One year anniversary!

Yesterday marked one year of wedded bliss for me and my handsome husband. We’ve had a crazy busy year (new job + travel, buying a house, becoming landlords, personal travel, etc.) and it’s been pretty amazing.

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However, we discuss quite often that marriage is not all cotton candy and candy apples (not even in the first year). But marriage, as a committment you made in front of family and friends and most importantly, to each other, is a job. And it should be the job where you focus most of your energy. Not saying that it should be your toughest job, because if you’re with the right person, a lot of it comes easily and naturally. But it’s work to not snap at your sig-o when you’re hungry (or hangry, as I sometimes get), it’s work to step away from what you’re doing sometimes and focus on what your other half wants to do, sometimes we forget to put the phone/iPad down and listen to the other, sometimes we are preoccupied with our own thoughts, or sometimes we just want to be alone. But it’s important to remember that your other half is your partner, not your enemy. They’re on your side. They want to spend time with you, talk to you, and listen to you.

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My husband and I met as co-workers and I’m glad he’s still my co-worker in marriage. Working together is incredibly important. I know how much it bothers him when I slip my shoes off at the door instead of putting them in the closet, and while it seems like a REALLY LITTLE thing, it’s easy to get caught up in really little things that annoy you. It’s a really little extra step for me to walk over to the closet and something that I should do because I KNOW it bothers him. It’s important not to get caught up in the little things and to focus on the big picture.

Taken by Sarah Photography
Taken by Sarah Photography

Ever since we started dating we’ve talked about goals for our life and our future and we continue to fous on those. We love to travel and continue planning out trips to places domestic and international. We made a list of our Top 5 destinations for each and cross matched (3/5 on both lists were the same). We’re managing owning two houses, although it’s not ideal, and I never wanted to be a landlord, it’s working. The plus is that we’re building equity in our other home and when we DO sell, we’ll be better off. We’re working on making our new house very homey and enjoying spending time in our yard, our rocking chairs and screened-in porch. We’re both very career focused right now and fortunate to be with a good company and doing what we love, or at least what our degrees are in. And we get to spend plenty of time with friends and family (including our new baby niece!). And yes, kids are in the future just not right now.

Taken by Sarah Photography
Taken by Sarah Photography

We don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have a darn good one. We’re still falling in love with each other day over day, laughing until our bellies hurt and there for each other when there are tears. I try to focus on the good, be happy and cherish all the little moments. I saw a quote this morning that said:

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

How true, and how very bad of us. What people post on social media is not them at their worst, it’s laughing, smiling, happiness. Try not to compare yourself, or your relationship to that of others. Try to focus on how to continue, every day, making your relationship the best it can be. Your marriage is yours and your husband’s and you’re the only ones responsible for making it work. Social media has us questioning things that don’t need to be questioned. Spend time in reality, loving the most, focusing on what matters and sticking to your vows. Spend time cultivating a marriage that other people desire. You have your own highlight reel that is by far the most important one in the world.

Happy Other Half

As I previously mentioned, my husband took a new job. This new job is such a great opportunity for him (proud wife right here!), but it will require him to travel 4 days a week. This means, I will only see him Thursday through Sunday. Only three weeks left to cram in as much “us” time as we can before he heads off on this exciting journey.

I love spending time with my husband. We actually joke quite often that we need more friends because we do a lot of things together that would probably be fun shared with friends. After 5 years together, most of which we’ve spent 95% of our waking time together (literally – working/living/working out/eating together), I feel pretty awesome about the fact that we still WANT to spend SO much time together. I think my husband is one of the funniest people I’ve met, he’s considerate, he’s a good listener, and he knows something about everything (helps keep the conversation going!). I consider us lucky to have that strong of a relationship – but it doesn’t come without work.

My husband is OCD about the house being clean – and I’m a little more relaxed about it (for lack of a better term). For instance, I’m okay making dinner, eating dinner and then watching some TV or a movie before we clean up. This does not work for my husband – the kitchen needs to be cleaned or he feels anxious. I know this – so I make a conscious effort to clean up post dinner. The same goes with our clutter catching ledge when you walk in the door – it’s so easy to lay mail, keys, or “stuff” down when you walk in the door, but equally as easy to hang up the keys, sort/trash the mail and put your empty lunch box in the cabinet. Knowing your other half’s pet peeves – and being attentive to them will help with keeping the relationship happy.

