Infertility, motherhood, parenting, self help, ttc


“Thankful for infertility? How in the…? Really, who in their right mind is thankful for something THIS heartbreaking?”

It’s been awhile since my last post.  I have determined I suck at consistency but with school, work, doctors appointments for my husband, my dad and myself, life gets crazy. Sitting down to write a thoughtful and often times emotionally draining post takes a lot of time, time I don’t always have. I am trying to get better at prioritizing the time I do have though. Hopefully in the near future you will see a lot more of me, a lot more often. Anyways, I’ve digressed, that’s not what I wanted this post to be about.

“I find something to be positive about and to be thankful for”

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and we are headed into the Christmas season; emotions are high. The holiday season is one of the hardest times of the year for me on this journey to motherhood. I try to find comfort in many things; friends, traditions, baking, gift giving and more. Often, the last few months of the year end in lots of tears and a heavy heart despite all my efforts to fill my world with joy. I find myself waking up everyday excited for the future and by the end of the night I am sad and unsure about this journey. I question how much longer I can do this? How much longer we can do this? How in the hell do people do this for 10+ years!? In spite of the doubt and the heartache I am able to turn it around and I find something to be positive about and to be thankful for. I am starting to get involved in the TTC (trying to conceive) and infertility communities. Social media is a wonderful thing and it has connected me to a ton of ladies who are also on this journey. Recently I’ve started seeing “thankful for infertility because….” posts and they got me thinking. Thankful for infertility? How in the…? Really, who in their right mind is thankful for something THIS heartbreaking? Well, to tell you the truth; I am! Yesterday, on Thanksgiving, I ran across a blog post about making it through the holiday season while struggling with infertility. The author talked about these thankful posts quite a bit. She focused on how the women who post these are now on the other side, they’ve made it through the heartache and they are walking through life as a mother, instead of being childless. While many of us in the throes of infertility are far from thankful there are plenty of things we can take from this journey, while we are still on it, and be thankful for.


“Dealing with infertility myself has given me a reason to be vocal about an issue that affects so many people but is so taboo amongst our culture. “

I started to run through everything I could possibly be thankful for and I was shocked at how much positivity has come from this heartbreaking journey. Now, I can’t pinpoint one single thing I am the most thankful for so my list is in no specific order.

I am thankful for infertility because:

  • Of the friendships I have gained: Throughout this journey I have grown close to a handful of wonderful ladies. If it weren’t for my struggle with fertility I wouldn’t have the friends I have right now. Being open on social media has allowed me to rekindle friendships with high school friends and even some old best friends. Not all of them are on this journey, but they encourage me through the turmoil.
  • I have helped people: I started being open about our journey to parenthood shortly after our wedding nearly two years ago. Now, I was never quiet about our struggle I just didn’t post about it in a public manner. Since I began being transparent I have had so many ladies reach out and tell me about their private struggles. I have been thanked by so many friends and strangers for my honesty. I have had people reach out and be open about their struggles when they haven’t told anyone about their journey. If it weren’t for infertility these ladies would likely still be holding in the pain they carry.
  • I have a platform: Infertility has allowed me to spread awareness about a very common issue. 1 in 8 couples have trouble conceiving. It’s likely someone you know and are very close to is suffering silently. Dealing with infertility myself has given me a reason to be vocal about an issue that affects so many people but is so taboo amongst our culture.
  • It’s taught me about my body and my health conditions : Before we began TTC, I thought I knew all there was to know about being a woman. Ha! Was I wrong. I now have a deeper understanding of the role hormones play in everyday life. I understand my PCOS far more than I ever have and because of my infertility I uncovered my Hashimoto’s. Infertility has allowed me and forced me to take control of my health and the well-being of my family.
  • It’s showed me a side of my husband I never would have known: A lot of times we hear about how awful infertility is on a marriage or relationship. For me, infertility has strengthened our marriage. Think about it, going through tough times is, well, tough. You can either get through it together or fall apart. My husband understands the pain I am in constantly and he has been my rock throughout it all. I get to see a side of him that I would never have seen if it weren’t for this journey. I know that in the face of pain my husband will help me through it. I know I can count on my husband emotionally in different ways. My husband also knows that I am here for him and he sees me in a different way because I navigate daily life all while being heartbroken. My husband and I communicate on an emotional level that wouldn’t be possible without infertility.
  • I appreciate my future pregnancy and child: Obviously, I have never experienced pregnancy or being a mother. Longing for something and doing everything humanly possible to make the dream come true, really makes you appreciate it that much more. I know that once it’s our turn, we will cherish every.single.moment.
  • It’s taught me to be thankful: Even when the days, weeks and months drag on. Even when my heart breaks into a million pieces with every failed pregnancy test. Even when I feel like it will never be “our turn”, I am thankful. I can find a silver lining through the tears and my infertility has given me this. Being able to find hope and positivity in sorrow is something that I wasn’t able to do before.

“Living with the pain is something we have to do if we want to become parents but if we can be thankful for what it has given us in this very moment it may make it a little easier to bear.”

