Decorating 101: Halloween Table

How to: Create a Spooky Halloween Table

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I love decorating for holidays and Halloween is one of my favorites to decorate. It took me a lot of trips to the store, returning/exchanging, and playing trial and error to get my table right so here are a few tips I have for decorating!


Decorating for a tabletop:

  1. Usually, the more on the table the better. One mistake I kept making is that I wouldn’t buy enough and it just looked bare. Its better to over buy and return what you don’t need but chances are you will use it.

  2. For the plate setting, do all 4 - The placemat, service plate, dinner plate and salad plate or bowl.

  3. Have a focal point. Mine is usually the tallest item on my table.

  4. You need different levels to give dimension. So if your focal point is the center of the table you should add things that are shorter and smaller in size. See my table for a better description

  5. Must have a table runner. Sometimes I use two

  6. Pick a color scheme. Usually, stay between 3-4 colors that go together

  7. Start with what you like and stick to the theme. The biggest “no no” is getting multiple themes within one table

Candle holders and silver cups that always stay on my table

Candle holders and silver cups that always stay on my table

Here is a photo of my table for Halloween. Everything you see is from Home Goods, Pier One and Hobby Lobby. I will say that Hobby Lobby has 40% off right now and Home Goods always has the best deals.

One thing I keep on my table year around are two clear and silver candle holders. I also keep the same silver wine glasses on the table as well. This helps so you don’t have to buy brand new items each time for your table.

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As you can see I did two table runners just to give it a little more dimension. 

I did a variation of skulls and pumpkins. I stayed with the colors white, black and silver. To add a pop of bling, I added in some glittery pumpkins.

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Happy decorating!

Cheers,

Whit

30 things before 30

30 things that shaped my 20s

Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

Have a vision for your life. My dream job was to work in television. Work towards that goal everyday. Even if it feels like you are off track. JUST KEEP GOING! Everybody’s path is different. This was mine and I hope it inspires you to do everything you want to accomplish. This has been a WILD ride…. Cheers to the next 10!

  1. Being the first in my family to graduate from college - I graduated with my bachelors degree in four years. It was my goal to do it in 4 years and A LOT of blood, sweat and tears went into achieving that. Thank ya Jesus!

  2. College athletics - I cheered all four years in college. I have always loved, lived, and breathed cheerleading. Being a cheerleader in college was a whole other level. Balancing school and cheering every game for football and basketball was really challenging. It kept me really busy and dedicated. I was captain my senior year and the responsibilities grew greater. This began shaping me for the future.

  3. Live in a different city, at least once - I moved to a different city where I didn’t know anyone. I moved to Nashville after I graduated in 2012. After you graduate college, it’s a really weird time in your life. You’re starting a new chapter... and a scary one. You feel so lost and it sucks because you have to start at the bottom of the totompole and work your way up. I was in a new city trying to find a new job with no friends or family. I had so many moments where I asked myself, ‘what have you done?’ But now, I realize that was the best decision I ever made.

  4. Don’t be “too good” for anything - I landed a crappy first job in the corporate world making $24,000 a year WITH a 4 year college degree. I was going door to door, business to business, selling copiers and printers. I would call my dad at least once a week crying but he pushed me to stay in it. He always said be the hardest working in the room and you will succeed. Good thing is, you will move up quickly and you’ll be making double before you know it.

  5. Take a risk - I auditioned for an NFL cheer team without trained dance experience. I cheered in college but its very different than professional cheerleading. This was legit one of the coolest things I had ever accomplished. Over 400 girls auditioned and I was one of the 27 that made it. This was truly a pivotal moment in my life. Looking back, this is where it all changed for me.

  6. Don’t force it - Friendships, relationships, or anything in life. I found that fighting to hold on to something that is not fighting to hold on to you will ruin you. Free yourself of anything that makes you feel trapped, unappreciated, disrespected, and lonely. When you let go of toxic people, you make room for so much greatness your life.

  7. Have a roommate - Some of my funniest memories are living with my best friend in a crappy house with no internet or cable. All we had was us and legit cockroaches. We paid a lot of money to live in a good part of town but the house was caving in. It was disgusting. We were paying our own bills and we were proud of it. THIS is my favorite past time. Living with Kristen and Mariel completely changed my perspective on life. I would call mom and be like THANK YOU for doing all that you did for us. You never realize what mamas do until you have to do it. HA! This experience humbled me. Never ever forget where you came from... and for me, I’ll never forget these amazing times.

  8. Be single - This was always hard for me because I love relationships. I was single for about 1 year until I met my husband. That year was one of the most fun I’d ever had. I really grew into who I was so when I met Austin I had so much confidence in who I was. I had my own life, my own friends, and I took pride in that. I just think it takes time to discover who you are. Give yourself that time to grow so that when you do meet your significant other, you’ll be ready and it will be right.

  9. Vision Boards work and so does journaling - Make a vision board and journal daily of what you want most. Whether its a career, a partner, or spiritual. It is a journey! But I found that if you make specific goals, you will reach them much quicker than you think. Even if its as simple as reading 50 books a year, write it down.

  10. Travel to a different country OR go somewhere new - experience is key. I had the pleasure of traveling to Japan for the Super Bowl. It was really cool connecting with other NFL cheerleaders around the league. The trip was eye opening, fun, exhausting and memorable. That year I had on my vision board to travel to a different country. And it happened. Pretty cool!

  11. Have a mentor - It’s always so nice to have someone to talk to or look up to in all aspects spiritually and mentally. I had a really good community around me at the time. I looked up to my boss, coach, preachers and others who were around me. These people helped shape who I am and I’m thankful for that.

  12. Learn to let go and follow God’s path - I had to let go of people who I didn’t want to let go of... But when God is tugging at your heart you have to listen. Trust me! He knows.

  13. Be thankful - because appreciation goes along way. When you’re appreciative of what you have, you’ll end up having more. Focusing on what you don’t have will make you believe you don’t have enough.

  14. Find your person - When I met Mariel, my life changed forever. She’s my soulmate in girl form. We are connected in a way I can’t explain. When we became friends, our lives elevated at a rapid pace. Having a good community around you will make you better. If you’re lucky enough to find that person, never let them go.

