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Blue Ridge Blues

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Shenandoah.

Our home away from home. Alex visited this past weekend on a guys-only sort of hiking trip. He said it was snowing on the trail but the sun danced so warmly against their backs that you would think it was springtime. I know exactly the scene he described and can repaint it in my mind through memories. A tinge of jealousy ran through my veins when he told me.

We visited for our anniversary last month. Fitting, I know, seeing as our entire relationship seems to follow the backbone of those mountains. It was a rustic sort of celebration. The air was crisp and scented by a wood stove overlooking the mountains. We moved slow and intentionally through each moment. Quiet moments. Lots and lots of quiet, reflective moments. The mountains seem to speak through us as a messenger, sending our thoughts bounding across the mountaintops and back to one another through the wind. 

So Alex visited without me this past weekend. While I did mundane holiday preparations not limited to polishing the silver and dusting every nook and cranny. And, yes, I was jealous. Therefore, I’m taking you back with me today. Back to the Blue Ridge to take away my blues.

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Oh, also, if you haven’t entered The First Annual Blog-iversary Giveaway, it needs to be your next stop on the world wide web. Run along, now.

A Blog-iversary

Once upon a time there was a girl who started a blog. She didn’t have any idea what she was doing. But she knew she wanted an outlet to write and exercise her creative juices. So this girl’s blog started as nothing really special at all. In fact, take a look at her first post. She had no idea what she was doing.

But time passed and people besides her husband, mom, and Aunt Maribeth started reading her crazy little rants and musings. In the meantime, she started to find her voice. And a few good friends along the way. ;)

It’s been one year since that blog entered the world wide web. What once was just a place to type and type and type with no cares in the world turned into much more. It may not be a fashion blog. Or a fitness blog. Or even a crafty, DIY blog. It’s just a lifestyle blog. Nothing fancy. Just an ordinary life with ordinary ups and downs, dreams and wishes upon shooting stars, good days and bad days. But between the horrible, no good, very bad days and the ecstasy of life’s greatest moments, this girl learned an ironic lesson from her blog that she never saw coming.

time (really does) stand still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life.

And so she continues to blog. To celebrate the haunting beauty found in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life. 

Now, we celebrate (<———— you really, really should click here if you want a chance to win a TON of free stuff….)

The First Annual Blog-iversary Giveaway

So celebrate we will. My great friend and neighbor, Caryn (of Caryn Taylor Photography), and I have teamed up to give you quite an awesome gift. It should look rather familiar to most of you…..

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Yes. That awesome picture. Of my shoes just chillin on the dock in downtown Annapolis. That she took many, many moons ago. You’ll get your very own 11x14 print of my shoes!!!!

Oh, but that is not all. No, there is so much more for the winning!

You see, I’ve met some amazing friends through blogging this past year and they are also here to help me celebrate my 1st year of blogging. So, without further adieu, I introduce to you some more of my friends:

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(in order from l-r, top-bottom): 1 month of ad space from Sando at The Daily Deelight; 1 month of ad space from Rachel at The Random Writings of Rachel; a Starbucks gift card and a lovely bracelet from Ashley at Piloting Life; and 31 organizing tote and 1 month of ad space from Pam at Our Love Nest; monogrammed mug filled with hot cocoa for those cold winter nights from Kelly at Today Was A Fairytale; set of postcards from Kristin at Vignettes; BB Guns Black Ale ad space from Beth at Until Only Love Remains; custom post signature from Chelsea at Yours Truly;  and another gorgeous 8x10 print from Sheila at The Failte House

Best of luck!

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS CLOSED.

Veritas Revisited: 1 Year Later

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The weather was better this year. The sort of crispness in the air that warms immediately under the sun’s gentle bath. The breeze was nearly impossible to notice, but there enough to stir the air up and keep the day moving. The day was a no-hurry day. The type of day best spent walking the length of a wooden fence, down to the vines where you can hide in between the grapes and let the rest of the world just disappear. It would’ve made for a perfect wedding day. 

It wasn’t the same this time. We melted in with the crowds, just another couple escaping to the mountains for the reds and oranges in the trees, a glass of spectacular wine, and a break from life. The tasting room staff pitched their wine club to us, along with the couples to our left and right. To our left, an overweight couple straight out of cheap wine-ville dumped practically every ounce of their tastings. To our right, a young couple, perhaps our age, downed their tastings as if it were a race. After our tasting partners dispersed, paying their $10 tasting fees and moving along, we gently asked for a bottle of Petit Verdot to take home and discreetly let the young man pouring know that we already, happily, are wine club members. 

It was someone else’s wedding day. And we preferred it that way. Because as the bride and her maids lined up alone the side of the building, posing for picture and picture, and the staff busily lined rows upon rows of chairs for the ceremony, we sat with our cheese plate and simply remembered.

Sometimes it’s good to keep a low profile. Moments become more special when you know that nobody else is watching. And so it was, a little over a week ago, that we celebrated our 1 year anniversary, back on the same ground where we said “I do”, with nobody watching.

