on the 12th day of christmas

12 Days of Christmas, 12 Days of Gratitude starts now.

The past 12 years have been very kind to me. I've...

  • Gotten my drivers license 
  • Had my first kiss
  • Graduated high school 
  • Rocked out at some kickass concerts
  • Learned a lot from a few bad relationships
  • Made it through college with a little help from my fabulous friends
  • Traveled to 2 new continents
  • Made my way through 3 jobs at 3 great companies
  • Married the love of my life
A lot can happen in 12 years. In 1999, I was your average 15-year old, unsure and awkward. Although I'll never fully accept the title of "grown-up," I really do enjoy being 27. So thankful for the life I have today, and all the people who have helped me get to this point.


top 40

Difficult to pick favorites with so many lovely photos to choose from, but here are 40 of the top shots. Thanks to Ali Harper for her photography skills — and of course, huge thanks to our family and friends for being such a wonderful, warm, loving and lively crowd!

You'll have to forgive the formatting here, since none of the photos want to line-up. For the full library, venture on over here.


november so soon?

Earlier today I about had a meltdown in the middle of Pottery Barn when I found out half the things we'd put on our wedding registry were no longer available, including the plates that we already own half a set of.

I could feel myself turning red and I was swearing like a sailor, barely under my breath. Ryan had every reason to walk away and let me throw a temper tantrum on my own. But he didn't. He stayed, and he let me vent, and he talked me out of making several bad decisions like:

  • Buying other plates I didn't like just to get it over with, or
  • Knocking over all the displays in the store
After my "Italian temper" (his words) fizzled out, we detoured to Cheesecake Factory for snacks and a beer, so that the trip wouldn't be a complete bust.

Did I overreact? Yes. Do I feel a bit silly about it now? Yes. Am I lucky to have a guy that understands me better than I understand myself sometimes? Truly.

So instead of writing an angry email to Pottery Barn, I decided to make a list of everything that made me smile this weekend. Cheers to changing leaves — and attitudes.

Friday night downtown dinner date
chilly but sunny Fall weather
sleeping in
Dunkin Donuts
a full refrigerator
take-out pizza
college football
cuddling on the couch
good red wine
Georgia winning
South Carolina losing
a clean house
and a husband who helps clean it


like an ice cream cone

Starting a new job is an awful lot like trying to eat an ice cream cone on a warm Fall day. When you're first handed the cone, you're trying to pay, and get napkins, and keep it upright all at once. Then you're frantically licking to keep it from melting all over the place, or to keep it from rolling off.

You're so focused on controlling the cone that it's hard to just enjoy the ice cream. You can't help but think a cup would have been so much easier.
But you know that, eventually, you'll get the hang of it. You'll be able to take a breath without chocolate dripping all over your hands. Sooner or later.


all's fair in love

When we got engaged last August, I had no interest in taking engagement photos. But then, a few weeks ago, I changed my mind. The state fair had come to town, and there are few things in life I love more than fairs — the fried dough, the corndogs, the candy apples, the lights, and especially the people-watching.

Thinking back to last summer, I had this vivid memory of being at the fair with Ryan. It was a Friday night, and as we got off the Scrambler (the one ride I insist on riding every year), he spun me around in a pirouette, and we were belly-laughing and too dizzy to walk straight. I wished that I had a photo of that moment to match the snapshot in my mind. And then — Eureka! Why not take engagement photos at the fair?

I contacted a local photographer with the last-minute request; she agreed and offered August 20th as a possible date — which just so happened to be the one-year anniversary of our engagement. The rest, my friends, is history.

P.S. As someone who doesn't like taking center stage, this really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Instead of doing the people-watching, we were the people-being-watched. But I think it was good practice for our wedding day, and I was surprised at how everyone sort of faded into the background when I just focused on Ryan.