These are just a FEW of the many reasons I am thankful for my infertility. Sure, I could walk this journey in anger and sadness but what good is that? I don’t say these things to make it seem like I’ve got it all figured out or that I am happy about any of it, because I don’t and I’m not. I share this so maybe, if you’re reading this, you can look at your journey a little differently. We don’t have to cross over to the other side to appreciate infertility. Living with the pain is something we have to do if we want to become parents but if we can be thankful for what it has given us in this very moment it may make it a little easier to bear. If you aren’t thankful for your journey to motherhood just yet, don’t worry about it! One day you’ll look back on this time and your heart will be filled with all of the positivity that came from the sorrow.

Recently I had a moment, I was struggling with the unknown and I was just plain sad. A really amazing friend told me “you’re one month closer to meeting your baby”. This hit home and it helped me continue on. Now, as we enter the Christmas season I keep telling myself, “I’m one thanksgiving and one Christmas closer to meeting our baby”.



Waiting for a baby.


“Where there is Love, There is Life” A quote that has been keeping me going lately. This photo is from our first wedding anniversary and I couldn’t think of a better quote to use to celebrate our first year as husband and wife and our first year struggling openly with infertility.

I have never been shy about my struggle with infertility. I often post about it on my Facebook and Instagram. When we started diagnostic testing and created a treatment plan in January I was open about the process. I regularly put on a brave face and walk through life with a positive attitude. I try extremely hard to stay positive, even when life keeps knocking me down. I’m not going to lie, staying positive is far from easy. This post is going to get deep, maybe too deep for some. If you aren’t comfortable with topics like periods, hormones and pre-marital sex, this one is not for you. Feel free to go read over my wedding posts and look at my life through the fairytale lens that is wedding photography. Throughout I’ll be talking more about a singular experience with infertility, I’m not touching on the men’s perspective or what it does to a relationship, that’ll come later. Also, this post is going to be long. I tried to keep it short but it’s just not possible so please accept my apology before hand, if you finish the whole post I appreciate your dedication and I hope you have a slightly better understanding of one of the many perspectives on infertility.

Growing up, NO ONE talks about getting pregnant. We hear about people accidentally getting pregnant and how NOT to get pregnant. We all know those ladies who got pregnant on a one night stand or have child after child. What we don’t hear about, is the woman who struggled to get pregnant, the woman who suffered loss after loss, the woman who required medication to get pregnant or the woman who was never able to conceive. I have always wondered why the conversation around getting pregnant is such taboo. We celebrate pregnancy and we call the baby a miracle or a gift from god. Everyone is always so excited for the expectant parents but no one cares to hear about the story that leads up to it. I can confidently say that each and every one of you reading this personally knows someone who has suffered the loss of a child or a pregnancy. It may be surprising to know that 1 in 4 woman will unfortunately experience miscarriage. So, how is it that 1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage yet, it’s never talked about? Well, society as created this environment that makes these types of conversations uncomfortable. Rational or not the large group of women who suffer from infertility and infant and pregnancy loss feel guilty. We know it’s not our fault and that there’s nothing we can do about it. Trust me, we are doing everything within our power to become a mother. There is this ideal that a woman just gets pregnant, it’s what they do and if you can’t they are some how less then.

I am 24 going on 25 and my husband and I have been trying to conceive for 3 years. This is nothing compared to the lengths that other women and couples go to, to become parents. My struggle is just that; it’s mine. I am not comparing myself to other women who are struggling to become moms. We all have our own story and we all cope with it in a personal way. I just want the conversation around infertility and loss to be more normal. We should be able to talk about trying to conceive as easily as we do about conception. No one should have to lie or feel embarrassed when answering the question “when are you going to have children?” Think about it, if you asked me when I was going to have children and I responded “we are trying but I’m struggling with infertility” you’d be uncomfortable, you wouldn’t know how to respond or you’d say something like “oh, it’ll happen when the time is right” (please, don’t ever say that to anyone by the  way, it’s insulting and not at all comforting) Now, if I responded “one day, we just aren’t ready yet” you would likely feel better and we would move on in our conversation. This is what I want to change. These conversations should happen. They should be open and honest and we shouldn’t just over look them. A woman trying to conceive and struggling could use a soft place to land, PLEASE try to be this person and don’t lose interest in their conversation if the answer is not something you expected to hear.

Over the last few years I have felt more emotions than I thought humanly possible. I knew early in my adult life that having a child or even becoming pregnant would be a struggle. I have had hormonal issues since puberty and as I’ve gotten older, they’ve gotten worse. I went from 5 or 6 menstrual cycles a year to 1 or 2 and then none. I saw doctor after doctor and not one of them cared to find the reason why. Being a teenager, no one cares about your reproductive organs. I even had one doctor tell me that 1 period a year was “normal” for me (incase you were wondering, it’s not normal or healthy for anyone). The thought that I would never become a mother began weighing on my mind earlier than it would for most. When I was younger I was always standoff-ish about my hormonal issues as I’ve grown up, that’s changed.