  15. Give back - Even if its not money, give your time. There’s so much in every community that we can be doing. For us, helping other women was something near and dear to our heart. This is how ‘Girls Tour’ formed. This is an event for women to come and listen to other women of all walks of life speak. It’s powerful and life changing. We donate canned food and the money we raise to a local women’s shelter.

  16. Enjoy the journey - LIVE every moment and take it all in - Life is short! We’re not guaranteed tomorrow so I wanted to be able to look back on my life and really be able to say, I LIVED IT to the max. I took every opportunity that came my way and made the most of it. More than anything, the goal is to make God proud and fulfill every assignment on earth.

  17. Don’t take yourself too seriously - My motto has always been to have fun, be goofy, and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Yall, we don’t make it out alive anyways.....

  18. Own who you are - Be so completely yourself that everyone else feels safe to be themselves too. There’s a confidence that comes with not being afraid to be yourself. Sure, people will hate it but there’s always going to be people who love you and hate you - and their decision has nothing to do with you.

  19. What God puts in your heart is for YOU - A lot of times, others will not understand because God didn’t put it in their hearts. When you have a dream or vision, only you know what to do with it...

  20. Be selfish - and I MEAN this. Your 20s are for YOU! You have your whole life to live it for other people.

  21. It’s okay to make mistakes - I made A LOT! I’m not afraid to admit it or say that I wish I would have done a few things differently. But one things for sure, I learned from every big and small mistake I made. I made a decision a long time ago that I would grow from every experience. Focus on your growth not your mistakes.

  22. Be fearless - DONT BE AFRAID TO FAIL - legit, just go for it because it’s better to do that then to live the rest of your life dreaming and wishing.

  23. Not everyone deserves your energy - Know what and who is worth it. What you focus on is up to you, remember that.

  24. Be a blessing to others - Mama always says leave people better then how you found them. However that may be...

  25. Do it for you - Whatever you decide to do in life, make sure it makes YOU happy. You gotta be proud of your own self. You’re the one who has to live with the decisions you make so make sure you’re making yourself proud.

  26. Don’t have a ‘type’ when dating - sometimes what we want isn’t what we need. You’ll know when you meet someone if it’s right. There wont be any doubts.

  27. Know your worth - This took me a longgggg time to figure out. But always remember that it’s not who you are that holds you back its who you think you’re not.

  28. Learn to forgive - We’re all just people. We make mistakes and hurt people without knowing. Sometimes you have to accept an apology that you never got and you’ve gotta be okay with it. I’ve had a ton of these in my life. Just forgive! ‘Blessed be the peacemaker”

  29. Perspective is key - Happiness lives inside of the smallest moments. Don’t take it for granted. Focus on the good.

  30. Life is full of ups and downs - The bad things that happen in life aren’t meant to break us, but to shape us. I love the saying that says ‘not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.’ You just never know what God is up to. What the devil meant for bad, God uses for good!


Stop shrinking to fit in places you’ve outgrown. Live, Love, Grow!


Even if the odds are stacked against you, keep going and striving. I’m just a country girl from Soddy Daisy, TN that had big dreams. I truly believe that my life has just begun and I haven’t tapped into my true potential. All you have to do is believe!

All my love,

Whit

Self tanners

The only self tanners I use 

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I live for being tan. If there was “tan” Queen, it would be me. It makes me feel like I can conquer the world. So here are my top self tanners that you have to try. I only use these products on my skin.

  1. St. Tropez - Always get express. Personally, I always buy the darkest color they make. I suggest buying the mitt for a sleek finish on your skin. It works best if you sleep in it. Let it dry so you don’t feel sticky. Wash it off in the morning for a seriously gorgeous tan. Click here for the St. Tropez tanning mitt

  2. Loving tan - Again, I always buy the darkest and fast acting. Loving Tan is NEXT LEVEL tanning. It’s buildable and goes on easy. Sleep in this as well and you’ll look like you just vacationed in the Caribbean.

  3. Norvell Venetian face Mist - With all spray tans, your face is the first to revert. When I found this, I struck gold. Spray this on your face if you need to freshen up your tan. I buy the Venetian color which has a purple undertone so it actually looks like a real tan. This is buildable, sprays easy and looks phenomenal. I wouldn’t recommend this if you have super fare skin. I have dark skin and it literally drinks it.

I also want to recommend a product to remove your spray tan so your skin is prepped for the next time. Exfoliating is KEY to a beautiful spray tan or self tan. I found this product from my friend Shannon Ford. She’s also the queen of spray tanning so here it is for purchase. 

Purchase Blank Canvas Here

Happy tanning! 

Glamping 101

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Camping can be extremely difficult and intimidating if it is your first time. With that in mind, we decided to go to Bass Pro Shop, and pick up some essentials to help you with your next camping trip!

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First, you are going to need shelter. Now a days, there is something called “Glamping,” where shelter is already provided. Glamping is where luxury meets nature, but if you are going old fashion camping you will need to purchase a tent. What is inside of the tent is just as important, so don’t forget your sleeping bag/air mattress, blanket, and pillow. Depending on what time of the year, pack extra blankets just in case.

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Second, you will need equipment to capture your dinner for the night, such as fishing poles. Fishing always makes for a fun activity when camping.

We would also suggest packing snacks and food to bring along with you if you do not capture any dinner that day. If you have a trailer/motorhome with you, it would also be nice to bring a grill. If not ,no worries, a good ole campfire will do the trick.

We would also suggest packing sunscreen and bug spray. For your convenience, below we added a checklist of everything you may need for your fun night out with nature.

