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Hi belles! Every season we like to find a way to get to know you more, and to share our hearts. To dovetail with our current Cozy Fall focus, each of the Southern Weddings gals will be sharing our favorite ways to simplify and get cozy in our home lives over the next few months. We hope our ideas are helpful as you work to streamline and simplify your own lives for what matters most!

Photo by Blue Ribbon Vendor Katelyn James

Say howdy to: Emily Thomas, our Creative Director

Favorite simple beauty routine or product: I’ve recently started using Clinique’s CC cream, and I love it! It’s not quite moisturizing enough on its own for my skin, so I layer it over One Love Organics’ Skin Savior, and then top everything off with a swipe of Bare Minerals’ Ready foundation. (On more casual days, I sometimes leave off the CC cream and just do the powder, but I like that the cream gives me my SPF!)

Favorite simple fall activity: In terms of simple and fall, it doesn’t get much easier than my favorite pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Here is the “recipe:” 1) Take a Betty Crocker chocolate chip muffin mix (the one in a bag) and dump it in a bowl. 2) Add 4 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree (like Libby’s), a 1/2 cup water with 4 tablespoons removed, and a few healthy shakes of cinnamon. Stir together. 3) Bake for 16 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Favorite tech device/app/strategy that simplifies your life: It sounds obvious, but my iPhone’s native Notes app is my go-to! This incredibly simple and incredibly handy app helps me seem more together than I am and be a more thoughtful person than I would be otherwise. I keep so many lists on it, including gift ideas for my husband, restaurants I want to try, books I want to read, things I’m looking for at the flea market, measurements of crucial areas in my house, and the food preferences of my friends and family members (which makes buying treats for them easier!).

Favorite morning routine that simplifies your life: Hrmm. I would not really say I have a morning routine… I’m more the roll-out-of-bed-and-out-the-door-in-twenty-minutes type. (Really. 20 minutes.) However, I have been making smoothies for breakfast recently, and I love that they give me a nutritional “win” to start my day. I’m not picky about the makeup, but right now my go-to combination is half a banana + frozen blueberries + plain Greek yogurt + chocolate protein powder + whole milk + a splash of OJ + spinach.

Favorite evening routine that simplifies your life: A walk around our neighborhood, pre- or post-dinner. Unspooling my day through conversation with John is the best way I know to settle my thoughts and get clarity.

Favorite trick for simplifying your schedule: I have finally admitted to myself that I can ONLY use a monthly view calendar, and it has to be paper (see mine here). So much of what I’m scheduling needs to happen in relation to other things, and I hate having to click back and forth between days or switch between the day view and the month view so I can see every event happening on a certain day. Seeing everything at once helps me to keep my schedule simple and balanced, and not overload any one week or day.

Favorite simple weeknight recipe: When the most important factor is getting dinner on the table fast, these are three of our go-tos: Vegan Chana Masala, Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas, and Lemon Parmesan Pasta with Grilled Chicken.

Favorite simple date: I am continually inspired by all of the couples who share their date ideas in our Southern Newlywed series, because the Thomas household is the worst at date nights. Honestly, just not making dinner ourselves is a treat since we usually cook seven nights a week! So, grabbing dinner from Chick-fil-a or Noodles & Company feels indulgent and fun on a weeknight, and gives us extra time to just be together and talk instead of rushing around getting dinner on the table.

Favorite simple way you love on your beau: Listening to him. It’s embarrassing to admit, but too often I think I can write an email or sort mail or read a blog post at the same time. News flash: I can’t. Listening to him with both ears and both eyes is a great way to show him how much I appreciate him and the fact that he wants to talk to ME! That is a privilege I try not to forget!

Next up in this series: Kristin!

P.S. Looking for more ways inspiring gals simplify their lives? We love our friend Emily Ley’s Simplicity series!

Written with love by Southern Weddings
6 Comments
  1. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    Oh my goodness…I have a feeling I’m going to LOVE this series! Simplifying is just my favorite, and so is autumn! Emily, your pumpkin muffin recipe sounds like the perfect way to slow down and enjoy a simple Saturday afternoon with my husband! Cannot WAIT to read more from you lovely ladies!

  2. avatar Maureen reply

    I just love reading about your team! It’s so nice to have such a personal connection to you even though we’ve never met. It feels like we have. Thanks for taking the time to make sure readers really know you. :)

  3. avatar Meg Gravley reply

    I feel like Emily and I would get along quite well – I am a fan of pumpkin (anything), monthly calendars AND breakfast smoothies! Really enjoy this series so far.

  4. avatar Ashton Dreyer reply

    I 100% agree on the monthly PAPER calendar. I added the Simplified Planner to my birthday wish list a few months ago. Fingers crossed I get it!

  5. avatar Elizabeth Lane reply

    So excited for this series! I am definitely going to be trying out your pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipe :)

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Happy Birthday, Emily!

by in In The Office on

Tomorrow is a very special day! Not only is it our lovely and talented Creative Director’s birthday, it’s her golden birthday!! We love this gal so much, and along with being so thankful for everything she does at Southern Weddings, we’re also so thankful that we get to spend our days with such a wonderful person. In honor of her 28th birthday tomorrow, we’ve rounded up a few of the things that we’ve learned over the years from Mrs. Emily Thomas!