My husband and I began TTC (Try to Conceive) before we were married *gasp*. This made my struggle a very private one. Some think I just began my journey with infertility but that is sadly not the truth. Although I have held a decent paying job and have been financially supporting myself since I was 18, I knew many would judge two people who were not married trying to have a baby. Now, if we ended up pregnant on “accident” no one would have batted an eye at it. We would have been told congratulations and it would have been celebrated. But tell people you are struggling with infertility when you are 21 and not married, your suffering becomes less serious and you are instantly judged. For about 2 years only my best friend knew I was trying to have a baby and that we were struggling. Even with her knowing the topic was hardly addressed. It wasn’t until this year that I spoke publicly about my health issues and my struggles. I decided to take the plunge and start visiting a fertility clinic, sadly this was not an option that worked in our favor. We are still not expecting and the dream of a baby seems to be getting farther and farther away. I have a million and two things running through my mind to write about, to talk about or to address. It’s not humanly possible to cover them all in one blog post so I’m going to talk about how I feel, right now in this moment.


Generally, I have a positive outlook on life. One day I know we will become parents some how. It may not be this year or next year or 5 years from now. It may not be biologically my child or our child but we will become parents, someday. Sometimes though, staying positive is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Last night as I sat on the floor with tears streaming down my face talking to my husband I realized feeling sad and hopeless is part of our journey. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry every time a friend announced their pregnancy or that the sense of jealousy didn’t eat me up inside with every baby photo that pops up on my timeline. There are a lot of raw emotions involved with not being able to conceive a child. Every time I learn of a new pregnancy I go through stages of emotions. I go from ecstatic to devastated, from smiling to choking back tears. There are days that I truly want to give up, not on life; but trying to create a life. I get angry with myself when I envy my best friend for being a mother. Or when I compare myself to friends who are pregnant. Why are they more deserving than I am? When will it be my turn? Will it ever be my turn? I blame myself. Maybe if I would have spoken up earlier. Maybe if I wasn’t over weight. Maybe if I wouldn’t have slept with this guy or that guy as a teenager. What if this is punishment and I don’t deserve to be a mother? What if that one time I had a chemical pregnancy at 18 and felt relief when the test went from positive to negative, is the only time I ever see two lines on a test. Maybe the plan B I took being an irresponsible 18-year-old caused my heartache today. These questions run through my head on a daily basis. When I attend baby showers I have to prepare myself emotionally. You may never notice it but I am holding back tears, I promise I am trying to enjoy this moment in your life but it’s just not as easy some days. When I attend birthday parties for your children and I sit there quietly, just let me be. I promise I am there mentally, I’m just trying to hide my pain. Every month that goes by I feel like I have failed my husband. My heart breaks that he picked me, out of everyone who walks this earth and I may never make him a father. Just the thought of that takes the air from my lungs, thinking about my dear husband, never fathering a child is earth shattering and knowing that it is my fault, is one of the hardest things I have ever had to cope with. My father may never meet my children, my children may not have grandparents. The guilt runs deep and it’s something I can’t turn off. I know that the guilt is irrational and I know that I can’t control this situation but that knowledge doesn’t make the dark days easier.

agony and hope

With all the negative that comes along with TTC, there is a world of good that comes from it. I have hope. I hope, one day to carry a child in my womb. I hope, one day my husband will be a father. I hope, one day there will be someone calling me “mommy”. I look forward to the future with anticipation, with positivity. I wake up everyday trying to better myself. I day-dream about what my child will look like and how they will act. I picture my life different from now. One day, all this pain will have been for something so beautiful. Something amazing WILL come from this pain, I just know it will. Preparing for the future and envisioning my life on the other side of this struggle keeps me going. It may seem over dramatic to some but coming to terms with the reality that you may never be a mother to your own child, is numbing. I don’t wish this reality on anyone. I tell myself that we will get though it, that it’s worth it. I have to belive this or the pain would be too much. I refuse to give up on the hopes of a baby. Today, this month, this year, may not be our time but one day….one day a miracle will happen and we will become parents. In the mean time we are waiting for a baby, impatiently at best.

I hope to continue this conversation and shed light on my struggle. One day infertility and pregnancy and infant loss will not be taboo. Woman suffering from the loss of a pregnancy should never have to stay silent, that baby, that pregnancy, is not forgotten. Woman trying to become a mother should never feel guilty or embarrassed because their bodies don’t work the same as others. We should never feel embarrassed talking about reproductive health. If you know someone who has suffered a loss, don’t shy away from them, they need their friends and family now more than ever. If you have a friend who skips out on your baby shower, don’t hold it against her. Sometimes missing the baby shower is better for. During this storm in her life being selfish and putting her feelings first may be the only thing that keeps her breathing. It’s not easy watching other people live your dream time and time again while you sit on the side lines.

our babies nursery decor

To cope with my infertility I began ordering custom pieces for our someday baby. Photo Cred: @BohoBabyHeaven on Instagram and Etsy. Inez has been a wonderful friend I have made over the last year and a half.


