The Whovian

Soo… I’m a Whovian.

Don’t know what that is? (Clutches chest as though just gotten stabbed in the heart)

Well I’ll tell you. It’s basically what us Doctor Who fans call ourselves. I started watching Doctor Who a couple of years ago and fell in love with the show. It’s one of those shows that you can watch the episodes over and over and over and over again. And I do. Oh heck yes I do. So why bring it up now? Well just the other day, well more specifically, Monday, November 25, 2013 was the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Yes that’s right, this show has been around for 50 YEARS!! It’s just that amazing. Well due to the fact that it was the 50th anniversary, they created an episode (well more like 2 episodes in one) that was shown in theaters around the world. It is the longest running sci-fi show ever and after Monday it broke a couple more records for most watch simulcast or something amazing like that. So back to the awesome part. I got to go see it in theaters!!! For a while I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to see it in theaters because of work or other commitments I had at night, but the instant I discovered I could go I screamed (heck yeah I did) and then ran to my computer and purchased my ticket.

One of the fun things about all of this is that a month or so ago I discovered that there were Whovians in my store at Starbucks. That’s right, there were more of us working in the same store. It made my heart happy knowing there were people I saw nearly everyday who would talk about Doctor Who with me whenever and for nearly our whole shift, talking in quotes and running around yelling “Geronimo” and “Allons-y”! I discovered this on one of my breaks when I looked up and saw a box on top of the shelving in the back room that had confidential documents in it, it had “BAD WOLF” written on it. I had been in the middle of a conversation with another partner when I gasped and she freaked out because she had no idea what I was freaking out about. I immediately asked her if she knew of Doctor Who and when she said she didn’t but she knew of two others in the store who did. The next time they were working I freaked out on them and basically yelled “BAD WOLF??!!!??” and they’re faces lit up and basically every shift since then has been non-stop Who talk.

Who box

So the day before the 50th anniversary I made a shirt – I just had too. You can’t go to a 50th anniversary of your favorite show and call yourself a Whovian with out wearing something that’s Doctor Who related! I pulled out one of my billion white shirts, some acrylic paint and brushes and went searching for the perfect thing to put on the shirt. I ended up finding the Doctor Who logo and put it into Illustrator then traced it so it was just the outline of it. Then I grabbed a piece of paper and put it up to my monitor and traced it (ghetto I know) and then went to painting it on my shirt. I’m very proud of my shirt ūüôā

Who Shirt 1

Who Shirt 2

So basically it was like the best episode ever. I laughed, I cried, (it moved me Bob….¬†Veggie Tales for those who don’t get it) And if it can’t get any more awesome, it was in 3D!!!!!

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It gets better. So my store manager knows that there are 3 of us Whovians in the store and so one day she was Snapchatting someone who found a Tardis in a nearby town and took a photo of it. She then sent it to us Whovians and we were all basically just freaking out.

Tardis

So yeah…that’s basically it.. just wanted to share a little bit more of what I love.

Oh yeah, and for all things Who related check out their Tumblr here. P.S. Beware of spoilers if you haven’t seen the Day of the Doctor!

Are you a Whovian? If so let me know, I love meeting new Whovians!

Oh yeah and this is my 50th post!!! So my 50th post is about the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who – how fitting!!!

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Sad Goodbye

On September 5th I received a phone call from my mom telling me one of my oldest friends, Kady, was in the hospital on life support. The shock of that was hard enough for me, but later when she told me how she got there, it was a little more than I could bear. I don’t tend to process things very well so I began to process in the best way I knew. Writing. Below is a letter I had written to Kady the day I found out she was on life support. I had started to write it out on paper to mail to her, but by the time that came around it was Monday. September 9th a friend of mine and I were hanging out when we were heading home after picking L up from school and L got a call from my dad. When L hung up he didn’t say anything so I didn’t ask what was up. When we got home as my friend was heading out I asked L what my dad had called about and he quietly told me that Katelyn passed away a couple hours prior.

To my dear Kady-bug,

The last time I saw you, even though it was for a brief couple minutes, while you were working at Panera you had such a smile on your face. I have always loved your laugh and smile. I don’t think I ever told you that. You have such a unique and wonderful laugh. That is one of many regrets I have. I never told you how much being your friend meant to me growing up. Especially in junior high, oh the craziness of those times. Looking back now I am thankful that you and Alissa protected me in a way from most of the things that had happened in those years; but I regret that I had not tried hard enough to protect you from those things.

I will always love and remember the times spent at your house whether it was watching movies, eating tapioca, or hanging out in the pool. Every time I go in a pool I remember the times we would let our hair down and flip it funny so that it would look like those old fashioned wigs. I think we even used to strut around the pool with our hair like that talking in funny accents saying silly things like, “Oh Mrs. Washington you look lovely today…”

Sometimes friendships, no matter how often (or not) we talked or saw each other, last a lifetime and leave a permanent mark on our hearts. And you Kady bug, have left a mark on mine.

I love you dearly my Kady bug and will miss you.

Kady’s obituary in the Santa Barbara News Press.

In Four Years…

In four years I have (among many other things): Graduated from Ignite (now the Ignite Academy) Traveled to Spain and Morocco Attended Life Pacific College Moved to the East Coast for a summer internship Had a summer internship turn into … Continue reading

Open, Flexible, Infinite

Open Flexible Infinite

Go confidently into the direction of your dreams and the life you imagined.

This weekend I spent most of it inside cleaning, organizing and updating my computer as I watched the snow fall…again. This is like what the third snow storm this season? No matter, I was in the zone. You know those days where the world could be falling apart around you and you’re so absorbed in what you’re doing that you don’t even notice it? That’s been my weekend, being completely absorbed in organizing and prepping for this new season that I wouldn’t even notice that it’d be 2 a.m.

