side note: october is definitely the best time of the year to get married!!! (our 6 year anniversary is this saturday) and a friend of ours just got married this past sunday! so much fun!!

    Reply
  3. Trang

    Happy anniversary to you guys! Cotton candy is the most fabulous idea and I will have to steal this treat for myself when my husband and I celebrate ours 2 year anniversary on 12/13.
    I can relate to reading old letters written as a teenager. I recently came across old letters written to and from my best friend at age 14 and laughed so much at the silly things we used to be occupied with. Young teenage drama. SMH.

    Reply
  4. Trang

    Happy anniversary to you guys! Cotton candy is the most fabulous idea and I will have to steal this treat for myself when my husband and I celebrate ours 2 year anniversary on 12/13.
    I can relate to reading old letters written as a teenager. I recently came across old letters written to and from my best friend at age 14 and laughed so much at the silly things we used to be occupied with. Young teenage drama. SMH.

    Reply
  5. Cindy

    Happy Anniversary Casey! Loved the post! Wishing you both a lifetime of love, laughs, and milestones to toast to 🙂

    Reply
  6. Cindy

    Happy Anniversary Casey! Loved the post! Wishing you both a lifetime of love, laughs, and milestones to toast to 🙂

    Reply

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Wedding Registry: If We Could Do It All Over Again

wedding flowers

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Wayfair. All opinions are our own and are not influenced by Wayfair. Thanks for supporting the brands that support The DIY Playbook!

It’s safe to say that our newlywed days are behind us. Bridget is coming up on her 3rd wedding anniversary

And Finn & I will celebrate 2 years in October.

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

It’s crazy to think that not too long ago, we were both consumed with bridal bouquets, seating arrangements, and our gift registries. All that planning really does feel like a lifetime ago for these 2 old married gals.

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1But we were recently brought back to our bridal days, when we found out that Wayfair (yes THAT Wayfair!) now has a wedding registry option on their website. So not only can you peruse our favorite online retailer for new headboards and rugs, but you can also register for all of your wedding gifts right online!Gray-Wedding-Invites

Neither of us had the best in-person registry experiences (more about Casey & Finn’s inefficient trip to the store in this post), so we absolutely love the idea that you can find everything you want for your new life together right online. Instead of fighting crowds, you can peruse for gifts while sitting on your couch binge-watching Netflix <— yeah we definitely would have preferred that a couple of years ago.

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1With more than 7 million (!) products to choose from, you really can find anything for your home to add to your Wayfair Registry. Plus, they offer free shipping to the happy couple, a 90-day return policy, white glove delivery on all large items, and a 10% discount on remaining items that weren’t purchased by your guests. Pretty awesome, right? Psst…make sure to read on to see how you can win a chance for $20,000 towards your dream wedding!

And if you’re worried about shopping for items online, read these tips to search for online decor and furniture.

Wedding Venue Details
Learning about this online option got us talking. What would we do differently if we had to register all over again? 

Even though we still use many of the items today, there are plenty of items that probably shouldn’t have ever been on our lists (looking at you martini glasses…). Before we get to the list of items we’d add to our “make-believe registry,” we’ve got some tips for those brides-to-be out there.

Tips to Curate the Perfect Wedding Gift Registrywedding flowers

  1. Keep it Classic: Chances are your style at the very beginning of your marriage is not your “forever style”. From color to patterns and even what’s currently on-trend, your style is BOUND to change over the course of your marriage and it’s important to consider this when choosing registry items. (Heck, it’s only been 2-3 years and we already feel like our style has changed… give it another 10 years and we can’t even imagine how different it will be!). Choosing classic pieces instead of what’s on-trend at the time of your wedding will ensure that these classic pieces can always be used and loved.
  2. Choose Quality Pieces: Quality is key in collecting pieces that you will use for decades (literally!) to come, but usually quality pieces are a bit more expensive. We would encourage new brides to register for items that are higher quality… even if that means you won’t be receiving as many gifts. We would both rather have less quantity and more quality.
  3. Find Transitional Items: You want items that will be able to move with you as you transition from apartment, to condo, to home, etc. Choosing large furniture pieces that may only work for the space you’re currently in, may not be the best long-term plans. Instead invest in pieces that will be able to move with you throughout all of the exciting stages in your life together.
  4. When in Doubt…Choose White: Going back to #1, classic is key and to us white is the safe/classic choice. Plain white pieces may seem boring, but they’re very versatile and will adapt to your home’s style, regardless of how many times it changes.
  5. Keep your Lifestyle in Mind: Take a look at the way you and your husband-to-be spend your time together, and choose items that fit your current lifestyle. If neither of you are big bakers, it’s silly to register for 5 pie dishes and 3 cake stands. Instead choose items that represent your interests…not ones that you think you should register for.
  6. Take Inventory: You don’t need to register for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! If you have an item that’s great quality and that you really love, why add it the registry just to get something new? Take inventory of what you already have (and love!) so that you can skip items you don’t need.  Be sure to register for items that you may not already have and would really love/use.
  7. Remember…wine glasses break! Doubling up on this bar cart essential is a must. We’ve broken at least 5 or 6 glasses since getting married. And with a stock of wine glasses on hand just in case, there’s no reason to get your panties in a bunch when a glass gets broken. #itsboundtohappen

Our “Make-Believe” Registry Wish List

wedding-registry-tips-and-tricks-57-pm

Robotic Vacuum // Grill // Set of Baskets // Set of Glass Jars // White Vases //  White Bath Towels // White Sheets // Tufted Headboard // Leaning Oversized Mirror // Cutting Board // Matching Set of Tupperware // Wine Glasses //  Champagne Glasses // French Press // Blender

We feel like all of the items on our wish list correspond with our registry tips. Lots of white, classic, transitional items that you would use for years to come! We’re trying to resist the urge to  buy it all!

