St. Jude Runs | Mason City to Peoria 2019

The Mason City team did it again! They raised $136,000 for the kids of St. Jude during the 2019 fundraising campaign for this year’s run. We started out at Illini Central High School and left the parking lot promptly at 5:45am. The team runs down the main stretch of Mason City with the first stop being at the cemetery at the other edge of town. We always place flowers at our team captain Jessie’s grave and say a few words and quick prayer. Jessie was a St. Jude patient who lost her battle with cancer in 2010. Jessie’s mom Nancy and brother Zach coordinate the run, and let me tell you, it is a huge undertaking! The Mason City run has become a well-oiled machine and this year’s run went so smoothly. Can’t wait for next year!

#jessiesteam #10yearsandrunning #mcstjuderun

iHotel Renovation Photos | Urbana-Champaign Campus Hotel

I have had the pleasure of photographing many weddings at the iHotel in Champaign, but I was honored to have been asked to photograph their recent renovations as well! The furniture in the common areas gets rearranged on occasion, plus new carpet and curtains were added to the guest rooms. They also needed some updated images of the iCafe and Houlihan’s areas, the “green roof,” and the courtesy vehicles. I can’t wait to be back for another wedding, but it was especially fun to see a little of the behind-the-scenes of one of my favorite local hotels. And the staff at the iHotel can’t be beat — both on the guest services side and the conference side. Everyone is so welcoming, kind, and helpful. I’m happy to keep building on our great working relationship!

Tip Tuesday | Groomsmen Gift Ideas

We couldn’t leave the guys out, now could we? As a follow-up to my previous post featuring Bridesmaid Gift Ideas, I wanted to throw out a few ideas for the groomsmen in your party as well!

1) I love the gift of alcohol-related items — flasks, custom engraved beer mugs, and these sweet mounted bottle opener bar blades that can be customized. I had this one made for my husband with a phrase from one of his buddies:


Groovy Groomsmen Gifts is where I found this one and they have a TON of great ideas, plus many of the items can be personalized for each of your groomsmen.

2) I also like things that can be worn on the wedding day, and then also worn again for work or other events: socks, ties, handkerchiefs, wallets, pocket squares, etc.


3) Meaningful gifts are always a hit too, like these custom cufflinks. You can gift each groomsmen with something representing their favorite team or sport. These Chicago Bulls cufflinks are a great example and can be purchased for any pro sports teams. And the custom baseball cufflinks are made from real game-used baseballs and repurposed into something that can be used again and again for a lifetime. What a special memento to remember your day! There are a bunch of great personalized cufflinks (non-sports related) on the groomsmen gift site here.

I hope this post gets your wheels spinning and helps you find the perfect gifts that will be the perfect way to say thank you to your best guys for standing up with you on your wedding day!

(This is a sponsored post. The product was provided to me in exchange for my review.)