Valentine’s Day | Tradition

Do you have a tradition for Valentine’s Day? Evan and I started a tradition our first year of marriage and I love it. His favorite meal of all time is his grandmother’s spaghetti and meatballs. I was finally given the recipe after we were married! (not kidding!) For the past three years, I have made his grandmother’s homemade spaghetti and meatballs for us on Valentine’s. We use our fine china and crystal and sit in the dining room together. It’s fun and makes it a little more intimate than just sitting at the kitchen table or island with our everyday dishes! Sometimes we still make plans to go out to dinner too because we do love trying new restaurants and we use any opportunity to do so! This year we are going to New Orleans the day after Valentine’s Day for a wedding, so we did not make plans to go out to dinner.

We celebrated on Sunday this year because it is time-consuming to make and makes lots of leftovers! We did not want to leave all that food uneaten while we head down to New Orleans! I do not decorate for Valentine’s Day, but I did use red napkins for the occasion! Check out our Valentine’s “date”!


Charger Plate: Amazon | Dinner Plate: Bloomingdales | Salad Plate: Bloomingdales | Napkin: Amazon | Napkin Ring: Bed Bath & Beyond (similar) | Flatware: Macy’s | Crystal: Amazon


Top: Nordstromrack | Watch: Watch Station | Bracelet: The Real Real

We didn’t end up getting a picture of the two of us unfortunately. We enjoyed a formal sit down meal together with wine, Caesar salad, spaghetti and meatballs, and garlic bread! It was yummy if I do say so myself! The only thing missing was tiramisu! I hope we continue to carry on this tradition in the years to come.


2nd Annual Plaid Party | 2018

Last year, Evan and I decided we wanted to throw a Christmas Party in our new home. We wanted to do something different than the usual “Tacky Christmas Sweater” parties. I debated on what we should do and I think I finally found the idea of the Plaid Party on Pinterest. Everyone seemed to enjoy it last year, so we thought why not make it an annual tradition!

The party didn’t start til 8, so I prepared very little food. I believe we had the exact same food last year! I made some ham rolls using Hawaiian bread, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and poppy seed. I can’t forget the butter, too! They are so easy and so yummy! My girl, Heather Cannon of All Sugared Up, made some beautiful cookies for me. Seriously, check her out on Instagram, allsugaredup17. My mom makes “white trash” every Christmas season, which is Chex mix, pretzels, and M&M’s smothered in white chocolate. She sent over a tin of that for the party! Melissa brought over some freshly baked monkey bread (be looking for a food Friday post on that). My mom also prepared a delicious cranberry spread that I put over cream cheese. Everyone was asking for the recipe, so here it is:


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 4-5 green onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about one large lemon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (8 ounces each) packages of cream cheese light or regular, softened
  • Crackers for serving
  1. Pulse the cranberries in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped. Add all other ingredients, excluding the cream cheese, until well combined or finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a covered bowl  and refrigerate for 4 hours (or up to overnight)so the flavors have time to develop and the cranberries lose a bit of their tartness.
  2. When ready to serve, spread the cream cheese in an even layer on a serving plate or 9 inch pie dish. Top with the cranberry-jalapeno mixture, spreading evenly over the top of cream cheese.
  3. Refrigerate for up to an hour before serving. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

I only used one package of cream cheese and half of the cranberry-jalapeno mixture to fit it in my moms Christmas tree dish!

Three Tiered Serving Dish: Macy’s (on sale) | Plaid Table Runner: Amazon| Plaid Tablecloth (not pictured): Amazon | Spode Christmas Tree Dish: Macy’s (on sale) | Cheers Spreader: Swoozie’s (also locally at Something Special)

As I have mentioned before, I have a thing for table runners. You should see my hall closet, it is full of table runners and table cloths! I found a pretty plaid runner and table cloth on Amazon this year. I found some plaid napkins, paper plates, and wrapping paper at T.J. Maxx about a month ago. The wrapping paper was used for the backdrop for pictures. I found the tinsel garland at our local Dollar Tree. It wasn’t the prettiest backdrop, but it got the job done! Check out these party people!

My Flannel Top: Abercrombie & Fitch  | My earrings: Kendra Scott (on sale) | Evan’s Plaid Coat: My father’s wardrobe, circa 1970, haha!

Fun was had by all and the ham rolls were completely devoured once again! Until next year, ya’ll! Merry PLAID Christmas from the Gangaware’s!


09.17.16 | Small Town Southern Wedding

09.17.16 | Small Town Southern Wedding

Brides to be, soak it all in because before you know it you will be celebrating two years of marriage.

I loved everything about planning my wedding. Don’t get me wrong, I had LOTS of help, but for the most part, I planned it all. Before Evan and I were ever engaged, I knew what I wanted. Doesn’t every girl?

