Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Laughter.

I'm still in complete shock that this year is nearly over with. This year vows were made, new cities were visited, and many challenges arose. Marriage has proven to be just as incredible as I knew it would be, and its only getting better. Bonds with those closest to me have become closer than ever, and adventures I've always wanted to embark on are finally happening. Things have been insanely busy this year, but during those stressful, busy times...some of my favorite memories were made.

I got an email from the wonderful Jena, announcing her one-time link up...she challenged us ladies to pick ONE photo from our entire year that sums it up best. I thought at first, "wow, this will be really hard", then I thought, wait...what was the happiest day of my life?

May 25th, 2013. 
Just one of my favorite shots of my husband and I on the day we promised to be each other's forever.
Life hasn't been easy, and our marriage isn't perfect, but I truly believe that when we find time to laugh, we are happier people.
We have to MAKE time to make each other laugh, to make others laugh, and mostly, time to make yourself laugh. There will always be those unusual never-ending work days where you want to crawl in the corner and cry like a baby...and there will always be another heartache you stumble upon, and there's always going to be those silly little let downs in life...but until you can laugh at what's ahead, or at whatever ridiculous scenario you're stuck in, I don't believe you can truly appreciate life to its full potential.
So, that is the shot I chose.
Laughter.
Cause truly, its the best medicine.
Recently Roached

Monday, December 30, 2013

CHRISTMAS WAS AWESOME.

I had two sweet vacation days left for the year so you bet I took them the two days after Christmas and had an extra long break from work. It. Was. Glorious. I'm so blessed. Caleb and I were giddy all week to finally have our FIRST married Christmas!!

Yeah, its blurry. Woops.
His parents are back in town so we spent last Saturday with all of Caleb's family doing our first round of Christmas hang outs! We started the afternoon off with a great worship service at Erin and Jared's church, the in-laws picked up AMAZING dinner (Chickfila, as if there was another option), and we ended it by opening presents and having a hilarious round of Hedbanz.


Christmas Eve was with my Dad's side of the family, as usual. They all absolutely spoiled us, and it was such a blast.


The very next morning Caleb and I decided to start the tradition of baking a sweet together...we chose BROWNIES. Our fave!


While those baked, we opened presents!! It was SO fun watching him open what I'd given him. It was a time to remember, that's for sure.





Inside of this giant box were a pair of shoes Caleb had been dying for! This was his "big ticket item" :) 


and mine? An incredible straightener. He's so sweet. Recently, my long bangs have been frying (sad story)...I've been talking about wanting to buy a Chi for a while, and he totally remembered! I'm one happy girl. 

After we spent a little time alone, we ventured off to my grandparents to spend the rest of the day with them. It was amazing. My grandparents got us INCREDIBLE luggage and I cannot even WAIT to use them!!

That evening, we were falling asleep by like 7 so we decided to head home, and pop in a movie.


I still can't believe Christmas has come and gone. It was fantastic waking up with him, and not wanting to get out of bed just so I could savor that first Christmas that much longer...but you know what? I'm looking forward to every single day with my husband, and that's a blessing in itself. I hope you all had a great one!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Christmas Eve!

Can we talk about what a great Christmas present my friend Olivia got last night!?
A few months ago I reached out to her to see if she'd let me do a fun photo shoot of her and her boyfriend over Christmas. Well, the weather this weekend kind of put a damper on that plan...so I figured we'd reschedule for the Spring time. That was until, Sunday evening when her boyfriend messaged me privately on Facebook and asked me if there was ANY way we could still do the photo shoot, just the very next afternoon...because get this...
HE HAD PLANS TO PROPOSE!

Of COURSE I said yes. We are super slow at work this time of year so I had no problem heading out a bit early and meeting this adorable couple downtown (ironically, where Caleb and I had our engagement pictures done). We hung out for a while, started shooting, and before I know it...45 minutes had gone by. My toes and fingers were frozen, but I couldn't complain...I was too giddy knowing he had a ring in his pocket for her.

