Treat Yourself Tuesday

Happy Tuesday!!!

I am happy to say that the relaxation restful period post-wedding has completely ended. The Bells are back to long weekends of driving and very full weekend schedules! Yesterday was a blur after a morning spark and an afternoon spark I think the clouds cleared and my head finally became clear enough to realize that while this past weekend was exhausting it was filled with tons of fun treats!

Treat Yourself Tuesday

So since its Treat Yourself Tuesday lets get to them! Make sure you head over to Becky’s blog and checkout all the other treats that are going on this Tuesday!

Backing up to Monday of last week we got a HUGE treat of our wedding photographer sending us a link to our wedding pictures! I was so excited, distracted and in love with reliving our wedding through the pictures. Brent happily got to posting the pictures on Facebook and reading all our friends & families comments made the excitement of our wedding last longer, which is awesome.

Treat Yourself Tuesday

Yesterday when I got home I was greeted at the door by a box with our photographers stamp on it. My hands were full or I think I would’ve jumped up and down and thrown my hands in the air because I was so excited! I mean I knew what all the pictures looked like, she posted them all on her site, but I was still beyond excited to have the REAL USB in my possession. Her gorgeous, creative and fun packaging did not disappoint. I was also really shocked & excited that she included some prints of our pictures, they are sooooooo much better in real life than on a computer screen.

short hair = fresh start!

short hair = fresh start!

I also treated myself last week to new shampoo & conditioner…. I know boring treat but when you decide to switch to sulfate-free shampoo but refuse to spend $50/bottle (or $30 for a 8oz bottle!!) it becomes a really hard task. I went on a sulfate-free shampoo manhunt after my hairstylist recommended the switch to help repair my hair after getting it chopped off. I am happy to say that I landed on RUSK’s sulfate free shampoo & its matching conditioner and i love it!!!! So far it has been keeping my hair feeling extremely soft, clean and healthy!

Treat yourself tuesdayBrent & I booked our official honeymoon vacation to San Francisco!! Our friend is gifting us her beautiful home for the week and we are beyond excited to enjoy and explore the city together! Treat yourself tuesdayFriday we headed to Michigan for a weekend of fun! Saturday night we had a family Jamesons Whiskey tasting at our house. For the wedding Brent & I gifted my dad & step mom two bottles of Jameson’s making their collection of currently full bottles 4. So we had a little blind taste test. I am not a whiskey fan so my tastebuds definitely we not developed enough to determine what bottle what was coming from or even to say what was a quality whiskey vs. cheap whiskey. Needless to say I didn’t like any of them but the ones I liked the most were the least expensive bottles.

Treat yourself tuesday

At dinner my sister treated me to a scrapbook from my bachelorette party! It’s awesome to have a book to reflect on the fun night I had with my friends & family before the wedding.

After our whiskey tasting we headed downtown. My dad treated us to tickets to see the Dirty Dozen & Blind Boys of Alabama perform. Both were good, I was more partial to the Dirty Dozen as the music was more upbeat and for a younger crowd. The Blind Boys were good but just not really my style. Brent & I were likely the youngest people in the crowd.

Treat yourself tuesday

Sunday morning my dad treated us to a pancake breakfast before we headed to my cousins graduation party. It was fun getting to see some of our family in a smaller group setting after the wedding. We were actually able to chat with people and have real conversations without feeling like we were being pulled in 100 directions.

Treat yourself tuesday

Sunday night we were treated to an amazing meal with my Uncle and two of his friends. My uncles friend Mark invited us to his house and we enjoyed fruit & cheese before a delicious dinner of chicken piccata, green beans & mashed potatoes. HOLY YUM!!!! The dinner and company was amazing and totally made up for us getting on the road late and getting back to Arlington Heights really late.

Treat yourself tuesday

FINALLY, yesterday I treated us to a freshly made dinner. I really was making lunches for the week, taco salads, but they smelled so good that Brent & I made ourselves a huge bowl of taco salad for dinner. It was so good and so easy with really just a few fresh ingredients that made the whole difference. FYI guys fresh = best, I am sure my lunches the rest of the week won’t even compare to the dinner I ate last night!

Treat yourself tuesday

PHEW!!! That was a lot of treats for a week! I am excited about this short week and celebrating 4th of July weekend with friends this weekend.

