Traditions [Wedding Wednesday]

Ahh, it sure feels good to be back around these parts! Let’s just say, as much as you may think you want an excuse to sit in a bed all day and watch TV for three straight days…you really, really don’t (unless it’s in your own bed at your house and you aren’t hooked up to a computer).  I was sprung from the hospital mid-Friday, and then had the most crazy, fun, sentimental, exciting, love-filled weekend EVER. It was pretty awesome. I’ll save the epilepsy speech for another post (one I’ve already put off for way too long), and instead, I’ll talk about traditions.

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I think that all of us in wedding-land have been hit with the idea of traditions. Honestly, the only traditions that came to mind for me when I got engaged were the bridal traditions (something old/new/borrowed/blue, etc.). Don’t get me wrong, these traditions are definitely important, and they’re important to me! I already have my old (lace from mom’s dress), new (my dress), and borrowed (earrings from my grandmother that my mom wore for her wedding), and I’ve got an idea for the blue…I digress. The traditions I want to talk about today are the ones I’ll be making with Zach, and as we’ve delved into November (I literally missed the first week, so I’m in shock when I realize it’s already November 12th!), the topic of the holidays has come up quite a bit.

First, I need to take a moment to rewind to my previous statement. The only traditions I thought of in July were the bridal traditions. The second we walked into our first registry (Bed, Bath, and Beyond…it was kind of a nightmarish experience), the registry manager asked us this question: “What traditions do you see yourselves taking on when you get married?”. Can I tell you what our reaction was? No, no, no…let me show you.

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We were literally just sitting there staring at her, then looking at each other, then looking back at her…for a silent two minutes. I wish that was an exaggeration, but this woman did not help us understand for a solid few minutes. It was awkward. But then she began to get us thinking. Holidays, events, parties, special things like that; what were we going to do for them? While we both said we didn’t plan on doing any of that (which is mostly true; we have no kids, no plans for kids yet, and we both have a lot of family commitments when it comes to those things). We both have had our own separate familial traditions for 23-26 years, and just didn’t have any plans of making these traditions for ourselves until kids were in the picture. Then the Thanksgiving debate arose…

Do we go to grandparent A’s house? Or grandparent B’s house? DO we stay home? It is Dylan’s (my little brother) 21st birthday, I’m sure he doesn’t want to be out of town for that. Do we just do parent’s houses? Thankfully, my parents answered the first three questions; no, no, and a BIG no (who want’s to celebrate 21 with their family Thanksgiving?). However, that was when Zach and I began to think of what WE wanted to do. I think two weeks ago was the moment where we kind of understood what the elusive registry manager meant; the traditions are the choices we are making as we go into this whole matrimony thing. We don’t have to do what we don’t want to do when it comes to holidays (even on the 4th of July – we could do whatever we want!); this is the time of our lives where we sit back and think about what things we want to do with our families, the things we want our kids to grow up doing.

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Two weeks ago, Zach threw out an idea that I just loved; since nobody in our families were making any big holiday plans, why didn’t we just make a mini-Thanksgiving feast at our place? As soon as he said that, I not only melted into a puddle of happiness, but I said yes! The man was reading my mind. I wanted to get a chance to see what marriage would be like on those holidays where our old traditions were just that – old. We started to think about our traditions, what we want to do until we start making traditions with a Jones baby. Honestly, I think it was the most exciting marriage talk we have had. It was a time when we just sat back and reaffirmed why we are getting married.

We don’t want to be the family that throws all of the big random-holiday parties (here’s looking at you, Memorial Day). We don’t have friends to our place right now because, honestly, we are about a thirty minute drive from all of our friends. We probably won’t ever host a Thanksgiving dinner at our house until we have children, and even then, it won’t be an every year type of thing. Instead, we want to have a private celebration for each holiday. This Thanksgiving, we’ll spend the day with our families, one in the morning and one in the evening. We’ll celebrate our mini-Thanksgiving that Saturday night, stuffing ourselves just one more time before heading out to see a Christmas light display near our house. We’ll ride in the car in our pajamas, listening to Christmas music (even though Zach hates it), and we’ll enjoy our first new tradition. This year, we’ll wake up in our home to open the presents under our tree. We won’t gather around at midnight like we have in the past so that we can wake at 7 and drive to our separate families to spend Christmas morning with them. Instead, we’ll lounge that morning, watch A Christmas Story, and then head off to our families homes together.

