In Flux

Saturday, January 31, 2015
If you follow me on instagram, you might have noticed a couple changes and been like, "wait, what?" I'm not just talking about my pink hair, so let me explain.

Writing honestly about this has been hard because so much of my identity has been tied up in being a designer, and owning Expect. But, lately, I've been feeling like it's time for a change. Late last year, I experienced a painful epiphany: running my business wasn't fun anymore. Being the girl behind Expect was a stress-inducing, frustrating process that kept pulling me further and further away from who I was as a designer and as a person. Rather than spending my time making cool stuff, I used my hours chasing customers on social media, trying to launch new and desirable products, and frankly, comparing myself to others.

In December, I was was met with a failure so epic, it felt business-ending. I was exhausted. I was burnt out. I was unhappy.

It was at a craft fair. I had paid a huge booth fee, make hundreds of pieces of inventory, driven two hours, and set up the booth on my own. I had made a huge investment in this one day both financially and emotionally. My hopes were so high that this would be the moment my business finally took off. When the market opened, the room filled with potential customers and I was excited. But then, I stood in my booth for hours waiting to make some sales. All around me, it seemed like other makers were selling out of their goods, making connections, and raking in the cash. As the minutes ticked by, I started to panic. I rearranged my booth. I started slashing prices. I tried every sales technique I had in my arsenal. 

I fought back tears as I felt my hopes at making any sales that day melt away. Over the course of the eight hours in that convention center, I felt my business dying.

Was it my designs? Was I, myself, off-putting in some way? Were my prices too high? 

By the time the show had ended, I had make three sales, and I was sure Expect was finished. I kept thinking about Mean Girls.

I loaded my car full of the merch that I made but hadn't sold, drove out of the lot, and headed home. Before I even made it a few blocks down the road, I had become so blinded by my tears, I had to pull over. 

I had failed. My business was never going to take off. This whole thing was a terrible idea. 

I pulled into a strangers driveway and sobbed. 

At the same time that I realized that I didn't want to run Expect anymore, I felt that I was being forced to break up with something I was still in love with. It was horrible.

When the tears subsided, I drove home, calling each member of my family. I wallowed in my sadness, indulged myself in their words of kindness. It's going to be okay. 

Over the next few days, I vacillated between wanting to throw away and delete all things Expect, and desperately wanting to take a defibrillator to the operation and make it work. I eventually decided that it didn't have to be either-or. Expect was my first business, my first passion, and while I wasn't ready to say goodbye to it, I felt it's time to take a break.

Over the holidays, I allowed myself some space to rest, think through my options, and change my mind as many times as I wanted to. It was such a tender gift to give myself. For the first time in what felt like months, a weight was lifted and I was able to just breathe.

They always say that when a door closes, a window opens. And that's just what happened to me. Just as I decided to hit pause on Expect, a new opportunity arose.  Brooke, my boss at Orange Blossom Special Events, the wedding planning company I was sporadically working for, asked me to become more involved. It couldn't have come at a better time, or made me feel more valued. I was intrigued and excited, and so pleased to be able to put my talents and abilities to good use.

After a three-day retreat with Brooke and the other Blossoms, I felt connected back to my life and to those around me. Bonded by our passions for the wedding industry and a few too many whiskeys by the hot tub, I felt as though I was finally one with my coworkers at Orange Blossom. I felt happy. And the more I became interested and invested, the more it felt right to give Expect a rest.

After years of struggling for money, feeling lonely and isolated in running a business by myself, and unhappy with my level of perceived success, working for OBSE seems like everything I had been missing: more financial stability, camaraderie and community, and fulfilling and meaningful work.

I love being part of a couple's special day. It's a wonderful thing to witness so many beautiful moments, and to know that, no matter how small, I was able to help in making someone's big day go more smoothly. It's a dream.

All this is to say, I haven't closed down Expect -- everything is still live for made-to-orders, but I'm just shifting my focus to wedding-related endeavors. I've decided to start handcrafting some bridal accessories for sale now live on my new etsy shop, MarriedAndBright, and continue working for Orange Blossom making wedding dreams come true!

Sometimes life throws you curves. I'm trying to roll with it. Thanks for sticking around.

Golden Girl

Friday, January 30, 2015

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the #coasttocoastchallenge? Yesterday's theme was wearing the 'it skirt,' which gave me the perfect excuse to sport this metallic gold pleated wonder of a garment that I purchases over the holidays, but never had the chance to don. Even though it probably was slightly insane to wear out of the house for casual errands, I felt so good about myself in this outfit, I really didn't care about the WTF-esque stares we were getting while taking pictures in front of this ten commandments mural. I clearly broke at least of them during the process.