I’m stepping plunging into a new season in my work life. As of recently I am a full-time freelance designer, working from home. Let’s just say that God has a funny way of doing things. He definitely has got me, and He definitely knows whats going on on all sides. For a while I’ve been tip toeing around the edge of the pool, thinking about wading in part of the way. I was thinking of working from home a day or two a week while working a couple days from my office. I was mentally working it all out in my head, all the little details, how I’d bring it up to my boss, etc. One afternoon all my planning came to an end as I was asked about working from home full time. And that’d be the place where I plunged right in the deep end instead. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about and wondering if I’d ever get to that place, but more importantly, if I wanted to get to that place.¬†If you were to tell me last year or even 6 months ago that I’d be a full-time freelance designer I would have laughed at you. No honestly I would have. This has always been a passion of mine, but I always feel like I’m be swimming in the deep end without knowing how to swim. Now that this is really happening, I feel this huge kick to learn more, hone my skills and find my niche. It’s a great feeling, but also absolutely terrifying, paralyzing, and more intimidating than ever. I started to laugh when I was asked what I thought about it. As, I was saying before, this is something that I’d been thinking about and here I was being asked about it. I said yes, I would love to, so I packed up my desk and here I am now working from home.

Another reason why I was laughing is because this change is going to give me new opportunities. One of them being something that I’ve been thinking about for probably about two years. At my church a big theme is “Pray for One” – meaning to pray for one person in your life to come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. What I realized that day was that I was constantly surrounded by those who already knew Christ, my office was all pastors, and all my friends were Christians. It was at that time that I was reminded of when I worked at Starbucks all the people I was surrounded by and the opportunities I had to pray for one on a consistent basis. I even had one of my coworkers and her boyfriend come to church with me after talking about God in a random conversation at the end of a shift. Those were the opportunities that I’ve been missing out on and now that I have more flexibility in my hours, I see that God is giving me that opportunity again. I’m hoping that in the next couple weeks I will be able to interview at the Starbucks down the road and begin working there part-time.

So, I am entering this new season with an open heart and mind, with a flexible schedule and infinite opportunities, and with great expectations.

Oh yeah, and with the new season comes a new hair cut! Gotta say I’m loving the bangs a whole lot!

In case you’re wondering what I now do: I work part-time as a freelance designer for the Northeast District office designing promotional material and handling communications (district e-mails, event registrations, district website). Then I also work part-time as a freelance designer for¬†Oh Six Thirty Designs¬†– my new design business.

A Passionate Pursuit

I feel terrible. I’ve failed you all miserably on posting frequently and even following the personal question series I was starting. Truth is besides the fact that I’m forgetful, I’ve been unusually busy. Since November it’s been non-stop, go go go at work with a district-wide pastors conference and designing promotional material for all of the upcoming events this year. Then at home we had been all over the place with me in California for Thanksgiving and then L and I in South Carolina for Christmas. And now that L is back in school we’re starting to figure out our rhythm for this semester which always takes some time. And finally we moved to a smaller apartment just this past week. So not only is life busy and crazy, but our apartment is a mess of boxes, bags, and just stuff we’ve accumulated in the short 7 months we’ve been married, which makes me crazy because I hate a messy house.

Despite the craziness of our life, I’ve been missing something in my personal life. It’s taken a while but I’ve realized that I’ve been missing having relationship with other women in a smaller setting than at church. I’ve been trying to find a good day in our schedule for me to join a journaling group so that I can get connected with other women and continue to grow in a different aspect in my relationship with God. About mid-January at church, they announced that winter groups were starting back up and would start the last week of January. I was so excited when they ¬†made that announcement, I may have even elbowed L a little too enthusiastically and pointed at the bulletin where it had the list of all the winter groups available. When we got home we went over what L’s schedule for this semester was and looked at what day would work best for our schedule (we only have one car and have to commute to school and work everyday) I found the winter group that I wanted to join. It was a women’s study from a book called A Woman’s Passionate Pursuit of God, by Karol Ladd. Last week was the second week of the study (I missed the first due to the flu) and wow was it awesome.

I am the youngest in the group of about sixteen other women. It’s so wonderful to see the diversity in age and life in this group, I can’t wait for this week’s study. Last week we looked over the first chapter,¬†Beautiful Hope From Ugly Beginnings.

The good news is no matter how you start your journey, the beginning doesn’t necessarily determine the outcome. There are tremendous possibilities up ahead. God is a God of hope, and He can bring redemption to even the worst situation.

So often I don’t see it that way. If I’ve started something and something goes wrong, I just assume it’s not going to end well. I’m a more pessimistic thinker rather than an optimistic one. I’m the one in the group who can instantly think of all the things that could go wrong before I could think of anything that could go right. I always seem to lost sight of the other outcome of a situation; I fail to see that the situation could turn around and that it could end positively. Like Karol says,¬†“He can¬†bring redemption to even the worst situation.”¬†The whole point of this book is about creating a positive and purposeful life. When I saw what the group was going to be reading, I knew I had to be in it, I’ve been a negative thinker and person for a very long time and it’s time to change that. God sure has a sense of humor sometimes; He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. He knew that I want to change the way I think and act and that I’ve been craving relationship with other godly women and He has given me an opportunity to have both in one place. I can’t wait to see where this next chapter takes me!

Into the Woods

Living in New Hampshire has certain benefits that not all states have – easy access to great outdoor activities. Logan and I haven’t utilized this great asset as often as we would like, but the other day we had the chance and we took it. Summer is quickly coming to a close – Logan’s back in school, the weather is cooling, and the leaves are starting to turn beautiful oranges and reds. What this means is that the opportunity for hiking through the mountains (without snow) is starting to disappear.¬†So for a while I’ve been looking into different trails in our area that weren’t walking paths or so easy we’d get bored after a few minutes. I finally found one that from reviews, looked like it’d be a good one to start with. So a few Sunday mornings ago before leaving for church we packed up sandwiches, no-bake energy balls, filled our camel backpacks with water and headed to church. Oh and before we left the apartment, Logan asks, “should I bring my knife?”, I told him, “umm…yeah…sure why not.” It’s not just “boys and their toys” its something that is actually written into who they are. It’s a part of their soul – the longing for adventure, and I’d say that bringing a knife is part of that. So who am I to say no when it’s all a part of the adventure?

I once read two great books – “Captivating” by Staci Eldredge and “Wild at heart” by her husband, John Eldredge. In both books they talk about discovering the secret of the man/woman’s soul. In Wild at Heart, John says,

“Adventure is written into the heart of a man. And it’s not just about having ‘fun’. Adventure requires something of us, puts us to the test.”

