Bar Cart Basics

Today, we’re talking about one of my favorite pieces of furniture – ever.

[Hint: it rhymes with car fart.] 😉

Is a bar cart a necessity? Nope Depends on who you ask. Does it have potential to be the most stylish piece in your home that also serves the very important purpose of holding your most cherished libations? Absolutely.

When it comes to interior decorating, time and patience is a virtue. Some pieces you seek out and know exactly what you want, while others are just ideas waiting to be found and executed. Same goes with styling your bar cart. My best advice is to stock up on the essentials (quick buys) and the other knick knacks will come together over time. So, in hopes of inspiring you to add a new piece of functional furniture to your space or rearrange your current situation – I’m sharing my bar cart essentials.  

THE CART | Bar carts can follow under a wide price range but I’ve linked some more affordable options below. Choose a design that suits your personality but that will also be aesthetically pleasing and fit your space. Personally, I prefer a thinner design with not a lot of bulk. After all, I’m going to load it down with lots of stuff so the simpler the better.  

TOOLS | A shaker, bottle opener, and jigger are must-haves. Other tools like a strainer, muddler, bar spoon, and lemon peeler/zester are good additions if you’re wanting to whip up some slightly advanced craft-like cocktails.

LIBATIONS | Stocking up on booze is the fun part. While I’m always tempted to judge alcohol based on how pretty their bottles are (silly, I know), it’s best to go with what you know you like. If you like Burnett’s because it reminds you of college, then live your life and add that thing to your cart. (But really try Ketel One – it’s great). Keep a variety of liquors on hand, so that way your company has a small menu of options to choose from. (I’m not a huge fan of darker liquors but keep a stash for guests.) Vodka/gin (do both!), tequila and whiskey is a good place to start.

For mixers – I recommend on keeping ginger beer, flavored sparkling soda, juice, tonic and/or soda water on hand at all times. You never know when a long day might call for more than a glass of wine. 😉 I keep my mixers chilled in the fridge – must leave room for a few decorative pieces.

ADDITIONS | Bitters, a bowl of citrus, books, and fresh florals are not must-haves but really complete the look. Bitters (highly concentrated flavored alcohol) are kind of like spices for your cocktail. My favorite brands include 18·21 Bitters, Scrappys and Fee Brothers. I like to keep a couple fresh lemons and limes on hand at all times so even if I’m just making a gin & tonic, I can add fresh lemon wedge. A small, dainty bowl is the perfect home for citrus. I also love stacking small books to add height and serve as inspiration for recipes. Fresh florals don’t serve a real purpose besides just looking pretty – making your bar cart less about being an open shelf and more about being a styled design element in your living room.

Happy decorating (& drinking)!

My Favorite Podcasts

Have y’all heard of this new thing called podcasts?

Kidding, you guys. I’m late to the podcast party but boy have I made up for lost time. I have to credit Abbye on getting me started and must thank Karen and Georgia for keeping me hooked.

Admittingly, I used to wonder how my work buddy, Alina, could listen to her podcasts while working – but now it’s my favorite way to get focused. Earbuds in, a podcast playing, and I’m more productive than ever.

Here are my current favorites …     

1. If you binge watch Criminal Minds (& have a crush on Dr. Reid), you will probably enjoyMy Favorite Murder

I could listen to Karen and Georgia (& Stephen) for hours on end. I thoroughly enjoy the first couple minutes of “housekeeping,” live for their rehashing of their favorite murders and even find myself entertained by their self-read advertisements. They somehow manage to teeter the edge of TMI with just enough gory details to make you think, “what the hell?!?” Their commentary is hilarious without being offensive. They always tell you exactly what to google if you want to look up that gruesome photo they’re discussing – we’re all guilty of this, don’t lie to yourself. Basically, they are the two best friends you didn’t know you needed.  [Must-listen episode – ep 71 Put It In A Door*]

*but you should really listen to them all, in no particular order. 

