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Six Months Ago

I was in the living room of my high school best friend, spending time with my Maid of Honor and her mother. It was late, rainy, and my feet were tired from breaking in my wedding shoes. The rehearsal dinner was filling, the coffee and dessert afterward was the perfect “Welcome Home” to Portland.

Six months ago was my last day under my maiden name, my last day before tying myself to my best friend for forever. I was nervous, excited and hopeful. We spent the whole night talking about you and I.

Nineteen months ago, we met. When I met you, I wasn’t planning to fall in love. I wasn’t even looking for a new best friend, but you changed all that. The attraction was electric and unexpected.

Here we are now with our future at our feet. Six months and yet it feels like an eternity. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love you. There’s not a single place on this Earth other than in your arms that I would rather be. Families blended, friends were made and two lives have been joined. You make me want to be better, for myself and for you. Your voice can light up my whole heart and soul with one word. You are my peace of mind when I’m caught in a storm. You really are the half of me that is better.

We’re not perfect, and we both make mistakes. Sometimes I say the wrong thing, and sometimes you just don’t understand. But we’re silly, and always each others’ best friend. We continue to grow together and discover new things about one another. I can’t imagine a life without you and soon, these six months will be a year, and then that year will turn into twenty. I don’t know where we’ll end up or how life will go, but I’ll be by your side and you’ll be at mine.

Six months ago,

my life changed forever, for the better.

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Moving: A Beauty and a Beast

 You stop at the local café for that perfect chocolate croissant and then realize that after you leave, they will be few and far between. You park in your usual spot at work that overlooks the sun rising over the Bay, and notice it looks more spectacular that usual. You go to grab something from its usual place in your home, until you remember it’s already been wrapped up and packed away. Goodbyes start being said and the reality sets in.

 

Maybe you grew up here, and a new life chapter has presented itself to you, so you’re flying the coop. Maybe you’ve been here for a short time but you’ve rapidly fallen in love with it. Who knows? Sometimes it can feel like this place is all you know, like it’s been a lifetime; only to realize it’s been a short year and a half. Surrounded by the beach, the city lights, the valley, the culture, the life—you take the little things just a little more seriously. Coworkers and friendships have influenced you, unbeknownst to your conscious being. Even the mere thought of leaving these people, who have become your family, is a scary one.

 

Until you think about next week, next month, and all of the nexts that are lying at your feet. It’s exciting because you don’t know what they will be. You could stumble across an even better chocolate croissant, in an even more perfect café. You could meet the newest addition to your friendship circle. They might love your soul, your humor, or your spirit—maybe even all three. You are an adventure to everyone else, with stories to recount and people to tell about.

 

 I hear there are people who actually enjoy moving. Sounds like a disease to me – they must be unstable. Though it does have it’s poetry, I’ll allow that. When an old dwelling starts looking desolate, a mixture of regret and anxiety comes over us and we feel like we are leaving a safe harbor for the rolling sea. As for the new place, it looks on us with alien eyes, it has nothing to say to us, it is cold.

Jan Neruda, Prague Tales

 

The future will always be scary—because the future is the unknown and the unknown is scary. But when you look at your present, what will soon be your past, you have to accept the good and the bad. This makes the future seem worthwhile. And what’s waiting for you on the other side might be even greater than you know.

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Life

Hello, Gorgeous.

 

Okay fine, I’ll accept that I’m not Fanny Brice (but a girl can dream, right? Rachel Berry does it…)

Or Ariel for that matter… What the heck, I’m blonde…

Anyway, it’s been a while. And by while I mean more than two months because apparently when a gal gets married these days, blogging no longer matters.

WRONG.

