Monday, December 31, 2012

another year

At the beginning of this year, I said I was going to do a lot of things. Now, it's time to see how I did and plan for the upcoming year. 

So a little recap for 2012…

live healthier
Yes. I've lived one of the healthiest years of my life, but not really because I've done so well with eating healthy or because I've worked out every day…because I haven't…it's more because my mindset changed. I'm conscious of what I'm eating and doing. I know that nachos aren't a food group, but they are delicious and I'm going to indulge in them every once in a while. I don't believe in depriving yourself, but as the year has passed, I've grown more responsible for what I'm putting into my body and how active I am, and I'm healthier because of it…both physically and mentally.

create more
Yes. I did some freelance work for a while, created simple design work for my Etsy account, and learned to crochet. I dove into several DIY projects, including making some Halloween decorations for the door using stuff I had laying around the house. Creating things has helped make me less stressed, but has definitely made our house a little messier.

start planning the wedding
Yes! In case you didn't know, I'm engaged now. Weird! So now I'm officially planning the wedding for September. 

get a bike
Nope. Where we live really isn't conducive to bike riding. We basically live on a strip mall, so a bike might be dangerous. Maybe next year…

plant a garden
Yes. Kinda. I started some plants in containers, because when I tried to dig up a part of the yard, I found that the dirt was basically clay. Not really good for plants. So I had several plants on the porch. Some grew nicely, some didn't. And any time I had to leave to go out of town and leave Kyle to take care of them, he would forget to water them and they'd dry up and be dust when I came home. So again, maybe next year…

Nope. I did take a part time job working for a nonprofit organization, though. But yeah, not really volunteering because I get paid.

start running
Yes! I haven't kept it up like I'd hoped, but I participated in two 5Ks with Kyle and my family and friends. Super fun. And I got a North Face jacket for Christmas, so no excuses about the weather being too cold now! 

write more letters
Yes. I joined something called, but I need to keep it up!

learn to take a compliment
Kinda. I'm working on it. I honestly think about this all the time and make a conscious effort to take one gracefully. But yeah, I still need some work.

learn to be patient
Kinda. Kyle would probably argue with me here. Some things just don't require a fit of impatience, and I'm trying to deal with that.

write more
Kinda. I have written less blog posts this year, but I've written more in other ways. For instance, I started writing about the conversations that Kyle and I have before we fall asleep. I'd try to remember them each morning and type them into a document. Sometimes they are sweet, and sometimes they are hilarious/ridiculous. I've found that to be a nice way to keep track of memories and allow me to write some each day. I need to keep that up, too.

travel more
Kinda. We went to Nashville and Savannah, and we've driven back to Huntington about a bajillion times. So I guess that counts. 

pay off credit cards
Yes. Well, two of them are paid off, and I still have two more. Progress, I guess.

update blog
Kinda. I decided to create a new website altogether, so that's what I'm working on now. I'm hoping to have it up in the next couple of months!

read a book a week
Nope. I would say I read a book about every month. Which is NOT what I wanted to do. Work harder on this one, for sure.

be more thoughtful
Kinda. Since Kyle is basically the only person I see on a daily basis, this mostly relates to him. I try to remember to do tiny things for him that will make his day nicer or easier, but I definitely need to do this more. And I think I should make a bigger effort to text or call or send people things in the mail, just to let them know I'm thinking of them. 

love deeper
Yes. As you grow up, I feel like you realize how important your people are more and more. I have never loved Kyle more than I do right now, and I will probably love him more with each day we are together. And my family and friends…I can't say enough about them. Being away from them makes me love them more all the time, because I've realized how much I need them. 

read bible/pray more
Kinda. I pray a lot more than I used to, but I still don't read very much. I've got to make time for that. 

be more organized
Kinda. Kyle is really good at organizing things. I'm not. But I've done an okay job at making sure things have a place…even if that place is the coffee table.

drink more water
Yes. Absolutely. I have finally started drinking enough water consistently, and now, if I go a day without drinking very much of it (like at Christmas, when it was all coffee, iced tea, and coke zero), I almost feel sick. And my skin is dry. And I wake up feeling like I'm stranded in the Sahara. So yeah. I get an A for water drinking.


