Clean-ish Eating




I just received a request to do a post on Clean Eating. And I have to admit, that I am really not qualified to do anything of the sort!

I usually try to keep the blog topics about fashion and home, but I am planning a wedding, you know, and so I am finding that most of the topics surrounding my life center around wedding things. That said, I have really been focusing on making lifestyle changes like:

bridal bootcamp


-Working out with more frequently to get into the habit of doing it as much as possible

-Right now, I am doing a Bridal Bootcamp with a trainer and some other friends that are getting married on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays in the morning

brazil butt lift


-Light exercise 1 “off” weekday and 1 weekend day

-Currently, I am LOVING the Brazil Butt Lift videos. The ab one is my personal favorite 🙂


Clean Eating Chart


-Eating healthier (always organic, limit dairy, limit artificial sugars, more proteins and veggies, less starches)

-I would say that according to this chart, I do more of the “dirty” version, but I just think that every good choice is one less bad choice that I am making 🙂

Generally, I try to eat better during the week and on Sundays, but usually Saturdays is when I have the hardest time making healthier choices. Making these kinds of decisions is really important to me, because I want this lifestyle long-term. I want to get into healthy habits and eventually pass them along to my children. Hopefully, they will make healthy choices a lot easier than it is for me, since it’s a choice I need to make at every meal. That this isn’t to say I do this all of the time, but I usually just feel better about  myself knowing that I treated my body well. And the results that I am getting are convincing too 🙂

There are SO many blogs out there that just focus on Clean Eating and healthy recipes, so I will let the pros do their thing and refer you to their sites! (REALLY great description of Clean Eating for beginners) (hilarious and silly, she’s very relatable. I want to be her friend) (delicious recipes from a girly girl who loves chocolate and makes healthier treats to satify her sweet-tooth. A girl after my own heart ) (awesome post that basically refers you to great blogs with real, delicious, EDIBLE, clean food)

I’m sure there are tons of others, and if you have a recommendation, let me know, and I’ll update the post!



Engagement Photo Outfits

What to Wear Engagement Clothing

Ali Walker

I thought it would be a breeze to figure out what to wear for engagement photos, when I put this post together for my friend, Suzy (who just got married 8.24.2013). But when I started to think about my outfits, I became a little overwhelmed. So, I went back to the post and started with Rule #1. Stalk Pinterest for Outfit Inspiration.

While pinning, I came across the Apple Brides site that was really helpful! Here is one of the inspiration photos:


Melissa Kay Photography

That inspired our outfits!

Engagement 3

Hoffer Photography

On Me:

Navy Blazer: Charlotte Russe

Pink Chambray: Old Navy, $15

Pink Necklace: Charming Charlie

Aztec Print Skirt: Ann Taylor Outlet

Hot Pink Shoes: Nine West Outlet

On HJ:

Checked Button-down: J Crew

Watch: Swiss Army

Dark Denim: American Classics by Russell Simmons (HJ’s cousin, remember her? designed these too!)

Brown Belt: Fossil

Brown Shoes: Bass Outlet

Engagement 4

Hoffer Photography

HJ’s wearing the same thing

On Me:

Denim Dress: Banana Republic Outlet, $69.00

Jewel Necklace: Ann Taylor LOFT Outlet

Hot pink Heels: Nine West Outlet

Read about our wonderful photographers!

See more of our engagement photos!

Engagement Photo Session with Hoffer Photography

Engagement 1

Through friends and the internet, I came across Hoffer Photography about 3 years ago. Ever since then, I have been obsessively casually following their blog. As soon as I saw their photography skills, I knew that I had to have them for our wedding. So, when HJ proposed in May, they were the first vendor we called! We even set our wedding date around their availability #yeahtheyrethatgood

We had a Skype call with them, signed the contract, and then a few months later decided on a day for engagement photos. So, on Thursday night, HJ and I had our photo shoot with Tony and Amy. I was pretty nervous, I mean, they are practically celebrities to me! But, they were both SO fun and friendly, it just felt like hanging out with our friends! They were able to take some beautiful (and silly!) photos of me and John that truly show our personalities 🙂 The photo above is one of my favorites, but they are all so good, I can’t pick one! Check them out for yourself! We had such a great time playing in the ivy and devouring cheesesteaks (and tuna hoagies!) We look forward to seeing them again soon, hopefully before the wedding 🙂

Thank you, Tony & Amy for a night of fun, photos, and food!