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Wedding Recap – Bachelorette

HiYo!

So as you all know by now we got married on the 13th and I am slowly sharing some of the events that took place. So far I have told you about the case of the missing necklaces and our mini-moon to Mackinac, today I am sharing about my bachelorette party!

Brent & I got to Michigan on Tuesday and after a day of running errands on Wednesday we were excited to let loose and party with our friends who were in town Thursday. Since so many of our friends/family live outside of Ann Arbor we decided to forgo a weekend bachelor/bachelorette party prior to the wedding and do something the Thursday before the wedding when most people would be around anyway.

Wednesday Night out with the boys to the Cubs-Tigers Game

Wednesday Night out with the boys to the Cubs-Tigers Game

Our only criteria was to not meet up during the night, Brent really wanted a night with the guys and I was a-okay with that! I told my sister who was planning the event that I just wanted a fun night and to do something somewhat unconventional. She planned a fun scavenger hunt around town before us all meeting up for dinner.

Since some of the girls were not in town yet we broke up into a few groups and hit the town. My group included all my girlfriends Keri, Katie, Heather & Amalia. When we were in the car heading towards the first destination the 5 of us were determined to get all the answers and locations so we could have a game plan of where to go. Since Amalia and I were the only ones from Ann Arbor but are both directionally challenged our group definitely relied on google and google maps to help get us from point A to point B. We had almost all the answers to the questions and had so much fun running from location to location to take a group picture before running out of time and heading to meet up with the group at dinner.

Wedding Recap - Bachelorette Wedding Recap - Bachelorette Wedding Recap - Bachelorette

We “teepee’d” our rival high school, sprinted through town, made friends with strangers, chugged beer from a boot, disturbed a guy eating his sandwich (who was getting married in 43 days), played basketball with the boys, had ice cream (twice), looked for fairies & hovered over a brass M so we wouldn’t fail our first exam.

The other groups consisted of my cousins in one who were smarties and brought a selfie-stick so they were able to get everyone in each picture and some really fun shots of the group! And my aunts & adopted-aunts in another, they had more fun taking random pictures of themselves than finding the answers to the clues & tried to stall us when we were getting ice cream!

Cousin's group

Cousin’s group

We were definitely in need for a drink to cool off with after all our running around, but it was a great ice breaker and a really fun way to start the night. At dinner the other girls met up with us and we all enjoyed Crepes and salads before going to the bars.

The first bar we went to was having SALSA night & they took us step by step through the dance. Keri, Heather, Kristina & I hit the dance floor and were learning the moves… until they told us it was partner dance time and stressed the point that you needed rhythm. WELL I was voted worst dancer when I was in college so my rhythmless self headed back for another drink and left the girls on the dance floor.

Wedding Recap - Bachelorette

We bar hopped at little after we were all salsa’d out, going to an Irish bar & getting free car-bombs (ugh!) and then heading to get a fishbowl. When I would drink in Ann Arbor when in college I’d always get a fishbowl so it was only fitting to make that our last stop. Definitely forgot how much sugar is in those drinks… my belly didn’t love it! Before catching a cab back to the house we grabbed a couple tacos.

Wedding Recap - Bachelorette

It was a super fun night & so nice for the girls who were in town for the wedding to get to know each other before the wedding reception. I loved that all the girls at the reception were friendly and hanging out and some of the “awkwardness” was taken away!

Thanks to my sisters for planning such a fun night & to the girls for coming out and celebrating with me!

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What I Ate Mackinac Island

Hey Y’all!

In case you missed the memo and don’t follow me on social media (which you should, Instagram is where I am at!) a week and a half ago Brent & I got married!!!

We decided to forgo a large honeymoon right away and went on a short (too short) getaway to Mackinac Island, a 8mile pedestrian island off the coast of Michigan between the upper & lower peninsula. We headed to the island Sunday and after checking in we relaxed a bit enjoying our cheese & cracker spread in the room.

What I Ate Mackinac Island

After relaxing a bit we decided to headed out in search of real food. After hearing that the hotel restaurant was already closed for the night we decided to walk down into town and find somewhere that seemed happening.
p.s. how cool is it that the hotel room keys are REAL keys!!!

p.s. how cool is it that the hotel room keys are REAL keys!!!

