Halston & Kevin’s Wedding!

Present Day: Hi all! How are you? I am popping in to toss up this post before heading to my on campus festivities. Festivities may be a bit of an euphemism–I am genuinely excited, just nervous ! I took my first exam of the semester yesterday- it went well so I feel immensely relieved about that. It helps to have at least one good grade under the belt. Every day has been sun-up to sun-down studying. We haven’t been out of the house in three weeks except for school (for DJ), studying in coffee shops here and there (for me), and Church. I let myself outside a few minutes a day (yes, like a dog 🤣) – I literally feel like a prisoner to these books- but it will be worth it! And this mini trip is probably going to be great for my mental health. Anyways- I am pulling out another post that I have archived. I’m only three months behind 🙈 Hope you enjoy! Back to the books for me..

Back when I originally wrote this:

It’s Wedding Time!!! This post is going to be a lot of blurry photos, but the best of memories. Since I wasn’t able to actually take a lot of pictures this weekend this is a conglomeration of captured moments from friends and family- so thank you to all who did take pics! When we get the professional photos, I’ll do a whole other post going into more details about the ceremony/decor etc. because my sister did a spectacular job–it’ll just be more fun to discuss with the pics too 🙂 On the morning of July 12th, Hal and I slept in and headed down to workout in the hotel gym around 10 am.

After getting some great runnin’ in, we went back to the room and enjoyed some breakfast snacks we had for all the bridesmaids. Then I met up with my older sister, Andrea, for some coffee at the Starbucks at Bayside across the street. It was a short span of time, but one of those special times I won’t forget. I value my time with my older sis so much. I’m very thankful for her <3

After getting ready for dinner in the afternoon, we all headed over to the actual rehearsal in a hotel banquet room. Even though the ceremony was taking place on a boat, we just made do in the hotel since we didn’t actually have access to the boat until the day of. After an easy peasy rehearsal, it was time for the the rehearsal dinner!

This was not your traditional rehearsal dinner… no, no.. this was an epic upon epic rehearsal dinner. It took place in the coolest Peruvian venue, called Candela Gastrobar.

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On various screens across the restaurant, there was a slideshow of pictures from Kevin and Halston’s childhood up to present day. Many of those pictures I had forgotten about or never even seen before- they pulled at all our heart strings! After a beautiful prayer we had an authentic Peruvian dinner. Everything was phenomenal- but that ceviche in particular- yum!

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Both families danced to all types of Latin music late into the evening…DJ and I practiced our salsa (I taught him what I had learned a bit from the day before). Although we did learn later that I, in fact, taught him all wrong- whoopsies! Good thing we had plenty of seasoned salsa dancers to help us out! Most of all, it was just amazing to have so many people we love in one place.

After the dinner, a big group of us went to the Bayside area to just hang out and listen to the live band. It was awesome to get to know some of Halston and Kevin’s friends a bit better. That’s something that’s so great about weddings- you get to know people you may not otherwise and meet these people that have been so formative in the couple’s lives. 282d159c-dfd2-40ae-8cc9-508c35c2a549

Even though this pic is blurry, I love the shot of these two! We had to separate them right before midnight to make sure they didn’t see each other the actual day of their wedding until the alter, of course! hehe. We’re not superstitious… just a little stitious.

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In the morning of July 13th (wedding day!!!) all the bridesmaids gathered in the conjoined rooms around 10:30 am. We had all the snacks set out and Halston had bridesmaids gifts for us all <3 So sweet! She gifted us beautiful robes, sunglasses, notes, and engraved champagne glasses. Truly above & beyond!

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Toasting to the bride <3

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Halston received a gorgeous bouquet from Kevin unexpectedly as we were getting ready. Such a sweet little surprise. Annnnd did you actually get married if you didn’t get a coffee from Starbucks that says “Bride” as your name? 🙂 One of the bridesmaids’s husband so kindly picked up this order for all of us!

