Taking Stock: April



Hello all!

What an April I had - chock full of fun, sun, a little bit of snow (it is New Hampshire after all), several shows, and a myriad of other craziness.  I'm currently writing this sick in bed (ugh. the right-before-tech-week head cold. Boo) but let's jump right into it, shall we?...




Making: myself rest even though what I WANT to do is get lots done around the house today!
Cooking: ...still nope.
Drinking: a giant iced coffee.  Like ya do.
Reading: MY FRIEND MELISSA'S AMAZING BOOK!!!
Wanting: a nap, but settling for a pink snuggie and some youtube videos.
Looking: through a pair of brand spankin' new glasses!
Playing: Plants Vs. Zombies
Wasting: time snuggling in my bed. #noragrets
Sewing: nada. zip. zilch. zero.

Wishing: I felt better!
Enjoying: the comfort of our new house. I'm still not bored of it yet - every morning when I walk outside I get filled with joy!
Waiting: for my new show to open next week!!
Liking: black out curtains, a husband who takes care of me, and the tissues with the Vicks in them.
Wondering: why I'm spending my one day off stuck in bed.
Loving: my big brother who is home visiting this week!!!
Hoping: to hang up summer clothes in my closet soon.
Marveling: at what an amazing, fun, hilarious person Jess is.
Needing: rest.
Smelling: literally nothing because my nose isn't allowing it.
Wearing: sweatpants, a t-shirt, and my housecoat. Yes, I'm a 20-something who owns a housecoat. Haterz back off.
Following: new friends on Snapchat.
Noticing: the sounds out my window.
Knowing: that May is going to be an amazing month!
Thinking: about summertime.
Bookmarking: the amazon page for Hamilton on vinyl. Can't stop, won't stop, nonstop.
Opening: more boxes this week!
Feeling: happy, excited, overwhelmed. Ready for a new month and warmer weather!


What about you? How did your April go?  
Are you taking stock of your life this month, too?  Feel free to share your URL below!

The Stepmom Letters: Fun


Dear Jess,

This life is sometimes way too complicated or wild or emotional and we forget to laugh.  To play.  To have fun.

Yes, life is serious, but it's also hysterical.  And goofy.  And magical somehow, even (or maybe especially) in its fragility.



So thank you for reminding me to have fun.  Thank you for using silly voices and trying to teach me how to do your sweet new dance move (I swear, I'll get it someday!) and laughing with me until we literally fall to the floor.



Thank you for insisting on using the most hilarious snapchat filters and teasing me about calling things "sick" and being so dang good at sass and sarcasm. (I'm proud of that bit, by the way.)

Thank you for "tricking me" into getting you the bigger size of ice cream and then giggling about it the whole walk home.



Thank you for being my constant reminder that sometimes taking things a little less seriously is exactly what we all need.

My Whimsical Wedding - The Venue


Alright ya'll, it's been a couple months since I've done a wedding post, but oh my gosh, WEDDING SEASON IS STARTING and it is making me SO nostalgic for our day.  And that, of course, made me want to make another post in this series! <3



SO.
THE VENUE.



Our wedding took place at Moody Mountain Farm in Wolfeboro, NH.  It is honestly one of the most beautiful, fun, stunning places I've ever been. There's such a laid back vibe.  Perrin and Julie, who own the barn, were extremely helpful from start to finish (and I mean it!) - they literally gave Christopher and I our very own tour of the place in March before it even opened up for the season since I was heading off to Europe and wouldn't be around for their regularly scheduled Open House.  Not only that, though, they were just easy to communicate with throughout, AND they put our names with a heart on their little chalkboard when we arrived for our wedding weekend! <3  And really, I couldn't ask for more than that!  So cute!

It's all in the little details <3 

Alright, so down to some of the logistics of the place: The Barn at Moody Mountain Farm is the technical name for this gorgeous wedding venue.  It is an actual 19th century barn that has been maintained beautifully. It's not any kind of function hall or something of the like, this place is a LEGIT barn.  Complete with *actual* rustic charm, gorgeous antiques in the loft above, and even cute little barn swallows taking up residence.



We chose to use the barn itself as our reception location - the area that used to be horse stalls back in the day was perfect for the buffet tables for food and the stall doors on the other side of the barn could open up for displays like place cards, cards & gifts, and the candy bar!