It made me realize is that God created boys and men to be this way. To yearn for an adventure. So when Logan wanted to bring his knife and run (literally) off the path through the woods with his huge knife strapped to his leg, who was I to stop him? He was seeking an adventure. And I wanted to go with him. We ran through those woods like no ones business. We ran up the mountain side where it was all boulders even when there was a nice, neat, well-trodden path a few yards away. We didn’t go there to take the easiest path, the one that everyone else had taken. We were there for the adventure, for seeking new ways of getting to the top, for creating our own path.

I loved seeing Logan’s face light up as we ran through the woods, scaled the boulders, and blazed our own path. Logan grew up in the woods, so for me it was a joy to see him so at home and enjoying himself to the fullest as we explored the woods together.

I would highly recommend reading both “Captivating” by Staci Eldredge and “Wild at heart” by John Eldredge. They are both fantastic books which give great insight and wisdom into the hearts and souls and men and women. It will take you on a journey to a deeper understanding of why and how God created you the way you are.

We even found a geocache when sitting on a boulder on the side of the mountain. Sweet stuff. And there may have been some older hikers that we decided to “follow” while we were running through the woods making sure they never saw us. At one point Logan even had me lay on the ground so they wouldn’t see us as they walked by. I got bit by like a billion ants…but it was worth it for the adventure.

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Logan in his element

When was the last time that you blazed your own trail or went on an adventure? If you do end up reading either Captivating or¬†Wild at Heart, I’d love to know what you thought of them.

Loose Ends

As I sit here eating leftover Mac N’ Cheese from the other night, I realized that a¬†few posts ago I mentioned that once the wedding was done and I’d gotten photos back, I’d post a link…well I’m a bit slow on that end.¬†I’ve had my photos since the middle of August; I’ve even made 3 photo albums – one for Logan & I, one for my parents, and one for his parents. Yet no link on this site. Whoops. Well that’s about to change. To see our wedding album, click the photo below and enjoy!

I’ve also realized while cleaning the apartment that I’ve still got my dress and veil hanging in the closet next to the preservation kit I had bought from David’s Bridal when I got the dress. It’s not like they’re taking up precious closet space or anything, I just figured I should wrap some stuff like that up. Then I realized that I have yet to finish and mail our thank you postcards. I had every intention of getting them done and gone in August but I’m a procrastinator deep down, and so I’m finishing them up today in order to buy the stamps and send them tomorrow.¬†Maybe.

Now it’s off to make a real dinner (as opposed to my “fend for yourself Monday” dinner) – Mexican Stuffed Shells! I’ll post the recipe later this week for those who want to try it – it’s really good.

Some days

Some days you’ve just gotta eat like you’re in college. Those days are what I’d like to call “Monday”. Logan’s got a class that runs late Monday’s and so I’ve decided that Monday’s are going to be a “fend for yourself” day. Growing up did your mom/dad ever say that to you? “Well kids, I’m not making dinner so tonight you get to fend for yourself.” when my parents did that I’d typically do cereal and a huge handful of chocolate chips. Don’t ask. Other times id somehow convince my brother to make us mac n cheese.

Well, seeing as getting married kind of turns you into Paula Deen or someone
who’s spent way too much time on Pinterest finding awesome dinners (or at least I’d like to hope so) – you get kind of tired of making dinner each night or at least run out of energy. So having one night a week (at least) to not make dinner is kinda nice. So basically Mondays have become a fend for yourself night and I fended for myself by making Mac n cheese. Yep college food. I could have “spiced it up” and added stuff or done something to make it “healthy” but nah. I decide straight from the box (after being made of course) is good enough for “Fend for yourself Mondays”.

Do/did you ever have fend for yourself dinner days? What would you make?

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Days Off

I like cooking, but I love baking.

Thursdays are my day off from work. They have become a sort of mid-week weekend for me. It’s been delightful to sleep on Wednesday night at any time knowing that I can wake up in the morning whenever I want to. Oddly enough during the week it takes several alarms for me to wake up, while on Thursdays I wake up right when my alarm normally wakes me up. Like I said, delightful. Not. Anyways, Thursdays are my cleaning/errand/relaxing day since I started having that day off. It may be strange, but I actually enjoy cleaning. Putting headphones on and listening to Pandora while cleaning is pretty relaxing to me.

20120824-000452.jpgThursday’s are also the day that I get a little more time to cook something for dinner and if I’m lucky, bake something. Today was one of those super productive yet relaxing days. I went for a run, cleaned, did some grocery shopping with Logan, made dinner and a chocolate raspberry loaf and painted my nails.

Tonight I made Baked Mexican Penne, it was really good except I probably should have taken it out a few minutes earlier (the top pasta layer got a little crunchy).

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Then there’s the chocolate raspberry breakfast loaf I baked. It is so good; the original recipe doesn’t have any raspberries or chocolate, which is where intend to deviate from the original recipe. I love raspberries and I love chocolate, which is why when I don’t see it in something and it sounds like it could (or should), I add it in. And oh boy was it a good decision. I’m typically a follow-the-rules kind of girl, but when it comes to baking I like to add a little here and there…and chocolate tends to be the thing I add a lot of here and there. I have more fun and feel more freedom to deviate from recipes when I’m baking. There’s something about baking that makes me feel more free to add or substitute ingredients than when I’m cooking. Maybe it’s because when I’m cooking I know that there’s hungry stomachs awaiting food and unless I’ve made it before and know that I can mess with the recipe. With baking I do it more for me and if it doesn’t turn out then whoops try again. Today’s additions to the loaf were do good that I’ve already had two small slices this evening. I can’t wait to eat (more) of it in the morning!!

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If you could have a day off once a week, what would you do?

More than just words

I do like writing, but I tend to like doing other things a little more…which is why I sometimes slack on updating the blog portion of this site. Maybe its also because lately I’ve been busy making dinner and enjoying being with my husband playing board games, watching movies, going to the used bookstore and such. Since part of Becoming Mrs. Strong is making dinner, doing house (apartment) stuff, and doing stuff with my husband, I thought it’d be great to add a few extras to the site. So here’s a glimpse into what’s new at Becoming Mrs. Strong:

Entertain Me for the most part has various date ideas (including ones from personal experience), date night in a jar with lots more to come. It’s based on entertaining Logan and I as well as various hosting ideas, parties etc.