I think that as the holidays descend upon us (I’m already breaking out the holiday tunes…no shame!), it’s time to think about the traditions that marriage brings with it. You get to create your own celebrations, your own events, your own memories; and in the end, that’s what marriage is about. Bringing together two sets of traditions and making them into one family. I can’t wait to see the traditions we make as our lives change together, it’s a pretty awesome thing!

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday

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Weekend Recap [Date Night Every Night]

Hi everyone! This little recap will be short and sweet; I had such an amazing weekend that this Monday is just bringing me down…but hopefully a butt-kicking session at the trainers today will change that! Let’s go ahead and see just what fun I was up to these past few days…

On Friday, I pretty much hopped right on out of my office into the freezing cold, 30 degree evening it was. Cold, rainy, and gross is the best way to describe it! I wasn’t feeling up to the trick-or-treaters (or trying to corral my pup all night), so I shot to the grocery, grabbed some candy and a pizza, and when I got home, I turned off all of the lights. I shut all of the blinds, closed the curtains, baked my pizza, poured all of the candy into a giant bowl, and I went up to my room for the night. I ate too much, read a ton, and watched about ten scary movies (exaggeration much). It was awesome. I had such a great time away from the elements and everything else outside, and I just relaxed. Ahh, what I’d give for another Friday!image2Saturday called for a long, wonderful day of relaxing yet again! Zach and I like to choose a day each weekend (or preferably, the whole weekend) to make zero plans and just enjoy a day at home. Saturday was the first one of those days that we have had since Zach had his appendix removed the first weekend in August! It was long-awaited. But it was glorious! We stayed inside to stay warm, and then around 5, we headed to town to catch a showing of Gone Girl at the Movie Tavern. Easiest dinner-and-a-movie spot around! We loved the food, I loved the movie, and then we grabbed some Baskin Robbins on the way home. Which brings me to a confession: true life, I love to eat ice cream when it is below freezing outside.

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my handsome movie date being oh-so serious.

Sunday morning, I left he house around 11:30 to meet up with my family for some family photos! It was a birthday-early Christmas gift for my mom who never gets any good pictures of our whole family together, and seeing as our family will be growing next September, I figured what better time to get the gang together! Apparently they were expecting Zach to join me, but I had thought it was going to be the family minus future husband. Whoops! I felt kind of awful for leaving Zach out, but he was pretty pleased. He’s still camera-sick from our two-hour engagement session. I came home and finished up some homework, and soon after took a little daylight saving time nap. I woke up around five, and we decided to swing by and see some of our friends (and give them some baby gifts for their swiftly arriving daughter!). We lounged in Babies-r-Us (Zach says I have “the fever”. He may be right), visited friends, hit up the Whole Foods Market on the way home, and enjoyed the rest of our night with our little family.

image1Nothing like a dog snout to say “I love you humans, NOW PAY ATTENTION TO ME! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well! I am hoping for a little engagement session sneak-peak on Wednesday! See you soon!

Linking up with Bianca and Meghan

Weekending

Oh Hey, Friday! [Dreaming]

Hello and…HAPPY FRIDAY! We’ve made it. Hallelujah emoji right about…here.

sdafawerI can’t believe this week is already over; probably just another benefit of skipping a boring Monday! This week has been filled with wedding planning, school stress, and an overload of papers on my desk at work, so today I am going to get my Oh Hey, Friday on with a little time to focus on some dreams of mine!

