I’m not sure where the entire month of March went, but I’m sure we were packing or unpacking a box during it.  What an adventure this time has been — from learning of our fast approaching move-out date, to finding somewhere to live, to being excited to leave Savannah, to being sad to leave Savannah, to losing a beloved member of the family, to making the six hour move back to my old stomping grounds.  Throw in our One Year Anniversary and my head is basically spinning.  What a roller coaster life can be at times.  Fortunately, with the right person beside you, each passing second is more brilliant than the last.  One of the best parts about moving back home to NC would have to be that we are finally a family of three with my sweet Riley Bear back at home with us.  He hasn’t lived with me since 2009 but my parents have been great enough to keep him for me at his “country home.” He is a rescue puppy from the  animal shelter and when I got him in 2005 the vet estimated him to be 3-5 years old.  So now he is an elderly puppy and has some special needs and is a greeeat reminder of how long we have to wait before we welcome more “puppies” to our home. Side note: The second morning Riley was with us he got sick and threw up in the kitchen, probably from the stress of moving (which I can understand).  My loving, wonderful husband woke up early and when he saw the throw up, he decided to cover it with a towel and went back to bed.       I.Kid.You.Not.    We have had a lot of fun conversations about that incident… :) But Riley really is the best puppy EVER and Dustin, fortunately, loves him as much as I do (probably a little more…)  I love my little family and it is good to be Home.

“To a new chapter of our wonderful lives…  Happy (Holly) Spring(s)”  :)

My “Happy Spring” flowers from the Tar Heel

I LOVE our Red Door!!

Roses blooming like ca-razy!

Literally one of the two things on any of our walls in the entire house right now… but we’ll get there!

My two boys :)


Take A Back Road

Two weeks ago Hondy (our Honda Accord) got into an accident.  I was rear-ended after only a little over five weeks of owning our new car.  Fortunately, neither myself nor the other (reckless) driver were injured. Hondy, however, did not survive the incident unscathed.  She suffered a good bit of rear-end damage and so a repair was in order.  I could get on a serious soap box about how backwards our insurance world is (medical, car, etc) but that might go on for days.  Suffice to say, I was the one who was driving correctly and stopped for the red light.  I was the one who was hit from behind by some careless guy. And I was the one that had to file the insurance claim and set up times for an estimate, repair and drive a rental.

But….Our rental car is what I like to call a little “Justice.”  Our Rental is actually a beautiful, white 2012 GMC Acadia fully-loaded (including remote start) with only 4k miles, and I have been l-o-v-i-n-g it!  I know Hondy is the best car choice for us right now, but let me tell you I am getting more and more spoiled by the day driving this sweet Acadia.  Hopefully Hondy will be back to us soon.

In the mean time, we decided the timing could not be more perfect for a lovely fall road trip with the pretty new rental.  We have done so little traveling in Georgia since we moved here, we decided it was well overdue to head West and see where it takes us.  We only had one real requirement for this road trip:  No highways allowed.  That’s right, we decided to take a few back roads.  The Tar Heel grabbed all his photog gear, including his old medium format Mamiya, and we headed towards an adventure.

We stopped at every quaint Main Street we could find to take pictures and grab a glass bottle Coke.  (You KNOW those just taste better than bottled coke.)  It was amazing.  The first “small” town we came to was actually Statesboro, home to Georgia Southern University.  As luck would have it, we arrived to Statesboro at noon on a GAME DAY!  It was so much fun!  We loved driving around the campus and seeing everyone in their Navy and Gold, and I especially loved visiting their Greek Court.  It was pretty impressive, and the greeks were out EVERYwhere.  It was great!  Crazy enough, GSU was also playing Western Carolina, a school back home in NC.  I love seeing college campuses no matter how large or small — it always reminds me of my college experience at NCSU and brings back fond memories.

We continued our little journey and headed toward a small town called Millen.  We stopped at a few barns and took some great shots and then headed to their main street. I am NOT the photographer in this family, but I have NO patience to wait for his film to develop, so I took a few Hippstamatics to share on the blog. :)

After Millen, we headed back towards Savannah while stopping in a town called Sylvania on the way.  We drove straight past a really impressive looking winery (especially to be in the middle of no where) so we had to turn around and stop for a tasting.  When we got to the gates, several cars were driving through even though there were signs saying closed for a private event.  We knew what that meant, and it did nothing but make us want to go in even more!  So we drove down a beautiful, winding dirt path running alongside a picturesque vineyard and stumbled upon a breathtaking wedding taking place outside complete with twinkle lights.  It.Was.Gorgeous!!  We decided against crashing the wedding, but we were both amazed at the view.  The chairs.  The lights.  The sunset.  I couldn’t help but think of our wedding and hoped that the couple getting married gets to experience the wedded bliss the Tar Heel and I share.  It is truly a blessing to know this kind of love.

Finally, here are a few shots from along the way.  If you ever just need to get away for a bit, I would encourage you to RUN from the city lights and take on a long stretch of back roads. It is good for the soul.


End of an Era

Well, the time has come to say goodbye.  And as my favorite movie line from Fried Green Tomatoes goes, “She was a Lady.  And a Lady always knows when to leave.”

So long to my super fun, super gorgeous “I’m-A-Big-Girl-Now” Cadillac.  I hope some other cute, college-bound sorority girl will love you as much as I did.

Photos by the Tar Heel from a recent school project.

