when friday rolled around last week, it had been an intense couple of days.
[thanks again for all of your sweet words of support, by the way]
i had been leaning on my Jesus for lots of love and lots of strength, and i was ready to put His promise that's gotten me through so much in these past few years in a place that i wouldn't soon forget it.
plus it just so happened to be the payday when i would have more than $20 to my name after paying all of my bills.

so, i got my tattoo!

it's french for "unfailing love".
Psalm 130:7 says "O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with Him is unfailing love".
as much as i know my parents love me, and ben loves me, and i am loved and supported by so many people, there's only one person that i know will always love me, no matter what.
people screw up. feelings change. friendships come and go.
but God's love, alone, is infallible.

so i wanted that reminder to always be there when i looked down at my arm.

and the french is because that's always been my language.
as much as i love the English language, i've felt at home with the French words that cross my tongue.
it's a reminder of my summer abroad, and also that the world is bigger than it seems.
there's more to life than my immediate problems, in this immediate area.
plus, it's pretty :)

so, there it is.
my new tattoo.
my new love.

an explanation

Pinned Image
from here

this is how i feel this week.

it's been a beautiful week with highs in the 70's every day and sunny, and i really do appreciate that. i love the fact that i can sleep with the windows open, that i've been able to wear sundresses and my favorite [read: only] wedges, and that when i go for runs, i can feel the sun beating down on my face.

but besides the weather, this week has been a mini shitstorm, of sorts.

i have a lot of school work to do, and after putting it off pretty much all semester, it's time to really get down to business. but instead of homework, i've been working all week. it's only been about 20 hours so far, but 11 of them are today. 11! on top of that, there's some [unnecessary] family drama, all because of wedding planning. what is it about weddings that bring out the crazy in some people? i mean, it's always been there, but everyone is 1,000x more sensitive when it comes to wedding junk. jeez louise.

i don't mean this to be a post full of complaining; i know you don't come here for that. i'm just trying to say that i'm getting there. the posting has been non-existent this week because i just don't have the energy. but i'll get around to it soon.

for now, i'm thankful for the few people i do have who i feel really and truly, 100% supported by. i'm cherishing those i can count on, and remembering that even when people & life are both big jerks, my God is there with his unfailing love.

have a sunny weekend

ben came home from texas last night!
the time apart was so nice, but i definitely missed the kid too.
so this weekend will be spent with him, catching up, making up for lost time, and also booking our honeymoon! bow chicka bow wow, jamaica, here we come!!!

here are some awesome things i've found around the internets lately to keep you occupied in case your city isn't going to be as warm and sunny and wonderful as Rochester is this weekend:

brilliant idea for how to keep natural light in your bed/bathroom while still maintaining some kind of privacy

the Loerke Burn Book is such a smart way of keeping all of the important grown up stuff in one easily accessible place

i want to make one of these adorable Pajama Eaters for myself

next time ben's gone for a long while [which will hopefully be never], i'm going to send him one of these messages in a bottle

i'm thinking about making this fabric backdrop for our ceremony.

loving all of these daily chalkboards that the Wedding Chicks put up every day.

i hope everyone enjoys their weekend! spring is in the air, so go enjoy it :)

the almost-perfect week

this week has been absolutely beautiful.
the sun has been shining, i haven't had to wear a coat in so many days, and i've just been happy.
i still have homework to do tonight since haven't touched it since my last class on last thursday, but that's okay. i'll be productive tonight and tomorrow and then when ben comes home tomorrow night (!), i will just spend my sunny weekend loving on him.

this is what my days have been:
-the sunshine always makes me so productive for some reason. i made lots of lists at the beginning of the week and i am SO close to crossing every single thing off. i don't know what i'd do without lists.

-one thing that was on my to-do list was laundry. just LOOK at this pile! i filled up my tall laundry hamper and then basically have a whole other one on top of it. the laundry was literally up to my eyeballs. after 3 weeks though, i'm on my last pair of good undies today, so i hauled it all down to the laundry room and did it. only 6 loads, no big deal. jeesh. someone remind me next time to make it a priority before i start wearing the same jeans for a week straight. [jk. i didn't actually do that. that's gross].