[one] Zach and I have been talking a lot about the future lately, and not just in the obvious wedding-tone way. We – well, I – have been talking about what we want to do with our lives. Great topic for two individuals who have already graduated from a higher education institution, right?! So anyways, this all boils down to the fact that I generally despise grad school and I’m still not sure that I’m in the right program. It’s all fun to learn, but I’m just not sure it’s where I can see myself working. Issue here? My undergrad degree will get me nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. So, I have to do something. My dream? I want to write. I don’t care what, and I don’t care how, but I just want to write. I have had stories floating through my head since I was a child, and I was a part of the creative writing class throughout high school. Why I never continued throughout college is a question that has been at the top of my mind lately, but I guess hindsight is 20/20, right? Dream number one: writing (as my day job).

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[two] I think that this one falls in the category of dreams for everyone, but I think it’s necessary to write out; I want to travel. I want to explore places far and near, and I want to do so at my own pace. I want to guide my own tours, I want to live like the locals, and I want to eat delicious food. I want to visit Italy and Ireland; I want to walk where Shakespeare walked and I want to see the beauty of Santorini. I want to go to Brazil and experience the sights and sounds – and food! I just want to go, go, go. And I have to say I got lucky to find one person to spend my life with who wants to see it all with me.

[three] I want to have a family (which goes without saying). I mean, I’m not looking for kids in a year, or even two years. Maybe I’ll think about it around 25, but for now, I will just dream about the curly-headed kids I will have and raise with my curly-headed fiancé.

[four] I will – I repeat, I WILL – own a pug someday. This has been my biggest dream yet, and Zach can definitely attest to that. We almost adopted a dog in late August, but decided not to do so yet. With our schedules, that poor pup would never have any fun free time! But someday, I will own a pug (or a puggle, or a pughuahua [Chihuahua/pug mix that I totally made up]) and I will love that dog for all of its life. This is a dream that will easily become a reality.

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[five] My last dream is already coming true, although very slowly, and it’s very cheesy. I’m going to spend the rest of my life with my absolute best friend; the person I could not live without, the person who talks me off the ledge and who gets me laughing when I need it the most. But most of all, I get to spend my life with someone who pushes me to pursue the dreams I have while also keeping a tight grip on reality. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a better dream come true than my life with my best friend.

Happy Friday!

I’m linking up with Karli and Amy for Oh Hey, Friday.

I am also jumping back into Five on Friday with these lovely ladies: Darci, April, Christina, and Natasha

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The Hunt Continues [Wedding Wednesday]

Hello again! Welcome to another round of Wedding Wednesday! Much to everyone’s surprise (especially mine), this post is actually on time! Insert all the shocked emojis you want, but it’s true. I’m here, and it’s time to get into the wedding mood. In the past two weeks, two more people in my life have gotten engaged! I think that, while I’ve been watching far-off friends (more like acquaintances) getting engaged via social media, it was not yet time for the people in my life to settle down…and now I’m thinking that time has come! We’re looking at four weddings in the next two years. That may seem like a small amount, but those are only the sure-thing engagements. I still have a great deal of friends who are in serious relationships, at least two of which I see taking the step towards marriage in the next few months! It makes me so happy that I get to share this time with my nearest and dearest, literally exchanging wedding-planning notes and all!

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Now, onto the more selfish topic of moi (and Zach, don’t forget about him!). I completely skipped my Wedding Wednesday post last week, which was fine. Except now I’m backed up on the venue hunt! So, today, we’re going to introduce venues number two and three! If all goes according to plan (crossing my fingers, toes, and anything else crossable), our wedding will be at one of these spots, but I’m not revealing any favorites until the contracts are signed, dotted, and crossed. Each venue is still a possibility at this point, seeing as Zach and I both really loved all of them! Central Kentucky is such a great place for amazing venues, and at such a great range of prices. It’s making this whole planning thing much easier!

Now, on to the venues. I would like to formally introduce venue number two! This venue is still technically in Lexington, and it is just a few miles away from venue number one. However, they are polar opposites in the looks and type category! This venue is technically a horse training facility! You may find it strange, but we’re in the Bluegrass State. Horses are everyone’s neighbor (Get it? Neigh-bor? Oh, I crack myself up). Anyways, the specific area we are looking at in this venue is an old holding area for horse sales. They no longer do the sales at this site, which is great for us; think about the smells that could emanate from the space! The area holds up to 300 guests, has a warehouse/rustic feel to it, includes a bar, and a staging area for the catering! It comes with tables and chairs to fit 160 guests, which is right in our ballpark estimate, and we also get to work with an amazing event planner to make sure everything is looking nice. We are allowed to decorate however we want, come in early on the day of (or book for the day before and day of for a reduced price!), and all of that jazz. Now, time for the round everyone loves when searching for a venue…MONEY!

