Posted in mental health

Trying To Get Back To Me- Life Update

Hey friends, I know, I know, it’s been awhile…

I wanted to hop on and just do some free writing about what has been currently going on in my life and why I haven’t been blogging as frequently as I would like to.

If you read my series, Please Help Me A Feminine Healthcare Journey (you can find all three posts here) you all know I have been going through it this year. From the never ending cycles, the uterine cysts, endometriosis, and ultimately, surgery, I have not been feeling too great these past few months.

When I got my surgery, in my feeble little mind, I thought it would be the end of my problems- I would be healed, and I could continue life as normal. Being a person who has never been cut open before or dealt with any procedures such as the Ovarian Cystectomy I underwent in March, I didn’t realize how long it would actually take to recover. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the most horrible thing that’s ever happened to me, however, I just feel like I cannot get myself back on track. The most discouraging part about it all is now the pain is back with a vengeance out of nowhere. The last three days I haven’t been able to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night with excruciating pain in my uterus with a heavy, cramping, zapping feeling in my abdomen. I am once again back to snuggling the ol’ heating pad on my abdomen all day and night and popping Motrin like candy. This whole situation has completely f*cked with my life, from raging hormones, to physical and mental health, I truly have been suffering for a long time.

I sort of feel embarrassed to share my feelings of mental anguish and physical pain with others as this has been going on for such a long time, I feel as though people may begin to think I am milking the situation or making up bullsh*it stories looking for a pity party. Unless a person has gone through something similar, the sympathy starts to wear off, and you are expected to get back on your feet and hit the ground running, but I am tired, I am weak, I am not feeling all that well 99% of the time- whether it’s a mental thing or actually physical, I don’t know. However, what I do know is I want to get back to me again.

It’s been so long that I haven’t felt like “myself” that I feel like I am actually losing myself. The smallest tasks of every day life are seemingly a struggle for me on a daily basis, it’s almost as though I can’t keep up with the world around me anymore- I don’t feel like going and doing the things I need to do, hang out with friends or family due to the fact that I am so easily worn down and exhausted all the time. It’s very disheartening to say the least.

So much of what I used to enjoy I have now put on the back burner because I physically or mentally cannot even bear the thought of having to go through the process of any activity, cleaning, organizing, maintaining the house, cooking, self-care, blogging – you name it.

I want to get back to me, my old self, the girl who loved to do her nightly skin care routine, who took her vitamins every morning, and was daydreaming all day long about what blog post I was going to write next, among other things of course.

I feel as though most of the time it’s hard for others to understand what you are going through- “you seem depressed,” “you look tired,” “I can tell you aren’t feeling well” and I am. I don’t feel depression in any sense that I have ever felt before in my life, I would more describe it as feeling “blah.” Not happy, not sad, not even content, just existing. There are days when I don’t even want to turn on music and I just sit in silence and work until I feel like listening to a podcast- I’m just going with the flow of what I want to do, which is fine in some cases, but life is about doing things you don’t necessarily feel like doing and still doing it anyway.

I’m currently focusing very hard on my work as I started a new job in May in which I am a contracted employee for a faith based hospital system with multiple locations in the United States and I really hope that when my contract ends I get offered a permanent position. At this point in my life, I just want stability, while also having opportunities for growth and development in the workplace, and this company has been amazing thus far. I can really see myself growing and staying there a long time, if they will have me. The leadership has been awesome, unlike anything I have seen while working at previous jobs, and it truly seems like the team is happy to be there and enjoys their jobs, which is a great sign of an awesome work environment.

What I am really striving for at this point in time is getting better, healthier, and back to my old self again, and be even better than I was before.

I have already taken baby steps in my “back to wellness” journey- I started taking vitamins again, my husband and I started a great budgeting system to start saving for a house, I got an awesome new job that I love, I’ve begun to start doing small self-care routines again, my husband and I plan to go Keto again, and start taking walks… it may not be huge feats at the moment, but it is a step in the right direction. Even sitting here to write my first blog post in nearly a month is a big accomplishment.

At this time in my life, I am trying to be kind to myself, do my due diligence, and work on myself and that’s all I really can do for now. I know it may take some time, but I will get there a better, stronger, and healthier version of myself.

