Thursday, August 26, 2010


Today is my mom's birthday! Happy Birthday MOM!! Hope you've had a great day so far...

Here's Mom with me at the Rehearsal Dinner

We are getting together this evening for dinner and I may or may not be making a Coca-Cola Cake.

Here's a picture of a slice of Coca-Cola cake via Google

One of the main ingredients is Coca-Cola (hence the name)... and let me tell you, this is a great cake! I had never even heard of it until I was at a friend's house for dinner. For dessert I was served a plate of chocolate goodness. When I inquired as to what the delicious dessert was, I was told it was none other than a Coca-Cola cake. Apparently they are no secret.

I will let you know how it turns out. May even share the recipe with you!

Monday, August 23, 2010


We had a big weekend. I took this past Friday off of work with big plans to get my living room painted. When we woke up on Thursday morning I mentioned to Ryan that I might take the next day off. He thought it was a great idea and even mentioned taking the day off with me. However, once I mentioned that I was going to be painting the living room Ryan decided that he really didn't need to be off. (kind of fishy in my opinion but I let it slide).

Not to be defeated, I decided I would paint the living room on my own. So I picked out a paint color and decided that if it took me all day I would get it done. Needless to say, word traveled fast that I was painting my living room all by myself (bless my heart) and by the end of Thursday night I had a family member (who happens to be a painter) offer to help me work it out.

I have had a tough time choosing a paint color. I'm not sure why, but I just could not decide on one, however, with the assistance of my mom we decided that the perfect shade for my living room would be:

Behr's GARDEN WALL (eggshell finish)
So we covered the furniture and taped up the base boards and began painting around 8:00 Friday morning...



...And we were done by 10:30 Friday morning. It only took a couple of hours and it made a huge difference!  I must say, it was really helpful to have a professional painter on hand, for sure.


Friday also happened to be my best friend, Deidra's birthday. She's been my friend since I can remember.

So, we had to celebrate on Friday night with dinner, drinks and a little live entertainment. It was a good time had by all...

Side Note: When the musician announces that he will be taking request maybe one should not request Widespread Panic's "One Arm Steve." I did just that and it really sparked some gnarly conversations within the bar.  I can only assume that it is better to stay within the realm of what 'everyone' might know... so I went with Georgia Satellite's "Keep your hands to yourself." It was more well received.
Saturday was spent relaxing, ordering pizza, and watching movies. A much needed answer to the previous night's shenanigans.

On Sunday, I insisted that Ryan join me as I shopped for random knickknacks for the house and then we met my family and some friends for dinner celebrating my Mom's birthday (which included a little hibachi action- Yum!).

Overall, the weekend was quite nice.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


My take on a book to movie.  I went to see "Eat, Pray, Love" last night with a group of friends, and....

...I actually enjoyed the movie more so than the book. Don't get me wrong. The book was good... I loved the "EAT" section, struggled through the "PRAY" section, and enjoyed the "LOVE" section. Basically, I simply could not get into the "pray" section because it was a lot of talk about chanting, and Sanskrit and the author (liz) trying to explain what it all meant and how one learned to meditate. I wasn't feeling it.

Long story short... I really enjoyed the movie!

On a side note, I loved that Phillipe was played by Javier Bardem. I'm not exactly sure I ever had a vision of what I thought Phillipe would look like, but I was really feeling Javier Bardem in the role.

If you're looking for a good (hate to say it, but...) chick flick please do go check it out!

I officially want to go to Rome, like, tomorrow.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wedding Recap Part IV

Part IV: The Final Installment

My something old... was the baby bonnet I wore the day my parent's took me home from the hospital twenty some odd years ago. With the removal of a few stitches the bonnet became my handkerchief for the day. It was really beautiful.

My something new... was basically every thing I had on. The dress, the shoes, the veil, the earrings, the flower in my hair at the reception... the list goes on and on.

My something borrowed.... was a pin which had belonged to my paternal grandmother. I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate something of my Grandmother Toland's. I was blessed to have my Mom's mother present at every event leading up to the wedding as well as the wedding, but not so with my dad's mother. So, I decided I would pin a broach or pin which had belonged to her to the inside of my dress. My dad's sister let me borrow one that she had inherited. I loved my Grandmother Toland so much and I think she would be really proud of who I have become. It was really special that I was able to remember her on my big day!

