{happy new year}

This post seems almost surreal for me to write. 2012 was absolutely, without a doubt, the most incredible year of my life. I keep seeing sayings on Pinterest, reminding me to be happy where I am for a moment, even while I continue to look at the future. I really have to take those to heart. 

At this time last year, and for the majority of 2012, I was pretty miserable. Miserable from 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, that is. I'm still so used to dreading Monday mornings or waking up to make that 45 minute commute. But it's over with, and sometimes I can't believe it. 

Everything about my life, and I honestly mean everything, is amazing right now. How can I ever say how thankful I am for every single thing I've been blessed with this past year?

For the first time in my life, I have a job that I completely love. Mainly because it's a job that I created for myself. 

My marriage is as strong as it's ever been. 

Though it may not last forever, we aren't concerned about money. 

My home is comfortable and warm and actually feels like home. 

I am closer to my friends than I've been in a long time. 

And I have the sweetest, most adorable dog on the face of the planet. 

I truly have nothing to worry about and everything to be thankful for. I'm terrified though; terrified that it's all going to end. I know that life won't always be smooth sailing, so I'm trying, at least for the moment, to be happy. And I hope that 2013 is just as wonderful, if not more so, than 2012.

I hope that 2013 is everything you want it to be, and more. So, here's to your dreams and mine.


{monday's mantra}

So, this week's mantra was really difficult to come up with. Not because I don't have a backlog of quotes that I want to use every week, but because this week is the start of a new year! I feel like this one is going to be my mantra for all of 2013, so I had to make it good. And I think I did. 
I obviously lived this in 2012, to an extent, but there were so many things I wanted to accomplish this past year that I just didn't. It may have been said before, but 2013 is going to be my year, and I fully intend on taking advantage of the moment. 

What's your mantra this week? What's your mantra for the new year?


{five things: a year in posts}

I kind of feel the need to apologize for my erratic posting schedule this week, and I kind of don't. It is Christmas week, after all. I didn't want to not post today though, so here I am. 

I know that there will be no shortage of review posts and new year's resolutions posts in the next week, but this is definitely one bandwagon that I will happily jump onto. I'm a big fan of evaluating life and determining what your next step is, obviously. That being said, here are my five favorite posts from 2012.
Photo by the beautiful Emily from Anna Delores Photography. I'll show you all the pictures from this pretty shoot soon!

1 // My goals for 2012. I didn't meet most of them, but I did accomplish more than I ever imagined this past year!

2 // In May, I showed you how to fake calligraphy.

3 // My fall story might just be my favorite post of all time.

4 // In October, I told you what it was like to be the wife of a graduate student. Now, my husband is officially a doctoral candidate, and I couldn't be prouder!

5 // And then, at the end of the year, I accomplished something I never thought I would.

What are your favorite posts from the past year, both on your own blog and on mine?


{a vendor dinner}

A few weeks ago, Robert and I got together with some of my favorite wedding vendors in the area for a Christmas dinner. Leo even built a table for the occasion, and we set it up in their backyard with lots of food and wine and fun. Not even the rain could stop us! It was definitely one of my favorite nights in the past few months, and I can't wait to do it again!
Olive obviously had a wonderful time that night, especially in front of the photo booth, don't you think? And I couldn't help all those photo booth pictures at the end. After a few glasses of wine, we were just having way too much fun.

Floral design: Stella Bloom Designs
Planning and table design :: A Charming Occasion


{merry christmas}

I don't know when I'll be posting next, but it won't be for a few days. That being said...

I love you all.



{five things}

Aren't my brand new letterpress business cards adorable? I'm kind of in love with them! I designed them myself, and got them printed from Cotton Paperie.

Five Things is back! It's been a while since I've shared five things from the week, but here you go.

1 // Amanda Genther is amazing, and she just put together a full project planning workbook. If you don't subscribe to her mailing list, you really should! She always sends the best advice and resources. 

2 // Google has put together a series of videos on Google Analytics in real life. It's pretty entertaining, and actually makes a lot of sense. 

3 // Do you sign your emails "xoxo" like I do? Cup of Jo talked about this recently, and it made me think about why I do it and whether or not I should...

4 // Are you a small business owner in the wedding industry? Sage Wedding Pros (one of my favorite business websites) has been putting out a really comprehensive action plan to follow for evaluating your business (finances, marketing, sales, etc.) for 2012 and coming up with a plan of action for 2013. 

5 // Colleen Hoover (author of Slammed and Point of Retreat, both of which are amazingly good) put out a new book on Tuesday, and I've already read it twice through. It's kind of intense, but I really, really liked it.

What exciting things have you discovered this week?


{my best chocolate chip cookie recipe}

Okay, I know what you're thinking. Chocolate chip cookies? Really Joelle? Yes, really. It took me 23 years before I made my first batch of acceptable chocolate chip cookies, but in the past two years I've really perfected that recipe. It's based on this recipe, but with my own twist (which, in my mind, is really what makes it).

Click here or the image above to see the printable recipe card. 

What's your secret to amazing chocolate chip cookies?