Another great way to make your other half happy is to sacrifice compromise on the things you do. We have very different taste in movies (and music). But instead of avoiding going to those things together, we tend to alternate. We have our musical groups that we both love and we always make a point to see those live: DMB, Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Amos Lee, Ben Harper; but we’ve both gone to concerts that we probably wouldn’t have if the other one wasn’t involved – Carrie Underwood and Jay Z are great examples. As far as movies go, I’m your typical sap. Who knows why girls love to cry in movies, but obviously my favorite movie induced emotions are laughing and crying. Romantic comedy? Perfect! Scary movie? No way, Jose! Luckily my husband isn’t a horror fan either, but he does enjoy sci-fi, Hobbit-type movies and some more gory movies than I do. At home, we alternate, and in theatres, we try to pick something that we’ll both like. Most recently, we rented Captain Phillips. Definitely not a romantic comedy, but I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time. Compromise is definitely a key to happiness in our relationship.

Getting out of the house is important for us, too. I tell people quite often that running is not just for my physical health, but mental. I can be quite the grump if I don’t get to run for a couple days in a row. Does anyone else get cabin fever after a few days in the house? We sure do! This year, we joined the Young Affiliates of the Mint (YAM) and have unlimited access to the museums in Charlotte, as well as are part of a group of young professionals (more friends!). We share a love of art and history, so this was the perfect group for us to join. We also love going to Charlotte’s beer festivals and checking out the craft beers offered in our city (food trucks are an added bonus!). Hanging out with friends is always nice, whether it’s dinner, live music, a get together at someone’s house or a kid’s birthday party (most of our Charlotte friends have at least one bundle of joy by now). And sometimes, doing things by ourselves is good for us. I enjoy shopping, doing crafts, and long runs. My husband enjoys live music (thank goodness for his friends who share his love for Metallica/Gaslight Anthem/JJ Grey & Mofro) and NFL games. We’re okay doing things solo on occasion.

Our favorite thing to do together is travel. Ever since we first started dating, we’ve been traveling. Our first ever trip was to the beach and Swansboro, NC. We’ve visited the opposite coast. We’ve visited the NFL Hall of Fame in Ohio. We’ve walked the Freedom Trail in Boston. We’ve explored the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh. We’ve biked around Jekyll Island in Georgia and saw wild horses on Cumberland Island. We’ve spent time enjoying the history of St. Augustine, FL. We’ve played on the beaches in Wilmington and the Outer Banks. We’ve marveled over the old trees in Savannah while carrying our drinks in our hands. We’ve run the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston. We’ve had wine in Temecula, CA and enjoyed the waterfront in San Diego. We’ve jumped to Enter Sandman in Lane Stadium. We’ve swam in the natural pool in Aruba. We often remember dinners, events or experiences that happened on these trips and smile. Having experienced these things together only brings us closer, and leaves us looking forward to our next adventure.

I am so thankful that I met this man and get to share my life with him. I am dedicated to making sure we always work on our happiness and our love and our marriage. There’s a saying that “you are only as happy as your unhappiest child.” Obviously we don’t have children, but if one half of the couple is unhappy, the other one can’t be all smiles and full of joy. I’m not trying to imply that life can always be all cotton candy and candy apples, but you can certainly aim for the highest level of happiness and then even on your “bad” days, you’ll be able to pull out something positive, right? This requires working together, working for each other’s best interest and giving 110% everyday. It’s a lot to ask, but isn’t it worth it?

 

Love like in the movies

A few days ago, I saw a Facebook post from a high school classmate that said “I want a fairytale. A love like you see in the movies.” I immediately started running movies through my head and wondering what exactly she wanted. A love like in Titanic? Where one of you freezes to death in an icy ocean?
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When Harry Met Sally
? Where it takes you YEARS to realize that it had to be him/her?

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Love Actually? Lord knows we all love this movie around the holidays but seriously, this is what was written about it for IMDB. Is that what you want?