-my about, we fell in love, and daily reads pages are finally written and up! go check them out if you're new around here. even if you're not, i think this is the first i've really explained our love story on the blog, so go read up if you're into that kind of thing.

-tuesday marked 4 months until our wedding. 4!!! i should probably start some of those DIY projects, yeah? thankfully i have bridesmaids, friends, and family [especially a favorite aunt] who are so willing to help me out when the time comes. some of them may be more excited than i am, which is saying something.

-speaking of the wedding, we've been trying to figure out what's happening after the wedding. our plans are pretty much contingent on whether i get an awesome job or not, so job applications have been a big part of my life lately. i'm almost finished with the 10th application and then i think i will just wait and see what happens with those. after 10 applications, i'm certainly hoping something comes out of them cause let me tell you, i'd much rather be playing outside than at a desk inside, doing those. but i guess we do what we gotta do for our family. growing up is just not fun sometimes.

-lastly, i found the perfect engagement dress!!! lace and i went to get ice cream yesterday and the nearest place was in the mall, so we got some delicious cones and decided to walk around while we enjoyed them. we stumbled into Delia's, where i told the girl i was looking for a pretty dress, she showed me the rack, and bada bing, bada boom, i fell in love. i'm super excited about it, as you can tell by my exaggerated happy face in the picture on the left. it's colorful, comfy, modest, and flattering. a.k.a perfect. now we just have to figure out what benny's going to wear. suggestions are welcome!

that's all for today! i hope everyone has a wonderful thursday :) i may or may not be counting down the hours until i pick ben and his parents up from the airport. i know it's only been a week, but it's the longest we've been apart since his dumb deployment. i'm ready to spend my days with him again. especially since this weekend is going to be b-e-a-utiful!

engagement dress

you guys.
i am having the hardest time picking out what to wear for our engagement photo session.
the session is in a month, so it should be springy and beautiful outside and i want to wear a dress. i'm totally a dress girl, in case you couldn't tell.
however, when lacey and i went to the mall this past weekend, i could not find a damn thing i wanted to buy.
that's actually not true. i found a really cute skirt at Forever 21 that i bought and then i did buy a dress from there as well that i really liked.
and i still really like it.
but after lace took some pictures to send to ben and jessa to show them, i'm not convinced it's a dress that will look good in engagement pictures.
maybe i'm just putting too much pressure on one dang dress?
either way, will you help me?
this is said dress. it's white, it's flowy, i can wear a real bra underneath it, and it's everything i look for in a dress. but the bows on top of the straps freak me out. they're adorable in person, but i feel like maybe they look dumb in the picture from the front?
when i posted these pictures on instagram, some of you were super helpful [and nice!] and one of my friends suggested looking up youtube videos of how to tie certain bows and maybe that would help. i will certainly give that suggestion a try.
but what do you think?

there are other options, however. options online and options at target. i certainly prefer buying in person because my body is disproportional [read: i'm a busty lady], but i won't totally rule out buying online if it's the perfect dress.
i want it to be flattering and modest and boy-pretty.
does that make sense?

here are some options i've found that might stand a chance:
Sunny Days Yellow Dress
this dress is from Lulu's and it's certainly modest, probably flattering because of the belt, and i love the color. and i like the idea of sleeves, because april won't be super hot, but sleeves aren't necessary.