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1But before we wrap this post up, we’ve got some more exciting news for brides-to-be out there! To celebrate the launch of Registry, Wayfair is offering couples a chance to win $20,000 to put toward their big day! That could buy those turtle doves you’ve wanted, individual chocolate fountains for each guest, or perhaps the horse-drawn carriage you’re lusting after?

mayfair-registryTo enter, couples must sign-up for Wayfair Registry and add up to $1,000 worth of product to their registry (note: there is no purchase necessary!). You have until November 30th, 2016 to enter, so it’s time to start online shopping! More information on the registry sweepstakes can be found right here.

For our fellow married ladies in the crowd, what’s your best registry advice?! Or better yet, is there something you really wish you did NOT register for? We’d love to hear!! Bridget and Casey Signature

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20 thoughts on “Wedding Registry: If We Could Do It All Over Again

  1. Whitney Regeth

    Great tips! So many of my friends rushed into doing the registry just to have a “list”. It’s sad to see it all go into storage because they don’t like the style. When it doubt, choose white..my favorite!!

    Reply
  2. Whitney Regeth

    Great tips! So many of my friends rushed into doing the registry just to have a “list”. It’s sad to see it all go into storage because they don’t like the style. When it doubt, choose white..my favorite!!

    Reply
  3. Erin

    for me, i’m not a baker, i feel like i have such wasted space with the kitchen aid mixer. I wish i just got a hand mixer. I’ve used it like 3 times total in the past 6 years. Yeah. such wasted space. Other than that we really stuck with kitchen and bedroom/bathroom linens. and used the cash to buy a dining table and chairs.

    if a house is in the future, I would’ve registered for tools! tools are such a good thing to have around!

    Reply
  4. Erin

    for me, i’m not a baker, i feel like i have such wasted space with the kitchen aid mixer. I wish i just got a hand mixer. I’ve used it like 3 times total in the past 6 years. Yeah. such wasted space. Other than that we really stuck with kitchen and bedroom/bathroom linens. and used the cash to buy a dining table and chairs.

    if a house is in the future, I would’ve registered for tools! tools are such a good thing to have around!

    Reply
  5. Jaclyn

    I feel like towels and sheets always get over looked on wedding registries for kitchen items. I love to cook and bake so I already have a lot of that sort of stuff but would love to upgrade my linen!

    Reply
  6. Jaclyn

    I feel like towels and sheets always get over looked on wedding registries for kitchen items. I love to cook and bake so I already have a lot of that sort of stuff but would love to upgrade my linen!

    Reply
  7. Colleen Howard Mulcahy

    Register for twice as many serving pieces (bowls, platters, trays, baskets) and half as many glasses (especially beer mugs) as your first instinct.

    Reply
  8. Colleen Howard Mulcahy

    Register for twice as many serving pieces (bowls, platters, trays, baskets) and half as many glasses (especially beer mugs) as your first instinct.

    Reply

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B’s 2nd Anniversary Celebration

Anniversary Cotton Gift Shirt Tie Monogram

Wow… how have I been married for TWO years already?! I feel like our wedding was decades ago but at the same time, I feel like we’ve blinked and it’s been two years. Weird, right?

Bridget Matt 2nd AnniversaryI guess time really does fly when you’re having fun! To celebrate our second year of ‘wedded bliss’, we stuck with the “traditional anniversary gifts by year” theme which states…

first anniversaryYear One: Paper <– A big success!
Year Two: Cotton <– WHAT?!
Year Three: Leather <– Oh boy.
Year Four: Linen/silk or Fruit/Flowers <– conflicting reports?
Year Five: Wood <– DIY, yes please! 

They don’t make it easy on us newlyweds, do they?! Haha…as much as I joke, Matt and I both agreed that this is a fun way to think outside of the box and appreciate each other with a tiny something for this special occasion. But cotton… really?! This was a tough one because I immediately think pillow or something for the house and let’s be honest, if I’m buying something like a pillow… it’s probably not a gift for him but more so for myself. So when my mind defaulted to cute cotton items for the house I had to force myself to keep brainstorming. Brainstorming a cotton gift turned out to be a lot tougher than I imagined but (unfortunately) not as tough as next year. Leather… Yikes! <– let’s not tell Matt about this just yet. He already thinks I’m hard to buy for so leather may really send him over the edge. #eek

Anyways… back to cotton and our 2nd year anniversary celebration. After lots of brainstorming, I went with one of Matt’s all-time favorite “cotton” things and added just a little extra personalization.Anniversary Cotton Gift Shirt Tie MonogramIt may sound lame, but Matt is OB-SESSED with these dress shirts. He wears a shirt and tie to work everyday and literally ONLY wears this specific style (no exceptions). When I really could NOT think of anything cotton-y that he would actually use and appreciate, I finally decided to stick with an item he loved. I ordered one (of the very few) prints that he does not own (waited for it to be on sale of course) and added in a stylish tie. Then, I had the sleeve embroidered with his initials… monogrammed if you will.

Cotton – check!
Super romantic – ughh… not exactly.

