ENGAGED!

February 23, 2017 · 0 comments

It may have been over two months ago, but I guess a serious life event bears mentioning…

Soooo, Alex proposed!

And ever since, I’ve been in a whirlwind of busy season of my full-time job, the usual madness of teaching Pure Barre in addition, and… wedding planning!

But since I’m backtracking to December 17th here, I’ll fill you all the way in on the details. Because if you’re like me, you like hearing a good proposal story.

Sometime before the holidays, Alex asked me if I’d be able to go to lunch with his grandmother, mom, and sister in a few weeks. I didn’t think much of it since we frequently spend time with his family in Richmond, which I love, since my family is a bit farther away.

When I got home from teaching and sweating all morning, I quickly showered, threw on a sweater, and bundled up for the dreary weather outside. On the way to lunch, I was scrolling through my phone, and Alex said his mom was running late. “Hey,” he said, “Wanna kill time and go up to the roof of The Hofheimer? See what’s up there?”

I looked up at the roof and said, “Uhh, it’s kind of cold and rainy…” But he was already dialing his phone. He asked the poor unfortunate soul who picked up the phone if they were open and if we could come check out the roof, and they seemingly said they weren’t open, but that it was fine.

The girl who answered the door was a fantastic actress. She acted like she hadn’t been arranging this for months with Alex, and I apologized profusely for being “those people” who had to look at the roof on a dreary Saturday while they were closed and setting up for a wedding. She walked us up the steps to the roof, and we could immediately see the Richmond city skyline, not far from Alex’s old apartment.

As I started to do a 360 degree turn, I spotted Maggie. You know, my best friend since childhood who lives in Philadelphia. WHAT? Behind her, I could see Alex’s younger sister, Janie, who was obviously trying to hide behind a wall alongside Mag. I knew what must be happening when I saw Maggie and had no idea she was in Richmond.

At that moment, Alex grabbed my hands, and I realized what was happening. Then I blacked out.

I mean, I stood upright and all, but I haven’t the slightest clue what he said after “You know how much I love you… and…”

In the video Janie took, you can just hear me saying before he drops to one knee, “Your knee is going to get so wet!”

I said yes and delicately reminded Alex he had to put the ring on my finger, not just show it to me.

Despite how cold it was, it goes without saying it was my favorite day.

One of the most touching parts of this moment was that when we gathered as a family afterward, the skies opened up for just a moment with the first sunshine all day. Some of you know my dear Poppop passed away just ten days prior to our (already planned) engagement, and I know it was his way of telling me he was there.

Alex had Maggie and Brittany on standby since September since they had the photos of the ring I had chosen a loooong time ago (I had gone with my girlfriends to look on a whim way before I knew we were even close to being ready to get married). He had arranged for Maggie to drive in early that morning and show up with Brittany and Isaac, my parents to come for the weekend (and hide at a hotel), and his younger sister and parents to be present.

It was the absolute perfect combination of a moment for the two of us and a time to celebrate with our loved ones present, which is exactly what I wanted. I was (and am) so thankful, and I was so shocked.

Alex and I had talked about getting married for a while (it is so true what they say about “you’ll know when you meet ‘the one’“), but he had me truly believing this wouldn’t happen until June of this year at the earliest. This was an impressive feat, because I’m pretty tough to surprise.

We had a champagne toast and left The Hofheimer to have lunch at Alex’s parents’ house as I frantically tried to make my brain compute what had just happened.

That night, we invited our good friends to Mekong, our *~*very predictable*~* favorite place to drink beers and eat Vietnamese. Fun fact: My friend Molly, to the right of me, got engaged four days later!

We had plans to attend one of my closest friend’s Christmas parties that night as well. Elizabeth even let us bring our family and completely hijack the party. I surprised some of my favorite girlfriends and we immediately started talking Bachelorette ideas (Vegas, anyone?!).

It was quite the holiday season, and thus far, we’ve had a blasty blast wedding planning.

SO THERE’S THAT.

I’m looking forward to hopefully finding the time to recap some of my favorite parts of wedding planning here. Hit me with your favorite wedding planning “must-dos.” I’m a Pinteresting fool.

Because what’s wedding planning without blog recaps and input from the interwebs?!

P.S. I’m aware I also owe you guys some home renovation updates. Wait until you see what we’ve done with our digs (and the door behind us in the above GIF!).

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Howdy, hi, hello!

every-day-sun-safety-via-lifeofblyss-com

I know, I know. Autumn is here, and I’m talking about sun safety.

BUT. Although the temperatures are cooler, see that bright thing up in the sky? The sun is still shining on us, and we’ve still gotta protect our skin from it.

Since it’s been a hot minute since I threw myself into video form on here, you can delight in the below video, where I highlight some of my favorite everyday beauty sun care products.

Some are more geared toward summertime, but Elements Beauty Shop has just stocked some new beauty products that include SPF in them. Take a gander! Below I highlight my faves from COOLA, tell you why I love them, and even hit you with some sun safety facts.

And just you wait. In the above video, you get to see what it looks like when I leave a makeup setting spray hanging out too long without any practice spritzes. Ciyuuuute.

Below, I’ve included links to my favorite Elements Beauty Shop COOLA products, which I recommend for your time in the sun. They range from the most straight-forward sunscreens to makeup primers, setters, and perfecting cream. 🙂

COOLA Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber
COOLA Classic Body Sport SPF 50 Mango Moisturizer
COOLA Face SPF 30 Makeup Setting Spray
COOLA Rōsilliance™ SPF 30 BB+ Cream
COOLA Mineral Liplux SPF 30 Skinny Dip – Sheer Tint

Psst, if you enter “lifeofblyss” in your shopping cart, you earn 10% off!

