Dog Food Allergies & the Clean Label Project

Mr. Grohl is on today's blog! I continually see a lot of people whose pups are having a hard time with their food and allergies. And we've been through a lot food wise with this little guy. When we first got him, he had allergies and itched all the time, and unfortunately, it didn't stop there due to what I was feeding him. So today's blog I'm talking about what we did to figure out what he was allergic to, and how we battled further stomach problems.

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Floral Crown Workshop

Two weeks ago I took a {much needed} break to visit my work wife, Caitlin of Third Clover, and attend a Floral Crown Workshop in Maryland. It was so nice to get out of town a little bit and do something different yet still creative. Lately, I've been in a bit of a creative slump and I was having a really hard time pulling myself out of it, so doing something different was just what I needed!

It was a really cool event out at M&M Plants & Flower Garden. When we got there, they had a potluck and wine waiting, buckets and buckets of gorgeous flowers and all the fixins' to make a flower crown. 

To start out, we had some instruction on the basics of creating the crown and there were some awesome florists and floral designers there to help. Once you picked out your flowers, you just kind of went for it! I started with the basis of the crown part, basically a few pieces of metal wrapped in the green floral tape. Then I added in greenery to fluff the whole thing up, and the final step i took was adding in small bouquets of flowers all along the crown. Now, by no means did I do this 'right' but I think it turned out okay!

There were lots of different ways to do the crowns, wire, floral tape, floral glue, so it was nice to see how the different mediums work and how people used them (especially since I'm doing my own florals for the wedding).

I had a ton of fun getting to know some new lovely ladies that also work in the wedding industry, and of course spending lots of quality time with Caitlin. Supporting local vendors by attending their workshops is so much fun because not only am I helping them out, but I'm also learning something new! 

So if you're looking for something new and different to do, I would definitely check out your local area for a floral workshops, or maybe a cake class or calligraphy- even if you're nervous like I can get, it's totally worth it and so much fun! 

VENDORS INCLUDED

Petals by the shore

M&M Plants & Flower Garden 

Petal Patch Flower Farm

Belle Blooms Farm

Hidden Ridge

Rose Gold Events & Styling

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 the flower selection was amazing

the flower selection was amazing

 teaching us how to do it

teaching us how to do it

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Lasik Eye Surgery

So, little known fact about me, but I used to be legally blind.

While I had glasses most of my life, eight and a half years ago things took a drastic turn. I got pink eye, which turned into a corneal infection. It changed some of the chemistry in my eye as a contact lense wearer, and I suddenly found myself allergic to contacts. Every time I tried to use contacts, I would get another eye infection where I could barely open my eyes. On top of that, my eyes began to worsen quickly, and I ended up unable to wear contacts, legally blind, and in bifocals. I was unable to see far away and then had trouble reading too. It was awful. I had to wear thick glasses that were constantly changing, I formed astigmatisms in both eyes, and if I didn’t do something about it, I would have had to declare that I was legally blind at the DMV to put it on my license. No thanks. 

The first eye doctor I went to about my corneal infection was extremely rude and blamed it on me, yelling at me for not doing what I was supposed to, which when you can barely open your eyes and your eyes are in pain, is the absolutely last thing you want to hear. How was I supposed to know?

So I switched eye doctors, and found myself at Dr. Tom Falkenberg’s in Fredericksburg. They not only took great care of me, but treated me with compassion and helped me rather than blame me for the situation.

A few weeks after my eyes finally calmed down and I had thick, bifocal glasses to see, we decided my best course of action was Lasik eye surgery. I was definitely nervous, but more than anything, I was so ready for the whole ordeal to be over and for things to go back to normal.

So in April of 2010, I had the surgery.

I was nervous for sure, but they gave me a valium, and that calmed me down. If you’re not a fan of talking about eyeballs, don’t read this next paragraph, and skip down two.

After your valium kicks in and they numb your eyeballs, the cut the top layer of your eyes and peel back, then prop your eye lids open so you can’t close or blink. It’s not really painful, because you can’t feel anything but pressure and you’re just kind of uncomfortable. Then all you see is almost like a crystal ball of lightning strikes for less than 30 seconds, and it’s all over, and they do the other eye. The place that top layer back on your eye when they’re done.

