Happy Friday!

Last night, my husband and I went to a going away cocktail hour for one of my families close friends. We got to talking about the amazing opportunities and drastic, positive lifestyle changes that come when moving to states that have a lower cost of living than California. So I have decided, I will be taking recommendations for states to move to via the comment section 🙂

While I dream of moving to another state, I will continue to work on making our newly purchased house a home. One of my big weekend projects is touching up the mess we made when we painted last Sunday. We are less than perfect when it comes to taping on windows, ceilings, door frames, etc, so I have my work cut out for me! Come next week I will be sharing a before and after of our paint color, some tips on how to choose the perfect color, and a sneak peek of the gallery wall I have been piecing together for the past 3 months (it’s a serious work in progress).

I’ve decided that my niche in the blogging world is going to focus on simple living for living simply. I think it’s pretty catchy and I’m a simple gal, so it fits 😉 More to come on what that means and the direction this blog will be heading in the near future.

Have a safe, fun, blessed, and relaxing weekend, because the Lord knows we all need it ❤

Rachel Sharon

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Things I wish I would have know before my wedding

I started writing this post TWO whole months ago. I am quite the over achiever if you ask me 😉

Any who, I’m finally here to share some of the things I wish I would have known before my wedding day.

DISCLAIMER: To any male readers, be warned, I am going to talk about girl things aka periods.

I was one of those brides that thought that I was going to be so organized and plan everything out so perfectly that NOTHING could go wrong. And for the most part, I feel like I did, BUT there are some things that I had absolutely no control over and that no amount of planning could have prevented, and others that just slipped through the cracks. So here is my list of things I wish I would have known:

1. Your body has different plans than you. This might be a little TMI for some, but the Monday before my wedding day, Aunt Flo decided to show up at my door step. My heart seriously broke a little, and then I just got over it. Until I realized that meant that I couldn’t attend my waxing appointment for the next day and then I got a little upset about it again. That’s when I had the brilliant idea to DO IT MYSELF. I don’t think I need to explain, but take my advice when I say DO NOT try it at home. Moral of the story, you can’t control your body. You may get a zit or may get bloated, but no matter what, the show must go on and it’s still going to be an amazing day.

2. On a similar note: While you want to look your best, you don’t have to prepare months in advance. Every piece of literature about pre-wedding to-do’s includes some sort of beauty regime that claims you need to start a skin care routine, fitness routine, teeth whitening routine, or beauty routine of some sort AT LEAST 5 months before the wedding. While I definitely whitened my teeth and spent some hours in the gym, I didn’t do nearly as much as I expected I would have. I didn’t have the perfect tan nor did I have sparkling white teeth, but at the end of the day, I felt great on my wedding day. If you don’t get around to tanning, toning, whitening, firming, sculpting, or whatever else, don’t sweat it. You are still going to look and feel beautiful NO MATTER WHAT.

3. The week before your wedding doesn’t feel like the week before your wedding. I thought it was going to be this grand week where every day was going to be beautiful and some how sparkle with pre-wedding goodness. While it didn’t, I still truly enjoyed the time spent with my family and friends leading up to the day and the emotions all caught up with me at the rehearsal dinner. That being said, don’t over commit in the weeks prior to your wedding. Give yourself time to soak it all in and relax. In the 3 weeks leading up to my wedding, we purchased our first home, moved into said home, threw a surprise birthday party for my future husband with 50 people, and finished all the final to-do’s for the big day. Do as I say and not as I do, just relax the month before your wedding 😉

4. It is possible to enjoy every aspect of your wedding day. I read/heard tons of stories about how couples didn’t get to eat or hardly remember the night because it went by so quickly. Luke and I, however, took countless pictures in the Photo booth, made 2 trips to the Taco cart, tried each of our signature drinks, filled up at the candy bar, talked to 97% of the people at the wedding, AND danced the night away. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything that night and that is a really beautiful feeling. I had nightmares about missing out on parts of the wedding night, seriously though, I had a dream that I forgot my phone at home so after the reception I decided to make the hour drive home to get it and by the time I got back, the reception was already over. Talk about bad dreams.

5. No matter what happens on your wedding day, you will (eventually) look back on every single memory with a heart of gratitude and a smile, regardless of how horrifying it might be at the time. For example, someone may or may not have thrown up right next to the aisle, THREE seconds before I walked down it. Things happen. The next day when I heard about it, I was so annoyed/embarrassed, but now looking back, it’s a hilarious memory that I truly can’t wait to tell my children about! Enjoy the mix-ups, the craziness, and maybe even the drama, because it’s those memories that make the best stories.