The Dress

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

As a fashion design and fashion lover, the wedding dress was one of the most important elements to my big day. I tried on about fifty dresses before deciding to just make my own. I kept thinking about how challenging and stressful it would be to make my own dress, but the more I tried on dresses, the more I began to believe that my dream dress couldn't be bought: it had to be created. Here are some shots of the finished product. I luuuuurve the way it came out and I wish I could wear it all over again!

During most of the wedding planning process, I was determined to wear three wedding dresses. Two dresses are for sissies, I declared! I ended up going with one and a half dresses, and boy am I glad! I constructed a layer of swiss dot tulle to go over my dress like a apron. Halfway through the reception, I scampered upstairs and removed the top layer (only held on by one button), and swapped out my shoes. It made the rest of the night so much more comfortable. It got a little silly after that!

I have every intention of posting a making-of series behind the dress. So, stay tuned for that. Any other awesome brides make their own dress? I would love to hear your stories!

Marriage Monday: Five Things No One Tells You About the First Year of Marriage

Monday, January 26, 2015
I'd be totally lying if I said that my first year of marriage was all rainbows and unicorns. Don't get me wrong, being married is basically amazing. However, there were moments when I felt totally alone and almost betrayed by the married women who came before me. Like, why didn't anyone tell me about this!?

1. Being married is different than dating. Right now, you're like, duh, Annika! But hold up. I was under the impression that, given the fact that Alex and I had been living together for over 2 years by the time we got married, nothing in our relationship would change. Boy, was I wrong! Something about saying, I do, forever and ever and ever and ever does a thing to your brain. It kind of makes you freak out. At times, knowing that there was no way out of this deal, made me want out extra-bad. Let's take a moment to recognize that being married is a whole different crazy level of commitment than dating, living together, or even being engaged. It's kinda scary. Deal with it.

2. Joint bank accounts are not always awesome. It's up to each couple to decide how they want to handle their finances. I know a lot of committed couples who keep everything separate, and that works for them. Alex and I decided to take the plunge and join our banks right up. I suppose I thought it would relieve some pressure of splitting the bills, paying rent, etc. But it also lead to this question: "Honey, what did you spend fifty bucks on at Target?" (Uh, hello. I'm pretty sure that's the admission fee to Target these days, amiright, ladies?) Being accountable to another person about my spending habits has been... interesting. Did I really need to spend $22 in the dollar spot? Did I have to hit the In N' Out drive through twice this week? (The answer is actually chyeah!) But seriously, no. I didn't have to.

3. You will get way to comfortable. I'm pretty sure I'm quoting Jersey Boys when I say "marriage is not love -- it is you shaving as your wife sits on the can." I do think that marriage is about love, but truly sometimes its about being waaaay too close to each other. Set your boundaries and prepare to blow right by them. It's gonna happen.

4. You will fight about everything. And laugh about everything. I can't tell you how many stupid fights I had over the course of the last year. I had to take myself for a walk once because we got really heated about where the milk goes in the fridge. For real. Milk fight. In the door or on the shelf!??! On the flip side, for some reason, everything becomes more hilarious when shared. Alex and I love our dumb dog so much that we will have full-on conversations in our Bucket voices pretending to be the guy. It so damn weird and we love it.

5. Your marriage is yours. Sometimes I get freaked about because my marriage doesn't look like my parents' or some of my friends' marriage. What I've come to realize is that not every marriage could or should be the same. Mine works for me. Whatever is working for you, is your business. Don't get bogged down my traditional gender roles, or comparing it to sitcoms. It's as unique as you are.

Wedding Wednesday: 10 Things I Would Have Done Differently

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
It may sound cliche, but my wedding day was the best day of my life. There were so many things that went right [check out my post about that here], but of course, hindsight is 20/20, and I'm rethinking some of my choices. I have very few regrets about my wedding, but I do have a few things that I wish I had done a little differently. If I had it to do again, I would...

1. Plan a first look with Dad. The wedding day got so crazy so fast that I totally forgot to put some time aside for my Pa. My sister, Lindsey, did not do a first look with her husband -- they were not de rigueur in 2009 -- but she did hold off on Dad seeing her until moments before she walked down the aisle with him. The reward was getting to see our father's face when he laid eyes on his daughter, the bride. I wish I had that moment as a bride to enjoy being his baby girl for one last second. Side note: I also wish I had a first look with my brother-in-law, Scott. His totally unexpected reaction as I came down the stairs right before seeing Alex for the first time was way bigger than Alex's ever was. I would have loved to have it captured on camera. Having him scream in my face, "Oh my god! You look gorgeous!" right before seeing my betrothed really gave me a boost of confidence!

