September 2017 Goals

A&BTSOSChapelHillFinalDinner63
photo by Ally + Bobby, planning + design by Stephanie Shaul Events

September is here, friends! I always associate September with school starting back up, the impending arrival of autumn, and getting back into routines and rhythms (and wedding season!). How did your August go? I shared all that we were up to in August yesterday, and I also loved reviewing my August goals, which I happily crossed most everything off the list last month! We had fun trips to the mountains of North Carolina with lots of our couple friends, as well as a weekend in the sunshine at Carolina Beach. It was a productive yet relaxing and fun month before the craziness of the fall wedding season arrives, and I tried to use my time in August wisely. It’s also our five month wedding anniversary today, which always coincides perfectly with the renewal of each month!!

As you’re reading this, I’m busy finishing packing for our back-to-back trips to NYC to visit my sister and brother-in-law (and go to the US Open!), and then we’re heading straight to the Outer Banks for the rest of the week! You can follow along on our family vacation over on Instagram, if you’d like to. And once we return… wedding season is most definitely in full swing with so much goodness on the radar. Here’s to our last big hurrah of Summer 2017!

Personal Goals

  1. Enjoy every moment of our vacation week in NYC + OBX! Savor loads of quality time with our families, enjoy the juxtaposing settings of the city + the beach, and relax as much as possible.
  2. Create (and share) a Fall 2017 to-do list.
  3. Celebrate Rob’s birthday with great excitement and love him well. I have a surprise or two up my sleeves!
  4. Finish planning and go on our anniversary getaway to one of my very favorite destinations! Our one year engagement anniversary and six month wedding anniversary are the same day, and we plan on celebrating this wholeheartedly.
  5. Serve selflessly and joyfully at our church and with the child development center at the Raleigh Rescue Mission.
  6. Decorate our first married home for fall and think of some small but fun ways to celebrate the season!
  7. Leave my phone in another room when we’re home at night.
  8. Enjoy the slightly cooler weather by eating dinners at home outside, going on regular evening walks, and playing tennis.
  9. Love on and serve one of our married/young parent friends well by baby-sitting so they can go on a date night! This is something we really want to do much more often.

Business

  1. Make the full switch over to my new website! It is quite the process changing everyyyything over to Stephanie Shaul Events.
  2. Share SO much more of our wedding!! This both personal + business… and oh so very exciting!
  3. Celebrate and serve my couples well in their season of engagement.
  4. Plan ahead as much as possible for my Fall 2017 weddings so that I set myself up well for October and November.
  5. Book two new 2018 weddings.

How can I encourage you in your goals or cheer you on? What are you most excited for in the coming month?  I’m still loving summertime, and I can’t wait to spend a long week in NYC and the Outer Banks before returning to work!!

Travels of 2015

aiport2015 has come and gone, and it was a full, busy, and wonderful year! Last year around this time, I was combing through old blog posts and my photo archives to try to remember each and every place I traveled to throughout 2014. So, for 2015, I vowed from the very beginning of the year to keep a running record of all of my travels and trips. It made it infinitely easier to remember all of the wonderful locations I’ve been able to visit and the people I’ve been able to see. I kept a list on the Notes section of my phone (my longtime go-to place for quick lists and reminders, like travels, books, shoot ideas, restaurant recs, gift ideas, etc).

I traveled a ton in 2014, and my goal for 2015 was not to travel more, even though I ended up doing so — I really wanted to travel to new places this year! In the list below, the new places I traveled to are denoted with an asterisk (New Hampshire, Harrisonburg, VA, Elizabethtown, NC, Bethany Beach, DE, Catlett, VA, Pittsburgh, Harpers Ferry, WV, and Bald Head Island.  Throughout the past twelve months, I was able to travel to 40 places… most of them weekend trips (or longer). Needless to say, I spent much of the last year traversing the Eastern seaboard, for the most part! And what a blast it was!!

JANUARY
Asheboro
Charlottesville
Charlotte

MARCH
Boston
New Hampshire*

APRIL
Charlotte
Asheboro
Greensboro
Charlottesville
Harrisonburg*
Charlotte
Charlottesville

MAY
Charlottesville
Charlottesville
White Lake & Elizabethtown*
Bethany Beach*

JUNE
Catlett, VA*
Raleigh
Chapel Hill
Charlotte
Nashville

JULY
Columbus
Pittsburgh*
Charlottesville
Raleigh
Harper’s Ferry, WV*

AUGUST
Charleston
Raleigh
Charlottesville

I moved from DC to Raleigh in mid-August!