Feed Me is all of the food I’ve cooked since getting married. It’s not every single meal, but for the most part it’s the favorites. Still in progress.

Inspire Me is the DIY projects I’ve done (since getting married) or projects that I want to do. Most of the DIY projects are clothing, accessory or are for the home.

Read Me is the home of all blog posts that are not related to Entertain Me, Feed Me or Inspire Me. They are more of the personal journal-style blog posts.

So take a look around and maybe try something new for dinner tonight or schedule a date night or maybe even get together with a few friends and do that project you’ve been dying to do for ages!

What’s your favorite meal, date or DIY project that you’ve done this year?

Stepping Up and Out

A while ago online I found a list of questions to continually ask yourself, kind of like an internal check-up. Well I decided that I’m going to make it into a blogging series, called¬†Stepping Up and Out. Based on the questions below I hope to discover how it is asking/requiring that I step up and out in that specific area of my life. I’m aiming to answer one question every two weeks, so this series will be done in 6 months (12 questions). As I go through these questions, I’d encourage you to do the same. Just like going to the doctor to get an annual or bi-annual check-up, an internal check-up is just as healthy.

So here we go, I won’t answer the questions in this particular order but I’ll link them to the post that I answer them in.

  1. Am I proud of the life that I’m living
  2. What have I tried this month¬†(that’s new)
  3. What have I learned about God this year
  4. Am I really getting to know the people that are in my life and am I making myself available to get to be know by them
  5. What can I be doing to step outside of my comfort zone, name two things that I can do
  6. What should I stop doing in order to be able to do what I should be doing
  7. When I travel, what am I learning
  8. Am I doing all that I thought I’d be doing or wanted to be doing at this point in my life
  9. What is something (or a list of somethings) that I want to be doing by this time next year
  10. What is one area of my life that I can improve my view on
  11. Am I doing what I’m doing to the best that I can
  12. Am I helping others more than I’m helping myself

When the bumps in the road come along

During our engagement everyone I met and knew had been commenting on how calm I was about everything. From the sales people at Zales to the ladies at my NH bridal shower to my (now) father-in-law. I never really realized how calm I really was about everything until we got to California and bumps started appearing.

I found my calmness or peacefulness all to be somewhat funny because we had just finished a sermon series at church on the Fruit of the Spirit. If you don’t know, one of the “fruits” is peace.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

This is what calm looks like

I attribute my calmness or the peacefulness I experienced to God and my awesome fianc√© (now husband). Since I met him (Logan) I have mellowed out in my emotional range, which used to go to extremes, doesn’t do that (as often or extreme) anymore. It’s because he doesn’t react to things instantly, he thinks about it then takes action. Logan has helped me level out in my emotional response and helped calm me down and has helped me (probably without him knowing it) stay and keep calm. I never really noticed it until lately when everyone would remark how calm I (and now how calm we) were and how peaceful we seemed to be about everything. And honestly there hadn’t been anything to go wrong to be freakin out or going all bridezilla on. Even with planning a wedding that will be on the clear opposite side of the country, I’ve had an amazing support system and people in California – my mom has done the majority of hands-on planning. So with a great group of people who are all in to help, and do everything they can to make sure the wedding was as perfect and beautiful as it could be, there was no reason why I should have been freaking out. Note: I had written the text above before I had gotten to California where what seemed like an endless supply of complications arose.

Shortly before Logan and I got to California the person who was going to be catering our wedding became unavailable due to a medical event (1. No caterer). Yet because my parents seem to know everybody and have connections just about everywhere, they found a caterer who was not only available that day but was able to make almost the exact thing that the first caterer was going to make.

Then when we got to California the person who was going to be doing our flowers called (throughout the week with updates) about the fact that the grower we met at the Los Angeles Flower Marker was not answering any of her phone calls so that she could order the flowers. She had been trying for 2 weeks to get a hold of them but had not been successful. So we began to make several back up plans in case we really couldn’t get the ones from LA (2. No flowers).

So I had a hard time trying to find flower girl dresses that I liked, I looked everywhere online and Natalie (my cousins wife, who’s 2 daughters were my flower girls) went into several stores looking for dresses as well. No luck. But then I found Etsy. Oh my goodnessI LOVE Etsy! I not only found the perfect flower girl dresses, but the guest book, my garter and the necklaces that I gave my

Vannie my wild card and Goose my ‘pose queen’

bridesmaids to wear with their dresses. So for those of you who don’t know what Etsy is, it’s an online community where individuals sell handmade items. So all the items that I bought on Etsy were handmade, which I think is one of the coolest things ever. So to get back to the list of “bumps” that happened, the dresses I had ordered were custom and so I had checked with the seller more than once to make sure she had it right because I wasn’t the one ordering them. So several weeks after they were ordered and had arrived Natalie called and sent photos of the dresses…I loved them except for one thing. It’s not a huge deal, but when you order something custom you’d expect it to be correct. The straps on the dress were halter when I had ordered for them to have shoulder straps (3. Flower girl dresses wrong) plus I’m not sure if they added the liner that I had requested be added as the dresses were a tulle material and therefor itchy. Because of this fact the youngest flower girl, Vannie (Savannah) constantly tried to get out of the dress (we bribed her with cookies a lot).

Three days before the wedding our cake bakers husband came over to let us know that his wife had an awful case of the flu that she’d caught from her daughter and was no longer able to make the cake (4. No cake). Little known fact by many (except those who know my family well) – my dad is an excellent cake baker and decorator. He has done almost every birthday cake in my family, countless other birthday/graduation/celebration/retirement cakes. And many wedding cakes. My dad did my California bridal shower cake and it was perfect. And now my dad was going to be doing my wedding cake. How many people can say that their dad made their wedding cake? Not that many I’d think, but I’m one of them now and I couldn’t be happier. My cake turned out just perfectly; he and I went over videos and photos of what I wanted it to look like and what kind of flavors we want.

Then the last “bump” came Friday morning while me and my bridesmaids were getting our nails done, I’d missed a call from Melissa. Melissa was my doing my hair and my cousins hair for the wedding, and she was the pianist in the group that was playing while I walked in. She had called to say not to worry but she wouldn’t be at the rehearsal that night due to the fact that she had thrown out her back (5. Hair stylist/musician throws out back). The good news was that she was mobile and was able to on Saturday (day of the wedding), do my hair, my cousin’s hair and play piano for my walk in. And just sayin’, my hair was absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to post photos of the wedding so you can see the amazingness of my hair (and everything else).