College gal pals, Daizy, Karisa, and Jessica. This might be the best one of us from that night.
2. Take more pictures with friends.  The weird thing about most weddings is that you don't really get to see or talk to any of your guests until after the ceremony. I had many friends and relatives travel from far and wide to be there and I have hardly any evidence to prove it. I was so swept away in dancing with my new husband, that I kind of ignored some of my friends. I feel bad about that. It was a great sensation first being married, but I wish I had snapped a couple photos with my pals and really hugged them tight.

Actual text between my sister, Maija, and I recapping the wedding.
3. Prepare money envelopes. We kept reading on pinterest about how you should put all your unpaid invoices into envelopes the week before the wedding so that everyone gets paid on time. Totally did not do that and it wasn't good. I had to get a check to the rabbi the day of, pay the parking guy in cash, and paypal outstanding balances the day after. It was distracting and stressful and I should have just dealt with it before the actual day of my wedding. DUH.


4. Give my bridesmaids gifts the night before. I made these really cute bridesmaids gift bags filled with their wedding jewelry, lotion, tissues and nail polishes. I thought it'd be a good photo op to give the bags to them on the wedding day. Not so. I got this picture, which is great and all, but it made it so my maids couldn't use their gifts until after the wedding day. That was stupid. If I had given the gifts at the rehearsal dinner, they might have enjoyed them a bit more.

Our photographer, Heidi did a wonderful job framing out all this junk in the photos she took. But this candid iPhone photo shows just some of the ungodly mess.
5. Keep getting ready area clean. When my bridesmaids, mom, and mother-in-law arrived at the wedding venue, we only had our hair done and we made a holy mess tearing into our makeup bags and changing into our dresses. It looked like a wreck. Our lovely wedding photographer and videographer probably had to carefully frame out the diaper bag, pile of discarded clothing, and spilling over cosmetics. There were some chances for some awesome photos, but we kind of blew it by being so dang messy!

Try not to look too close, but yeah, major bandaid-age going on over here.
 6. Break in my shoes. A few days before my wedding, my sisters threw me and awesome bachelorette party and I decided to wear a pair of heels I'd just bought. Huge mistake. They shredded my feet. I'll be honest and say that I actually cried when I saw what I had done to my feet. It was just days before I was set to walk down the aisle in yet another pair of new shoes. You can see my bandaged feet in all those close up pics of my wedding shoes. Boo... This bit of advice also goes for trying out pretty much anything new right before your wedding. Don't switch face washes or lotions, don't get a Brazilian bikini wax for the first time, don't dye your hair a new color within a week of your wedding. It could end badly, and you'll regret it.

Thanks, Thomas!!
7. Hire a wedding video editor. Alex and I hired one of our friends to shoot our wedding, and he did an amazing job. The footage perfectly captures all the precious moments of the day and its so nice to revisit our vows or the moment my parents cried while giving me away. My regret however, is not having it edited by a professional. We figured that we would get to it ourselves, and a year later... Still not video. Don't take on more than you can handle. Professionals are there for exactly that purpose.

This search result yielded over a million hits. WUT.
8. Look at pinterest less. Every bride is different, and so every wedding should be. Pinterest is like a black hole of wedding inspiration; it can suck you in and once your on the other side it all starts to look the same. Give yourself a break from looking a vintage, rustic, country, glam, mint, glitter, spring weddings and imagine your own. Once you have the framework in your head, hit up the internet for inspiring details, rather than relying on it for your whole wedding scheme.

9. Do a hair trial run. I had my hair styled at drybar the day of my wedding. I didn't even go in once to try it out or see what the experience would be like before booking appointments for myself, three bridesmaids, my mom and mother in law. Whoops. While the experience was awesome -- champagne! -- my hair totally fell flat before the ceremony and I also forgot to ask for a braided detail which I had my heart set on. If I could do it again, I would work with a trusted stylist or at least give myself a test run through the salon before the day of.

10. Leave before the last minute // have a grand exit. The moment our wedding was over, the lights flicked on and it seemed like the emotion was sucked out of the room. I had been hell-bent on staying until the last second to enjoy every single moment of the day, but I wish I had left before the final guest did. It would have been a wonderful feeling to leave the party with a grand farewell, love in our hearts, and stars in our eyes, rather than feeling pushed out because it was time to clean up.

