Friday, January 8, 2016


Disclaimer: I will start this post by saying, I am not yet a parent. (unless you count our furbaby, Jasper) So this is solely coming from my background in child development and the daily interactions with my students. As well as from a daughter’s point of view.

Whether we want to admit it or not, to the shrink or to ourselves, our childhood molds us into the adults we are today. Our parents are artists really. Artists that can change the way we are built depending on whether they build us up or break us down. As I study my students and get to know their families, I quickly realize that my parents are godsend. The Lord truly chose the best people in the world to raise such a strong, sassy, rebellious daughter. Seriously, if there were limits I pushed them...and still do.

There are times in our life, mostly the ages of 13-21, when we fight with our parents. We think they are lame for setting curfews or silly for making us wear matching sweaters for Christmas cards. Our ridiculous teenage brains tell us that they are here to ruin our crazy little worlds. But in reality, all of the above are ways they show they care. I have come to realize over the years that every situation I have ever come across my parents had a lesson for me. They always helped me through it, but they taught me something. The experience taught me something.

Moving? They were there. New routine? They helped me practice. Spelling test? Studying with me. Boyfriend problems? Always there to talk. Prom dress? Pros and cons list for every dress. Car wreck? On the scene. Simply having a bad day? Full of jokes to cheer me up. Wedding planning? Every meeting. Wedding day? Hugs and smiles. As I see it, my parents have been there for me for EVERYTHING. I am so thankful and blessed to call them parents, mentors, counselors and friends. Best friends. Without them, I do not know where I would be.

Many of you are thinking I must have the perfect nuclear family, but I do not. My parents got divorced when I was 12. My mom and I moved into a condo across town from my Dad. My childhood was not easy by any means, but I can honestly say without the guidance and love of my parents I would not be the successful woman I am today.

So then what is a parent? By definition a parent is a caretaker of the offspring in their own species. But I think we all form our own definition based on our experiences. My heart breaks for my students that have rough home lives. (Some of them you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.) It’s very difficult to build up a child’s confidence when all they have ever experienced is verbal abuse telling them how inadequate they are. Sometimes all they need to hear is that they are special. That someone cares. That they are loved. After all, isn’t that what we all need?

This post isn’t meant to brag on my amazing life or parade the benefits of having both parents around. I have many friends that are very successful and grew up with only one parent. Some of y’all raised yourself with no parents. The point of this post is to recognize that it takes something special to be parent. A person who is going to love and care for you. Who will celebrate, mourn and rejoice with you. Parents are special. If you have them in your life, tell them how much you love and appreciate them.

To my Mom and Dad: Thank you. Thank you for loving me, even when I know it was hard to. Thank you for caring about me enough to set boundaries. Thank you for always encouraging me to go after my dreams. Y’all are my rock and I love you both very much.

mrs. r

p.s.- a post about my stepfather is coming soon

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cheers to 2016!

I have always been a goal setter. I think we all need something to work towards. I will admittingly tell you that most of my goals are typically fitness related. But I’m trying to change that. I strongly believe there comes a time (or times) in our life when we need change. Something to shake it up a bit, if you will. So, my goal this year is to be happy. I know, I know I’m unique. But seriously, I plan to intentionally do things to make myself happier.

Often times what keeps us from truly being happy are habits we don't realized we have formed. That is until we actually start to examine our emotions. With an overall goal of being happy, I clearly need specific things to work on. These goals are very honest, with both myself and y’all. Happiness is defined as a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Finding what is preventing you from being full of “pleasant emotions” can be a rough road to travel. But it is necessary. If you are offended by them, oh well. If you think I’m being harsh, walk a mile in my shoes. If you wanna talk about them, call me. This is not to say that these goals are by any means groundbreaking or outlandish, but sometimes the truth hurts.

Stop Overreaching for People
Yikes! That headline sounds crazy, right? But it is true. One of the silliest things that upsets me the most on a daily basis is constantly reaching out to people and not getting a response back. Or the only time we communicate is when I initiate it. This does not mean I am going to stop calling everyone I know and love just because they aren’t texters, callers or emailers; but it does mean that I am going to try my very best to let it go. This may sound harsh to some of you, but many of you know exactly what that feels like. This year I will stop overreaching for people. When they want to catch up, they will call. Or text. Or email. Or facebook. Or whatever form of communication people want to try these days. (Insert clip of Drew Barrymore in He’s Just Not That Into You walking down the drugstore aisle.) Whatever this ends up looking like, I have to remember my ultimate goal for 2016: Be Happy. If I have something to tell someone, I will call them. Otherwise, I cannot continue reaching out to find no response. This is something that takes away from my happiness. Although it may seem little, we all know the little things add up.