Just a little update:

  • I have a husband! HUSBAND. I mean he’s heading to our next base in 9 days, but who’s counting? (hint: me)
  • I’m working hard to get my fitness and nutrition in check (and by hard, I mean with the occasional cookie).
  • I finally quit smoking.
  • My husband (still can’t get over that word) and I replaced our Camel Menthol Silvers with these babies

PS, iTaste did not endorse me to say this, but, THESE ARE THE GREATEST INVENTION EVER. If your idea of an E-Cig is the crappy gas station ones that die after three days, I’m here to change your mind. There are endless flavor choices and you can gradually lower your nicotine intake. But hell, if I’m not smoking chemicals, I’m totally okay with being addicted to nicotine for the rest of my life. TheVaporChef has flavors like Nutella, Butter Beer and ‘Unicorn Poop’. I have only one word for these things — AMAZEBALLS.

You’ve probably read that my beautiful co-writer, Lyss, and her husband are expected a little peanut this Fall. I’m beyond excited for them! But we also found out we won’t be together when school is over, so that’s a bummer.

I’ll keep this short and sweet. I’m going to start blogging regularly again because my hobby habits are at an all time low. What’s a girl to do when she only has a week left with her new Hubby and will be apart for the first time since tying the knot?

Aside from that, life is good. I’m happy, healthy and excited for the new chapter in my life– and can’t wait to take you all with me.

Until next time, Gorgeous.

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Something Old, Something New

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…you know how the rest of it goes.

A woman’s wedding is supposed to be the peak of her entire life. She finally found someone who wants to spend forever with her and her parents want to shell out the equivalent to a down payment on a house to make sure everyone and their brother knows about it. What’s the big deal? Aren’t a cute sundress and the courthouse all you really need to start the rest of your life with another human being? Apparently not. 

(This article is out of humor, and I appreciate every last detail my parents planned and paid for. They gave Jason and I a night that we will remember for the rest of our lives and we are eternally grateful. Love you guys.)

 

I mentioned some of these things before in my “What I’ve Learned After Getting Engaged” article, but after having experience them, I felt it necessary to repeat a few of them, and add in a few other wedding-tidbits.

Hair and Makeup Appointments = HASSLE 

I had a friend of my from high school do my bridal hair (shoutout to Whitney Nhor if you’re reading this girl, you rock) and my Maid of Honor came with me to get her’s done by another lady at the salon. First of all, I didn’t even know how I wanted my hair like a week before the wedding. I made my appointment five days prior to the big day and everyone kept calling me crazy. Originally, I wasn’t even going to pay someone to do it for me! Anyway… So I’ve mentioned before that I am a 90-year-old woman when it comes to Pinterest, right? Jason’s best friend Natalie (thankfully) showed me some of the ins and outs so I could find some good ideas that wouldn’t make me look like I was going to the 2002 Junior Prom. We decided on:

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And obviously, we got to the salon and my hair was not cooperating with the idea of a waterfall braid. I didn’t mind switching up the plan to make sure we had enough time, but Whitney was determined. My stubborn locks finally let her weave magic onto my head and it turned out GAW-JUSSSSS. Meanwhile, Trish (MOH) was sitting in the chair next to me and this old, Eastern-European woman was giving her an updo fit for the Queen of England—and I don’t mean expensive and elegant, I mean old looking and too put-together. My beautiful best friend had just been turned into a poodle. We all just laughed at the situation and she just accepted that it would fall out and look more natural over the course of the morning. Let’s back track a little bit—I forgot clothes for that morning. I stayed over at Trisha’s house after the rehearsal dinner and in my brain, I was wearing my wedding dress the next day so obviously I didn’t need clothes. Except for the 7 hours prior to the wedding that I had to be in public! She is about five inches shorter than me and a few sizes smaller, in clothes and shoes. We ended up finding a pair of yoga pants and a jacket (that I wore without a shirt under it) and a pair of flip flops that were 2 sizes too small. Fast forward back to the salon—Trisha’s hair was finished and poor Whitney was still trying to tame my unruly hair into a Pinterest-perfect “do”. I couldn’t bear to wear those sandals any longer so Trish sprinted to Old Navy and bought me a plain, white pair of their classic flip flops (my mom pointed out that this will be an awesome memory and I HAVE to keep them, so I did).