Low-Carb taco shells


First off, who doesn’t LOVE tacos? If you don’t I am sorry because you are missing out. When I went low carb I was so sad I wouldn’t be eating tacos every again. At least if I wanted to maintain my health, I wouldn’t be eating real tacos again. I recently tried the mind blowing Fat Head Pizza crust by Ditch the Carbs ( and my life has forever been changed. After seeing just how amazing the pizza crust turned out it got my wheels spinning. I couldn’t help but wonder what else this “dough” can make. I had made fried chees taco shells the night before and they were amazing but it got me thinking about fat head taco shells and this recipe was born. No one complains about tacos two nights in a row in my house so, why not.


So, these taco shells are really more like taco-bell chalupa shells but I’m totally okay with that. Before cleaning up our life and our diets, taco bell was my spot, we ate there far too often; it didn’t help that taco bell is 2 blocks up the road. So after tasting these you can say I was pretty damn excitd to have a clean and healthy alternative with just a few ingredients. These shells can be picked up and they actually hold up against the taco fillings, this is almost unheard of in the low carb world. They are crispy and light with just the right amount of flavor to them. You can’t even tell the dough is made from cheese! (I have also seen people make similar dough using goat mozzarella if you don’t use cows milk) It sounds so strange but once you try this method you will never make crusts using vegetables ever again, trust me. It took me nearly 2 years to jump on the fat head train and I am kicking myself that it’s taken this long. This recipe is simple to make and uses just a few ingredients but it does entail a few steps. All of the rolling of dough is soooo worth it. These are something you can make ahead and store and re-heat before serving. I assume they would freeze well, too but this I haven’t tried this just yet. Now that I know they are everything and then some I’ll be testing out freezer batches. Anything I can make ahead of time and freeze is a god send.

Since you are making your dough with cheese, you’ll want to work some what quickly. If you happen to walk away and come back to dough that is too firm, just warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave (or double boiler if you don’t use a microwave) you want to make sure the cheese if kneadable so you can roll out your tortillas. I made these shells around 3:30pm to shoot for the blog and used them for dinner around 10:30pm when my husband got home from work and they were just as good as hot outta the oven. My husband and I both work late, him later than I, and we don’t get to see each other much so we eat dinner when he’s off work so we can have that time together. We know it’s late but it works for us and our lifestyle and keeps us from opting for take out.


Once you try this you will want to try the pizza crust and the obsession will be alive.. I have already made a few different recipes adapted from the original crust and I only tried the crust 2 weeks ago, it’s THAT good. This recipe was husband approved, he is a picky eater so anything he enjoys, I know must be alright. If you attempt this recipe and you enjoy it, I’d love to see your creations and here your success stories!


What you’ll need: 

  • Microwave safe bowl
  • parchment paper
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Wooden spoon or spatula


  • 1 3/4th Cup Shredded mozzarella Cheese
  • 2 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 a Lime
  • Pink Salt
  • 3/4th Cup Almond Flour


Pre-heat oven to 425.  Put your mozzarella cheese and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and microwave  for 1 Minute. Remove the cheese from the microwave and stir. Add juice from half a lime and salt to taste and microwave for another 30 seconds or until the dough starts to come together. Add almond flour to the dough and knead until a ball is formed and all almond flour is incorporated. If dough is sticky add a little more almond flour. Rip pieces off of the dough and roll into smaller balls to form tortillas. Lay the smaller ball of dough between two pieces of parchment paper and shape into a circle. You want these to be fairly thin but not paper-thin. Place tortillas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, sprinkle tortillas with pink salt and a little lime juice if you’s like (it’s worth it) and pierce with a fork multiple times. Bake in oven 8-10 minutes, check around 6 minutes to check for browning. Once the tortillas start to brown take them out of the oven and flip. Make sure you let the tortillas cool a little bit before flipping, you don’t want to break them (remember you are working with cheese dough here). Flip and return to oven until golden brown. They will only take a few more minutes. You can use the tortiallas straight out of the oven and fill with your favorite taco fillings or you can let them cool and place in a bag until you’re ready to use. If they are cold place tortillas in a warm oven for a few minutes until they are pliable again. Enjoy!



Hey again,

imageWhen I attempted blogging last year I was coming off of a wedding high and I was desperate to keep the excitement of planning alive. I completely ignored the need to introduce myself. I dove head first into wedding vomit and didn’t even begin scratching the surface of Well,  my real life. So here I am, a year later, still completely in love with my husband and inappropriately obsessed with weddings. Just a little more jaded from life thus far and a whole lot of tired.

In the last 7 or 8 months life has been challenging, to put it nicely. Honestly, it has straight SUCKED. By sucked I mean hardcore, made me hate life….sucked.  But, it’s also been wonderful and eye opening and it has brought me here. I’ll dive into the crap 2017 has been later but for now, I’ll try to introduce myself.