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Remember our scale? Well, if not, let’s have a refresher; $ (much lower than the budget) to $$$$ (dream on, girl). Here’s a very brief overview of the things included:

  • venue space
  • tables and chairs for 160

And…that’s it! This venue is very basic; it’s an open space with some already built-in character, but it also calls for some personal touches here and there. The great thing about it is, if nobody else is hosting an event the Friday before, we can come in as early as we want on Friday to start setting the space up! For no additional cost! Here’s what we would need to bring in to the venue for additional costs:

  • Catering (outside or preferred)
  • Servers (outside or preferred)
  • Beverages (outside)
  • Alcohol (provided by venue for additional cost)
  • Ceremony space (if different from venue space)
  • Linens (outside or preferred)
  • Cake (outside)
  • DJ (outside)
  • Photographer (outside)
  • Extra tables and chairs (if needed, can be rented through venue)
  • Set up and tear down (free, but is family and friend labor)

So, as you can see when comparing venue one and two, this site is much less all-inclusive. This holds pros and cons of its own. Let’s start with the con (which isn’t all that much of a con, really): we’d have to do a lot of the work, but this means a more personalized look and feel to the wedding. Also, we’d have to crunch all the numbers for all the non-included vendors in order to see the budget. Which is just a huge time-suck, but is totally doable and necessary. Wanna hear the pros?

This venue is easily a $. Maybe even half a $. It is SO AFFORDABLE! The alcohol prices are even relatively cheap, the linens she rents are VERY inexpensive (but still great quality), and she has a recommendation or two for everything we still need. She recognized that most of her brides are trying to stick to a certain budget, so they like to find vendors who provide quality service for a low price. Which, duh, I LOVE! She was awesome, and if we were to choose this venue, I think it would be the smoothest sail of my life. The venue is still open on our date, and various other dates as well, which makes me breathe a sigh of relief.

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Now, let’s visit venue number three. We saw this venue last Friday, and let me tell you, it was THE perfect September day. It was the kind of day I hope our wedding falls on. It was just right as far as the temperature goes, and the sky was a clear blue. I pulled into the parking lot and quietly sobbed for a second, it was so beautiful. Or that could be because someone’s car spit up a semi tread when I was on my way to the venue and left a HUGE dent in my bumper. Poor car. Anyways, pulling into that parking lot and seeing the venue just made my day so much brighter! This venue is definitely one-of-a-kind. It was, at one point, a boarding school for girls and a convent. Then just a convent. Then a public site owned by the city. Now, it’s privately owned, and being used as a wedding venue among other things! There is also a Montessori school on site, as well as a senior center (both of which are closed on the weekends). It is such a unique space, but I knew going into the tour that the space I wanted to see was not the boarding school itself. No, the space I wanted to visit was the barn out back. It has been refinished to be weatherproof, include brand new bathroom facilities, and, here’s the kicker, comes with a rental of 12+ acres of land. Rolling, lush greenery is just outside the barn, and it is stunning! We both loved the feel of the barn, as it was not too country, but more on the rustic side of things. It has a concrete floor, comes with banquet tables and chairs for 160, and has a huge patio that overlooks the green space.

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Now, here is our Big Problem. This specific venue only holds up to 160 in the barn, and can fit an additional 100 seated on the patio. This is a bit of a concern for both of us; we already have a guest list topping out around 200, and even when we were visitng the venue, we were afraid that the inside of the barn looks just a tad bit small to fit 160 plus guests, a cake table, gift table, our couple’s table, the food, a DJ, and a dance floor. As much as I wanted to disagree with Zach, he was right. The interior is just a tad bit smaller than our guest list would need. But, there are options with this venue. We can use tents anywhere in the green space, and we can also use tent flaps on the sides of the patio. There are also two huge doors on either end of the barn that can open up to two parking areas. If we rented a dance floor and put the DJ out there, it would open up more space for seating. Basically, with this venue, we will either have to get creative, or get our guest list back down to the 120s. Both of which are options I am completely comfortable with.

