Sunday, December 27, 2009

'Tis the Season...

To experience and successfully drive through the first ice storm of the year. To register for wedding gifts. Multiple places. And be surprised every time at just how long it takes (though what could one expect during a very busy shopping time?).

To hear from Bernie Dunlap, President of Wofford College, how he convinced his Tryon neighbors to get him out of his mountain driveway with a SnoCat because he had to get to Wofford to watch the Terriers beat the Gamecocks and then see them do just that on the basketball court in a thrilling victory. First time since 1939.

To eat dessert- lots and lots of dessert. The best a tie between those at our dear friend Ms. Ruby's house (Richard is pictured with her incredible chocolate cake, Elvis cake, and sweet potato pie) and the yummy cranberry and pear bread pudding at the Hare in the Hound in Landrum.

To hop from family and friends' homes to extend Christmas greeting in person- six on Christmas Eve and Christmas and to remember again how good it is to be at home. To discover super fun Christmas lights right off I-26. 360 Foster Road in Inman, SC. Thank goodness for the Garmin.

To have Christmas Eve lunch at McAlister's. And thoroughly enjoy it.

To become slightly obsessed with Straight No Chaser's version of the 12 Days of Christmas. Would love to see Clemson's Tigeroar perform this arrangement.

To not send Christmas cards out until today, December 28th, even this late only send a very few that doubled as thank-you notes. To be perfectly content to cheer on the Tigers in the Music City bowl with family in Ohio by a warm fire and watch the snow through the window instead of sitting in the snow in Nashville. After a busy week of running from one thing to another, to be reminded of the reason for the season during the candlelight Christmas Eve service. To be oh-so-thankful to go through this Christmas season knowing that it will be my last as a single gal.

And to celebrate that engagement with a holiday party for local family and friends! Couldn't pick just one picture to include, so I put together a slideshow. It was the perfect way to see so many people who are special to us, and the time with them passed to soon!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Richard has been home since Friday evening- he barely escaped the DC blizzard, and we were SO thankful for that!- and we have gone non-stop since his arrival, registering at different places and trying to get wedding plans coordinated. In the midst of all that though, our parents threw us the most wonderful engagement/Christmas party last night. Richard's parents usually have a Christmas party at their house, and this year invited my parents to join in on the hosting and just added the engagement celebration component too! We invited our dear hometown friends and friends from school in the area for the holidays and ended up with the most fun mix of people there, many of whom we had not seen in quite some time!

I have wonderful pictures that I will post soon, but wanted to link to a few on Sarah's blog for a sneak peek. She continues to be my blogging inspiration, and we always love spending time with her and her hubby!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

scenes from the season

Last night I hosted the Clemson Women's Alumni Council Ornament Exchange at my house, and I thought I'd post pictures I took during and after the party. For the last three Christmases that Hannah has been my roommate, we have had an elaborate North Pole village, multiple themed trees, and a garland and ornament-lined mantle. Everything always looked beautiful and was perfectly done, and I simply served as a direction-taking elf in the decorating process. Now that Hannah has a lovely house of her own, Suzanne and I were left to be creative with just a few Christmas decorations to our names.

Since I knew the Clemson ladies were coming over (and to show myself I could do it without Hannah!), I tried to infuse as much Christmas cheer possible in our home. Suzanne bought our 6-foot tree at the Wal-Mart, and I filled in with decorations from Target, Hobby Lobby and Carolina Pottery, along with some fresh flowers from Fresh Market. My dear, dear friend Rebecca made the most gorgeous magnolia wreath to go over the sofa (we told her she should sell them next year) that served as the pièce de résistance. The end result was not quite as elaborate as Miss Hannah's, but not too shabby! I won't be there at all over Christmas to enjoy the decoratons but hoped you kind blog readers (if you are still out there- it's been a while!) could enjoy them virtually!

