little love letters.

as ben knows, i am a sucker for love letters.
i can never ever get enough.
so, at the inspiration of Mrs. Taylor, here are my own love letters.
i write them in my head all the time and even sing little songs about them, as my loving fiance makes fun of me for constantly, but now you get to share in the love too.
lucky you.

dear new blog design,
   you are perfect. you're clean and simple and pretty. you have my favorite colors and lovely fonts, and basically, i cannot get enough. your momma, Debbie, is funny and sassy, and now with awesome blog design skills as well, she's a triple threat.

dear running,
   i never ever though i'd say this, but i'm actually starting to like you. you give me alone time to just relax or time with ben to catch up on our days, and an opportunity to get outside and do something. i feel like i've actually accomplished something at the end of my workout and my body hurts the next day, but it hurts so good!

dear yoga pant/long tank top/cardigan combo,
  i can't get enough of you. you're my go-to for those mornings when i roll out of bed and just want to stay in my pajamas, but should dress up a little bit more for work. you save the day with your coziness disguised as semi-professionalism.

dear new sweet puppy belonging to my brother and his girlfriend,
  ahhh you're so cute! so soft and so playful and so loveable. you make ben and i consider getting a dog, even though we know it's not the best decision for us right now. for now, i guess i'll settle on rushing over to your mommy's apartment right after work so i can play with you a little bit.

dear sparkly ring,
  YOU'RE STILL SO SHINY! i love looking down at you every once in a while and getting flashbacks of that day about 2 months ago when benny asked me to spend my life with him. i have to give you up this weekend to get fixed and i.don'

dear Houston, TX,
  next week, ben and his parents are coming to you, but i will not be there. i'm super jealous. they get to experience your beautiful, warm, sunny days, the Houston Rodeo, including many awesome country singers, and also b & l, who already are some of the best in-laws a girl could ask for. it's not that i didn't want to come; it's all school's fault.

on that note, dear college,
  i'm over you. stop it with your homework and midterms and junk. i have better things to do, like spend time with my friends, plan our wedding, and apply to real life after graduation jobs. and have fun. only 2 months until you're over, praise the good lord above.

dear fiance,
  sometimes i catch you doing sweet things like practicing the guitar while i brush my teeth, making up your own dance moves to the songs in your head, or bringing me an extra Birthday Oreo from the cupboard. these things only make me love you more.

dreaming of our wedding day

Pinned Image
from here

i made the mistake of calling one of my favorite aunts during my work hours today to catch her up on wedding plans. the catching up part was wonderful, but i can forget about any hopes of getting actual work done this afternoon because it sent me into a tailspin of daydreaming.

i'm dreaming of a simple wedding that's built on love, supportive family, and pretty flowers.

i'm dreaming of a beautiful summer day with the sun shining and a little breeze, just enough to make that july heat bearable.

i'm dreaming of feeling the grass bend beneath my feet when i walk down the aisle towards my almost-husband, because i won't be wearing any shoes under that flowy white dress of mine. i've always felt more like myself when i don't wear shoes.

i'm dreaming of a ceremony full of promises, love, and laughter. and lots of kisses too. we'll never forget about those.

i'm dreaming of running back up the aisle, hand in hand with ben, as our friends and family all clap and cheer because we've done it! we're officially married!

i'm dreaming of a cocktail hour where friends catch up and strangers get comfortable with each other over a drink or two and some yard games.

i'm dreaming of newlywed photos in the glow of summer sun.

i'm dreaming of delicious BBQ food, refreshing ice cream sundaes, and maybe some bibs to keep everyone's fancy clothes spotless.

i'm dreaming of dancing all night with my best friends, the family that has always loved me, the family that i'm now married into, and the man of my dreams, now my husband.

i'm dreaming of the end of the reception, where only a few are left, and we look around and say "we've done it. what a perfect day". i'll kiss my husband, he'll help me into the truck, and we'll drive off in the moonlight, happily anticipating the rest of our lives.

i can't wait for july 13 so i can finally marry the man of my dreams.

my february

from here

from allie, this is my current february status:

current guilty pleasure: Birthday Cake Oreos. ben introduced me just the other night and now i can't get them out of my mind. [also, they don't actually cost $9 like they do on amazon. go to an actual store.]

current nail color: Explosive Creme. i know, what a dirty name.

current drink: i have been all about Crystal Light Raspberry Lemonade lately. yummm.

current food: anything besides pasta. college has made me so sick of pasta, which is something i never thought would be possible.

current favorite show: t.v isn't really my thing, but i've been keeping up with Glee this season. oh, Glee.

current wishlist: a pretty new dress for our engagement pictures. maybe this one or this one.

current needs: i'm pretty content right now :) i don't need a thing.

current triumphs: got all my laundry done today. that's a heck of a lot of laundry.