I am horrible at introductions. Really though, how do people come up with tag lines and bios? I hate how difficult being unique is when describing yourself. So here I go, I am married to the love of my life. This is always what I feel like leading with. Although I feel I have achieved quite a bit in my 24 years, being married to my best friend just feels like the most profound moment in my life so far. We moved to Las Vegas (Henderson really but whatever) from Northern Ca. in 2014. I was lucky all the way around. I was transferred with my job, was accepted into UNLV and was able to move my father in so we could begin the journey of care giving. I am my father’s care giver and it’s one of the largest parts of who I am and what I live and breathe on a daily basis. Outside of my home life, I am a full-time college student and I am SO CLOSE to FINALLY finishing my degree in Anthropology. I moved to Las Vegas to get my degree in hospitality… I know, I said Anthropology like 5 words ago but I changed my major at the end of this last semester and I am on track to graduate in 3 semesters, if i bust my ass. Keyword there is “if” but I’m going to try. I am also a proud pitbull mom, my pups are my life and they keep me grounded. Without them, I can honestly say I would not make it through my day with any sanity. I also work for a pretty awesome company, but I work a lot. I won’t talk about work much; that’s not what I am here for. My job is the most time consuming part of my life so I feel the need to mention it. I won’t ever say where I work but I work in the nutrition industry, you can call me a supplement dealer if you want. I have been a retail store manager since I was 21 so I dont have and have never had much time for myself.

My husband and I have spent the last few months downright struggling to live a healthy life and so far, we’ve done a pretty damn good job. I’ll go into the nitty gritty details as the blog progresses but my husband has Crohn’s disease and it’s a new diagnosis that we are navigating one day at a time. On top of that, I myself am a genetic mess. Wilfullywayward is my way of finding a glimmer of hope in the roller coaster of life. You’ll get to know me, my husband, our marriage and our struggles with Crohn’s, Hashimoto’s and infertility all while I hold down a demanding job, attending college full time and care for my aging father.

My life is nothing glamorous, I am a busy college student, wife, daughter, caregiver and boss who cusses a little too much and can be quite over dramatic. I’m trying to find my sweet spot in life and I hope you enjoy the ride 💜



It’s all about those details.

Wedding planning can be stressful. HA. Who am I kidding? Its extremely stressful! If you’re anything like I was you’re consumed in the details. Every single. one. If you aren’t, you really should be. Here’s why. When the day has come and gone you will appreciate all of the sleepless nights you had while wedding decor was running through your head. During the planning process you’ll hear that your guests won’t appreciate the details and that’s IF they even notice them. Is your wedding about your guests? Nope, it’s about you. I’m sure you want your wedding to be breathtakingly beautiful. The only way you’ll achieve that in the details!


I spent countless days, maybe even weeks scouring through Pinterst boards. I myself have a couple THOUSAND pins about weddings, it’s ridiculous i’ll admit it.  I became obsessed in the planning and design process and I am glad I did. Be prepared to read a little. This post is going to be long.  I made a lot of our decorations. I purchased a lot of items from Etsy and I spent countless hours piecing it all together until it was perfect, all while trying to save money. Have you seen the prices of wedding planners or designer? They cost more then my wedding did! I knew I had to do something differently. I really wanted to have a gorgeous wedding day and I wanted people to remember our decor. I achieved 1 of those 2 things for sure. I think our wedding was perfect, I don’t know if people will remember it but whatever. We have some AMAZING photos of the set up and I’ll cherish them forever. I will never forget the feeling of walking into the reception venue and seeing it all together. I can’t explain it. It was like a weight had been lifted all while my breath was taken away. I was so happy. After 9 months of envisioning the day it was finally here and it was so much more then I had imagined. We had a first look for our photos and before our guests arrived I snuck away to see it all together. I took a moment for myself to enjoy it before it would never be seen again (dramatic much?!). Seriously though, I thought about nothing other then our wedding for nearly a year, I spent countless hours creating; it is a feeling every bride should experience.

RitaJamesWed-964 (2)

One of the main reasons I originally decided  I didn’t want to have a wedding was because of the details. They were SO overwhelming. Picking a color scheme, making sure everything matched, picking a theme, favors, invitations, table linens, flowers, bridesmaid dresses and the list goes on and on and on….. and on….. I said “nope” we aren’t getting married. It wasn’t until 5 months after our engagement that I decided I REALLY had to have a wedding. I was actually inspired by two weddings I attended over the summer. My best friend from high school was married in June and had a gorgeous DIY rustic/disneyesque ceremony and reception, I was blown away. In July my best friend had a magical Northern Ca. wedding. I have no words great enough to describe the experience and beauty of the day. Sierra put her wedding for 50 together in 3 months or less and after helping her with her day I knew I could do it. From that moment I was obsessed.

I’m not going to get into what it took for me to pick a venue, that’ll be a post of its own. We ended up going with the Springs Preserve. Once decided on the venue the stress really started. I had the hardest time picking a color scheme. I loved the look of so many but I needed to be realistic. Believe it or not your color choices can increase the cost of your wedding! I couldn’t decide on color so I decided I wanted more neutral colors. In the end I went with blush and navy. I know, I know, it is such a popular color scheme but I think I made it unique to us. The first wedding purchase I made was my flowers. I was locked into a concept and I was able to move forward. From start to finish I was so beyond excited about my flowers and centerpieces it was what kept me going and what I built the wedding around. I highly recommend every bride does this. Pick a floral look you are going for and stick with it.