So even with those “bumps” I wasn’t super concerned, I knew they wouldn’t be as important in the end as marrying my best friend. I kept repeating when things started going wrong that all that mattered is to have someone to marry us and to have a witness. If all else failed, that’s all I needed. Everything turned out in the end; the flowers we got from the local farmers market that morning, we got a new caterer, the dresses were kept on (til the ceremony and photos were done), my dad made my wedding cake, and Melissa was able to do hair and play. And in the end all that mattered was that Logan and I were married, past that things happen not every bump turns smooth; but in my case every bump was smoothed over and was absolutely amazing.

So for anyone who reads this and was involved in my wedding I just want to tell you from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for all of the hard work and time that you put into the wedding. You did an absolutely amazing job and we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you to all those who offered your time and skills to us; you are a complete blessing and I am so thankful for you. Sorry if I didn’t get a chance to find you before or during the reception to give you a huge hug and tell you just how thankful I am for you and all you did to help prepare for the biggest day of my life (so far). I hope the next time I’m back in California and see you I can thank you in person, but please know just how much you have blessed me and Logan.

I’ll write another post soon about the actual wedding and how it went and everything and post pictures once I get the photos from our photographer.

Oh Ikea…

How I love to visit your enormous store. It thrills me to walk the showroom floors, gazing at each pre-designed room. Even though you are an hour away you are more than worth it.

So a few weeks ago Logan and I went to Ikea to pick out a bed and kitchen table set. We went through a ton of different beds and finally picked one. We found one that was a perfect height and had a great headboard with side storage and drawers under the bed. If you don’t know how Ikea works, they have all the stuff setup with tags on them – with isle and bin numbers. When you’re done shopping (you write those numbers as you go) you go to the storage area where all of their furniture is located and go down the aisles and find the bins you need. Them you pull out the ones you need (some have more than one box) and once you’re done you go to the check out counters. If you need to have something delivered you have to get the item, pay for it then take it over to the delivery counter. So we had everything (or so we thought) and checked out, had the mattress delivered and went home.

We get back to the apartment and start putting the headboard together and notice that we’re a box short. Come to find out I had missed one tag when I’d written down the bed. I missed the bed itself. I had the mid-beam, headboard, slats and mattress but I missed the bed itself completely. You can’t just order something online and have it delivered, you have to go down to the store, pick it out and have it delivered or just take it home.

Now fast forward to a few Thursday’s later. We picked a day to go down to Ikea and get the rest of the bed and had a few friends join us. So we piled into Logan’s Toyota with Nate and Rowdy from church and headed down to Ikea.

Once there, we wandered around a little then headed over to pick up the bed. We got the bed, checked out and headed to the car realizing that 4 people, 2-3 big long boxes and a small car might not work. We had a few options, the one we ended up picking probably wasn’t the most safe but it was definitely the funniest. Option 1. Try and fit it in the car. Option 2. Buy tie downs and put what didn’t fit on top of the car. Option 3. Have it all delivered to the house with the mattress that Saturday. We went for option 1..and let’s just say we had to fold the backseat down, move both front seats up (passenger side all the way) in order for it to fit. None of us are short (all about 5′ 9″ or taller) and so seeing as Logan had to be the driver and I was the shortest, I maneuvered into the front passenger side seat and Logan got into the driver side. So you’ve probably realized by now that we’ve still got to fit Nate and Rowdy in the car…yeah…we realized that too. Imagine this, the back seat of the car is folded down, there’s a box that is so long it goes from the trunk all the way to the front of the car. So the only space available is to sit on top of the box and hunch over because your head (and shoulders) hit the roof or the small crawl space below the box – basically means sitting on the floor with your back to one door and feet across to another with your head popping up between the door and the side of the box. The next thing we knew Nate was crawling under the box to get into that crawl space position under the box against the door and seats and Rowdy was somehow sitting on top of a box trying to make it look like he was sitting normal and not that he was sitting on top of a box. It was only supposed to be an hour drive home…it was more like 2.5 hours. There was a really bad 3 car accident on the opposite side of the highway about 30 minutes away from where we were stuck. When we finally passed it the south bound side was at a dead stop for about 3 miles solid with more piling up for the next few miles. Eventually we got back to the apartment and brought everything upstairs and started putting it all together finally.

One of the best reasons (that I never realized til now) for having Ikea furniture is that it requires and causes several things. It requires time, patience, communication, grace and the ability to read pictures without words. And a hammer. Which we never bought. We improvised with books, ends of tools and our hands. The reason why I liked it is because it required Logan and I to communicate a whole lot more when we were building the furniture rather than just doing our own thing hoping it came out right. When we didn’t communicate about what we were doing we got boards on backwards, screws in the wrong holes and several bruises from dropping boards on feet.

Now we know how to communicate better not only in double and triple checking that we have everything we need before leaving a store but how to communicate when putting things together.

And then it hits me…again and again

There are only 31 days til I officially become Mrs. Elizabeth Strong.

People constantly are asking me how many days left, how many days left. Well a few months ago Logan was asking me how manydays left and I was like uhhh I dunno look it up on a calendar and count. Instead of pulling out his phone to look at a calendar, he took my iPhone and went to the app store and was muttering something about “there’s gotta be an app for that”. Uh yeah. That really happened. Like you know how people always (or at least used to) throw that phrase around, “there’s an app for that”; well in this case it was really true, there was an app for that. So I now have an officially wedding countdown app on my phone, courtesy of Logan. So when you ask me how many days are left and I answer immediately, no I didn’t not go and count the exact days (I did prior to the app though), I probably just looked at the countdown that morning and remembered how many it said. Even though I wish I was that awesome and could remember the number without looking; I just don’t have that superpower…yet.