What Lara has learned from Emily:

– Life is enjoyed more fully when you stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone and try new things!
– Taking time and being intentional about decisions makes life so much sweeter.
– The seemingly small things in life can be the most meaningful and delightful.
– Kitties sometimes like cake. :)

What Nicole has learned from Emily:

– Pink lipstick is FUN!
– Stand up for yourself. Your opinion and your perspective matter.
– Little adventures are still adventures. And sometimes, they’re the best ones.
– Comparison is for the birds. Your happiness radiates when you’re confident in your decisions and your life.

What Marissa has learned from Emily:

– Beautiful things can be even more beautiful if they have meaning.
– You don’t have to be raised in the South to exude Southern hospitality.
– How many exclamation points is too many exclamation points (!!) for one email.
– The perfect amount of shoulder-shrugging to make a fake laugh look real.
– Tami Taylor is a great role model!

What Lisa has learned from Emily:

– The best way to bond with someone is a long road trip (or Bridal Market!).
– You can’t control being in the right place at the right time, but you can control how prepared you are for when that right place and time happen.
– No milestone is too small to be celebrated.
– Marrying your best friend makes every day an adventure.

What Kristin has learned from Emily:

– Irish dancing isn’t for the faint of heart and should only be done by the experts (see: Emily Armstrong Thomas).
– Kittens and donuts make the world a sweeter place.
– You never know what inspiration will come when you take a few minutes to get up from your desk and take a walk around the block.
– Kindness and manners are like peanut butter and jelly: loved and appreciated by all.

What Morgan has learned from Emily:

– Anything can be learned.
– It never hurts to ask.
– It is important to listen to other’s ideas and to know how to compromise.
– A Monday night watching The Bachelor with friends is a Monday night well spent. :)

Please join us in wishing Emily a very happy birthday in the comments below!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Oh my gosh, y’all. Tearing up over here. Thank you SO much for this!!! So, so sweet. I love you ladies!!!

  2. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Happiest birthday to you sweet Emily! I am so grateful that I got to meet you and chat with you in November. You have a way of making people feel like your friend right away through your warm personality and kindness. I hope your day is as marvelous as you are!!

  3. avatar Jane Tippins reply

    We share a birthday, Emily, although my birthday is well beyond “golden birthday” designation! Wishing you a beautiful, joy-filled day!

  4. avatar Cassi reply

    I love this idea to celebrate birthdays, so sweet! Happy birthday Emily!!!

  5. avatar March 2015 Goals – Em for Marvelous – reply

    […] anything I wanted to say. So I didn’t. My really, really wonderful coworker friends wrote this for me, and it made me tear up. John and I started Saturday with brunch at Monuts, ate a […]

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One of the most fun parts of making V7 was including things that are not only meaningful to the South and to our mission, but also, to the history of Southern Weddings. Our cover was photographed by Tec Petaja, who appeared on the cover of V1, and our annual team photos were taken by the talented Jodi and Kurt of Jodi Miller Photography, whose wedding graced the pages of V4! Jodi and Kurt joined us on the first day of our team retreat for an afternoon of shooting all over the Triangle, and despite the heat and the mosquitoes, I think it’s easy to see how much fun we had with them!

We were so grateful that the Makeup For Your Day ladies helped us out with our hair and makeup! Our first colorful set of photos was taken in the gardens of Fearrington Village.

Next, we changed into lovely, neutral gowns and headed to Fernrock Farms to take some pictures amongst hundreds of flowers. The owner, Carrie, was so gracious to host us, and she even whipped up a few vibrant bouquets for us to pose with.

Last but not least, we stopped at Maple View Farm to take advantage of the golden hour light in a beautiful field. These are some of our favorite photos from the day! Curious about our fancy dresses? Marissa is wearing “Halo” by Elizabeth Dye from The Sentimentalist, Morgan is in “Goldie” by Sarah Seven, Nicole is in “Practically Perfect” by Sarah Seven, Lara is in “Monique” by Erin Fetherston, Emily is in “Amour” by Sarah Seven, I’m in “Cecilia” by Jenny Yoo from Nordstrom, and Kristin is in “Odette” from BHLDN.

A big SW “thank you” to Jodi and Kurt–we loved working with them on these team photos, and we’re so happy to have them in our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Y’all are beautiful!! These pictures capture you perfectly :)

  2. avatar Robyn Van Dyke reply

    UM, y’all are all GORGEOUS! Seriously stunning! :)

  3. avatar Sam reply

    I love the champagne gold colour, it would look beautiful in a neutral or cream/gold wedding theme. x

  4. avatar Jenna Lowery reply

    I am COMPLETELY obsessed with those gold and beige dresses, My wedding colors are gold and red and Ill be getting married in a barn and those dresses are BEYOND perfect !

  5. avatar Southern Weddings Team Photos – V7 » Jodi Miller Photography | Virginia Wedding Photography & Destination Wedding Photography reply

    […] ladies behind Southern Weddings magazine for the V7 issue! See more of their team photos on the Southern Weddings blog, as well as in the latest issue, […]

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