To all my married readers out there, what was the craziest story from your wedding day? What do you wish you would have known before the wedding? And to any engaged ladies out there, what are you most worried about when it comes to your big day?! Comment below 🙂

When Life gives you Lemons

When life gives you lemons, it’s not always so you can make lemonade. Shout out to all the fellow 20 somethings out there who don’t know what to do with their lemons.

If you haven’t figured out what I’m talking about yet, I’m talking about careers. I’m talking about passions, or lack there of. I’m talking about the thing we are going to do for the rest.of.our.lives.

The other day I was driving along and like many other days of my life, I was trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up (as if I’m not already married and kinda grown up). And like every 5 year-old that I currently coach, my mind changes every 5 minutes, and not because I have so many desires and passions in life that I dream of following, but because I can’t seem to nail down even one.

Life is so full of curve balls, especially having to make decisions that will impact or influence your future, when you don’t even know where you’re trying to lead it. I wanted to write this post for two reasons. 1. to get it off my chest and 2. So myself and others would know that we aren’t alone in this boat (and it’s probably not even a boat, it’s more like a cruise ship).

So here’s to all of you working a job you hate in order to chase after a career you love. And here’s to all of us who still don’t know what we are chasing after!!

The Parrott Wedding

Hi all!

It’s been quite a while 😉 Between finishing up college, buying a house, and planning a wedding, blogging has been on the back burner. But now that the dust has settled, I want to share with all of you the amazing people who made our wedding day possible 🙂

The day would not have been possible if it weren’t this handsome man loving me, and he sure did look like a million bucks (as he always does 😉 )

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_weddingbe still my heart..

Next, the BEST friends ever and the most fun and loving wedding party ever

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

Our families have been so supportive and loving throughout our entire relationship and we could not have had this day if it were not for them!!

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View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

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Hair and Makeup was done by Madison Cardoza of King Cardoza Studio . She was so sweet and fun. I am so picky when it comes to getting my makeup done, but I seriously LOVED my makeup on my wedding day.

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_weddingOne of my friends from my sorority, Hannah Eicher, also came up and did makeup for a couple of the bridesmaids. She did my sister, Rebecca (right), and I was obsessed. Hannah currently works at MAC so go find her and let her make you GORGEOUS 🙂

Our venue was probably one of my favorite parts of the entire wedding. Secluded Garden Estates is so beautiful all on its own and it was honestly what I had always dreamed about for my wedding. Not to mention that it was THE most affordable wedding venue in pretty much all of San Diego/Temecula. I’m serious people, I contacted over 60 venues for pricing and Secluded Gardens was so reasonable. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE that place.

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

All the flowers for wedding party (bouquets, bouts, & corsages) were done Shelly at Petals of Poetry. I made my own bouquet, but she was able to tie in all of the bridesmaids bouquets to mine and I loved the way they turned out. She was so easy to work with! When Luke and I went to go meet her for our consult, what should have taken 20 minutes turned into 2 hours because we couldn’t stop chatting. Needless to say, Shelly is awesome.

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

 

One of the most fun parts of our wedding was the photo booth. If you are getting married, think you’re going to get married soon, or are just planning your wedding for fun, do yourself and all your wedding guests a favor and GET A PHOTOBOOTH. I can not tell you how hilarious all the pictures turned out! We got a huge photo album with a copy of all the pictures and it is something I am going to treasure for ever! The company we used as Mobile Photo Booth and they are hands down the best!

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

Bridesmaids Photo Booth

my bestfriend

Wedding Photo booth two

For dinner, we gorged on Tacos from Top Flight Tacos. Obviously, I loved my wedding day, but having Tacos was one of the all around BEST decisions I made (besides marrying Luke 🙂 ). They were so good and since we had an open bar, they were kind of a necessity lol. I was starving by the time we reached the reception and not only did I get to actually eat on my wedding night (contrary to being told I wouldn’t have time to), but it was actually DELICIOUS food.

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

 One of the other BEST decisions I made was hiring Jamie Grant for my photography. She is the sweetest and most loving person and went above and beyond to capture our day. While there are a lot of really cool photographers out there, I can guarantee that there isn’t one as kind and who works so so hard to make sure that every moment of your day is captured to perfection. Picking pictures to frame in my house is so difficult because I have 100+ favorites, like drop dead favorites. So for all my friends, next time you come to our house, don’t be surprised when all of our walls are covered head to toe in wedding pictures…
View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

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Rob Chapman with Love Like a Movie was there to video the whole thing. He is so easy going, funny and kind. He was starting to edit our footage at the reception an hour after he was already supposed to leave! Talk about dedication 🙂 I don’t know how I am going to survive the coming weeks as we wait to see our video, the anticipation might just kill me.