current bane of my existence: ben gets to go to beautiful, warm Texas next month and i'm stuck here in cold, gloomy new york. i'm jealous.

current celebrity crush: Ryan Gosling still. always. forever.

current indulgence: i'm still addicted to my iPhone, if that counts. i'm not sure that's what i should be spending my money on, but it's totally worth it.

current blessing: this february break has been just wonderful. relaxing and just perfect.

current outfit: oh, i am bumming it today. sweatpants, sweatshirt, and fuzzy socks all the way.

current excitement: ben and i have a big day today: our first premarital counseling session, an appointment with Triple A to book our honeymoon, and then a date night. i'm SO excited.

current mood: perfectly content. thankful.

current link: zac efron dropping something not-so-parent-approved on the red carpet. my favorite is when he has to turn away to laugh.

baby, i'm back

we got home from D.C late last night!
it was such a fun trip, but so tiring too.
all 3 of us are taking today to recover, then we gotta unpack and get back to business.
business being february break still.

i'm over at ben's making up for the time we spent apart this weekend, but he had to run out quick to take a test at school.
stinks to be him cause this week is not his break.
but when he has his in march, he's going to texas [warm texas] with his family, so i can't really gloat too much right now i guess.

i'll do a recap post later this week, but for now, i just wanted to leave you with this picture of us ladies. we're a little haggard, but jessa had been playing volleyball all day and mom and i had been just sitting around, watching. which is fun and all, but tiring in a different way. 
but it was such a fun girls weekend. i'm glad i decided to tag along.
oh, and also this succession of pictures.
our weekend was spent laughing.

love my family.

gone for the weekend

well folks, it's officially spring break!
even though it's not exactly spring here in Rochester, my school has always decided to give us a week off in the middle of the cold, rather than wait until it's a little nicer, like normal schools do.
if i was rich, i'd probably go back to the riviera for the week.
but i'm not, so i won't.
regardless, i'm going to enjoy it.

i'm headed to D.C with my mom and sister for a long weekend to spend some quality time.
jessa is playing in some big volleyball tournament, mom is going with the team to chaperone, and i decided to tag along.
volleyball will be the main focus, but we're also going to find time for some prom dress shopping for jessa [but umm, when did my little sister get old enough to go to prom?], visit a college she's looking at [college?! don't even get me started on college], and i'm skipping a game or two to meet up with megan and a few others for brunch!
it's gonna be such a good weekend.

here are a few awesome things to keep you company while i'm gone:

- a beautiful memory, beautifully written as always
- a kick ass aqua leather clutch that is definitely on my wishlist
- this pretty blog always has incredible pictures
- a pretty dry erase board DIY that is cheap, easy, and will make to-do lists a whole lot prettier
- the perfect gift for people who don't want to forget
- a laid back hairstyle i could only dream of doing to myself
- the perfect wedding

as always, you can follow me on twitter or instagram [wildchild_jack] cause while i'm making the conscious decision to leave my latop behind, i will definitely not be leaving my phone behind.
hope you have a wonderful weekend!

our valentines

i told ben i'd take care of our activities for valentine's day.
coming from a girl who LOVES surprises, i think i was maybe a little more excited than he was, but i know that he couldn't wait either.

when he got to my apartment, there was a note waiting for him on my front door.
it was a sweet little scavenger hunt!
i sent him around campus to all of the places that were important to us, with a little love note left at each place.

then after traipsing around in the cold for a while, he ended up back at my place, instructed to knock on my bedroom door.
when i told him he could come in, this is what he saw:
i had built a fort!
we always talked about making one of these, so i decided why not.
and i made a little "be mine" banner and hung that up in there too.
when he came in, i greeted him with a kiss and some homemade quesadillas.
we spent the night snuggled up, watching one of his favorite movies and talking about the love notes we'd written each other.

it was our only valentine's day spent together as engaged people and it was just perfect.

love day

valentine's day is my 3rd favorite holiday.
after christmas and my birthday, i'd say that v-day is the one that i love celebrating the most.
because, in case you haven't noticed around here, i love love.
i love the love between a couple, the love between parents and kids, between siblings, friends, etc.
all of it.

seeing people love each other is something i can never get enough of.
and this day is an extra special day to make your favorite people feel loved.

so i'm running around trying to get things ready for a surprise valentine's day extravaganza that i'm throwing for ben, on top of the fact that i have class all day and piles of laundry to do.
and anything i'd have to say would be extra-mushy and you've already heard it.
so, i'm just here to say happy day of love from me and my valentine :)

go show someone how much they mean to you.

in love in the country

it is winter, yes.
for a few more months, actually.
but this is going to be the first summer that ben's around in 3 years.
the dumb air force took him from me the past 2 summers.
so this will be first summer we get to spend together since that summer we fell in love.
and holy moly, i can't wait.