Let’s hit the dollar signs at this point. I’m pretty sure by my discussion above you can guess what this venue includes:

  • venue space
  • tables and chairs for 160 (banquet tables only)

…and that’s it. Right on par with venue two, this venue offers only the bare minimum, which is not entirely a bad thing. As I’ve said, the only real con for this space is that it may not be big enough, and we both really wish it was. It is literally the perfect venue, gives us exactly the casual, rustic feel we want, and…its only a $-$$ price! It is right at the low to perfect end of our budget. We can’t come in the Friday before to set up, even if there aren’t events going on (unfortunately), but, we can rent the venue for the Friday before for half the price of the Friday price, which is already discounted! It really hits the nail on the head as far as our budget goes. Just for reference, here’s what we’d need to pay for in addition:

  • Catering (outside or preferred)
  • Servers (outside or preferred)
  • Beverages (outside)
  • Alcohol (provided by us, requires liquor liability license)
  • Ceremony space (if different from venue space)
  • Linens (outside or preferred)
  • Cake (outside)
  • DJ (outside)
  • Photographer (outside)
  • Extra tables and chairs (if needed, can be rented through venue)
  • Set up and tear down (free, but is family and friend labor)

It’s still very open, and although I thought the lack of a staging area for catering would be an issue, I’ve found a great number of caterers who are OK to cater to this venue. Which is good to hear for me. I think one huge pro for this venue with both Zach and my dad is that we can bring our own liquor. We have to get a liquor liability through the venue’s insurance, which is basically just a temporary liquor license, but it’s very cheap, and would help us save money on alcohol and also allows us to bring whatever drinks we want!

These last two venues are definitely exciting for us, because they have a bit more of the casual feel we both like for the wedding. It would be great if we could get the all-inclusiveness of venue number one in these two venues, but beggars can’t be choosers! We’ll have to see where we end up in a few weeks, when the date is chosen (!!).

For now, I’d love to hear your advice! Are there any unconventional venues that we wouldn’t have thought of that maybe we should try to find? Did you find any way of keeping the costs (and stress) low when you had to put together your entire team of vendors? I’d love to hear about it!

As always, I’m linking up for Wedding Wednesday!

Wedding Wednesday
Wedding Wednesday

Wednesday Talk

Grab a mug of coffee, a cup of tea, a glass of water, or a tumbler of whatever sounds good, and get ready for a Wednesday Talk!

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The three best friends that anyone could have!

[one] Spring break is here! Last week at around this time I was counting down the hours until my early break began, and now I’m in the middle of it all. I’m so glad to have this time to just relax and have me time! It’s amazing.

[two] I got to mark off another 101 in 1001 goal last week with an AMAZING concert with my two best friends and my best friend’s guy. It was absolutely incredible, amazing, wonderful, and it seriously left us all emotionally hung over for a few days afterwards. It was one of those opportunities we weren’t sure would ever arise again, and when it did, we hopped on. I still can’t believe it is already gone, but that night was absolutely the best.

[three] I finally (FINALLY!) got into some fun books this week. I seriously stomped through John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars (I laughed, I cried, and, well…I cried some more). It was INCREDIBLE. I honestly have no other words. I literally read the whole book in a matter of one evening, and I can’t wait to read it again. It is an immersing, intense, lovely, beautiful piece of literature, and I’m so glad I came upon it. In the works now is Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places, and I am SO PUMPED. Love her.

[four] Starting tomorrow, I am off work for a four-day weekend with my love! I am so happy he got to take off two days this Spring break and that we get to spend the days together. We have some small plans made; a stop at the tattoo shop (hello, goals!), some spring cleaning, and a well-deserved fun trip to Columbus! I can’t even begin with the excitement. I’M SO EXCITED I COULD DIE!