When my sister was planning her wedding, I held my breath. I always wanted to have my reception at my Uncle Les’s Farm in Mason and I hoped she wouldn’t want to do the same. She chose to have her reception in my parents back yard. Then a couple of years later my brother and Melissa went back and forth about where they wanted the location of their wedding, mentioning the Farm in the debate. Once again, they did not choose the Farm. Sighs of relief. I would have been just as happy for both of them no matter what they had chosen, but secretly I was happy that they chose otherwise! Secrets out!

My uncle’s Farm has been a gathering place for my family for many years. I have fond memories fishing with my brother, riding four wheelers with friends, riding horses, and one of my uncle’s favorite memories, Lauren and I cleaning his apartment attached to his shop. (My OCD started at a young age) We celebrated lots of birthdays there before it was what it is now. Now he has several shops, a gorgeous log cabin complete with a stone pool, and a pond. It is a place no one knew existed except a couple of close family friends. My Uncle has turned it into a beautiful home away from home.

I wanted my wedding to be different from my siblings, but also different from the “typical” Covington wedding.

Being different not only included the reception location, but the photographer, and the traditions associated with weddings.

I researched local Memphis photographers and reached out to a few. Nothing was set in stone with any of them. One day I had a customer overhear me talking about hiring a wedding photographer and she suggested a good friend of hers. I think she and I were meant to cross paths that day. I took her advice and hired Christen Jones to photograph my wedding along with my engagement.

I remember taking my engagement pictures like it was yesterday. Mom and I drove out to the Farm and waited for Evan to meet us there from work. Gwinn and Bennett also tagged along that day. We wanted to show Gwinn the Farm so we could all start brainstorming the set up of the reception. It was early to mid November so it was semi-cool outside, but not too bad. There has just been a storm recently and we were afraid all the leaves would be blown away for the pictures. Well, needless to say, Christen worked her magic on us, and we were more than pleased with our photos. I can still remember mom and I discussing on the way there that Evan and I shouldn’t do “kissy” pictures but we ended up doing them anyways and I loved them. HA!

Here’s a link to our photographers blog post.

Fast forward to January… the addresses are being logged into excel, save the dates have been ordered, appointments are being made.. the DRESS appointment being my FAVORITE. When I say it was a dream come true I genuinely mean it. I had been following this bridal boutique on instagram for some time and was thrilled to finally be going for myself. This place y’all, it is magical. I called Maggie Louise Bridal Boutique and booked an appointment for a Saturday morning. Once you book an appointment, they email you a quiz to fill out about your dream gown. They also called and discussed it all with me the week of my appointment. It was raining the morning we left for the appointment, but I kid you not as soon as we made it to the sign, “Welcome to Collierville!” it quit raining and the sun came out! How funny that I remember these details… Anyways, Molly, the owner, welcomed us with a genuine smile and positivity as we entered her gorgeous boutique. Molly instructed my guests to sit on the all white leather couches and enjoy a mimosa while they waited for me to try on gowns. Molly and her coworker guided me to my all white fitting room filled with dresses they hand-picked for me. They helped me into each gown, pulling it tight to fit me before showing my guests. Molly knew I wanted lace sleeves and thankfully talked me out of full lace sleeves. She had me try on dresses that were not necessarily what I had in mind but, wanted to be sure they were ruled out before making a final decision. That was pretty fun…see the selfie of Leah and I! The winner was written all over my face according to everyone in attendance. I absolutely adored it. It was simply beautiful.

The dress I tried on in the store had a blush underlay while the bolero I tried on was ivory. I ordered them both in ivory.

Let’s fast forward again. The invitations have been mailed. It just got REAL, real fast! We mailed out our invitations the last week of July. We squeezed in four showers into two weekends in August. Why? We were invited to TWELVE weddings that year. That means between going to weddings, wedding showers, and wedding planning, we were short on time! Our showers included a Stock the Bar Party given by the wedding party and friends, a Christmas shower given by my church, a nighttime party given by friends of my parents, and another night-time party given by friends. We were extremely blessed to have such kind and generous people host such lovely showers for us. We cannot thank you all enough.

It’s Thursday, September 15, I am at the Farm doing things to prepare for the big day. My phone rings and my future sister-in-law is on the other end telling me the news we knew was coming, but never imagined would come two days before our wedding. Evans grandfather has passed away. His grandparents had not planned on attending due to their health issues, but now his Knoxville family was unable to attend as well. The funeral arrangements were pushed to the following weekend so that Evan and I could be there and not miss our honeymoon. His grandmother was able to watch the wedding via FaceTime, and we were so glad. She and Evan are very close. He lived with his grandparents for the better part of his college years. She is such a sweet soul and absolutely adores her Evan.