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…. and we sat on the porch steps and watched the wedding unfold. I can’t think of a better way to spend our first anniversary.

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Did you miss wedding recap week? You can see all of the pictures and all of the memories here.

I Love You So Much

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We survived our first year anniversary. It’s funny, really. Surviving. I got a text yesterday that said “Congrats on your anniversary.” Congrats. What is that supposed to mean, exactly? You didn’t kill each other? You still can stand one another?

But it’s really true. Year one wasn’t easy. We tested one another. There were a few curve balls, a couple of tragedies. But we made it through together. Stronger, too. It won’t get easier. It’s going to be tough. But we renewed our vows yesterday over 1 year-old wedding cake and a bottle of Claret straight from Veritas. And as silly as it sounds, that’s a pretty darn big deal.

Cheers. We made it. Congrats to us. 

(Oh, yeah, I’m still sharing Austin pictures…. of a silly little Austin landmark & a great cup of Jo’s….)

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We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program….

I’ll have you know I am only on day 3 of 6 of our Whirlwind Cowboy Adventure to Texas. And we haven’t even gotten to my birthday and Phuongnhu’s wedding yet! It’s coming, I promise. But the house is getting dirty, and behind, and so today we’re playing ketchup. And mustard. Or simply “housekeeping”. Here we go….

1. Have you noticed my friends over there——————>? That’s my sisterhood. Except we don’t share traveling pants. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Kristin, from Kristin’s Veranda, is most likely the sweetest girl in blogland. I absolutely love her slice of internet paradise and I spend maybe a bit too much time on her blog. And did you see these? If you follow me on Facebook, you already know how much I’m in love with them!

Sheila, from The Failte House, is my other sister. It’s Gaelic, by the way. For “welcome”. Don’t you love it? The Failte House! My Irish heritage just squeals with excitement! She’s my go-to for positive energy and inspiration. Did I mention she’s a photographer? Yeah. You can bet your bottom dollar I’ve been harassing her a bit too much about my new toy….

So, anyway, these ladies and I have a busy month planned for you readers. So expect to be seeing some guest posts over here, as well as a giveaway. Giveaway?!?! I know everyone’s ears just perked up!

2. My 1 year anniversary is in a week and a half. So in T-minus 4 days, this blog is putting on it’s Halloween costume and becoming all wedding-y, gushy, mushy, and pretty. So if you like wedding posts, which hopefully you do, stay tuned. Not to mention… I’ve got a video or two as well as some never-seen-or-spoken-about before info from our big day to share! I hope you won’t mind. Oh, and you’ll be hearing multiple plugs for these people. Because they captured moments like this:

3. KELLY! This girl is amazing. I hope to be her when I grow up. So she was my Fall Friendship Swap partner and talk about luck of the draw! Hand sketched artwork that matches my house EXACTLY? Misha likes the squirrel the best. And that stack of recipes! My husband could take a hint from her on the way to my heart. :) My treasure box of fall goodies just came on Monday so I haven’t had a chance to be too domestic and utilize the recipes, but I’ll be letting you know how it goes. I’m especially looking forward to the butterscotch pudding and the pumpkin cheesecake. I have such a sweet tooth! Thank you, Kelly! The gift is perfect!

4.Lanaya! More thanks for my Liebster Award! The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers by bloggers. It is a way to acknowledge each other and say “you’re doing a great job”. She also gave me a few questions to answer, which I will get to later once my ducks are all in a row. She has another blog that I just love to explore and I can get lost wandering through everything it has to offer! Go say hello!

5. Stop over to Lauren’s blog and wish her the best on her nuptials this weekend. October weddings rule!

6. My big girl camera! So I’ve had it for a few weeks now. I promised myself the moment I bought it that I would not snap a single shot in auto mode. I’m doing alright and I feel like I made progress on our Texas vacation, naturally, but I know I’ve got a ways to go. Plus, I doubt I’ll see my wish-listed lens before I open my stocking Christmas morning. So, please, bear with me as I keep at it. I’m trying to keep it real, here. I mean, for every picture you see that looks like this (Haha, Baci is ridiculous! I had to show it to you!):

there are two pictures that look like this:

7. Link it up! Chelsea from Yours Truly has kindly asked me to co-host this week’s link up. So add your Twitter account and meet some new friends!

(Are you still with me? I told you I had a lot of housekeeping…)
Follow your host & co-hosts
Share the hop with others, whether it be via Twitter, Facebook, your blog, etc!
Come link up with @chelseaoliviaxo for the Twitter hop to find new friends! http://www.yourstrulyblog.com/2012/10/welcome-back-this-week-for-another.html
Feel free to copy the code for the button from above and put it up on your blog.
Take a couple minutes to visit some other people who have linked up and let them know you stopped by from the Return The Favor hop - and hopefully they will return the favor!