Overall, I give myself a C. Not that great. If this were high school and this were a real report card, I might have cried. But whatever. I'm not going to forget about these goals for 2013. I have new goals, plus my old ones, so I guess I'll be busy again this year. 

For 2013…

I feel like all of these are pretty self-explanatory, and mostly just extensions of last year's. But "stop keeping score" is definitely going to be a hard one.

I've realized this year, that I like to keep score. If Kyle asks me to do something, I sometimes come back with "I did it last time" or "It's your turn." I'm not really sure why it even matters, but I do this. And I don't like that about myself. It goes beyond "turns," too. I'll even say "I swept the floors, so you can change the lightbulb." That's just not how I should go about things. It's like I want recognition for mundane crap that doesn't matter. Who wants to hang out with someone like that? So I'm going to try to work on that this year. 


New Year's Eve may seem stressful sometimes, but it's a time of hope and opportunity and change. It's a new year and now is the time to make a change if you want one. 

I hope everyone's evening is fun and safe, and that 2013 looks bright for you.



Saturday, December 1, 2012


I'm really not your typical bride. Or maybe I am, and I just have these preconceived notions about brides.

I don't really care about feeling like a princess or whatever on my wedding day. My hair is probably just going to look like the best version of itself for my wedding, nothing new or done up. And I would rather not have "two hearts become one" printed on our programs. Kyle and I have our own, separate hearts, that make each of our bodies work. So that's that. I mean, obviously we love each other, but I think there are cooler ways for us to express that to our families and friends at our wedding. I don't want to walk down the aisle to the Wedding March or have vases of sand or dance with my dad to "Butterfly Kisses." All of those things are all beautiful and wonderful for the right people, they just aren't right for me. So, yeah, I'd say I'm sort of an antibride.

Well, then I ordered my wedding dress. 

I think I said I wasn't going to order it just yet. I think I said I wanted to just try some on and then think it over. That's what I said. Then, something magical happened and I became a bride while standing in front of the mirror at The Rose Tree. 

Here's the story.

I was in town staying with my family for the week of Thanksgiving, so we figured that would be a good time to go try on some dresses. No work or school for anyone, so, yeah, perfect. I'm not really sure why I thought this was a good idea, but I decided that David's Bridal would be a good place to start. Nothing against David's Bridal, but this was just not a good experience for me. The night before we had decided to go, I started getting some serious anxiety about the whole thing. I was manically texting Kyle, who was still in Tennessee at the time, and he's all "Chill out, crazy lady." He didn't understand! I was going to have to go try on dresses and come out in them for everyone to see, and then have everyone tell me their thoughts and feelings about how I looked in them. Who the eff wants to do that? Not. Me. But I know it's just part of this whole wedding process, so I had to bite the bullet and move on.

On Monday morning, I chose a comfortable but cute outfit for shopping that was easily removed and put back on in dressing rooms. Little did I know how handy this would be when I was ready to fly out of that dressing room and GTFO of there. My mom drove my sister, brother and I to David's Bridal, and the whole time I'm getting increasingly more nervous. I get there, register, get a consultant and talk to her about what I'm looking for. As I'm talking to her I realize, I have no effing clue what I want. I'm telling her a million different things, and somehow I've become one of those crazy people from Say Yes to the Dress who want everything and nothing at the same time. My mind is whirling, but I see some really beautiful Vera Wang gowns and think "This might not be so bad."

My consultant picks out a few dresses for me and makes sure to tell me that she has to pull dresses that are actually way bigger than I need because of how they are sized and tries to reassure me that she's not trying to offend me, when what she actually did is just make me more nervous and self-conscious. Awesome. I've bought formal dresses before, I know the drill.

So I go into the mirrorless, coat-closet-sized dressing room and begin to put on the undergarments she gave me. A corset and a weird slip thing with some tulle on it. The corset is too big, the slip is too small, and there's gum stuck onto the walls in the dressing room. This is off to a great start.

