the great christmas tree hunt // 27 weeks

Another year, another Houdes tree hunt!

This year, we had Thanksgiving in Connecticut, and then headed to the tree farm on Sunday. I like getting our tree so early in the season because then we have many weeks to enjoy it. We got two trees (again!) because you need one tree in the living room AND a tree in the bedroom, I always say. Two trees or you’re not doing it right. :)

And here I am at 27 weeks! I realized this weekend that I landed in the 3rd trimester just in time for all the holiday eating. So amazing! I am feeling good and feeling bigger. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, right? I am still sleeping well through the night and only have a little back pain at the end of the day — which I contribute to my body just being beat by 7 PM. It’s hard to carry around another human inside of you while you’re on your feet all day.

It was such a nice few days celebrating the start of the coziest season. So much to be thankful for like family and feasts, but most of all for a growing bump and a growing baby. ♥

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And happy December! XO

happy birthday. happy news.

17 weeks !17 weeks !

17 weeks on September 17th! :)

Today (my birthday!) feels like a good a time as any to share our happy news.

I found out I was pregnant on an early morning at the very end of June. It was the day after our first anniversary, and the last day of school. All summer with a secret — and now it’s time to tell the world.

I’m due February 26th!

And hooray! It’s a girl! XO

family style, orange county


April Vacation! You dream, you. We had the absolute best time last week enjoying California and Las Vegas. And now I will attempt to blog about it all! For the memories of the people and the places and also to give these photos a chance to live somewhere other than my hard drive. After all, they deserve to be seen!

The first few days of our trip to Cali we spent with Zan’s older sister Stephanie and her family in Irvine — Orange County, USA. We drove in from the airport and went straight down the coast — the fish tacos were calling to us! As was the salt air and sea breeze. And 85 degrees! Sigh. I love it so.


Here we are at Bear Flag Fish Company in Crystal Cove. We got some poke, fish tacos, and coconut water straight from the source. So so good and the perfect way to start our adventure.

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This place is an AMAZING home decor store I discovered right next to Bear Flag Fish Co, Juxtaposition Home. I was full on love eyes while I was in there and I know you would be too.


The first night we had lots of Zan’s California family over for a big awesome dinner. We were lucky to spend time with three of Zan’s aunts, his uncle and two of his cousins — plus a lot of Stephanie’s husband’s family too. The meal was delicious and it was so nice to be in a faraway place with faraway family. It’s also nice to know we have so many people to visit out west! Definitely makes the return appealing. :)


Here they are L to R: Henry, Peter, Ian, Stephanie and Nash. They took is out on a duffy boat ride around Balboa on Sunday morning. Such a nice way to get a look at the awesome houses on the water!

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After our boat excursion we walked around Newport Beach a little bit — mostly on the search for candy per Ian and Henry’s request. We stopped into the arcade to play a little Skee Ball, too. How could we pass an opportunity like that up?

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Found the candy shop! ^^

And more tacos!


In the afternoon we ate our second round of fish tacos, this time from Wahoos in Laguna Beach and then walked the streets for a bit before heading to the beach…


While walking out of Wahoos I stumbled upon another store I had heart eyes for called LaLa by Kerry Cassill.

(Fun fact: After doing a bit of research just now to find a link I discovered they sell her designs at Anthropologie. No wonder I was in love!)


This awesome place is called Urth. All organic coffee and teas in a cafe on a mission for sustainability and quality. We got smoothies there before our drive back to Stephanie’s house. It was hot out and they were delicious!


You’re singing the Laguna Beach theme song in your head now, right?

I sure hope so.


And last, but never least, we went to the Anaheim Ducks playoff game on Sunday night — California’s favorite hockey team — THE MIGHTY DUCKS! It was no Boston, but we knew some major fans who were kind enough to share some tickets with us — so we cheered those Ducks on and had some fun while we did it. :)

A really great end to a really great weekend. And a really perfect start to vacation. ♥

our wedding day.