Posted in Bride To Be Tips

Your Wedding Photography Questions Answered – An Interview With Adrienne & Amber Photography

Finding a photographer for your big day is one of the most important aspects of the wedding planning process. I cannot tell you how many brides I had asked for photographer referrals, and they absolutely told me “I had a horrible experience with my photographer and I would never in good faith recommend them to anyone.”

From stories of drunken photographers, to brides not receiving photos for nearly a year after the wedding, I have to say, I was extremely hesitant and nervous about finding a photographer on my own.

At the end of December in 2020 I knew I had to start the process of blindly researching photographers and figuring out all the aspects on my own. Luckily for me, I hit the jackpot when I found Adrienne & Amber Photography.

I discovered this awesome duo while performing a Facebook search of photographers in my area. Upon finding Adrienne and Amber and looking at their beautiful work, I knew I had to reach out and see what they were all about.

What I loved most about their photography was the fact that they had a knack for taking the most beautiful candid shots capturing the most intimate moments of the most important day of a couple’s lives, which was one of the main criteria Sean and I were looking for in a photographer.

I reached out via email and within a week or so we had our first meeting with Adrienne at their studio in Royal Oak, Michigan. Immediately upon meeting Adrienne, we clicked. She was so friendly, outgoing, and made sure that we felt comfortable.

What I loved most about our first interaction was that Adrienne conducted the meeting as a casual two-way interview to ensure that we would be a good fit to work with not only her but Amber, her bestie and partner and vice versa.

I remember leaving the meeting and immediately calling everyone we knew telling them how happy and thrilled we were to have found such awesome photographers who made us feel so comfortable and assured that our photos would turn out beautifully.

From our engagement shoot to our wedding day, Adrienne and Amber were such a joy to work with, and I cannot imagine our wedding day without them. They made not only us, the bride and groom feel so comfortable, but the guests, officiants and wedding party as well. The candid approach they use captures the most gorgeous moments in time, and honestly, you hardly notice they are there shooting. It is truly amazing to look back at the photos and remember those moments that would have otherwise been lost in time.

In the spirit of wedding season, I reached out to Adrienne & Amber to ask some general questions about wedding photography for couples in the process of planning their wedding and have no idea where to start in terms of hiring a photographer. I was honestly hesitant to reach out at first due to the fact that they are constantly working, and I assumed they would be way too busy to answer some silly questions for my blog readers, however, they immediately reached out to me and said “YES!”

I am so grateful and thankful to Adrienne & Amber for taking the time out of their busy schedule to accommodate my request, and I hope you enjoy the advice from two of the most extremely talented photographers in the wedding industry.

About Adrienne & Amber

Self-described as “soul sisters” Adrienne & Amber began their adventure together in 2002 upon graduating from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit with a Bachelors of Photography.

In Behind Adrienne & Amber {a letter from Adrienne} Adrienne further explains their friendship: “Not many people get to wake up every morning and enjoy running a wedding photography company {or any business for that matter} with their best friend… but “I do.” In fact, sometimes we are so in sync that without word from one another, we end up matching. Actually, this seems to happen more often than not.”

“We have built a team balanced by natural talent, passion and professional qualification. Every couple that we meet has their own chemistry and different set of needs. With a team as versatile, educated, and easy going as ours, catering to each couple is what we do best.”

How long have you ladies been in the wedding industry? What inspired you to get into photography?

11 years!  I’ve always been passionate about photography, ever since middle school. I remember seeing my older brother’s prints from the dark room and thinking to myself… I can’t wait to get into that class. 

At this point, how many weddings have you photographed?

Honestly!? I’d have to sit down and count! I know for sure we’ve documented at least 550 + weddings. WOWZERS! Crazy right? 

What is your wedding photography style?

We love capturing the genuine moments that are unfolding in front of us. I must admit, though, candid photos might be our specialty. I’ve had many people ask me in the past how we get such great emotion captured… My response… because we’re laughing along with our clients. Nothing is staged or too forced. 

What has been your favorite location to shoot (abroad and in the US)?

