Thursday, September 26, 2013

Turning 30

Right on the heels of my amazing trip to California comes another exciting (yet also somewhat unnerving) event – my 30th birthday! Yes, like it or not, this Saturday I’ll kiss my 20s goodbye and welcome a new decade for the fourth time in my life.

Do I feel “ready” to turn 30? No. Do I feel like I’m in a better, happier, more secure place than I was when I turned 20? Without a doubt, yes. In fact, those I’ve talked to who are already in their 30s say that this decade has been by far the best time of their lives to date, which I certainly hope will be the case for me, as well.  

In an effort to focus on the positive, I recently wrote a post for All Women Stalk on “7 Awesome Things About Turning 30 That Will Get You Excited” and have been putting together a goal list for the next 10 years. But before I become too focused on the future, I also want to look back and remember all of the best memories from my 20s, including the 10 listed below.

Even though I can't actually head back to Hawaii for my birthday, I'll definitely be raising a glass to the next 10 years!
1. Being editor in chief of my college’s paper, Daily Sundial, during undergrad

2. Graduating with my bachelor’s in journalism

3. Moving cross-country from California to DC eight years ago

4. Meeting and marrying my wonderful husband

5. Adopting Molly and Twix, the sweetest fur kids ever

6. Obtaining my master’s degree in publishing

7. Traveling to cool places like Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and, of course, California

8. Making memories with my grandparents during our final years together  

9. Writing, editing, being a congressional aide, coordinating weddings and working on various other professional projects I've loved

10. Taking ongoing steps (both forward and backward) toward living a healthier life

What’s next? I’m about to find out! Do those of you who are already in your 30s or about to celebrate this milestone birthday have any tips or advice for me? 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Beaches, Veggie Burgers & Vineyard Weddings

There are so many things I love about my home state of California, from the sandy beaches and mild weather to the delicious food and, of course, all of the loved ones I get to reconnect with each time I visit.

As those of you who follow me on Facebook and Instagram surely noticed, I took another much-anticipated vacation and blog break last week in order to spend a little time out on the West Coast, where I happily snacked on lobster tacos and veggie burgers, took in the beauty of the state’s Central Coast and attended the gorgeous vineyard wedding of my dear friends Jess and John.

As always, I’ve recapped my adventure below in photos. 

No visit to the Golden State would be complete without stopping by The Habit for a veggie burger with sweet potato fries. Another must-have? A grilled cheese from In-N-Out. 

There's nothing like the beauty of California's Central Coast, as seen here at Avila Beach, where I joined my close friends Bridget and Gianna for good food and music at the city's popular seaside Farmer's Market.

A group wine-tasting excursion hosted by the bride and groom was the ultimate way to kick off the wedding weekend. Here, Gianna and I are taking a quick water break before joining the others for a picnic lunch. 

Rolling hills, wine barrels, a candy bar, hand-drawn chalkboard signs and more set the stage for a fun and memorable wedding reception at Sanford Winery in Lompoc. Isn't the "Ring for a Kiss" bell too cute?

From the artfully designed centerpieces to the twinkling candles, Jess and John's table decor helped create the perfect rustic chic vibe. 

Hanging out with Gianna and Bridget during cocktail hour, then staying warm and getting ready to party with beautiful bride Jessica. 

Thanks for a wonderful trip, everyone! Now, it's back to DC in time to welcome the official start of the fall season, which promises cooler days, colorful leaves and, in just a little over a week, my 30th birthday. Yikes!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sponsored Post: 40 Percent Off New Cantoni Font for Weddings, Parties & Events

Back when I was editor of the Weddzilla Blog, I had the honor of working with many amazing contributors, including talented lettering artist Debi Sementelli, owner of Dallas’ Lettering Art Studio.

Like other former Weddzilla bloggers, Debi has kept in touch throughout the past couple years, and I was thrilled when she recently contacted me to announce the launch of her new Cantoni font, which strikes me as being just perfect for a rustic wedding, whimsical baby shower, end-of-summer BBQ or just about any other type of event for which you're looking to create eye-catching invitations, signs and more.    

In addition to the gorgeous lettering itself, I absolutely love the unique graphic ornaments seen below! 

Best of all, now through October 5, Debi’s offering a 40 percent discount to all of my readers who purchase this one-of-a-kind font. Simply visit the Cantoni page at to see an overview, view pricing options and make your purchase using the code heatherw. Depending upon the number of sales, I may also become eligible to receive my own discounted or free font package. 

Check it out today, along with Debi's other two original fonts, Belluccia and Dom Loves Mary.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lia & Matt’s Southern Summer Wedding

With Labor Day weekend now officially over, there’s perhaps no better way to bid summer farewell than by reflecting back upon how this year’s season first began. While for you that might have meant taking an inaugural trip to the beach or firing up the grill, for me, the early days of June brought the opportunity to coordinate a unique Southern summer wedding for my former classmate Lia and her fiance Matt.

Even though it was a cold day in January when I first met up with her, Lia’s clear vision for an intimate vineyard celebration – complete with a cocktail-style reception and plenty of creative touches honoring the couple's mutual love of books, wine and the rolling Virginia countryside – immediately intrigued me and made it seem as if summer was already just around the corner.

Here, I hope you’ll enjoy a selection of photos from Lia and Matt’s wedding day as shot by the talented Helen and Heather of Honey Hill Photography, who captured everything from the adorable bird-themed cake topper to the innovative wine-cork guestbook and outdoor picnic games. 

Lia, carrying a basket filled with baby's breath and a beloved book, made her way down the aisle to "Storybook Love" from The Princess Bride while close to 80 relatives and friends looked on. Keeping things simple and laid-back, both Lia and her bridesmaids went barefoot throughout the day. 

Post-ceremony, the couple and wedding party posed for photos all around the grounds of Paradise Springs Winery, including alongside an historic cabin where Lia and her bridesmaids had spent time getting ready earlier in the day. Meanwhile, guests enjoyed taking part in either a group wine-tasting or improvisational comedy show.  

During the reception, guests were free to mingle inside a rustic red barn, where a wine-cork guestbook and basket of homemade cookie favors welcomed them, or outdoors on the lawn, where picnic tables offered everything from books and magazines to playing cards, cootie catchers and Connect Four games. The couple's first dance to "Come Rain or Come Shine" by Don Henley was the perfect way to kick things off. 

Showcasing a vine-themed design and handmade "love bird" topper, Lia and Matt's cake was a huge hit. A delicious array of food and drinks featuring buffalo chicken dip, pulled pork sliders, lemonade and sweet tea was also displayed nearby, while various other tasty bites were hand-passed throughout the afternoon.

Congratulations, Lia and Matt, and thank you for letting me be a part of your day! May you make many more wonderful summer memories together.

Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton, Virginia  

Janelle Bowles 

Dave Johnson 

Honey Hill Photography

Carol Gaylor & Bruce Katsu

Wanda's Cakes

Heather & Stephen Walrath