Thanks to my insane head of hair, we were a little behind schedule getting to Nordstrom’s for my makeup appointment with MAC. Of course, traffic had to be all backed up on the day of my wedding. I rush into the store and get a seat; where I wait for over half an hour before a drop of product even touches my face. The girl comes back and covers me in primer and then disappears, this time for nearly 20 minutes! WOMAN DO YOU UNDERSTAND I HAVE A WEDDING TO GET TO AND IT HAPPENS TO BE MINE?! I understand it was two days before Christmas but damn it, I had an appointment and kind of wanted to feel important. After whatever shenanigans she was getting into, she finally comes back and I show her what I had in mind:

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So her nimble little hands get to work and less than 20 minutes later she hands me a mirror and I see this:

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All right, I can dig it.

Before I know it, both of my soon-to-be sister in laws show up and are waiting on me. Little did we know, traffic was getting worse by the minute and we were still 10 miles away. We finally get to the venue (only 10 minutes late, no biggie) and my mom and grandma were awaiting us in the Bridal Suite with champagne. Blah blah blah, getting into my dress and shoes and jewelry and veil and that entire snow queen garb. The best part, however, was my grandma giving my great grandmother’s blue floral handkerchief to pin around the stem of my bouquet, it was beautiful.

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The preparation was stressful, the big day was exhausting, the reception was beautiful and full of my favorite people, but all I can say is that we were both happy for it to all be over and get the chance to enjoy some time at home together as husband and wife (still getting used to using those words). Take it from me when I tell you that nothing wedding-wise will ever turn out as planned but it won’t matter because the most important thing is that you’re creating a new lifetime with the coolest person in the world—and that’s that.

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Life

Confessions of a Wander Luster

People all throughout time have found passion and desire that come with international travel. Discovering new cultures, languages, food and sights has become one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever known. Not including vacations to the Caribbean with my family, most of the exploring I’ve done was in Germany. Connecting with my Western European roots and being on my own as a teenager was mesmerizing and now in my 20s, want nothing more than to continue on the road less traveled.

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My grandmother grew up in a very small house in an East-Berlin neighborhood. Her cousins lived down the street and they grew up with ration cards and limited garden space. My great grandma (we called her Oma) was the OG of single moms. How many women do you know that raised 2 kids on her own in post-WWII Germany? Probably not that many. Not to mention, the East side of the wall was not the place to be after the war. That part of the city has changed drastically since then. My grandma has been back, my mom has been back, and so have I. There are car dealerships, grocery stores, parks and boutiques. But the original cobblestones are still laying in the Straßen (streets) and you can still walk down to the Rewe to get groceries.

I knew exactly how I wanted to spend my life—exploration. Let’s be real, it’s 2013 and airlines love to charge the equivalent of a down payment on a new car to get one person across the world. Ain’t nobody got time (or money) for that. So naturally, I joined the Air Force. Little did I know, I ended up with a job that has the longest training and after more than a year, I have yet to see the world—with the exception of San Antonio and Monterey.

These are the confessions of my guilty pleasures.

 

Castles

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Dillenburg & Schloss Sanssouci are two of my favorite spots in the entire country to walk around. Hundreds of miles apart and completely different styles of buildings, I can appreciate the beauty in both. Dillenburg (top picture) is a very classic Prussian style castle. There are hidden passageways, winding stairs and rooms that were dedicated to crown jewels. Schloss Sanssouci (bottom picture) was obviously heavily influenced by the Italians. It literally feels like you leave Berlin and step into Sicily.

Being in two places at once

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As weird as this sounds, it is such a cool feeling. An iron and brick laden track runs throughout the city of Berlin to indicate where the wall used to stand. I always love to stand with one foot in each sector, no matter how old I get. The Berlin Wall separated Germany’s capitol for almost 30 years and it’s insane to me how different both sides of the city used to be, while currently being unidentifiable.