Okay gross eyeball talk over.

When they were finished, my eyes were a little sore, but it wasn’t too bad. My mom drove me home. I slept for a couple of hours, and when I woke up it was like a miracle. Out of reflex, I went to pick up my glasses, but soon remembered I didn’t need them. I could see everything without them. It was the craziest thing.

Yes, it is true there’s almost a little cloud floating around you for a few days. Lights seem a little cloudier or have a bit of a halo around them, and it just kind of feels a little foggy, but it’s definitely not bad. Actually the way I saw the halos in the daylight the day after my surgery was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen through the trees. I sometimes wish I could see that again.

For about a month, you can’t rub your eyes. You have to sleep with an eye mask or goggles on so you don’t accidentally rub your eyes when you’re sleeping or waking up.

Other than that, it was pretty easy! I was seeing 20/20 and without fog or clouds three days after my surgery.

Yesterday marks 8 years since the surgery and I can still see 20/20! Sometimes at night I still have halos around lights, but it’s not bad at all. The surgery was 100% worth it. It’s already paid for itself in not having to buy contacts for 8 years. My vision has been steady, and I haven’t noticed any differences. I realize that with old age, I may need reading glasses one day, but for now, I don’t need glasses of any kind other a pair I wear on occasion to shield my eyes from staring at the computer screen too long.

I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook about people not sure if they should do the surgery or not. If you’ve thought about getting Lasik or are on the fence, I would highly recommend it. I know it's scary, I mean, it's your eyes! But it's absolutely worth it. And if you’re in Fredericksburg, I would definitely go to Seiht and Dr. Falkenberg as he did an amazing job.

Sorby Sweets Cake Decorating Class

Ever since I first tried Amanda’s from Sorby Sweet's gluten free cake, I was hooked. I mean, seriously. It’s the best. I’ve tried to make cakes similar, but nothing is as good as hers…and that says a lot for gluten-free. A lot of gluten free cakes can be dry or crumbly or dense, but Amanda’s are fluffy, full of flavor and delicious.

A few weeks ago, I got to attend one of her cake decorating classes before she moves to Tennessee and it was so much fun! Not only did I get to eat cake and her delicious buttercream frosting, but also got to learn how to frost and make flowers on cakes! It was so much fun!

My friend (and wedding planner) Emily was there and I ended up seeing one of my Twila brides, Claire, and her mom as well! It was so fun seeing so many familiar faces. We had such a great time. The biggest take away from this class, and my wine and design class, is that it's all about attitude. If you're there to just have fun, relax and enjoy yourself, you're gonna do great and have a great time! I mean, who doesn't have a great time when cake is involved? But if you go in with a negative or pessimistic attitude, then you're gonna be hard on yourself and it's going to make the class not fun.

I’m not sure Amanda is doing any more cake classes before she moves, but if she is, you should definitely look into it because its so much fun! Thanks for having me and being such a great teacher, Amanda!


Cake Class by Sorby Sweets

Photos by Anne Peyton Photography

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 i did it! me and my beautiful gluten free cake that is now in my freezer

i did it! me and my beautiful gluten free cake that is now in my freezer

 a sweet twila bride, claire, and her mom

a sweet twila bride, claire, and her mom

 my wedding planner and long time friend, emily, and her mother in law

my wedding planner and long time friend, emily, and her mother in law

 beautiful amanda, the owner of sorby sweets

beautiful amanda, the owner of sorby sweets

Bridal Shower

Where do I even begin with this blog. My incredible friends and family sure know how to make a girl feel special. That said, be prepared for a bit of a sappy blog post today.

I've worked in the wedding industry for almost 6 years now. I've seen a lot of different things and heard a lot of different stories along the way. I always hear the phrase 'Nothing like a wedding to bring the family together,' and I know a lot of people joke when they say that or roll their eyes, but I can't help but believe it. I not only feel so lucky to be marrying my best friend, but I get to do it surrounded by so many wonderful people who have come together and supported us over the past 4 years. 

Joe and I haven't had the most traditional relationship with his amputation and professional snowboarding career and all, but it's built who we are as a couple, as individuals, and how far we've come. And we wouldn't have been able to do that without all of the love and support of all of our friends and family along the way. 