Anniversary Cotton Gift Shirt Tie Monogram

I knew he would absolutely love this simple gift, but I wasn’t impressed with just giving him a shirt and tie so I took it just one tiny step further. In the gift box, I added a little note explaining that we were going to dress up and have a fancy date night together, something we rarely (if ever) do. I mean yes, we are always doing things together but we are not ones to dress up and splurge on a fancy night out. I listed instructions for him to be ready by 6:00pm in his handsome new outfit… but we had one small problem. #lifehappens

Anniversary Cotton Gift Shirt Tie MonogramThat day we had a crazy ICE STORM in Chicago, which left us literally stuck INSIDE all day + night because the roads were so bad. We took a “rain (snow) check” for that fancy dinner and instead bundled up in our winter coats and trekked our way across the ice to the grocery store to get some junk food for a cozy night in.

We stocked up on buffalo chicken dip ingredients, lots of chips, cookies, candy and anything else unhealthy we could carry and slip-slided our way back home for a very unexpected, but much welcomed date-night in.  But before we were officially in for the night, we checked another anniversary tradition off of our to-do list: taking photos with our wedding photo booth frame (more details here). We have added year #2 to our collection and are already loving looking back at last year’s photos!

Crazy how quickly the year went!! As I look back on 2015 I feel blessed to be celebrating two happy years of marriage and I am EXTRA grateful that this ice storm came on our second year anniversary and NOT on our wedding day!! And as much as I was excited for our fancy night out together, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was just as excited to be stuck home eating buffalo chicken dip with this handsome fella.

Bridget Signature

 

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5 thoughts on “B’s 2nd Anniversary Celebration

  1. Ashley Sorrick

    Happy Anniversary!!! Love the gift your found for cotton – super practical and the monogram is so fun!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks Ashley!! After racking my brain so much about what to get, I came up with a ton of other ideas …. after the fact! Stay tuned tomorrow for even more 2nd yr gift ideas. =)

  2. Whitney Shortt

    You guys are so cute! Love the shirt and the date idea to go along with it! Happy anniversary!! We’re coming up on our two year in May and going to start going the traditional gift route. I think it’s so cool and fun!

    Reply
  3. Delighted Dwelling

    Happy Anniversary!!!! We celebrated year three this year and I did a post on Leather Gift Ideas for Him (feel free to check it out!) I love the idea of the date night out, but the evening you actually had sounds way more fun to me!! Did he get you a cotton gift as well?

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Our Anniversary Photo Session

casey-mike-finn-anniversary

chicago-casey-mike-finn-anniversary

Back in October, Finn & I posed for a little anniversary photo session with our wedding photographer (Gina Cristine Photography). Gina is amazing at weddings (check out the stunning pictures she took at ours!), and wants to continue her relationships with her clients well after they say, “I do.” So in order to get the word out about her new anniversary session options, she asked us to pose for some pics one night downtown.

casey-mike-finn-anniversaryWe figured it would be a fun night, and it gave us an excuse to get dressed up and hit the town…with a photographer documenting it all, of course. Gina advised us to go with a glamorous look, that would work with the beautiful Chicago architecture and dimly lit restaurants we planned to shoot at.

chicago-casey-mike-finn-anniversaryI honestly had nooooo idea what to wear. It’s not like I have a closet full of ballgowns. So, I tried Rent the Runway for the very first time. I’m not exactly a fashionista, and I certainly don’t keep up with famous fashion designers or know labels…at all. I really just wanted a dress that was beautiful, elegant, and most importantly FIT! There’s a Rent the Runway storefront in Chicago, so I went there about a week before our photos to try on some options. It was fun to look at all of the gorgeous gowns and play dress-up, but I ultimately didn’t find what I wanted right then and there at the store.

I came home in a bit of a panic, and immediately started looking at Rent the Runway online to see if they had anything in my size and available. I found this black dress, ordered it, and crossed my fingers that it would fit when it arrived the next week. casey-mike-finn-anniversaryThankfully it fit like a glove. And boy was the quality nice. I can see why people like their designer labels. After my wedding dress, this was the nicest garment I had ever worn on my body. casey-mike-finn-anniversary-champagne

casey-mike-finn-anniversarycasey-mike-finn-anniversary

All in all, a fun night with my favorite guy. He’s definitely a keeper.

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1So cheers to a wonderful 2015! We hope everyone enjoys their New Year’s Eve. We’ll see you bright and early tomorrow in 2016. casey-mike-finn-anniversarycasey_sig

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8 thoughts on “Our Anniversary Photo Session

  1. Trang

    Gorgeous photos! Then again, the subject matter are beautiful people so it shows up in photography. I especially like the black and white one with Finn leaning against the wall. Classic beauty. The dress is gorgeous on you too! What a neat concept, renting. I’d seen that for high end huge name label purses, but have not partaken. Do you dry clean the dress afterwards before returning it?

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks Trang! As always your comment brings a smile to my face! No need to dry clean with Rent the Runway…you just put it in the bag and send it back as is! I think the cleaning is just a part of the rental fee. It’s pretty cool. I’ll definitely do it again if I have an event of some sort.

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C’s First Year Wedding Anniversary

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

Yesterday, Mr. Finn & I celebrated one entire year of being husband and wife.

Yep, we are no longer considered newlyweds. Instead you can bump us into the old & married category. We are moving on up to the big leagues, people!

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1It’s so crazy to look back at the blog a year ago because it was so full of bachelorette party recaps, bridal showers, & plenty of wedding blog posts. And now…I’m lucky if the Mr. photo bombs the blog once a month. The last we chatted we were coming back from our honeymoon in Riviera Maya, and now our tans have long faded and we’re just settled into “normal married life.”