She put me into 6 dresses in the hour-and-a-half's time I was there. I tried on the Vera Wang one, and as beautiful as it was, it just wasn't right for me. It was too big on the bottom, too much going on for an outdoor wedding, and while it was beautifully made, it was not the most flattering thing for me. Three of the others were ok, and the other two I hated to my very core, but still put on a nice smile and tried to be polite and stand there for a respectful amount of time since it took her 10 minutes to get me into one of the because it had a lace-up back, which I hate.


At one point while the consultant was going back to pull more dresses, I turned to my mom, sister and brother and said, with a few more choice words, that I was ready to go and became more frustrated when my mother informed me that I'd only been there for half an hour. I survived and was so glad to get that corset off and my leggings back on. Flustered and frustrated, we went to Panera for some lunch and regrouping. My family didn't really understand why I was on the verge of breaking out in hives, because the consultant was indeed very nice and it was the first time I'd tried on dresses. The entire thing was just not what I'd expected and I was already feeling defeated and self-consious. Honestly, there is nothing worse than trying on formalwear and bathing suits. 

After lunch, we started driving back toward Huntington, and decided to go to The Rose Tree because my friend Jessica was working and there weren't really any customers there to bother us. We arrive, me with a newly sore nail that I have nervously chewed to the quick in the car after the David's Bridal fiasco, and I think to myself "You just need to try some on and see what you like. Just stay calm." Here's the thing about The Rose Tree. They have horror stories of their own. Alteration mishaps, ordering the wrong dress, snobby workers, etc. I've heard them all and even been involved in some, and while I understand that these things happen sometimes, I just really wanted to avoid dealing with any sort of dress shop altogether. I'd order my dress online and that would be that. But the problem with The Rose Tree is that no matter how many bad things you've heard about them, the truth is that they have REALLY great stuff and really know what they're doing. Their lighting is better, they have nicer dresses and the experience of trying on dresses there is just an overall better one. Since Jessica was there helping me, too, it was so much better than David's Bridal. She knows me and knows what the wedding is going to be like, she's been married already and knows what goes into it and how stressful it can be, and she's my friend so there was no fear of hurting her feelings if I hated a dress she picked for me to try. She would just say, "Ok, you don't like it? Next!" Just what I needed. 

So here I am, all "Not getting a dress today, dodododah," and she puts me in the first one. Something happened. I know people say you just know when it's the right dress, but I never believed them. I always thought that was a crock for those princess-y brides. Well, people, when you are put into a dress that is flattering and beautiful and you're standing on that little white box with the nice lights hitting your face and making everything sparkle, then you know. It's real. I even had the hugest zit ever on my chin and it was like it just sort of disappeared. Or I just didn't notice it anymore. The weirdest thing was that this dress was not at all what I thought I wanted. I said I didn't want beads, it has beads. I only tried on strapless dresses at David's Bridal, but this one has straps. I thought I wanted lace, but this dress has none. But somehow, when I put this dress on, I went from being a grumpy, stressed out, engaged girl with a gnawed off fingernail, to a bride. I tried on a few other dresses after that one, just to see, and I just kept thinking about the first one. So we put that one back on, and it was like when Flora, Fauna and Merryweather make Aurora's dress in Sleeping Beauty and she goes and dances with the Prince. As princess-y as that is, it is true. It was like it was meant for me. Jessica picked out a jeweled hair comb for me that matched the dress and stuck it in my hair and I just laughed and said "Who am I?" My family was crying. It was the weirdest and best thing ever. 

I told Jessica I was going to sleep on it that night before deciding anything, and then I literally had dreams about the dress. So I took that as a good sign. I waited until their Black Friday sale and went to order it with my mom and sister and one of my oldest friends, Zachary. I want to take all of my girlfriends and cousins to see it when it comes in, so that will be wonderful. I've already showed most of them a photo, but I'm anxious for them to see it in person. 

Now that the dress is ordered, I feel so much better. I didn't expect to feel so relieved, but I do, and now I feel like Kyle and I can really plan things. It's starting to feel a little more exciting and a little less stressful. I'm still an antibride, just an antibride with a dress. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012


My sister is 21 today. Twenty-one. Eek!

