glorious impulsiveness

I am impulsive. Very, very impulsive. Thankfully, I have yet to make a negative, life-altering decision based solely on an impulse, but most (if not all) of my decisions are impulsive. Here’s a prime example: A few months ago I wanted a car so I drove to the car dealership and drove off the lot with the first (and only) car I looked at. In my defense, I did negotiate the price and was happy with what I ended up paying, but by no means did I do any research or give this pretty important decision much thought.

I attribute much of my impulsiveness to my sanguine temperament. If you don’t know much about temperaments, I suggest taking a look at this wikipedia article. Don’t look too much into it, I can’t guarantee that it’s all right, but it does a decent job of explaining the four temperaments briefly. You can thank me later for the wikipedia lesson. While most people are predominately one personality type with traces of the other three, I could almost bet my life that if there was some blood test to prove it, I would be 99.9999% sanguine. Here’s a few of the many sanguine characteristics: bubbly personality, better talker than listener, IMPULSIVE, expressive, spontaneous, touchy-feely… the list goes on & on. I could quite literally be a case study for anyone looking for a better explanation of what a sanguine person looks like. Some famous examples are Bill Clinton, Robin Williams, Kelly Ripa, and Richard Simmons. None of whom I’m absolutely dying to be like when I grow up. They do say that Peter, ‘upon this rock I will build my church’ Peter, was also sanguine. Example A- Peter assured Jesus that he was ready to die for Him, only to deny him a few hours later. And still, Jesus made him the first pope. So obviously us sanguines have something to bring to the table. Which was why I started to write this post in the first place. This is how God made me, in all my glorious impulsiveness. Most of the time I can only think of the negative traits of my sanguine personally; like not being able to complete a task before getting totally swept away by another fleeting thought or idea or getting bored when I’m alone. So this week, I’m going to focus on finding the positives of this crazy personally God gave me. Like, the part of me that is so spontaneous and loves to just go with the flow. Or the part of me that is quick to forgive and forget; this part of me makes friendships and relationships much easier!

In all honestly, I love being impulsive! I love being able to make a decision without having to take forever to think about it. I also love my less impulsive friends (ahem, Liz), for begin able to walk me through my own jumbled, crazy thoughts.

(and as always, I’m looking for His will in my impulsiveness)

xo, Melanie Elizabeth

things that bring me joy | nanny life

I absolutely love being a nanny, and I am extremely blessed to work for such an incredible family! Everyday I learn something new about “motherhood”  and myself. Here are just a few things that bring me joy:

– when I turn around in the car and find all the kids asleep
– an empty park, where the kids can do whatever they want and I don’t have to worry about them bothering anyone
– an older sibling to sit in the car with the kids while I run quickly into the store (as opposed to dragging all 7 in with me)
– a perfect summer day, where it’s warm enough to play outside, and not too hot where the kids refuse to go out
– 5 quiet minutes when all the kids have found something to distract themselves with
– a quick hug/kiss/snuggle with a sleepy toddler
– after a long day, when a meal just comes together… And everyone likes it
– Disney Jr. mornings
– when everyone gets ready and we’re out the door in less than 30 minutes
– a day when the kids and I pick up the house AND keep it clean until mom & dad get home
– becoming part of the family
– first steps and first words
– when the kids all play nicely together
– sharing in proud moments: a good report card, placing in science fair, or an awesome test score

and those are only a few that I can think of right now. Somedays (mostly tuesdays ;)) I have a few moments when I have to lock myself in the bathroom just for a second or two, but I honestly could not be happier, or luckier, to be able to call these sweet kiddos, and their parents, my family!

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(six of the seven with me during our trip to Disney World last summer! and no, I did not take them by myself… I’m not that crazy.)

best day ever | #bradandgeena

There are actually no words to describe how incredible Brad & Geena’s wedding was… Actually, how perfect & perfectly crazy the whole week was.

~pre wedding~

Let’s start at the very beginning. I took one of the first flights out of Midway on Monday morning to Baltimore and Mrs. Cooley picked me up. The wedding craziness began then! We ran errands, did lots of DIY projects, per Geena’s request, and had lots of wine, per Alex’s & my request! We kept joking that we were going to change the official hashtag from #bradandgeena to #melandmichelle because sweet Geena had to work all the way up till Wednesday so we had to make a lot of decisions with out her approval (luckily we know her very well and she loved everything)!! Mrs. Cooley, Alex, and I had a lot of fun staying up way too late doing wedding things! Alex’s wonderful boyfriend, Jake, even came in from NY to join the wedding fun and hand wrote all 150 place cards. My mom drove in on Thursday and got to join in on all the pre-wedding fun (and DIY)! I’m so, so happy she got to be a part of this special time!

I finally got to meet the WHOLE Harrington family and I love every single one of them, sister-in-laws too! They are the sweetest, most loving family and I’m just going to pretend I get to call them my new family also! The Cooleys & Harringtons mix perfectly and all the kids have new best friends! Saying goodbye to both families was really hard!