On Memorial Day Logan and I ¬†went with another couple and their two adorable kids to Plum Island in Massachusetts for the day. It was one of those times where the moment I stepped foot onto the beach and got a glimpse of the ocean, I had to take a moment and catch my breath. Since moving to the East Coast and am no longer 8 minutes away from the ocean, I am constantly longing for it. For the feel of the grainy sand between my toes, the salty breeze that rushes past and envelopes me, the warm sun on my shoulders bringing out the freckles that reside there, and of course that unmistakable sound of the ocean and the crashing of the waves as they move in and out of the beach. While the guys were down at the waters edge with the kids building two sand castles, Grace and I were up on the beach having a wonderful conversation and enjoying the fantastic weather. Eventually our conversation turned to the wedding and how quickly it was approaching, she turned and asked me if I was nervous at all.¬†I feel so blessed to have been able to turn turn her and confidently say that,¬†no I’m actually not nervous. Sometimes I kinda chuckle because I want to turn and look at myself and say¬†really? I’m not nervous? Typically I get really nervous when a big event or a big change is coming. This happens especially when I’m doing something in front of a lot of people (like speaking or even just standing in front of them) I just get wicked nervous. Just the thought of it causes my body to tense up, my stomach to start getting lots of butterflies, and my heart start pounding a thousand miles a minute. Yet for what is the biggest day of my life¬†(so far)¬†I’m unusually calm, I don’t feel nervous, just joy and excitement that in 31 days I will be marrying my best friend and the only one that I have ever dated and have ever loved and ever will love.¬†Yep, thats a tid bit you may not have known about us; Logan is the only one that I have ever dated and I am the only one that Logan has ever dated. He is my first, my last, my only.¬†I am typically a very nervous person at any and all events/changes, yet for this, I’m surprisingly not. Sure you’re thinking¬†oh don’t worry, when the day comes you’ll be nervous, it’s normal; and sure, I may be on that day, but it’s not the thought of marriage/the wedding that would make me nervous; the reason is a little comical actually…what would make me nervous is the fact that everyone will be looking at me. I’m more of a behind the scenes girl, not the up in the front kind. So don’t mind me if I seem a bit nervous ūüėČ

Even though sometimes getting the final details together can be overwhelming, feeling like there’s not enough time in the day to get it all in, I’m still not nervous because I’ve got fantastic friends and family who are always offering to help with everything.

At the end of the day, after the wedding is done, all that will matter is that I have made a promise to love, honor, cherish, in sickness and in health, in joy and sorrow, in the good and the bad, forever and for always, and that that promise will never be broken.

I’m Comin’ Home, I’m Comin’ Home [Don’t] Tell the World I’m Comin…

Home.

Here’s to the last trip I’m taking on my own as [the engaged] Elizabeth Ricketts, as my next trip will be ending with me as [the newly married] Mrs. Elizabeth Strong[!!]. Anyways, I’m on a dual-purposed trip to California. The biggest reason is that I am in California was to surprise the ish out of all my friends who were graduating from Life Pacific College. They had no idea that I came out to see them graduate, surprises are fantastic! The other reason I came out to California is because I needed to do some hands-on wedding stuff. I was there to talk with the photographer, hair stylist, go to the Los Angeles Flower Market for flower ideas to tell the florist, check out the venue [haven’t seen it in person since they renovated] and various other things.

It was so weird not telling anyone (besides my family and Patrick – my secret insider) that I was coming, I desperately wanted to tell people so I could go visit; but alas I couldn’t, I had a busier than busy week home, plus I wanted to surprise my friends on Saturday and I’ve got some chatty friends and word would’ve gotten around quickly that I was in town.

The trip out to California was interesting that’s for sure. My flight left New Hampshire at 5:30 a.m. Which meant I was up at 3 a.m. which was midnight California time. Because this was the only time that I’d be able to fly home to California before the wedding, I had to bring my wedding dress with me. That was interesting and kind of exciting actually. I was at the airport super early, even before the line opened to go through the scanner-things. So I’m standing in line with my suitcase and this huge white bag labeled “David’s Bridal” and everyone around me is staring trying to figure out what the bag says; I found this to be quite comical especially because they were trying to not look like they were creepin’. Anyways, ¬†the TSA guy starts to stare at the bag trying to read and figure out if it’s a wedding dress and just decides he’ll ask me what it is. “Is that a wedding dress?” he asks, “yes, it is” I tell him, “are you on your way to getting married, already married, or just bringing it there before the wedding?” he asks me. At this point the 30 or so people waiting in line around me are staring and starting to check out the bag (and me…awkward). So the TSA guy and I continue our conversation, I tell him that I’m not married just yet and that I’m on a pre-wedding trip to drop the dress off. Of course he asks me where I’m getting married and when I tell him California, he has this shocked look¬†(for some reason everyone’s shocked when I tell them I was born and raised in Southern California and moved out to New Hampshire) and kind of stutters, “Aaannndd whyyy are you here in New Hampshire of all places??” So I give him the quick “for work” answer, sometimes going into the whole back story is hard so the quick answer tends to work best. The line opens a few minutes later and he wishes me and my future husband luck and sends me on through. I got tons of looks, words of congratulations, and people parting when I walked through the airport when they saw me carrying my dress; I don’t know why they all did that, but it was kinda fun. Then I get to my gate and the lady at the gate is like I’ll have you get on with the old people (yes, she literally said that)¬†so that you have time to figure out what to do because there’s no coat hanger/closet on the plane since it’s a small puddle jumper. Sad news. For both flights I had to roll my dress up and put it under my seat. I don’t know what’s wrong with planes, but not having a place to hang things is just wrong. Plus I kept cringing each time I thought of having my wedding dress rolled up at my feet¬†(I still cringe at the thought).

So I get to Los Angeles and of course the first thing that I do is go to In N Out with my aunt. Going there has become a tradition for me; each time I get off the plane one of my first words to whoever picks me up is, “Um…can we hit up In N Out?”¬†Once my mom got to my aunt’s house, we went to grab some Mexican food (another one of my traditions)¬†and stumbled upon this great cardboard cutout of two mariachi players¬†(made sense since it was Cinco de Mayo weekend) . Naturally,¬†my mom and I figured we just had to take a picture with our faces in it¬†(you can ignore the giant beer between us..I wish they hadn’t had that in the cut out but they did.) The next thing on my “traditions” list was Yogurt Land, happily, it was in the next plaza so we walked over and grabbed some fantastic froyo. Once we’d gotten through just about my entire “traditions” list, my mom and I headed home to Santa Barbara.