Our Wedding Venue!

We chose the Brandywine Manor House!

brandywine manor house farmhouse

Now, you may think, “Why this place?” Well, I will tell you why!

1. A long winding driveway leads to the secluded property, so it feels very private and has no real noise restrictions

2. It has the rustic farm feel I wanted (in the stone farmhouse and 1700’s reconstructed barn), but also has a beautiful, fabric-draped, tented reception area

3. The ceremony takes place right on a lake/pond and in a huge field, so very romantic 🙂

4. If it rains, there ceremony can take place in the barn (which also has AC), and then we can go right into the tent, so it has a great rain plan!

5. There are distinct event areas: ceremony field, cocktail barn, reception tent, so it builds up the anticipation

6. It is very close to lots of hotels, restaurants, and shopping for out of town guests

7. We can choose our own caterer, which is helpful for our budget! We chose Sage!

8. It is pretty much a blank canvas, so we can bring in any decorations that we want

Here are some more photos!

bmh 1 bmh 2 bmh 3 bmh 4 bmh 5 noname

brandywine manor house tent bmh 6

Garden Wedding Venue Search

OK, so here is my abridged list of all of the venues we/my parents have checked out in person. These are my opinions only and I knew exactly what I was looking for, so my observations are only about why this was not the place for us. The reason we even decided to check out these venues was because we saw beautiful weddings that were held there. First, let me describe the details of our wedding:

-About 250 guests

-August 30, 2014

-Outdoor ceremony area

-Must have indoor rain plan that is just as beautiful as outdoors

-Covered reception area


-In the Philadelphia area

Ok, here we go! These are in no order, other than the way I am remembering them!

1. Cairnwood Estate, Bryn Athyn, PA

Beautiful mansion style venue with indoor-outdoor spaces


Source: Cairnwood Estate website


-Very French and ornate inside, but light and airy.

-2 large fireplaces

-Large floor to ceiling doors that can be opened to let the outside in

-Unique indoor ceremony option where guests can be sitting outside and inside and stand in the balcony, really “in the round”!

-You can choose your caterer

-Lots of beautiful photo ops inside and outside the mansion


-On the expensive side

-Areas are broken up, so not as open to one another

-Outdoor area is for dinner only, dancing must be inside

-Smaller dance floor for our size wedding

-More princess than rustic

2. The Inn at Fernbrook Farms, Bordentown, NJ

Garden style farm wedding

Fernbrook Farms

Source: The Inn at Fernbrook Farms website



-Beautiful gardens and outdoor ceremony spaces

-Unique cottage house for cocktail hour

-Good looking tent

-Friendly staff

-Organic food


-A little far away

-No rain plan, except cocktail hour inside farmhouse

-Farmhouse could use some updating

3. The Lake House Inn, Perkasie, PA

Modern, rustic lakehouse right on Lake Nockamixon


Source: Jeff Wojtaszek Photography


-Rustic and modern fully renovated lakehouse

-Stunning ballroom


-Plenty of spaces to get ready

-Beautiful ceremony space right on the water

-I mean, aesthetically, everything is a pro…


-VERY expensive

-Welcoming at first, but then not as accommodating as we felt a venue should be for the money

-Exclusive caterer

4. Pearl S. Buck Estate, Perkasie, PA

Open air venue with clear top tent

Pearl S Buck

Source: Open Aire Affairs website


-Clear top tent that feels like you are outside

-Tree-lined entrance

-Very friendly staff

-Open grassy area for photos


-Not sure…just didn’t get the feeling that it was the right one. As soon as we drove up, we didn’t get the feeling we got at some other places.

5. Morris Arboretum, Chestnut Hill, PA

Vast open well-manicured garden style venue


Source: Greater Philadelphia Garden website


-Beautiful winding driveway leading to the top of a hill, really building up the excitement!

-Extensive gardens and plenty of photo ops

-Stunning views

-GREAT area (Chestnut Hill is one of our favorite neighborhoods around Philadelphia!)

-Several caterer options

-The photo above does not begin to capture the beauty of this place!


-Tent is attached to the back of the main building, making the reception space so dark!