Finally, Sean mustered up the courage to get down on one knee, and after she screamed YES, she couldn't wipe that ear-to-ear grin off her beautiful face! Seriously, how adorable are they?!



I hope that all of you are as happy as this couple is this Christmas season!!
Merry Christmas Eve!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 - wow.

I'm sure you are hearing this all around blog land right now but honestly...how it is almost 2014 right now?! This has been the FASTEST year of my liiiiife. Although I got married and have a fantastic job, church, and am surrounded by incredible friends and family, I haven't had the "easiest" year either. I won't go into too much detail but there have been some things that have happened this year that I could break down and cry about. Things that are still going on, and that I have no control over...but that is where faith comes in.

Then I just remember all the GOOD that happened this year. So, soo much good.

JANUARY
I remember kissing Caleb at midnight saying "THIS IS THE YEAR WE ARE GETTING MARRIED!!!". I blogged about our engagement pictures, and we booked our honeymoon!


FEBRUARY
Had a fun, low key Valentine's evening at my families. We kept it pretty low key since most of our money was going towards the wedding! We also signed our lease!!!

MARCH
We got the keys to our first apartment together.
Two of my very best friends threw me two unique, and amazing bridal showers. I loved them both SO much!! The first shower was thrown by my MOH, Lyndsie...and the second shower by my (now) sister in law, Erin. This is when it really started to hit me that I was getting married so so soon!


APRIL
After what felt like YEARS, my wedding dress finally came in, and I got to try it on after months of waiting. It fit like a glove, and was SO perfect! Seriously, my dream dress. We also had the most fun double date with our faves downtown!

MAY
Ohhh boy. Wedding month. I really can't even tell you how EXCITING this entire month was!!

In honor of "counting down" to our big day, I gave you 24 random facts about our engagement!

I wrote one of my most viewed blog posts, ever. It's amazing when you open up, the kind of support you get from people you've never even met!

Wedding week arrived, and I had some of my closest "blog friends" plan this whole thing...they sent tons of stuff to Erin to put together for me. Bridal stuff, essentials for the honeymoon, all kinds of things. I can't even tell you. It was like a blog bridal shower, and I loved it.

I GOT MARRIED!!!!!!!! May 25th was the best day of my liiiife.

JUNE
We were ending our amazing honeymoon. If you're interested, those are herehere, and also here!

JULY
Roadtripped to Arkansas to see Caleb's parents!

AUGUST
My blog turned 1!
I turned 22!
We road tripped to Memphis for a friends wedding!

SEPTEMBER
I finally met Amanda and shot her wedding (best blate EVER)!
CHOPPED my hair!
September 24th, the day my real fitness journey began!
Erin & I signed up for the half marathon. SCARY! The real training begins ASAP. I'm terrified!

October
I announced that Caleb and I were hired with our photographers!!
Met a ton of Cincinnati bloggers over Mexican and cupcakes!
Surprised my husband with a weekend trip to Louisville!

November
Accepted a new position at work!
Got my first ever bridesmaid dress! So excited for her big day in February!
Enjoyed our first married Thanksgiving together!

December
We had such a blast putting our tree up for the first time! Can't wait for our very first Christmas morning this year!!

Phew. If you made it through that, good job guys ;) looking back..this year has been such a blessing, and I have so much to be thankful for!! I hope that 2014 is your best year, yet!! We're almost there!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Some good vibes, please?

This week at work as been absolutely stressful...I can't even begin to go into the amount of meetings I've gone through. The confrontation between co-workers, I do not deal well in these situations. For those of you with high-stress level positions all year round, I don't know how you do it! Don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful for my job and that my stress levels are typically pretty low. But this week, phew! I'm glad its over. I'm ready for a nice Christmas break later next week!

Last night, Caleb and I joined my grandparents at my brothers band concert at his high school (where I went!)...and he killed his drum solo! Of course! 
So thankful Caleb and my brother are so close!
Most of you know the story about my mom by now. It's not always easy for me to talk about on here, I have no clue if she reads my blog regularly or what. I'm typically pretty strong about the whole situation, I can talk about it with people without being too emotional, because its nearly been 2 years. It just is what it is to me...but, I will say that I'm sad for her. She's missing a lot here at home. My brother is morphing into this amazing young man...I mean, he's starting to drive, getting taller, looking at colleges already, talking about getting jobs, he's even got a flippin' savings account.