Planning the decor was so much easier after I made the floral deposit. I found my florist on Etsy, say what?! Yup, Etsy. For Sierra’s wedding we had the luxury of buying gorgeous bulk flowers from beautiful Sonoma county. In Las Vegas, that isn’t really an option. It is, just not a cost effective one. And I did not want the stress of making all of the flowers for the wedding the night before. Anyways, I was looking for a cheaper Avenue for flowers and I could not bear the thought of silk flowers. To me silk flowers just screamed tacky or cheap and I just couldn’t; I was trying to avoid the typical Vegas wedding looking. One night I was texting Sierra about floral costs and ideas while looking through Etsy and I stumbled across Sola Flowers. In case you don’t know what Sola Flowers are, they are WOOD; yes wood. They are “flowers” made from the tapioca plant. They are hand dyed and gorgeous. I got so lucky. I found Curious Floral by Samantha and messaged her instantly. I was able to get a spot in her schedule. I could write an entire post about Sam and her creations for the wedding, shes seriously that good. I sent her my inspiration and she knew exactly what I wanted. She created the centerpieces for me with just out colors and some ideas of what I was looking for. Talk about blown away. Samantha made my wedding. She dealt with my ever changing ideas and constant emails and she made my dreams come true. What girl doesn’t want a breath taking bouquet on her wedding day? I get to keep my bouquet exactly as it was, forever. Sola flowers are still a new “trend” in weddings so our wedding was unique! I spent $982 for all of the floral decor for the wedding, this included shipping. I purchased 3 bouquets, 2 boutonnieres, 2 corsages, 6 centerpieces and 2 mini boutonnieres for under a thousand dollars! Enough about flowers, I could go on and on so I’ll stop here.

I spent hours on the website It was seriously a god send. They have the best prices and just about everything a DIY bride needs to make her vision a reality. I purchased everything from LED candles to chalkboards from the website. I saved a lot of money doing this. I suggest making all of your purchases at once as shipping is high but it’s still worth it. They offer great quality products and exceptional customer service. I got the linen table runners for under $4 a piece. The LED candles were $6.99 for a 3 pack and they were SO cute! I got a gorgeous wooden chalkboard easel for $34.99 and countless other items for cheap. If I had not found this website I would not have been able to style our wedding for the price I did. I also purchased my own Sola Flowers from the website and made our aisle decor for under $20 bucks!

I was obsessed with Pinterest for nearly a year while planning. I got so caught up in ideas that I had to uninstall the App from my phone. I had a serious problem! When I uninstalled the App I grew obsessed with Etsy, boy am I glad I did. I purchased nearly all of the unique pieces from Etsy. Our invitations were a big deal to me. I knew I could print them myself or make something for cheap but I couldn’t get past the gorgeous stationary available. I could not pay $500 dollars for wedding invitations though. I started looking into seed paper and I was going to buy a downloadable invitation and print it on plantable paper but I found the shop HudsonandSound and I didn’t have to! They offered affordable seed paper invitations and they customized them for our wedding colors. Unfortunetly, I just checked and the invitations aren’t currently available for sale in their Etsy shop! I ended up paying $118 for the wedding invitations and RSVP cards of my dreams. They were worth every penny. I had a hard time finding more websites for the shop but you can find them on Instagram @hudsonandsound. I also had “Thank You” cards made that matched our wedding invitations just not on seed paper. Since most people left them behind it would have been a more expensive way to go for nothing.

Our venue only offered black or white linens so I had to do something. Renting linens is a little ridiculous in my opinion. The price point is just too high. So, I found another way. We purchased all of our own napkins from I got 4 dozen napkins for $23.76. I couldn’t beat the price. I am now stuck with 46 pink and navy napkins but it added a pop of color to our reception tables for less then half the price of renting.


I had my heart set on a cake table that was Pinterest worthy. You know the ones I am talking about, you probably have a few pined to you future wedding board. I had purchased some marquee letters from Marshalls and some faux succulents from walmart to decorate the table with. I had already made my etsy purcases for the custom cake cutter and hand stamped antique forks but I could not settle on a cake topper. I finally came across the one shortly before the wedding. I was surfing Etsy like I had done many times in the past and found the perfect felt cake topper! Yes, FELT. It went so perfectly with the whole theme of the wedding, I was sold. I splurged a little on this but it was worth it. I found  felt florist by the shop name Goldenafternoonmade and I fell in love. $41.74 for the cake topper of my dreams was a small price to pay. Allisen was a peach. I didn’t know it at the time but she was pregnant and so close to her due date when she fit me into her schedule! I once again got lucky. Our cake “table” was phenomenal. I purchased the cake cutter from the shop  PreppyPinkies for $41.99, it was engraved with our names and wedding date. I purchased the most perfect forks stamped with “Bride” and “Groom” from the shop theloosegoose for $22. The little details like this were so worth it to me. We now have some really awesome keepsakes to pass down to our children one day!