Checklist:

1. Tent/ poles/stake

2. Air Mattress/ Sleeping Bag

3. Bedding/ Blankets

4. Grill/ Cook Stove/Untensils

5. Fishing Pole and accessories

6. Flashlights

7. Clothing for the time you will be there ( check weather)

8. Tools ( an Ax and Knife)

9. Matches/ Flint

10. Rope

11. Bug Spray/ Sunscren/Hats

12. First Aid Kit

13. Map of Area

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XO

Whit + Mariel

Happy Birthday AD

AD’s Fiesta

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I love celebrating birthdays but especially Austin’s. We make sure to go ALL OUT when his birthday comes around. I’m so proud of my hubby and all that he’s accomplished but I’m even more proud of what he does off the track. He’s the first to help and share all that he’s been blessed with. He works so hard in so many different avenues and does it with ease. I don’t know how he does it all but he is just like his dad and grandfather - working machines.

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Every year, AD grows tremendously as a racer, a business owner, a friend, and a husband, and I can’t wait to see what all God has in store for him and for us. I’m thankful for you boo and all that you do for me. I love you beyond words and can’t wait for the future! Blessings to come!

DJ: DJ Hek Yea

Theme: Fiesta

Food: Salsarita’s

Floats: Amazon

Decorations: Party City

Cake: Dewey’s

Photographer: Daryl Shawm Photography / Insta: @DarylShawPhoto

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Thank you Daryl Shaw for the photography

Thank you Daryl Shaw for the photography

XO

Whit

The Swan Wedding : Fashion


Fashion played a huge role in my big day, so here is a breakdown of the details.

Something  I really wanted was a beautiful bridal robe to get ready in. Le Laurier founded by Designer Lauren Holovka offers timeless and fashion forward pieces, inspired by everyday brides. Lauren created me a one of kind robe and named it The Mariel Robe.  She made the robe with me in mind and made it  from the finest materials imported from Paris, with delicate Chantilly lace. Each of Le Laurier’s couture designs are handmade, with a high level of complexity, from finding the right materials to creating a unique but glamorous concept. The robe continued with a beautiful bell sleeve with beaded lace trim to a ostrich feather beaded belt with Swarovski crystals.She also added a dramatic cathedral train with 4 different types of beaded laces appliquéd throughout the train, as well as adding ostrich feathers to create the perfect details for my ideal robe. 


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I was also obsessed with look of tiaras, so I had to find the perfect one. I wanted to feel like a princess! I ordered my crown from Giva My Jewerly and Kendra Currie did my hair and installed the crown.

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My Wedding Gown

My gown is from RK Bridal in New York. Whit Whit, My mom, and Maribeth all went with me to find this gown. I knew immediately when I saw it that it was the one. My gown was designed by Morilee by Madeline Gardner. I loved everything about this gown. From the sleeves to the cathedral train with ostrich feathers.

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i wanted my bouquet to be massive!

i wanted my bouquet to be massive!

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Flower Girls

I wanted my little girls to look like little swan princess. I found their dresses from Kingdom Boutique. I loved my little flower girls! They were just as sweet as they were adorable,

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Bridesmaids

I wanted my bridesmaids to look like forest fairies! I found their dresses from Abyss By Abby. I absolutely loved everything about these dresses. The color reminded me of royalty and forest fairies all at the same time, wanted them all to have emerald smokey eyes and neutral lips. Bre Early and McCall Gaulding did an amazing job on their makeup. I also wanted long romantic, loose curls on everyone and Kendra did and amazing job on their hair.

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All of my bridesmaids word black silk robes with their names stitched on the front. Whit Whits robe had Maid of Honor written on the back.

All of my bridesmaids word black silk robes with their names stitched on the front. Whit Whits robe had Maid of Honor written on the back.

The Groom

Paul wore a black velvet tux custom made by Stitched.. I love the look of velvet in the winter time. It is the darkest black you can find in clothing, and the color always looks so rich. Pauls jacket was lined with tickets on the inside, because he’s a big ticket guy. It’s kind of his thing. He loves tickets.

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Groomsmen

All the groomsmen look extremely handsome in their classic black tuxedos with black bowties.

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The Swan Wedding

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‘But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." (2 Peter 3:8)  The love that was in the room on our wedding day, January 5, 2019 felt as it was going to last a thousand years. Love is timeless and pure love will last forever. Love is the glue that binds our reality and gives us strength to face the world as long as we have one another. I truly believe that the unconditional love that Paul and I have for each other is sealed and anointed from God. The Bible teaches, “1 John 4:7-8 (ESV) God Is Love.January 5th 2019 Paul and I got married at Childress Vineyards. It was the best day of my life. I truly felt God’s presence and an overwhelming amount of unconditional love that day. On that day I married my soulmate, in front of my closest friends and family, and I must say there was no better feeling.

THAT MORNING

The morning of my wedding was insane and a time I will never forget. I was so nervous and excited all the same time. I was so happy to have my family and best friends by my side that morning.

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My bridesmaids: Whitney Dillon Matron of honor, Jordan Dodson, Evony Thompson, Ashley Parker,Jocelyn Watts, Kristen Stiles, Laura Little, Courtney Little, Jessi Boseman, Morgan Abel, Tiffany Harwell, Amanda Mertz

My bridesmaids: Whitney Dillon Matron of honor, Jordan Dodson, Evony Thompson, Ashley Parker,Jocelyn Watts, Kristen Stiles, Laura Little, Courtney Little, Jessi Boseman, Morgan Abel, Tiffany Harwell, Amanda Mertz

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DETAILS

My new last name is Swan and I wanted to tie that into the theme of my wedding. The song I walked down the aisle to was 1000 years, played by Deans Duets, (cello, harp,violin trio). I wanted everything to have an enchanted feel, because after all I was morphing into a swan (haha) . I used tons of greenery and faux trees to replicate the look of a forest and stuck with rich colored jewel tones to create a warm and enchanting feel. When people walked in, I wanted them to feel as though they were in an enchanted forest.

Dean’s and Duets

Dean’s and Duets

My event planner was Coordinating Dreams and my floral designer was Dahlia’s (Trinity  photography)

My event planner was Coordinating Dreams and my floral designer was Dahlia’s (Trinity
photography)

I also used cream draping in the front, but that is the only draping I used. I wanted to keep the earthy feel of the stones and wood at the vineyard. I used wooden chairs, and tons of trees and greenery. We had cascading greenery from the sky. And used tree/branch cut outs to create more of a forest scenery.