Some may notice that the night's biggest blunder -- hiring a transport company that literally did not show up -- is conspicuously left off of this list. My reason for that is this: there was basically nothing more I could have done to prevent this from happening. We hired the only bus that was in our budget, we confirmed multiple times, everything was squared away, and they still didn't come. The only other thing I could have done if I time-traveled back would be to hire another company, but we absolutely could not afford it. So I'm gonna have to let this one slide. My advice to brides that have something go wrong on the day-of? Shuffle off the responsibility of fixing the problem to someone else, and go with the flow. Let nothing ruin your day!!

All photos by Heidi Ryder Photography unless otherwise noted. 

Thirsty Thursday: Reese's Green Wake-Up Smoothie

Thursday, January 8, 2015

 Thanks to influenster, I was treated to this jar of Reese's chocolate peanut butter this week. It's no secret that I am obsessed with spreads -- I love jams, jellies, marmalades, nutella, nut butters, cookie butters, and everything in between! Besides eating it with a spoon, one of my favorite uses for spreads is putting them in drinks. Jams sweeten cocktails, and nut butters bulk up smoothies very nicely.

This spread is soooo yummy! It's like a Reese's peanut butter cup in a jar. I could -- and did -- eat it stright from the jar with a spoon.

Since I'm not the best breakfast-eater (or salad-eater, for that matter), my new go-to drink puts breakfast, greens and caffeine into one sweet cup. Top full of Reese;s peanut butter-chocolate spread, banana, spinach (I swear you don't taste it!) and coffee, this nutritionally rich drink bursts with flavor, perks you up, and keeps you full until lunch.

- 2 heaping tablespoons of Reese's peanut butter chocolate spread
-1/2 frozen banana
- 1 cup brewed and chilled coffee
- Handful of spinach
- 1/2 cup almond milk

In and blender, puree the almond milk and spinach until smooth. This will prevent you from having chunks of spinach throughout your smoothie. Next, add in Reese's peanut butter, bananas, and iced coffee. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass, sip and enjoy.

This blog post was made possible by influenster, who provided this complimentary jar of Reese's peanut butter to test and review.

Wedding Wednesday: 10 Things That Made Our Wedding

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Welcome to my first installation of Wedding Wednesday! Now that our wedding is a year behind us, I thought I'd take a second to reflect on the things that made the day such a success. Hopefully, this post will provide some insight to anyone who is currently in the planning phase, or rapidly approaching their wedding date. Congrats if that's you!

1. Hiring a wedding coordinator. Call me biased because I now work for the woman who coordinated our wedding (or maybe see that as a testament to how much I love her!), but our wedding literally would not have happened without Brooke. Although Alex and I planned most of our wedding ourselves, as we got closer to the date, we realized that we would need some help out on the day of.  (Note: a wedding planner, and a day of coordinator are two different things. If you want someone to design your wedding and pick the vendors, etc, that's a planner. A day of coordinator will handle the timeline and set up/tear down, etc on your wedding day so that you don't have to.) After all, what bride and groom can be expected to set up the space, make sure vendors are arriving, get the ceremony started on time, and take care of all the details in between? Having someone there to think for me when I couldn't was such a stress relief and helped me enjoy the day. (I mean, look at this room. It's perfect and I didn't have to lift a finger to make it that way!)

2. Learning to let go. I made myself a promise on the morning of the wedding: I was not going to be stressed out. I swore that no matter what might go wrong (and believe me, things did), I would not cry, get angry, or become anxious. We had so much support, that even when half of our wedding guests were stranded at the hotel due to a no-show bus, which caused our pre-sunset ceremony to be pushed to post-, I gladly let someone else deal with it. Danielle from Orange Blossom yelled at the bus company and got the guests to the venue by cabs; we decided to have a mini-ceremony upstairs and sign the wedding license before sundown, and all was fine. I could have let this hiccup ruin my night, but I decided to let go and enjoy the day anyway.

3. Trusting my wedding vendors. This one goes hand-in-hand with letting go, but I feel it necessary to mention this specifically. Your wedding vendors are professionals, and they will take care of you. I'm not exactly sure how this amazing dessert table with Cakes by Rumy came to life. It was as though little elves had set it up while I wasn't looking. I probably could have been uber-controlling about how it was going to look, or worried about a hundred other things that day, but handing over a box of candy, cake plates, and decorations, believing that the cakes would arrive on time, and just letting the vendors do their thang worked out absolutely perfectly. Trust me, they've got it.