“The characters are falling in love, falling out of love, some are with right people, some are with the wrong people, some are looking to have an affair, some are in the period of mourning; a capsule summary of reality. Love begins and love ends.”            – Written by Rosemea D.S. MacPherson 

Or maybe she was thinking Sweet November. There was great love there, but also cancer (that she didn’t tell him about). No bueno!
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Perhaps it was the love story of Rhett and Scarlett that she wished for? Jealousy, eyes for another lover, drunken nights, unwanted children? gonewiththewindSeriously though, those “love stories” all have undesirable parts. They have fights, accidents, trials, and death, the real story is overcoming those things and living in happiness and  sharing a life with someone you can’t imagine living without. No matter what movie she is watching, she’ll see that the love isn’t always perfect. The Notebook left us all in tears. The Vow made you pray you never, ever lost your memory – and neither did your significant other. The point is, love isn’t a fairytale like we grow up thinking. Even Disney princesses go through hell before finding their prince charming.

It’s easy to think that your relationship isn’t as perfect as someone else’s when you see their pictures on Facebook and they look so in love. Or when all of your friends are getting married and you’re still just dating, or even still single. Forcing love isn’t the right route, and probably will end up at a dead end. Wishing to have love that’s all cotton candy and candy apples all the time isn’t realistic either. I’ve been married for four months and while I think we’re a great couple with a great love story, it doesn’t mean that we haven’t fought. It doesn’t mean that one of us isn’t annoyed when the other one doesn’t empty the dishwasher or take the laundry out of the dryer as soon as it’s done. But we’re still in love, and it’s perfect for us. That’s all that matters.

I’m not sure what this person meant by wanting a love like the movies. Maybe they wanted those few moments we see in a two hour film where we swoon – mostly we can attribute that to Bradley Cooper/Channing Tatum/Ryan Gosling being the guy who is saying all of those sweet, perfect lines in his oh-so-sexy voice. Newsflash, the other two hours of the movie aren’t like that. And if you were to watch “their life” together, you’d see more moments where they were bored, fighting, working, and doing all the things that life requires and less of those moments where they’re having candlelit dinners and holding hands on a beach and running into each other’s arms swearing to never be apart again. It’s great when those moments happen, and I’m not saying they don’t happen. I missed LW so much when I took a trip to San Diego that I couldn’t wait to get home – and we had one of those moments in the airport where I ran and jumped in his arms, the same arms that were holding flowers for me and I melted right there. However, when I get home from business trips these days, we don’t have that reunion. It’s more of a kiss, throw the luggage in the car and decide where to go for dinner kind of reunion. While it’s not as dramatic, it doesn’t make me feel any less loved.

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The ultimate goal should be a love, relationship, and/or marriage where your love is cultivated. Where you focus on each other’s needs, wants, desires and make sure you love that person to the best of your ability – and then some. Focusing on movies or other people’s relationships will get you nowhere, and will probably only drum up some unnecessary resentment for your other half. Don’t let that get in the way of what can be your fairytale. A fairytale that no one else can have. A fairytale that is so wonderful, you can’t wait to tell your grandkids about it one day. Focus on you and your relationship. Focus on the good, and if it’s not good enough for you, make it better or move on – but don’t pine for unrealistic, scripted love. Real love is so much better.
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I’ll leave you with this and hope you’ll stop comparing yourself to others and the movies: “Comparison is the theif of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt

Friday Favorite Finds!

Lots of people have asked me where I’ve found things over the past few months that I plan to use for the wedding or post wedding (such as my new monogrammed necklace!). Mostly, I can attribute my finds to searches on Etsy that started out of boredom and happened into wonderfulness. Pinterest has also had some good finds, but they typically lead me back to Etsy.

First of all, I found this amazing window-pane chalkboard a while back. We plan to use it at the bar to list out drinks/mixers for the wedding. It came from Splash of Lime, a blog created by a mother/daughter team who finds items that we all want and fixes them up and re-sells them at half the cost of which you could find elsewhere. (Special thanks to my most-specialist MOH who picked it up for me!).   chalkboardI also snatched up the sign in front of it from GroopDealz which offers items at low-cost for a short period of time (hence the “snatching”).  LW is not a huge fan of the sign, so we’ll see if it actually gets used but either way, I consider it a good find!