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

Our DJ was Chuck Hornsby from Audio Concepts DJ’s  . He did a phenomenal job. The dance floor was packed the entire night and I think I probably could have stayed there until morning if we were allowed. His music selection was on point. My FAVORITE part of the reception was when he had every single girl get out on the dance floor and played Wanna Be by Spice Girls. It was my favorite song as a little girl and to be surrounded by all of the women I love and adore on the dance floor and get to all fan girl over the song together was unforgettable. Mind you, I had no idea what was going on when he told all the women to go out on the dance floor and when that song came on, we all just lost it.

SO MUCH FUN

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_weddingView More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_weddingView More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_weddingView More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

Finally I must give a shout out to my fantastic wedding planner, Cassie, with Sublime Weddings. My wedding was DIY to the MAX and Cassie made sure that everything unfolded exactly the way I envisioned. I am so so grateful for all the hard work she put in that day and I could not have dreamed of a better wedding day if I tried.

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_weddingView More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_weddingView More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

Needless to say, I wish I could relive that day over and over and over. I am so blessed by all the amazing family, friends, and vendors who made our wedding day truly a dream come true. Thank you all for taking the time to read this post! I really wanted to show some love to all the people who made that day possible. While I do wish that I could go back to this day, married life itself has been incredible. Never could I ever love a man more than I love Luke. I am so excited to embark on this journey with him and am looking forward to all the years to come with the most amazing man I know.

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

View More: http://jamiegrantphotography.pass.us/parrott_wedding

Stayed tuned for most posts with some more of my favorite photos and my wedding tips! I know I have lots of bride-to-be friends out there 😉

Have a fantastic week and God Bless,

Rachel Sharon PARROTT

Did someone say Christmas?

Christmas Tree
Tomorrow is DECEMBER!! Where did this year go?

I decided to return to blog land to share one of my favorite parts of the holidays. My mom and I are Christmas obsessed, but every year we felt like the Christmas season would come and go before we even realized it. So last year, we decided to start a new tradition and do 25 days of Christmas. Essentially this means doing something Christmas related everyday from December 1st- December 25th. We were a little ambitious and over booked ourselves last year, but this year we are back with a few adjustments and ready to conquer this holiday season. Below is our 2014 25 Days of Christmas List:

December 1st: Bring Candy Canes to everyone at work
December 2nd: Decorate for Christmas
December 3rd: Make a Christmas Countdown Chain/ Get a Tree
December 4th: Decorate the Christmas tree
December 5th: Balboa Park December Nights
December 6th: Soccer Shots Fun Fest
December 7th: Watch a Christmas Movie
December 8th: Wear an Ugly Sweater to work
December 9th: Make Christmas Cookies
December 10th: Random of Acts of Kindness Night
December 11th: Family Game Night
December 12th: Christmas Shopping
December 13th: Mission Bay Parade of Lights
December 14th: Holiday Pet Parade
December 15th: Make Gingerbread Houses
December 16th: Get a Picture with Santa
December 17th: SeaWorld San Diego
December 18th: Look at Christmas Lights
December 19th: Watch a Christmas Movie
December 20th: Hotel Del/ Ice Skating
December 21st: Nut Cracker
December 22nd: Christmas Lights
December 23rd: Poinsettia Bowl/ make Banana Bread
December 24th: Church
December 25th: Christmas

As you can see, some of the things on the list require a lot of effort and others require very little, and it is totally okay to repeat activities. For example, you could watch a Christmas movie everyday and have it count as your 25 days of Christmas (cough, cough, ABC Family). My new philosophy is that when all else fails, watch a Christmas movie or listen to Christmas music, IT STILL COUNTS, even if I deviate from the list a tad bit. Tis’ the season for Pumpkin Spice Latte’s and UGG Boots, so just embrace it. There is nothing more amazing than getting in the Christmas spirit. It is the perfect reminder of what a mighty God we serve and how blessed we are to be able to spend time with those we hold most dear. Make this holiday season count in whatever way suits you best ☺

Things I have learned in my 2 months of being engaged

Next Wednesday will mark two months of Luke and I being engaged and I cannot believe how quickly time goes by. In 7 and half short months, we will be getting married. Over the past two months I have learned a thing or two about being engaged so I thought I would share.