Xhilaration® Juniors Smocked Dress - Assorted Colors.Opens in a new window
this dress from Target is a cute print and it's an added bonus that i don't think i have any blue sundresses yet. i definitely like the pockets and the waistline, but the ruffles on top might make my boobs like bigger. i don't want to make them look any smaller, but they certainly don't need to be added to. my mother will tell you that.
Xhilaration® Juniors Sweetheart Skater Dress - Assorted Colors.Opens in a new window
this one, also from Target, is also super sweet. and i feel like the cut on top is adorable on. i could wear a real bra with it and the waistline right under the boobs has always worked for me. plus i love the color. my bridesmaid dresses will be shades of coral.
Xhilaration® Juniors Princess Seam Skater Dress - Assorted Colors.Opens in a new window
lastly, this one is from Target too and it's so sweet. i love the colors, i love the stripes, and the waistline is also perfect.

after looking at Ruche, Modcloth, and a bunch of other online shops, i wasn't too impressed with anything. the ones i did like were out of stock. of course. if you guys have any other ideas though, please feel free to link them in the comments. just remember that i like color and i don't like strapless. 
besides that, i try to be flexible.

which dress is your fave?
should i try for a new one or just stick with the original white one?
am i being a crazy person?
i'd be so thankful for your help.

girl's weekend in D.C

i decided that only 3 weeks later, it's high time i write about the weekend that my mom, sister and i went to Washington, D.C.
we went for my sister's volleyball tournament and it was so much fun.
i will now make up for a lack of my own photos in yesterday's post with a thousand and a half in this one.
get readyyyy.
pretty roadtrip sunset.
washington skyline from the hotel top floor.
there's the monument on the left!
jessa and i spent the first night in the hotel causing trouble.
we even got reprimanded by hotel security, who told us that our curfew was 11.
i don't think he realized that i was approximately 11 years older than him.
we went to some huge mall. it was overwhelming a little bit, but also awesome.
we modeled in the metro, with the wind from the trains blowing through our hair.
then there was a whole bunch of volleyball.
every time i mention volleyball in the rest of this post, think of a convention center with 69 courts on one floor and 30-some on the other, full of teenage girls in spandex shorts and their parents.
basically, a teenage boy's heaven [minus the parent part].
then to chinatown after the games for dinner. there was a poo-poo platter and dessert oranges.
 the next morning, we went to sight-see a bit before jessa's afternoon games.
mom and jess happily obliged for some pictures.
and they are too cute.
the Arlington Cemetery was haunting. as always.
then we slowly tried to make our way to Chadwicks in Georgetown because i had a blate! my mom and sister and i got lost many times, but it was worth it when i finally made it there and got to enjoy brunch with Megan [who took these photos]MelissaErica, and Whitney.
the lighting in there was not great, but these are all beautiful, funny, witty women. go make check out their blogs and make some new friends. 
you won't be sorry.
after this, i made my way back to the tournament all by myself [which was very surprising, all things considered], and we spent the evening there.
monday was more volleyball and then more sight-seeing once the tournament was done for good.
i love these women.
we stayed the night in some hilariously sketchy, cheap hotel and then visited Eastern University with my sister in the morning. she loved it. and we loved it for her. my little baby, growing up.
i can only imagine how my mom feels.
after the visit, we drove just a little bit so my sister could visit her [almost] boyfriend. mom and i left them alone to go on a little walk, and went to michael's while we waited. there, we encountered a little leprechaun choir. 
then once the lovebirds were officially dating and back from their walk, we all went to Chick-Fil-A to enjoy some delicious food and i made friends with the cow.

all in all, a successful long weekend.
a fun, sass-filled, love-filled, estrogen-filled weekend.

walking on sunshine

pardon me for the cheesy post title, but it's fitting.
this past weekend was won.der.ful.
as i think i mentioned before, ben left on thursday morning with his parents for spring break in Spring, Texas, visiting his sister and brother-in-law and a bunch of extended family.
as much as i miss the guy, it's been nice to have a weekend to myself doing all of the things that i kind of push aside when he's around. to be honest, spending time with him is my favorite thing to do, so even the other things i love kind of take a second place to that.

so, this was my weekend:
all from pinterest.com

friday was spent catching up on work hours that i called off from on Monday, but in between jobs, i went out to lunch at Olive Garden with one of my step-sisters. it was so nice to catch up with her, gossip a little bit, and eat all of the carbs i could fit into my stomach.
i actually got a headache that afternoon, so i left work early to come home, lay in my bed, and maybe take a little nap.
unexpectedly, i slept until well into the evening, but then spent the rest of the night reading blogs i hadn't had time for, watching old SNL reruns and browsing through a magazine or two.