We used greenery, tree stumps, candles, and floral bouquets down the aisle.

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Jack, Maribeth, and Paul (My Mother and Father in Law)

Jack, Maribeth, and Paul (My Mother and Father in Law)

Mother and father (Michael and Victoria lane)

Mother and father (Michael and Victoria lane)

Pete, Oma and Papa

Pete, Oma and Papa

Malachi, Granny Poo Poo, Granny Joyce)

Malachi, Granny Poo Poo, Granny Joyce)

Ashley and Pete (Brother and Sister in Law)

Ashley and Pete (Brother and Sister in Law)

My Daddy and I (Michael Lane)

My Daddy and I (Michael Lane)

The Jumping of the broom (Whit Whit got me a custom blinged out broom as a gift)

The Jumping of the broom (Whit Whit got me a custom blinged out broom as a gift)

At the end of the ceremony Paul and I jumped the broom, which is an African American tradition which symbolizes sweeping your old life away and jumping into a new life together! 

My mother and Mother in Law Victoria Lane and Maribeth Debraal

My mother and Mother in Law Victoria Lane and Maribeth Debraal

My mother wrote a poem, "Mothers' Blessings, A Thousand Years"” and she read it with Maribeth (my mother in law) by her side. Their blessings were to remind the world that both mothers and families were excited that we found each other, and both families believed in the power of love. My mom ended the poem with, “They know that true love will forever stand more than a single day and more than a thousand years."

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VENUE

We had our wedding at Childress Vineyards. Our ceremony and reception was held in the Pavilion and our cocktail hour was held in the Bistro.

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Flower Girls (Tru Harwell; Blair Boehlke ; Zaria Saleem)

Flower Girls (Tru Harwell; Blair Boehlke ; Zaria Saleem)

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Tony Haye’s the saxophone player during cocktail hour

Tony Haye’s the saxophone player during cocktail hour

Pastor Ray Wright married us

Pastor Ray Wright married us

Reception

During my Daddy/Daughter Dance

During my Daddy/Daughter Dance

During the reception I loved the look of massive candelabras with creeping greenery to give a fairy tell feel. For the reception and ceremony I had to have two massive golden swans so I took some swan sculptures I found online and Jack, my father in law spray painted them in an antique gold. Florals played a huge role in the design element of my wedding. I used a huge greenery backdrop for the fireplace during my reception, and our florist, Dhalias made the most beautiful hanging greenery piece to go above the couch near our bar. For the tables I wanted the flowers to have massive floral centerpieces mixed in with the candelabras. Faye Conlin from Coordinating Dreams took my vision and made it into a reality!

Mom and Son dance

Mom and Son dance

During Pete (The Best Man) and Whitney’s MOH and Best Man (speeches) haha they needed each other for emotional support they were so nervous. They did an awesome job!

During Pete (The Best Man) and Whitney’s MOH and Best Man (speeches) haha they needed each other for emotional support they were so nervous. They did an awesome job!

My Daddy’s Speech

My Daddy’s Speech

My Mother in Laws Speech

My Mother in Laws Speech

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Stephanie Finely Cake design

Stephanie Finely Cake design

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Signature drink- The Ticket Bomb  Bartender- Jimmy The Bartender

Signature drink- The Ticket Bomb

Bartender- Jimmy The Bartender

Family

Family

Squad Photo( Whit, AD,Paul, Me)

Squad Photo( Whit, AD,Paul, Me)

Heather Smith Live Painter

Heather Smith Live Painter

AD and Paul hitting the Swan

AD and Paul hitting the Swan

Christian and Paul

Christian and Paul

Jordan,Uncle Ronnie,Dallas, and Aunt Anne

Jordan,Uncle Ronnie,Dallas, and Aunt Anne

The cutting of the cake

The cutting of the cake

Bri and D (Briana Lise and Dallas Dodson my little cousin) played a selection during the reception, Dj a minor behind them

Bri and D (Briana Lise and Dallas Dodson my little cousin) played a selection during the reception, Dj a minor behind them

The TN Titan Cheerleader Alumni ( Jocy, Kristen,Evony,Jen Hill, AP, Stormi, Evony, Tandra, Julia, Heather, Chasity, Stephanie, Tiffany)

The TN Titan Cheerleader Alumni ( Jocy, Kristen,Evony,Jen Hill, AP, Stormi, Evony, Tandra, Julia, Heather, Chasity, Stephanie, Tiffany)

Wedding Party  Groomsmen: Pete Swan- Best Man; Austin Dillon; Malachi Lane- Brother of the bride; Christian Piazza; Alex Kellerman; Tyler beck; Alex Bayer; Derek Doudna; Logan “dopey” Zagrodnik ; Derrell Edwards  Ring bearer: Brady Scheier  Ushers: Matt Schilz; Trevor Marks  Bridesmaids: Whitney Dillon- Matron of honor; Jordan Dodson; Evony Thompson; Ashley Parker; Jocelyn Watts; Kristen Stiles; Laura Little; Courtney Little; Jessi Boseman; Morgan Abel; Tiffany Harwell: Amanda Mertz  Flower Girls: Tru Harwell: Blair Lynn Boehlke; Zaria Ryann Saleem; Nyla Iman Saleem

Wedding Party

Groomsmen: Pete Swan- Best Man; Austin Dillon; Malachi Lane- Brother of the bride; Christian Piazza; Alex Kellerman; Tyler beck; Alex Bayer; Derek Doudna; Logan “dopey” Zagrodnik ; Derrell Edwards

Ring bearer: Brady Scheier

Ushers: Matt Schilz; Trevor Marks

Bridesmaids: Whitney Dillon- Matron of honor; Jordan Dodson; Evony Thompson; Ashley Parker; Jocelyn Watts; Kristen Stiles; Laura Little; Courtney Little; Jessi Boseman; Morgan Abel; Tiffany Harwell: Amanda Mertz

Flower Girls: Tru Harwell: Blair Lynn Boehlke; Zaria Ryann Saleem; Nyla Iman Saleem

Huge Thank you to everyone who came and all of my vendors listed below. This was the best day of my life and you all were a huge part of that!

