Monthly Archives: June 2014

Wedding {Part 2}: First Look and Ceremony

It’s time for another wedding recap post! Part 2 will cover the first look and ceremony. My previous wedding recap post, Part 1, covers getting ready and a few bride and groom portraits.

Derek and I went back and forth about doing a first look versus seeing each other for the first time in the church. We loved the tradition and excitement of seeing each when I walked into the church, but we also thought that seeing each other before the ceremony would calm our nerves and be a moment just for us. After looking at our wedding day schedule it became very clear that a first look was much easier, and we decided to go for it.

I am SO happy that we went with a first look. It was such a good decision for us and one of my absolute favorite moments of the wedding.






Those were the first of many happy tears that day. Our friends and family watched the first look through the church windows, and even the most traditional of our family members loved the pure joy of the moment.



Another great thing about the first look was that it enabled us to take photos with our family before the ceremony.


My wonderful family.


My new family.

After taking some family portraits, I relaxed with my bridesmaids for the last half hour before the ceremony. I was a little nervous, but I was mostly excited. We used “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors for the wedding party processional music, and my dad and I entered the church to Vitamin String Quartet’s version of the U2 song “Beautiful Day.”


Even though we had already seen each other, walking into the church was still an amazing moment. Derek told me he even teared up again. 🙂


Derek and his best man/brother Josh as I entered the church.

The ceremony was the most important part of the day for us, and we worked hard to make it exactly what we wanted. We had both of our grandfathers read. Derek’s grandfather read the classic 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, and my grandfather read another favorite Bible passage 1 John 4:9-12. In addition to our vows to each other, which we wrote on our own, it is tradition in my church to include vows of the families and the community. It was touching to look out and hear all of our friends and family vow to support our marriage.


Hearing the vows from our families.

It was perfect.


Derek was really pumped to be married haha!


We exited the church and headed to our getaway car, which happened to be a 1954 Bentley. It was awesome.


Below is the last shot before we drove 10 minutes down the road to the ceremony.



In the next wedding post it’s on to the fun part: the reception!

Dear Kitten {Fun Friday}

Happy Friday!! This week, especially the first half of it, was tough for me. (Hence the lack of posts.) I am the type of person who needs a plan, and my orientation has been all over the place for a number of reasons. Fortunately I have great coworkers looking out for me. We came up with a more solidified plan for the next few weeks, so I’m feeling a lot better about everything.

Though things are certainly improving on the new job stress front, I was definitely in need of a good laugh. Below are a few things that made me smile or laugh this week. I’m hope they help you de-stress too!


First up is the Friskies “Dear Kitten” commercial. I’m more of a dog person, but this commercial made me want to get a cat. The premise of the commercial is an older cat passing on its wisdom to a new kitten. The cats in the commercial are adorable, and the commercial itself is hilarious. The part about the monster that can eat and yell at the same time is priceless.

On to the next one . . .

“I had a person behind a ticket counter give me a roll of luggage tape before she left. I then used a wheel chair that had a tall pole on the back of it and taped my iPhone to that. Then I would put it on the moving walkway for a dolly shot. I also used the extended handle on my computer bag and taped the iPhone to my handle. I would tuck different stuff under the bag to get the right angle. For the escalator shot I had to sprint up the steps after I got my shot so the computer bag didn’t hit the top and fall back down. Quite fun!”

This quote is from Richard Dunn, the gentleman who created the brilliant video below. Apparently Dunn was stuck in the Las Vegas airport overnight and decided to put the time to good use.

That video is seriously impressive. Unless you live under a rock, you know that the World Cup started this week. I don’t ordinarily follow soccer, but I enjoy watching the World Cup. Whether you care about it or not, I think everyone can appreciate the tweet below.

For my final entry I want to share a video I saw a couple of weeks ago and forgot to include in previous fun Friday posts. It’s a sweet video of a dad and his daughter lip syncing to the song “Love Is An Open Door” from Frozen. I love that the dad gets so into it. You can tell he has heard that song a million times.