Southern Living at Home holiday door bucket and garland on stairs

pretty lit garland

pretty Clemson ladies- aforementioned Hannah is 3rd from left,
wreath-making Rebecca on far right next to Hannah

wreaths with candy cane ribbon were in both kitchen windows
(house is a rental- not my wall paper choice!)

decorated tree-
notice fun engagement gift from Candy in back right corner with my new initials!

mantle with very colorful ornament trees

so nice to have a clean, decorated house- even if just for a night! ;)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have a terrible tendency to sometimes skip right over Thanksgiving in thinking about Christmas. I've been listening to Christmas music since November 1st and contemplating all the fun to soon be had at the Junior League Preview Party and other Christmas events, fun during a whole week with Richard at home and fun in Ohio with the Davis and Davies families.

But I do realize how much I have to be thankful for and wanted to reflect on that today (apologies in advance for another list of bullet points!)

The really important ones:
  • a gracious God and the gift of Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith
  • a small, immediate family who I can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with in a t-shirt and work out pants. We are a laid back group!
  • a new, larger family who welcomes me whole-heartedly, even with Suzanne and Richard not around. I do have to look slightly more presentable, but time with Richard's extended family is always so much fun.
  • a fiance who is spending Thanksgiving night at the hospital taking care of members of the armed forces wounded fighting for our freedom abroad
  • amazing friends, the best anyone could ask for, from all chapters in life
And not-so-important, but still relevant
  • Coppola's Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy- if you have curly hair, run, don't walk, to your nearest salon to have this done. I have tried everything from straighteners to relaxers to even perms back in the days, and so far, this has worked the best of anything I've tried. I just had it done at the Ulta in NE Columbia, and will soon post before and after pictures. Amazing.
  • Diet Mountain Dew- my caffeinated beverage of choice. Every morning.
  • Dabo Sweeney and Oliver Purnell- I love the leadership they provide to my Clemson Tiger football and basketball teams.
  • a sweet baby brother who lends me his Mac computer to look at wedding dresses and compose this blog entry
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who knew...

  • that Richard's third cousin would get engaged two days before us, making date selection slightly more complicated. We are all set now though for July 24th, 2010! Richard's parents' anniversary is July 27th, so it will be fun to share a similar anniversary date!
  • that traditional rules of etiquette dictate that you offer "best wishes" to the bride-to-be and "congratulations" to the groom? I have always mixed this one up!
  • how easy it would be to pick a reception site, largely in part to the expertise of a fabulous catering director and the proximity to the church
  • that being engaged would make the distance from Richard even harder
  • how overwhelming (but fun!) trying on wedding dresses can be- so many to choose from!
  • how much all the sweet engagement cards, emails, Facebook posts, flowers and gifts would mean to me! We have such amazing family and friends!

celebrating with Rebecca over coffee at IMMAC- she brought an adorable ring dish for my newest favorite possession...

and with Candy over lunch at Garden Bistro...

and with my tennis team at our match last Monday night...

not much better than cookie cake, champagne punch and Mexican dinner!

beautiful flowers from Kim, Jen and Richard

Sunday, November 8, 2009

and the celebration continues!

The timing of Richard's proposal was perfect because Clemson was taking on the FSU Seminoles on Saturday. We had our annual Reunion Tailgate scheduled, and lots of fun friends were planning on being at the game. It was so much fun to tell people in person, and the Tiger win just capped off a perfect couple of days!

With sweet Theta girls Sara, also newly engaged,
and Hannah, my roommate of 3+ years in Columbia!

having fun posing with Bec, also a former Columbia roommate and
Wofford and MUSC buddy of Richard's

favorite picture of the weekend, taken with the Tiger statue at Richard's suggestion- I was too busy trying to get to my girls that I didn't think about stopping, but I'm so glad he did!

LOVED telling these girls and seeing their babies! Wish I could have made it to the Reunion Tailgate sooner! Thanks for being such a good hostess, Lisa!

Kayce made bride and groom cupcakes! Nic's brother Dave also got engaged recently,
and it was fun to celebrate with them!

Really close-up with Ryan and Amanda in the stadium


Sunday lunch with Meghanne and Caleb

We're Engaged!