We ended up at Seabiscuit cafe. We enjoyed a lively atmosphere of locals/seasonal help and chatted with the bartender Karl who has been working on the island for 10+ years. I enjoyed the fish & chips made with locally caught whitefish & Brent had the seafood jambalaya topped with mussels. The food was great & we got to learn more about the island from a few people who love it most!
 What I Ate Mackinac Island
After dinner we were both pretty tired that we decided to head back to the hotel and relax. On our walk back the fog was getting pretty thick and rolling in which captured the streets and trees in a fun and creepy misty glow.
 What I Ate Mackinac Island
Monday morning we got up early, headed to breakfast included in our package & enjoyed a beautiful view in the bar area over looking Lake Huron. After breakfast we decided to make our first adventure of the day a Carriage tour.
But First….
FUDGE! We stopped at JoAnns for some morning energy in sugar form… when on Mackinac Island right?! After sampling a couple flavors we settled on Double Dark Pecan and just got half a slice to enjoy during our tour.
 What I Ate Mackinac Island
We then hopped on a horse and carriage and learned a little more about the island and saw some sights while working our way up to the Butterfly house. We hopped off our first carriage and walked around the tourist trap shops, Grand Carriage house/barn & the butterfly house.
What I Ate Mackinac Island
After wondering a bit we jumped on our 3 horse carriage and made our way to Arch Rock & along the back roads of the island.
 What I Ate Mackinac Island
Once we made it back to town from our carriage tour we did some window shopping in the cute stores in town then decided lunch would be a good idea. While we both weren’t super hungry we also had not had anything to eat (other than fudge) since 10am so food was necessary to hold of any hanger ruining our day! We headed to a cute little beach restaurant across from our hotel that was highly recommended by some of the people we met the night before.
We split our sandwiches but Brent ordered the pulled pork panini & I got the bacon bison burger, we also got a side of truffle garlic-pram fries to share. Everything was AMAZING the fries were super flavorful and the burger & sandwich were perfectly flavored. We enjoyed a nice view of the lake and got to see the fog/mist start to break and clear up. When we were finishing lunch the couple next to us asked if we wanted their tickets for the fort. Brent & I were debating on buying tickets for the fort or for the Grand Hotels porch so when they offered we gladly accepted!
What I Ate Mackinac Island
After lunch we headed upstairs and changed to go biking. We had a 4hour bike rental included in our package and because the island is only 8miles around biking is a big attraction. We grabbed our bikes and headed around the island stopping occasionally to take pictures & selfies before heading back into town and up to the fort.
We rode up the HUGE hill to the fort then walked around a bit, when we got in the fort they were just starting to do a riffle demonstration so we watched that before taking in the sites over the edge of the fort walls. I was not very interested in learning/relearning the history of Mackinac and the fort this trip so looking over the edge and seeing the island from a birds eye view was much more appealing. We also got to see them flare the cannon which was fun too!
What I Ate Mackinac Island Next stop… FUDGE!!!!!! Yep we needed some more sugar and sweets. We headed to Murdicks after a recommendation from a friend to get some more fudge for the trip home. I was extra excited because when we got there they were cooking up a batch of fudge. Brent had never seen anyone make fudge before so I was excited for him to get a glimpse because it mesmerizes me.
We sampled A TON of flavors at Murdicks before settling on three flavors: Turtle, Chocolate & Peanut Butter & Double Dark Espresso. After our nose & taste buds were sugared out we headed back to the hotel to relax a bit with chocolate covered strawberries & champagne before dinner.
 What I Ate Mackinac Island
Dinner was at Chianti at Mission Pointe, we got dressed up and headed down and were seated by the porch which was gorgeous! We were greeted at the table with a glass of prosecco before ordering appetizers to share. I was excited to order some mussels and Brent ordered the prosciutto platter. Both were great but the mussels really did me in, they were SO GOOD & might be my new favorite food to be honest!
 What I Ate Mackinac Island
We both ordered a glass of Malbec, they had two on their menu so I ordered one and Brent got the other! Then for dinner I enjoyed the pistachio crusted lamb chops & Brent the prime grilled ribeye, both were great!
After dinner we ran upstairs changed into comfy clothing and headed to the hotel bar to watch the rest of the Blackhawks game. Brent got into some conversations with the hotel pianist about hockey while we watched the Hawks win the cup!
Tuesday morning started similarly to Monday with breakfast at the hotel. We packed up, checked out and headed into town before catching the ferry. I wanted to stop at one of the shops we went to the day before and pick up a trinket to remember our mini-moon to Mackinac.
 What I Ate Mackinac Island
I went into a little artists consignment shop and i found this super cute typewriter key locket-charm with a “B” on it. As my married name is now BELL I thought this was the perfect little thing to remember our wedding & mini-moon by.
What I Ate Mackinac IslandWe walked down the street and returned to a store we were in the day before and grabbed this Mackinac Island sign that I cannot wait to hang in our house. Right now its sitting on a shelf but I envision it on our mantle or bookshelf when we have a home and love that it is something we can look at and be reminded of the bliss we enjoyed when we went to Mackinac after our perfect day!
 What I Ate Mackinac Island
After our shopping trip we headed to the ferry line and said good bye to the little slice of paradise that is Mackinac. Thankfully when we got home Tuesday night we were able to enjoy a little more of our trip by digging into our FUDGE!
What I Ate Mackinac IslandA short but perfect mini-moon is in the books. Next vacation is being planned and I cannot wait to have a week of relaxation and exploration to look forward to now that our wedding has come and gone!
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Linking up with Jen for What I Ate Wednesday… make sure you head over to her blog to see what everyone else is chowing on! 