GREECE HANDS DOWN!!  FUN FACT: My beautiful mother whom I am very close with came along and made the bride’s wedding bouquet. It kind of unfolded that the mother of the bride was going to make her bouquet from her garden, but you could tell she had enough to do. My mother offered to arrange it for her and the best part was the bride was so generous she invited my mother and her bestie to the wedding. WOW, talk about hospitality!  Talk about a memory I’ll never forget. Here’s a link to behind the scene’s with A & A in Greece.

You two are a traveling duo – how far are you willing to travel?

You name it… we will be there. Some places on our bucket list… I’ll start with Amber’s first pick, IRELAND & ICELAND. I’d love to explore Italy & Thailand.  

Adrienne & Amber’s Advice To Couples

What do you find is your biggest challenge with brides and grooms to be?

My biggest challenge is couples that decide against a first look when they are having everything at one location. It’s just not ideal, it becomes rushed and chaotic, and it’s really not fun for anyone. Give your photographer time to be creative, that’s why you hired them! 

What can a couple do to help the big day go smoothly?

Hire a coordinator or a go-to person to help if things pop up! Do not involve or ask the bride any questions the day of. She doesn’t need to be making any more decisions. 

If a couple expresses they have insecurities about their bodies, smile, angles, etc. how do you help them conceal these insecurities, so they end up having the best shoot experience?

We take the time to get to know our couples in advance. This helps paint a picture of how the session is going to be, if I anticipate an ounce of anxiety I do anything to try to set the mood and bring them down a notch. We live in a world where social media has told us what we should look like. Let me tell you… IT’S NOT REAL & STOP COMPARING YOUR SELF. Take a deep breath and think about what you’re there for, focus on that, leave all those little details behind. A good photographer will find the right angles and pose you the right way to best express you. 

What if I book a photographer, and we aren’t jiving – what should I do?

You should break your contract. I would reach out to them and express your concerns and see if you can see eye to eye. Most photographers would appreciate honesty in these situations, and would prefer to part ways before the wedding date if you’re not a good fit. 

How important is a photographer / couple (bride and groom) relationship?

VERY. 

Lastly, what advice do you have for couples on their big day?

Stop worrying about the small details, the day has come, now enjoy the ride! 

Connect With Adrienne & Amber

I want to give a big shout-out to Adrienne and Amber for allowing me to interview them for this blog post, they are sincerely the sweetest gals ever!

If you are looking for an amazing wedding photography duo, please check them out-Adrienne & Amber Photography, Royal Oak, MI.

Posted in My Thoughts

Lessons I’ve Learned In My Career Field After Ten Years

*If you are interested in only reading the list I have put together, keep scrolling as my introduction is a bit lengthy*

I started my journey into the Medical Billing career field after graduating from high school in 2007 and immediately attending college that fall.

Unfortunately, my high school didn’t offer much in terms of college counseling or any assistance in what my next steps could possibly be after graduation. As a matter of fact, I had absolutely no idea that I was even supposed to be applying to colleges in the beginning of my senior year, and only realized it when I heard classmates talking about what schools they had been accepted to. I remember thinking to myself, “oh shit, what am I going to do?” I had never even taken the SATs, nor did I have any idea of the importance of taking it or why I should even take it at all.

I applied to one school and was accepted. It was a private college and the one school I knew it was unlikely I would see many people at who I graduated with, which at the time was my ultimate goal.

My parents gave me a check for the $30 application or admission fee, and my dad and I went to the school together and got me signed up for the fall semester. It is one of my best memories with my dad, knowing I was doing something to make him proud. We joked about how I could become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company one day, sorry dad…

My first major was in business marketing, but with the economic crash in 2008 I figured it may be best to change my major. I had never considered the medical field as an option. Honestly, I thought the medical field was only doctors and nurses, and I definitely didn’t have it in me to peruse such a path.

By 2008 my best friend had joined me at the college and had started her major in Human Resources. I had told her I had decided business just wasn’t going to work out, and I wanted to see what my other options were. So, we picked up the college catalog, looked into what would probably be the most attainable degree in the medical field and decided on Medical Billing. I vividly remember going into the admissions office together and the officer telling us, “I don’t even understand why this is a degree program, all you need is a certificate to do medical billing.”

Oh, my, how the times have changed.

I’ll spare you the rest of the dirty details of college life, pre-algebra, and Saturday morning anatomy and ICD-9 coding classes. However, I will tell you it took me FOUR YEARS to complete an associates degree in applied sciences due to the inner workings of the college, classes only being offered at certain times of the year and having to switch my program for a third time.