Taylor is the middle child in our family, and I think God knew what He was doing when He put us in the order He did. You know how you have bookends on a shelf, and sometimes they don't really stand up unless there are actually books in between them? That's us. Casey and I are the bookends and Taylor is the book in the middle that holds it all up. She balances us. Casey and I would probably just fall over if Taylor wasn't there in the middle. 

When we were little, I was sort of mean. Not really because I wanted to hurt anyone's feelings, but because I thought it was funny. Which I guess makes me even meaner than I thought. Anyway...there is a home video that my dad took with a new videocamera, so he's really just testing it out, and my sister is standing on top of one of those big popcorn tins and smiling this hilarious smile, like she thinks dad is taking her picture. She's just standing there. Smiling. I'm laughing just typing this out and thinking about it. Then out of nowhere, I knock her off the tin and get up on it myself and start doing something ridiculous and not nearly as funny as my little sister standing there waiting for the flash. I was an attention whore. Sorry, sister. 

I'm so proud of my sister and proud to be her sister. She's beautiful and smart and hilarious and she cares about people. She loves me even when I'm being crazy or pushing her off of popcorn tins and she always tells me the truth even when I don't want to hear it. We trust each other. We know each other. We love each other. 

Having siblings has been one of my biggest blessings, and I'm so excited to celebrate my sister's birthday with them when I go home this weekend.

Happy birthday, sister. Put the champagne in the fridge. I'm on my way to celebrate!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

thursday's list

Well, it's officially November. How did that happen? Anyway, here's a list of random thoughts and happenings. 

thursday ten

1. I came home to a broken freezer yesterday. Everything was melted and watery and I'm waiting for our unreliable landlord to get here. He said he'd be here in about an hour 27 HOURS AGO.* Yes, that's more than a day late. Apparently he's on his way now, but I told Kyle I'll believe it when I see it.

2. One of my bfs, Kristin, survived Sandy in NYC and I want to hear all the details about it when I (hopefully) see her this weekend. Haven't seen her since July! And while I'm excited to see her and hear everything, I am truly sad for everyone who lost their homes. <3

3. Tonight, I'm going to Target to buy all the Halloween candy that's going to be on sale. Big plans, people.

4. I've entered like 12 contests to win money for my wedding. So far, nothing. I know, I'm a dweeb.

5. I love Spotify. I know I'm like the last one in the world to get one, but whatever. I like to be sure of things before I make a true commitment. Just ask Kyle. ;) JK. I knew he was it when I was 17. 

6. I really want to get my hands on the new NARS Andy Warhol collection. It looks pretty amazing.

7. I can't get over how awesome these costumes are. 

Ellie Stapleton and Bradley Hammond as Claire & Charlie from LOST
Lauren Herman as Tobias from Arrested Development
I mean, how great are those?!

8. Kyle and I saw Cloud Atlas last night, and honestly, I have very little idea what even happened. I mean, I understand the main parts, but the whole time I kept telling myself "You're going to totally get this any minute now. It's all going to come together soon." It sort of did, but it was weird. And I like weird! So I don't know…I'm still trying to decide my true feelings about it. The best part was that I snuck a container full of s'mores into the movie. And we ate them all. 

9. The only movies I can think about right now are Les Miserables and Lincoln. I mean, OMG.

10. I got a temporary job today and I'm hoping Kyle will buy me a congratulatory lululemon running jacket. No? 

To end this wildly unorganized post, here's a little Throwback Thursday action for you.

Taylor pulling my hair out

Casey without pants and Taylor rocking a windbreaker

Casey and I wearing a pair of weirdly similar Easter shoes

* The landlord finally showed up and "fixed" the fridge. We'll see. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

west virginia cowboy: part three

over the weekend, i got to go to a bonfire at tina and jeff's house. kelsey was having people over and when i found out about it, i knew i had to go…not because of an obligation, but because i physically needed to be around people who understand. 

we got to talk and catch up and tell stories about corey together. telling stories about him might not seem like something you would want to do at a party, but of course we did, because, well, he should be there. he is there. his memory is all over the place.