Wedding Recap – Missing Necklaces

Happy Monday!!

I hope you guys follow me on instagram but if you don’t than let me get you up to speed really quick… Brent & I got married last Saturday, I cannot believe we have been Mr & Mrs for 9 days already! I have a whole round up of wedding post’s planned but want to wait for our professional photos until I go to far into them so for now I will be bringing you up to speed on some of the events and happenings leading up to the wedding.

The week leading up to the wedding was amazing and then our wedding day was perfect and last week I just wanted to soak in all that life had blessed us with and savor every last drop of our wedding week.

Wedding Recap - Missing Necklaces

Well, not quite the WHOLE week leading up the wedding was perfect, we had one slight hiccup that I am pretty sure had my hair turning gray and an ulcer the size of my head growing in my stomach. The necklaces that I had my heart set on and ordered from Etsy were MIA.

Not really MIA but they were definitely being a challenge. I ordered the necklaces for the girls in March figuring I would have them in plenty of time and trying not to procrastinate on anything important. When April came around and the necklaces had not been shipped I contacted the Etsy seller who told me that due to some unexpected family events she was not able to get the necklaces done yet but she would have them to me in “plenty of time” for the wedding. I was sympathetic and understanding so went on with the remaining wedding planning.

Then May came rolling around and we were just 4 weeks from the wedding. I contacted her again and was informed that the necklaces would be shipped within the week.

A week then went by and my necklaces still had not been shipped. She told me at that point that she had almost all of them done by the time the postoffice closed and she would mail them Monday, Memorial Day & just 19 days before the wedding and 15 days before we were leaving Illinois for the week. I was in panic mode, she lives in Canada and I was very skeptical about the tight time frame. The necklaces shipped and we started the tracking game to see when they would arrive.

After a couple days of tracking we started to get pretty confused. We watched the necklaces go from Chicago to Elk Grove Village (right by my office) to Rochester, NY back to Elk Grove and back to Rochester before making a bee-line to Syracuse… What the WHAT?! this package had a mind of its own!

We called the USPS and filed a claim because there was something just not right! Over that weekend I made a trip to a local jewelry store and bought replacement necklaces, which were similar but not my favorite and needed some tweaking to make right, but they would work if my necklaces did not come.

On Monday 6/8 just 5 days before the wedding, I received a call from a postal service worker explaining to me that due to the writing on the package it will “never arrive” because the shipper “wrote something crazy on the box” and that he was sorry he couldn’t do more. Welp after a couple tears, being pretty pissed and frustrated that my MARCH order would not arrive in JUNE I got over the necklaces, sent a few angry messages to the lady making them asking for my money back and came to terms that my alternative necklaces were now going to be real life. And I was okay with it.