4. Doing a First Look. The choice to do a first look is very personal, and it may not be for everyone. Perhaps you're more traditional, and you want to save that magic moment for when you're walking down the aisle. But I loved the first look for many reasons. First of all, check out this picture. I'm not sure that I would have made this expression as I was walking down the aisle, much less that it could be captured so perfectly by Heidi. Secondly, even though Alex and I spent the night before separately and didn't see each other until the first look, it was really nice being able to spend time with him before the ceremony. It totally calmed my nerves, and also allowed us to tie up some loose strings (like paying the rabbi -- oops!). Overall, I would highly recommend doing a first look and then kicking back and relaxing.

5. Realizing it's not all about me. As a bride, you might be under the impression that your wedding day is just for you. And much as you'll hear, "it's your special day!" and "it's the most important day of your life!" try to realize that it's just one day out of your life... And that a wedding isn't just for the bride and groom, but it's also for those loved ones who will attend. Even if your parents are paying for the wedding, consider the day as a gift back to them and take their wishes into consideration. For example, as a young girl (who was not raised Jewish) I never imagined having a rabbi officiate my wedding. It wasn't even on my radar until it was expressed by my in-laws that it was important that we be married by one. Realizing that it was not particularly important to me who officiated, I obliged. It ended up being a wonderful and incredibly meaningful element to our wedding. I'm so glad that I listened to those around me and took their input into consideration.

6. Having a sweetheart table. I really enjoyed sitting with my groom alone for many reasons. First of all, it gave us a chance to actually eat. I heard so many times over the course of my engagement that we wouldn't get a chance to eat on our wedding day and since the Tres LA catering was so good, it was important to me that we got a bite in. It also gave us some (sort of) private time to talk about the ceremony, bask in that just-married feeling, and look out at all of our friends and family. In order to greet all of our guests, we did a quick spin around the room during dinner and thanked each table for being there with us. (Side note: we still didn't get enough to eat, so we had the caterers pack us a to-go box which we ate at one AM in the hotel room.)

7. Choosing what's most important. There is so much pressure these days for weddings to be "perfect"!!! Alex and I knew that no matter how hard we tried, the big day wasn't going to be that way, so we decided to pick just a few things that were really important to us. For me, as a fashion designer, the wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses took precedent. That's why I made them myself. (More on that at another time.)  For Alex, music was a big deal. We ended up booking both a band and a DJ to get the most out of our reception. We hired Dustbowl Revival, and even the most skeptical members of our families remarked that they really got the wedding swinging. RedShoe played the absolute most amazing mix of disco, motown, and pop hits that literally kept me dancing all night. To this day, when "Party in the USA" comes on the radio, I get a little teary thinking about dancing to it on my wedding night.

8. Letting my freak flag fly. I'm not sure what the heck is going on in these photos, but I know I was having the time of my life. If there is ever a day in your life when you have license to act a damn fool and get away with it, your wedding day is it. Allow yourself to get swept away in the moment and forget what anyone thinks -- after all, you're with the people you love... They'll let your craziness slide for one day. So, live it up, and enjoy every moment.

9. Bringing a change of shoes. I was hell-bent on dancing all night, and while my gold glitter Miu Mius were totally adorable, they were not dance-friendly. I wore them through the entire band set, but when the DJ took over, I changed into an equally cute but way more comfortable pair of Keds. I'm so glad I did. No blisters, and I didn't miss even one song.

10. Taking it all in. I can't tell you how many times people told me "your wedding day is going to fly by!" It got really annoying hearing that, but it turned out to be oh-so-true. Stop to take a moment to breathe. The most special and memorable part of the day for me was right at the beginning of our ceremony. Our rabbi told us to take a second to look around the room and appreciate all the people we love who came out to support us. It was an incredibly grounding and moving moment. I was very touched by all the love we were surrounded with. I'm so glad I had that time to really revel in the gravity of the moment and be thankful.

The most important thing to remember is that no matter what happens, at the end of the day, you'll be married and that's all that should matter. Anyone else have some wedding tips to throw in the mix?

All photos by Heidi Ryder Photography.

Resolve 2015

Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Well, New Year's Day has come and gone and I haven't made my resolutions yet. Last year it took me until February to get around to it. I like the idea of resolutions because I'm always thinking about ways I can improve myself, my business, my marriage, my blog, etc. Fresh starts are really appealing to me, and a brand new year always resonates as a good place to start again.