Hello to our new, practical and cute Honda Accord.  I’m excited to see where our new ride will take us (literally)!! :)

Social Experiment: Swiss Roll Study

If you’ve ever heard of Little Debbie snack cakes, then I’m sure you have experienced their famed Swiss Roll snacks. Full of yummy deliciousness, I found that our favorite (read: cheapest) grocery store, Wal-Mart, carries a generic version that I thought might be worth trying. I have absolutely no qualms with buying the generic version of every food under the sun, and I have a pantry full of Great Value to prove it. (Well, with one exception: Cinnamon Toast Crunch aka Sweet Baby Jesus in a Bowl aka SBJIAB) This is probably due to my experience in pharmacy and knowing that there is absolutely no (active) difference between Advil and the Ibuprofen generic store version (and you are just wasting your money buying the brand name anything when it comes to meds).

Annnnyway, when I brought home the “impostures” my sweet and wonderful husband did not share my same sentiments regarding our Great Value brand swiss rolls.  He insisted he couldn’t eat them because they wouldn’t be nearly as good. I thought this was ridiculous and so in light of the Tar Heel’s utter disdain for my “generic” swiss rolls, I devised an experiment.

Inclusion criteria:  Husband

Design:  Place “impostures” in original LD brand Swiss Roll box.  “Impostures” are strategically placed alongside LD brand swiss rolls inside the box so as to determine which is the control (original) and which is the variable (imposture).  Next, watch and learn.

I just love putting my new degree to work.

Marry Me

Forever Starts Today.

One of the most stunning photos I found in the planning process was a shot of the back of a wedding program with three simple words on it:  Forever Starts Today.  I fell in love with the photo and was convinced from that day on that my wedding programs had to have the same, but on the front.  What really meant so much to me was the truth behind those three simple words.  It’s what the idea of marriage was built upon from the beginning–forever.

For Dustin and me, our marriage was never about our wedding.  While we were thrilled to share our commitment ceremony with friends and family, the glitz and glam and over-the-top shenanigans were never really our thing.  In all honesty, (whether you believe me or not!:) ) I pushed for a private ceremony  for a long time.  Maybe I was intimidated by the thought of a huge wedding with all the bells and whistles.  At the end of the day, I really just felt that something intimate might be lost with an incredible number of eyes watching us, and that this might cause me to fail to remember our vows and what I was repeating to the person I was going to spend my life with.  And that was the important part!  The flowers, the video, the pictures — none of THAT makes a wedding.  Our vows.  The committment.  The Heavenly Covenant that we enter causing us to no longer be individuals, but rather two parts of a whole.  THAT is what makes a wedding.  And that is what I wanted to be sure I remembered.

Dustin finally changed my mind and insisted that I would end up regretting the decision to have a private ceremony.  Now, I can truly say he was 100% right.  [Did you read that, Dustin? You were right my love. :)]  We compromised and agreed upon having only the closest of friends and families there, but even that was incredibly difficult to narrow down.  Regardless of the number of people who came, of all the things I remember from our wedding day, the part that shines brighter in my mind than any other aspect was standing in front of my sweet Dustin, holding his hands and reciting our vows to one another.

Seeing Dustin standing at the end of that aisle was everything I dreamed it would be and more.  Every single tear that was shed in agony and brokenness during my walk of faith to lead me to Dustin was worth it.  Every bit of hurt, rejection and fear that I experienced along the way was worth it.  Every bit of me that believed I deserved to have the kind of love the Lord intended for us was worth it! My goodness how I wish I could impress upon every young girl I meet the importance of maintaining the belief in yourself and your Savior that He does have someone out there for every one, and that you owe it to yourself to believe you will find them.  I am so proud of myself and Dustin.  We both could have settled, but we chose not to because we knew the best kind of love was still out there for us.  There are so many things that could have been done differently in our lives.  Instead, we chose to believe in the Lord’s plan for us and to believe in each other.  We simply trusted in Him to lead us to each other, and you know what?  He did!!

As I started walking down the aisle to Dustin, we were both crying a pretty impressive amount of happy tears.  When we recited our vows, neither of us could get through them without having to pause and regain our composure.  We chatted the entire time we were standing up there, telling each other how much we loved one another and how beautiful/handsome we each looked.  I literally felt as though it were only Dustin, myself and our minister standing at the front of that church.  Literally!  After our ceremony, Dustin’s dad came up and jokingly told him he couldn’t believe Dustin started crying before they even opened the doors with me standing there, and he had to hold back tears the entire service.  Our videographer’s second shooter overheard his comment and said “Just be glad you couldn’t hear everything they were saying to each other at the front of the church, we were all about to cry the whole time!”  And it was true.  We were so happy, the tears of joy would not stop flowing.  This day meant so much to us as a couple and was such a special day in our spiritual walks.

A few days after the wedding, I was catching up with a dear friend who was there to celebrate our wedding day.  She told me our ceremony was so special, and she could just feel something inside her stir and motivate her to try and find that same kind of love that we shared.  The next week she found herself visiting a new church for the first time.  Needless to say, I got off the phone in complete awe.  What more evidence do we need to show how much the Lord leads us to certain people, situations and circumstances for our good?  God was already using our love and I was amazed by this.  I was so touched and I couldn’t help but feel that Dustin and I are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves.

I am so excited to trust and see what the Lord has in store for us!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17