SEPTEMBER
NYC

OCTOBER
Winston Salem
Charlotte
Bald Head Island*
Ohio

NOVEMBER
DC
Charleston
Chicago
NYC

DECEMBER
Winston Salem
Charlotte

Whew!! It was a total blast, for sure… I definitely remember April and November doing me in, in terms of travel and being so, so on-the-go. But I really do love visiting friends, seeing family, attending weddings, planning weddings, traveling to styled shoots, and seeing this beautiful country. It’ll be interesting to see how 2016 shapes up, in terms of travel. I have a few exciting trips planned, and I can’t wait to add more destinations to my calendar!

I’d love to hear… where all did you travel to this year?! What was your favorite place you went, and what’s at the top of your 2016 travel bucket list?

New York City Vacation

Long weekends are the best, aren’t they? Well, they’re even better when you extend a long weekend to make it even longer… and travel to NYC to visit your sister and brother-in-law! Over Labor Day weekend, I flew up to the city for five full days of fun with two of my very favorite people in the universe! Despite a 3:30am wake-up (seriously), I was overjoyed to arrive at their apartment by 8am to kick-off our long weekend together. Bridgette and I are huge fans of itineraries and making plans/reservations, but we equally love to leave enough room in our itinerary to relax and be spontaneous. You know it’s going to be a good trip when 1. your sister sends you an extensive Google doc filled with all of your favorite things to do/see/eat/explore in NYC and 2. you get to do all of these fabulous things with two of your favorite people. Needless to say, I was oh-so-excited about this trip!!!

Bridgette and Rob are pretty ecstatic to be living back in NYC, and their adventures are wonderfully chronicled in Bridgette’s blog, Let Love Guide Us. If you need any NYC (or Charlottesville or South Africa or Iceland, etc etc) travel advice, tips, adventures, or itineraries, you don’t want to miss out on her amazing blog. Just sayin’!

Bridgette and I kicked off of Friday fun with THE most epic, beautiful, wonderful picnic in Central Park. I’m not really kidding when I say that picnics are my love language, and when it’s a picnic filled with my best friend, gorgeous cooler weather, a setting in Central Park overlooking a pond and castle and willow trees, rose wine, lemon feta dip, baguette and crackers, brie and goat cheese, prosciutto, and strawberries… well, perfection. Oh, and macrons to top it all off. Why yes, it was the most idyllic few hours chatting with Bridgette and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

Once Rob was off work, we headed to the Met to explore some of their favorite exhibits and galleries. It’s such a grandiose museum (and was surprisingly busy at 6pm on a Friday), and I loved poking around quickly. We headed up to the rooftop of the Met for cocktail hour and the most stunning views of the sunset over Central Park + the city. I loved seeing this view, and it was so picturesque!

I love that we cooked most dinners at their home (the cost of eating out all the time in NYC is no joke!), and I’m continually impressed by their cooking skills and menu selection. We always enjoyed a nice glass of wine (or Maker’s Mark + Coke!) while cooking and devouring meals. I love our endless chatter and great conversations. Oh, and the view from their apartment is unreal! I loved watching the sun begin to set, then the sunset, and then seeing all of the lights emerge around the city.

We headed to the US Open all day Saturday (AHH!!!), and I’ll definitely share more about that very soon!

Sunday was our “day in the life” day in the itinerary! We cooked breakfast together, went to their church (it was fun seeing friends I’ve met before!), and enjoyed a delicious lunch at Shake Shack. Wandering around the Upper East Side, admiring the beautiful homes, poking in adorable shops, and taking it all in is one of my favorite things, and it’s always astonishing how much you end up walking – which is a good thing! We watched a good amount of the US Open on TV, curled up on the couch and just enjoying relaxing time together.

On Monday, we headed to the Tipsy Parson in Chelsea for brunch. I’d seen this adorable cafe in many Instagrams and on blogs, and it was fun to check it out in person. And the food was really great, too! Bridgette and I were also huge fans of their infamous book wallpaper & had to be sure to get a good shot of it. We wandered around Chelsea Market (I could spend so much time here!) and walked along the High Line. I love the unique views and cool history of the High Line, and I almost always visit it when I’m in NYC. We wandered all through the West Village with a destination of Washington Square Park and NYU in mind. My uber-smart sister just started grad school at NYU, and it was a joy being able to see the buildings where her classes are and scope out the school!

Rob had to head to work on Tuesday, but Bridgette and I enjoyed a quiet – but fun – day together before I flew home. We grabbed authentic NYC bagels, which was high on my priority list. I mean, you just can’t beat a hot, toasted everything bagel loaded with cream cheese! We attempted to walk off our bagels as we strolled around their neighborhood and wandered around their local park. After a little more US Open watching and such, we said our goodbyes as I headed home. I am so thankful I’ll be back in NYC for Thanksgiving, though! Two months is long enough to be away from Bridgie, for sure!!

As usual, my visits to New York are always filled with the best people and countless happy adventures and memories. I’m so grateful to Bridgette & Rob for their hospitality and zest for life!! I also can’t wait to share more about the US Open soon, as that was a definite highlight. And NYC, I’ll see you again quite soon!