1.I don’t need to defend or explain our decision:
I can’t even begin to count the times I have been told I am too young to get married or been given shocked eyebrows when they hear my age and see my ring. Two short months ago, anytime someone would say something about how young we were or give any sort of surprised look, I felt as though I needed to explain that we have been together for a while, lived together, or that we both have full time jobs, or some other reason that would show our age is irrelevant. I have come to realize that the people that say those types of things or ask those questions or give that reaction either really don’t Luke and I or are projecting their own experiences with love and relationships onto our experience and decisions. So at the end of the day, every one else’s opinion is totally irrelevant. I don’t owe anybody anything, but I will make sure to send them a postcard 50 years from now when Luke and I are sitting on our porch still married.

2.Wedding planning isn’t what it is cracked up to be:
In the world of Pinterest, wedding planning looks like a piece of cake. It’s full of beautiful flowers and princesses (literally) and a majority of girls dream and fantasize about their wedding day. I was definitely the girl who had a wedding pinterest board way before Luke and I were engaged, but during that time, it was all just a dream. It was fun to look and plan and find new ideas, without ever having to put in any hard work or hard earned money (a lot more of the latter). Now that I am actually writing out checks, emailing/calling companies and vendors, and buying décor, I realized that wedding planning is tough work. While I know that there are people out there with no budgets on their weddings, I am definitely not one of those people and am not trying to break the bank. I am trying to cut corners and save anywhere possible, while still making my wedding beautiful and fun. And let me be honest, it’s pretty freaking tough. While weddings may be about love, the wedding industry is about loving to take your money. A vast majority of stuff is SO overpriced, and all because they are doing it for a wedding.
Aside from the actual expense of having a wedding, there is so much stuff out there telling people things they MUST have at their wedding, wedding etiquette to follow, traditions, and pinterest just sets the bar way too high for your average wedding. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely am still trying to have a pinterest worthy wedding on my tight budget, but all in all, wedding planning is not what I thought it would be once I really dove in. It is still really exciting to be planning such a big day in our lives and I am so GRATEFUL and HAPPY to be able to have a wedding, but planning it can be very stressful, overwhelming, and a tad bit heart breaking.

3. Life doesn’t end at the wedding
As I said before, I am still so excited and grateful for our wedding. However, I am even more excited for what comes after. This is going to sound so cheesy and corny, but I am truly most excited to become a wife, and not just any wife, but LUKE’S WIFE (ahhh I love it). There are so many articles out there talking about how girls are only excited to get engaged because of the ring or the fact that they get to have a wedding. So what if we are excited about those things? We SHOULD be excited about those things. It’s monumental and life changing. But just because I am excited to be engaged or stoked to be having a wedding, doesn’t mean that I’m not ready for marriage. There are so many exciting things that are SO MUCH better than the actual wedding. Like getting to be Luke’s wife, getting to share the same last name, buying a house, starting a family with little baby parrott’s (haha), but most importantly, showing my family, friends, and Luke that no matter what, I am sticking out the rest of my days with Luke by my side.
Which brings me to my next point. There are also a lot of articles/ people out there that claim that “you’re too young! You need to get out and see the world! Explore, Travel, make Memories, have new experiences!”. OH MY GOSH, I must have been completely oblivious to the national law that says you can’t travel outside the United States once you have a spouse. Or the one that says you can’t go out and have fun when you’re married. I must have missed that one. I think what people are really saying is (and this is actually what someone said to me today) you need to date more people, you need to experiment more. And what I say to that is this: I don’t need to date or sleep with 27 people to figure out who my husband is going to be. BYE There is no such thing as soul mates. I have read so many awesome Christian based articles on this point and couldn’t agree with it more. But while Luke may not be my “soul mate” in the normal meaning of the word, but he is my soul mate because we choose to be each others soul mates. He’s the one I choose to do life with, no matter how tough things get. We fight, we are going to disagree, he’s going to push my buttons and I’m going to push his. Marriage and relationships aren’t a Disney fairytale, but they are still a beautiful and complicated mess that I can’t wait to dive into WITH Luke, FOREVER.

4.The wedding isn’t only about us.
While it is about us, it’s also about our parents. And our grandparents. And our siblings. And the bridesmaids. And the groomsmen. And our Aunts and Uncles. And our cousins. And our best friends. The most important thing to me is that on our wedding day, everyone that we love and care about has the opportunity to share that day with us. That we can give them one awesome night to not only celebrate this new step in our lives, but also thank them for the tremendous amount of love and support we receive from all of them on a daily basis.