Photography- Trinity Photography

Transportation- Camel City Carriage

Wedding Venue- Childress Vineyard 

Wedding Gown- RK Bridal 

Event Planning- Coordinating Dreams 

Videography: Jonathan Ford

Hair- Kendra Currie

Make up- Bree Early & Mc Call Gaulding

Floral Design- Dahlias

Dj- Dj A minor 

Cello/Harp/Violin Trio- Dean’s Duets

Duet- Bri and D

Saxophone- Tony Hayes

Bridal Robe- LeLaurier

Barbers- Josh Leonard,Tim Parker, Chris Breezy ( Washington Park)

Equipment Rental- Party Reflections 

Tuxedo- Stitched

Linens- Hauser Rental

 Cake- Stephanie Finley

Live Artist- Heather Smith 

Bartender- Jimmy The Bartender

Meats- Jack Arnold

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My Best Friends Wedding

My Best Friends Wedding

Photographers: Trinity Photographers / Instagram: @Trinity_photo

Photographers: Trinity Photographers / Instagram: @Trinity_photo

What a day! My BFF is MARRIED to my hubbys BFF. THANK YOU JESUS!!!

January 5, 2019, was one of the greatest days of my life. I witnessed my best friend marry her God given husband. Paul and Mariel are two of the most genuine and loving people I’ve ever met and their wedding exuded just that.

Trinity Photographers / Instagram: @Trinity_photo

Trinity Photographers / Instagram: @Trinity_photo

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I was honored to be standing by her side on the biggest day of her life. I was Mariel’s Matron of Honor and she was my Maid of Honor. Her hubby, Pauley, is like a brother to me and I’m so thankful he let me be apart of every little event leading up to the wedding, including the engagement. He even let me help pick out the ring!

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From the engagement in Vegas and bridal shower, to the bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner, every event was so epic and full of love and happiness.

December 1, 2017 / Las Vegas

December 1, 2017 / Las Vegas

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Mariel’s Bridal Shower / Childress Vineyards

Mariel’s Bridal Shower / Childress Vineyards

Bachelorette Party / Bahamas 2018

Bachelorette Party / Bahamas 2018

Mariel is so much more than my best friend. We’re bonded together by God and I’m blessed to have her in my life. It’s not what you have, it’s who you have!

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Trinity Photographers / Instagram: @Trinity_Photo

Trinity Photographers / Instagram: @Trinity_Photo

We started off 2019 with a bang! Congratulations to one of the best couples I know, THE SWAN’S!

All my love,

Whit

COSTA RICA

VACATION

Four Seasons Resort in Costa Rica

Four Seasons Resort in Costa Rica

Our first annual family vacation was one for the books. Costa Rica is one of our new favorite spots to travel. It’s a quick and easy flight from North Carolina and its beyond beautiful. Flight Time: 3.5 hours.

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We booked our vacation through Todd with Avenue Apart. You can check out his Instagram @speedofflight. We stayed at the Four Seasons Resort and it was unreal. The staff were some of the sweetest and accommodating people.

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The mix of ocean with forest is a sight to see.

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ZIP LINING

Diamante Eco Adventure Park

Diamante Eco Adventure Park

Costa Rica is known for zip lining. They have some of the best in the world and I would say this is a must if you visit here. We rented a boat for a day and they took us to zip line. You can also go by car. We ate lunch there and snorkeled the rest of the time. Renting the boat was so nice to relax and see everything around the island. Zip lining is no joke so beware if you’re scared of heights. However, they have a cool hangout spot to watch and take pictures.

The Superman

The Superman

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FISHING

Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi

90 pound Rooster Fish

90 pound Rooster Fish

You can’t come to Costa Rica and not do a little fishing. This was one of my favorite experiences of the week. We caught a 90 pound Rooster Fish and Mahi Mahi. They filleted the Mahi Mahi for us and we ate it for dinner. I recommend doing this activity early in the morning and with a big group of people. 

Whitney Dillon, Shawnee Ward, Rick Ward, Austin Dillon, Tina Dillon, and Mike Dillon

Whitney Dillon, Shawnee Ward, Rick Ward, Austin Dillon, Tina Dillon, and Mike Dillon

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The resort offers complimentary paddle boarding, surfing, volleyball, and other activities. We had a lot of fun with these as well. This was also a kid friendly resort. They had a game room and a kid pool only. They also had fun activities on the beach at night like s’mores. 

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SNORKELING

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The day we went zip lining, we also went snorkeling. We rented a small boat for a private tour. This was really cool to experience and Austin’s favorite of the week. There are all kinds of spots around the island and will take you to as many as you want.

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HIKING

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Our resort had a hiking trail that wrapped around the island. They have tons of trails and this is where you see the best views. You also see monkeys along the trails which was wild to see.

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Overall, this was the BEST trip we’ve ever been on. Costa Rica is amazing and we were blessed to share these experiences with our family. Now, on to Daytona!

XO,

Whit

Cheers to us: YEAR ONE

One year down… Forever to go

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Today is DECEMBER 9th. Exactly one year ago I said ‘I do’ to my baby boo AD. I didn’t know what to get him so here is a gift from the heart.

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Life is crazy and time flies. Y’all, it’s been a whole year since we got married! Where does the time go?

In the past year, our beautiful niece was born. We won the Daytona 500 and began filming Racing Wives with CMT.

In honor of our one year, I made AD do a photoshoot in the desert so shoutout to the best husband but also shoutout to the best wife because now I have to go hunting. LOL.

Photography by: @kygirlphoto

Photography by: @kygirlphoto

We found out real quick that a happy marriage involves doing things that makes the other one happiest. I don’t like the quote happy wife, happy life. We’re a team. I like to think its happy couple, happy life.

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Marriage is the most beautiful thing in the world but it isn’t easy. It’s something you have to work at constantly. At the end of the day, were a team. If I fall short, so does he and vice versa. I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.

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HAPPY ONE YEAR to my world! You challenge me. You drive me crazy and you always make me better. Your drive and ambition is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Your heart is pure and you genuinely love me so hard. I love you with every ounce of my being! I can’t wait to see where God takes us next.

