1.06.2017

The Proposal

TGIF readers!

I know it's been a while...more on that in my New Year's post coming soon...but I am happy to be sharing a bit more about Bryce's proposal and our engagement with you here on Alexandra Bee Blog today. I had originally planned to share some wedding inspiration with you, as well, but realized that needs to be separated into it's own post altogether!

Those of you who follow along with me on Insta have been itching for this post and I'm excited to finally get my act together!

It's a long one, so grab a cup of hot cocoa, or, a cocktail and settle in!



For those of you that have been longtime followers, you know Bryce and I have been together for quite awhile. Our first date was July 7, 2011, to be exact! That being said, I might have had a bit of an idea an engagement was coming soon...and at the very least can say that I was maybe just impatiently awaiting the 4 little words "Will you marry me?"

First things first, though, let's backtrack a little and talk about ring shopping!

I'll be the first to admit that I didn't initially think I wanted to be a part of the ring shopping experience. I'm so glad, however, that Bryce insisted I be included. It's so interesting trying on rings, and it's crazy how different the styles can look on your hand than in pictures online or on other people. I ended up with a ring that was completely different than I envisioned or even thought I wanted (similar to my wedding dress shopping experience, too!).

The first time we looked at rings, it was a rainy spring day and we started the day with brunch at Can Can, our first date spot. After brunch, we made our way to a local jewelry shop to peruse rings. I was certain I wanted a round, three stone ring (like this). I tried on multiple three stone styles, though, and nothing felt quite right. I was also certain that I did not want a ring with a halo. I found halos to be beautiful, but felt like they were the "in" ring. I wanted classic, not trendy. That being said, Bryce begged me to try on a specific round halo he saw. This one was a little different than the others, as the halo was quite delicate and the center stone was set as a pave sitting up above the halo. I still knew that it wouldn't be the ring, but decided to oblige him and try it on.

Y'all--I put the ring on and immediately knew. It was "the one!" Bryce knew all along, better than me, which ring would be perfect for my hand, for our engagement.

Quite a while passed, and Bryce went back to the original jewelry store and several others to look again and again. A little over a month before our engagement, he asked that I go with him a second time to look. He wanted to be sure that the ring I would look at the rest of my life was just right.

That weekend we went to one jewelry store he had not yet visited: Adolf Jewelers. (I'm putting in a plug here, because, local friends, Adolf's is the place to go! They were wonderful in every way!)

Our experience was so fun and we realized that yes, the first ring I chose was perfect. Adolf's then ordered diamonds for the setting we selected and we went back the following week to pick our diamond. I'll share here that I really didn't picture myself being quite so involved in the process, especially not choosing the diamond, but again, I  am so glad that I was. It was fun and exciting, not to mention, I received quite the diamond education from Mr. Adolf himself! After we selected the diamond, we were told it should take about 3 weeks for them to build my setting for the diamond and have the ring ready. The countdown was on!

It took a bit longer than first estimated, so I was in constant anticipation!

The night that Bryce proposed finally rolled around. It was November 22, two nights before Thanksgiving.

It was a Tuesday night, and here I'll share the first of two proposal requirements I asked of Bryce: You might wonder why a random Tuesday? I have always told Bryce to make an ordinary day extraordinary when proposing. I didn't want anything predictable (think birthday, holidays, etc), and now November 22nd will always be special to us!

I got home from work and Bryce suggested we go out to dinner. While I tended to Millie, he got the car started. Once I made it to the car, he immediately started driving. I was a bit suspicious as we normally go through the never-ending discussion of where to go to dinner (anyone else go through this!?). He started driving and was headed downtown. When we got off the expressway, he suggested we go to a favorite Mexican restaurant, Casa del Barco. He was driving straight there, and I became quite confused. Surely if he was going to be propose, it wouldn't be in the middle of a Mexican restaurant. At the last minute he turned, and it appeared that he was headed to Sine, the bar where we first connected during a mutual friend's birthday celebration. The wheels were turning now...until he drove right by Sine. At that point, I was completely confused as he drove around the neighborhood of Church Hill, suggesting several different dinner spots.

We came upon Libby Hill Park, a local park that has fabulous views of the entire city. Never having been to the park after dark, I commented on how gorgeous it looked at night as we drove by. Bryce then suggested we pull over and take a look. At this point, I knew something was up. It was freezing cold outside, so the fact that Bryce suggested we stop the car and get out was a huge clue!

We got out of the car and made our way to the edge the hill, taking in the city below. Bryce popped the question, remarking that he had chosen the location because it captured Richmond. We've both always called Richmond home, and bonded over that fact early in our relationship. He then retrieved a nice bottle of champagne that he had snuck in the car while I took care of Millie.

We enjoyed the champagne, albeit I was shivering the entire time, and were just full of giddy excitement!