My something blue... was my lovely toe clips from the etsy seller B. Poetic. I had originally wanted to wear blue shoes, but once I stumbled upon these toe clips I knew that would be the route I went.

And a six pence in my shoe... My friend, Alana, was kind enough to hook me up with that, as I had forgotten about the last part. Have no fear I rocked a penny in my shoe all day!!

Hope you've enjoyed reading about our wedding (and that I haven't bored anyone too badly). It was so much fun. From the parties and showers, to the bachelorette bash, to the weekend of... it could not have been any better. It was everything we could have ever imagined.

Wedding Recap: Part III

Part III: "Down, Down Do Your Dance!"

WOW!! That’s all I can say about the reception. It was so much fun! From day one my top priority was that we host a reception that was fun for everyone.

Once we arrived at Five Star Plantation, Ryan and I were escorted into a separate room with our parents so that we could enjoy sitting down to eat before it got crazy! I loved that we did this. It was the calm before the (prefect) storm. We were able to taste each item on the menu that we had talked about for weeks.

Five Star Plantation is very rustic. It has white fences, and fields surrounding the lodge. It was very country chic… if that makes any sense. I was raised on good ole southern cooking. You haven’t lived in my opinion if you haven’t had a Sunday dinner cooked southern style, so I knew I wanted to play on that for the food.

I elected to have southern cuisine with a five star chief’s twist on it. We had tomatoes stuffed with a black-eyed pea stuffing, baked macaroni and cheese, pulled pork on cornbread rolls, and mini sweet potato pies. We also had grilled veggies and fruit. Mmmmm, it was so good. Perfect even. The chief at Five Star made each item so unique. My vision could not have been executed any better!

After eating Ryan and I cut our cakes, which were beautiful.
The bride's cake was homemade strawberry with cream cheese icing. So good!!

Next up, the wedding party was announced, as well as Ryan and I.

We began our first dance. We danced to Van Morrison’s Crazy Love. Dad and I danced to Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey.

You give me love, love, love, love... Cazy Love

After the first dances, I greeted some of our guest and decided to grab a drink and hit the dance floor. It was indeed time to get the party started. If this was a celebration of our union... I wanted to truly have as much fun as possible!

I could not have asked for a more perfect reception. I think everyone in attendance had fun. We danced, I may or may not have sang on stage, and we laughed all night. To top it off  the weather could not have been more perfect (as we didn’t have a plan b).

OK. So, Yeah, I did actually sing (not well by any means).... and I think Ryan was really loving it.

It all came together so well. The invitations, the look, the theme, the food, the venue--- it was everything I had envisioned and more.
Invitations via my friend, Katie Beth, over at The Good Stuff

There is one thing about planning a wedding that I learned. Yes, a wedding is about the celebration of love between two people – in our case Ryan and myself of course, but it’s also an out pouring of love from others. We had friends and family do things for us that I would have never imagined. People bent over backwards to attend showers and parties, to help put labels on water bottles, or even to stuff envelopes. We had  friends of our families gift us with items that were well beyond a simple thank you. We had friends and family work their  tails off the week of the wedding to make sure it was prefect for us. Thank you’s will never be enough. In the end our wedding was a celebration of not only our love, but also the love that others have for us, and for our families.

Ryan and I left the reception around 11:30 the night of the wedding. As I look back, I love the pictures of us making our way through the line of lit sparklers to the 1965 Vintage Mustang, which was waiting to whisk us away to our Happily Ever After….

It was quite simply the perfect ending to our perfect day!

**photos marked "Je Vois" in the bottom left corner were courtesy by this lady.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wedding Recap Part II

Part II: "The BIG Day is upon us..."

My alarm was set to go off at 7:30 a.m.; however, I was wide-awake about ten minutes until 7:00 on the morning of. I’m talking wide-awake. I continued to lie in bed for a few minutes, just bracing myself for the excitement of the day. I could hear mom and dad up stirring… so I decided to hop on up and embrace all that was about to come.

