Love, Beauty, and Sincerity Up in Northern MN

This weekend we celebrated the wedding of my brother Scott and his wife Nicole up north on Lake Vermillion. The love, beauty, and sincerity of the weekend is indescribable so I am going to keep my words few, and instead show you lots of photos.

We stayed at Spring Bay Resort and I would no question recommend this resort to anyone!

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S’mores bar!

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Simply amazing. We are so happy and lucky to have Nicole as a part of our family. Thank you both for such a great weekend. It’s one we will never forget!

The Dress: Wedding Flashback

It’s wedding flashback time! I really need to do this more often because it makes me so happy reliving my wedding day. Today we’re going to talk about…

THE DRESS

There was a lot of “Say Yes to the Dress” being watched in our household before I picked out my wedding dress. For those of you who may not know, I am a terrible decision maker, so the thought of picking out the perfect wedding dress for myself terrified me like no other.

My original thoughts were that I wanted a halter top dress because I wanted to be able to enjoy the day without yanking the dress up, I wanted lace, and that was about all I thought I wanted.

The first dress shopping was very casual. My mom and I went to a small boutique, I tried on a handful of dresses, some of which I liked, but I couldn’t get over the price tags. I wasn’t about to spend a fortune on a dress that I was going to wear one time. I am a die-hard bargain shopper and that title wasn’t going to be put on hold while shopping for “the dress.” We left the store feeling pretty happy to have had the first dress shopping trip out of the way. I knew I wasn’t going to find my dress the first day, but you’ve got to start somewhere!

For the next endeavor, we headed over to The Wedding Shoppe in St. Paul. This time mom and I brought along my maid of honor, Betsy and my mother-in-law, Sue. This time I meant business. 🙂 The Wedding Shoppe has the largest selection of dresses around the Twin Cities, PLUS they honor your dress budget and have dresses that accommodate all price ranges.

I tried on halter top dresses, I tried on princess dresses, I tried on lace dresses. At this point I was starting to realize that what I had in mind as my ideal dress prior to dress shopping wasn’t all that practical for me.

Some of the dresses I tried on were SO heavy that I felt claustrophobic and I did not want to be tied down by a heavy dress. So, we got rid of the heavy dresses. Next was the lace. I loved the lace dresses but they weren’t giving me the “this is it” feeling I was hoping for, plus the price tags made my stomach churn. So, we got rid of the lace dresses. The halter tops weren’t flattering, so I ditched that idea. I was starting to get nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to find my dress because I didn’t know what I wanted.

The stylist pulled some dresses for me that she thought I might like based on what she had seen that I didn’t like, and heard that I didn’t like. The dresses she pulled would not have been ones that I would have chosen for myself, but I was open to trying them on. Many of them were strapless and I had told her my concern about worrying I’d have to yank my dress up all day. She told me that the dress is going to be so well-fitted to my body, that it will not be an issue whatsoever. Okay, the strapless dresses are back in the running now.

Sure enough one of the dresses that she pulled was the one that made everyone cry and which made me feel the most beautiful. But even with the reassurance of my family, my indecisiveness was getting the best of me. I’m a fairly emotional person, and I thought I would absolutely bawl when I found the perfect dress, but I didn’t. I got a few tears in my eyes but I think it was mostly because I saw my family members so choked up. So I worried that I wasn’t reacting how I thought I would.

I couldn’t let my lack of self-confidence and indecisiveness ruin this experience and keep me from getting this dress that was perfect for me. I knew this was THE ONE, and I knew I needed to commit, and at that moment, my stomach settled, and I knew it was right. The dress was sweet, beautiful, soft, and perfect.

The decision was made, the credit card was handed over (xoxo M + D),  and the dress was mine. I never looked back. I did make myself stop watching Say Yes to the Dress or I would have driven myself crazy thinking I had bought the wrong dress. Everyone told me once you buy your dress, STOP looking at dresses or you WILL drive yourself crazy. I took their advice.

The dress I chose was ivory, organza fabric, mermaid fit, and stunning.

Like most brides, I was concerned that once the wedding day arrived I wouldn’t be able to zip up my dress, but she zipped up like a charm.