5. Us Brides/Wives are really lucky
I can’t speak for every guy out there, but think about it. Men don’t propose because they are excited to wedding plan or because they can’t wait to get a pretty ring. They do it because they are ready to make the biggest commitment of their lives. While I am sure there are some guys out there that are stoked on wedding planning (Luke is not one of them), most men don’t grow up their whole lives planning their wedding day, nor do they spend every Friday in front of the TV watching TLC’s Friday Bride Day. If they didn’t love us or weren’t ready to make us their wife, why else would they go through all the wedding questions and bridezilla moments? They freaking love us and want to be married. How lucky are we?

All in all, I truly am still young and have a lot to learn in life and in love. But thankfully and luckily, I get to learn and grow with my best friend by my side.

Why I Suck at Blogging

The other night, my future mother-in-law asked if I was still writing on my blog and it got me all motivated to write another post, but then I realized a few things. Every time I post, I make it seem as though I am about to make some glorious come back and start posting fabulous posts every day. Let me reassure you, this is not and never has been the case. Why? Because I am terrible at blogging.

For one, I had no idea how much effort it took, so props to all you ladies out their making it big on your blogs and staying dedicated. Writing a blog, at least one that posts every day of the week is at least a part time job, if not a full time one. Now, some ladies and gents out there get paid to write. Isn’t that a dream? Like where do I sign up for that kind of stuff? Which brings me to my next point.

I am not crafty, good at make-up, a personal trainer, fashionable or a mom, so their goes 95% of blog material out the window. While I have successfully created my own wedding bouquet (I actually will post a tutorial on this because I am so proud of myself it is not even real, but you’ll have to wait until who knows when for me to get that motivated to post it) and I have found some bargain deals on wedding décor/ furniture ($50 China hutch valued at $400, say WHAT), I don’t want to spoil the day of the wedding by posting every detail of it because I want you all to be surprised (which is a joke because you could take a yonder at my pinterest board or any wedding pinterest board for that matter and plan my wedding better than me). I could literally talk to myself all day if it wouldn’t make me look weird, so I figured if I can talk to myself, I would be able to write a blog. No. After the first couple posts, I realized that the things I have to talk to myself about are either A. super weird or personal or B. I have no idea what I am even talking about to begin with. I am just making crap up trying to sound all edumacted and entertain myself on long drives home. Basically, I ran out of ideas on what to post about is what I am trying to get at.

Finally, the number one reason I am terrible at blogging is because I am lazy. I don’t think that needs much explanation because it is what it is.

Aside from the fact that I am not the best blogger, thank you thank you thank you to those of you who have complimented my blog, asked about it, or viewed it. You have no idea how exciting it is to see how many views I get on a post, especially when I have gotten a view from Italy, Russia, and China (I don’t know how I managed this, but hey, I did).

I will continue to write on here from time to time, but if any of you have any post suggestions, questions or ideas for me. HIT A GIRL UP.

Rach

A MUST READ Book

The original intention of this blog was to explore how to figure out your life calling or at least how to land a successful career, however successful can be defined. Between the expectations of our family, the need for endless internships and experience, as well as the ocean of opportunity and possibility in the world, the possibilities can be flatout overwhelming. So, one day, I broke down at work. I was so overwhelmed by life and my future, scared that I wouldn’t be eligible or worthy for a good career, or that I wouldn’t be able to find one I enjoyed to begin with.

Then came along the book, The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter-and how to make the most of them nowby Meg Jay, PHD.
image (5)

This is an absolute must read for any twenty-something struggling with career choice, indecision, depression, relationships issues, or motivational setbacks. Honestly, even if you don’t think you fit into one of these categories, still read it. There are so many stories in here that I related to that I never thought I would. My only wish is that I would have read this book sooner 🙂

The book itself is divided into three sections: Work, Love, and The Brain and the Body. Each section holds numerous chapters catering to different issues and types of advice. The book as whole did so many things for me, some chapters reassured me that the path I’m taking and the goals and desires I have for my future are where they need to be, while other pages gave me a wakeup call, fresh perspective, or redirection on how I should look at something. I now have confidence in the current state of my life, as well as sense of direction and realization of where I am headed. There is not one thing in this book that didn’t speak to me on some level. I’m so tempted to go into the details that are divulged in the pages of this rock star of a book, but I honestly want you all to read it for yourselves because I think everyone’s interpretations and take-away will be different.

So if you want a sit down guide on how to navigate your twenties, READ IT. If you need a little motivation or drive, READ IT. If you are between the ages of twenty and twenty-nine, READ IT. Part of why I finally grew the confidence to write this blog was because of what I read in this book.

For anyone who has read it or plans on doing so, what did you think? How did it motivate you? What did you learn? I would love to get some feedback on what others thought of the book!!

Much Love,

Rachel