2. If you consider yourself a part of #BachelorNation and still follow Shawn B on Snapchat, you will probably enjoyOff The Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe

Kaitlyn Bristowe recently launched her new podcast and although she’s only 3 episodes in, I’ve subscribed and I’m hooked. It’s a delightful reprieve from the world’s more serious issues and the perfect podcast to listen to when you need to check out and un-wine (sorry, had to). [Must-listen episode – Her first episode is co-hosted by Shawn B. so start there.]

3. If you love watching Jimmy Fallon interview celebrities on YouTube, you will probably enjoyAnna Faris is Unqualified

Full disclosure – I’ve only listened to a handful of episodes, but I’ve loved every one. Anna Faris is charming and charismatic while she hosts a wide range of celebrities – from the likes of Allison Janney to Andy Cohen. She offers genuine advice to listeners and callers, usually with the help of one of her Hollywood friends and Sim (producer and co-host). It’s an easy listen and the perfect background noise to have playing when you’re trying to get through your inbox. [Must-listen episode – ep 17 with Chris Evans and Jenny Slate]

4. If you remember when that Georgia school teacher went missing in 2005, you will probably enjoyUp and Vanished

Thanks to MFM, my intrigue with murderous crimes has only increased. Up and Vanished is a natural fit based on my interests. Fellow Atlantan, Payne Lindsey, unravels a middle Georgia cold case that has a small town at the center of murder mystery. The Tara Grinstead case is over 10 years old, but new discoveries and arrests are happening in real time. Can we credit Payne Lindsay for the recent progress made with the case? Listen and judge for yourself. [Must-listen episode – Start with ep 1 so you can get the full story from the beginning!]

5. If you like to dissect every episode of the Bachelor/ette until your head hurts, you will probably enjoyHere to Make Friends

A HuffPost podcast, this broadcast is hosted by Emma Gray and Claire Fallon. The duo lovingly snarks on the Bachelor franchise, episode by episode. So now you can relive those eye-rolling moments with sentiments from 2 women who are most likely thinking the same thoughts as you. They occasionally will have a celebrity guest on who is equally as captivated by The Bachelor as you are. Stars are just like us!  [Favorite episode – S13e3, Allison Williams co-hosts!]

As you can see, I definitely have a type – murders and pop culture. I would love for you to share your favorites (even if they don’t follow under the aforementioned categories). 😉 I’m always looking for a good listen!

 

Peony Provisions

It’s the most wonderful time of year!

Patios are opening, temperatures are rising and peonies are blooming. There is no shortage of peony posts on my Instagram feed and I don’t hate it. Admittingly, I stalk Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s like a crazy lady for peonies and scoop up a bunch every time they’re available. But these lush flowers are popular for good reason – not only are they photogenic ( 😉 ) but they smell wonderful.

So after stumbling upon some peony-scented cleaning supplies (seriously, 2 of my favorite things combined) I was inspired to track down every other floral product so I could enjoy the scent long after my bouquet dies. From skincare to home fragrance – I’ve rounded up 7 of my favorites …

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

Wall Decor Wishlist

I’ve been in my new apartment for just over a month and now that everything is in its place (but is it ever really?), I’m focusing my attention on wall decor.

| wall art dream board featuring Slim Aarons & Gray Malin

I have a bare spot in my bedroom that needs some love. With my room being very neutral – lots of whites and greys – I’m envisioning the wall décor to add a pop of color. I’m still deciding between a small, curated gallery wall or just a simple, framed piece of artwork but leaning towards the latter. While I would love nothing more than to splurge on a Slim Aaron or Gray Malin (examples featured above), I’m opting for a more cost-friendly option. In my search for the perfect piece, I rounded up 5 of my favorites that are all under $100…

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out.

She’s a firecracker, that mother of mine, and I love her to pieces! Even when we have our differences (which is more often than not) she’s always been my cheerleader, confidant and number one adviser. I think that’s what makes mothers so wonderful – their unconditional love (& ability to provide unsolicited advice on how to live your life). 😉

In honor of our beloved matriarchs day, I’ve rounded up 7 gifts for any kind of mama – the traveler, the chef, the homemaker and the firecracker…      

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

For more inspo, check out my previous Mother’s Day gift guides here and here.