I competed a two-year degree in applied sciences with a concentration in Health Information Technology in less than a year by going to school year round and taking 17 credit hours per quarter in an accelerated program and of course working my ass off.

Once I finally had that degree in my hands, it was 2012. The whole class of Health Information Technology students got absolutely screwed by the school after the director of the program retired and had nowhere to place any of us for the internships required to complete our degree. I ended up doing two different internships, one at a nursing home in the Medical Records Department and the other at my uncle’s chiropractic clinic.

Of course, no one wanted to hire me after I got my degree due to no real on the job experience in the field. I took odds and ends jobs, selling Avon, working at Kmart, and as a one on one student aide for an amazing little boy who had Autism in an elementary school.

At this point I decided I should probably get back into gear and get my bachelors degree, so back to college it was. The friend, that I had mentioned earlier, and I had parted ways for nearly three years and on my first day in creative writing class whose name do I see on the sign-in sheet…

Every day I dreaded going to that class. I didn’t want to face her, I didn’t want to talk to her. How could I? What would I even say?

Halfway through the quarter during some downtime in the class I see her in my peripheral vision walking towards me, she sat down and started picking up where we left off nearly three years prior, and we became friends again.

Luckily for the both of us, she had landed a medical billing job and had become the leader of the department. I never asked her for a job, not once, I thought that would be extremely tacky and besides she didn’t owe me a thing, certainly not a career.

However, two weeks later, she offered me a job. I was finally going to get my foot in the door as a medical biller on November 12, 2012, and I have been ever since.

Admittedly, in the nearly ten years I have been working in the Medical Billing field I have had many roles and positions-from the nobody to the director and then back to nobody again.

Recently, due to my Medical issues, the company I was working for had enough of dealing with me and my problems and gave me an ultimatum-resign or go on a performance improvement plan and if you don’t meet our quota by the end of May you will be terminated.

I decided I wasn’t going to be backed into a corner, and I was going to go on their performance improvement plan and see if their goals were achievable-they weren’t, and I ultimately decided to resign.

Luckily, I had an offer on the table with an awesome company that is rapidly expanding, going back to my roots of professional and facility billing with a higher pay grade than I had ever made in my career. So here I go again, on to a new chapter.

The past few days I have been reflecting on my time as a medical biller and the companies I have worked for in the past and have compiled a list of the dos and don’ts of having a “real” job.

So, my gift to you, a comprehensive list of things I wish I would have known going into the workforce. This list applies to any chosen career field, not just medical billing, and is a cautionary tale of my own career blunders.

Lessons I’ve Learned In My Career Field After Ten Years

Keep A Copy Of Your Companies Policy ALWAYS: Of course when you start a job you have to read through the company policy book and sign a paper ensuring your compliance, but do you actually have a copy of that handbook still? Probably not. Always make sure you save a copy of your company’s policy book in a safe place. You never know when you may need to access it for crucial information regarding attendance policies, paid time off, FMLA, or literally anything else that may come up in the future. That way, you have the information handy before you have to start asking questions. For example, I had quit a job in the month of January when my paid time off had started over for the calendar year. My employer refused to pay me out my vacation time, and I had to go to the State Of Michigan and file a complaint. I had a copy of my company’s policy stating that they do pay out upon termination of employment, and I was sent a check for a week’s pay. Even though the company tried to fight it- it was clear as day that it was in their policy that they were to pay out employees earned paid time off. Always make sure you have that policy and procedure book in your grasp, you never know when you are going to need it.

Keep Your Own Daily Record Of Productivity: Most companies are very number driven, especially if you are working in the Medical Billing field. The amount of work you are doing is your bread and butter. Usually numbers are ran on a weekly or monthly basis, and you always want to make sure you have your own productivity recorded to ensure that your numbers match up with what management has in case there are discrepancies. Regardless of your quota, always remember to never compromise quality over quantity.

Be Transparent: Transparency is key with your employer, whether it is struggling with your job duties, mental or physical health, and or with anything that could be affecting your job performance, make sure to let either a manager or your Human Resources department know before it becomes a problem.