Anniversaries, Tears, and BBQ {Weekend Recap}

If you’ve seen some of my other daily life posts, such as Tacos, Ice Cream, and Massages or Tornados, Meal Planning, and My Last Night at the Clinic, you know that I am not exactly creative when it comes to the post titles. I’m just lazy. I like to be descriptive, but still have an air of mystery. You may ask yourself, what anniversary? Who’s crying? Why didn’t I eat barbeque this weekend?? All of your questions will be answered. (Except the one about barbeque. Why didn’t you eat barbeque this weekend??? It’s delicious.)

Friday, June 6th, was my parents 33rd wedding anniversary. I had fun putting our wedding photos side by side. It’s cool to see how much I look like my mom.  I’m blessed to have parents that have been married for more than 3 decades, and they are a great example of marriage for Derek and me. Even though they’ve been together for most of their lives now they still go out on dates and try new things together. Their relationship shows that love takes work, but it is absolutely worth it with the right person. Here’s to 33 more years!


My mom and dad are on the left. They were 21 when they got married!

After I got home from my first week of work on Friday, I parked it on the couch. I’m definitely readjusting to waking up so early again. I drank wine, ate Milk Duds, and watched a few episodes from the new season of Orange is the New Black. Nothing says, “I’m an adult with a real job,” like cheap wine and candy. Oh well, I thoroughly enjoyed it. 🙂


Friday nights are wild and crazy at my house.

I cleaned up the house a bit on Saturday, but mostly spent time relaxing. I went to see the movie The Fault In Our Stars, which is based on a book of the same title, with my friend Caroline. The movie was great, but the tissues were a necessity. If you don’t already know, the movie is a love story about two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group. Though it is predictably sad, the message is surprisingly uplifting.


Pro Tip: Mascara is a no-no for this movie.

On Saturday evening, Derek and I finally started watching House of Cards. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but we both love it already.


Frank Underwood is up to no good.

On Sunday, we went out for lunch. I was having an intense craving for barbeque. It’s definitely not the healthiest food, but everything in moderation, right? We went to The Original Q Shack in Durham, which is actually right next door to NANATACO. It was delicious. Derek and I were both especially impressed by the hushpuppies. I’m not normally a huge fan because they are sometimes dry, but these were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Delish!


Smoked pork butt plate from The Original Q Shack with macaroni ‘n’ cheese, green beans, and hush puppies.

I spent the rest of the day grocery shopping and getting ready for the week while Derek took a much deserved break from studying. (Only 8 more days until his big exam!!) I made maple glazed salmon for dinner, and some of our friends came over to watch Game of Thrones. All in all, it was the perfect relaxed weekend to have after my first week of work.

To Serve Is Beautiful

I think that today’s quote is perfect for a Monday. It reminds me to find the small victories and joy and to clear my mind and heart of my personal stuff in order to better do my job and serve others.

“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.” – Pearl S. Buck

Give It All You Got! {Fun Friday}

Woo it’s the weekend!! I am late with my post again this week. Sorry! It was my first week at work, and I was exhausted when I got home yesterday. I stayed late at work to sit it on a family meeting. One of the tougher, but very important, parts of my job will be participating in meetings with families to discuss changing the goals of care from cure or recovery to comfort. The social worker and team of physicians I shadowed yesterday did a wonderful job in the meeting. They explained everything in a way that was easy to understand, and they really took their time and encouraged the family to ask questions and express concerns. The whole week made me excited about working alongside such compassionate people and caring for veterans and their families.

Enough about work, on to this weeks’ fun Friday (technically Saturday) post!

During the summer between my junior and senior year of college I interned at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Eastern North Carolina. I helped coordinate all kinds of wishes, which was an amazing experience. MAW is such a special organization to me, and I loved a wish story that I saw this week. Hailey Bretzius, 9, decided that her wish was to have author R.J. Palacio visit her school. Palacio wrote the novel WonderWonder is about a fifth grade boy who has a facial deformity. The novel’s message centers on choosing kindness. Hailey, who has a benign tumor that’s been growing between the muscles on the left side of her face, identified with the main character. Though Hailey originally considered going to New York to meet her favorite author, she decided to share her wish with her classmates by inviting Palacio to come to her school. If your interested in reading more about the wish or seeing pictures, follow this link to the article.