Bachelorettes Do Nashville

This Thursday I’m throwing it back to Allison’s bachelorette weekend in Nashville….

…because today is her wedding day!

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

Allison and Brandon are currently eloping atop Sunset Rock in Highland, North Carolina and I’m over here just impatiently waiting for them to return to Atlanta so we can all celebrate on Saturday. Until then, let’s recap her last fling as a single lady.

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

Per usual, Nashville did not disappoint. Our weekend was a leisure one, kicking off with a taco dinner and lingerie party at our Airbnb Friday night. We spent Saturday day drinking on the rooftop at Acme and just soaking up each other’s company.

 

Something that made the weekend even more special was a thoughtful surprise planned by our sweet and talented friend Sarah. Sarah is an Atlanta-based photographer and was able to connect with Nashville local, Rachel of Brasspenny Photography, to host a photoshoot for us. Since Allison is eloping and wouldn’t have the traditional bridesmaid pictures, we thought it would be a treat to plan a photoshoot to commemorate the weekend.

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

*PS – the confetti tossed above is biodegradable, something I said multiple times, out loud, so that strangers knew we weren’t trying to litter the beautiful pedestrian bridge. 😉 

I must admit, trekking around 12South with a herd of 13 women followed by a photographer felt a little obnoxious and awkward – but the pictures turned out beautiful, making the weird glances and snickers from strangers well worth it. Rachel was an absolute gem and was a pro at corralling us to get some good shots.

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography | 

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |  

| Clearly, we get extremely excited when champagne is popped! |  

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Where We Stayed

The Best AirBnB in 12South (which is sadly no longer listed!)

Where We Played

SOUTH

The Stage

 

Where We Ate

Acme

Moto

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| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

Cheers to you, Mrs. Allison James. Your bride tribe loves you a lot!

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For more bachelorette inspiration, see our trips to Miami, Charleston I, Charleston II, and the North Georgia Mountains.

Backyard Movie Party

Being an aunt has so many perks.

One of those perks being able to have all the fun without the added pressure of having to actually parent a tween.  

I’m sure my sister is thinking, “your time will come, Bree. Just you wait.” 😉

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It’s safe to say I get my party planning skills from my sissy. Maybe it’s our southern roots or something we inherited from our mother, but we love playing hostess. Come springtime, we join forces to plan my niece’s birthday and it’s always so much fun. It also gives us an excuse to load up on paper products and party décor (something that we both do without reason too frequently).   

The conversation usually goes like this:

Me: “What are you planning for Morgan’s birthday?”

My sister: “I don’t know yet. But whatever I do, I’m keeping it small this year.”

Me: “Yeah, small is good. She’s only turning 11.”

…famous last words

Countless phone calls and 72 pins later… my brother-in-law is blowing up a giant movie screen, my mother is rolling out homemade fondant and my sister and I rearranging air mattresses in the grass. You only turn 11 once!    

Last year Morgan’s party was art-focused with a floral motif, this year was a relaxed backyard movie soiree. With Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as the feature film and 20 tweens in attendance, we pulled off another unforgettable birthday! Here are a few snapshots from the party…

| Couldn’t pass up an opportunity to make my caramel bacon popcorn! |

| Invitations via Paperless Post

| Party Favors: stationary + a note from the birthday girl herself. |

| Menu: corn dogs, raw veggies, french fries and glass-bottled sodas |

| acrylic popcorn containers |

| cake plates + napkins |

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Happy Birthday, Morgan!

Hand-Embroidered with Love

Long time no see, friends! I took a semi-intentional break from blogging while preparing for my move (ie: all my cute sh*t was packed up so I technically couldn’t shoot any content). Shame on me for not planning ahead! March was a busy month all around, with two weddings and a move so I let myself neglect G&J for a bit. But I’m back today and I’m sharing previously promised and very delayed post on how to hand embroider your comfiest t-shirt.

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I have such an affinity for cheeky tees, and more recently embroidered ones.