As soon as I was up, Dad gave me a really sweet card, which I will cherish forever. It was a perfect way to start the day, and then mom gave me a sweet card… and then Harley said he didn’t think about it but if he had he would have gotten me a really sweet card too. (I didn’t hold it against him).

Once up,  mom and dad chatted with me for a bit before they announced that they had things to do. Dad made signs, upon my request, to direct guest to the reception venue which needed to be put up and Mom had to head to Five Star (reception venue) to oversee some finishing touches.

And there I was alone on the morning of my wedding… but not for long. I decided to hop in the car and head to my grandmothers. I knew she would be great company and I was right. As soon as I walked in door of her house, I could smell the bacon, eggs, and homemade biscuits in the air. She was just finishing up breakfast and about to sit down and enjoy all her hard work. This worked out perfect, as I got to have breakfast with my grandmother on the morning of my wedding. I will always have that memory.

After breakfast, I decided to head back home and gather my the items that I would need to take to the church… i.e. DRESS, shoes, make up, rings…

On my way home my friend, Lacey, called to see how I was feeling about the big day. I decided to stop in and visit with she and my pal Katie to pass the a little more time. Lacey’s mom kept saying she could get over how chill I was being… but I genuinely was not nervous. Excited- yes. Nervous yet- no.

After a quick visit I knew it was time to get going. I met my mom, gathered my items and headed to the church. Upon arriving at the church I realized I had forgotten my engagement ring. We sent a family friend to retrieve it and then it was time to start prepping for the day.
As we entered the church the florist was prepping the sanctuary, my hairdresser was just arriving, and a friend of the family was tying bows…. It felt just like a scene out of Father of the Bride.

Around 12:30 I started getting ready to go. I had my hair done, then I did my own make up (but I had a tutorial weeks prior from the girls at MAC), and then my bridesmaids started to arrive.

This is when it got exciting. Bridesmaids everywhere, family stepping in to say hello, guys stopping by the bridal suite to ask questions, and photographers snapping away…  I was loving it.

When the group pictures began it got a little tricky. Ryan and I had elected not to see each other before the ceremony so anytime I was in one place people would immediately start saying, “Where is Ryan? Is he downstairs?” or “Oh no, there’s Ryan right there… oh wait, that just Clay (his brother)” It was a continual game of... I go this way--Ryan goes that way. It was kind of like hide and go seek with the bride and groom. But I have to say it was all worth it. I love that we had that moment when the church doors opened and at the end of the aisle Ryan was waiting for me. I wouldn't change one thing about it!

After taking most of the group pictures my bridesmaids and I settled back in to the fellowship hall for a quick snack. All I wanted at that point was a chicken finger with ketchup. But if you know me then you know ketchup and a white wedding dress do not mix. So what did we do? We slipped that dress off and I was able to enjoy a quick snack. It just one of those memories of the day that I will always have…. Surrounded by my best friends and family, taking off my wedding dress, so I could eat chicken fingers and ketchup. It’s such a random moment from the day… and so typical. I don’t want to forget those brief moments
Just finishing up with our snacks... Time to put the dress back on!
Around four thirty I remember asking what time it was… I could not believe it was almost go time. My sweet friend Kaci volunteered to say a prayer before we lined up in our perspective places. It was the sweetest prayer that only a friend like Kaci could pray. She said all the right things and it was, get this… just perfect

As we lined up, I asked everyone not to mention how many people were arriving at the church or to even talk about what was going on around the corner, for that matter. I did not want to know. I wanted to go into the ceremony without knowing just how many people were there because knowing would just add to the nerves… (which by the way decided to show up at about this time). Of course my friend, Lacey missed the memo and started say things like, “There are sooo many people” and “Jess, it’s a packed house!"

This is when it really hit me. I started to tear up…. But I couldn’t crynot before my big moment. Not at that moment. My make-up would be ruined. So my friends did what any good friends would do—a couple of them turned away because I was about to make them cry, Deidra insisted that I drink from the water fountain right then, and Bess began fanning me with a program. It was comical to see them ban together for the sake of my make-up and well being… and it was just what I needed to bring me back from the edge.

Alas… the music to queue to grandparents and parents began. It was about to go down. Next, it was the wedding party's turn. At this point, I was tying to peak out to see what everyone was doing but I kept getting shunned back so that Ryan would not see me.