The other day in my car, I was listening to some worship music, and I just started to tear up. Happy tears, but I thought about my brother, and how he has to feel. I, too, know what its like to feel somewhat abandoned. My mom also left when I was in High School, to Minnesota, to live with her then-fiance. So its a creepily similar situation, what he's going through...except for my situation? She decided to come back after a summer away. In this instance? She's been gone for nearly 2 years. I don't know what that is like as a child...but I do know that as a married, employed, 22 year old...it stinks. My brother is a lot like me, we were forced to grow up very quickly, and we both hide our pain and sadness very, very well. Too well, sometimes.

So, if you have a minute or two today, please send your prayers, good vibes, whatever you do, to my family. Thanks!

Switching gears here...this is my gorgeous grandma. I call her Nanny, and have done that since I was 3. I remember the day I told her and my grandpa, "I will call you Nanny, and Buddy...no more grandma/grandpa stuff". She and my grandpa take care of my brother, love him, and support him through everything. They are saints, I tell ya. Now can we talk about how HOT she looks in this shot?! I am so thankful for her presence in both my life, and my brothers. I hope she knows how much her and my Buddy (Grandpa) are loved.


Sorry for the sappy post today, Christmas is just so close and its been on my heart. Please hug your loved ones tightly today...and if you can't, let them know how much they are loved.

Happy Friday! I've got a FUN weekend planned. Tonight we get to hang out with our best friends and go to a fun, FREE Christmas play in town, and Caleb's parents are heading into town so we're doing our Christmas with them Saturday! I'm excited to get some down time this weekend, too. Christmas is so close!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

How would you like your steak?

I work for a great company that puts on such a wonderful Christmas party every year and I'm so blessed to be a part of it! It's a fun, free night out for my man and I, and an excuse to get a little dressed up! The hardest decision I had to make this weekend was how I wanted my filet cooked.
I could get used to that.


Of course my silly husband asked for a "glass of milk" to go with his carrot cake upon dessert...only he would do that at some swanky little restaurant...but I have to say, its a funny little quirk that I love about him. The party was just great, I got to hang out with my favorite co workers, and enjoy one of the best meals of my year.

Earlier that morning, Caleb and I drove to Dayton to celebrate in one of my best friends graduating college!! I am so proud of her! I met Angie my freshman year of college, we were roommates our second semester and the first night we met, felt like we'd known each other for years. We're seriously the weirdest people when we're around each other, and I wouldn't have it any other way. We also have the funniest stories. To Angie being a germ-a-phobe (and spraying Lysol on her feet before bed), to the times we worked at a sketchy Indian restaurant waiting tables together for free food in college, we could write a stinkin book.

Words cannot describe how thankful I am for her friendship, she's a one in a million friend and I am so happy she's one of my best friends!

We love you, Ang!
Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What reality looks like.

My weekend was great, so freaking busy, but great. I can't wait to tell you guys about it later. For now, I'm talking a little bit about reality (and what my home looked like a week ago).

There are many times where this insanely huge blog land can be the most encouraging thing in the world, it seems. Endless friends to encourage you, beautiful pictures to inspire you, and free recipes to hand out like hot cakes.

Except...sometimes (and entirely unintentionally), this blog world can be super discouraging. Mine and Caleb's little apartment isn't decked out to the nines, there are always blankets thrown around, always laundry to be done, and I'm ALWAYS cleaning it feels like. 

If I'm being entirely honest right now, this is what my house looked like for 2 (maybe 3) days recently. Seriously, try not to vomit.