~rehearsal and dinner~

Mrs. Harrington threw the rehearsal dinner at the house they rented in Annapolis and the food was fantastic. That woman is awesome. Not only does she have 12 kids, she made TWO beautiful wedding cakes, and cooked a rehearsal dinner for almost 100 people. And she’s the sweetest lady! I now know why Brad is so nice; his parents are amazing!

After dinner on Friday, Liz, Theresa, Alex & I went to reception site to make sure everything was set up! When we finally got home, there were a lot of last minute errands to run and things to do. We didn’t get into bed until 1am or later. It was really cool to spend the last night with Geena as a Cooley! Before going to bed that night, our dear family friend, Mary Maher, lead us in the most beautiful prayer and in the middle of that prayer Mr. Cooley walked downstairs and was able to finish that prayer with us. It was a really sweet moment as we listened to a father pray for his daughter as she was about to enter into the sacrament of marriage.

~wedding day~

Our morning began nice & early. Alex & I had to be in the chair to get our hair done by 6 am! Shortly after that all 14 bridesmaids and 3 flower girls were in & out of hair & makeup chairs and before we knew it, Geena was waking down the stairs in her dress! The Mass was so beautiful, Brad & Geena we’re glowing and never stopped smiling once!

Photos after Mass were a lot of fun! Our photographers, Kimmie & Andrew, were THE BEST! Seriously, they were the most easy-going, fun to work with, and talented people. And what’s even better is that they’re engaged! They were so cute together! I’m currently in the process of convincing Lauren to use them for her wedding next year!

The reception was perfect! It looked absolutely magical in the room. Alex gave her MOH toast which was so lovely and then Brad’s oldest brother & Best Man, Chris, gave his toast which was awesome, too! It was such a fun afternoon of Photo Booth picture taking and dance offs between little Cooleys & Harringtons. After the reception was over, a handful of Brad’s Cal Rugby friends as well as myself and a few of Geena’s other girlfriends sat around a fire with a few bottles of wine & champagne and took turns making toasts to the new Mr. & Mrs. Harrington! Thanks, Cullen, for representing G’s friends! Unfortunately, by the time it was our turn, the guys had already had most of us in tears and Cullen was the only one who could keep herself composed long enough to say a few words. In the Cooley house, we call that a positive focus circle, and it was one of the best ones yet!

We kissed the bride and groom goodbye and headed downtown to continue the celebrations at a few Annapolis bars! I ended my celebrating a little earlier because I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. I went to bed that night with THE BIGGEST smile on my face, because it truly was the best day ever.

~post wedding~

On Sunday morning, we got up and ran everyone back to their cars and houses. Theresa, Jake, and Alex caught a late train back to NY and the Cooleys and I went to Mass. After Mass, the Harringtons came over for one last get together. It was nice to just have an easy, no fuss dinner. I got to talk to Katrina (Brad & Geena’s beautiful sister-in-law) for a little and of course she had me in tears as she talked about how she knew Chris (her husband, obviously) was the one!

I flew home yesterday afternoon after a nice breakfast with the Cooleys and many, many hugs. While I am happy to be home, I am SO sad that this weekend is over! I’ve been waiting since February, when they got engaged… actually, I’ve been waiting since July 13, 2012, the day they met, for this day. And just like that, its over. I’m still on a wedding high and I’m hoping this lasts forever.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures, most of which I’ve already shared on Instagram or Facebook, and unfortunately I can claim very few as my own. Ms. Alex and Kimmie have the best photos so I’ve been stealing theirs.

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Bradley Harrington! Thank you for allowing me to be a witness to the incredible amount of love you have for each other and for including me in your best day ever. I love you both.

xx, a happy bridesmaid


let the countdown begin | geena’s bridal weekend

Two weeks late is better than never.

I love stepping off the plane at BWI and knowing I’m only a few minutes away from hopping into that big, tan Excursion and seeing my Cooley family. While my stay was short, it was busy. Nonstop busy. But so fun!

After stopping by the dress shop to see G in her dress for a fitting, (yes, there were tears. Momma Cooley and the little girls placed a bet that I would cry. They won.) all the Cooley girls and I packed up and headed to a hotel on the Eastern Shore, which was where G’s shower was on Saturday morning. The shower was perfect and so was the Bachelorette party, like absolutely 100% perfect.

(disclaimer: any pictures that look really good are shamelessly stolen from Alexandra)


(snuggles with little J & Geena)


(brownie ice-cream sundaes before bed)


(Jorgi & Molls feeding the ducks at the Bridal Shower)

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(perfect decorations & games)

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(Little J was the best model and Molly was an awesome designer & made of honor)


(a quick, silly iPad selfie)


(bachelorette attire was all bohemian//white)


(a little Veuve, a little Korbel, a little Andre…. champagne for any budget)


(of course, no night is complete without 3 large cheese pizzas)


(and LOTS of Fiji for the morning after)

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(post brunch at Chick & Ruth’s and on our way to Mass at St. Mary’s)


(I even managed to sneak in a few hugs & kisses to my godson, Izzy)


(and last but not least, Geena & I always take a picture at the airport before I leave… and they’re always terrible of me… so, this is just keeping with tradition I guess)

I think Alex put it best when she wrote, “a positive focus circle centered around geena and brad’s love, 3 large 1am pizza’s, 7 bottles of champagne, and a lot of laughs = best weekend ever”

And it really was the Best. Weekend. Only a few short weeks till we’re all back in Maryland for the wedding and I cannot wait!

xx, Melanie Elizabeth

a little v&v (virtue & veuve)


(I just thought this was pretty, irrelevant to this post, but pretty… and the truth.)