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We all got our hair did and then our makeup done. I usually don’t prefer an “up do” but they were entirely necessary for the boat! After getting this particular up do though, I was allll about it! She did a wonderful job with it looking relaxed and not too tight. We also got our makeup done- which was a TREAT. I hardly recognized myself since I struggle to even put on mascara most days haha.

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We Ubered in different cars to get to the venue. But to get to the boat we had to walk across the main downtown pier. So… what do we do? We walked across the pier in our robes of course, lol! People were probably like “What’s happening?!”. We definitely got some confused looks our way. I forgot to get a picture of the back of my hair after it was done, but you can get an idea in this pic.

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Made it to the boat!!

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The bridesmaids all went to the hull of the boat to get ready. We changed into our dresses and then got all weepy as Hal showed off her stunning gown. I have chills just typing this thinking back to that moment.

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I mean holy cow… have you ever seen someone so gorgeous? I know I’m bias… but come n’!! How is this my little seeeester?

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I can’t express how happy I am her for her, or proud of her I am just for the woman she is. The love of a sister goes deeper than is possibly expressible.

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After pics and praying over Halston, we headed to the second floor to wait with the groomsmen to go up the stairs to the main deck where the actual wedding would take place. We won’t mention the fact that we realized last minute the rings and a groomsman were missing… but all that’s important is that they both appeared in time! LOL. Phew. What’s a wedding without a close call?!

Our beautiful Mom of the Bride & Pete <3

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And here are my niece and nephew walking down the aisle! <3 They melt my heart.

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Here she comes with our brother! Hal decided not do a first look, and Kevin’s reaction was priceless when he saw her.

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Y’all, it was the most beautiful wedding. I could hardly keep my cool through it- it was so personal and they really made an effort to glorify God through the entire ceremony. I think my favorite part (besides the actual vows) was the worship. They played a worship song and had everyone face a cross at the stern of the ship while we sang together.

After the wedding, during the cocktail hour, the bridal party went down to the beach for pictures! Here are a couple preview pics we received from the photographer.

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After the photography sesh, we did our entrance into the banquet room, gave our speeches, and then had an absolutely delicious dinner!! I had the salmon and salad- it was probably the best banquet salmon I’ve had. Everyone was raving about the food.

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And of course, I have to share this cake! 😍

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After dinner we went up to the deck where the ceremony was to dance the night away!!! It was an unforgettable experience- cruising along the Bay with amazing music playing, the best energy and the warm, but perfectly breezy, Miami air. Time for the first dance- they had a medley of songs they danced to. Here is a snippet! Can they cut a rug, or what?!

And I was in absolute tears when she danced with our grandpa. Another favorite moment of the entire day.

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Once we re-docked we grabbed a few more pics.

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One of my best friends from childhood, Melissa, was able to make it too! I was so excited to see her, even briefly! ❤️

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One more pic of the view of the city from the dock.

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To both Kevin and Halston’s surprise, they had a Rolls Royce awaiting to take them away for their honeymoon! Talk about taking off in style!

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Ok ok ….One more picture with the South Beach Lady 🙂

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After the wedding we walked back through the main pier, this time actually dressed in societally acceptable clothing.

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We decided to go back to the hotel to get changed and then come back out since the night was still young! (Well, I guess not that young, but it was our last night in Miami so we had to soak it up). On our way, I spotted this popsicle spot called Wonderfruits Bubble Tea & Pop Shop.

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It caught my eye and it sounded so refreshing!!! I was craving something sugary, so DJ and I opted to try the Oreo flavor. Kinda goes against the “fruit” idea, but hey, it was perfect for what we were cravin’! I would like to try that Kiwi one if we ever return- mmm mmmm!

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Picture of the city down the street as we were walking back. Miami is such a vibrant city!

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Back to Bayside we go..

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We hung out in the same place as the night before, and it was such a perfect end to the trip. We found a quiet and peaceful little spot on the stairs near the water and the band and talked allll about how perfect the wedding was.

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On July 14th we were up and at em’ to catch our flight back to TX. We said goodbye to our family and then grabbed a Lyft to the airport.