I'm not usually the person to leave such a mess around...I like tidiness, organization, you catch my drift. I guess I just got a rift of laziness the past few days. This may have been the most random post ever, but its here to remind you WE ALL HAVE TRASH. Most of the time, our pictures look perfect, but what our followers on Instagram don't see is the pile of laundry we had to move out of the way to get that perfect shot...the neon sports bra that is still sitting on the couch, the glass that has left a ring on your end table, and the crooked picture frame on the wall that you fixed right before the shot.

Our homes are not perfect. I think its important as bloggers to be REAL about what our lives look like sometimes, even when its ugly. Our apartment is nowhere CLOSE to looking worthy of a two page spread in Better Homes and Gardens, but you know what? It's MINE. It's mine and its my husband's, and its well lived in...and I love that.

{side note; once my lazy days went away, I cleaned this apartment top to bottom like it was my job. I can only stand clutter/trash for so long!}

Friday, December 13, 2013

& my heart melted.

 I can't wait to tell you ALL about my cooking experience with Marie last night, but I will have to save that for another day. For now, its time for 5 on Friday!

1. So, last night (and every other time Nora is over) my heart melted watching her with my man. "Caleb, sit with me please...Caleb will you watch Tangled with me? Caleb, can you pick me up?"

2. My office Christmas party is this weekend, and I've been excited about it since LAST December where they served the most amazing food in the world. Yes, its all about the food.

3. Lyndsie got me the cutest personalized cookie plate from a local craft show and I'm OBSESSED.

4. Doing my nightly devotions with Caleb this week. This one has been pretty simple, but its a long 10 week book, and I'm excited to see the conversations that arise from it.

5. ITS AMANDA'S BIRTHDAY TODAY!!!!!! Remember when Caleb and I shot her wedding in Michigan and that is the first time we met? Thank God for blogging. I seriously love this girl. She's hilarious, and brings such joy to my life (most mornings via snapchat) ... but for real. Amanda is hilarious, and so real. It's crazy to think I've formed such a genuine friendship just from this little blog of mine! Love you, girl!

I'll be back on Monday to report just how amazing the filet-mignon was at my office party. Now my stomach is grumbling...gahh. 

Have a fun weekend!!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Sorry I can't cook like Marie!"

The title of this post is one only my husband, and two of our great friends will understand (and I hope they are laughing right now).

You see, one of the beautiful ladies I asked to be in my wedding, Marie, is like Super-Mom. She can keep a clean home, volunteer for church like crazy, raise the cutest little gal on planet earth a 3 year old beauty, and cook like a beast. Remember my first bridal shower? All that amazing food in those shots? She did those. Remember those nights I'd babysit Nora and she would leave food out for us and it was just something she whipped up quick?!...Yeah, I was envious.

& I totally still am.
Marie is one of the sweetest women I know. When we first started dating, I was excited to introduce Caleb to her and her awesome husband, Josh. There was one point we'd hang out with them nearly every week and it never failed she had something amazing on the dinner table. ALL HOME MADE. Then Caleb and I got married, and the cooking skills weren't flowing like magic from my fingertips like I'd once thought they would. I remember one night in particular, Caleb getting hilariously irritated with me because I could barely cook ground beef the right way...and I threw my hands up and yelled...

WELL! SORRY I'M NOT MARIE!!!

...& there I was, feeling bad for myself. Wanting sympathy from my husband to tell me "no, don't say that, you ARE a great cook...". I probably looked like the psycho housewives I make fun of on TV all the time. I'm just picturing myself right now, looking back at that moment, in slow motion...dropping the wooden spatula in the sink, throwing my arms up, surrendering that I'd never be a good cook.
Well I'm here to report, I'M LEARNING (and I haven't ever said that silly little statement again, cause I'm me. & I'm awesome just the way I am)


I've actually been cooking on my own like 4 times a week and its becoming FUN! Much to Caleb's surprise, I'm remembering to lay the meat out to thaw almost every morning. Even if its not some huge, lavish meal...its something I MADE.

Tonight, Josh and Marie (and their adorable little girl) are coming over tonight for dinner, and she's offered to cook dinner WITH me, to show me just how easy those crazy looking recipes can be. You have no idea how happy this makes me. I can totally cook regular things, but we're making some sort of Pad Thai meal, and typically, anything that requires garlic/powders, count me out. I'm excited to venture out of my comfort zone and LEARN. Watch out for this one, friends...she'll have her own cookbook in no time.