The next day, Thursday, was a particularly busy day for me, even though I got to start the day off enjoying the new hot tub my parents just put in. Thursday I met with the hairstylist, the photographer, the cake baker, and got a surprise visit from my cousins¬†(also known right now as my little flower girls).¬†When I met with the photographer, we got to go and see the church that we’re holding the ceremony and the reception at. I haven’t seen the church since it had been renovated and so it was great to be able to finally see everything and walk through where everything is going to happen. The church is perfect and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together; it’s so much easier to picture how everything is going to look and flow after walking through the church. Shortly after we met with the photographer, Joanna, who’s going to be making our wedding cake, came over to my parents house to design the wedding cake and such. After showing her a few photos of what I’m thinking I’d like it to look like and the flavors that we’re thinking of, she drew up a sketch and told me that she’d try to get me a sample of what it’d look like by the next day. Uh yeah you read that right, she told me she’d bring over a mini version of the wedding cake. And she definitely delivered; Joanna came to my house the next night and brought over a small (2 layer) version of the cake, complete with the flavors we were wanting. Ridiculous isn’t? I thought it was ridiculous and fantastic. Plus it tasted fantastic; I’ve always wanted to do a cake tasting but since I knew who’d be doing the cake and knew the flavors I didn’t see a real reason to taste test, but to have gotten a mini version of the cake and flavors, was more than I could’ve asked for. After Joanna had left (Thursday), my mom and I got a chance to sneak off to the beach for a wonderful walk. Going to the beach is always a high priority on my “traditions” list, I have to go at least once (typically I go more often but due to the craziness of what had to be done I only got to go once). While we were on our way back to the car, I got a call from Natalie, my cousin Seth’s wife. But when I answered it, it wasn’t Natalie; it was her daughter Sierra (5 years old). Sierra and her younger sister, Savannah (3 years old), are going to be my adorable flower girls. So Sierra’s calling me with Natalie in the background telling her to tell me that they’re on their way down through Santa Barbara and want to stop by the house and see me. I haven’t seen them since Christmas, so a little more than 5 months ago; in that time Savannah’s started talking a lot more and Sierra’s started reading. Time definitely flies when you don’t see people often. So they came over and I got to hang out with them for a couple of hours, “eating” play food that they’d bring me and chasing them around the yard. When it came time for them to go they cried because they didn’t want to leave, so I had to keep telling them that I’d see them next month when they got to dress up and be in my wedding. That’s some thing that they apparently never stop talking about, being the flower girls in the wedding. Natalie was telling me that they’re always asking when the wedding is, what dresses do they get to wear, and when do they get to see “Goose” (that’s me) and that guy she is marrying (Logan). Once they found out that they had to leave they decided they’d run around the front yard so that they wouldn’t have to leave; my solution, tell them that I’m so fast they can’t catch me. The youngest, Savannah, fell for that trick and tried to catch me; so when she ran at me I picked her up and started to chase Sierra because she got the trick I had pulled on Savannah. When I couldn’t catch her trying to carry Savannah, I told her I could give her a piggy back ride until they had to leave, that one worked. So I ended up running around the yard with Sierra and Savannah on my back until they had to leave, let me just tell you, that is a work out.

Friday wasn’t particularly busy, it was just long and started early in the morning. My mom, Tracy (wedding coordinator), Judy (flower coordinator/florist) and I went down to Los Angeles around 5 a.m.¬†to the Los Angeles Flower District to pick out all of the flowers for the wedding. I’d never been to the Flower District before and so it was crazy and awesome to be able to see so many different flowers in one place. We only had a certain amount of time before we had to be back in Santa Barbara, so it was great when we were able to get all of the flowers figured out for everything and be able to go to a store next door for decor/centerpiece things and have time left over. When we got back to the house there was a package for me at the door,¬†invitations! I love getting packages, especially wedding ones. I didn’t think that I’d be getting it while I was home because it was missing half of the address (the post office is amazing!).¬†

Since I was on a secret trip to California (more on that soon), I couldn’t just go out and see friends when I had a few minutes. There were a few people who knew I was there (and had been keeping it secret)¬†one of them being Katie, I had seen her 5 months earlier when she was pregnant and then Friday I had a chance to go and meet her beautiful baby girl, Ellie. Growing up, Katie was¬†(and still is) a huge role model, inspiration and influence in my life, so being able to catch up with her and see Ellie was more than worth not seeing anyone else (sorry to everyone I didn’t get to see).¬†I also had a chance to say goodbye to family friends who were moving to Texas as church planters. At dinner time I had a chance to meet with Tina, our wedding DJ, during our meeting was when Joanna came over with the cake. Once Joanna had left (well she hadn’t really left, she was visiting with my mom) Tina and I dug (literally)¬†into the cake. Both layers had a huge chunk missing. They were delicious. And of course, what’s a trip home without having a daddy daughter date? Well, it’s not a trip home that’s for sure. I had seen that the Avengers had come out that weekend and thought it’d be the perfect movie to go see, and it definitely was!

Saturday was the day I’d been waiting for for two long years. The day that my best friends graduated from Life Pacific College! Ever since I’d move to the East Coast, I knew that I had to be at that graduation, and that it had to be a surprise. So after trying to avoid the looks of my friends when they walked past going to their seats and to receive their diplomas, one of them, Kaitlin, saw me and screamed. Yes, I’m serious, she screamed. Once she screamed everyone, and I mean everyone, turned to see where the scream came from; ¬†She was pointing and jumping and basically what I’d call freaking out (in a good way) that I was there. I tried to tell her shhh…don’t tell anyone I’m here, but that was kind of pointless, Kortni found out immediately after Kaitlin had screamed. I did however get to surprise Nizi and Jared, oh the faces of truly surprised people is one of my favorites. From there I went with my brother to Westminster to hang out with his friends and stay the night at one of the girls houses so that he could take me to the airport the next day.