Ask Questions: Never be afraid to ask questions. Even if you have asked the same question ten times before and the answer is still not clicking with you-ask again. Sometimes it just takes asking one more time, maybe from a different source, for the mental pieces to fall into place. Although it may seem like you are annoying your manager or trainer, companies appreciate it when an employee asks questions until they fully understand before making a detrimental mistake or creating a habit of doing things incorrectly unknowingly.

Keep Good Records: Make sure to keep a good record of all emails, screenshots, and or things that could come back to haunt you in the future. If something doesn’t sit right with you, or you have a feeling that you are being told something that is incorrect, keep all pertaining information given in a safe place just in case it comes back up in the future.

Work-Life Balance: Life is not work and work is not life, make sure you are taking care of yourself mentally and physically. Take those breaks and lunches that you are entitled to daily, you need them and when it’s time to clock out or log off for the day mentally take yourself away from work, watch a movie, do a craft, go for a jog or walk, do something you enjoy, work will be there waiting for you tomorrow enjoy your “me time” and mentally check out when you are done for the day.

Keep It Professional: Work relationships and friendships can be amazing, trust me, some of my fondest memories are working in a dumpy little office with my coworker listening to 1980s love songs on Pandora and dancing to Motown when no one was watching us. I have even made lifelong friendships with past managers and bosses who I’d become close with over the years. However, it is very easy for work friendships and or relationships to turn sour, quickly, especially when promotions and other factors are involved. I know I said transparency is key with your employer and even your coworker friends, but always make sure you remain tight-lipped when it comes to certain information, especially about yourself and other employees. Trust me, this has come back to bite me in the past, giving too much information to sources that were untrustworthy or giving your boss a little more information than they should realistically know. Go with your gut instinct, use common sense, and just be smart with information you decide to share about yourself or others.

Know Your Worth: Listen closely, I have left jobs, taken $3 pay cuts and went back to the bottom of the barrel when a very high paying job broke me down to nothing. I remember being so physically ill, dry heaving and vomiting when I would have to be on phone calls with the doctor who owned one of the practices I was employed at. I would be called into his office every Friday only to be screamed at and verbally abused until one day I came home so broken down I laid on the floor of my living room and sobbed. I knew that I didn’t deserve that disgusting treatment after four long years of dedicated employment trying to prove myself worthy to a “top physician” who didn’t give two shits about me. So, I got out, I took the pay cut, and it wasn’t pretty, but I knew my worth, and it wasn’t being treated like a doormat. Regardless of that dollar amount you are being paid, your life and mental health is worth so much more.

Ultimately, I hope someone will take advice from this list and apply it to their own journey, as there are a lot of people who may or may not be out to get you if they don’t care for the cut of your jib.

Proceed, always, with caution, and make sure you know your rights as an employee and know how to protect yourself in case of an unfortunate event that could leave a blemish on your personal record.

Posted in Journaling

Stuck At A Yellow Light

April 26, 2022

I’ve been through a lot in my life, as much as I hate to say it, but what hasn’t killed me has made me stronger, even when I don’t feel strong.

So many people tell me how strong I am, but I don’t see it. I feel like a prisoner trapped in my own body-with internal pain boiling up inside, so much that I want to claw my way out… Maybe the “real me” would show up- whoever that is.

I feel so lost in this world, so alone. Sometimes I like it that way, other times I feel like I wish someone would save me. I feel like a burden, turning to others for strength. Maybe that’s the key? To finding…me. Lean only on myself and learn.

I’ve always been an open book-maybe too open, maybe the book should close, so I stop externalizing support from others and teach myself how to self soothe, like a baby.

A secret, to me, feels like a fire in the pit of my stomach. I can keep secrets for anyone but me. Chronically over sharing is not good, but under sharing is even worse.

What is the middle ground? Modesty?

Who knows.

I want to change, I want to transform my life, I want a clean slate, a new chapter. A stable sense of purpose. I want to help people.

I remember telling someone that many years ago, “I want to help people.” They responded with, “You need to help yourself first.”

I thought about this last week. I felt resentment.

Then, just now- I understand, eleven years later.

The thing is… how?

Do I rely on others so much that it has formed the basis of my happiness? Where did I go wrong? Is it too late?