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When we made it through security, I scoped out a Starbucks and grabbed a pizza from Pizza Hut for us to share. I just picked the pepperoni off my slices to make it a plain cheese ‘za. In recent years I feel like I have rediscovered a fondness for simplicity with certain foods. I used to think “vanilla” or “plain cheese” was lame (for me personally)…. but sometimes just simple is best, especially when you have that craving! The vanilla bean cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory is one of my favorites on their menu and a plain cheese pizza can really just hit the spot (especially if ya add a little crumbled parm and crushed red pepper 😉 )<—- does that defeat the purpose of the simplicity? lol.

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Also, Jennie has blogged a couple times about her love of Pizza Hut’s pizza. I haven’t had it probably since I was nine or ten and grew up solely on DiGiorno & a local place called Georgio’s, so I was eager to try it again. It was so delicious. I know this probably isn’t revolutionary- but I was pretty wow-ed. I am all about trying the local gems, but when stuck in an airport with limited options it forced us to try it out, and it surpassed ALL expectations. This makes me question everything- what other food chains are all around me that would just blow my mind? Does truly no one out-pizza the hut? Gripping questions and the existential foodie crisis continues.

Questions for you:

  • Are there any “plain” foods that you love?
  • Favorite pizza food chain? (I don’t think I’ve asked this yet 🤔)

xo <3

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A Perfect Wedding Weekend <3

AHHH! I am SO SO SO excited to share this momentous weekend, I cannot even contain it. But I will say.. it was one of those weekends that was just soo good, I’m afraid I won’t do it justice! I have an obnoxious number of pictures to share, so I’ll try to keep the typing to a minimum.

Also, I accidentally published the first post after only uploading a few photos- super sorry if you get an additional e-mail!

SOooooOOoo…

Let’s get started shall we?!

Clair is one of my best friends since sixth grade of middle school. We were inseparable, and still talk on a nearly daily basis even from across the country. This wedding was a celebration beyond compare.

With Clair’s permission, I want to share a little background with you all. Growing up, Clair has always been the life of the party, the “live in the moment”, nurturing, compassionate, beautiful, fun loving, happy-go-lucky, and all around amazing friend. However, she definitely has the give-everyone-the-benefit-of-the-doubt type characteristic, which lended to some not exactly great relationships.

Then a couple years ago, a tragic, life-altering event happened that would shake all our worlds. Clair’s little sister, her beautiful, perfect 16-year-old sister passed away in a horrible accident. Even typing this, tears come to my eyes. Gosh, I miss her, and it is still incredibly hard to believe this is still the reality we live in. But around that time, Clair met Robby- truly one of the most incredible men I have ever met and definitely the most perfect man for Clair. We always say that Kat pulled some strings in Heaven to make this happen. So, although this wedding day was super bitter-sweet without her little sis, seeing where Clair is now and who Clair is with brings us all more joy than I can possibly describe. I would desire nothing less for my best friend, my sister. I love you, Clair & Robby. <3 <3

The weekend began at SamWanna Salon in Akron, OH where the sweet bride treated us all to manis and pedis. Come on now, how stinking sweet is that?!

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You guys know this girl never gets her nails did being a nurse and all that. What a treat!

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In the evening, we got all dressed up and headed to the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner. It was such a wonderful time.

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Me with Momma Babak, mother of the bride (but also my second mom growing up). <3

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The beautiful bride <3

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After the rehearsal dinner, I stayed with Clair and the maid of honor (Clair’s sister, Elane) at the Residence Inn Marriott in Akron. It was a stinking blast to say the least (girl’s night!).

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Annnnd cue the multiple snap chat photos!!

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At 6:30 in the morning (3:30 am my time in San Francisco) I woke up to squeeze in a quick run. Can you tell I’m ecstatic to be up so early? Lol.

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It was worrrth it, the line up from the hotel for breakfast was fab. So many delish options and the coffee was on point!

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After breakfast, the other girls came by for mimosas and bridal party pamper time!