Looking back at the last year, I think I’ve certainly learned a lot as I’ve gotten accustomed to this new title of “wife.”

1. The Wedding is Only Day 1

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1It’s crazy to think how my priorities changed in the span of 1 year. 13 months ago I was knee-deep in table numbers, RSVP counts, and wedding party gifts. Now I can barely even recall how many tables we even had, and what gifts we gave to our family members. You spend so much time and energy focusing on one day, and then it’s over. The food is long gone, the wedding dress is put deep into the closet, the thank you notes are written and your wedding is officially an event of the past. I have many friends and co-workers who are now planning their own weddings and my biggest piece of advice is to not get caught up in the craziness of a wedding. At the end of the day…the details don’t matter! The only thing that matters is you’re married to the love of your life. Spend time making sure your relationship stays strong throughout the wedding planning process, and less time stressing about the silly details.

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1I’m happy we had a beautiful, wonderful day with everyone we love by our side. But the best part comes after the wedding when you just get to be husband and wife, instead of bride and groom.

2. But I Still Gawk at the Video & Photos…A Lot

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1Don’t get me wrong, I loved my wedding day. And you can tell by the number of times I’ve watched our wedding video. I pretty much cry every time I see it. Therefore I’ve stopped watching it at work. #awkward

Here it is again if you missed it the first time around. Now let me happy weep some more….

3. We’re in this Together

DCIM100GOPROI have to say my absolute favorite part about being married is the permanence of it. Not that our relationship didn’t feel real or permanent before, but now it just feels so much more official. Just like any relationship, we have good days and bad days. And it feels so comforting to know that no matter what happens…even if the bad day is really bad…my husband isn’t going anywhere. We’re in this together as team mates and best friends until the very end.

4. A Paper Gift is Hard!

Holy moley anniversary gifts are difficult! For everyone out there who has been married for decades, you’re gonna need to send some gift giving advice my way! I started thinking about what to do for Finn way back at the beginning of summer and could not think of anything that would fit the bill for year one. We decided early on that we want to try to stick with the traditional anniversary gifts, and put our own spin on them. With paper as the year one gift, I had to think of something creative.

Sports tickets? A journal? Heck…perhaps a crisp $100 bill?

I hemmed and hawed, and tried to think what Finn would truly enjoy & appreciate as a gift. That husband of mine enjoys the simple things in life. Mainly sports, food, & drink. So I decided to embrace the saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”1-Our Wedding Menu

I emailed our caterer and asked her if she could re-create our entire wedding menu for us, to which she happily accepted! I then printed off our wedding menu on PAPER (my way of incorporating the traditional gift in the mix. Kinda cheating…but I think it still counts) and included it in my anniversary card for Finn.2-first-year-anniversary-gift

On the day of the wedding we were so overwhelmed and busy that we were hardly able to enjoy the delicious food we picked out for our special day. Now a year later, we could finally sit back, relax, and enjoy the amazing food from our wedding. Our caterer prepared the exact same meal, but this time only for 2 people. She dropped it off at our place with specific heating instructions (I warned her about my lack of skills in the kitchen), and then I had our romantic dinner all ready to go when Finn came home from work last week.

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1I even picked up a fresh wedding cake from the same bakery to enjoy for dessert!

1-anniversary-card-finnA relaxing evening in with my husband is, to me, the perfect way to celebrate a wonderful year of marriage together.

One year down…a LIFETIME to go. Love you Mr. Finn.

casey_sig

Psst…for Bridget’s first year of marriage recap check out this post!

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15 thoughts on “C’s First Year Wedding Anniversary

  1. Katie

    Happy Anniversary! I love that you guys are sticking with traditional gifts. My husband and I do the same (cotton gift for our 2nd anniv in a couple weeks!). For our first he got me a nice travel journal (I love documenting our trips) and a small little bucket list journal we filled a couple pages with our dreams. I like your menu/meal idea.

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  2. Rachel Uhrig

    My first year anniversary was in September and my husband did the same thing! I loved actually being able to enjoy our wedding meal without any distractions or a dress holding me back 🙂 Good idea!!

    Reply
  3. Teran

    Congratulations! We’re sticking to traditional gifts as well (cotton was a killer this year–so hard!). Last year I thought I was so clever and had a custom watercolor done of the two of us and our dog. And then I opened the gift from my husband and he had gotten me the exact same thing! It was hilarious! So now they’re framed side by side. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Whitney Shortt

    Happy Anniversary, and I love the gift idea! We’ve passed our 1 year, but I like the idea of sticking to the traditional gifts and putting your spin on them. I think I’m gonna have to start that for year 2 😉

    Whitney
    whitneydonae.com

    Reply
  5. Meredith

    Thank you for writing this! As someone currently planning a wedding, it’s good to hear this to put everything into perspective 🙂 Really appreciate your reflections on marriage.

    Reply

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7 Tips for your Next Trip to Mexico

Palm-Trees-Honeymoon

Palm-Trees-HoneymoonI’ve officially been back in the good ol’ US of A for about 3 weeks now, and my days filled with beaches, margaritas, and sunscreen have been replaced with to-do lists, laundry, and cloudy spring days. Oh well…you’ve gotta have normal days to appreciate those few blissful, vacation days.

Before those white sandy beaches are too much of a distant memory, I wanted to recap our trip while also offering some tips about what we learned on our first vacation as a couple to Mexico. Since I’m a Mexico rookie, I asked my friend Lauren to share her expert knowledge on the topic as well. She and her hubby have vacationed down there about a dozen times, so some of her expertise is included too!