So, here's to you, Marie! Thanks for offering to help brush me up on basic skills.
I'll be a pro in no time.

Happy "its almost Friday" day!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

& our first week of goals went....

EXTREMELY WELL. We didn't eat out ONCE.
I'm so excited for this new weekly goals we're doing. It's simple, all ya need is motivation, a pen, and a post-it to stick on the fridge.

Last night Caleb and I went to the gym and had an extremely hard workout. I pushed myself to run the full 30 minutes and almost died...well okay, not really...but it felt like it. After that Caleb pushed me to my limits on our back/shoulders workout. There was one point where I thought I might drop the bar, but thankfully he was there to help me. It really made me realize...if it wasn't for my husband, I wouldn't be able to push myself so hard. I'm so thankful for that!

{Insert cheesy fall picture from last year}
So, after an extremely tiring night at the gym, and cooking dinner, I started to feel really sick. Not sure what got into me, but all I wanted to do was lay on the couch. That's when Caleb reminded me that I still needed to pick our new weekly goal. So what did I decide on?
Nightly marriage devotions.

I'm excited. We already have a great marriage. Not perfect by any means...but definitely awesome. There is just something about forcing yourself to sit down with your spouse once a night, talk about things, and learning more about each other, that just makes us a happier couple. So, we started with a fun book and I'm really excited to see where this week takes us.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

PS - I'm scared! Caleb said he might make our goal for next week; "Vegetarian week" - AHH. Recipes, please!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

What an insane, scary, exciting, fun weekend it was!

Friday started out like any other day at the office; typical slow drive in....and then 1PM hit and my boss essentially sent me home because a snow storm was coming. I guess I didn't realize how bad it was going to get so I didn't ask any questions, just hopped in my car, took some work home, and enjoyed the view from our fun Christmas tree.


Caleb decided we were going to be complete psyhos and venture out to the gym. It really is less than 5 minutes from our house, but it took like 20 minutes to get there because of the snow. It was definitely a scary drive and I wish we never went...BUT, we went to the gym, and Caleb repeatedly said "COMMITMENT! THIS IS COMMITMENT!"...I love that man.


Once we got back, we enjoyed a nice evening staying IN. We made a yummy dinner, enjoyed some dessert after our hard workout, and of course watched Dexter.

Saturday was supposed to be a very busy day for me, and the snowy/icy roads kind of put a damper on it. I did, however, get to do a quick fun photo shoot for my pastor and his family for their Christmas cards...seriously. The snow was such a blessing, and this family? Well, they are adorable, and so inspiring. I love when a couple who has been married so long can still be SO in love.


That evening was Caleb's company Christmas party.
He cleans up nice ;)
I think most of you know, but if not, Jared (Caleb's brother/best friend) works at the same company. So, its extra fun getting to hang with my soulmate, too. The night is complete with dinner, dessert, mingling, and the same as last year, some "gambling". They give out fake money tickets, that you turn in for chips, that you can then can cash in for raffle tickets for the drawing towards the end of the night. This year, instead of ONE prize, they gave away a ton of things, and the big prizes were THREE Google Nexus 7 tablets.

You'll never guess who won.
CALEB AND JARED. Both of them!!! Actually, Caleb and I had TWO winning tickets, and I was trying to be sneaky and give Jared/Erin our second ticket but Caleb, bless his heart, he got so stinking excited he ran up the second he saw we had ANOTHER winning ticket. It was quite hilarious.

Luckily, Jared and Erin had a winning ticket as well, seriously, what are the odds?! Jared, too, got so excited he knocked over his chair! It didn't feel real. Like, there were hundreds of people there...and BOTH of them won?! It was awesome. I'm thinking this family needs to buy some lotto tickets next ;)


Needless to say, we all left that night VERY happy couples.