I never had to worry about yanking the dress up because the stylist was right, it fit me like a glove and never budged. My dress tailor did a superb job of fitting my dress to me so that it wasn’t so snug around my mid-section where I felt I couldn’t move comfortably, she left a little bit of wiggle room. I needed to be able to DANCE after all, and I surely did.

Anyway, without further ado, I present to you, my dress.

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And my shoes!

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Yup, I need to do these posts more often; such amazing memories. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!

Off I go now to enjoy my Saturday in a very good, lovey dovey mood.

Flashback: Our Proposal Story

How about some lovey dove reminiscent memories to help us get through this freezing cold Wednesday? Sounds good to me!

On Sunday night, Dana and I met up with Betsy and Matt at Stella’s Fish Cafe for dinner. I mentioned in a previous post that we were coincidentally seated in the same booth that we sat in the night Dana proposed to me. I realized I had never shared the story of our engagement proposal, so…..it’s share time!

Flashback to January 29th 2010. 

Dana and I had plans to celebrate our one year anniversary. Dana had made reservations at Stella’s. I remember getting all dolled up in my blue sweater dress, saying bye to mom and dad, and driving over to Dana’s house.

As I waited for him to finish getting ready, I browsed the cupboards for a snack and found some Sweettart Valentine conversation hearts. I snacked on a couple of those while I waited, and then off to dinner we went.

We were seated in a booth upstairs and I was giddy the whole time. I was so happy and felt so lucky to be celebrating an anniversary with this man. We ordered our food and a bottle of wine and thoroughly enjoyed eachother’s company as we always do. Dana was cool as a kitten. I had not the slightest idea he had anything up his sleeve.

After dinner we made our way to the parking lot. Once we were in the car, and waiting for it to warm up, Dana handed me an envelope of photos that he had printed off from Walgreens. I had given him a photo album a year prior to this as a gift with the intention of filling it up with photos of all of the fun things we do together. He told me that he had printed some photos for the album.

I immediately start flipping through about 20 photos, commenting on each memory along the way. As I got to the last photo, I had to do a double take. At first it looked like an advertisement or a coupon from Walgreens, but as I looked at it again I noticed some very special words spelled out for me…

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I was in total and utter shock. I looked over at Dana and there he was with tears filled in his eyes (although he may deny this), and he had a gorgeous engagement ring in his hands. He asked me to marry him and I’m pretty sure he said some other things but my head was in a cloud of love dust (I am such a corny lovey person—I won’t apologize for it) so I don’t remember.

I muttered yes and as I tears began pouring out of my eyes, still in total shock mode. Yes I absolutely want to spend my life with this man. YES YES YES! But omg, I’m engaged!

We called our parents on the way home to tell them the incredible news. This is when I found out that my dad already knew because Dana had gone over there earlier that day and asked for his permission to marry me. My dad knew but he hadn’t told my mom because my mom and I have this weird connection with eachother  and I immediately would have known something was going on if she were to have known.

Our parents were beyond ecstatic. After our parents knew I started calling my brothers and some of my friends (the ones I knew I wouldn’t be able to tell in person). Then it was time to celebrate.

Once we got back to Dana’s place, we celebrated with his roommates and a nice bottle of wine. I told Dana I had snacked on a couple of the Sweettarts while he was finishing getting ready in his room and we both had a good chuckle. Little did I know!

We didn’t snap any photos at Stella’s or in the parking lot, so of course I had to make up for it when we got back home.

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It was an unforgettable night and the beginning of forever with the most amazing man.

Fast-forward: Engagement Photos

For our engagement photos, we chose to relive the memories of the day by having our photos taken at Stella’s. I remember being so incredibly nervous before the photo shoot. I really don’t like being the center of attention. Eventually, I warmed up and had a blast! Our photographers from Erin and I photo really helped ease any nervousness.

Here’s our booth (the same one from the other night too!).

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The night before our engagement photos, I want to say it snowed about 9 inches. The snow was so fresh and perfect for photos. It was extremely cold on the day of our photo shoot as well, so we did the outside photos as quickly as possible.