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We know that marriage isn’t always skittles and rainbows but perfection is boring. It’s about what we overcome that makes life worthwhile. We struggle, we win, we lose, we conquer, we fail, but throughout it all, we overcome. You are my angel and I love you more than life.

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Like I always say, it’s about the person who will be sitting on the front porch with you at 90 years old thinking you’re the best decision they ever made.

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Cheers to the next 50! LETS DO THIS THANG!

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All my love,

Whit Whit

Mariel's Bridal Shower

Celebrating the Future Mrs. Swan

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We showered the Future Mrs. Swan with lots of love last weekend. I would have never moved here without Mariel so this was a true celebration of so many things!

Sometimes God sends people into your life to elevate you and Mariel is that person for me. She is my God-given sister. 

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Our lives changed FOREVER when we became best friends and roommates. We knew we would conquer the world together. And amongst that, God sent us our husbands. We met the boys July 11, 2015. It will be 3 years in a month and I just sit at awe at what all God has done.

Venue:

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Mariel's shower was at Childress Vineyards.

Food:

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I immediately knew we had to have pancakes. Pancakes are Mariel's absolute favorite food in the world. So we went with a brunch menu. We served mini pancakes, fruit, and bacon on a pretty little stick. We also had a biscuit bar and a bagel bar to complete the brunch menu.

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Dessert Table:

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This one had to be a show stopper. There was a 3 tier cake in the center with cake pops, swan cookies, and other desserts around it.

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The Cake was everything. We added fresh flowers to give it a little something extra and a glittery "Future Mrs. Swan" cake topper on top. We elevated the cake with a tall cake stand.

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There were also mini donuts, heart shaped rice krispy treats, and mini cupcakes. All of these are Mariel's favorite sweets.

Drinks:

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When the guest arrived they were handed a glass of champagne with cotton candy sprinkled in the champagne. I don't think anyone loves cotton candy as much as she does so this was a must.

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We also had a mimosas bar, lemonade, and a water station with fruit infused water.

Party Favors:

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Party favors were wine and bath bombs so that her guest could have a relaxing night.

Love is in the details

Welcome Sign:

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When you first walked up to the vineyard, there was a gold plated mirror that said Welcome to Mariel's Bridal Shower. I had a girly one inside when the guest were greeted.

Fresh Flowers:

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Flowers can really make a venue come to life. The vineyard supplies farm wood tables so I ordered a lot of greenery and placed it down the center. I added white hydrangeas along the greenery to set it off. It was gorgeous!

Flowers can be EXPENSIVE! But bargain shopping is my speciality. I got a quote from a florist and they quoted me $10,000. (LOL). My mom told me that you could order flowers in bulk from Costco and Sam's Club! BEST IDEA EVER! I highly suggest this for Engagement parties, Bridal showers, and weddings. You get so much bang for your buck. Tiffany and I set out all the flowers ourselves and it only took a few hours.

Dramatic Backdrop: 

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One of the most important parts of a Bridal Shower is the backdrop for the bride to open her gifts. This will be photographed the most during the shower and once she's done opening gifts you can use it as a photo backdrop. I used this to make it extra special:

1. A grand chair for the Bride to sit in

2. Balloons around the frame of the backdrop

3. A board with "Future Mrs. Swan" on the front

Gold Balloons:

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Balloons are something that I'm really obsessed with. We used the gold letter balloons for The Bff Blog campaign and those are some of our favorite photos. This is a really cool and cheaper way to decorate a big space. I bought all the balloons off of Amazon.com. The biggest I could find were 42" balloons and they turned out perfect.

Chairs:

I rented gold chairs to make the room pop. The chairs were everything! It brought everything together.

Draping/Up Lighting:

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I had the sides of the room draped and up lighting added in the room to brighten it up. This is necessary for darker rooms.

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The countdown for The Swan's begins!!!!

XO

Whit

AD's 28th Birthday Party

Tips and Tricks on Party Planning

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Before I was married to Austin, I was an Executive Assistant and a big part of my job was entertaining and party planning. I've always loved throwing parties and especially Austin's birthday. He does so much for everyone else so it's nice to do something for him. 

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A few years ago, the CEO of DOW Chemical gave us some advice that I'll never forget. He told us to never let a birthday go unnoticed. He said always do it big for both of our birthdays. He gave us several other life tips but this really stuck with me. I think of adults and how they do so much for everyone else especially with kids so we made a promise to each other that we'll always celebrate no matter what.

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Party Planning Check List:

1. Venue: Book where you're going to have the party

2. Theme: Pick a theme. Pinterest is a great place for ideas

3. Food: Figure out food that goes with the theme

4. Cake: Find a good bakery and put your order in early

5. Party Decorations: I like a 'one stop shop' so Party City is always my go to

6. Invites: Make sure you get the word out two week prior - I always have AD's friends pass it around the race shop 

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TIPS:

1. Balloons make any event look over the top. Party City has so many choices just make sure you get double of everything. Two is better than one

2. It's better to get too many decorations than too little. More is better in party planning

3. A two-tier cake makes for a great center piece

4. Go easy on the food - stick with something you can order in

5. Don't forget the candles!

6. Don't forget the cake in the fridge

7. Have someone take photos for you. It makes things easier on you

8. The same thing goes for videos. Always get it on video!

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Austin's party was Luau themed. We did it at our pool and I rented a blow up slide. I did this two years ago and the slide was a huge hit. The slide is as tall as the barn. LOL. I kept it simple with food and just had pizza, chips, and cookies. I usually forget something every year and this year I forgot the cake. UGH! It was such a cute cake too. We were having such a good time I just completely forgot it in the fridge. 

We always like to dress the part so I bought Hawaiian leis for everyone to wear. Austin had a special leis since he was the birthday boy. And of course me and Mariel took it to a whole another level.

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The best thing about birthdays is that it brings everyone together. We all have busy schedules and our own lives but when you celebrate someone who has lived another year on this earth, it's just special. Thank you to all our friends and family who came to celebrate AD! We love Y'all.