1. Pack the Essentials

As a chronic overpacker, I can sometimes get a little packing happy when I’m prepping for vacay. I usually overstuff my suitcase and end up wearing about 30% of what I bring. #fail

For this trip, I was determined to pack wisely and I’m happy to report that I did a pretty darn good job. Here’s what I brought along for our 10 day trip.

  • 2 pairs of wedges (1 tan, 1 black), gym shoes, 3 pairs of sandals
  • Sundresses (mostly worn for dinners at night)
  • 4-6 bathing suits
  • Sunglasses & Hat
  • Beach Bag
  • 1 clutch & 1 small crossbody purse
  • 2 coverups <–I should have brought more! They got full of sweat, sand, and sunscreen and by the end of the trip they were ready for the laundry!
  • Casual Shorts & Tanks
  • Workout clothes & pajamas
  • Jean jacket <– I thought I might get more use out of this at night, but it was simply too warm to really use. But it was great to have when traveling to & from Mexico on the chilly airplane!

Casey-Mike-Honeymoon-FinnSome Tips:

  1. Even if you have a rockin’ bikini body (lucky girl), I suggest packing a one-piece bathing suit. I brought one and it was great when swimming in the ocean. No accidental peep shows for me.
  2. I wish I would have thrown in a shirt that covered my chest & arms a bit better. I got a little too much color in the beginning of the trip and needed something to cover my burn when out in the sun, but didn’t pack anything that worked! I ended up having to go to the gift shop to get a sweet surfer shirt to wear in the pool. I felt pretty badass and Finn kept asking me about my pro surfing career #BlueCrush <—such a good movie!
  3. Skip the curling iron. I used mine once over the course of the entire trip, and proceeded to walk outside in the humidity and have my hair fall flat. It was simply too hot for cute hair. Braids & buns all the way for this chica. I do wish I would have brought some cute headbands, but I did snag some flowers from the resort grounds and put those in my hair a few nights.
  4. Make sure you check the dress code at your particular resort. Long pants and closed-toe shoes were a must for guys at most of the restaurants at our hotel. Just be prepared for everything!

2. Make it Rain

Not actual rain (we had zero rainy days!), I’m talking about dolla’ dolla’ bills y’all! Even though we were at an all-inclusive resort, where everything was technically “free”, we still tipped all the time. It certainly wasn’t expected, but it made us feel good to give the resort staff a little extra something for their hard workOceanOceanBefore leaving for vacay, be sure to stop by the bank to get plenty of dollar bills. We also got $100 worth of pesos from the bank too. Most everywhere took USD, but it was nice to have pesos when we went into Playa Del Carmen for the day. By the end of the trip, we went through all of our dollar bills & pesos..so I suggest taking out more than you think you need (instead of hitting up the ATM for ridiculous fees!)

Side note from Lauren the Pro: We have tipped the reception staff or bell hop $20 if we hated our room and they said there was nothing they could do about it…Remember everything can be bargained with in Mexico.

3. Avoid Montezuma’s Revenge

We’ve all heard horror stories about people coming down with tummy troubles when they leave the country, and Finn & I did not want to spend our honeymoon chugging pepto bismol. So before we left, we purchased these probiotics to help prepare our stomachs. But the pills didn’t make me feel very well (a bit nauseated), so I quit taking them a day or 2 before we left. Yikes, bad choice Casey. For the most part we felt a-okay, but towards the end of our trip we both came down with some intense stomach problems. Not a very sexy way to spend your honeymoon.

Ocean-Honeymoon-FeetWe only drank bottled water and were confident that the food served at our hotel was all cleaned in purified water and safe to eat. But…sh*t happens #punintended.

Beach-Cabanas-HoneymoonHonestly, I don’t know if we would have felt perfectly fine had we continued with the probiotics (anyone have any luck with them?). So I don’t exactly have any specific advice… except be careful and know your body!

4. Enjoy a Tropical Drink (or 3!)Honeymoon-Margarita-Pool

I’m not really one to step outside of my drink comfort zone. I’m a champagne, wine, & vodka kinda gal. But when in paradise…fruity, tropical drinks hit the spot! I limited myself to one or two a day (too much sugar for my stomach, see tip #4) but I definitely loved trying out new ones. Our favorites are mudslides, miami vices, and a new-to-us drink called the Iceberg. The iceberg is a beer with a floater of frozen margarita. So refreshing & better than just drinking a warm beer in the hot sun!

Expert Advice from Lauren: Bring big, plastic mugs for drinking. They give you small little glasses for your drinks. They will put any drink you want in your own container. It keeps them colder, too. But most importantly… less time you have to leave your float to waddle on over to the pool bar. If you are going to do this… bring a small bottle of dish detergent. You can get a small one in the travel section of Target. You will absolutely want to wash the mugs at night… a 4 hour old Pina Colada does NOT look pretty in the morning.

5. Document your Memories

DCIM100GOPRO

I didn’t lug my big DSLR camera on the trip, and instead relied on my iPhone for a majority of our pics. I tried my best to snap pictures along the way, but honestly it was hard to remember and I didn’t want to be on my phone constantly. So looking back I wish I would have taken more photos, especially of the 2 of us (I should have stopped more people and asked them to snap some of us!)DCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPROBut, we did bring our GoPro and its waterproof case and I’m sooooo happy we did! We took it on a trip snorkeling to get some video, and also took fun photos on the beach and in the pool. It was fun to get a little goofy and document all of the good times we were having while on our trip.