Our outside photos were taken at Lake of the Isles.

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We had to make sure Mooser got in the photo action!

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He was made for the camera.

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I can’t believe our engagement was three years ago already. Time flies. Soak up every moment of life because it does go by so fast!

I hope you enjoyed this flashback as much as I did! Oh, and in case you are wondering what my food intake looked like yesterday, take a look at Tuesday’s post and it was pretty much an exact replica except for I also added lean ground turkey into the mix. I am going to be introducing banana today. How exciting! 😉

Have a happy Wednesday!

 

Dance Like No One’s Watching

I love to dance.

I began taking dance classes when I was three years old at a community center in the area. At my first recital, the girl standing next to me during the routine literally stood next to me the entire time. She was terrified. I was in my glory. Sure the only reason I knew what I was doing was because my dance teacher was off in left stage dancing the routine for us to copy, but I still did my best to hold my own. I was shy, but there was something about being on that stage that really made me feel confident.

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I continued to take classes at the community center for a few years, and then took a couple of years off to give gymnastics a shot. I love that my parents encouraged me to try many activities, and then gave me the freedom to decide which ones I liked and wanted to continue. Gymnastics was great and all, but after a short while I knew I wanted to go back to dance.

My aunt Marie (aka my second mom) who lived just a block away from my family growing up, had her daughters Betsy and Steph (my cousins) enrolled in a dance studio in the neighborhood. I had gone into the studio to watch my cousins dance and my mom and Marie got to talking. The next thing I knew I was enrolled at the same studio!

I had to “audition” to determine which level to be placed in. All I wanted was to be in Betsy’s class even though she was a year younger than me. At first I was placed with girls my age, but talked to the owner of the studio and eventually she put me in the same class as Bets. At the studio we took tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, musical theater, and more.

Getting into the studio was the best thing that could have happened to me at that point. I fell in love with dance. And so began the millions of memories…

  • Dance camps
  • Nutcracker
  • Recitals
  • Competitions
  • Red lipstick
  • Costumes
  • Endless hours rehearsing
  • Choreography
  • Blood, sweat, tears…

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And the best part of it all is that I shared these memories with my best friend. Throughout the years my friendship with Betsy grew stronger and stronger as we continued our dance journey together. She was always there for me to show me steps I wasn’t quite understanding, keep me focused, laugh with me, cry with me, and stand up for me.

Our friendship has only gotten stronger over time. I was ecstatic when I found out she would be joining me at Mankato State for college, she was my Maid of Honor in my wedding, and my lovey bug to this day. Whenever we get together even just to hangout in our sweats and eat puppy chow, I am just the happiest gal ever. I love that girl so much.

We continue to shake our groove thing whenever we get the chance.

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I am so lucky to have so many wonderful memories of dance and to have been able to share them with Bets. xoxoxo

So speaking of shakin’ it together when we get the chance…

On Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to walk down memory lane and take a dance class offered at my studio for alumni. I was extremely hesitant about going being that I hadn’t been to an actual dance class in about 8 years (not including Zumba, aerobics, etc.), but Bets and my other cousin Emmy had taken the class the previous weeks and convinced me that I had to join them. They said not to worry, just come have fun and I promise you will not feel silly if you can’t touch your toes or do a pirouette.

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I pulled out my leotard and dance shoes and headed to class with the girls. We jumped right into the warm up full of stretches that used to be a lot easier. Then, we moved into strides and leaps across the floor just like old times. Finally, we began some choreography. The theme for the week was Michael Jackson and we were taught a jazz dance to “Smooth Criminal.” I picked a great week to go, huh?! Love me some MJ.

I was very appreciative of our teacher (also an alumni) who took the steps very slow for us folks who were kicking the dust off of the old dancin’ shoes. I was sort of able to remember the steps and crank out the routine. What a great way to keep the mind sharp! By the end of the class I felt enlightened, nostalgic, and very sweaty. I proved to myself that I can still do it. Sure I may not be as flexible but I still have rhythm and can move, and you better believe I won’t stop dancing!