it was good to be around kelsey and hug her and be able to talk to her about the crazy people who have really been driving everyone insane. i know kelsey and our friends who knew corey well understand that being around each other is easier than being around strangers or friends who didn't know him. it's more comfortable, for lack of a better word. 

since corey died, it's been difficult to be around people who just don't get it. kelsey talks about this pretty often in her blog and talked to me about it as we stood in the dark outside her parents' house. it's like this feeling of anxiety that no one around you understands and you just want to scream at them "don't you know that he's gone?!" 

after the bonfire, i realized just how therapeutic it was to be with some of my oldest friends. these people are my first friends and the people who knew corey best, and no matter how far away i live or how long we go without seeing each other, they will always be some of my people.

no matter where kyle and i live, we will always know where home is, and while it might seem that being home would be harder because there are so many corey memories, it actually feels better because i feel closer to him there. i feel closer to everyone i love, not just because that's where they are geographically, but because of the memories and the sense of belonging.

home is where my people are.

home is where i can work on dealing with corey being gone after just 24 years of life.

home is where everything makes a little more sense.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

hocus pocus

Yesterday started off with me being so sore from my workout the day before, that it was hard to get out of bed, so i spent most of the day fighting a headache and my insanely sore muscles. I just did random things around the house most of the day, and feeling in a generally weird mood. And then I thought of something that would make me feel better.

Hocus Pocus. Obviously.

I love Halloween. Kyle said to me a week or so ago, "I have been with you for a long time and I still don't get your fascination with Halloween." Whatever, Kyle.

I always think of Hocus Pocus during this time of year, because it was one of those movies that I would watch over and over and it was always funny, and as I watched it last night, as a 24 year old, there were things that made me laugh even harder now because I actually understand them.

(as the townspeople are trying to break down their door)
Winifred (Bette Midler): Don't get your knickers in a twist! We're just three kindly old spinster ladies.
Mary (Kathy Najimy): Spending a quiet evening at home.

It's really all very creepy. I mean, they're sucking the life out of children! But I would still sing their weird children-luring song all through October.

"Come little children / I'll take thee away / Into a land of enchantment. / Come little children / the time's come to play / Here in my garden of magic." 

How effing creepy is that?! 

Throughout the entire movie, everyone consistently reminds poor Max that he's a virgin and that he lit that damn black flame candle and brought back those crazy Sanderson Sisters, when all he wanted to do was impress that hottie Allison and possibly touch her "yabbos." I'm willing to bet the being a virgin part made it all way worse. And Max's little sister, Dani, is 8 years old and usually the one reminding him and everyone else that he's a virgin. Does she even know what that means?!

Winifred: You know, I've always wanted a child. And now I think I'll have one…ON TOAST!

At one point, the witches are chasing the kids as they drive a car (how old are they?!) and Winifred flies up next to the car on a broom. She says, "Pull over! Let me see your driver's permit!" 

I find this really funny because she is supposed to be from 1693.  The sisters didn't know what a blacktop road was, didn't understand the concept of trick-or-treating and were afraid of the city bus that pulled up beside them, but somehow Winifred knows that Max needs a driver's permit. huh?

Growing up, I think we probably wore out our VHS tape we had of it, just like we did with Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and it started to play all warped and weird after so many times in the VCR. Watching it last night made me think of my siblings and being piled up on the couch with them in our pajamas and thinking about our costumes and who will get the most candy.

Obviously I don't really dress up anymore. Kyle doesn't like it really and we never actually have a party to go to, so we just eat candy and take pictures of Brady and my cousins in their costumes and carve pumpkins. But I always enjoy this time of year. It's the one day of the year (unless you're an actor or a con-artist) you get to be someone else...a PowerRanger, a Hunger Games tribute, Harry can be anything. That childhood love of dressing up will probably always be with me, and I'll probably always want to watch Hocus Pocus.

Get with the program, Kyle. Halloween is freaking great.


Monday, October 22, 2012


i'm at point right now where there are a bunch of different things i want to do, and i just need to choose what to do first.

i want to change my blog and/or transfer it over to my wordpress site.

i want to get serious about some wedding things.

i want to carve a pumpkin.

i want to make hot mulled apple cider.

i want to write a short story book. 

i want to figure out how to make/do cool things and that be my job.

womp womp.

i am thinking of transforming my blog/website into something more organized and detailed, with different sections and topics, such as recipes, beauty, etc. i'm just at  a sort of crossroad with where i want to go from here. 

what do you like to read about? what interests you? i'd love to hear your thoughts!