Sunday was complete with one of the best church services I've ever witnessed, an AMAZING Bengals win, and unfortunately ended with a horrid headache. Caleb had to go solo to our weekly youth group meeting, I felt terrible about it, but I needed to lay on the couch with an ice pack. Luckily, I'm feeling much better this morning and looking forward to the weekend again already!

Hope all of you had a great one. Did any of you get snow??

Friday, December 6, 2013

TGIF.

Oh Friiiiday, how I've longed for you. After being off 4 days straight last week, and then having to ACTUALLY work for the next 5? Torture, I tell you ;) This weekend is going to be jam packed, but hey, that's what the holidays bring.

Dear Christmas cards, you turned out great! Can't wait to address all of you and send you on your merry way.

Dear Christmas tree, you are so beautiful! I am so happy to have you in our home.

Dear Sassy, for some reason you've been on my mind lately. I miss you more than ever, especially around the holidays. You were the best, most playful and loving dog ever. I'll see you again one day, though :)

Dear coworker, thanks for the huge poinsettia! I'm so excited about it!

Dear Caleb, thanks for cleaning the apartment on your day off!

Dear work, you're soo busy, but I LOVE it! My days are flying by.

Dear workout last night, that hurt.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A new thing.

It seems like every month I have a list of things I want to accomplish, and sometimes its a bit overwhelming. Monday night, as Caleb and I were making dinner (a yummy eggplant pasta!) he started writing on a post it note and stuck it to the fridge.


That is what it said.
"No eating out 12/2-12/9"; when I asked him what the heck it was he said he wanted us to start having Monday to Monday goals. A week long goal, and we'd alternate weeks picking what our goal (as a couple) would be. So, he decided to make this one no eating out for an entire week.
I'll admit, its a challenge. There are some mornings where I do NOT feel like packing if I've forgotten to do so the night before, so I'll grab something quick (even if its for healthy food) for lunch (haaaay Kroger salad bar). I'll admit, with recent birthdays, family in town, and then Thanksgiving to top it all off, we haven't eaten SUPER healthy the past week. So, I'm definitely thankful Caleb chose this as his goal, it will save extra cash, too!

Now this is where I need your guys' help, what in the world should I make my Monday-Monday goal next week!?

Linking up with the sweet, fashionable Shanna!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

EEEK. Our tree is up!

Caleb and I put our Christmas tree up over our long 4 day break. It's a day I've been looking forward to since we started dating. To, one day, put up OUR Christmas tree, together...in our home. Granted, its not the biggest tree you've ever seen...but she's ours, and she's perfect.


We have a little 6 foot, artificial tree. She has no official name yet...but she's definitely got spunk, so I will find the perfect name. Caleb unwrapped her and she practically busted when the box opened...she couldn't wait to be shown off.




This makes me laugh so hard, outtake. I look like I'm hugging our tree.
 We had a lot of fun unwrapping her and making her nice and full. Then we decorated her with our cutest ornaments (which I sadly cannot find most of mine right now!), and decided to start on the rest of the apartment (more pictures to come on our tree, she's a work in progress right now).

Our stocking holders!


We were so busy decorating, it made us hungry, so we decided to cook and bake our little faces off. I originally wanted to get dolled up and ask Caleb to go out to eat somewhere, but before I got the chance, he suggested we pick a fun recipe, go buy the ingredients and have a night in. So that, we did.


Homemade(ish) buffalo chicken pizza.

Back story - in college, Caleb worked at two pizza places and kiiiind of became a master. I tried hiding my drool when he asked "is it cool if I throw garlic, butter and cheese on the crust??"...I'm sorry, is that even a question?


 and we washed it down with some brownies, and red velvet cupcakes. YUM!

Sunday was the perfect ending to a perfect break from work. Church, a lazy Sunday, and a Bengals WIN! What more could a girl ask for!?

I will say, we didn't eat too healthy over our little break from life. It seemed that we were having too much fun to worry about calories. I still logged everything, just didn't let it consume me. However this week, I'm going to be good!! I have to recover from all the carbs ;)

Hope you all had a great weekend as well!