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Cheers,

Whit + Mariel 

Brows: Microblading

Microblading Tips

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Microblading is one of the best beauty tips I can give anyone who needs help with their brows. Coming from someone who used to have horrible brows, I've done my research. Here's everything  I can tell you about Microblading.

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TIPS:

1. Do your research and make sure you see pictures BEFORE you trust them with your face

2. Double check their price before you make an appointment. Some people will charge more if you don't ask before you book the appointment

3. MAKE SURE THEY USE NUMBING CREAM - if they don't offer it, get up and leave because it is necessary for you to be numb during this process

4. Don't overpay for poor service - Research, research, research!!!

5. Follow all of the directions for your after care. This is the most important part

6. Every professional has a different style of microblading. Make sure you love ALL of their brows that they display on their social media.

5. Find a professional who draws consistent, symmetrical, and clean brows

Down time?

Day 1: You will love them. Coloring will be dark but understand that will fade

Day 2: They will look extra dark

Day 5-10: Your brows may/may not peel a little bit

Day 10: Brows may look lighter. Depending if you peeled or not

Day 10-14: Brows will be perfection

 

Kess' Sleeping Beauty

Holly at Kess' Sleeping Beauty

Holly at Kess' Sleeping Beauty

I researched for months and months for the perfect microblading professional in the Charlotte area. HANDS DOWN, the best person I found was Holly from Kess' Sleeping Beauty. She is absolutely phenomenal. She has the BEST service I've ever received and draws the prettiest brow stroke.

The prices are even better. She charges $450 for microblading and most charge around $600. This last up to one year. She also does permanent makeup. I didn't try any of that but I can tell you that you will be thrilled with her brow service.

If you are around the Charlotte area, check out her work on instagram. She has people who travel all over to see her. Tell her Whitney sent you if you go!

Cheers,

Whit + Mariel

Instagram: @Kess_Sleeping_Beauty

Website: www.kesssleepingbeauty.com 

 

Sleeping Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks


1. Essential Oils - Major key! Lavender will put you to sleep within 30 minutes. The oils relax the body and soothes the soul.


2. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps and caffeine, especially in the afternoon - Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can't fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.


3. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends - This helps to regulate your body's clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. 

4. Evaluate your room - Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool –  between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner's sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, "white noise" machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.


5. Exercise daily - Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.


6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and  pillows - Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of  allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up.

Cheers,

Whit + Mariel 

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Wedding Dress Shopping in NYC

Mariel said YES to the dress

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In the blink of an eye I felt like I was engaged and here Whit and I were again, in New York, searching for the perfect dress. I must say God continues to amaze me more and more with this entire wedding planning process.

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Everything about our trip to New York was amazing. I had my mom (Victoria Lane), my future mom (Maribeth De' Braal), and of course my bff (Whitney Dillon) right by my side to find the dress I will wear on one of the biggest days of my life.

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After going through the process once before with my bff, Whit and I felt like we were NY pros, on finding the perfect dress. I used all the tips Whit suggested and we learned even more going the second time around.

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Wedding Tips      

1. Have a game plan! Make sure you schedule appointments with your favorite stores, boutiques and designers. Know their policies and what time they a lot appointments.

2. Research before hand your favorite types of dresses so you have an idea before you start trying on. There’s so many different types of dresses so it can be overwhelming if you haven’t done any research on the type of dress you like. 

3. Take in every moment of the experience. Bond with the people around you and focus on all the love surrounding you. Don’t stress yourself out over the things you can’t control. 

6. Whitney couldn't have stressed this more.. Don't Tell! Once you've found your dream gown, delete the evidence off your phone. Don't give any details so everyone can be surprised. The dress is a statement and you can't make one if everyone knows. The style, material, brand, and price is 100% confidential. 

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The best part of searching for my wedding gown was the process of sharing it with the people closest to me, and seeing the looks on their faces. It gave me, my mom, my future mom, and maid of honor a chance to bond on a deeper level.

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I know for a fact after this weekend we are all closer. Its important that you, your maid of honor,  mom and mother in law create a bond because you will all work very closely together in helping you prepare for your big day. After this weekend I felt an overwhelming feeling of blessed to have so much love around me.

Good luck to all my brides searching for the perfect gown!

Cheers,

The Future Mrs. Swan

Daytona 500 Champions

Daytona 500 was Faith in the Flesh

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It was Jesus! I know this sounds crazy but the Lord spoke to us before the race and told us AD was going to win. The Lord works in perfect timing. It may be hard to understand His plan before but you must trust that He is in complete control going before us turning our no's into yes's, opening our shut doors, and paving ways out of no ways.

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Austin winning the Daytona 500 was so much bigger than him, than us, than Nascar, it was about God.

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The 3 team are the Daytona 500 CHAMPIONS. We made history. We saw history being made right before our very own eyes. 

Austin Dillon with Dale Earnhardt / Daytona 500 / 1998 

Austin Dillon with Dale Earnhardt / Daytona 500 / 1998 

So let this sink in. 20 years ago, my husband, Austin Dillon, was in victory lane with Dale Earnhardt. This year was the 60th anniversary of the Daytona 500. It was an extremely special year to win and especially with the 3 car. The history behind Austin, Richard Childress, Dale and the 3 car is so special. This win was like a story book ending.

Austin Dillon in Victory Lane / Daytona 500 / 2018

Austin Dillon in Victory Lane / Daytona 500 / 2018

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Bubba Wallace finished P2, right behind AD. He’s the first African-American to finish that high in the Daytona 500. On top of that, Derrell Edwards, was the first African-American over-the-wall pit crew member to win the Daytona 500 last weekend. History was made in so many different ways. Thank you Jesus!!!!!

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3 team crew / 3team1dream

3 team crew / 3team1dream

We all knew this year was going to be special. 2018 is the year of greatness. 2018 is the year of increase. 2018 is the year of the woman!