The video below is so sweet! When the son in this video was 8 years old, he promised his father he would get him a 57 Chevy on his 57th birthday. Many years later, the son followed through on his promise and surprised his father with the car.

Do you ever have trouble waking up in the morning? This Great Dane puppy has some serious issues with waking up early. The video is adorable and pitiful in the best way.

I tend to post a lot of dog videos, but I decided to wrap things up with a goat video. It’s a whopping 7 seconds long. Give it all you got!

Have a fun and relaxing weekend!!


My Running History

Did you know yesterday was National Running Day? I love a good pseudo-holiday. 🙂 Since it was National Running Day, I thought I’d share some information about my running history and my next race.

Believe it or not, I started running when I was about 10. I completed my first 5K, which was a fun turkey trot race, when I was in fifth grade.


A nice closed eyes shot. My friend Logan, whose wedding was a few weeks ago, is on the far left.

After that I ran sporadically until 7th grade when I tried out for the middle school track team. I made the team and loved running with other people. Middle school track is actually how I met my best friend Jenna, whom I have been running with ever since. My experience on the track team confirmed what I already knew: I am a distance runner. I was terrible at sprinting but decent at the 800m and the mile. To this day, I have great endurance, but I’m just not built for or a fan of short distance.

In high school I had the opportunity to get back to longer distances on the cross country team. Running cross country in high school was one of my best decisions. I loved the camaraderie with my teammates. The team went on overnight trips for invitationals, which were always fun, and we had a pasta party every week before our regular meets. I was also in great shape, which helped during my spring lacrosse season as well. It turned out that I was a decent runner, too. My PR for the 5K was 21:01. Unfortunately, between lacrosse and cross country I ran into some overuse injuries. I had plantar fasciitis, which was quite painful, followed by trouble with my IT band. I recovered with the help of orthotics (which I still wear for my super high arches) and physical therapy.


Me and some of my cross country friends during junior year of high school. I’m second from the right, and Jenna is in the middle.

I went through phases of running during college and graduate school. In my freshman year at UNC I trained for a half marathon. During the 11th week of my 12 week training, I hurt my IT band again and wasn’t able to race. It was such a bummer. I ran very sporadically after that until my senior year of college when I trained for the Raleigh City of Oaks half marathon. I was proud that I finally did it, and I finished in just under two hours.


My cousin and I after finishing the City of Oaks half marathon.

I usually ran 2 to 3 times per week in graduate school and trained for another half marathon in the spring of my first year. Derek actually decided to run it with me. Although we enjoyed the time spent together, Derek has decided that it was his first and last half marathon. 🙂 He’s just not a distance runner. I’m really proud of him for giving it a try though!We ran the Run the Bluegrass half marathon in Lexington, Kentucky. It was hilly, but it was the most beautiful race I’ve ever done. The course runs through a bunch of horse farms. At one point a horse even ran along side us behind the fence! It was a ton of fun, and I we finished in about 2 hours and 15 minutes.


Derek and I finishing the race together.

My brother ran the Bluegrass half marathon with us, too. He’s actually gotten really into running over the past few years.


My brother Jared, me, and Derek at the race.

After my last half marathon, I decided not to train for another one while I was engaged. I thought wedding planning, finishing graduate school, job hunting, AND training for another half would be too much at once. In fact, I got so busy that running sort of fell by the wayside for a few months. Now I’m slowly but surely building back my mileage, and I’m running 4 to 5 days per week. It’s been over a year since my last half marathon, and I’ve been itching to get back into it. As if on cue, my brother texted me a couple weeks ago and asked if I wanted to run a FULL marathon with him in October. I told him I wasn’t in shape enough to train for the full, but I was up for the half marathon at the same race. I’m excited to say that I will be running the 4 Bridges Half Marathon on October 19th. My brother will be running the 7 Bridges Marathon, and I’m pumped for him. I can’t believe he’s doing a full. How awesome!

Between now and October I will periodically post my weekly workouts, and I will post my half marathon training plan when I start it in late July or early August. Until then, I’ll be working on building back my mileage base.

Reader Questions: Have you ever ran in a race before? If so, what is your favorite race?