1. Don't shop. I've decided to do another #yearwithoutshopping again. 2013 was a huge success and I actually loved not feeling anxiety about buying the newest, greatest trend, or worry about spending too much money, or feeling like I might have buyers remorse. With that perspective, over the course of 2014 I carefully invested in closet staples that I knew would stand the test of time. Now that I'm fully restocked, I think it's time to take another break from spending. I know a certain roommate of mine will be happy about this resolution.

2. Blog more. I've had this blog for almost five years (!), and it's always been something I enjoy working on regardless of followers, readers and statistics. Sometimes I get so tied up in my many jobs, or just result to watching hours of TV to relax or have fun. I'd like to spend more time working on something productive that I also enjoy.

3. Dress better. This may sound funny coming from someone who calls herself a fashion designer and blogger, but let's me honest: there have been so many mornings lately that I roll out of bed, throw on some pixie leggings and a tee and call it a day. Seriously, no shower, no makeup, no style. It's gross. I always feel better about myself when I'm wearing a fun outfit or trying out a new lipstick. Look good, feel good. That's what it's all about.

4. Cook more meals at home. When we first got married, I was all about meal planning and eating together at the dinner table. As our lives got busier, Alex and I stopped eating healthy, and fell into a routine of chipotle, kraft mac n cheese, and grocery store sushi on the couch, often times while the other one was at work. Processed meals alone on the couch are sad. I want to try new recipes and eat them together more often.

5. Join a gym. I have been vowing to do this since high school, but I have never, ever been a gym member. I don't even know how to work most of the machines or what to actually do when I'm there. It's really scary, but I would like to be a person works out, so I'd better get on that.

Anyone else into resolutions? What are yours this year?

Marriage Monday: Advice I Took to Heart in the First Year

Monday, January 5, 2015

Over the course of our first year of marriage, many people took it upon themselves to offer some insight on making a marriage last. Rather than become annoyed by the sometimes unsolicited advice, I made it a point to listen to the tips from those around me, and to read every marriage advice article that popped up on my facebook and pinterest feeds. Now, I won't give any advice of my own because I won't pretend that my marriage is perfect or that I have anything new to offer, but I'd like to relay some of the tid-bits that I found useful during our first year as a married couple.

1. Work at marriage like you'd work at a job. My mother gave me this advice before I got married and it's something I think about often. Marriage is a lot of work, that's no joke, and it should be given the same amount of attention -- if not more -- than you give your job. To do this, Alex and I started having what we call "family meetings" once a week. We either chat over dinner or while we're lying in bed before we fall asleep. We stole some questions from this list, but mostly we'd ask these staples.
     a) What was the highlight of your week?
     b) What was the low point of your week?
     c) What could I have done better for you this past week?
     d) What do you need from me this coming week?
     e) Anything you're looking forward to or dreading this week?
And then we'd finish by answering a silly question from this list. It was a nice way to just check in on each other and make sure we're both okay.

2. I read this list of advice from Glamour, and the first point really stood out to me. Learn to apologize. This is something that I'm still working on because I'm really stubborn and I hate being wrong, but being able to tell my husband and/or hear back from him, "I fucked up. You were right. I'm sorry. It won't happen again," was one of the greatest gifts we could give each other.

3. This list from Single Dad Laughing about the things he did wrong in his marriage is pretty funny and even though it's mainly directed at men, I found most of it totally applicable to both spouses. My favorite one is don't yell at your spouse. He explains that it's not only the fighting yelling that isn't so fun, but the lazy kind of yelling that's bad. Like when you're across the apartment and you need something from your partner, don't just scream for them like they're a dog. Get up and go talk to them as though they are the lovely person you decided to marry.

4. Learn each others' love language. I didn't even know that there was such a thing as a "love language" until after I got married, but when I saw this chart, it totally clicked. A love language is individual to each person; it's the way they best give and receive love. For example, my love language is physical touch. Getting a hug when Alex comes home from work makes me feel so happy and so loved. Alex's is acts of service. If I do the dishes, make dinner, help him carry his gear to his car, or take care of him when he's sick, he feels happy and loved too. Learning that about each other was so awesome.

I'd love to hear what your favorite marriage tips are. Please share them in the comments section!

Our Wedding

Saturday, January 3, 2015

 In honor of our first anniversary, I thought I'd share some of our favorite snaps from our favorite day. Huge thanks to Heidi Ryder for capturing these moments so perfectly.
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