Friday, October 12, 2012

ghost decoration diy

i thought a little diy tutorial might be fun for a friday. i made these little ghosts to hang on our front door for halloween, and i just used things i had around the house and was able to recycle some things! super easy!

some old plastic bags (like from target or kroger)
white fabric (i used an old top that i no longer wear)
white or gray tulle
twine or some sort of string
pieces of red and brown fabric (i used scraps of felt)
hot glue gun
black marker

step one
roll up several of the bags to make a ball, then put the ball inside one of the bags and twist it around to make the ghost shape.

step two
place the fabric over top of the ball, then the tulle, and twist that around to make the ghost.

step three
wrap some of the twine or string around the ball and tie tightly. snip off any of the hanging strands of the string with scissors.

step four
take the pins and draw on the tips with the black marker. add the pins to the head of the ghost to make the eyes.

step five
draw the shape for the mouth of the ghost on the felt/fabric. i made red lips and a mustache, but you could make whatever type of mouth you want. a simple black circle would make a spookier ghost! cut out the shape and hot glue them to the ghost's face.

step six
cut off a short piece of wire and weave it through the tulle on the top of the ghost's head. twist it to make it into a small loop, then snip off any excess pieces of the wire.

step seven
thread some of the twine through the loop and tie the ends in a knot. 

step eight
hang up the ghost on your front door or wherever you want.


i hope you enjoyed this little halloween diy. kyle doesn't understand my obsession with halloween, but i don't care. i love it! we're supposed to go on a hike this weekend (aka a walk with a trail and some trees. i don't really like hikes), so that should be fun.

let me know if you make any ghosts or other halloween decorations!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

west virginia cowboy: part two

i've never lost someone so unexpectedly. not that you're ever totally prepared for someone to die, but with corey, there was absolutely no preparation. when your grandparents die, there is normally some thought process or realization that they are getting older, they are getting sicker, and they won't be around forever. when it's someone young, it is pretty much always going to feel like it came out of nowhere. like he was stolen.

i feel guilty even writing about my feelings when i know his sister and parents are more devastated than i've ever thought of being, but i haven't stopped thinking about corey since september 21st and i can't get his brown eyes out of my head. 

hearing of corey's death was like someone kicked me in the stomach and when i heard my mom say "corey queen," my eyesight went all weird and white like in a movie when they show you what someone feels like as they are passing out. that's what i felt like. i cried before i hit the ground and kyle hugged me as i wailed. and again, if i felt like that, what did his mother feel like when she heard? i'm not sure i even want to know.

not everyone understands the relationship corey and i had, and i'm not sure i even care to explain it. but it was special. when you meet someone at the age of 11 and stay friends for each year of life after that, it's bound to be special

i went to west virginia this past weekend and kyle stayed in tennessee. when i got back on sunday evening, the house was clean and one of the first things kyle said to me was, "i found some pictures of corey." 

one of them was one i'd been looking for but hadn't told him about. it's from our junior year of high school at the spirit week pep rally at the football field. he's standing on the front row of the bleachers and he's smiling. and for whatever reason, he's not wearing red or black like every single person around him, but orange.

when kyle said that he had found these photos, i felt simultaneously sad and blessed. sad that i was going to look at photos of corey, knowing he was no longer here on this earth with me, and blessed that i am with a person who somehow knew i'd been looking for these photos and knew i wanted to see them.

last week while i was home by myself one day, i listened to the voicemails i had on my phone from corey. the last one he left was telling me congratulations on my engagement and that he loved me. i love you, too.

kelsey's beautiful and heartbreaking blog about her brother has truly helped me, and i think it's helping her, too. if you haven't read it, read it immediately. it's honest and open and a wonderful way to share with the world the life that her brother lived while he was here, and if you've ever lost someone you love, you can relate to pretty much everything she says. 

i love you, queen family.