2017 in Numbers

Happy Hump Day Y’all!

As for most, this week is a super light one for me – basically, I’m taking time to spend with family, catch up with friends. I’ll keep this short & sweet but want to share a pretty amazing year, recapped in numbers.

2017 IN NUMBERS

15,000: Number of y’all that visited South End Style and shared your time with me as I document my journey through life. (WOW)

127: Number of blog posts I wrote this year.

96: Number of countries that my readers are from. Again, blown away! (anyone that has a relation with their country’s tourism board, please contact me).

29: Number of flights taken in 2017.

15: Number of animals we spotted in Africa, in the wild, that I had never seen before.

11: Number of incredible girlfriends who surprised me with the most incredible bachelorette party weekend at the beach.

7: Number of new design clients I got from the blog alone (pretty pleased with this considering I never really “advertise” and I’ve got a full time job).

3: Number of days we hosted friends and family for our wedding weekend extravaganza in Saratoga Springs, New York.

1: Number of days that takes the cake as the “Best Day of My Life”. My wedding day was hands down the highlight of 2017.

This year will go down in the record books as the best year I have ever had. I mean, how do you top getting married to the love of your life and taking your dream trip together?!

Thank you for an outstanding 2017. It wouldn’t have been this successful without my readers & their support. Love!

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Life Lately, Vol. 25

Happy Friday y’all! It’s hard to believe that this is the last weekend before we kick off the holiday season. How is Thanksgiving less than two weeks away?! I better start figuring out which recipes I’l be making and which pies I’ll be baking!

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The Mela Show enjoying every moment of fall

Finalizing our packing and moving plans. With most of our furniture sold, we are living out of suitcases and eating on paper plates. I went ahead and packed some kitchen stuff this week since the next two weeks get pretty crazy for me with work and travel. I’ve been staying on track by following this move preparation guide (I like that it tackles categories one at a time so it doesn’t feel packing doesn’t feel so overwhelming), this list of travel hacks (#3 genius – did it already) and this checklist for changing your address (note to self: do this).

Reading some helpful career focus pieces on the internet this week. I really enjoyed The Everygirl’s piece regarding unprofessional work habits as well as successful working mom tips (for future reference). I also enjoyed this article about balancing career and life, something I’m sure a lot of us working women struggle with.

Planning a winter trip out west! We usually spend 1-2 weekends per month attempting to ski skiing up in Vermont, as Stowe & Sugarbush are some of the best mountains for fresh powder in New England. While the semi-icy East Coast mountains are a joy and all, everybody knows that nothing beats a ski trip out west. On our list: Park City, Lake Tahoe, Whistler…what do y’all recommend?! We’ll likely be venturing that way in late Feb/early March for some early spring skiing!

This Week on South End Style:

Cape Town Travel Guide: What To Do

How to Sell Furniture Online

Life Lately, Vol. 24

What’s on your weekend agenda?

Our Wedding, Part 5: Ceremony + Reception

SO…now that you’ve see our vision, our hotel, our day at the track & our rehearsal dinner, let’s talk about the big day! In fact, I think I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves. All I’ll say is this: the day was absolutely perfect – better than I even dreamed – and I was so sad for it to end. The food, the drink, the music, the flowers, the people, the weather, the clothes…everything was perfect. Terry & I were on cloud nine the entire day and looking through these pictures takes us right back there. The day flew by (as everyone said it would) but we did our best to soak it all up. So, without further adieu, here is our wedding day:

View More: http://matthewmoorephotography.pass.us/kozmoralexis-wed-2017

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Fine Art Wedding Photographer Matthew Moore

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T&I wedding

View More: http://matthewmoorephotography.pass.us/kozmoralexis-wed-2017

A special thank you to our fabulous vendors: Venue, Saratoga Polo Club; Catering + Cake, Old Daley Catering; Florist, Blooms for Rooms; Musicians, All Seasons Trio; DJ, Cool Hand Luke; Chairs, Total Events; Photography, Matthew Moore; Videography, The Pros; Invitations, Wedding Paper Divas; Dress, Sweet Elegance Bridal; Tuxedos, Ludlow; Event Design, BellWether Theory; Accommodations, Pavilion Grand Hotel + Hilton Garden Inn.

 

Hotel Review: La Petite Ferme

When in Africa on our honeymoon, we spent one night in Franschhoek exploring wine country. It was about an hour drive from Cape Town (we took uber) and reminded us a lot of Sonoma. We drove right past downtown Franschhoek and ended up at La Petite Ferme.

The property is set on a hill and looks quite modest from the front, but don’t let this fool you. We walked into the quaint, charming lobby and immediately felt at home. The lodge is an adobe style house with doorway arches, natural decor elements, and an entire wall of windows overlooking their vineyard. The entire property had a very quaint, European cottage feel. The decor was full of creams, light blues & green colors. The rooms were full of texture, including our velvet headboard, silk drapes, ornate mirrors & fireplaces, etc. Beyond the vineyard is the mountain range, which provides an absolutely stunning backdrop.

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To the left is the main dining room where we had breakfast and to the right is a bar / lounge / library area. This area has a grand fireplace with a few chairs, a small library with their wine displayed and a bar with 8 high top seats. We were seated here to sign our check-in papers while the bellman took our bags to our room. Refreshing spritzers and salty nibbles were served.

Within five minutes, our butler led us to our room…and I was floored. If I’m being honest, this room is much nicer than it looks online. We walked through a pristine courtyard with a running fountain where a set of French doors opened into our room. We stepped into a stunning library area, equipped with a sofa, two chairs, a wood burning fireplace, built ins bookshelves and an armoire cleverly storing our mini bar & coffee maker.