[five] My little sister is a teenager. And it scares me quite a bit. I’ll (hopefully) post on this in the future as well, but I’ll throw out some thoughts now as well. She is just so damn young! She is the most sweet, weird, innocent child I know, and I don’t want anyone (or any boys) taking that away from her. She is my monkey, and I can’t believe she is 13 now. Gonna go die now.

[six] For said teenager’s birthday, we went to see Mr. Peabody and Sherman. It. Was. Hilarious. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this enough in the past, but I am a child at heart, and this movie just got me. I laughed, I teared up at parts, and then I laughed even harder. Loved it!

[seven] Last week, my best friend and I had some well-awaited girl time. Honestly, the best morning/three straight hours I’ve had in ages. I loved it so much! I can’t wait until we get that time again. I cannot even explain how lucky I am to have the people I do in my life.

[eight] Also on the I-spent-last-week-with-my-best-friend and I-love-kids-movies list is Frozen. I watched it. I loved it. I wanna see it again. (Also, I want Sven. Please?)

[nine] As much as I am enjoying relaxing this week, I still have adult responsibilities to hit up. Taxes, FAFSA, and new tires. And two doctor appointments. Yippee? Blood drawn yesterday, other unmentionable tortures scheduled for tomorrow. Man, I love being a healthy, responsible adult. Except not. The fun part was getting my hair lobbed off this week! Pictures possible in the future…

[ten] The past week has just been straight. up. awesome. I am loving my life, and I am loving the adventures I get to take part in. I honestly can’t wait to see what’s up next!

Wednesday Talk

So today isn’t really going to be coffee fueled, but it isn’t a nightcap, either. I know some of you may be disappointed (if you are, just hold off on reading this until tonight when a drink is appropriate), but you’ll just have to hang with me for this one!

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[one] This week has felt like an eternity already, and I’ve neglected to post anything so far. While I don’t feel the need to make an excuse, I feel the need to explain. My sweet pup Ezzie passed away naturally on Monday evening. I wish that I could explain why this hurt so much, and I know there are a million ways to put it, but I’ll make it simple here. We got this beautiful girl when I was in middle school, a few months after my first dog, Rocky, was put down. She was a pound puppy (my family is big on rescues), very shy but sweet, and had a helicopter tail. They told us she was just under a year old. Last November, when she began to show serious, life-altering symptoms of arthritis, we took her to the vet and were quickly informed that our baby was actually middle-aged when we adopted her. While I began to feel angry towards the humane society we adopted her from, I still don’t think I could ever regret the choice our family made. She had come from a severely abusive home prior to our encounter with her, and she would continue to be shy for the rest of her life, but having a loving family made the remainder of her life well worth it. I’m just glad she was put in our family and that I got to love on her while she was here. She had been doing much better than she was in November, and I guess that made her passing such a huge shock to me. I love this pup so much, and my heart is still breaking, but I will continue to try to remember that she is in a much better place now.

[two] While that change in my life has been the main – and let’s face it, the only – concern in my life this week, I have also had to take some strides towards my impending graduation. Today was the Grad Salute at UK, which is just a huge way of saying “we put every vendor you need to graduate in a really stuffy basement”, so, like any intelligent graduate, I went! Free t-shirt, free water bottle, UK Alumni membership, graduation registration, student loan exit counselling, The Kentuckian yearbook, yearbook picture, AND cap/gown/tassel ACQUIRED. Mission accomplished.

[three] I spent the weekend with Zach and our friends, had the most awesome time ever, and sort-of, kind-of skipped most of my homework for the week…

[four] Midterms are rapidly approaching. And by rapidly, I mean I have three papers, three tests, and two projects due by the time I leave for Cleveland (which is in two weeks as of…today). If I don’t post for a while, at least you know why!

[five] Taxes. I really, really need to file my taxes.

[six] Zach and I are trying to figure out what to do as far as housing goes. As of right now, I’m at home with mom and dad. I love the rent-free zone, but I really want to see my man more than twice a week! Certain things need to happen before living together can happen (i.e. Rachael with a sparkly ring on said ring-finger), but it’s been really fun to brainstorm about the possibilities! And by possibilities I mean spruce up the current home that Z inhabits and make it our own, or continue to try to sell it and find a new apartment to call home!