 

Spaghettieis

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I don’t know why this particular dish is such a big deal to me. Maybe because it’s not something I can buy or make while at home in America? It tastes just like every other ice cream sundae—yet somehow it isn’t. Compiled of vanilla ice cream “noodles”, strawberry compode “marinara sauce” and white chocolate “shaved parmesan”, adults and kids fawn over this stuff; and for good reason.

Cathedrals

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If you’re German, you’re either Catholic or Lutheran (or a Turk who’s family moved here from Istanbul and are a practicing Muslim, which is totally cool too). The gothic architecture of the southern parts of Germany are completely different from the romantic buildings of the North; both equally as beautiful. I can’t get enough. The Köln and Berliner Dom are definitely my favorites.

Bars

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Okay, obviously I think this is the best part because I’m not old enough to drink in America—but it’s not even to go out and get drunk. Having the ability to go out to dinner with friends and family and ordering a vintage wine, local stout or handcrafted cocktail is what I enjoy. I have a better nose for drinks than most people my age (outside of raspberry Smirnoff and lukewarm PBR). And let’s take a minute to appreciate Sky Bar that sits atop the 18th floor of one of the city’s skyscrapers and has panoramic windows for sightseeing. I did so while sipping a strawberry & balsamic martini—yum.

 

Family

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My parents have been divorced since I was in the first grade and we spent most of my childhood moving around. Until my brothers, mom and I settled in WA State, we hadn’t lived around family for a long time. When I’m in Berlin, so much of my family is within walking distance (or a short S-bahn ride). My Uncle Berndt owns a restaurant 3 blocks away from his house (where I usually stay with him and my Tante Hannelore) and I could stay there and drink beer late into the night just chatting; and I have. Plus, they have so many stories to tell and always have coffee and kuchen ready for me, how could I not love being around them?

 

Olympic Stadium

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I’m sporty. I like to watch sports, play sports, and read about them. Granted, Germany hasn’t had the best luck with hosting the Olympic Games. In the 30s, the Nazi regime held back colored athletes. In the 70s, there was a terrorist attack and athletes were kidnapped. But standing at the doors of some of the world’s most talented athletes is overwhelming. The structure of the building and vibe it gives off is just plain awesome.

Beach

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When you think of traveling to Europe, not everyone’s first thought is going to catch some rays. But everyone forgets the Baltic Sea; I like to call it the hidden treasure. Germany has an equivalent to Jersey Shore where 20-somethings go to Rostock and party 24/7. I spent some time at Warnemünde and day dream about going back all the time. Drinking beer and napping in the sand; it doesn’t get much better.

 

Tennis

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I had literally never once picked up a racket until I went back to Germany last summer. My grandma’s cousin Gerde and her husband Peter (the most adorable elderly couple in existence) have been part of the Berlin Tennis Club longer than I’ve been alive. They both have a killer serve and my Uncle Peter spent 4 hours last summer giving me some basic lessons.

Go out and experience things for yourself. These are some of my favorite spots, but don’t limit yourself. I have so many countries that I want to visit once I have the time. 

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Life

Mutti, Madre, Mère

We had to translate a sentence into English this morning on our quiz, “Mother’s Day is a special day and on it, sons present their mothers with a gift”—which got me thinking. Is that one random day in the springtime enough for 18+ years (hell, a lifetime) of hard work and sacrifice?

“As mothers and daughters, we are connected with one another. My mother is the bones of my spine, keeping me straight and true. She is my blood, making sure it runs rich and strong. She is the beating of my heart. I cannot now imagine a life without her.”

Kristin Hannah, Summer Island

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My mom is nothing short of heaven-sent. She has over 26 years of military service under her belt, raised 6 kids in a blended family and still manages to be a great wife and take care of herself. There is nobody I admire as much as her. If someone needed the perfect blend of loving and kickass, she’d be it.