Here I'll share the second requirement: I don't want anyone watching (i.e. no cameraman hiding in the bushes, no busy public place, etc)! Now, wouldn't you think a public park would be pretty secluded on a freezing cold Tuesday night? Well, guess what, it wasn't! People were coming and going like crazy! Bryce had actually scoped out the spot with the best views for the proposal, but ended up popping the question a bit further from the road down the hill where people wouldn't see! We did walk over the spot he had planned, however, and enjoyed it while sipping our bubbly!

Once we returned to the car we called our parents and made our way back to Sine to have a drink. We sat at the exact spot where we talked and talked the night we met, and used that time to share the news with some of our other best friends.

Next we headed to our most special date night spot, Edo's Squid and feasted! Finally, we made our way to Can Can, the location of our first date, for dessert. The night couldn't have been more perfect, and I loved that it happened right before the holidays, so we were able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmastime celebrating with family and friends.

The picture at the top of this post was taken at Can Can the night we got engaged, and now, I can't resist sharing a favorite engagement photo, also taken at Can Can! I need to tune back in soon to fill you in on wedding plans (Our date of June 3 is right around the corner!), share the rest of our engagement photos, and also talk thoughts on the new year! If we get the snow they're predicting this weekend, I may have some time to hunker down and write!


Did any of you get engaged over the holiday season?

What are your requirements for the perfect proposal?

Have a great weekend!

12.09.2016

Pink Door Holiday Tour

Not just a Happy Friday over here, today...an ECSTATIC Friday, readers!

What a week!

How are you doing?

I'm doing well, but a bit overwhelmed by life at the moment. As y'all know, I started a new job at the end of the summer. It was a prime career move and I love what I'm doing, but I just have quite a bit to do...all day, every day. I have a seemingly never-ending to-do list and at the end of each day, I am beyond exhausted. I also spend a lot more time at my desk than in my prior role, so picking up the computer at the end of the day isn't overly tempting. 

On top of that, those of you that follow along on Instagram know that Bryce and I got engaged right before Thanksgiving. Our dream venue, Tuckahoe Plantation, had June 3rd available, so we decided to go for it! We've had more champagne in the last two weeks probably than in the last two years and are over the moon excited, but that means on top of the crazy new job and the general "busy" that comes with the holidays, I am also working to plan a wedding in six months! Post coming soon-ish with wedding details!

Do you forgive me for my absence yet?

All that being said, I was honored to be invited to join the Pink Door Holiday Tour. I regrettably would classify myself as more an "Instagram blogger" these days...aka, I used to blog all the time, but now I mostly just Instagram, so I was thrilled that despite my lack of regular posts, Annie, still included me!

So without further adieu, come on in!


I decided this year to just focus on our living and dining rooms. I've placed some decorations throughout the rest of the house, and of course have my favorite Grinch Flannel Sheets on the bed, but decided that I cared most about the two main, and most formal, rooms in our house!

First up was the mantel! You may remember that last spring, I updated the mantel to display our colleection of silver pieces (post here)! It has proven very versatile, as I filled the julep and Jefferson cups with hydrangeas in the summer, pumpkins in the fall, and now ornaments for Christmas!



I was so thrilled to add a third stocking to our mantel this year for Miss Millie! These Mark & Graham Stockings (on sale!) have been a favorite! I love that they are neutral but can be spruced up with ribbon for any look you'd like!


I also enjoyed sneaking a bit of pink into the mix this year! I lalalalove these pearly pink ornaments!

Next up was the Christmas tree.


Most times of year I feel like this room is a bit too masculine for me, but I think it really shines at Christmas!




Bryce and I both have quite the ornament collection, and I am fortunate to have several, like this one, that have been handmade by my grandmother over the years! Every year she claims "This is the last year!" when gifting us our ornaments, because they are so time-consuming to make!






And last, but certainly not least, was the dining room--which I struggled with the most this year. I love setting a table, but just couldn't get it quite right. I was so pleased with this look from last year and tried to recreate it. Those hot pink candles are long gone, though, and really were an integral part of the whole table. I tried a very funky variation with lime green candles this year, but it was just a little too out there, and clashed with the living room decor. I decided to give the basic white candles a try and immediately loved them! They set the tone for a more subdued table that I'm really digging!



Please ignore the dog crate: This post is all unedited, real life...and a dog crate in the middle of our dining room is the reality these days. I wouldn't trade it for the world, though! 


I bought these gold fern leaves at A.C. Moore over the weekend, knowing I'd find a use for them and am completely smitten!




Even the bar receive a litle bit of zhushing!


Now here's to seeing how long the table will remain this clean!

And, just for fun, check out Bryce as Cousin Eddie at a Christmas Vacation party this past weekend!


Have you decorated yet?

What's your holiday style!?