It’s Friday, September 16, I am getting ready for my Bridesmaids Luncheon at Charlene’s Just Divine Tea Room in Halls, TN. My mom tells me that my Granny and Aunt Mina are unable to attend because they were taking Granny to the hospital. I thought to myself they will give her some fluids and send her on her way it’s going to be fine. After the luncheon and running out to the Farm for a few last-minute preparations, mom tells me that they are keeping Granny overnight and she is more than likely not going to be able to attend the wedding. That was my breaking point. I do not show a lot of emotion, nor do I cry often especially in front of people. I broke down pretty bad when mom told me that. Granny is my only living grandparent and the only grandparent who was going to be in attendance for the wedding. I had my pity party before the rehearsal and I finally got myself together. It broke my heart that she couldn’t be there on my wedding day and hear me say my vows to my husband because I know she would have been so proud of me. It kills me that I don’t have a single picture with her, but I am thankful that she is still here. She is still here today and that means more to me than missing my wedding day.

The wedding party rode together in a van to our Rehearsal dinner in Memphis. We stopped on our way to the restaurant to see my Granny. She was still my sweet giggly Granny, and that made me feel so much better.

The Gangaware’s threw us an amazing Rehearsal Dinner at The Rendevouz. We had quite the crowd, and lots of fun and laughs!

Saturday, September 17, WEDDING DAY. All week-long the weather forecast predicted rain on my wedding day. On that morning I woke up to sunshine and sprinkles. God tested us on Thursday and Friday, but like always he came through for us on Saturday.

The Vols played in the morning and WON, so that was also a good sign, HA!

The ladies started the day at Little Shop of Hair. My mom, sister, and I have been using Amy Malone, the owner, as our hair dresser for the last 6+ years. She and her team of ladies know how to make you feel and look beautiful. Amy did my hair as well as my mom and sisters. The bridesmaids hair was done by Tiffany Sullivan. All of our makeup was done by my good friend, Brittany Wright. I definitely recommend these sweet ladies for your next event!

We had a record-breaking twelve-minute ceremony. We did not do a first look because I wanted to be traditional and see each other for the first time walking down the aisle. Speaking of walking down the aisle, I only recall seeing The Jackson family on my entrance and Ryleigh Strong on our exit! I was not really nervous, to be honest. I blocked everyone out and I said my vows loud and proud.  There were no solos, no unity candles lit, and no ropes tied. It was short and sweet and I beamed with joy the entire time. We exited our wedding to Rocky Top, played on the organ just as my parents did, and my brother and his wife did.

The reception began with dances and cake. Soon after the cake was cut I remember hearing a loud popping noise. I immediately assumed the worst… thinking it was a generator backfire. To my surprise, as well as everyone else’s , my dad had a fireworks display put on by the local fire department. He had planned this himself and only told my uncle he was doing it. It was such a sweet surprise for me and our guests! Another surprise later on was my sweet friend Bennett performing his favorite, Celine Dion. There was not a dry eye in sight. We did not do a garter toss. In fact, I did not even wear one. We did not do a bouquet toss either. I did not want to do those traditions so we opted out of them! Our wedding guests waved orange and white glow sticks to send us off.

However, as picture perfect as it may look and sound, there were many things that went wrong on this day. None that were big enough to even mention though. My advice to any bride to be is: No matter what goes right or wrong on your wedding day, at the end of the day you will be married to the love of your life and that is all that really matters, right?

Our wedding was so much fun. I still have friends asking if we are going to throw an anniversary party. We were so fortunate to have such wonderful people share our special day with us!

Readers, if you were there, share a fun memory from our wedding. Thank you for reading and please come back, I promise I won’t be this long-winded again. Ha!


Click here for the photographers blog post.

Our Rings: Claire Eller’s Fine Jewelry in Memphis

Something Borrowed: My moms double strand pearl bracelet. My best friend, Jenn, also wore this in her wedding😊

Something New/Evans gift to Me: Pearl Diamond Drop Studs purchased at Claire Eller’s Fine Jewelry in Memphis

Something Blue & Old: My sister had one of my grandfathers old handkerchief’s embroidered with my initials and wedding date in blue.

Brides Gift to Groom: Rolex

Bridal Shoes: Badgley Mischka

Bridesmaid Dresses & Mother of the Bride Dress: All About Weddings in Germantown (this place has permanently closed)

Suits: McPherson’s

Flowers: Kathryn’s Flowers

Catering: Me and My Tea Room

Cakes: Amy Smith

Lemon Cookies: Christy Hayden

Pecan Pies: Nancy Stewart

Rentals: Mahaffey

Invitations|Programs|Koozies|Cups|Napkins: RSVP Stationers

Videographer: Weston Downing

Band: Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monsters

First Dance: How Sweet It Is by Marvin Gaye

Father Daughter Dance: The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra

Mother Son Dance: Lean On Me by Bill Withers