When I was planning for Brooks’ birthday party, I made sure we had all his favorite foods on hand. Typical pool parties have hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, potato chips with creamy dip, and a sweet, sugary cake — I’m sure you’re thinking, YUM! I was, too.
Brooks and I can’t stop talking about the best trip of our lives: Africa! While visiting Kruger National Park, we stayed at what is now my most favorite hotel ever. Lebombo Lodge is absolutely incredible. It feels like you’re staying in a tree house made of glass, where below you can see everything from hippos, impala and crocs roaming around.
I couldn’t wait to wake up at 5am (seriously!) because that’s when we got picked up by Andrew, our tracker, and our driver, Chris. In an open car, they took us out into the wild where Andrew would spot cheetah, leopards, elephants, lions, buffalo and more. We even found rhino which was the hardest to find because there aren’t many left — they’re sadly becoming extinct.
Brooks and I were over-the-moon excited to book a trip to Africa. Both of us have always dreamed about going on an African safari. Brooks was especially wanting to see Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world.
Before we left, we snapped pics of our complete outfits not only for fun but also to stay organized. When you have photos to reference what shoes go with what pants and what top, you’ll spend less time figuring out your outfit and more time enjoying your vacation!
This year was amazing. I had lots of things to be grateful for, and one of them is all of you readers! This was my first year to do a blog, and I knew that it would be a huge commitment. I gave it as much love, time and energy as I possibly could, and I’ve loved every minute of it!
Over the last year, these five articles were your favorite. It was so fun to look back and see all your comments and see what you guys liked best!
When it came to planning my engagement party, I turned to the event executor extraordinaire, Troy Williams of Simply Troy. His parties are always beautifully done, original, extremely thoughtful and most importantly — fun!
We discussed that family & friends were the most important aspect to Brooks and myself when it came to the party. We wanted everyone to be comfortable, excited and have a great time. Our overall goal for the evening was to host a celebration filled with love, good food and cocktails.
The first step was locking down a space and I must say, Troy hit the jackpot when he secured Eric Buterbaugh Florals. It has a stunning rustic outdoor garden and a cool, glamorous indoor gallery. It felt like we were in someone’s beautiful home, which was exactly the vibe we were going for. Once Troy locked down the location, the inspiration started pouring out of him and the party really began to take shape.
As bummed as I was to see the Move Tour come to an end, I was ecstatic to finally move into my new house! Building this place practically from the ground up has been a massive project and I have learned a ton about renovations and decor. There is still so much to do as you can see from these heaping piles of junk and dirt but it will all be worth it in the end.
Last week Brooks and I celebrated our engagement with a bang! We hosted an insanely fun party for some of our family and friends in LA. There were many choices to be made when it came to planning for the party but the first one that came to my mind was of course, what should I wear?!
I immediately called up my friend and fashion stylist, the wonderful Anita Patrickson. We decided to start looking for a timeless, classic dress that also felt fun and sexy. Anita said her goal was for me to be able to look back at the pictures in 20 years and love them, rather than cringe at a “trend” that was fleeting. Knowing me as well as she does she also knew it was really important to be able to dance up a storm (which we did, obviously) and have a great time in what I was wearing. The less fuss, the better!
Although I knew Brooks was the one the day I met him, I had no idea what to expect as far as when and how he’d pop the question. Well… let me tell you guys, it was magical and sweet. We were at home, romantic and relaxed, which is perfectly very “us.” We stood on the deck, watching the sun set over the lake and listening to our favorite songs. Not even for a second did I expect that beautiful, serene scene was about to become one of the most meaningful moments of our lives. In fact, I was so taken aback when Brooks got down on one knee I completely blacked out! It was like a rush of heat and a wave of uncontrollable emotion swept right through my body. I didn’t have any words at first (me! no words!). All I could do was explode into his arms and experience pure joy from head to toe.
Being engaged didn’t truly hit me until I started saying “fiancé” out loud. “My fiancé loves that song. Let me check my fiancé’s schedule. Have you met my fiancé?” It’s crazy! I have to say, being engaged actually does feel different. There is a sense of strength in us, a feeling of being further grounded but most of all, it just makes me really giddy!
My boyfriend Brooks is a great influence when it comes to eating clean. He’s always looking for tasty ways to incorporate our love to grub with our priority to stay healthy. Brooks created this delicious juice that I’ve been downing nonstop! I love the taste and the benefits – a total win-win! But enough from me… I’ll let him tell you about it himself:
Between Jules rehearsing 6 days a week for her MOVE tour and my staying in shape for next season, our schedules are pretty non-stop. Rehearsing and practicing for dance and hockey is a huge mental and physical demand on your mind and body each day. In order to be able to meet these energetic demands, we’ve started juicing before and after we go about our days.
To juice goes beyond buying a pre-made bottle of OJ. It’s a process of putting vegetables and fruits, often with their skins intact, into a juice machine and extracting the juice. The resulting juice is filled with an abundance of health-building elements — vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. You can juice almost any vegetable or fruit, and each is beneficial to your health in different ways. With a little research, I found a great recipe that kickstarts my and Jules’ days, and gives us an organic energy boost!
In the beginning of my relationship I faced a minor challenge when it came to a major factor: FOOD! Brooks likes to eat very clean. He would never substitute health over taste. I, on the other hand, am the total opposite. Bring on the creamy, salty, sweet, spicy goodness and I will happily devour it!
Wanting to be a great girlfriend and test out my domestic goddess-like skills, I set out to find creative meals to make that would satisfy us both. He’s always surprised when I am able to create something new and delicious out of ingredients that might sound otherwise uninspiring. This one got two thumbs up, so I thought I’d share it with you!