You’ve been there for everything, even though you weren’t always physically there. You’ve let me crawl into bed with you when I was having nightmares and got me medicine past midnight if my tummy was hurting. You took me shopping for new clothes just because we could and braided my hair when I still didn’t know how. You played multiple roles—seamstress, co-fort builder, tea party guest, personal chef, lady in waiting when I was a princess, first aid assistant, teacher, personal stylist, hairdresser, guidance counselor, dessert taste tester, and countless more. We will forever tell each other to “shut your mouth” and squeal over the wittle baby dolphins. You put up with me no matter how bratty I got and without fail, always tell me to “get my fingers out of my mouth” when I go to bite my nails. You endlessly photographed my crazy eyes and always made me life size dresses identical to what my Barbies had. You were there to save the day when I accidentally shaved off my eyebrow and helped me cut a round brush out of my bangs—let’s not forget how much peanut butter you had to put in my hair over the years to get gum out. There isn’t anything you didn’t do for me, and there’s not a single thing I wouldn’t ever do for you.

At 20, not many people appreciate their mom as much as they should. During high school, I’m sure that’s an even larger number. I’ve always had a very close relationship with my mother. She’s my best friend, my number one fan and most importantly, she’s my mommy. Nobody will ever come before her on my ‘favorites’ in my iPhone—doesn’t matter who you are. I will always go to her first for advice and once I get rich, she’s finally going to get her private island (a woodsy one, of course; not tropical. There will be deer and bunnies and fog and chirping birds).

We’re both stationed away from home at the moment. She’s finishing up at the Senior NCO Academy in preparation for her promotion to Senior Master Sergeant. Somehow, in the midst of studying and writing speeches and running 5k’s, she has managed to plan practically my entire wedding from 5000 miles away from home. Every last detail has come down to her; she’s definitely made my life a lot easier. If I get stressed, she’s a phone call away to metaphorically rub my temples. Don’t ever underestimate your mom, they’re capable of some pretty amazing things—remember? They made you.

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Love

To you, for loving me.

You love me when I’m happy, when it’s easy. When I’m laughing so hard I can’t breathe or, dare I say it, I snort. When I’m cuddly and kissy and just want to be touched. When I’m joking and watching so-bad-its-funny horror movies with you and scratching your head, back or various other body parts.

You love me when I’m sad. Not just sad, but like… pathetically sobbing, feeling like I’ll never be okay again sad. When all I do is push you away. When I can’t see and my nose is running and I am just an all-around crabby little asshole. When I have no goddamn clue why I’m in hysterics, you love me anyway.

You love me when I’m feeling fat. When I pull and tag at every bit of chub and loose skin, as if pulling it tight will make it stay that way. When I can’t fit into my jeans, so I wear the same pair of sweatpants every day consecutively for like a week. When I have to try on everything in my closet and have a full-out temper tantrum because I don’t like my body or anything I own to cover it up. You love me when I’ve gained ten pounds, even though I might as well have gained 100 with the way I’m acting.

You love me when I try to lose 30 pounds. When I’m supposed to diet and you’re supposed to be “helping” me, but every time you open your mouth about it I get super offended and bite your friggin’ head off. You love me when I fail, and when I complain about the gym. You love me even though I’m intolerable when I’m hungry.

You love me when I get mad at you for making jokes about other girls. When I get so jealous that even I can’t stand myself. When I can’t take a joke, or freak out about you calling me a mean name in a totally 100% joking manner.

You love me when I’m crazy. Wedding crazy. Baby crazy. Puppy crazy. ALL the crazy. When I’ve spent the past two hours obsessing to you over something you don’t give a single crap about. When I makes plans for us that you want no part of, you go anyway.

You love me when I say stupid things and hurt you. When it blows up, way out of proportion, into a screaming match. You love me when I apologize profusely, even though most of the time you know it won’t change. When you know it will happen again. You love me when it takes me a long time to get over it, and when it takes you a long time to get over it.

You love me when I can’t keep my hands off you. When I’m high on you. When all I want is be next to you for the rest of forever.

You love me whether it is easy or hard. Whether I deserve it or not. All the time.

You love me. And I love you. Unconditionally.

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