I'm not going to lie- when Palmettos and Pearls was created a few months ago, I hoped that I would eventually be able to use the blog as a venue to share my and Richard's engagement story. I have known for sometime (i.e. since he was my date to my freshman year college sorority formal...jk...kind of) that he was the boy I wanted to marry, but we had to make it through the hurdles of med school and law school and residency and long-distance dating first. I had hoped that we could get married sometime during Richard's research year, but Richard had been intentionally vague on when he thought he might propose. Little did I know he had been contemplating his proposal for quite a while!

Richard had planned to come into town this weekend for the Clemson-Florida State football game, and I went to Charlotte Friday afternoon to pick him up from the airport. It took me over 2 hours to get there because of traffic, and I grew increasingly frustrated when I realized it was the fifth time in six weeks that I had made that drive. When poor Richard finally got into the car, I dissolved into tears over the long drive and long distance and perceived unending back and forth. Richard was just sweet as could be while I was upset and encouraged me to just trust him. We had made plans earlier to go to dinner in Greenville, but once I dropped him off at his parents' house, I texted him to ask that we just stay in Spartanburg and run to Target to pick up gloves for the game Clemson game Saturday. He agreed to this and asked that I just come back by his house when I was ready. When I arrived however, he walked out in nice pants and a dress shirt and insisted that we go out in his mom's car. I started to wonder at that point, and when I got in the car, I noticed that there was a candle and a lighter at the base of his seat and knew that he had something up his sleeves!

I reminded him of needing to go to Target, but he gave me a look and told me that was not happening tonight! Oh to have been able to photograph that look- the look that said, see I told you so! You had no reason to be upset! He started to drive further back in his parent's neighborhood and turned on the CD player, where a CD that he had made just for us began playing. There is a little lake (a.k.a big pond :)) in the neighborhood, and we pulled into the access area and parked. It was fairly dark (and cold!), but as we walked to the dock, I saw that there was a table set up with candles, flowers, champagne flutes and an ice bucket with champagne. I had butterflies in my stomach as he led me to the table and pulled out my chair.

He told me he loved me and pulled out some thoughts that he had written on love, ending with 1 John 4:7-8, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." He then said that if he were not on night float at the hospital and had an unlimited budget, he would take me back to all the places that our relationship had grown and developed. Since he could not physically do that, he wrote a poem about our journey and read the title- simply "A Proposal, November 6, 2009." I think I was in tears from that moment on, once I knew for certain that my hopes had been confirmed! It was absolutely the most perfect collection of words that I have ever heard, and once he finished, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes, of course, and we went to dinner at the Piedmont Club. After dinner, Richard had arranged to have my whole family and his family over to his parents' house for dessert. It was the perfect night and the start to an amazing weekend and new life together! I am so thankful for such a wonderful fiance who was able to plan everything, get my parents' blessing and pick out a perfect ring, all the while spending 5 out of 7 nights a week at the hospital. We cannot wait to get married!

table down by the water that Richard had set-up

self-portrait right after it happened

dinner at the Piedmont Club

Suzanne definitely told me I was a hot mess when I walked in the door!
She was right!

all the family and friends present- wouldn't have been the same without them!

the beautiful ring!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween from Rainbow Brite and a very tall Smurf!

Getting ready to go out as my favorite 80's cartoon character!

Richard putting on the finishing pieces of his smurf costume

Side angle of the Smurf hat

Party hosts Max and Ashley

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the little things...

Even though the weather has not quite stabilized here in the Palmetto state, I am loving these fall things!
  • Pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks and pumpkin spice coffee at the Stratton's
  • Honeycrisp apples and apple cider at the Fresh Market
  • OPI Kennebunk-Port nail polish
  • Chili back on the menu at DiPrato's
  • All the "CJ Spiller for Heisman" hype (vote now!) and a great Clemson OT win again the top ten Miami Hurricanes
  • Sweet Halloween package that arrived in the mail today from Richard...complete with candy for the candy jar in my office, fun new earrings and a Halloween monster mix CD, all in a bag that plays Ghostbusters when you open it- almost makes the long-distance worth it

Monday, October 19, 2009

baby love

So if I were completely honest, after the baby surge of 2008, when several of my friends had babies in close succession of each other, I was slightly jealous of their cute pregnant bellies, the constant kid conversations and comparisons, and their adorable bundles of joy, many of whom I met just hours after being born. I know God has a plan for me, but I sometimes feel a little behind in this area.