There were a few other items, like our guest “book”, sweetheart table decor and aisle flowers that I purchased here and there when I found good deals. My venue didn’t allow silk flowers for conservation purposes (it is a preserve after all) so the day before the wedding my maid of honor and I went to Costco and picked up a couple dozen pink roses for $15.99 or so. I didn’t want a guest book at the wedding, it just seemed so old school. I ended up getting a matted photo from Hobby Lobby for under $10.00 during a sale and it now hangs gorgeously on our wall instead of in a drawer where a book would be. I also got our sweet heart decor from Hobby Lobby during a half off sale. I got our “Mr” and “Mrs” signs two for the price of one. We also had beer pilsner’s made for us with “Mr”, “Mrs” and our wedding date on them. My amazing and thoughtful cousin had them made for us after seeing me post about them on facebook! We drank beer out of them all night long and it helped the bartender keep the good stuff coming. I would walk up to the bar and she’d have the drink of coice ready based on the glass! It was awesome and added such a fun personalized touch to our night.

The last thing I want to talk about are our favors. I told you this post was going to be long! I REALLY wanted live succulents as favors. I’m sure you have seen them in all of their glory. They’re to die for. If you had real live succulents at your wedding I envy you. Our guests were flying or driving from California so live succulents just didn’t seem realistic. I got so lucky. A family friend who I adore offered to make me paper succulents. She did an AMAZING job and even though the succulents weren’t alive, just like my flowers; they will last forever. It all went so perfectly together. My husband and I collect shot glasses so what better way to display the paper succulents then in shot glasses! I picked up a few dozen clear shot glasses for $2.99 and $3.99 a 6 pack and etched our initials and wedding date on them. Word to the wise, don’t, just don’t. This was the longest project of them all. I etched these damn shot glasses on and off for months; I nearly gave up. I honestly don’t know if anyone noticed they were even etched! But, I got my dream wedding favors for a fraction of the price!

If you are planning a wedding don’t lose sight of the little details. It can be overwhelming and there are a lot of little details to think about but it is so worth it. You’re guests may not appreciate it but when the day has come and gone you won’t have anything but memories and pictures. You want those pictures to be gorgeous. You only get married once (hopefully) so make it a big deal! Bring your relationship alive with details and if you don’t have a wedding planner in the budget, don’t fret. You can pull off a beautiful wedding ceremony and reception with a little time and effort.



Our Not so Perfect First Dance.

In the era of viral videos we have all seen the “best first dance ever”. We’ve seen the bride and groom hit the quan, drop it like its hot and do the nay nay. We’ve seen the wedding party “surprise” the guests and join the bride and groom in the fun. We’ve witnessed the guests go crazy and we’ve seen the videos rack up millions of views and shares.

While planning our wedding I was petrified by the idea of a first dance. The mere thought of swaying back in forth in a room full of family and friends literally kept me from wanting a wedding. I’m not even joking. I had joked about doing a choreographed dance before, but my husband really wasn’t into it. I would watch first dance videos on YouTube and ask myself “where the hell did they learn this?!” About four months before the wedding I started researching dance studios. I had no idea where to start. I came up empty handed time and time again and I decided to turn to Facebook. I asked a question on a local group and within minutes I was pointed in the direction of A Perfect Wedding Dance Studio. Did you know wedding dance studios were a thing? Me either. It’s actually a pretty big business. People have been having their first dance choreographed well before they started going viral, who’d a thought.

I reached out to Kim and we scheduled our free consult. Instantly I fell in love. I loved the idea of dancing again (I danced as a child) and Kim was a pleasure to work with. She worked with our crazy schedule and was so much fun! My husband had never danced before and really wasn’t feeling it, at first. We were supposed to have 11 lessons. 11 lessons turned into a lot more, I think we all lost count. We went back and forth between music mix ideas, the dance we had spent weeks learning or something else. In the end we ended up sticking with the dance we had spent the time learning. We originally had a guest list of 50+ and the idea of a music mix was fun. It wasn’t until a month or so before the wedding when the guest list dropped in half that we decided there wasn’t much of a point to put on a show for 20 people.

My husband picked the music. Originally I wanted to go with an Ed Shereen song, you know, one of the ones that is constantly on the radio. I am so glad we went in a different direction. James picked a classic; Otis Redding’s “I’ve been loving you”. The song was so bluesy and had a nice feel. It grew on me over the course of our lessons and it’s now a personal favorite. We practiced and practiced and by the last lesson we were ready. Kim and her husband actually filmed the wedding for us, we were so excited to have her there during the big moment!

It wasn’t until we began dancing that the moment became less then perfect. It was the WRONG version of the song. Yeah….. the worst thing that could happen, happened. Let me tell you, our dance was slow with the version of the song we picked. The version the DJ played, was slow times 10. At this point we are in the middle of our big moment. All of the time, energy and money we had put into was on the line. My husband was done with it before we were in 30 seconds, you can totally tell when you watch the video. It took everything I had to keep him from quitting. Our guests knew it was the wrong song… we couldn’t stop saying it. What were we supposed to do? We couldn’t stop and ask the DJ to start over. We couldn’t just stop dancing. So, we made the best of it. We talked through it and even laughed about it. We looked like fools.