Wedding {Part 1}: Getting Ready

I cannot believe over 2 months have passed since Derek and I got married. We got married on March 15th, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky. We received our wedding pictures from Aaron Stringer Photography on Friday, and we’ve loved re-living our wedding day through the photos. It was definitely the best day of my life, and I’m excited to share some of the pictures and memories.

First up is THE dress. Though I don’t consider myself to be a very stylish person, I would most likely describe my style as new classic. I love elegant, classic looks that have been slightly updated. For my wedding dress that meant timeless lace with a more modern trumpet shape and keyhole back. My dress was made by Allure Bridals, and I purchased it at Bridal Boutique of North Carolina. I also had my alterations done there, including adding on the belt, and they did a great job.


Next up are my garter and earrings. I purchased both of these on Etsy, and they are beautiful. The garter, which also came with an unpictured toss garter, came from LucyBridalBoutique. The earrings are rose gold, and they’re from Poetry Jewelry. I also purchased my veil, which you will see in later pictures, from Melinda Rose Design on Etsy. It is a very simple, but elegant fingertip length tulle veil.


If you’re planning a wedding, I suggest checking out Etsy for your accessories. There is a lot of variety, and the products tend to be more affordable.

My (Carolina blue) shoes can be seen in the photo below. Derek and I met at UNC Chapel Hill during undergrad, I recently graduated with my MSW from UNC, and Derek is currently in medical school at UNC. Needless to say, Carolina has been a huge part of our relationship, so I paid homage to our school with my shoes. 🙂  I purchased them from Fan Feet. They have shoes from tons of different schools if your interested.


The heel was about 4 inches, which is quite high for me. However, I loved the shoes, and Derek is a foot taller than me at 6’4″ so the extra height helped with pictures. I planned ahead and switched into more comfortable dancing shoes at the reception. It worked out well.

My bridesmaids, my mom, and I got our hair done at my mom’s regular salon. I wore my hair in a low, soft up-do that fit the romantic nature of the dress and showed off the keyhole back. My bridesmaids all chose to wear their hair half up-half down, which looked great. After getting our hair done, Trish from Image Insight came to do our make up at my parents’ house. She did a fantastic job! If you’re in the Lexington area, I highly recommend her services.


It was my first time wearing false eyelashes, and they were awesome!


Three of my gorgeous bridesmaids. From left to right: Katy, Jenna, and Logan.

While we were putting on the finishing touches, Derek and the groomsmen were trying to figure out the mystery of how to tie a bow tie.


With the help of YouTube, they figured it out. At this point the photographers took some pictures of Derek on his own. He looked unbelievably handsome. I am so lucky. 🙂



In typical wedding day fashion, the ladies and I were running a bit behind, but it was finally time to put on the dress. My mom helped me put it on, which was a special moment for both of us.



At this point we headed to the church to start the bridal portraits. First I have to show off Trish’s make up job. It was gorgeous.


Below is Derek’s favorite picture.


I love the drama of this next shot. The red doors of the church made for an awesome backdrop.


Below is probably my favorite portrait shot.


I don’t think I’ve ever felt more beautiful than I did on our wedding day. Besides the make up and hair, which were fantastic, I was  so full of joy that I think it showed through in the pictures. That inner glow is even more apparent after I see Derek. In my next wedding post I’ll share the pictures from our first look and wedding party portraits. The first look photos are my favorite pictures from the entire day because they’re so genuine. I can’t wait to share them!

Carrots 'N' Cake

Social worker by day; wannabe foodie by night.

Fairly Southern

Welcome to my fair trade, eco-friendly, socially conscious front porch

Meg Goes Nom Nom

Nomming my way through Ann Arbor.

Avocado a Day

Social worker by day; wannabe foodie by night.

Summer Tomato

Get healthy and lose weight without dieting

Authors, Artists, Geeks, Husbands

She Likes It Fresh

Keeping it fresh, one bite at a time.

A Dash of Data

Fun-sized bites of data analysis

Food 4 Your Mood

A journey to the Gastronomy Universe. A one-stop destination for foodies, chefs and wannabes.


hacking health, designing life

Food : NPR

Social worker by day; wannabe foodie by night.

A Journey Back To Health

Welcome to my journey...

Social Justice Solutions

Social Workers For Social Welfare