One of the coolest things I noticed was how many friends there were from different phases of my life. I had family and friends of my moms who knew me since before I was even born, I had friends from middle school, high school, college, friends I've made through different aspects of my adult life. It's just so cool to see them all in one place and to see the people I love most in this world chat and get to know one another. 

I was pretty insistent that we didn't play any games at my shower because that's just not me. I'm not really a fan. But when I got there and saw everyone that was there for Joe and I from all those different times of my life, I did ask one thing: as I opened the gifts, people had to share how they knew and a good memory of us. I am such a sucker for things like that. And it was awesome to hear about all the different things people remembered. 

Honestly, it's taking me so long to post this blog because every time I go to write something, it's hard for me to express just how thankful I am. Thankful for seriously the best mom and sister anyone could ever ask for, the best future in-laws who have made me feel like one of the family from the beginning, the best bridesmaids who went the extra mile to help and be there, the best family, some of whom drove down just to be there, for always being there and so supportive, and for the best friends who have been with me through so much and continue to show just how amazing they are. 

Thank you to each and every one of them and to every one who has been a part of our crazy journey these past four years. It makes me that much more excited for our big day in just a few months!


Event Planning & Styling | Jeri & Donna Hetrick

Cake | Sorby Sweets

My Dress | Camilyn Beth from Monkee's of Fredericksburg

My Shoes | Tory Burch from Monkee's of Fredericksburg

Chair Rental | Bella Giornata Events

Florals | Wegmans

Floral Styling | Jeri Hetrick

 easily one of my favorite decorations at the shower

easily one of my favorite decorations at the shower

 mimosa bar...duh! my new favorite mimosa is champagne and fresh pineapple juice

mimosa bar...duh! my new favorite mimosa is champagne and fresh pineapple juice

 check out that gorgeous cake from  sorby sweet  - gluten free deliciousness! 

check out that gorgeous cake from sorby sweet - gluten free deliciousness! 

 my mom, my sister, me, my future sister-in-law and future mother-in-law

my mom, my sister, me, my future sister-in-law and future mother-in-law

 my best friend, maid of honor and best sister ever

my best friend, maid of honor and best sister ever

 me and the best mama there ever was! 

me and the best mama there ever was! 

 one of my bridesmaids, whitney, jeri/maide of honor, and me! check out that chair and greenery- isn'y it to die for?!

one of my bridesmaids, whitney, jeri/maide of honor, and me! check out that chair and greenery- isn'y it to die for?!

 melanie, myself, whitney and bradley

melanie, myself, whitney and bradley

 being goofs and opening gifts

being goofs and opening gifts

 i hope i look half as good as my mama when i'm her age! isn't she gorgeous?!

i hope i look half as good as my mama when i'm her age! isn't she gorgeous?!

 my family <3 tammy, me, rose and tessa

my family <3 tammy, me, rose and tessa

 the shower &lt;3

the shower <3

 my beautiful friend (and behind the scenes assistant here at twila) jael

my beautiful friend (and behind the scenes assistant here at twila) jael

 sissy, who's known my mom since before i was born, and our lilly girl

sissy, who's known my mom since before i was born, and our lilly girl

 my 'work wife' aka caitlin

my 'work wife' aka caitlin

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 some of the best friends a girl could ask for: meredith, jeri, me, courtney, whitney

some of the best friends a girl could ask for: meredith, jeri, me, courtney, whitney

 emily, whom i've known since 6th grade, and is also my incredible wedding planner from  scarlett grey events

emily, whom i've known since 6th grade, and is also my incredible wedding planner from scarlett grey events

 rugby friends- grace, ellie, me and kaylan (also one of my twila brides this year!)

rugby friends- grace, ellie, me and kaylan (also one of my twila brides this year!)

 food tags by yours truly of course :D

food tags by yours truly of course :D

 such a fun board of photo memories!

such a fun board of photo memories!

 the jarrell gals! jewelz and my aunt b

the jarrell gals! jewelz and my aunt b

 celebrating holidays and summers jarrell-hetrick style since 1999 (or maybe before? its been so long!)

celebrating holidays and summers jarrell-hetrick style since 1999 (or maybe before? its been so long!)