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Our family / Whitney, Austin, and Gucci Girl Dillon 

Our family / Whitney, Austin, and Gucci Girl Dillon 

Austin and I recently were married on December 9th, 2017. I’ve been praying for the number 3 team since I started dating Austin a little over 2 years ago. I knew amazing, unreal, incredible things were coming our way the moment we said I do. There is so much power and value in knowing that God brought us together for a bigger purpose and for a bigger reason. We’re here for more than just winning races. We were joint together by God to change the world with love. I also believe that the entire 3 team was brought together for a bigger purpose.  

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Austin Dillon / Crew Chief, Justin Alexander

Austin Dillon / Crew Chief, Justin Alexander

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Listen, this is the year of saints! Mariel’s mama told us this was the year of Greatness and if we walked by Faith and not by sight, the unbelievable would happen. Many people don’t know that before Austin and I got married my biggest request was for him to be baptized. 

Pastor Ray (our Pastor who married us) baptized Austin, his dad Mike, and mom Mrs. Tina all before the wedding. It was such an emotional and powerful night at the barn. You can't tell me God does not reward His servants.

What’s even crazier about this win is that we were able to experience this as a family! Both Mariel and I’s biggest dream was for Paul to be on the number 3 team, and Paul made the number three team this year! We were able to all experience this victory together. Unbelievable.

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Rick Ward, Shawnee Ward, Austin Dillon, Whitney Dillon / 2018 / Pre Race Daytona 500

Rick Ward, Shawnee Ward, Austin Dillon, Whitney Dillon / 2018 / Pre Race Daytona 500

The day of the race

Before driver intros, we had a group of people praying over Austin in our bus. After the prayer, it was just AD and I in the bus and I told him that he was going to win on the last lap. I told him that it wasn't going to be pretty but remember Faith over Fear. My last words were walk by Faith, not by sight.

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Our first thought when he won?

JESUS! JESUS! JESUS! God demonstrated Faith to so many people that night. It was all about what FAITH can do. “Walk by Faith not by sight” is written on my vision board along with winning the Daytona 500. Both of these happened that night and so many witnessed it.

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Austin and Jackie (AD's PR)

Austin and Jackie (AD's PR)

Champions Media Week

The next day, we had a Champions breakfast where they presented the Daytona 500 Champions jackets. It was so cool to have the entire 3 team there for media. I love watching this team interact with each other. It's a brotherhood and these guys are all like family.

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Every team member signed the winning car (including me) which will stay in the museum for one full year.

Austin and I flew to NYC all week for more media. We are officially exhausted but the really good kind of exhausted. Here is a picture of AD on Live with Kelly and Ryan! So cool.

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What a week! I will never forget this moment or this feeling. I want to end with this... Walk by Faith, not by Sight! Be good to people and always do the right thing.

XO

Whit + Mariel

Just sit back and ride

Just sit back and ride

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Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Just sit back and ride... This is what my daddy would tell me growing up whenever I would ask, “Are we there yet?” “Where are we going?” “Will so and so be there?" It would never fail, my dad would say, “baby girl, just sit back and ride.” That’s one of the best lessons my daddy taught me, and didn’t even realize it. 

God is constantly trying to tell us the same thing. When we give our lives to God, that means trusting him to be the drivers in our lives. We must know and trust that he won’t take us anywhere that wasn’t in our overall best interest. God promises us in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Whit and I moved to North Carolina December 3rd, 2015. That is going on 3 years ago, we knew God was leading us there. Of course once we finally arrived we had our doubts and wanted to know all the details right then and there on why God lead us to North Carolina. We had the support of our families but we also had a lot of 'nah sayers' that thought it was the worst idea ever. But it was Gods Plan, not ours or anyone else’s.

Who would have thought three years ago our lives would unfold the way it did. Whit is married to the man of her dreams and I’m engaged to man of mine. We are next door neighbors and are all apart of Nascar. My fiancé is on Austin's team this year and I couldn’t have created a better scenario for our lives. We serve and intentional God y’all! 

Everything he does aligns with his promise. 

When God is driving, allow him. And always remember.. just sit back and ride.

XO

Whit + Mariel 

Miss North Carolina United States

Official Judges 

Thank you Johnathan Kayne for styling us this weekend. We are two of the official judges for the Miss North Carolina and Miss South Carolina United States pageant. Good luck to all the beautiful ladies competing for the title! We can't wait to meet you bright and early in the morning. Check out our instagram story for behind the scenes. XO!

Cheers,

Whit + Mariel 

My Best Friend's Wedding

The wedding first hand

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December 9, 2017 was one of the most amazing moments in my life. It was insane to see my best friends, Whitney, and AD, become one.

Weddings are so much bigger than many of us realize. It’s an oath you take before God. It’s a chance for us humans to get a glimpse of the love God has for us, through the love we are supposed to have for our spouses, which is unconditional.

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Unconditional love is the love that God has for us no matter what. His love remains patient, and kind. It does not boast, it is not proud, it does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.

Love Never Fails. (1 Corinthians 3:4-8)

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Being Whit Whit’s Maid of Honor was so much more than just standing next to her in a sparkly dress. I could see my best friend enter a different chapter in her life. To witness how far she’s come spiritually, and to see her dreams unfold into reality was one of the proudest moments of my life.

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Aside from this wedding being one of the most beautiful events I had ever attended, you could FEEL THE LOVE all around you. The room was filled with love everywhere you turned, and with people who were truly excited for the union of her and AD.

Austin and Whit are a true testament that real love does exist. Real love is worth waiting for. It may seem difficult during the time, but when you wait on who God has in store for you, it is incredible. It leaves you speechless.

Marriage is a God union, which means only God can orchestrate a successful marriage, where you experience the abundance that He has to offer you in your life. Something I thought that was so beautiful, was before Whit and AD got married, her biggest request was for him to get baptized. He did a couple of days before the wedding and it was such a beautiful and emotional moment. Their relationship is so much bigger than what is seen on pictures and on social media, it is a God union.

I asked Whit when she came back from her honeymoon, “Did she feel different?” Her response was, “Absolutely.” She felt in her soul that she was a brand-new person, and that a new person was born, Whitney Dillon. How awesome is that! And I got to witness it, right by her side. I am forever grateful. Congratulations Austin and Whitney Dillon! I love you two more than you will ever know.

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XoXo – Mariel , love you bunches!