saturday was so much fun. i went out to a little coffee shop breakfast with a friend and stayed there for 2 and 1/2 hours just catching up. when we got home, she and another friend came over and there was more catching up, SNL skit watching, and magazine reading.
i got my taxes done [woo big return!], then killed time while lacey finished up a movie, and then we went shopping!
the mission was to find a cute dress for ben and i's engagement photo session, but it wasn't as successful as i had hoped. more on that later this week.
regardless of how frustrating the actual shopping was, it was nice to spend time with lace. we're both so busy that we don't see each other much, even though we live together.
last night was much needed, including the lazy movie watching night we had when we got home.

then sunday was equally relaxing. i got up when my body woke me up, opened all the windows and turned on some Freelance Whales. i worked on things for this here blog for a long while, got ready, and met another friend for coffee [so much catching up this weekend!]. after that, i met up with my dad and we chatted for a while. then home to read outside in the sun, come inside when i got too chilly and read some more, blog a little, work out, and relax all night.

i've found that i enjoy my weekend so much more when i don't pretend to do homework the whole time. i told myself i wouldn't even look at my planner until monday morning [since i don't have classes until thursday this week], and it has been so relaxing. 
that combined with the sunshine, a bunch of extra time to myself, and quality time with a bunch of my favorite women has made for one of the best ben-less weekends i've ever had.
and that's saying a lot cause weekends are always the best.

the most important thing

Pinned Image
 from here

beautiful days like today make me so thankful for the life i've been given.
the trees are still bare and the earth still looks awfully brown, but the new life that spring breathes always seems to give me new life too.

and today, i'm so excited for the new life that i'm going to have soon.
just on Monday, i realized that it was the 2-month countdown mark until graduation.
i've been applying to grown-up jobs for after i get that diploma and also maybe an ice cream shop job or two for the little time between graduation and our wedding. i want to be able to have time for wedding crafts and enjoying my family, but i also want to be able to save up a little for our new family of 2.

we've been talking more about what life will be like after the wedding, and that's so exciting that i get tingles everytime i talk about it.
we looked at mattresses the other day. queen size! none of this tiny single bed crap that we've each slept on all our lives. we decided on a honeymoon place last night and i'm trying to decide on a dress for our engagement pictures.
but even with all of these fun decisions, we're definitely keeping it in mind that the most important decision we're making is each other.
we're choosing to promise ourselves to each other for the rest of forever and that's a big deal.
a big awesome deal.

and with all of this newness, this exciting future, i want to do it right.
to me, that means including Jesus in it.
but the thing is i don't want to just include Him.
i do that now: praying before i eat, humming worship songs to myself when i run, that kind of thing.
but it's not enough for me anymore.
i want Him everywhere. all the time. in my life more than anything else.
i want to turn to Him, our relationship to rely to Him, and pretty soon, our marriage to be built on Him too.
that's the most important thing to me.
it's a big step, going from an apathetic Christian to one who really is chasing after God. and it's hard to know where to start. it's intimidating.
but while ben is gone this upcoming week, i'm going to take time to figure out what a real relationship with God looks like to me, and then when he gets home, we're going to find a church that welcomes us and accepts us and feels like home.
Christ used to feel like home to me and i need to get back to that.
i want, more than anything, to get back to that.
from here

i just felt the need to pop in quick and say that i'm sorry i haven't been around much lately.
there's been mounds of homework and wedding planning and spending time with friends and ben.
he's off to houston for a week on thursday, so i have big plans to get things done this weekend.
some of those things are blogging, and writing my new "about me", "we fell in love", and "daily reads" pages up there, to bring all of you newcomers up to speed [welcome, by the way :)].

so i just ask for some patience.
go enjoy the beautiful almost-spring out there.
it's supposed to be almost 60 here on wednesday!

i'll see you guys soon.