6. Protect your Skin

Even though I can get a bit tan in the summer, I’m a pasty Irish girl at heart and the sun really does not like my fair skin. We bought tons of sunscreen to bring along with us to avoid running out (15spf, 30spf, 55spf, & a travel size 30spf for excursions). On our first day, I slathered up my body with 55spf, put my hat & sunglasses on and laid by the pool. Precisely 1.5 hours later…I was a lobster. Yep, not cute & very painful. I thought I was more than covered, but the sun is just so strong down there.

Pool-ViewFor the rest of the trip I sat in the shade and wore my swim shirt when necessary. Just be safe and keep reapplying that good ol’ sunscreen.

7. Enjoy Every Moment & Unplug!

I’ve admitted that I’m not the best at stepping away from the iPhone & computer, so on this trip I did my best to really unplug. Our resort got wifi, so when connected to it we could receive text messages & check our email. It was tempting to just lay by the pool and be on our phones all day long…but we avoided that as much as possible. I did bring my phone along to snap photos, but for the most part Finn kept his in the safe in our room and I kept mine off and out of sight.DCIM100GOPRO

We both took time to take in every moment, smell the fresh air, and observe the beautiful place that surrounded us both. This is something I’m working on in my everyday life, as I often feel like I’m rushing through the day anxiously worried about the next day, or the day after that. This trip allowed us to both live in the moment and enjoy the here & now. Finn-Ocean-Sand

I only get one honeymoon in this life and it’s safe to say I enjoyed every moment of ours. No matter where you go or what you do on your special honeymoon trip, I hope you savor every second spent with your best friend.Mexico Tip

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14 thoughts on “7 Tips for your Next Trip to Mexico

  1. Kjaydee

    What kind of GoPro do you have? Did it come with the waterproof case or did you buy it separately? My husband and I go on a huge beach trip every year with about 14 of our closest friends (haha), and I would LOVE to have one of those to take along!

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      This is the one I got! I just purchased it on Amazon, but you may be able to find a better price somewhere else.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GXKTEUI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      It comes with the waterproof case and it’s awesome! I was unsure of how the footage would come out underwater…but was blown away when we looked at how clear the footage was! So much fun. I definitely recommend adding it to your packing list.

      Have a great trip! That sounds so fun to go with a big group like that!

      xo,
      C

  2. Diana

    Totally agree on the sunscreen, no matter where you go!! We did a cruise with stops in Mexico for our honeymoon and both got FRIED. It was bad. That’s my #1 piece of advice to soon to be married couples.

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Isn’t it crazy how strong it can be? I thought I was a-okay slathering on 55spf, but it wasn’t enough. Doesn’t exactly help keep a romantic mood on the honeymoon…haha!

  3. Kadee

    Which resort did you guys stay at? We have a trip booked in October for Playa Del Carmen we are staying at Azul Fives. Can’t wait! 🙂

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      We stayed at Valentin Imperial in Riviera Maya..it was great! We did go into Playa Del Carmen one day to shop and it was so fun! Have a great trip!

  4. Heather

    We went to Cancun for our honeymoon and we ended up staying away from eating veggies and drinking anything with ice just to be safe. My doctor actually gave us Cipro JUST IN CASE, but luckily we did not have to use it. When we got home, we rushed to the nearest fast food joint that was open (since it was late) and got the biggest salads that we could. What got me (that I wasn’t prepared for) is that you cant flush toilet paper. Even at the nice resort we were at.

    Reply
  5. Valeria Spanish

    Wow, it seems you had great days of your trip. Also, thanks for sharing some useful tips from your own trip experience. My best friend with is planning for a Mexico trip and I will share this post with her as from this may she will get some good points for having a great trip. Recently they have done a deal for private vehicle from the Dtourscancun transport agency. Hope she will have great days of her trip like yours.

    Reply
  6. Deborah Morgan-Burnette

    Would you recommend stronger sunscreen, higher than 55 spf lotion, getting a base tan before going or anything else to avoid the severe sunburns?

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      I would recommend always wearing 55 or higher, and just be very careful the first couple days. Also bring a hat and keep reapplying sunscreen. And take time to sit in the shade…the sun will wear you out!

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Our Wedding Video

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

Right about now Finn & I are 40,000 feet in the air en route to paradise! Yep, it has been more than 6 months since our wedding and we are finally going on our HONEYMOON. We’re staying at an adults-only resort for the next 10 days and we couldn’t be more excited. In all of the years that we’ve been together, we’ve never actually taken a vacation like this with just the 2 of us. So this is long overdue. View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

But don’t worry, I won’t be absent around here for the next 10 days. Instead, I did plenty of posts ahead of time to keep our calendar on track. In fact, I even have some outside-the-box posts planned for the time I’m gone (a dessert post & a beauty post! <—yes, you read that correctly.)

Today, I wanted to share our wedding video with all of you. To be honest, I was a little uncertain if I would share this on the blog…just because it’s so personal. But I’m absolutely obsessed with the video and how it’s produced, shot, & edited (and for someone who works in video for a living, that says a lot!). I sat down with Finn and asked his honest thoughts on sharing the video with the entire internet, and he told me to go for it.

The wedding video is about 4 minutes long, and we have a fun Q&A at the end (which is pretty hilarious if you ask me.) I’m a bit horrified at my answer to “what’s your favorite song?” I’m sure in 30 years I’m going to watch that part and cringe just as much as I am today.

So without further ado, here’s the debut of our wedding video. Enjoy!