"I want to fall in love with you in the country.
Car rides with the windows down, barefooted in the grass during a rainstorm.
I want to pick my fruit from local orchards knowing we will feed each other unselfishly.
I want to hike with you like I haven’t with anyone else. 
Big kitchens with space for us to dance while cooking dinner. Hearty meals of pasta, or chili. Fresh veggies from our raised beds.
Holding your hand as we stroll through barns filled with antiques.
Our stories wouldn’t be written in concrete but in moments spent in nature.
Bonfire nights when I would snuggle against you telling you secrets. Not caring about open curtains, waking up to slide into your shirt. Pulling on boots and walking to let the dogs out.  Finding you meddling or working or building.
Nights inviting our city friends to camp in our back yard. Traded stories about love, our love. I want to fall in love with you anywhere, but I can feel the love we would have in the country."
-found here

under construction

so i googled "sexy male construction worker" in hopes of finding some sexy man to put on here to let you all know that this blog here is currently under construction.
most were mildly appropriate but not that attractive, some were very inappropriate, all were disappointing.
but i figured since that was now in my search history, i might as well make the most of it, right?
this was the best i could do while still keeping it g-rated:

there was also this, but they don't even look like they're working.
i like a man who's not afraid to get dirty.

moral of the story: i changed it up a little bit around here cause i was sick of how it looked, but pretty dang soon, i will be getting a legit makeover thanks to a blog design giveaway by debbie on jeni's blog. 
get ready for something awesome.
even more awesome than hot construction workers.


summary of my relaxing Saturday:

ode to common things

tonight, i'm thankful for beautiful words. in many forms.

for a fiance who loves me very much, and i him.

for sunny, beautiful days, and moon lit nights.

for the little things, like new plates, a good bowl of oatmeal and the idea of new initials.

 i'm just thankful for my beautiful life.
thankful to be alive and thriving and loving it.

wedding diaries: asking my girls

one of the first real wedding projects i decided to work on was asking my girls to be in our wedding.

ben and i went back and forth about even having a "wedding party" because of the number of people it'd include, how are we supposed to pick our favorite people, etc., but these girls have stood by my side through every part of my life: of course i'd want them standing by my side when i make one of the most important promises of my life.

there are 10 of them, total.
i know that 10 girls is a heck of a lot of bridesmaids, but all of these girls are so important to me.
you'll never remember them, or even understand who they all are probably, but for those of you who care, here's my lovely line up:
jessa= my maid of honor= my sweet little sister and best friend
jenn= my brother's girlfriend
alicia= my step sister
meg= another step sister
bethany= ben's big sister
rachel= ben's other big sister
max= my best friend from high school
lacey= my best friend here at school and also my roommate
 [you might know her from the proposal story]
miranda= awesome college friend
chelsea= another awesome college friend

 i wanted to make their "invitations" special, so this is what i did: 
paperdoll chains
letter [telling them what they mean to me, explaining details of the wedding, and officially asking them] 
paint chips to show them the options of colors for their dresses.

i failed to get a final picture, but i bundled them all up in manilla envelopes, drew their name and a big heart, and handed them over [or mailed them when necessary].

and please, let it be know that without jenn [see list above], this project would not have been completed.
it takes a lot of time and a lot of patience to make a 10 girl paperdoll chain for 10 bridesmaids.
[that's 100 dumb little dolls, in case you were too lazy to do the math]

so, there they are!
if you just came to see the pretty pictures and have no interest in making such dolls, stop reading now.
i'm warning you: it's long and not that interesting if irrelevant to your life.
but for those of you who wish to do something like this for your girls,
here is a quick little how-to!

you'll need:
-12x12 scrapbooking [or other such sturdy] paper
-a pencil with a good eraser
-scissors that are sturdy enough to cut through layers of said sturdy paper
-a gluestick or hot glue gun, if you're fancy
-colored pencils or crayons in the shades of your bridesmaid dresses and their hair
-a small bridal party or a whole day, a whole lot of sedatives and some helping hands

how to do it:
1) i failed at getting a picture of this step, but you have to determine how many girls you want to fit on one sheet. i used white 12"x12" scrapbook paper for this project, cut in half horizontally, so on a 12x6 sheet of paper, we could fit 5 girls. you determine this by folding the paper like an accordion 4 times, in chunks big enough to fit a normal-looking doll. *i'm sure that i'm not describing this step well enough, so if you want to make these and have a question, please feel free to e-mail me. 