When the torture finally ended, we laughed it off. Dinner started and our big moment was over, just like that. We gave the guests a show, though not what I had envisioned, they enjoyed it; at least I hope they did. I never told the DJ it was the wrong song and I will still recommend him to anyone that asks. I didn’t get mad or upset, I didn’t cry about it, I just went with it. At least I didn’t torture my guests with 3 minutes of high school slow dancing.

If we could go back and do it all over again, I would. I would do it all exactly as we did. I enjoyed every single second of our lessons. Even the moments of bickering and wanting to give up. I grew closer to my husband over the 4 months or so of lessons. We got out of the house and spent time together. I was able to break away from the chaos of wedding planning and have some us time. One thing I would do, is listen to the DJ’s version of the song instead of assuming it was the same.


If you are planning a wedding, don’t skip the dance lessons. Even if you have 1 or 2, do it. You’ll thank me later. Make time for this some way or another, find room in your budget. Unless you and your fiance are some sort of magical dance guru; you need dance lessons. Just make sure your DJ plays the right song.


James and I grew to love Kim. She was a blast. She helped me with the wedding planning, recommended vendors and kept my mind at ease throughout it all. When it was all over with and Tuesday rolled around, we were sad we weren’t headed to dance lessons. It is a time we will never forget and we couldn’t have asked for a better, less then perfect, first dance.



Uncategorized, Weddings

A Stylish Groom: on a Budget.

In the world of Pinterest and wedding blogs I was consumed with the idea of a dapper groom. I mean, what bride-to-be hasn’t swooned over the thousands of picture perfect grooms floating around the inter-web? We were planning our wedding on a small budget but I couldn’t settle when it came to the look of my groom. The suit wasn’t something I started planning until a couple months before the big day. I knew the look I wanted but I had not idea how difficult finding it would be.


Neither of us had ever shopped for a suit so we had no idea where to start. We took a trip into Men’s Warehouse to get a feel of what we were working with and to get my husband sized. The salesmen was good, I mean real good. He put my now husband in a suit that was perfect, or so we thought. My now husband fell in love with the suit, but with a $600 price tag, it cost more then my dress! Men’s Warehouse offers suit rentals so that was our next avenue. It died before it even became a real option. They offered one suit in blue, one; and it was bad.  At $200+ each suit to rent I knew there was a better option out there.


James is a bigger guy. Finding him a suit that was fashionable and not in stretch material was like pulling teeth. Can I take a moment and bitch about “big and tall” clothing?! Us plus size women think we have it tough! Our struggles do not even begin to compare. Shopping for a larger man is a frustrating and sad task. There are very little stores that carry extended sizes and when they do they are either ridiculously priced or terribly unfashionable. Anyways, JCPenney’s was our savior. If you weren’t aware, like myself, JCpenney’s has an entire suit line. Including BIG AND TALL! Praise the shopper gods.


I decided to give it a shot and buy the suit online. Now, let me break it down for you. I got James’ suit jacket, pants, shoes and belt for $215.37 with FREE shipping. Awesome, right?! I saved $308.63. Extreme couponing wedding addition. I got lucky and ordered everything while it was on-sale AND there was an online coupon. Have you looked for a nice pair of leather oxfords before? They are EXPENSIVE !

We weren’t sure how the suit was going to fit so we ordered two different styles and returned what didn’t work. James ended up looking best in the Big and Tall jacket and the Portly fit pants. JCPenney’s makes the same suit in different styles that fit slightly different, so it worked out perfectly for James’ body type.


I splurged a little for the vest. There wasn’t a size available in the suit style so I had to figure out another option. When it comes to matching blues it’s a lot more difficult then you’d think.  Too dark or too light James goes from dapper to tacky quicker then we could say I Do. If you weren’t aware Men’s Warehouse has a clearance section online. I ordered a few different styles and colors to see what went the best with the navy jacket.He ended up liking a casual style wool vest with a slight plaid pattern. It was to die for. We got the Joseph Abboud vest for $74.99, a little on the pricey side but considering it is going for $94.99 right now on their website, it was worth it. We had the vest tailored the day BEFORE the wedding. Men’s Warehouse was able to fit him and have it altered in less then 24 hours. It was a life saver. I couldn’t fathom paying more then $15 bucks for a tie. I ended up getting James’ Jones New York tie from TJ Maxx for under $10 bucks.


When it was all said and done, James looked better then I had envisioned; and for a fraction of the price. I brought to life those infamous Pinterest posts and got my dapper groom.


Here’s the whole breakdown:

  • Joseph Abboud Navy Plaid Modern Fit Vest: $74.99 Orig. $94.99
  • Stafford Travel Suit Jacket- Big and Tall: $78.75 Orig $235.00
  • Stafford Travel Suit Pants-Portly Fit: $41.24 Orig $115.00
  • Stafford Travel Wrinkle-Free Oxford Dress Shirt-Big and Tall in Cloudburst: $22.49 Orig $50.00
  • Stacy Adams Garrison Men’s Wingtip Oxfords: $52.49 Orig $90.00

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on the little details. Pinterest, Instagram, wedding blogs and so on, make it seem impossible to have a stylish budget friendly wedding. It’s not. Take some time and you can have the wedding of your dreams just like I did.