You can find me on the dance floor at every wedding, dancing around the house like no one is watching, Zumba’ing, and now, taking classes time and again at my old dance studio. Dance gives me such incredible energy and is a great stress reliever too. There’s a song for every mood you’re in. It’s powerful.

“If you get the choice, to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”

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I am off to enjoy the weekend! Have a wonderful day my friends. Much love to you all.

A Very Special Day and a GIVEAWAY {CLOSED}

One year ago today I married my best friend. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to call him my husband. He defuses my stress, teaches me how to be patient, reminds me to stay positive, and loves me unconditionally. We accept challenges that life throws our way and work through them together.

We have had such an incredible first year of marriage full of love, travel, races, and so many other wonderful memories. He is the love of my life and I am thrilled I get to celebrate a lifetime of anniversaries with this man. I am so blessed.

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We celebrated our anniversary yesterday with an extremely relaxing “us” day. I’ll fill you in more on that later. Open-mouthed smile

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GIVEAWAY

When following the SCD or Paleo diet, it can be a little challenging finding any pre-packaged foods whose ingredients actually fit into the “allowable” foods list. There is one however that I have been in love with for quite some time that does fit the mold, and that is the delicious LARABAR. Their ingredients are natural, simple, and I can pronounce and understand what each and every one actually is.

They are a perfect pre-workout snack, afternoon pick-me-up, on-the-go breakfast, or any time snack. I always keep one in my purse so that when hunger strikes, I can refuel.

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They come in so many awesome flavors from Peanut Butter Cookie to Lemon Bar, to Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte, so there’s sure to be one that is perfect for everyone’s taste. I personally haven’t met a LARABAR I haven’t liked. You can check out their flavors here.

Do you want a chance to win some free LARABARS to put into your purse or pocket for when hunger strikes?! Here’s your chance. I am giving a way a caddy of 16 mixed LARABAR flavors to one lucky reader (courtesy of LARABAR).

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{GIVEAWAY CLOSED}

Enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post with your favorite LARABAR flavor or one you would like to try.
  • Earn an extra entry by liking Beautifully Nutty and LARABAR on Facebook. Then, post another comment on my blog that you have liked us.

Giveaway ends Wednesday Oct. 3rd at 9:00 pm Central Time. Winner will be announced Thursday Oct. 4th. Open to U.S. residents only (sorry to all of my international readers!).

GOOD LUCK my healthy friends!

**Disclaimer: All opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. LARABAR has provided me free bars for this giveaway.

Four Months Ago

It’s February?! Ohemgeee! Holy cow time flies! Did you know that four months ago from today I married the love of my life? Well believe it!

Melanie + Dana = Love Forever

October 1st, 2011.

According to Dana it’s been the best four months of his life. I believe him and I agree. It has been an amazing first four months. Married life was kick-started with a wonderful, beautiful honeymoon to Italy where we visited Rome, Montalcino (and surrounding areas in Tuscany), Florence, and Cinque Terre. It seems like a dream.

Florence: view from the top

Cinque Terre: Photo in front of the Ligurian Sea

Once we returned home we started tackling thank you cards, writing reviews for our awesome wedding vendors, and unpacking/reorganizing our home with all of our wedding gifts! It took a little while to get back into the swing of normal life and felt very strange to not have a wedding to plan for anymore. It is crazy how much it really consumes your life when planning a big wedding, but in a good way!

Next events to follow were Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, friends and family’s birthdays, New Year’s, work…..life. It’s been busy but such is life. I am the luckiest girl to get to spend the rest of my life with  my best friend!

Okay, I’ll stop. I know it’s only a four month anniversary but I am a sappy kind of a person. What kind of shenanigans will I post on our one year anniversary? Oh boy, you’ll be in for a treat I’m sure. But really, I am so happy. I love you, Dana. 🙂

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Breakfast

Breakfast tasted better than normal today. It may have been because I woke up really hungry. In the bowl was blueberries, blackberries, plain non-fat greek yogurt, honey to sweeten it up, and chia seeds. A good breakfast is a sign of a good day ahead. Hope everyone has a happy Wednesday!

What did YOU eat for breakfast this morning?