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The stunnerrrr… <3 (I know I am using an absurd amount of hearts in this post, but it’s entirely warranted).

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For lunch we had takeout Aladdin’s (a God-sent restaurant from above, amen, hallelujah, praise Him from whom all blessings flow). This Greek food is fabulous, and I could seriously eat it for dayyyyyyyyssss. Dat hummus, dem grape leaves, dat tabouleh, dat PITA…… do not get me started!

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Post getting Hair Did. I cannot do my own hair for my life, so these moments must be documented.

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Snap chat x2

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All our makeup DONE!

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Don’t mind us.. 😉

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Clair and the maid of honor (who seriously gave the BEST speech of all dang time).

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Here is a full on bridesmaid pic! Clair gifted us all these gorgeous robes for that pamperin’ process, and to wear in the limo on the way over. (PS. She ordered them from Etsy for any future Mrs. out thur)!

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After many laughs, mimosas, and ratchet dance moves we jumped into the limo to head to the party center (fun fact: I worked at Todaros Party Center in high school with my Clair bug).

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I meannnnn…

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Aunt Mo also met this little nugget for the first time (Clair’s son, Jacob). Y’alll….. MY FREAKING HEART. I could not even handle it.

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HE IS PERFECT

img_3955Naturally, I didn’t get any pictures of the ceremony being on stage and all that jazz *hair flip*….

But for dinner, there was a fabulous array of cheese, crackers, spinach dip, and then main courses of chicken, steak, and a vegetarian option (HOLLAAA!). This was ah-vegan-mazing! SOO Dahhh lisshhh ! I don’t know what they did to these veggies, but they were flame. (Potentially literally, maybe they were barbequed?!). Also, I quickly snatched my favorite rolls that I used to secretly eat while making bread baskets when I worked there and carb loaded for the dance floor.

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OK. Someone bring me tissues.. have you ever seen anyone more perfect?! Stahp dis.

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And the gorgeous couple after <3

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One of the best parts of weddings is seeing people you love love love love. Here is my sweet Lynds, who you may remember had her absolutely incredible wedding in July! You can see throw back pics of all of us in that post- Clair wasn’t able to make it because she was due with Jacob!

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Me and the perfect Maid of Honor (also a fellow nurse). <3

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Me, ma, mo dinos. (No worries- you do not need to understand.. we don’t even understand)… jus’ three girls, tryna make it in this world. What is happening……… (once again.. see throw backs here).

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This is I and another good friend, Kristen (Clair’s cousin). Stop growing up, please and thank yas.

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The whole church gang all together <3

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Uhm, yum? Need I say more?

Also yum… getta load of this arm candy!

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Alien hand once again making a debut ^^^^^.

I also may have had a minor toe fiasco on the dance floor… resulting in a  bit of blood. What’s a good night without an injury?! One of the bridesmaids so sweetly helped me out .. we got that sucker bandaged up so I didn’t miss another second of dancing. 💕

Thank you, Clair and Robby, for allowing me to be part of your perfect day. (No- I am not over-utilizing the word perfect, it is entirely justified!).

After the wedding, we went back to DJ’s mom’s home (also my second home) for pumpkin pie, dirt pudding, and great chats. Oh how I miss the days of spending hours chatting in that kitchen <3

The next day, DJ finally got his ultimate pancake fix. Heck yah. There are OFFICIALLY no better pancakes (nor better pumpkin pie) than Mom B’s. The. BEST. Even on her birthday, she spoiled US with all the yums.

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On the flight back I worked out my schedule for December and early January. My research project is due in about three weeks (EEK!). I will be devoting nearly every second of free time to it, but I cannot wait to share with y’all what we have been working on. I nibbled on pita bread, hummus, tabouleh, olives, and feta. Is there anything better?!

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I hope you all are doing so well. I’ve been totally MIA on your sites, but once this research project is turned in I will be able to catch up a bit. Love to you all and a happy holiday season!!!

xo <3

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A Perfect Pittsburgh Wedding!