A woman told me today she is feeling like she is always stuck at the yellow light. I don’t think I can identify with much more than that right now.

“What do you think I’d see
If I could walk away from me…”

Candy Says, The Velvet Underground

Posted in Bride To Be Tips

Planning Your Bridal Shower – Practical Items To Add To Your Registry

Planning your bridal shower registry can be fun, stressful and daunting. Going to the store and using that little scanner is just about one of the best feelings in the world, however, tread lightly because I am about to share with you what you need vs. what you want on your bridal registry.

When planning your registry there are a few things to consider, do you already live with your partner? How much stuff have you already accumulated together? How much space do you have to store your goodies in once you pack that car up and drive home from your shower?

My husband and I both had a mishmash of things we had accumulated over the years as we both had lived on our own prior to moving in together. We live in a 900 sq ft apartment, although we have a utility room, spare room and attic space, we still seem to have trouble finding proper room for things.

I will admit when planning our wedding registry, we did go a little willy-nilly, however, nothing we had on our registry wasn’t actually practical, it just wasn’t practical for the space we currently have.

I was very reluctant to put anything too “pricey” or completely unpractical on our registry because, I of course, have looked at some other couples registries and have scoffed at some of the bullsh*t that they have put on their list.

Another thing that I took into consideration while planning my registry was what my friends and family would be willing to pay and or afford and the stores available to them. Ultimately, I chose Target and Amazon, for two very good reasons. Number one Target, a physical store, is very prominent in the area we live in and nearly every next town over has one even if there’s not one locally. Many people enjoy going to a physical store to find your registry items, as it feels more personal to them rather than ordering from an online store. Also, Target has a great online selection, if a guest would rather opt for a ship to store instead they can do so.

Secondly, I chose Amazon due to the fact that we were greatly in pandemic mode in my home state of Michigan this time last year and I felt that the option for a guest to send a gift to our home without feeling obligated to physically come to the shower, reducing the risk of possible COVID exposure would be more convenient for those who didn’t feel comfortable going to the restaurant where the shower was located.

We received so many beautiful gifts from friends, family, and loved ones and overall it was an amazingly special day. I remember being so overwhelmed by how many gifts we received that it took me almost two weeks and a ton of organization to get everything put away.

Unfortunately, I no longer have access to my registry to show you what we put on it, however I will give you a list of the best and most used items that we received and provide links to where the items are from:

Target

Keurig K-Mini Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker

This Keurig Mini was one of the first items to be purchased off of my registry, and I was absolutely thrilled (thank you GiGi)! At the time, I had some knock off Keurig coffee maker that would take forever to brew a cup of coffee and would splash everywhere! Hands down, this is the most used item from my registry that I use every single morning.

Sunbeam 4 Slice Extra-Wide Slot Toaster

I was also thrilled to see the Sunbeam 4 slice toaster purchased from my registry (thank you, Jessica!) as I had been without a toaster for about four years. Subsequently, I was also happy because Sean and I could both have two pieces of toast at the same time without having to put it under the broiler in the oven. Brilliant!

Crock-Pot 6qt Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker

Since I moved out on my own in 2014 I have been using an old Hamilton Beach slow cooker I had put in layaway at Kmart when I started loading up on items I would need for my apartment as well as an old Crockpot that was my aunt’s (hey Shellz) circa 1980 something. Often, I would like to dual cook meals in the two slow cookers, so I could freeze them and have leftovers for the week. Now, anyone who owns an older slow cooker knows the horror of having to take it to a potluck and have the lid slide all over, compromising the whole meal. Not this one! It has nice latches that hold the top on for maximum security when in travel, as well as digital settings where you can choose the temperature at which you want to cook your food at instead of the traditional warm, medium, or high settings.

Rachael Ray Create Delicious 13pc Aluminum Nonstick Cookware Set

When planning my bridal registry, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to add some new cookware for my kitchen. Since I have been living on my own, I have gone through 2 to 3 different “starter” sets of pots and pans, until I finally invested in a stainless steel set. This Rachel Ray 13-piece set has been the perfect addition as we love to cook and go through tons of cookware while doing so, and having a nice variety definitely helps!