Kim was my freshman-year Holmes Hall roommate and has remained one of my dearest friends from Clemson. Though she lives in Minnesota now, we are still extremely close, and I consider her son Jackson to be a nephew of sorts. Kim and Jackson got to come to South Carolina for a visit this past weekend, and after spending wonderful time with them, I realized just how hard it is to raise a child!

Jackson was actually born on the third day of 2009, and we met when he was just six weeks old, then got to hang out again this summer, when Jackson was six months old. Those times, Jackson was just content to hang out in his carrier or stroller. But now as a nine month old, he is EXTREMELY mobile! As soon as we got to my parents' house in Spartanburg, after Jackson had been cooped up on a plane and in the car for several hours, he was off! He crawled everywhere and discovered things on the floor that had been there for who knows how long! Hunter the Dog loved Jackson, so we had to make sure Hunter was not overly affectionate. And had to feed him...more than just a bottle, but solid baby foods too- seemingly an easy task but made much more difficult by Jackson wanting to play with the spoon! And on Sunday at 7 am, after a full day of tailgating and football Saturday, Jackson was ready to go again. Beth went back to bed- Kim didn't get to.

The truth of the matter is that Jackson is an incredibly sweet, happy baby who made it through an entire football game, partially in the rain!, and who loves to smile, laugh, kick his feet and can easily cross a room in about 2.5 seconds. We all fell in love with him (again) this weekend and were so sad to see Kim and him go. And not only is Kim an incredible mom, she is in the middle of a challenging residency. That's what is incredible about all of my friends with babies. We got to spend some time with Jess, my junior and senior year Clemson roommate, her husband Paul, and her precious daughter Ella, pictured below. She has taught Ella sign language and Ella, just as a 14 m.o., can very clearly express what she wants- both by signing and verbally. But Jess also pours into her church and the youth group there, where Paul is a youth minister. And the list friends that are moms are successful attorneys, financial planners, graphic designers, logistic experts, higher ed administrators, teachers, counselors, nurses and physicians.

Ladies- you have set the bar high! I honestly don't know how you do it, but you never cease to amaze me. Kim, Jess, and anyone else, I will happily watch your sweet babies any time you want. And then, with a sigh of relief, hand them right back to you! And be content in the fact that my time will eventually come, right when it's supposed to.

Jackson watching the Tigers run down the Hill for the first time

Loving on Baby Jackson after a great Clemson victory over Wake

I loved seeing how much my mom and dad enjoyed Jackson

With Paul, Ella and Jess

sweet, tired babies

Hunter LOVED Jackson

great lunch with April at Jason's Deli on Sunday

Monday, October 5, 2009

Terps Topple the Tigers

I realize that there is more than to life than football. I really do. But when you travel to an away venue, the outcome from the football game can greatly impact the quality of your trip and how you will remember it. The Clemson- Alabama game, our season opener last year, ranks right up there among the worst three hours of my life. The Coke museum lost a lot of its allure the next day.

And so it was again this year with the Clemson-Maryland game. I was SO excited about having my whole family come and showing them Richard's home. I couldn't wait to watch the game with Richard and my parents and my brothers and see the Tigers get a divisional victory that they so needed. And yet, the game did nothing but frustrate our whole group, and the contingent of Clemson fans who had made the trek to cheer on the Tigers. Clemson had so many opportunities, yet could not capitalize on a single one. I thought this article in the Spartanburg paper summed up the current state of affairs well.

Despite the loss though, the weather was beautiful, everyone enjoyed our time together apart from the game, and Clemson still has a chance to win the division if our offense can find some inspiration. And if nothing else, now I know what it feels like to be a Carolina fan! Below are some pictures from the weekend:

Mom and Dad before the game- so cute in their orange!

Pretty ODK fountain on the University campus

Another campus shot

CU sideline

Still hopeful the Tigers can turn it around...

After we lost- this picture was very difficult to come by

With Miss Allison- who's boyfriend is on the football staff and is one person who was probably even more upset than we were!