They are clean, simple and I love the added detail of a stitched saying. For Alden’s bachelorette, I made each girl a shirt to have as a little souvenir. I’ll be honest, this project was a little trickier than I anticipated. It took me a few tries to get the hang of the backstitch, but once I got use to the technique, the project became surprisingly relaxing. I would work on 1 or 2 shirts every night while catching up on my dVR – #multitasking.

SUPPLIES | T-shirt + Embroidery Thread + Embroidery Needle + Disappearing Ink Pen + Wine

STEP x STEP |

  • To make your pattern/stencil, type your desired phrase (use a semi-thick font) and print on a white piece of paper.
  • Cut out a box around your pattern and slip the piece of paper inside your shirt. The lighter the tee, the easier it is to see your stencil.
  • Trace onto the shirt using a disappearing ink pen. Once you’re happy with your word/phrase placement, you can begin threading the embroidery floss and needle.
  • Cut a long strand of the floss – the length really depends on how long your word or phrase is but if you ran out, you can always re-thread and pick up where you left off.
  • Before you thread the needle, split the floss in half, so that you have 2 strands with 3 strings in each. (See photo below)
  • The trick when threading the needle is to push the eye of the needle through the thread (instead of pushing the thread through the needle). This video explains it best.
  • Now that you have traced your word or phrase and threaded your needle, take a sip gulp of wine and get started!
  • Use the back-stitch to complete your word (this video is super helpful, skip to 0:18). When you make the first stitch, tie a not on the inside of your shirt, as shown below.
  • Continue stitching, making sure your stitches are short so that you have more control over the line or curve of the letter. The shorter the stitch, the smoother the lines.
  • Once you’re finished with the entire bottle of wine word, knot the thread to secure it in place and clean off any dangling threads on the inside of the shirt.
  • When knotting the thread at the end of your word, make sure not to pull the thread too tight. You don’t want to pull the thread from the front because it will gather the fabric in between the stitches. 

Don’t forget to dip the area of the embroidered word in water to remove the pen marks. This pen is water soluble and the ink vanished almost immediately.

If you’re not an expert seamstress (*raises hand*) don’t let this project intimidate you. With the help of YouTube and a glass of wine, you would be surprised about how much you can accomplish. If you decide to try this DIY, I would love to see your finished product – send me a Snap!

My Spring Agenda

After Atlanta’s surprise cold snap last week, I welcomed spring with open arms. Even though I will forever be a fan of fall, spring time is a close second.

In Atlanta, we tend not to experience “true seasons” so our winters aren’t terrible. Still, I always look forward to March and April when the temps start to rise. It’s warm enough for sandals and patio happy hours but not miserably hot and humid.

As we all know, I’m a list maker so I’ve jotted down 8 things I want accomplish while the weather is so enjoyable…    

What will you be getting into this spring?

Cheij Yes!

You’re not experiencing déjà vu – just another post re: a bachelorette trip (plus a super simple DIY project)!  

One of my sweetest friends, Alden, is getting married this weekend. We had the best time throwing her a shower back in November and a few weeks ago we got together again for her bachelorette in the *North Georgia mountains. It was such a nice break from the city – the perfect amount of relaxation and activity. And by activity…I mean going to a winery. 😉  

Because I’m always looking for an excuse to go shopping, I put together little gift bags for everyone to enjoy over the weekend. While all “bach bags” are different (examples here & here), this version is one of my favorites – focused on a self-pampering and keeping cozy. Since there were only 8 of us, I was able to DIY most of the contents. Here is what I included: 

Tote | The bags were from Forever 21 and fit the girly theme perfectly.

Pink Mug (DIY below) | I picked up blank mugs from Ikea and added eye lashes using an oil-based Sharpie. The added deco was simple enough but added an extra girly touch.

Boozy Hot Cocoa | In effort to keep things easy, I stuffed the mugs with hot cocoa packets, mini bottles of Bailey’s or Kahlua and homemade marshmallows.