Sunday morning was great, I got to hang out with my brother and Zach (a friend from back in New Hampshire who moved to California for a program that my brother happened to be in) back in the sound booth for a little bit before we had to leave for LAX. We were early to LAX for my flight so I got to relax a little bit, which was the last time I really relaxed before I finally got back to New Hampshire. When my flight out of LAX was about to get in line to take off, they announced that they had to redistribute the weight of the baggage which took 40 minutes¬†(ugh). The layover in¬†Philadelphia was only 55 minutes long; their airport is huge, to get to the right gate you have to take a bus to the other side. So I had a feeling that I’d be missing my flight out of there, plus since it was about 10 o’clock at night, it was the last flight anywhere for the day. When we landed they had everyone who had a connecting flight get off first and pick up a voucher for a flight in the morning and a room at the Marriott next door¬†just in case we didn’t make our connection. I was the first to get off the plane and pick up my vouchers, I took of running at full speed (carrying a purse and laptop is difficult) through the airport to catch the flight. During my full speed run through the airport I had about three asthma attacks or maybe it was just one that flared up three times¬†(fantastic, I know right?) so at each attack I had to stop running, catch my breath and keep running. When I was at the bus to get to the other terminal I had a chance to take my inhaler and get the attacks under control, but once I got it under control and got off the bus I continued running full speed to the gate. I get there and (still wheezing) I asked the employees standing there if the plane had left, and to my dismay it had. Apparently they had just pushed back the moment I arrived at the gate, I missed it by¬†that much.¬†So off I headed to my hotel for the night to catch the next one in the morning. The next morning I got on my plane home, everything was on time and I was finally able to sleep in my own bed.

Overall it was a great trip, I got to spend a ton of time with my mom, work out wedding details, go on a date with my dad, see my best friends graduate, and hang out with my brother. It was the quickest and most jam-packed week I think I’ve ever had. Yet it was fantastic.

I’m looking forward to the next trip that I take, where after six days of waiting, I will be married to my best friend and the love of my life!

Coming together nicely

You know how sometimes things and events can sneak up on you and it’s like BAM here? Well that’s how I feel right now, it’s crazy only 67 days left! This weekend I got so much done its great. I got my shoes in the mail (Toms!), ordered my garter (ooh la la), finalized invitations and RSVP postcards, reserved the hotel for our wedding night, started looking at flower girl dresses (think I found the ones!),¬†started figuring out center pieces and finally bought our plane tickets to California. It feels like it took forever to get our plane tickets, but that’s only because we’d been working on what we wanted to do for our honeymoon. We had originally won a trip to an all inclusive resort in either Mexico, the Dominican Republic or the Bahamas¬†(where we decided we were going to go), but I didn’t get on it soon enough so we’re just going to take that trip at a later time. So we were stuck trying to figure out what we wanted to do, and Logan came up with the idea for a road trip to San Francisco.¬†It’s so funny to me that he thought of that because before we were going to the resort, I had thought of doing a road trip somewhere in NorCal. So anyways, we’re still working on the details of it all but at least we’ve figured out the date we’d be returning so that I could buy our plane tickets.

It’s going by so fast, I can’t believe it. I honestly feel like it was just the other day when we were taking (what I thought was just another walk) at the beach when¬†bam I’m the future Mrs. Logan Strong. There are 176 days between the time that I said “Yes” to the time that I say “I do”, and I’m down to 67. Holy cow. Isn’t that crazy? It’s fantastic and wonderful and amazing and just wow.

THE Pick Up

Today I finally picked up my wedding dress!

I was supposed to have picked it up about two weeks ago, but when I went in to try it on then take it home they realized they 1. Didn’t hem it short enough in the front and 2. They missed part of the bustle. So after going back through the process of getting pins in the front of the dress to hem it further so I don’t trip like an idiot on my dress, I start to step off the pedestal/step I feel a pin lodge in my foot through my shoe. I guess as I was stepping down, I pushed a pin in the hem into my foot through my shoe.

I can’t move as the pin is lodged in the joint of my big toe, I ask the seamstress to help take the pin out. I don’t think she really heard or understood that I said the pin was literally stuck in my foot because she started to pull the bottom of the dress up so I wouldn’t step on it going down but she ended up yanking the pin right out of my foot. Let’s just say…it hurt. a lot. Well any ways I didn’t get to take my dress home, instead I had to leave it there, hoping that the next time I went in the hem would be the right length and the bustle was finished.

So today I go in, try it on¬†(it fits like a glove, its perfect and I love it) the hem is the perfect length, so the next step is to check the bustle. So I get up on the pedestal surrounded by mirrors¬†(always weird to see myself from every angle possible in bright lights)¬†and one of the people who works in alterations starts working on figuring out how my bustle works¬†(its a wee bit complicated)¬†and after a few tries she figures out what goes where and how it should look…and its absolutely¬†perfect. So today I was able to take that gorgeous dress home with me, and now the next step to get my shoes¬†(another post coming, soon as I get them in the mail)¬†and try them on with my dress! To my fittings I’ve been wearing a pair of shoes similar to what I’ll actually be wearing, but soon it’ll be time to see what it’ll actually look like with my shoes! So exciting!

After picking up my dress I went and hung out with my fiance, Logan, he had a psychology assignment/experiment he had to do so I figured I’d join him in his experiment. The assignment was to watch a movie or t.v. show that he’d never seen or heard of before and watch 30 minutes of it with a blindfold on and then another 30 minutes without the blindfold but without sound. We watched National Lampoon’s European Vacation…oh goodness…it is really strange just listening to 30 minutes of that movie to say the least, then to just watch and not hear anything may have been even more strange. Let’s just say after doing the experiment with Logan, I’m thankful that I can not just watch¬†and listen to movies, but be able to fully experience life with sight and sound. Sometimes I take simple things like that for granted, just the other day it was sunny and beautiful but quickly turned to a hail storm. I had left the dog’s bed outside on the deck because he’d been out there earlier in the day (since it was gorgeous out)¬†and I was about to bring it in for the day when the hail came. It came from no where or so it seemed, pelting the windows with a beautiful sound, I absolutely love the sound of rain¬†(or in this case hail). I ran outside and within seconds I was soaked, stepping on large chunks of hail, the weird part about it all was that it was 54 degrees out! After about 20 minutes the hail ended and light rain came, bringing a light pitter-patter sound on the big windows in the kitchen.

Spring is here which means that summer is coming, which means that as of today, there are 77 DAYS LEFT until I get married!