Oh my. How do I even begin to describe this day? I suppose the more I sit here and think about it the more I know that no amount of words will ever do it justice. But the photos just might and for that I am beyond thankful and so excited to share them with you. Our wedding day was magic. It was more than I could have dreamed and better than I ever imagined. We were engaged on the coldest and brightest of New Year’s Eves and although we will always now have a special place for winter in our hearts, summer is where our souls are meant to be. So on a gorgeous day in June we were married. We planned our celebration in just over 6 months and both agree we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We have been together for what seems like forever. So many summers and falls and winters and springs. And are thrilled to keep loving each other until forever and a day.

I grew up spending my summers on Skaneateles Lake, a gorgeous little spot tucked right into the Finger Lakes in New York. When we started to look around for venues the Mandana Barn in Skaneateles literally dropped right into our laps — or maybe I should say we dropped right into theirs. I knew I wanted a simple wedding. One filled with green grass and flowers and family and friends. I worked hard to bring the vision I had in my mind for this day to life. And with the help of everyone around us it was more than I could have hoped for and then even better still.

The morning of the wedding Zan and I met up for breakfast on the water. We went to the bakery in town, got donuts and coffee and sat quietly with our feet over the edge of the lake. We weren’t nervous or anxious, only completely and wonderfully at peace. I am so glad we got that time together the morning of our day– before the hustle and bustle, before the thrill of it all.

My cousin Paige gave us some of the best advice before our wedding day. “Stay together the entire length of the day,” she said. Someone had given the advice to her and I will forever pass it on to others. It seems kind of obvious, but there are certainly times where we could have become separated during all the excitement. So many different friends to talk to! Such a big family! But once we came together for our first look we never left each other’s side.


Although much of the wedding was planned by yours truly (and thankfully my mom who was able to be so close when Boston felt so far),there was certainly a team that helped the magic come alive. Our vendors include… Venue: Mandana Barn / Catering & Planning: James Hares, Mandana Inn (James help was immeasurable. Since we didn’t have a traditional wedding planner, James took over so many of the important venue details and truly helped the day come together perfectly.) / My dress: Ceremony Boston, designed by Karen Willis Holmes / Bridesmaid dresses and my blue suede shoes: J.crew / Zan’s suit and Groomsmen attire: J.crew / Groomsmen Ties: The Tie Bar / Band: Silver Arrow Band / Officiant: Emily VanLaeys / Flowers for tables, arbor, and ceremony: Fifty Flowers {with help from a massive team of my family and friends} / Bouquets, flower crowns, and garland: Laxton’s Florist / Hair and Make-up: Melissa Evans, Arabella Salon / Boat Rental: The Sherwood Inn / Wedding Arbor & Best Day Ever sign post: made by Zan, decorated and hand-lettered by my Aunt Heidi / Invitations and paper: designed by me, hand-lettered and illustrated by my Aunt Heidi ♥

And last but absolutely not least— an amazing photographer was my number one requirement {besides the groom, of course!}, and if there’s a word stronger than incredible then that would most certainly describe ours. Chad and Rebecca Hansen from First Mate Photography were a dream. They captured our day exactly how my memories keep it — beyond perfect. These photos are everything to me. A celebration of love, indeed…


I gave my bridesmaids each a monogramed necklace from Barberry and Lace
and these adorable cards are from the Etsy shop First Snow Fall.




Our wedding music…

Wedding Prelude // Annie’s Song, John Denver

Moon River, Andy Williams

Here Comes the Sun, The Beatles

Bridesmaid Processional // A Thousand Years, The Piano Guys

Bridal Processional // Pachabel’s Canon in D


Recessional // Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours, Stevie Wonder ♥


{Wedding favor succulents from The Succulent Source.}


Our cake topper is from Lovely Grain Studio and guest book {not pictured!} is from Starboard Press.


First Dance // Today, Joshua Radin


Father-Daughter Dance // Charlie, Milk Carton Kids

Mother-Son Dance // Cracklin’ Rosie, Neil Diamond


The most beautiful, joyful day.

Best. Day. Ever.