Or, call or stop by snag your top beauty picks at the Richmond, Virginia local woman-owned Elements of Carytown. They are so helpful and love finding items specific to your skincare needs. I’m always happy to tout Elements for their fabulous customer service (literally, a phone call RIGHT when you make a purchase) and their selection of natural, organic, no-animal tested products.

And! After you make a purchase, tag your purchase with #ElementsBeautyHaul on social media to enter to win a $50 gift card to the store (drawings monthly). Be sure to create an account online too, so you can cash in on the loyalty program.

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Interested in more of my favorite Elements Beauty Shop products? Check out my sponsored Pinterest board here.

 

This post is a sponsored collaboration with Elements Beauty Shop.  All opinions are my own. Thank you, as always, for supporting LOB and its sponsors!

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We Got A House!

July 19, 2016 · 13 comments

Okay, let me clarify. Alex bought a house. I live in it. Sooo…. we got a house! 😉

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You may already be clued into this via my Snapchat feed (username: ablyssa). For the past month, we’ve been full steam ahead moving, demolishing, painting, planning, craigslist selling, and reorganizing.

And thankfully for me, in his retirement, my handy dad starting flipping houses. Guess what he spent 16+ days doing?

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My dad completely gutted our master bathroom. We weren’t too attached to the bright green and black/white tile, and the bathtub badly needed reglazing. Bob to the rescue!

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My dad finished the job yesterday, but we still need to get the bathtub reglazed. Just wait until you see the difference in the new bathroom vs. the old.

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I’ll hit ya with some before/after picture realness when we have all our ducks in a row.

But don’t worry! We saved a few of the original tiles to make some coasters for the living room. WHOOP. Also, Alex wanted me to make it clear that he gets photo credit for these beauts:

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Last month, my mom, my sister, and Alex’s mom joined forces with all of us to clean, paint, and move. That week may have been the most exhausted any of us have been in a long while.

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Bye, chevron wall.

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Hello, rainwash. With my mom and Amy’s help, we painted about 75% of the house.

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Smell ya later, orange kitchen.

We’ve still got a ways to go (furniture purchasing, decorating, ceiling fan wiring), but we are really excited about making this charming little Richmond house our own. And if you feel like I’ve been a little MIA, just use your imagination and assume I’m hanging backyard string lights, arranging rooms 217 times, or perusing the best online sales for patio furniture and dining room chairs (speaking of which…. anybody got any gems?).

My friend Bailey will be gracing our house with her design touch, as well. I can’t wait to show you all her great ideas.

Follow along on snapchat, as always!

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Any tips for new home buyers? What was your favorite part of buying your first house? Where’s your favorite place to shop for new home goods?

I need a frequent flyer card for Joss & Main. It’s getting out of hand.

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The Bachelorette Recap: Chad will rip your shirt… and all your limbs off.

June 8, 2016

This week, as I turn on the T.V. to start the best part of Monday, I’m suddenly reminded of what I have to look forward to. TWO nights of… Buckle up, y’all. Sidenote: I swear I read something a past contestant posted that the girls aren’t allowed to bring weights, leave the property to run, […]

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The Bachelorette Recap: JoJo’s on Fire; The Dudes are Not

June 1, 2016

I did it. I’m back. I watched the Bachelorette, and I have time to blog about it. How better to kick off Episode 2 of JoJo’s bachelorette season than with 1 million fire similes and metaphors?! By now, the dudes have already bonded (save for Chad, who sits in the corner sulking, eating, or using […]

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Introducing Pure Barre Platform: FAQs from Clients

May 23, 2016

There’s a fantastic new workout on the block, and it’s called Pure Barre Platform. Pure Barre Platform is a new fast-paced class designed to optimize cardiovascular results and increase total body strength. This heart-pumping class combines quick bursts of high intensity, yet low impact cardio work with periods of lower intensity muscle-sculpting movements. These 55 […]

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A Pure Barre Demo & The Fit Foodie Run is Back in Fairfax, VA

May 19, 2016

Remember last year when Brittany and I ran the Fit Foodie Run in Fairfax, VA? We’re at it again this weekend! Last year’s Fit Foodie Run was the most fun race weekend I’ve ever experienced. From the pre-race party the night before, to the events before and after the race, to the finisher’s village, I […]

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Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths: My 5K PR Race

May 10, 2016

On Saturday, I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Richmond, VA. As everyone knows, with my sister’s fight, breast cancer is a cause I will support to no end, so it seemed like fate that Alex’s mom used to work for Susan G. Komen and is one of the race […]

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Beauty in Bloom at Elements

April 13, 2016

Whose beauty routine needs an overhaul with this crazy, erratic weather? Did you raise your hand? Insert your girly one arm-raised emoji? Me too. And guess what? The ladies at Elements Beauty Shop have read your mind, because Elements is holding a Beauty in Bloom event this Tuesday, April 19 at 5:30 p.m. This event will include Erno Laszlo […]

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Things I’m Loving Thursday

March 17, 2016

I’m taking a page out of Julie‘s book by posting a “Things I’m Loving Thursday”. It’s been too long since I did a round up of my favorite discoveries/favorite things. And I really like alliteration. 1. Topping the list right off the bat? Rage yoga. WHAT? You heard me. It’s rage yoga. It’s for people […]

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