Around 9:30pm Monday night Brent comes barreling down the stairs and tells me that the package arrived in Palatine which is the town RIGHT next to us. With Brent’s encouragement I called the Palatine distribution center where our package was sitting and asked if I could come pick it up.

Heres a dictation of my conversation with Barb (my new best friend):
Me – “HI my name is Allison Guttman and I have a package that is there… can I please come pick it up” (in a very rushed panicked voice)
Barb – “Oh honey that is actually illegal”
Me – “But you don’t understand I talked to someone earlier and he told me it was never going to arrive and I am leaving tomorrow and this has gone from IL to NY 3 times….”
Barb – “ok okay why don’t you give me the tracking number”
Me – “CA123…..”
Barb – “Well I can tell you right now I have never had a tracking with letters come through but I’ll try…”

A few minutes went by and she searched the computer then she said she would call be back before 10:30pm… Around 10:15pm I received a phone call from a random Illinois.
Me – “Hello”
Barb – “Hello, Allison? This is Barb S____ from the United States Post Office, I am calling you on my personal cell phone because I am IN THE PIT to look for your package”
Me – “ahhh thank you so much!!!!!”
Barb – “Ill call you back later”

About 20 minutes later my phone rings again…
Me – “Hello?”
Barb – “Hello Allison, this is Barb S_____ from the United States Post Office and I HAVE YOUR PACKAGE!!!!!”
Me – “Thank you SOO much!!! You have seriously saved the day!”
Barb – “don’t thank me, thank Dan Bell he is the one approving you to pick this up. Please write that name down you’ll need it when you get here”
Me – “OKAY! Thats easy that will be my new last name in 5 days!”
Barb – “Oh Honey are these the necklaces for your wedding?”
Me – “YES!!!”
Barb – “You’ll just have to tell everyone that the United States Post Office saved the wedding!”

So Brent & I climb into the car drive over to the post office and I feel like I am high on life. We run into the building and are greeted by the one and only Barb S behind the counter. I gave her a HUGE hug when she gave us the package and am beyond grateful that she went above and BEYOND to do her job.

Wedding Recap - Missing Necklaces Wedding Recap - Missing Necklaces

I would have never expected to have such amazing customer service from a USPS employee especially after being told that it was something they DO NOT allow in the first place.

The necklaces looked GREAT with the girls dresses and were the perfect accent, PLUS I have a crazy & pretty entertaining story to tell for them as well! I told the girls the story at the rehearsal dinner when I gave them their gifts & everyone was laughing pretty hard. It was honestly a save at the 11th hour.

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Bride To Be #BreakYouMake

Calling all Brides to Be…

Are you worried about every detail? & Waiting on those RSVP’s and fiddling with the seating chart?
Are you watching what you eat & focusing on how much you workout to make sure your wedding dress fits perfectly?
Do you wake up at night thinking of things on your to-do list or thank you notes that haven’t been sent out?

Well if you answered YES to any of these (or the many more I neglected to write) than this post is for YOU!

Seeing as my life right now is revolving around the fact that in 9 speedy days I will be with my best friends walking down the aisle to meet my BEST friend & prince charming at the alter.

Wedding Logo

But that perfect day doesn’t come as easy as it seems in the fairy tales. The planning, budgeting, details and coordination definitely takes a toll on your mental state and can cause a lot of stress within yourself, your relationship & sometimes on both families.

Last week I decided to partner with Chobani Flips for their new #BreakYouMake project which is all about living a healthy lifestyle and taking a break, because lets face it WAY to many people have stress in their life. When I needed to nominate someone who deserved a break I instantly thought “man I need a break” then thought EVERYONE needs a break, but thats not really the challenge so I pick ALL you brides.

Take some extra time to yourself, relax, separate from the wedding plans and enjoy your life because once the wedding is over thats what you’re left with and I promise that the wedding planning will be SO much more fun if you are able to enjoy it.

Last week being that it was 2 weeks until our wedding I decided I needed to start to step away, relax and reward myself. I want to be 100% present & enjoy our wedding week without an ounce of stress or regret so I have slowly started to take more time to do things that I love to do & I challenge you to do so too!