2) next, draw an outline of a doll on the top accordion sheet, using pencil, making sure that her arms extend all the way to the sides of the paper. *PLEASE see step 6 before you move on*. then while the paper is still folded accordion style, cut those little dolls out! be careful to not ever cut down the sides of the papers, or else your dolls will all end up unattached. this is what they should end up looking like:

5 dolls, all attached, looking all pretty [except for a stump arm on the one end]

3) you now need to repeat this step for as many paper dolls as you need. this is the [first] tedious part. we traced the outline of the first girl on every subsequent sheet of accordion-folded paper, so that all of the girls would end up looking the same. for us, we had to make a set of 10 dolls for 10 girls. but since the paper would only make 5 girls, we needed 2 sets for each girl. that meant 20 times folding, tracing, and cutting, if i'm not mistaken [so much math!]. this is what my living room looked like with all of that crafting going on, and that was our final pile of naked girls:

4) because i have 10 bridesmaids, i needed to put the 2 sets of 5 together to make one long chain of paperdolls. this is where the gluestick comes in:  grab 2 sets of dolls, line them up so they're even, and glue one end of each set together. *if this step doesn't make complete sense, you'll understand in the next step's picture.

5) next, you need to color in your bridesmaid dresses. i'm choosing to let the girls wear whichever dress they wish in any of those above shades of coral. it's an outdoor summer wedding, so we're shooting for short sundresses in varying styles, but we'll see what we end up with. pick the correct colored pencil/crayon and have at it. color in the dresses in whichever color and style you're going to have your bridesmaids wear. i varied between 2 shades of pink, just for simplicity's sake, but i was still drawing a different style dress on each girl. so yes, i colored 100 different dresses. and yes, i was ready to shoot myself. this is what they should look like, all colored with their pretty dresses:

if war came, i was ready with a paperdoll army.

6) next, the hair! this step caused some confusion for us, also frustration, and maybe some swear words. we realized that bald dolls were not the prettiest, so we had to go through and make 100 hairs for each girl. hindsight is 20/20: draw the hair onto the girls in step 2. you'll still have to go through and color the hair separately, but at least you won't have to cut, color and glue all the hairs. make sense? so... jenn drew an outline of hair [on computer paper this time], traced 100 hairs and cut them all out. she's such a sweetheart.

7) color all the little hairs. i decided to do it according to my bridesmaid's hair color, so i have all brunettes except 1 blonde [who happens to be jenn]. this step is a pain in the patooshka. but if you want your girls to not look like little old sickos, it's necessary. suck it up and color the hairs. this is what they will look like in the end:

they look like weird little blobs now, but it will all make sense in a minute.

 8) glue said hairs to the back of each girl's head. make sure you center the hair so it doesn't look too crazy or too big [unless you're into that sort of thing]. we decided to just glue first and then decide who was who later. my only exception was to just make sure that the first girl was brunette, for my brunette sister maid of honor. this is what the almost-completed girls will look like:
my little bridesmaids

9) lastly, i wrote everyone's names on the bottom of their dresses. i wanted everyone to know who everyone was, so that's what i did- jessa was first, jenn was the blonde, and everyone else just kind of fell into place. this was the final product! 

like i said, it took a lot of time.
jenn and i were ready to cut the dolls up into little tiny pieces by the time we were too far into the project to go back.
it's tedious.
but i totally think it was worth it.
i love how they turned out.
the girls all said they loved them too.
and in their letters, i told them if they threw these dolls away anytime soon, i would kill them.
and i was serious.
for any of my bm's reading this, i expect to see these on your fridge next time i come over.

then during football the next afternoon, i wrote each of my girls a letter, tucked it into their packages with the dolls and the paint chips, and off they went.

that is the story of how i asked each of my friends to be a bridesmaid in our wedding.
they each said yes, in case you were wondering.
all ben did was say "hey, wanna be in our wedding?" and they all said yes too.
dumb boys.

cheap love

today is february 7th, which means valentine's day is in a week!

but, if you have a significant other and you're like most of my friends/enemies/people i follow on twitter, you have no idea what to get and/or do for that person for the big day.
not that it's really a big day, but it is an extra day to show someone how much you love them.
and we can always use that.

well, one of my professors has got you covered.
she and her husband just wrote an e-book of 101 Cheap Date ideas.
and it's free, y'all!

Carrie and Erv Starr wrote a book over the past few years, published this summer, called Cheap Love: Living and Loving on Less, all about exactly the stuff it says.
these people are such good stewards of their money and they're more in love than any married couple i've met.
and now Carrie has a blog about it, they speak at conferences, do couples coaching, have this whole empire about it.
Ben and i got the book for Christmas, it's awesome, go get it if you want.

but back to the point of this post:
that list of cheap dates is awesome.
i'll be using one or more of these to plan a secret v-day date for loverboy.
carrie and erv saved the day :)
to get the list, you have to go to their last post and just sign up for an e-mail subscription.
it's definitely worth it.
and so is their book.

so go, get free date ideas, support a local couple in their dream if you'd like.
Cheap Love is funny and witty and so helpful.
and so are the sweet people who wrote it :)

the first

i die.  
source unknown & from here

happy february first.
one of my favorite months of the year, for obvious reasons.