[seven] Speaking of Cleveland up in number four, can I just say CLEVELAND HAPPENS IN TWO WEEKS?! Finally. I have been waiting for this since December. Can’t. Wait.

[eight] Also on the “can’t wait” list, Grandma is coming to visit in one month! Which also means graduation is just a little over two months away. SCORE.

[nine] This week’s mantra: “You can get through this. You WILL get through this. This isn’t as bad as it seems. YOU CAN DO IT.” How many times do I have to say it before I believe it or it comes true?

[ten] I’m really appreciating the friends and family that I have this week. During a really hard time in life, where situations arise, school consumes me, and my job seems to be finding the most random things for me to do CONSTANTLY, I have been able to turn around and find someone else standing there ready to ease the burden with me and help me breathe. I must be the luckiest person around!

A Day Unlike Any Other…

Today was going to be yet another day that I skipped over the blog. Or so I thought. I came home from the cold rain outside to a house full of Valentine wishes and chocolate; I came straight up to my room, adamant about not wanting to work out, and plopped myself in front of my TV. I forced myself to start my laundry after seeing the basket spill over onto my floor. After starting the first load, I pulled out a magazine (the February Self that I’ve been neglecting), cracked it open, and popped a few Kisses into my mouth. In between pages, I looked up to watch some TV, ABC Family to be exact. Two hours later, it occurred to me. In a flash of what I should call déjà vu, but won’t because déjà vu isn’t really what it means (thanks, Psychology classes), I remembered. I remembered one of the loneliest moments of my life. And really, I wasn’t miserable or anything, and I wasn’t really alone. It was my freshman year of college and I was sitting in my dorm room. This room, to be exact.

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Whoa, freshman year. Where’d you come from?!

Well, that’s not quite as exact as I thought it may be, but lets just say, I really wish I had stayed in room 353 with my best friend (Jess, I know you’re reading this!). So this is that room. This is the spot that I was sitting in exactly three years ago. February 2011. I was sitting in my dorm room alone, which was not a rare event. I really enjoy my introversion, OK? I was sitting in my room enjoying a night alone during the week of Valentines day. My friends on the floor were scattered around; some out with friends, others with their families. The lucky few were with their significant others, in town and out. I, however, was trying to avoid a crappy ex, and was pampering myself with indulgent TV, chocolate, and some magazines. It was only a month after I decided to reapply to the University of Kentucky; a month after I decided that the life I had created – and absolutely loved – was not quite what I needed. I loved living right down the hall from my best friend more than anything, in fact, it was probably the reason why I made it a year. But by the time I had to return to Ohio after spending a month at home, I wanted nothing more than to come back.

That night, I turned on The Last Song. I watched the movie in between pages of a magazine (probably Cosmo) and loads of laundry. I plopped a few pieces of chocolate into my mouth and savored my life as it was. I was probably a little down; my best friend and her long-time love were spending the weekend together, my roommate was, well, a little crazy, and I didn’t have many friends in town. I missed my family, I missed my friends from home, and more than anything, my silly heart ached for someone to call my Valentine. One year later? I met my Valentine and had the most memorable Valentine’s weekend of my life. Two years later, I can’t even recall what I did (yes, I know, this was only last year, but I really don’t remember what Zach and I did). This year? I found myself here.

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The view is pretty nice from here. 

Watching The Last Song. Reading a magazine. Switching the lights over to the dryer. Popping another Kiss into my mouth.But I am so much happier. I found my Valentine (hopefully my last one, too!). My best friend is a phone call away, but currently enjoying a night in with her guy (still going strong 3 years later). I have my family downstairs and my friends scattered around town, but I am just happy. The smallest things can change in 3 years, even if you find yourself exactly where you were before. No matter the irony, no matter the similarity in the situations, you are not the same person you were then. We all change, we all grow, we find new people, and sometimes we lose the old. And that’s ok. That’s just life. And today? Life is pretty damn good.