Have a great weekend, AND...

be sure to check out all the other lovely participant homes below!


Pink Door Holiday Tour

11.22.2016

Holiday Gift Guide: Ladies

Happy Tuesday friends!

If anything can pull me out of the blogger cave I've been in, it's certainly the holiday season!

I have so much fun putting together these gift guides every year and sharing my holiday decor!

I do about 95% of my Christmas shopping each year online during Black Friday, so it's always nice to put these together leading up to the major sales. By the way, did you see that Shopbop already started their Cyber Week sale? It's their typical buy more, save more model and you can save up to 25%!

Today, I have 5 gift guides to share with you for all the ladies in your life. 

First up is my personal favorite guide this year! When shopping for the girlie girl, you can't go wrong with pink, glam, and sparkle!

Next up is gifts for your bestie! This is the gal pal that you're sure to always have fun with, so gift her things that are as bright and fun as she is!

I'm certainly a "nester" myself, and I'd be thrilled to receive any of these gifts to spruce up our home! By the way, if you haven't checked out Rewined Candles, you should! The candles are under $30 and the Rosé scent is my favorite; it is fresh and certainly not overpowering! I don't know about y'all, but I just can't justify spending $50 or $70 on a candle! Also, I finally got the chance to take a peek inside Beautiful and it did not disappoint...in fact, I've added it to my very own Christmas wish list!

These gifts are sure to please the lady who you can always count on for the best eats. Daily Bread is actually a cookbook written by my friend Michelle's mom, and the recipes are super yummy!

And last, but not least, we can't forget the little ladies! I'm majorly swooning over those Uggs!

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Which gift guide is your personal favorite? 

Have a great day!

10.24.2016

Austin Recommendations, Please!

Happy Monday readers!

Did you have a good weekend?

Ours was wonderful!

Friday night, we had two fun couples over for dinner, and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning with them talking and laughing. Saturday was low key. We went to see a movie with my dad and got an early dinner; and yesterday, we headed over to some of our best friends' parents' house for an oyster roast! I wish I could rewind a few days and do it all over again!

Today, I'm reaching out asking for your help.

Whenever I travel, I find myself heading to the blog to ask you all for tips. In fact, many of our trips, have almost been entirely planned via blog comments!

We're headed to Austin shortly to celebrate the wedding of one of Bryce's best friends from VMI.


To give you an idea of the "free" time we have to fill:  We'll have about half a day once our flight arrives to get settled and maybe grab a bite to eat before getting ready for the rehearsal. The next day, I'll have about half a day to myself while Bryce attends to groomsman's duties. I definitely plan to stop by the Katie Kime flagship store. What other spots should I visit downtown? Good shops? Somewhere I could grab a solo lunch? Then, post-wedding, we'll have about a day and a half to explore and do all things Austin: Where should we go for brunch these days? What about for a fancy date-night dinner? Any "attractions" we should fit in? We're staying right in downtown.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Have a great day!

10.19.2016

Pumpkin Poke Cake

Happy Hump Day readers!

I'm trying so hard to get back into the groove of regular blogging, but life has just been crazy!

Today, however, I do have a fun fall recipe to share with you.

I have to admit...I'm not obsessed with all things pumpkin (gasp!). I love to indulge in pumpkin bread or muffins this time of year, but I certainly wouldn't fall into the basic pumpkin-crazed category.

That being said, a few weeks ago,  I hosted a potluck happy hour with some of my old work friends, and decided to make a pumpkin treat for admittedly basic former co-worker Emily, and, it was good enough to share here. The pumpkin obsessed in the group, even all indulged in seconds.


Pumpkin Poke Cake 
(recipe credit: Something Swanky)

Ingredients
1 box yellow cake mix
14 oz pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I didn't know what this was, but referenced this recipe)
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz tub Cool Whip
1/2 bag Heath bits
Caramel Sundae Sauce (I opted for a salted caramel version)
Chocolate Syrup (This was my own personal addition to the recipe)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix together dry cake mix and pumpkin puree: Do not add additional cake ingredients listed on the box. I also added a bit of water to the batter in this step, to smooth the consistency.

Pour batter in well-greased 9x9 baking dish (I used a pretty scalloped pie dish for presentation.)

Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cake cool completely.

Using the bottom of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, aiming to fill the holes.

Refrigerate cake for 60 minutes to allow the condensed milk to soak into cake. (I let my cake soak overnight, as I was baking late and needed to go to bed!)

Spread the Cool Whip over the top of the cake. Drizzle caramel sauce and chocolate syrup over Cool Whip. Sprinkle Heath bits on top.

Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or overnight. (I iced in the morning before work, so it refrigerated approximately 10 hours before serving!)

Enjoy!



Are you a pumpkin fanatic?

What are some of your favorite fall recipes?

Have a great day!