-Not big enough to fit our guest list

-Dance floor or DJ may be located inside if you have a lot of people

6. John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, Audubon, PA

Bird sanctuary and farmhouse


Source: Joy Moody Photography


-Tree-lined driveway

-Unique pavilion with exposed beams

-Several ceremony location choices

-Extremely friendly staff

-Open grounds for photos

-Barn for cocktail hour/alternate ceremony space for inclement weather


-It is a public park, so it does feel very casual

-Although they say they can hold up to 250 guests, it would be very tight and there would barely be a dance floor

7. Crossed Keys Inn, Andover, NJ

Classy, rustic venue

Crossed Keys

Source: Crossed Keys Inn website


-Beautiful draped tent

-Tree-lined driveway


-Extremely friendly owners

-Very flexible and willing to help do more personal touches

-Pretty ceremony space in front of a rustic barn


-Although the venue fee is low, the catering cost is high, especially with NJ sales tax, service tax

-Lots of extras, like the decor upgrades, exclusive florist, bathroom rental is not included, which makes the cost skyrocket

-No rain plan, except everything under the tent

-Really far

8. Greystone Hall, West Chester, PA

Secluded stone mansion with rolling gardens




-So secluded, no one would know you were having a great party!

-Friendly staff

-Several caterers

-This would be so great for someone with a Great Gatsby themed wedding or soiree!


-Mansion would be alternate ceremony location if it rained, and it would be pretty tight for 250

-Felt very castle-like, and I was going for more rustic

-Some aspects needing some fixing up, especially the white portico at the edge of the gardens

Like I said, this is the ABRIDGED version, we visited about 15 places or more and checked online at least 50 places. So I hope this helps anyone who is looking for a garden venue! I will let you know tomorrow which place we picked-it’s not on the list 🙂

We’re Engaged!

engagement 2

I feel that I should just start off with the best news right away! HJ and I are engaged!

We were on vacation last week (I will definitely have a new post soon about our budget-friendly trip!!) and HJ made me the happiest girl in the world when he asked me to marry him!

Let me set the scene! We were in Williamsburg on our last day and just checking out of our hotel. We had already planned on walking around the College of William and Mary campus. The concierge was telling us to check out the gardens and the bridge (This was not planned by HJ, just coincidence!). As the woman was talking to us, HJ was texting on his phone (little did I know it was to our secret photographer to make sure she was in position!) Once we got outside, I confronted him about texting while the concierge was talking, saying it wasn’t like him to act that way…I had no idea what he had up his sleeve, or in his pocket! We started walking towards the campus and I started telling him about the love legend of the Crim Dell Bridge-If you walk across with the person you love and kiss at the crest, you will be happy together forever! A woman I had worked with had told this this legend and I thought we should take a look at the bridge and see for ourselves. (Perfect! Now HJ had a reason to get me there!) As we meandered, HJ took the long route but seemed to know the area and streets pretty well, but then, he is always better at direction than me! Once we got to the bridge, there were several graduated getting photos taken. We waited for them to cross (and so HJ could text photographer that we were there). I started teasing him that he was afraid to cross the bridge with me, because then he would have to marry me! (Little did I know!) We finally started walking to the crest of the bridge. I gave him a little kiss, but he was stiff (nerves, no doubt). I told him he didn’t need to be shy, there was no one around, but then I saw the photographer and turned around quickly, thinking we had just been caught by a graduation photographer! Then HJ pointed out some turtles in the water. I turned to look, and when I turned back around,he was down on one knee! I was so confused! How did he know this would be a prefect spot to propose? I had JUST told him about the bridge moments earlier?! After I repeated “ohmygod” several times, HJ pulled out the most beautiful diamond ring I have ever seen. He told me I meant the world to him and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. All I remember is telling myself to say yes, but I didn’t even here him ask me, I was in shock! Then he put the ring on my finger and said “The photographer is for us!” He must have seen my Pinterest wedding board! Of course I cried, and laughed, and then cried some more, especially once I found out that he had asked both sets of my parents for their permission to marry me.

It was definitely one of the best days of my life, and I can’t wait to top it the day I become his wife! ❤

engagement 4

engagement 6


engagement 3

That last one captures my joy so perfectly! 🙂