Threshold™ 400 Thread Count Solid Performance Pillowcase Set

Threshold™ 400 Thread Count Printed Performance Sheet Set

Threshold™ 300 Thread Count Organic Cotton Solid Sheet Set

I don’t know what it is about these Threshold sheets, but they have got a strong hold on me. I remember this brand being the first “nice” set of sheets I ever invested in, and I haven’t turned back since! They are extremely durable and soft, with very deep pockets, which is a must when you have a tossing and turning partner. It seems like with every wash they get cozier and softer. I currently have four sets and not one of them has started to wear down or have rips, tears, or holes in them. If you want to invest in some good quality sheets for an affordable price, I highly recommend anything from the Target Threshold line, you will not be disappointed.

Casaluna™ Heavyweight Linen Blend Quilt

We spend a lot of time in our bedroom watching movies, taking naps and hanging out with our favorite kitties. This Casaluna Heavyweight Linen Blend Quilt feels so amazing on our bed and gives us the perfect amount of warmness throughout all the Midwestern seasons. I also like that we chose the black quilt due to any stains, spills or pet accidents (of the vomiting variety). It is easy to throw right into the washing machine and dry on a regular heat cycle. Again, another product made with very high quality at a fair price that will last a long time.

Casaluna™ Oversized Solid Bed Throw

To be 100% transparent with you, I absolutely hate this blanket, however, my husband absolutely loves it. It is a nice oversized chunky blanket that covers him completely (he is approximately 6 ft) and it gives him a sense of comfort like a weighted blanket. It is a beautiful piece for your bed and made with very high quality, however, it just isn’t my personal cup of tea due to the way it feels for some odd reason. I have thrown this in the washing machine multiple times and dried on low heat, and it comes out feeling very soft and nice, but it’s just not a blanket I personally enjoy using.

AllerEase Ultimate Mattress Protector

This should go without saying, but always have a protector on your mattress, please. It will save you so much trouble keeping it clean and will increase the longevity of your mattress.

The one regret I do have with this mattress protector is not getting something that is waterproof. We recently had an accident in bed where our trouble kitty, Lucy, spilled a whole cup of water from the night stand on to the bed, soaking the pillows and mattress. Luckily it was just water, however, you don’t want any kind of mold or fungus growing in your mattress.

Fair warning, this mattress protector is very taxing to actually put on your mattress as you must fully put the mattress inside it. This product is not a mattress topper, which I initially thought it was when I added it to our registry. So zipping the mattress inside can be a bit of a task.

Brightroom™ Twisted Rope Hamper Blue

Currently, we own three of these hampers and we both love them. They are very deep and have the capacity to hold a ton of clothing and towels (if you hate doing laundry as much as we do). We assigned one for towels, one for Sean’s clothing and the other for my clothing to keep our items separate and easy to locate when needed. These hampers are definitely a great investment, especially if you have to take laundry to a laundromat or a facility within your apartment complex. They are not too shabby on the eyes, easy to store in a closet, and overall a nice little luxury item in your home.

Amazon

Sixteen Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons Set with Silicone Handle

These stainless steel measuring cups and spoons are an absolutely perfect addition to anyone’s kitchen, regardless if you are super into cooking or not so much. The assortment of cup and spoon sizes are wonderful, and they are super easy to store and keep clean. Definitely a must-have for anyone starting out on their own or with their partner.

Mixed Flat & Terry Kitchen Towels Set of Six

These kitchen towels, unlike many cheaper towels, absorb water quickly and actually dry your dishes nicely. Prior to my wedding shower, I would only buy dishtowels at the Dollar Tree and was never really happy with the way they fell apart so quickly and would leave fabric residue on my clean dishes. Amazon has a nice variation of colors and patterns in this set, I chose teal as all of my kitchen accessories and accents are teal. Definitely highly recommended for a wedding shower registry- I also highly recommend asking for a quantity of two sets if you are just starting out or if you want to replace your old towels.

HEPA Air Purifier for Home Bedroom for Dust, Odor, and Pet Dander

This little air purifier is great if you have pets or have an old air flow system, like we do in our apartment. It works great in small spaces such as a bedroom or office and keeps the air free of dust and pet hair. I am really glad that I put this on my registry, as it has significantly reduced the allergens in the air and creates a clean environment for your respiratory system.