Chelsea from Yours Truly



Happy Hump Day. :)

Friday’s Letters Take 6

What a week! I apologize for the length of these letters. However, there were many letters to write this week. Don’t worry, I’ve coated this baby with plenty of pictures!

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Dear grandma and grandpa, you inspire me daily. I love you both very much. Congratulations.

Dear Peabody Orlando, besides turning the water off midday Friday, having your coffee machines break Saturday morning, and purchasing the world’s most unsupportive pillows, you were a pretty awesome place. And the ducks were cool, too.

Dear Florida sun, Thank you for going easy on me. You sure are strong. And you left me all glowing and golden after the weekend. Fabulous.

Dear Summer School, I’ll miss you. It was great while it lasted. And who would’ve thought my fish and snails would have survived? Score one for me!

Dear Leadership Development Institute, get ready because here we come! The moment I received my acceptance letter, my first thought was “Oh, I hope Alex got in, too, because that would be awkward”. And he did! Here’s to the start of a new chapter…

Dear Black Garden, ahhhh my favorite beers in one, gigantic drink??? Thank you for entering my life. (It’s Guinness and Hoegaarden in case you were wondering).

Dear Laptop, please don’t scare me like that. I really, really need you in my life. I’m glad your trip to the computer doctor went well. #Ican’tlivewithoutyou

Dear Batman, I liked you in this one best of all because you had Robin and Cat Woman. And let me just say, Joseph Gordan Levitt, you turned into one hell of a good looking man. And my thoughts still reach out to Colorado…. 

Dear Hubcap, you really know the way to my heart. Mmmmhmmm. Now is a good time to tell you my thoughts on cupcakes. They don’t make sense. I tear the bottom part off and squish it on the top like an Oreo…. or…. a macaron…. & my husband gets that about me.

(and while we’re on the sweet tooth front)

Dear Publix, I’ve been saying this my entire life, but you make the best key lime pie.

(over and out)

Priceless Gifts

By far the most sacred and meaningful way to spend a special anniversary in your marriage is to attend the wedding of your close friends. Now, I’m not saying 6th months is a gigantic anniversary. However, it’s the biggest milestone in our life together as husband and wife thus far. Interesting fact: for the four years Alex and I dated, we never really knew when to call it our “anniversary” and we ultimately chose to celebrate “somewhere in between the end of April and 4th of July”. It worked for me. I never was the biggest romantic, anyway.
 
In a complete paradoxical shift, we’ve made it a point to remember every 21st of the month since October. Our 1 month anniversary landed on our honeymoon in Costa Rica. They definitely made sure we were treated like gold that day. Our 2 month landed right before Christmas, on a day we ironically were back visiting Veritas to pick up some unclaimed, forgotten items from the wedding party. And so on and so on. Taking us to Saturday- Bobby and Christine’s wedding day.
 
The priest’s homily during the ceremony was related to wedding gifts. It could have been the heat of the church, but the sermon really hit home. You get a ton of gifts when you get married. Somewhere in between my grandmother’s silver and the knives (how many? I lost track), the greatest gift of all is marriage itself. I don’t mean to sound preachy. I am aware that marriage means different things to different people. Therefore, people have different marriages and no marriage is the same as the next. Alex and I are in it for love, for support, for family, for the long haul, for friendship and most importantly, as a testament that we are now a single unit, we are one.  It sure is the one gift that we use daily, every moment of our lives.  As the priest told Bobby and Christine, it’s priceless and it’s free.
 
So, instead of boring you with any more gushy details of how special it was to celebrate our six month anniversary at our friends’ wedding, I’ll round this out by making one last remark- gosh, wedding’s are a TON of fun!  Enjoy the pictures!
 
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They used the same DJ that we did for our wedding and it was great to see Nathan again. Just like on our wedding night, he kept us on the dance floor the entire night. 
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Before we knew it, the night got later……. MUCH later.  It was such a good time!
 
We’re so very happy for Bobby and Christine.  With big congrats to the lucky groom and a lifetime of best wishes to the bride, we couldn’t be any more blessed with great friends to share this world.  Happy one week anniversary!

*Filed under Married Life, Social Life*

Veritas Revisted

Our 3 hour drive gave us the perfect opportunity to hash it out and clear the air.  Sinking into the velvet upholstery in the corner of the tasting room, we soaked in every moment over cheese and wine.  The mountain air renewed us.  The light through the windows bathed us.  The familiar faces comforted us.  The oak and tanins of the wine reminded us. 

The last time we were in the tasting room, we were looking out at our family and friends, lined up in drunken rows, raising sparklers high in the sky.  As we stepped through the double doors, out into the brisk night air,  we started our new life as husband and wife. 

There is a giant sign hanging over the bar at Veritas now.  It is made out of their corks, hangs on fish wire and says “LOVE”.  Walking into the tasting room yesterday, we were greeted with familiar faces and the warmth of memories roasting on the fire.  As I am about to say ”Nothing’s changed!”, we looked up.  Bam.  LOVE.

*Filed under Wanderlust Life* Also see Veritas II*