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From there we saw the powder room and walk down the hall into our master, which just so happens to be bigger than any bedroom I have ever lived in. It was very classic meets cozy, with our second wood burning fireplace (with freshly chopped wood in a basket), a writing desk, a flat screen television, an wardrobe, an oversized king bed and two side tables. The excitement continued when I saw the oversized soaker tub in our bathroom, overlooking our back yard pool. Yup, our bedroom had French doors that led to our private patio and infinity pool, which overlooked the vineyards I previously mentioned. 

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The next morning, we enjoyed the tasty breakfast spread served in the dining room & sunroom (each has a wood burning fireplace). The food was an English breakfast spread of fruit, cereal, pastries, breads, jams, meats (something you’ll see a lot in South Africa). There were also eggs, sausage & bacon made to order.

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I have to just take a moment to brag about the staff. From check in to check out, we were treated by the friendliest, cheerful, accommodating people. The kind wait staff heard that I had food poisoning (not from their restaurant) and so they dropped off some hot tea, extra bottled water & toast for me when they brought Terry his dinner. Our sweet butler even brought us fresh firewood and started a fire for us…twice! We also had a change to speak with the manager a good bit before breakfast and learned so much about the property. The personal touches they provided did not go unnoticed and truly made our stay that much more special.

Needless to say, we were very bummed to leave – I would have loved to stay at least two nights here. The property is stunning, the staff beyond accommodating & the room just exquisite. Everything was outstanding and I can’t imagine a better place to stay in Franschhoek.

 

Thank you to La Petite Ferme for sponsoring this post. Even though our stay was complimentary, thoughts & opinions are my own.

Our Wedding, Part 2: Our Vision

Today I’m sharing our wedding vision. We got engaged in December 2016 but didn’t actually pick a wedding venue until February 2017. Why, you might ask? Well, I’ve never been one of those girls who knew exactly when & where I wanted to get married. I always know how I wanted to feel and the vibe I wanted, but that was about all. Terry & I were immediately on the same page about what we wanted for our wedding – a weekend together with our closest friends & families in a place that was special to us. Our #1 goal was to have the weekend feel inclusive to all while keeping it fun, personal and chalk full of love & laughter. That is, in a nut shell, our relationship after all. We love having fun together – we laugh every single day – and we love spending time with loved ones.

After many, many hours of research (and a few site visits), we decided on Saratoga Springs, New York.

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There were a few reasons for this:

For me, this is essentially a Southern town set in the North – it exudes charm, friendliness & that small town vibe I love.

For Terry, this is a town built around horse racing – something he grew up watching and that is very near and dear to his heart.

For us, this was a destination for all our guests – from Georgia to Cali to New Jersey – that was brand new to them. The unknown provided a sense of excitement & wonder and it really allowed us show our guests why we love this city so much.

Fun Fact: One of our first weekend trips away was to Saratoga Springs, NY back in fall of 2015 – Terry introduced me to horse racing and I quickly fell in love with the sport, and with the lovely town of Saratoga Springs, NY.

Over the next five weeks I’ll share more details but here is a little sneak peek of what our weekend entailed…

Thursday Welcome Drinks

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Friday Day at the Track

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Friday night BBQ

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Saturday Wedding + Reception

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View More: http://matthewmoorephotography.pass.us/kozmoralexis-wed-2017

I can’t wait to share more…

 

Life Lately, Vol. 17

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Enjoying a 12 hour layover in beautiful Zurich, August 2017

How is it already Friday? I guess that’s the beauty of coming home from a trip on a Tuesday night – short work week for the win! This weekend will surely be full of catching up – on cleaning, laundry, work, the blog, sleep, RHOC (duh), etc. A productive and relaxing weekend it shall be!

Reading: Sam’s post on 10 Tips for a Great 10K Race. With the THP10K less than a month away, I’m in crunch mode. While I worked out on our trip, I was limited to hotel gyms (kinda frowned upon to go running on a safari lol) so I’ll be focusing this next month on preparing my body best I can for the race. Speaking of the race, today is the last day to get 10% off your entry fee. You can sign up HERE to get my discount. I’ve got two girlfriends from the gym who signed up to join me, but I would love to have some new faces as well! Any takers?

Editing: alllllll of the pictures. I’ve got over a thousand Africa pics to go through so that I can start compiling some blog posts and share them with y’all. I’ve got quite a few topics in mind but I’m curious – anything in particular you want to know about?

Cooking: all things Whole 30! Let’s just say we thoroughly enjoyed the food and drink on our trip. I think I had about ten too many desserts. That sugar addiction is real, yall!  In order to get back in the swing of things and to get readjusted to a healthy lifestyle, we are starting Whole 30 on Sunday. Yup, no dairy, legumes, grains, sugar or alcohol. I’m really excited about it as I want all of the inflammatory foods & toxins gone from my body and I want to feel fresh & revived again. I’ll be sure to report back throughout the 30 day process!

Selling: A lot of fall items on Poshmark! Shop my closet HERE. I’ve got some fall skirts, coats, shoes & purses up. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw on my story that I decided like a crazy person to clean out my entire closet upon my return from a 14 day trip. Well, fast forward 24 hours and it’s cleaned out, with a ton of items to be sold/donated. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m trying to focus on quality vs quantity when it comes to my wardrobe these days. So I’m hoping to sell a lot of clothing that I no longer enjoy in order to make room for a couple of key fall pieces (desperately need new boots & booties!).

ICYMI:

Iceland: 10 Things to Know Before You Go

Life Lately, Vol. 16

Our Wedding Part 1: The Pavilion Grand Hotel

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Have a great weekend 🙂