My next most favorite find, were hangers for my super-sweet bridesmaids. An early thank you for all the time and work they have already put in. I seriously have the most thoughtful group of girls that will be standing by my side very soon! They came from DeLovely Details (an Etsy seller) and were a hit!
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One of my next favorite finds, this this simple needlepoint framed cross-stitch. It’s message makes me smile. I do think that I’ll end up changing out the frame or at least painting it. It was also an Etsy find, and although it was one of a kind, the shop has some other items that are worth taking a peek at.
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Last week, I found a tree-stump cake holder which will proudly display our mini Bride & Groom cake (don’t worry, we’ll have delicious desserts for the guests, as well). I was shocked to find it at Michael’s and for only $14.99 when somewhere else was trying to charge almost 3 times that to RENT one. If you have the time, and ability to be crafty, it can certainly save you a pretty penny in wedding planning. I have a fear that I’m just going to end up with really full craft drawers, and have all of these pretty ideas for years to come. (Any volunteers to come do crafts?!).

cakeMy last, and most favorite find, is my new monogrammed necklace with my brand-spankin’ new initials as of 8-17-13. I am dying to wear this beauty. I had looked at more costly versions (Moon & Lola) in the past but never splurged. Thank goodness! I found this gem on Etsy for a steal!
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Happy Friday – and happy LONG weekend!

Honeymooners

I thought today’s post would be about food, especially since we were both starving after talking about food with our caterer. Y’all get ready, our wedding food is going to be DELISH! But today… I’m going to talk about our honeymoon.

We have been ALL over the place with where we want to go… I started with a hut in Bora Bora which was countered by Europe/Greece from my sweet Fiance. Then, I compromised with 2 islands in Hawaii (Maui & Kauai) so that we could do the exploring that he wanted, along with the butt-in-the-sand time that I wanted, and was countered with several options in the Caribbean. With it being August, I’m hesitant to visit ANYWHERE in the Caribbean, even though my favorite co-worker tells me Aruba is far enough out of the hurricane belt that I shouldn’t have to worry about anything. We both LOVE the idea of the Galapagos Islands (flora + fauna + GREAT WHITES, oh my!) but it appears to be next to impossible to find lodging there.

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We have ruled out Jamaica, Bahamas and anywhere in Mexico since we’ve traveled there before. Although each of them have their pretty and near perfect spots, we don’t feel the need to revisit any of them.
37423_640368798943_6875587_nLuckily, we still have time to make this decision. A timeline in Carolina Bride magazine recommends booking 4-6 months in advance. Our countdown is at 6.5 months and I’m not feeling TOO much pressure on this issue. Now that we’ve knocked out the catering, our next task is the flowers. And your next task is to vote for us to win this trip to the Caribbean from Wedding Paper Divas + Sandals. If we win, you will have helped select our honeymoon destination – but we need your help to win! All you have to do is click here, “like” Wedding Paper Divas on Facebook, and then click “vote” once a day for the rest of the week. Got it? Ok, go! (and thank you in advance!)

 

Save-The-Date

We ordered our save-the-dates! Whew, that’s a relief! We must have looked at 500,000 before deciding on THE ONE. Wedding Paper Divas, Etsy for custom designs, Minted, Salutations in Ballantyne…. so.many.save.the.dates.  And then we had to decide on the pictures – and boy do I LOVE pictures. I mean, I have like 15,000 pictures on Facebook, and 175 albums, I LOVE pictures. And we have so many good ones between both of our engagement shoots. I prefer funny photos, whereas my love prefers serious ones that show off our love for each other. I can deal with that. So just before I left for Atlanta, we created our own Save-the-Date – which is a nice touch for two people who are creative – and we agreed on pictures (even if we did have to Facetime with the Best woMan for her opinion). They should be here in no time and we can take over the fridges in America… or approximately 90 fridges anyway. Definitely happy to check this task off our list of “to-do’s” for the wedding.

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Ps… 7 months or 31 weeks and 2 days! That’s CRAZY! But who’s counting?

Gee, I really love you…

I didn’t do a Thanksgiving post because I was passed out after eating a plate full of southern deliciousness (turkey, sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes, green been casserole, stuffing… and of course, pumpkin and chocolate chess pie).

But, while we were celebrating Thanksgiving with my fiance’s sweet, sweet family (that I am SO lucky to be able to call MY family now), we had a little engagement shoot at Fearrington Village.



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And our shoot wouldn’t have been complete without a few “fun” photos…

YAY! We’re getting married!

 

“Make sure you marry someone who laughs at the same things you do.” – J.D. Sallinger

Hope y’all had a nice Thanksgiving. I’m very thankful for both of my families, my supportive and oh-so-sweet fiance, my best friends – who are also my bridesmaids, my sweet pups that can brighten any day, and being so blessed in life. I’m one lucky gal!