Sheet Masks | What girls weekend is complete without doing a mask in your PJ’s? I ordered these from Target and included one in each bag.

Candle (DIY here) | You guys know I’ve been on a major candle-making kick lately! For Alden’s girls weekend, I personalized the labels with Beyonce-inspired names, paying homage to Alden’s love for Queen Bey.  

Hand-embroidered Tees (DIY coming soon) | I wanted the girls to have something that would remind them of our fun weekend, so I embellished white Old Navy tee’s with Alden and Matt’s wedding hashtag – Cheij Yes! (Cheij – pronounced Shay – is Alden’s soon-to-be last name.)        

Homemade Chex Mix | Lastly, I wanted to include a snack. My sister’s chex mix recipe has made me look good on numerous occasions, so it was a no brainer that I would make some for our weekend. Filling cellophane bags with a dry snack is always an easy option to toss in any gift bag.

   

 

Traveler’s Note: As I mentioned earlier, the weekend was very low key. While we didn’t leave our warm cabin often, we did make a trip to 12 Spies Winery and Fortify for dinner. Both of which I highly recommend if you ever find yourself in the area!

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DIY Eyelash Coffee Mug

SUPPLIES | Mug + Oil-based Sharpie

STEP x STEP |

  1. Wipe down your mug with a wet cloth, making sure the surface is completely clean and dry.
  2. Draw the desired design or text on your mug using an oil-based I used a stencil, but you can absolutely free hand. If you mess up, a quick swipe of acetone will remove the ink.
  3. Let your mug dry for 72 hours. I know, I know this seems like a long time but this will ensure that your design will stay put.
  4. Once 3 long days have passed, place your mug in a cold oven and heat to 425 degrees.
  5. Bake the mug for 1 hour. Once 1 hour has passed, turn off the oven and let the mug cool completely in the oven
  6. This method helps keep the mug from cracking. I recommend baking your mug at the end of the day, so it can cool completely overnight. I also recommend handwashing and not putting you precious new mug in the dishwasher.

Check back next week for a full breakdown on how to embroider your own t-shirt!

G&J’s First Fan

My bff and first follower of G&J is leaving me for Nashville. <insert sobbing emoji here>

Even though we’re consciously uncoupling and I’m so excited for her next chapter – I’m really, really going to miss her.  

Quick background – Stacey and I have been friends for 9 years. We met in college, bonded while working at Boardwalk in Valdosta (& over pitchers of beer at Charley O’s) and became super close when we moved in together our junior year. Since then, we both had stints in New York (& in PR) and when she made the move to Atlanta 2 years ago, I was estatic to have my best friend as my roomie again.

| This is the day she moved to New York and I remember crying when I was walking to meet her at Shake Shack because I was beside myself excited that I would finally have a friend in the City. |  

I don’t know what I’m going to do without my bestie and in-house food critic. I can always count on her to try any of my recipes (& give me honest feedback). She never judges me when I schlep bar tools from the kitchen to our deck to shoot posts (usually in my pajamas) and always lends her well-manicured hands for a photo (evidence below).

So in honor of Stacey’s big move – I thought I would recap all the times she helped me/starred in this little passion project of mine.

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Remember when she taught us how to master the store-bought flower arrangements?

I’m always thankful for her honesty, like when she tried my zucchini brownies and informed me that my secret ingredient was zucchini and I wasn’t that sneaky…

The girl can roast one hell of a chicken and my future husband will thank her one day 😉

Her green thumb kept our deck flourishing all summer

I’ll miss her most on Saturday’s (our favorite day) when she would make me the best avocado toast and bacon breakfasts.

She loves beauty products just as much as I do and I will always look to her for recommendations.

Last but certainly not least, one of my favorite memories from living in our townhome was when we threw our first dinner party for her 25th birthday.  

Stace – I know you will only be 4 hours away and 1 hour behind – but it’s going to be quiet in Atlanta without ya!

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Library List

One of my goals for 2017 is to read more and scroll thru Instagram (a little bit) less. 