Take Time for Nothing
Dolce Far Niente- the sweetness of doing nothing. As the offspring of two event planners and the colored sharpie queen of Kentucky, I can honestly say that I have to fill out five calendars every month. These include desk calendars at two schools, the joint calendar on our refrigerator, an online calendar for family and most importantly my personal Lilly Pulitzer agenda. The fact that there are that many to enter, with color coordinating entries, isn’t the issue. It’s the ridiculous amount of plans we have every week/weekend. Now let me be clear; I completely understand that EVERYONE is busy. But I tend to plan something for every waking moment, just because I can. We love to travel, our families both live out of town and in reality I just love planning things. I enjoy every aspect of planning dinners, trips, girls nights, etc. The problem arises when I have (and really my husband too) no time for ourselves. It ends up stressing me out. We have no time to clean. No time to relax. No time to do nothing. Which brings me back to my favorite line from one of my favorite movies, Dolce Far Niente- the sweetness of doing nothing. It’s Italian so we all know I’m already obsessed. It talks about the pure joy of doing nothing and how we don’t know how to do this. It is true, it takes effort for me to actually unplug and relax my brain. So this year I am intentionally planning time to do nothing. I intend to fall in love with dolce far niente.

Visit Three New Places
I love to travel. I love experiencing new places, food, people, culture, all of it. I married a sweet country boy that didn’t have the most extensive passport when we met. One of the coolest things about being with him is experiencing and discovering new places together. Traveling makes me happy and adventures to new places with my husband make me really happy. I chose three because one of our joint goals is paying off some things and I want to make sure that I have a realistic goal for traveling. I also just mentioned that I would plan less and I will be working on a balance between the two. (The first new place is a trip we are taking for his birthday, this weekend! More to come.)

Explore Mammoth Cave
Although this could go under the previous goal, I have actually been to Mammoth Cave. If you are not familiar, this cave is located here in Kentucky and has over 3,000 miles of underground passageways. Mammoth Cave is the longest recorded cave system in the world and right in our backyard! When I was a kid, my mom and I flew into Louisville and toured the cave as part of a fun summer getaway. It was interesting then, but I think I would appreciate the beauty of it more now. Although I am not usually one for an adrenaline rush, I always feel accomplished after experiencing something so exciting. Who knows, we might even camp while we are there! (Gasp! Crazy.)

Junior League
Saving this for last was intentional, mostly because this will be the most accomplished goal when I reach it. If you are unfamiliar with Junior League, please take the time to read about what a wonderful organization it is. I researched the league in my area when I first moved to Kentucky but I was too far from the Lexington chapter. Then I started my provisional year in January of 2014, but couldn’t complete it because of time constraints with our wedding. 2016 is finally going to be my provisional year! (Happy dance) I am anxiously awaiting my fireside chat on January 17th where I will meet all of the other new provisional members. This will be an amazing opportunity to surround myself with other strong, successful, poised women. The volunteering opportunities with Junior League are endless, which is one of the biggest draws for me. Giving back to a community that has helped mold me into the woman I am today would be a very heartwarming experience. I look forward to the events already planned for 2016 and my future with the league. This is a goal for 2016 because I want to truly absorb everything it has to offer, as well as utilize my talents and strengths to enrich our community of women. My Junior League goal is to give back, soak it all in and learn as much as I can from the plethora of leaders within the organization.

That about covers it. Cheers to 2016 and all that it has to offer! May we all be happy and healthy. Here’s to doing nothing, to traveling, to being content, to new adventures and most of all to relationships. Our relationship with God, family and friends.

Cheers to you!

mrs. r

Friday, March 6, 2015

Wedding Vendor: The Garter

I think we can all agree that my favorite expression is "it's all about the experience." Clearly everything for our wedding was an extension of this phrase and what an experience it was. I have planned hundreds of events with my parents for our family business. Which means I have seen hundreds of garters, whether I wanted to or not. (awkward smile)

As I began thinking about our wedding I originally thought I wanted a Florida Gator garter, but my Kentucky Wildcats husband wasn't going to agree to that one. My beautiful friend Marissa MacLeod, owner of Arlynn Couture, came to my mind like a palm to the forehead. She mentioned wanting to make my garter and I couldn't think of a person that I would rather have create such a special piece for our big day! 