KitchenAid Expandable Stainless Steel Colander

The KitchenAid Expandable Colander is one of the most useful items I own. For years, I had small colander’s that were an absolute nightmare to use if you even had a few dishes in the sink. Just the thought of the colander sitting in the bottom of the sink grosses me out. I love that this fits perfectly over the sink and has a great expandable length that fits most standard sinks. I will warn you it tends to be a bit taxing to keep clean when soft or mushy items get stuck to the mesh, however, if you give it a good soak in some warm soapy water and use a good scrubby sponge over it, it cleans up very nicely.

Maples Rugs Pelham Vintage Kitchen Rugs Non Skid Washable Accent Area Carpet 

I am so like my Mother and Nana when it comes to changing out home decor such as rugs. I absolutely love having a nice accent rug, especially in the kitchen. I added three of these to my registry, one for the stove and refrigerator areas, as well as below the sink. These rugs are very durable, non-slip, and best of all machine washable. Amazon has a great variety of colors, patterns, and sizes to choose from. Again, I choose a teal accent to match my current kitchen decor. Overall, they are a great price (starting at $12.99) very durable, and add a classy look to wherever you may choose to place them.

Lemeya Twenty-Piece Gold Silverware Set, Stainless Steel Cutlery Utensils

Although I still have some mismatched silverware from previous sets I’ve owned in the past eight years, it is nice to finally have a gorgeous matching set such as this. The pieces are heavy, durable, and large and are beautiful to showcase when entertaining guests. They are very easy to keep clean and have yet to be scratched, and the gold plating has yet to chip off from normal wear and tear.

To be honest, this is not the exact set that I had on my registry as at the time, all that was available was the standard size fork, spoon and butter knife set. I believe it was service for four, and I put two on my registry, so I would have service for eight in total.

Keep in mind that these pieces are larger than your standard size silverware and can sometimes be difficult to store in your kitchen drawers, so make sure you have ample room, so you don’t get a drawer jam up.

Audio-Technica Automatic Bluetooth Stereo Turntable

Sean and I had always talked about starting a vinyl record collection and decided that our one random fun thing we would add to our registry would be this Bluetooth stereo turntable. No one purchased it off of the registry for my bridal shower, however, one afternoon (post bridal shower) I stepped outside and seen an Amazon package, neither of us had ordered anything, and I was super curious as to what it was. I brought it in, opened it and to my surprise it was the record player! A cousin of Sean’s who lives out of state and couldn’t make it to the wedding had found our registry online and sent it to us as a wedding gift! We were both beyond thrilled! We haven’t had a chance to use it yet due to limited space, however, I was sent a Lou Reed box set collection of records, as a wedding gift, and I am dying to play them!

Our Current Storage Solution

Furinno Turn-N-Tube 4-Tier Multipurpose Shelf Display Rack

As I’ve mentioned, we are living with limited space. Luckily, inside our apartment we have a decent sized utility room with our own personal washer and dryer, and have four of these shelves lining the walls. We owned two prior to our shower to put household supplies on, and then ordered an additional two shelves for our new appliances and kitchen gadgets we received as gifts from the shower. These shelves are extremely useful, are the perfect size for what we are currently working with, and are easily accessible. They are also super easy to put together and very lightweight. Amazon also has a nice variety of different colors and sizes as well to fit any space you are looking to organize.

Our Wedding Shower: August 7, 2021

For some reason, planning my bridal shower was more stressful than actually planning the wedding. We had a few hiccups during the planning process and had to change locations at the last minute. I wanted to go with an Alice in Wonderland themed shower, for me, it holds a special purpose. I have always loved the story of Alice in Wonderland, from the original 1958 Disney movie to the book by Lewis Carroll, I have always identified with Alice- a girl lost in a nonsense world trying to make sense of something she can’t quite understand. My bridal shower was, in a way, me growing up and leaving the child I was in the past. I had found my soulmate, I was to be a wife, and I had finally come into my own.

I wish I would have been able to do all the cool ideas my Matron of Honor and I came up with, however, due to the last minute location change a lot of our ideas had to be scrapped. The spirit of Wonderland was still a part of my day, with beautiful tea pots full of wild flowers and framed quotes from the book. Overall, the day turned out beautiful, and I thank my mother-in-law, Sharon, for helping me pull off my special day.