Here are some ideas of things to help Destress
to help you take the #BreakYouMake & deserve…

Go For A Run
I always find that after a run I feel better & have more energy to take on the world and all my to-do list activities. Taking the time to get fresh air, vitamin D and pump up those endorphins! Or if you’re not a runner hit the gym, exercise of ANY kind is great for the mind, body & soul!

#BreakYouMake

Hit The Steam Room
The other day I was just too tired to finish my workout, my arms were on fire and I felt like between my run & lifting I had done my body good. So rather than stressing out and finishing the lifting session I headed to the steam room for some serious relaxation. I left the room feeling rejuvenated and relaxed!

Do ONE Thing On The Checklist
If you’re anything like me that to do list can be the most stress inducing thing ever but by just finishing one task on it can make you feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulder. So set aside some time to do one of those tasks, don’t stress about it, just get it done & cross it off your list.

#BreakYouMake

Linking up with Amanda while sharing these Thursday thoughts on stress.

Make NON-Wedding Related Plans 
Catch up with some girlfriends, hit the metro park or plan a date night with your soon to be hubby. Do something that has nothing to do with the wedding at all. This can be super easy but also really rewarding, socializing with other people who are not neck deep in wedding planning can bring you back to reality!

A mimosa & a cupcake never hurt!

A mimosa & a cupcake never hurt!

Practice Your Wedding Dance
Brent & I had an impromptu dance practice the other night and it made me extra excited for all the wedding festivities plus make the fact that we will be announced as HUSBAND & WIFE a really real situation. After our quick dance session I honestly felt like the stress that was on my shoulders melted away!

Make A Healthy Meal
So often when we are stressed out we turn to unhealthy foods, comfort foods and sweet treats. Take some time to make yourself something that is good for you, that you love and that will give you all the vitamins & energy that you will need to tackle all this wedding planning. A healthy & delicious meal goes a long way in reducing stress!

I am all out of greek yogurt right now but a healthy snack of greek yogurt with some granola or fruit would be right up my alley!

#BreakYouMake

So Ms. Over Planning And Slightly Freaked Out Bride To Be, take a step back during this planning process and remember to enjoy it all!! Remember that it is about your relationship with your man and stressing about having the perfect day is taking that away from the meaning. If you spend all the time stressing you won’t be able to enjoy the process, so take #BreakYouMake and stop stressing!

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Brides To Be – What is one way you have given yourself a break lately?
Married Ladies – What advice do you have for us Brides To Be during this time?

Treat Yourself Tuesday

HiYo!

Happy Tuesday everyone! We are on the downswing towards wedding weekend and I have been living up some local relaxation & treats. So what better way to share than today with my girl Becky.

EEEK its June!!!

EEEK its June!!!

This weekend was a great treat. I felt like we had most of our wedding stuff done so we got to enjoy some extra time around Arlington Heights without too much on the schedule. I did fit in some final wedding crafting so now it is all, basically, done!

Treat Yourself Tuesday

Friday night we opened the mailbox and found our first Mr & Mrs envelope! It was pretty exciting for both Brent & I. Its the little things in life guys!

treat yourself tuesday

Saturday was filled with some running around, we had a few things on the docket which included a couple trips to return some duplicate gifts & Brent treated himself to a Cubs Jersey & hat for the game next Wednesday.

Sunday I was treated by a girlfriend to a small Chicago Shower. It was so nice to meet for brunch and get to hang out with a few of my friends. We enjoyed strawberry mimosas, quiche, bacon & some delicious salads. It was a beautiful spread & so delicious! We hung out and chatted for a long time before all heading our separate ways.

#blessed

#blessed

Monday I treated myself to a few new spring vegetables. We have been eating the SAME thing on repeat for the past 4 weeks, and as much as I love zucchini & chicken I needed a change. So I headed to the store with my eyes open to new vegetables that didn’t scare me. I decided to pick up some Artichokes, however due to the price I didn’t get a ton so still ended up with my zucchini & summer squash staple.

Before heading to the gym last night I cooked up the veggies, and grilled up the artichokes. Let me tell you, the artichokes are not too hard to make and they are delicious!!!! I am excited to have a fun vegetable to add to my typical lunch this week.

Treat yourself tuesday

And Today I am treating myself to a lazy morning & maybe a trip to Target to get some of the last minute things I need for the wedding before going into work a bit later than typically!

Have a great day!

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