MarBear and I met back in May of 2009 while working together at Solutions Bridal Designer House in Gainesville, Florida. She has since continued her career in the event industry and is now a Senior Stylist and Brand Developer at Solutions Bridal in Orlando, Florida. 

She also happens to be one of the craftiest people I know and has turned that amazing talent into a business.  That business is called Arlynn Couture, specializing in couture bridal garters. 

As Marissa puts it,
"I believe that a garter shouldn’t be just something that just gets tossed away as a party gimmick. I think it should be a beautiful accessory that adds to the entire bridal look, just as a gorgeous veil or piece of jewelry would be. Arlynn Garters are made of only the best bridal quality materials. This includes Chantilly and Alencon Lace, Silk Satin, Tulle, Glass Pearls and Swarovski Crystal, among other materials. Many garters also use recycled vintage jewelry pieces found at local antique stores, making them one of a kind."

Now, let's see the beautiful piece of artwork that I now have the honor of passing down as an heirloom to my daughter. Every aspect of this piece was perfectly handmade for me with love by one of my very best friends. Nothing can beat that. 

With many thanks to my beautiful friend, Marissa MacLeod. 

mrs. r

Perfect Paleo Pancake

I must begin this post by dedicating it to George over at Civilized Caveman

I started eating Paleo back in September of 2011. The Paleo way of life goes against every American societal norm. By now, I think most people have heard of it or even tried it themselves. 

In case you live under a rock generally don't follow health trends here is the Paleo breakdown:

- lean meats
- fish/seafood
- fresh fruits and veggies
- healthful oils 
- nuts and seeds 

Stay away from: 
- artificial sweetener 
- grains
- dairy
- white potatoes
- refined sugar
- processed foods
- refined vegetable oil
- salt
- legumes (including peanuts)

The hardest part, as I'm sure most of you can imagine, is creating a variety of flavorful meals without using the ingredients I was taught to cook with. (i.e. butter, milk, sugar, etc)

I have been at points in life where I was VERY strict with my Paleo rules and other points where the pizza at a New York City brick oven hot spot was more temping than my self control. 

BUT, all in all I LOVE the Paleo lifestyle. I feel better when I eat this way. I perform better at workouts when I eat this way. I also fit into my pants better when I eat this way and who doesn't love that?

Now back to the main event and my dedication to George at Civilized Caveman. When I started Paleo he was still a small company with recipes on a blog that I couldn't get enough of. Three and a half years later he has a booming business with products, a website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I love seeing genuinely good people (and their hard work) PAY OFF! He is awesome and so is his gorgeous fiancĂ©. I spotted this recipe on his Insta a couple months ago and couldn't wait to try it! 

Paleo and Pancake are rarely used in the same sentence and IF I actually attempt most of these online recipes...I'm usually  always disappointed. This is the FIRST (out of far more than I would like to admit) Paleo Pancake recipe that I have actually enjoyed eating. 

Side note: My husband, who could not be any LESS Paleo, loved this recipe and told me it actually tasted just like "regular pancakes." Success! 

Without further ado here is the recipe, along with some pictures I snapped of my brunch today. 

Civilized Caveman Pancakes
Yields 5-6 Medium Pancakes

-       3 Large Eggs
-       ½ cup + 3 Tbsp Almond or Coconut Milk (Full Fat)
-       1 Tbsp Organic Honey
-       ½ Tbsp Lemon Juice
-       1 tsp Vanilla
-       ½  Cup Coconut Flour
-       ½ Cup Tapioca Flour
-       ½ tsp Baking Powder
-       ½ tsp Baking Soda
-       Pinch of Fine Grain Sea Salt
-       Coconut Oil for Skillet
-       ½ Blueberries or EnjoyLife Chips


 In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the almond milk, honey, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut flour and tapioca flour, then add the wet ingredients ¼ cup a time, while continuously whisking. Lastly, mix in the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Grease a large skillet with coconut oil and place over low-medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, use a ladle to pour 3-inch pancakes into the pan. Once holes begin to appear on the surface of the pancake, drop a small handful of blueberries or chocolate chips onto it and flip. The pancake should cook approx. 3-4 minutes on each side. Repeat with the rest of the batter. 

Top with coconut butter or organic maple syrup.