I love getting wrapped up in a page-turner but very rarely make the time to sit down and enjoy the act of actually turning pages. Audio books on the other hand – are my jam.  This year, I’m going to make a conscious effort to read before bed instead of spending 45 minutes checking Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat again. While I have a growing list of books to check off my list, these are my top 5…

1* // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Would love to hear your suggestions – feel free to leave in book recommendations in the comment section. 

*Editor’s note: I know The Shack is an oldie, but the movie is coming out in March which has motivated me to knock this one out first. 

Twenty Seventeen

Anyone else waste away New Year’s Day watching movies and eating black eyed peas Chinese food?

| Loving my Lightbox, the cutest gift from Meredyth. |

…asking for a friend.  

Apologies for the radio silence, you guys. I’ve been on an accidental hiatus the past few weeks and have been enjoying the holidays. I must admit, the new year snuck up on me. One minute I felt like I had all the time in the world and then the next minute, it’s January 2nd and I’m on my 3rd movie in 24 hours wondering where my motivation is at. New Year’s resolution #1 – more posts, less procrastinating. 😉

So I hope you’re excited for what G&J has in store for 2017. Check back Wednesday for a new post and in the meantime, shake up this rose-infused cocktail because The Bachelor is back tonight!

Season’s Greetings

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the influx of snail mail, mainly in the form of Christmas cards.

SONY DSC

While my personal holiday greeting doesn’t include a family photo of a husband and kid(s) – I do love seeing everyone else’s. (Ones that include dogs always receive prime display real estate.)  So in honor of keeping the mailman extra busy this year, I’ve rounded up my top 5 favorite sources for personalized (& boxed) holiday cards…

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Paperless Post

I especially love their … Mr. Boddington’s Studio collection and complimentary addressing.  

You should probably order by … December 13th

Discount codes … 20% off with the code WINTERISCOMING

 

Minted

I especially love theirgold foil designs!

You should probably order by … December 9th

Discount codes … 15% off with code SIMPLE15HOL  

 

Rifle Paper Co. 

I especially love their … postcard options!

You should probably order by … December 13th

Discount codes … not at the moment, but keep checking back.

 

Paper Culture

I especially love their … mission of planting one tree for every order.

You should probably order by … December 10th

Discount codes … 50% off, no code needed (expires 12/7)

 

Postable

I especially love that … can print, stamp and mail each card for you.

You should probably order by … December 10th

Discount codes … not at the moment, but keep checking back.

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| Paperless Post – More Gin Please

Happy ordering!

xo Bree

Alden’s Bridal Shower

If planning wedding showers were a hobby, it would be mine.

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A few weeks ago, we celebrated one of my oldest and best friend’s upcoming nuptials with a fall bridal shower. Thanks to three very organized bridesmaids, helping host Alden’s party was a breeze. While entertaining at your home can be a large undertaking, I’m all about splitting the work (menu) and utilizing the tools (partyware) you already have.

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Invitations from Minted |

Another tip to make a party more enjoyable and less stressful – semi-homemade light bites. Even though I love cooking and homemade-from-scratch is my preferred method, sometimes time is just not on your side. For the shower, we kept the menu simple with items that we could pick up from the store and easily jazz up the morning of.

The Menu

Mini Quiches (garnished with fresh herbs)

Caprese Kabobs (drizzled with a balsamic reduction)

Chicken Salad Croissants (Chicken Salad Chick meet buttery croissants)

Pimento Cheese Philo Cups (added bacon crumbles to Palmetto Cheese)

Powdered Donuts (adorned with glitter ‘diamonds’)

Fruit Salad (served in a beautiful bowl)

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing (topped with fresh blueberries)

Mimosa Bar

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| pro tip: use extra invites to make hang tags | 

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Here are a few more snapshots from the shower…

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| game prizes: Candlefish Candle & Bridal Shower Bingo

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| Party Favors: Acrylic Popcorn Container & Bacon Caramel Popcorn | 

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| MOH & MOB | 

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| The Gish & Cheij Ladies! | 

xo Bree

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We love you, Alden! Can’t wait for March. xx

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