Sometimes blogging feels like a chore; like something I have to do. The first few months were easy, and the posts seemed to just come naturally but as the months went on my posts became a lot more “fluff”, as opposed to actual things that mattered or things that I was passionate about. After kicking myself over it for the past few weeks, I realized, this is why I started to blog. I want young woman to see that you can be *normal* and catholic. So while my posts may seem like “fluff” to me, I think God is working through me in those posts.

I get a lot of questions as to why I named my blog what I did, “Virtue & Veuve”… So here’s the quick answer. I like to think that I do a pretty good job of balancing and intertwining my catholic//religious//virtuous side with my twenty-something//fun-loving//veuve-drinking side. I want to remind people that you can be serious about your faith without being a pious you-know-what. (keeping my language g-rated for my younger audience. HA)

So stick with me, I’m still finding my voice in this blogging world.

xx, Melanie Elizabeth

feelin’ 23 | birthday post

Birthday celebrations at the Wood house are a weekend affair and I wouldn’t have it any other way! On friday evening, I went out with my two dear friends, Maggie & Katie. Then on saturday, my mom, dad, Rebecca, and I went to a mock opening of River Roast. They will be open to the public late July and I can’t wait to go back. Chef Tony Mantuano and Chef John Hogan created a brilliant concept that Zagat had listed on Chicago’s 10 Most Anticipated Summer Openings! It did not disappoint! (no that was not a sponsored post, but maybe they should consider hiring me ;))

I suggested that for today’s plans we just lay low. So we went to mass and then stopped in for a quick visit with my Great Uncle Archie who has been in the hospital for the past few weeks. After we returned home, my family cleaned the garage while I sipped on a bottle (one glass at a time) of Veuve. It’s kinda my thing, obviously. Birthday celebrations came to a lovely end with a homemade dinner by my sweet mama and yummy cupcakes. If the rest of twenty-three is anything like day one, I think I’m going to enjoy it :)


(this is just a glimpse of how beautiful and chic River Roast is)


(I am actually obsessed with their embroidered napkins- I am trying to order some for myself :))


 (my super cute birthday cupcakes)

I hope this week goes by quickly because I cannot wait to be in Maryland this weekend and celebrate Bradley & Geena with everyone! Happy Sunday! 

xx, Mel


a few of my favorite things

I feel like as women, we owe it to each other to share our favorite beauty items, techy things, or simply awesome products we stumble upon. So, here are my favorites recently; the things that I am swooning over and that I couldn’t live without. 

  • these lipsticks– between Rebecca and I, we own every shade and we love them! 
  • this lipgloss– I just bought this today and I already know it’s going to be one of my favorites!
  • my macbook air– a week ago I caved and bought a MacBook Air, and if Steve Jobs were still alive, I would personally write him a thank you note. This thing rocks!
  • this website: there actually isn’t a day where I don’t check this site and have to use unnatural amounts of self-control to not purchase everything on it. Brickyard Buffalo has the coolest stuff. I’ve bought everything from makeup, to jewelry, to phone chargers, and shoes from them!
  • the invites for Geena’s Bridal Weekend (shower & bachelorette party): Alex found them on this site and Lauren (the designer) was absolutely wonderful to work with (from all the emails Alex sent me). I can’t wait until I am able to use her for my next event!
  • my go-to mascara– this was a little more money than I would usually spend on mascara, but it’s so worth it. I’ve tried plenty of mascaras and this is by far my favorite. There’s just something about it! It doesn’t make my eyelashes look tackyfake (new word) but they look so good they almost don’t look real.
  • my bkr– this water bottle is lovely. It’s pretty and fun to drink out of. They come in tons of colors, too!
  • Purse with a Past– between Becs & I, we have 5 PWAP. Mrs. Cooley is the super fabulous momma to ten wonderful children (my second family) and in her spare time designs and makes the most gorgeous purses. Each PWAP is made from unique pieces of the past: vintage linens, chenille, doilies, velvet, pom poms, bark cloth, ribbons, fringe, lace & more! I get so many compliments whenever I wear one of mine!
  • this lotion– maybe I’m super lazy, but I love, like seriously love, Vaseline Spray & Go!
  • these shoes– thanks to Geena, I live in these shoes. They’re from Target & I wear them with everything! It says they’re $20 online, but last time I was in my Target, they were on sale for $10 or $15. I may buy another pair just to keep handy in case something happens to the original. 
  • Oh, Lola!– my best-loved Eau de Parfum. My grandma got me hooked on it a few years ago and its still my number one.

Alright, ladies, your turn! Share your favorites with me! I’m always looking for something new to try. Happy 4th of July weekend! 

xx, Melanie Elizabeth