[Videography By: Scott Louis & Chris Pugh. Contact them at photo@swlouis.com]

Adios amigos! I’ll be back to the US in a couple weeks, ready to share all of the deets from our tropical honeymoon with all of you.

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12 thoughts on “Our Wedding Video

  1. Trang

    Thank you for sharing in your personal and special day. I teared up listening to your dad’s speech. As a parent, I can imagine the joy he experienced that day and felt all the love he has for you. Happy honeymooning!

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Casey’s Wedding Day

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

Today I’m back with what might possibly the last wedding post you’ll see here on The DIY Playbook. Now that we’re both officially old married women, the wedding blogging is finally coming to an end. But before we close that chapter of our lives, I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from our wedding day. Over the past 2 days, I showed you some highlights from our wedding venue and a personal DIY project I tackled for our reception. Today will simply be some eye candy. So scroll through and enjoy!

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View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1All Photos By Gina Cristine Photography

Thank you for being with me every step of the way as I’ve gone from girlfriend to fiancee to wife. It’s been wonderful to share these moments with you and I’m happy to now officially be Mrs. Finn.

casey_sig

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12 thoughts on “Casey’s Wedding Day

  1. Summer Hogan

    Yay!! I love wedding pics! They are all amazing but I love that last one and the one of his argyle socks!! Congrats friend!

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Casey’s Wedding Venue

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

I have a confession to make…I booked our wedding venue before I was even engaged.

Wow, it feels good to get that off my chest! Okay so now you’re thinking I’m crazy, but please allow me to explain. Our wedding venue is a happening spot in Chicago. In fact it’s so popular, it’s been voted “Best Place to Get Married” in the Chicagoland area. Because of this popularity, it books up waaaay far in advance. Like YEARS in advance if you want to have a Saturday wedding. But I’m getting ahead of myself.View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

Let’s rewind to September 2012. Finn & I had chatted about marriage many times by this point, and we knew that we wanted to tie the knot within the next few years. In fact, we had even gone ring shopping. So I knew that a proposal wasn’t far off. I was in Chicago visiting my family (we lived in St. Louis at this point) and my mom and I went to this place called Salvage One to look at some of their antiques and decor. We instantly fell in love with the place and couldn’t get over the unique space. We got to chatting with one of the store employees and they told us how it’s a popular event space on the weekends, especially for weddings. I knew we wanted to get married in the fall, and at that time Fall 2013 was already booked. We inquired about Fall 2014 and we left the store with a list of available dates. I ran the list by Finn, and he said we should just go ahead and book it. So I didn’t quite have a ring on my finger…but I did have my venue booked for October 11th, 2014.

Let me first say that this is not a cookie-cutter wedding venue. In fact, if you’re a very traditional wedding person..then you’ll probably dislike this place. But that’s a-okay with us. We knew we didn’t want a banquet hall type wedding. Salvage One is a bit difficult to describe…it’s a lofted warehouse, antique store, event space that is filled to the brim with one-of-a-kind pieces. It’s 3 levels tall and located in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago. From the outside…it doesn’t look like much…just an old industrial building. But when you get inside…wow it’s truly breathtaking.

We had our ceremony on the first floor of Salvage One. This is primarily the “store” area…as everything you see is for sale. There is one large area with wooden church pews, and this is where we had our Catholic mass and wedding ceremony.

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1I loved having our ceremony in this space because it was so cozy, intimate, and romantic. The entire aisle is lined with chandeliers, and we put lanterns and candles down the aisle. The ceremony space was packed with people we love and we even had a gospel choir sing some of our favorite church hymns and songs.

This was by far my favorite part of the wedding. Saying our vows, declaring our love, and being amongst our friends and family…it was a magical moment that I will remember forever. View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1After our ceremony, it was time to get the party started. Guests stayed on the first floor of the venue for drinks and appetizers, and they also had a chance to check out all of the cool items available at Salvage One (I don’t think anyone actually purchased anything…but still pretty neat to browse!)

After an hour of cocktails, it was finally time for our reception. All guests headed upstairs to the large open loft space on the second floor. Salvage One keeps this space completely open, and you decide where you want tables to go, and they’ll then hang chandeliers over tables. The cool part is that you can mix and match all of the tables they have. So that means that no table or chair is alike, and they’re not all the same size. We had to group 4’s, 6’s, 8’s, 10’s….and our head table fit 18 people! Very cool for an untraditional couple like us (maybe not so cool if you’re into a uniform look.) They also place couches, coffee tables, and lounge seating around the perimeter of the dance floor so if you’re not a big dancer you can still feel like you’re a part of the action. View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

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We added a few personal touches to the space to truly make it feel like “Casey & Finn.” To amp up the romantic feel, we covered the table in vintage glassware…about 300 pieces total (the same used at Bridget’s wedding). These were then filled with candles for a nice glowy, soft feel in the space. (P.S. If you live in Chicago and you’re interested in buying some glassware please shoot us an email at diyplaybook@gmail.com. It’s all so beautiful but we simply don’t have room for it. We will give you a great deal!)

To go along with our “love letter” wedding theme, we used old postcards as our table numbers, a farmhouse mailbox for our card box (details in this post), and had a large display of pictures of us from the past decade. We also had a photo booth that our guests really loved. Seriously some hilarious pictures were taken in there…so fun!