Enjoy this wonderful Paleo treat and be sure to check out Civilized Caveman!

mrs. r

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Share the Love...

Valentine's Day has been a transformed holiday for me. I used to dress in all black (I believe I've mentioned this in previous posts) and celebrate with my girlfriends by overindulging in libations. When I met Jason it was just after Valentine's Day 2012, so our first Valentine's was just shy of a year dating. When asked where I wanted to go the answer was easy, one of my favorites, BONEFISH GRILL! (insert yummmm sound) That was 2013 so for 2014 we decided on the same. Traditions are kind of a big deal for me and this one included Bang Bang Shrimp...I'm in!

(Our first Valentine's Day)

(Our only engaged Valentine's Day )

This year I was just finishing up an Advocare 24 Day Challenge and ready to indulge a little. (Don't judge me!) We booked our reservations and I began dreaming of Bang Bang Shrimp and multiple glasses of wine. If you have ever worked in the restaurant industry, or even visited a restaurant on a holiday, you know very well how these reservations work. It is more of a "suggested" seating time. Our reservation was for 7pm and around 7:30 they called our name. J noticed an elderly couple that arrive before us had not been seated, but we were being escorted to our table. (I rewrote that scenario three times, hopefully it makes sense) At first, we didn't think much of it but then I overheard the man say they had been there since 6:45. We sat down, ordered my dreamy glass of wine and I asked J if they were still standing there. He confirmed and I felt the Lord nudge me to invite them to sit with us. It just so happened that they sat us at a table with four chairs, sometimes God couldn't send a message more clearly unless he face palmed my forehead. I looked at J and we both agreed to invite them to eat with us...share the love.

God is so good. He knows when we need something, even when we NEVER imagined it to happen. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner talking and laughing with this couple. The woman was a teacher and the man was a lawyer, both are retired now. Needless to say we had plenty to talk about. They said the last time someone randomly asked them to enjoy dinner with them was in 1970 in Hilton Head, SC. (They still talk to that couple today!) When we finished our meal we were ready to pay for ours with sweet gift cards we received for Christmas, but to our surprise this generous man insisted on taking care of all of it. (Bang bang and glasses of wine included!) J and I were blown away by his giving heart and blessed by an enjoyable evening of good food and great company. 

No pictures. 
My phone was in my purse during the entire dinner, just the way it should be. 
Sometimes the best memories aren't on a camera roll. 

I titled this post, 'Share the Love' because we need to do just that. If you can make someone smile, do it. If you can reach out and make someones day better, do it. Whether you are sharing the love with your husband, fiancĂ©, boyfriend, best friend, brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, cousin, coworker, hair dresser, mailman/woman or a complete it. A smile, an invitation, a hug, a note of love, anything. In a world of murder, hatred and terror, we need more smiles. More coffee dates. More hand written notes. More random acts of kindness. More random Valentine's dinners with strangers. More love. 

mrs. r 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Best Night Of My Life...

Good morning y'all! It has been 8 months, almost to the day, since I last blogged. Planning a wedding, moving into our first house, bridal showers, bachelorette, starting two new jobs and now being a wife has kept me a little busy. (BUT) I miss blogging!

This post is literally going to be ALL of my favorite pictures from our wedding. I have to brag on our photographers because not only are they are awesome friends of ours but they also traveled all the way from Nashville, TN to shoot our wedding in Naples, FL. They are an awesome husband/wife team that captured every precious moment of our big day. If you need a photographer for ANYTHING, contact them...
Here is their site, check them out!

Our wedding week, rehearsal, bridal sleepover, wedding day and wedding night were all straight out of a fairytale. Our friends and family traveled from near and far to celebrate our joyous day of marriage. We were (and still are) blown away by the love and generosity of our loved ones. 

My Mom, Dad and Les worked day and night to make this everything I have ever dreamed. I will forever be in debt to them for making all of my wedding dreams, a reality. There is something to be said for parents who will literally spend more time on your wedding details than you could even contribute. I am eternally thankful for parents that care about making moments into memories with me. (And now J too!) Planning a wedding from 4 states away made this process even more difficult. But with the help of my parents and our vendor friends we pulled it off without a hitch. 

My next few posts will be highlighting some of our AMAZING vendors and all of the beautiful details that went into making this weekend such a dream come true. 

After all, it's all about the experience. 

(for the first time on SSS) 
Mrs. Lauren Elizabeth Ritter