Our ceremony itself took place in what is called The Sunken Garden. This space, I believe, was actually the original foundation of an older barn on the property and it is gorgeous. Strewn with wildflowers and facing the stunning views of the mountains in the distance, Christopher and I instantly knew when we were touring the property for the first time that this would be the spot where we'd officially say "I do."




And perhaps my favorite part of the whole place?  There's a house on the property that you can rent (it's a separate fee than for just the barn itself but DANG is it worth it, you guys!) where you and your friends can stay as you get ready/after the wedding!  The house is so cute and a cross between a lake house and a farm house in decor.  It sleeps ten, and you get the house (and the venue, duh) for the entirety of your wedding weekend!  This meant that from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon I was able to hang out with my friends and family, get the barn prepared for the wedding, and just have the absolute perfect "home base" for that whole weekend!  It was so perfect. <3

And for an added bonus --- since the whole place is GORGEOUS there are a million perfect spots for a photo op!  Check out just a few of the locations we used for our couples photos below...






Honestly, if you're in the New England area and are looking for a wedding venue, I couldn't recommend Moody Mountain Farm more highly, I really couldn't. Everyone was amazing to work with, we were able to decorate and set up however we wanted, and it was gorgeous to boot!  Happy Wedding!!!

Interested in any of my other wedding posts?  Check 'em out!
Engagement Photos
Bridal Shower
Bachelorette Party
Rehearsal Dinner
My Perfect Dress
The Bridesmaids
All photos by the ridiculously amazing Laura Marie Duncan Photography

Dear Life Lately



Dear Theatre,
I love you so much. I'm so grateful for how much of you is in my life BUT... You maybe need to chill out *just* a bit, girlfriend. I need to see my family too.

Dear Aiden,
You are the cutest little man on the planet. Come snuggle Auntie again soon, please!

Dear Exercise,
It was really nice to meet you again this week! Shall we hang out again on Monday? See you then!

Dear Christopher,
You've been especially amazing this week - helping me meal prep and supporting me in everything I do. I'm so grateful for you. Thank you.

Dear pair of Gettysburg sweatpants,
You are my angel. Keep doin' what you're doin'. I wish I could wear you forever, honestly. That's socially acceptable, right??? 

Gradybird Grades...The EveryDollar Budgeting App (a review)

OKAY YA'LL.

So if you've met me for any period of time, the truth may have come out about my strange secret... I love budgeting.

No, seriously.

I couldn't tell you exactly why, but all through my adult life (and quite a bit of my childhood too, if we're being honest here) I have totally nerded out about it.  

You guys. The year I turned 21 my mom got me a Bill Organizer for Christmas. And I was thrilled. (Yup, it's that bad.)

Okay so I've budgeted for years, right? And when Christopher and I were engaged we even did a few practice budgets to see how our budgeting would change once we got married and combined our finances. (No, we did not combine before we got married - homie don't play that.)

I spent LITERAL YEARS perfecting my pen-and-paper budget method and I was freaking good at it, thank you very much! So when the time came to do our first ACTUAL MARRIED (EEK!!!) budget and we decided to try using the EveryDollar app instead of a notebook, I kinda freaked out a little in my brain.  I mean, I'm a modern lady - I love me some snapchat - but making the switch was something I was going to do slightly reluctantly.

So we downloaded the EveryDollar App and I made an account to poke around.

OKAY. OKAY YOU GUYS. THIS APP IS INCREDIBLE.  I brag about this thing so much my friends ask me if I get paid to plug it. (For the record: no, not even a little bit but I would LOVE to! Are you kidding?? Adding some extra income to my budget??? HOLLAH!!!)

It can link to multiple devices so both you and your partner can budget together.

It tracks debt. It tracks spending categories. IT MAKES SINKING FUNDS.

This thing is seriously a financial life-changer.

At first it may seem a little excessive to track every transaction but honestly it takes five seconds and once you get used to it, it's a total breeze. When Chris and I go to the store together it's totally autopilot for one of us to get the app out at the counter while the other is paying, so we can input it right away.

And for me, the absolute freedom it gives me to be able to purchase things KNOWING I have the money in my budget is so worth those few extra seconds on my phone.

As of now, I'm pretty sure EveryDollar is an iPhone only app, but I do know they are working on Android as we speak!  BUT EITHER WAY, you can also just go to the website and do your budgets on the computer! (When we have our monthly budget meetings, we use the computer anyway because it's just easier that way!)

GO GET THIS APP. GO GET IT NOW.  AND THEN TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT SO WE CAN NERD OUT TOGETHER. 
#lifechanger 

Talk soon!