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1Because we’re not big cake people, we decided to go with a very small cake for us to cut and then have a cookie & milk bar for our guests. It was a hit and people even filled up baggies of cookies to take home with them.View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

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All Photos Courtesy of Gina Cristine Photography

It’s true how they say that your wedding day goes by in a blur. It really does. But I’m so grateful to have these pictures and the memories from our special day, at a very special place.

Tomorrow the wedding eye candy continues as I’ll show you some of my favorite photos from our wedding day…casey_sig

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10 thoughts on “Casey’s Wedding Venue

  1. Diana

    Gorgeous venue and looks like a wonderful day! I suspected that was a Catholic ceremony as soon as I saw pictures (been to a few of those…. #Catholic). I love the holding hands across the aisle. How cool!

    Reply
  2. caitl1n .

    Casey, you look marvelous and so happy! (and those shoes Bridget – insert that girl with the hand emoji here)

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P.S. I Love You – Our Wedding Mailbox

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I’ve officially been a married woman for over 3 months now and I am loving this new wife status. I wasn’t a huge fan of the word “fiance”, and I feel much more comfortable calling Finn my “husband” instead. Cya fiance, I won’t miss you and your fancy ways.

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

I haven’t spilled the beans on all of the wedding details just yet, specifically because we only recently got our professional photos back. But sit tight my friends, I have two fully detailed wedding posts happening tomorrow & Friday. So get ready for lots of bridal craziness as we close out this week.

Today, I want to share one of the many DIY projects that we did to add a personal touch to our big day. As I said before, we ended up going with a love letter theme to showcase our relationship throughout our wedding. When thinking of a card box or place for gifts, I immediately knew I wanted to use a large farmhouse mailbox. Ya know..letters, mail, mailbox? Get it? This was actually one of my first DIY ideas for the wedding. So I had this idea…but I honestly had no idea how I was going to execute it. I mean I live in downtown Chicago…where the heck was I going to find a FARMhouse mailbox?

I trolled Craigslist and Ebay in hopes that I could find the perfect mailbox for us. But all I found was overpriced (I’m talking like hundreds of dollars) farmhouse mailboxes, newer mailboxes without much character, or standard mailboxes that were just way too small. I looked at local antique shops and thrift stores for about 6 months, and I was about to give up with my grand plan.

But then a trip to the Kane County Flea Market changed everything. My mom, mother-in-law, Finn, & I headed to the monthly market in hopes of finding some fun items for the wedding. Obviously a mailbox was on our radar…but I tried to keep my expectations low.

Then I saw this ginormous mailbox…

Farmhouse-MailboxSure it was covered in paint and featured a crazy colorful farm scene, but with a little TLC I knew it could work for us! I paid the vendor $30 for it, scooped it up in my arms, and waddled to the car with our wedding mailbox!Top-of-MailboxPainted-FlagAfter investigating it at home, I realized that this was going to be a huge undertaking. This mailbox was in rough shape. Chipping paint, an American flag themed mail-flag, and rust all over…

Painted-MailboxNot exactly the most romantic treasure for our wedding. But I was a bride on a mission, so I figured I needed to try my best to spruce this baby up.

Power-Washing-MailboxFirst method to beautify this baby? The power washer. My mom and I went to work shooting the flaking paint off of the mailbox with an intense water spray. Many of the top layers of paint came right off and boy was it satisfying!

Mailbox-CleaningWe continued on power washing every square inch of the mailbox…only to find that the older layers of paint were not going anywhere. I sanded, I scraped, I did everything imaginable to get rid of the colorful chaos on the metal….but nope, it was there to stay.

Paint-StripperSecond method…something a bit stronger. I purchased this paint remover and plastic spatula to really loosen up the layers of paint. Because this stuff is toxic, I wore gloves and a mask for this step. The employee at the hardware store told me to simply brush it onto the areas, let it sit for a couple minutes until the paint bubbled, and then use the plastic spatula to scrape it all off. He was right…it worked wonders and took most of the paint right off. I then gave it a good rinse with the power washer and it was looking good! There was still some evidence of the paint, but I liked that it kept some of the original character and charm.

Craft-SuppliesNext up…adding some special touches to make it more of a card box, and less of a mailbox. I bought some felt and cut it to fit the inside of the mailbox. Some spray glue helped to hold the fabric in place.

Paint-SuppliesFinally, it was time to add some romantic flair to our wedding mailbox. My mom wrote out “P.S. I Love You” on one side of the mailbox, and “The Finns” on the other. I turned the American flag mail-flag, into a heart instead. Boom, our little mailbox was all dressed up and ready for its debut at our wedding!View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1When you entered our ceremony, you were greeted with this table holding our large wedding mailbox, love letters, and our wedding programs. Guests dropped their cards and gifts directly off in our mailbox, and then sat down to prepare for the ceremony.

View More: http://ginacristine.pass.us/casey--mike-1The mailbox turned out beautifully and I am so happy we spent some time looking for such a special item. Even though the wedding is over, there is no way I’m getting rid of our mailbox. It is currently sitting in storage, but one day (when we have a larger place to call home) I’m going to find a large shelf or countertop to display it on…because it is so.darn.cool.

Tomorrow I’m spilling the beans about our wedding venue and even more personal touches we added to make the day truly “us.” Until then…

casey_sig

 

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2 thoughts on “P.S. I Love You – Our Wedding Mailbox

  1. Jaclyn Lorimer

    I so love this! My parents (childhood neighbors) fell in love through exchanging letters after my mom moved away from their hometown. Their 30th anniversary is coming up this summer and I know what the theme is going to be!

    Visiting from LorimerLiving.Blogspot.Com

    XO, Jaclyn

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