After everyone entered the sanctuary, it got really quite and the church bells began to toll. After chiming five times to mark the hour the music began to play to queue Dad and I. I took his arm and said, “You ready?” to which dad relied with a quick “Yes.” And we were off.

At the end of the aisle the first thing I said to Ryan in a whisper was, “Hey Ryan!” It cracks me up that that’s what I went with… “Hey Ryan”… like it was any ole day, but once again… it was perfect.

The ceremony was everything I could have ever imagined. I have since watched the play back and it’s quite comical to see how Ryan and I handle nervous situations. I fidget like crazy i.e. I look around, shift my weight, and even brush off Ryan’s lapel. Ryan, however, remained so very still and so very focused on me. Pretty much opposite in that regard, but we’re opposites in lots of ways-- that's why we work.

After the ceremony we snapped a few more pictures....

...and it was time to head to the reception...

Part III: "Down, Down Do Your Dance" coming up tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Wedding Recap, PART I

It has almost been three months to the day since Ryan and I got hitched… and so far it’s been a great three months. We have been learning how to cohabitate successfully. We each do things that aggravate the other; he hangs clothes on random chairs in the kitchen to dry… I leave drawers open when I get ready in a hurry, but such is life I suppose.

I feel as though since the wedding I have had time to really reflect on that weekend. It all happened so fast. One plans for months for that BIG day and then it comes in fast and is gone before you know it. 

I don’t think the week leading up to our wedding or the wedding weekend could have been any better. I took several days off from work the week of. I would advise any bride to do the same because it gave me time to get in a few last minute workouts (always good for the nerves), enjoy a mani/pedi, and even time to relax with friends and family for a bit.

On the eve of the wedding day we rehearsed at the church and Ryan’s parents put together a Cajun Inspired Rehearsal Dinner at a shop in the downtown area of my small hometown. It was complete with blackened catfish, low country boil, and crab cakes for the wedding party and family.

Leading up to the wedding I kept thinking “it doesn’t seem real yet” and I just knew that at the rehearsal it would all click… I would have my “ahh ha” moment. However, at the rehearsal we were so busy making sure everything lined up and flowed smoothly that I never stepped back to really embraced it.
At the rehearsal dinner is when I had a moment of “Oh Shit…. This is going down TOMORROW.” Let’s just say I politely hopped up, grabbed a cocktail of sorts and decided not to think about it too in depth. Overall, the rehearsal dinner was lovely.

Ryan and I have a great group of friends that I would consider an extension of our family in a way. The girls and guys that made up our wedding party have played a huge role in both of our lives. The company one keeps really is a direct reflection of the person. Which must mean, ryan and I are pretty spectacular.
Our family and wedding party gave lovely speeches and made heart-warming toast. My MOH, Deidra worked super hard to make sure that the toast the bridesmaids gave was amazing… let’s just say it was complete with props i.e. Campfire vest, American flag bikini, fall ball dress, and my little flower girl, Kylee, even modeled one of my precious dance costumes. It was perfect, just perfect.

Around 11 o’clock, it was time to call it a night. I needed to get my beauty sleep so I bid farewell to our friends and family, kissed Ryan for one last time as boyfriend/girlfriend, and headed on home to my parents' house.

After arriving at my parents' house we reflected on the evening, discussed different things about the coming day, and right before bed my parents tucked me in one last time as Jessica Toland. It was perfect (which you will realize is a term I will use again and again as I do this little recap).

Monday, August 9, 2010


This past weekend my friend Lacey married her sweet boo, John.  It was a beautiful weekend on the Lake Martin. The wedding party all stayed in cabins on the lake... it was very much like Summer Camp for the twenty something party goer. We spent Saturday laying out and playing in the water and Saturday night was one rowdy good time.

Apparently, taking pictures of important events such as the ceremony, or friends at the reception, or even pictures of the wedding party hanging out on the lake was not important to me.

I have this one picture (which I stole from Facebook that someone else took-- thanks Mrs. Debbie) of myself with the bride.

The only pictures I took of the entire weekend were these....

(Please disregard the tan lines... I applied SPF 30 so as to avoid them... but it was all for nothing)

Let's just say some fun times were had on the golf cart.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin