Thanks for bearing with me during my time off–it was SO. NEEDED. Frankly, my brain still feels fried from the holidays. Is it this hard every year to get back into the swing of things? Or is this year extra difficult? It definitely doesn’t help that temperatures have been dipping into the negatives all week.
Anyway, in my reader survey (thank you to SO MANY OF YOU who filled it out!! It means more to me than you’ll ever know that you took the time out of your day for no other reason than to help me!) I heard from a lot of you that you love the “Life Lately” style behind the scenes type posts, so I’m happy to do more of those. I figured, why not have one kick us off into the New Year?
Here are some (a very whittled down list, I couldn’t include them ALL) highlights from 2018, according to my iPhone photo reel 😉
It only seemed appropriate to begin with the last few moments of 2016, ringing in the New Year. I remember thinking how fast the year was going to fly by, and I was right! Wedding years tend to do that 😉
We kicked off the New Year with a trip to Secrets Playa Mujeres in Cancun (see my review here! You can see details from my outfit above here) and it was absolutely AMAZING. I can’t tell you what withdrawals we’re going through this January knowing that a year ago we were laying in those beach chairs overlooking the ocean. Sigh. This is also what made us realize we wanted to go to Mexico for our honeymoon and stay at Secrets Cabo (in hindsight, I am SO glad we didn’t plan a European adventure after all the crazy things that happened to our wedding! That would’ve been exhausting!)
We babysat Emma, when Emma was actually a baby. She’s so big now!! 😭
I went to Dallas with Blair for the RewardStyle blogger conference, and was reunited with one of my friends, Ali, from high school, who also has an adorable blog called A Dash of Details. You should definitely check it out! For whatever reason, Blair and I did not get ONE photo together. Although, she was newly pregnant and I had to drink all her drinks for her and was tipsy the entire trip because of it. That’s probably the reason we have no photos.
The biggest highlight of the trip was probably meeting Joanna from my favorite blog, Cup of Jo. I was literally sweating and blushing before working up the courage to go introduce myself. (A sensation I don’t think I’ve ever experienced previously. Me? Shy?)
And yes, if you’re wondering, she is just as lovely in person as you would expect, as is the rest of her team. I blurted out “I LOVED TOBY’S WEEK OF OUTFITS” and wanted to ask for a photo with her but felt too awkward. Fail.
Kelly and I took lot’s of trips to Nordstrom, but this one was my favorite where we got our makeup done at Charlotte Tilbury and it made me realize the exact look I wanted for my wedding day.
I also snapped this selfie later that afternoon laying on the couch and it’s one of my favorite in-the-moment photos.
A took a whirlwind 48 hour trip to London with Burberry Beauty and it was probably one of the COOLEST things to ever happen to me in my career! You can see my London Recap here!
When Neal surprised me with not one but TWO gorgeous peony bouquets just because. My friend Matthew made them–he’s an amazing floral designer!
Otto joins the Loftus fam! The cutest golden retriever you ever did see. I can’t believe how tiny he was here. He’s grown up to be quite the handsome man!
The day I got to meet Zain! It seems like yesterday–I can’t believe how big he is now and how fast time has flown. I’m so lucky to get to see him so often because Shaheen and Trevor live in our neighborhood!
We took a wedding planning trip to Portland and took Neal to our favorite restaurant growing up called Tad’s. It’s been there forever and they are famous for their fried chicken and dumplings. It hadn’t changed one bit!
Neal “surprised” me for my birthday by shaving his face into a mustache. LUCKY ME!! 😂
We spent time (although not as much as we would’ve liked due to crazy schedules) in Beverly Shores where Neal’s family’s lake house is. Several of his aunts and uncles have houses up there too, it’s always so much fun when family is all up there together!
We picked out our wedding rings! We got them at C.D. Peacock–you can watch a whole video about it over here!
I went on one of the coolest work trips ever to Montreal with one of my favorite athletic brands, Lolë! It was the opportunity of a lifetime and it was definitely one of those “pinch me” moments! You can see a recap from my trip here!
My friends and I threw a rooftop dinner party at my friend Kai’s place that was so much fun. She’s an amazing caterer that you should definitely hire for your next party 😉 You can see all the photos from our dinner party in this post!
My bachelorette party in Milwaukee was the best bachelorette party I could’ve dreamed up! It meant so much to me to have all my friends up there for the weekend, and that my BFF Kate’s parents (AKA my second adopted parents) gave us their condo for the weekend! We took a pontoon boat on the river and it was the highlight of the trip!
The moment I tried on my *nearly finished* wedding dress for the first time. I plan to write a whole post on this soon, but I custom designed it with Lovisa of Lova Weddings and the process was one of my favorite parts of the entire wedding. The best part is that she now sells the dress as part of her line! You can see it right here!
We went to Boston (I hadn’t been there since I was in 5th grade!) to see Neal’s cousin Mike tie the knot with his wife Allison, and then spent a couple of days after exploring the city. It was SO fun and we can’t wait to come back! Aside from the wedding obviously being highlight #1, we loved walking the Freedom Trail!
A few weeks later, we had wedding #1 (our church ceremony), which you can hear all about right here. Our immediate family and a few close friends (including Kelly and Mitch, who took such beautiful photos!) attended and it was such a special day.
Then, two weeks after, was the BIG wedding in Portland! We haven’t done a post on the FULL story yet or posted all of the photos (truthfully we’re still waiting for photos back from our photographer and also I’d like to get it featured somewhere bigger, so I’m holding off on posting everything for exclusivity purposes) but you can get the gist of what happened in this post.
Essentially, because of a forest fire, our original venue was evacuated a couple of days before we got married, and we had to scramble to find a new venue and re-plan an entirely different wedding. (Side note: The venue was thankfully saved by the amazing firemen working around the clock, and they were SO wonderful in getting us our deposit back swiftly and even helped us call around for new venues! I cannot say enough good things about Bridal Veil Lakes!) The support from the community of Portland during that time was overwhelming in the best way possible. So many completely strangers went out of their way to help however they could.
Our wedding planner and bridesmaids alone had contacted over 100 new venues within hours of us finding out about the fire. An absolutely wonderful man named Geof opened up his backyard garden to us (he had never had a wedding there for someone who wasn’t family) and it turned out perfectly.
It definitely wasn’t without it’s hiccups, but with the help of our INCREDIBLE wedding planner (if you live in Oregon, you must hire her! Becky Hart is a miracle worker) and the “all hands on deck” attitude of our family and friends, we pulled it off, it was a night to remember, and it turned out to be so much more special than it would’ve been otherwise. We had never felt more loved, or more in love and proud of ourselves as a couple for working together to make the best of what most people would consider to be a terrible situation.
This photo was taken our first day in Mexico and I think it captures SO WELL the fact that this was truly the first moment we could really breathe since the whole wedding started to unravel. We’ve never been so happy, haha! (Or exhausted, haha!)
For the first few days, we stayed at Secrets Cabo (which is close to San Jose del Cabo) and it was gorgeous and JUST what we needed. All inclusive, amazing service. We’d highly recommend it if you want to say in the San Jose del Cabo area and are looking for an all-inclusive! You can read more about it in our Secrets Cabo review!
Then we moved to Los Cabos and stayed at La Estancia–my best friend Courtney’s parents were so gracious to let us stay in their condo there and we loved how close it was to downtown Cabo–the pool was amazing and the drinks and food were great, too! We had such a great experience there and would definitely recommend that as well if you want to be close to downtown and all the action!
This was snapped right before we went to dinner on our third night to Flora Farms. It was probably one of my favorite dinner experiences I’ve ever had. If you’re in the area, you HAVE to go there. (Fun fact: it’s where Adam Levine got married!)
The Loftus ladies were up to no good a lot this year. I feel like this blurry laughing photo is one of the best to accurately capture our personalities 😜
Neal’s little brother, Brendan, asked for a Poloroid camera for his birthday this year (so we were happy to oblige!) and was so cute when he opened it. We’ve been working on some photography skills!
My mom came to visit for Thanksgiving and got to experience her first Loftus/Foley holiday (they’re the best!) It was so much fun. We also spent lot’s of time at the Lake House and she is a saint and helped me organize our kitchen cabinets. Hoping to get her for Christmas one of these years but I think we’ll have to have kids first to pull her away from her other grandkids 😜
I got to celebrate our first snow day with Zain Boo! Shaheen and I also went to Target and Wendy’s that day so you could say it was one of my favorites this winter 😂
My best friend Kate got her dream dog, Rossi. (An Australian Labradoodle). She is a muppet and basically a human. We’re also besties.
Also, we’re pretty sure Noodle got even longer this year.
We also had a roommate reunion in Milwaukee (missing one!) to shop for her wedding dress and Kate bought us all matching onesies because that’s what we do.
Then there was #LoftusLitmas on Christmas Eve at Uncle Phil and Aunt Lorrie’s house (there were 37 of us, but not as many as in some years, haha!) where all the cousins acted out the nativity play (a tradition they did when they were kids, but hadn’t done in a long time!) and it was the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. (Our cousin Quinn on the floor wrapped in a sheet is baby Jesus being born, just FYI).
Christmas morning we opened presents at Neal’s parents house in La Grange and I got the whole family matching pajamas 😂 (Even Otto, but you can’t see his plaid bandana!) They’re the “family pajamas” from Macy’s, FYI!
After Christmas, we flew to Oregon and spent time with my family in Bend. Above are my mom, sister Alissa, and niece, Ashlynn. (An extra N named after my mom, Lynn!) My niece is growing up so fast (we didn’t even get a picture with my nephews! They’re too cool for us old people now 😂)
Last, but certainly not least, we spent the last few hours of 2017–our first NYE as official husband and wife–in Portland, staying at our wedding hotel, The Sentinel (Emily at the front desk even remembered us and was like “Hi guys! Welcome back! Hopefully your trip this time is less stressful” 😂)–and it was hands down, our best New Years Eve to date. We went to a late dinner at St. Jack restaurant and scored two seats at the chef’s table out of the blue. We went home and popped a bottle of champagne and toasted to the new year in front of the fireplace. We’ve never felt so lucky.
2017 will be pretty darn hard to top, but I can’t wait to see what 2018 will hold!