Happy Hump Day, ya’ll. How were your 4ths?! If you have a link to a post about your celebrations feel free to leave it in the comments 🙂 I’d love to hear what you all were up to! Mine was super laid back because this past weekend was busy as could be, and I was running on no sleep. Hence I dreamt of all things vegan bratwurst and fireworks as I slept a majority of the day away. DJ had to work all day anyway, so it worked out well.

I am stoked to share about the epic wedding this past weekend!

On Thursday morning I quickly packed for my flight. I never pack the day of, but since I worked nearly four twelve-hour shifts in a row leading up to it, the last thing I wanted to do when I came home on Wednesday night was pack. I Ubered to the airport and had the most phenomenal discussion with my Uber driver. She gave me such great encouragement and actually we talked about the blog a bit. I gave her my blog name, so if she happens to read this I send her a big hello and thank you for her sweet conversation.

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I took an American Airlines flight from SF to Chicago to Pittsburgh. My first flight, the long one, had selections for movies still in theaters! I was surprised! What are some of your favorite airlines?! I was thoroughly impressed with American.

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I didn’t end up watching the movies, but took that time to type away for my last blog post. It was the definition of therapeutic. So needed. As soon as I pressed that “publish” button I felt like I could take a deep breath. It was metaphorically, yet tangibly, cathartic to just get it all out. It was as though I untethered the shackles of difficult moments and trials from mind, and grasped ahold of them- drowning them in truth and light.

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It’s weird, but only when I travel do I really crave pop (or soda, if you aren’t from the midwest). I even received a whole can– wooohooo. American Airlines stepping up the game. What is your go-to flying beverage of choice?

The family I sat next to were headed to Sutton’s Bay and Traverse City from Sydney, Australia. Small world! I gushed about my love for the quaint city and gave them a mile long list of fantastic restaurants, highly suggested Bardon’s epic ice cream shop, and emphasized the need to go to the Sleeping Bear Dunes. Their little girl fell asleep on my shoulder at one point, so precious.

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I lucked out and was assigned the window seat. However, I did have to monitor my fluid intake, otherwise I would be getting up to go to the bathroom every five seconds per usual. Road trips can be a bit of a pain with me because I tend to chug water on the heels of my morning joes. Zero chill.

I barely made my second flight because our first one took off late. I also misread the SUPER confusing signs to my gate and ended up having to go through security again. I was definitely that person- sprinting through the airport with bags flying and a crazed look on my face. But I made it. I even had a few moments to scarf down my airport sushi just in time to board– hoooolllllaaaa.

On my second flight I sat next to a Russian man who is an expert in acarology (the study of mites). He was giving a lecture at OSU about it. Pretty quickly into our conversation he asked me, “Are you afraid of death?”. I was taken aback but it led to some interesting conversation.

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I Ubered from the airport to the hotel. It was about a forty minute drive. I spent the entire forty minutes chatting with a die-hard Pittsburghian about the day in the life. If anyone wants to be convinced by someone that Pittsburgh is the best city to have ever existed in all of history and all time to come, this is your guy.

I arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn in Cranberry at about 2 am. It was a very nice Hilton! I highly recommend staying here if you need a reasonably priced place to stay in Pittsburgh.

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I couldn’t sleep one wink on Thursday night. Actually, that’s a lie. I fell asleep around 5 am and slept until 6 am until my neighbor decided to blow dry her hair. I couldn’t fall back asleep. I chugged a cup of coffee & decided to run to try to wake up my body. Also, does anyone else just love hotel coffee? I swear there is something about it that just makes me giddy (and not just from the caffeine). Maybe it’s just the adrenaline of travel that is associated with it and the good times that leave a great taste in the mouth.

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I then headed to the venue at Freedom Farms to help the rest of the girls set up for the wedding. I was stoked to see Lyndsay, the bride to be! She is one of my dearest friends since middle school. We attended youth group together all the way through high school. We have literally been through it all together from sharing countless laughs, tears, navigating boys (oh boy), going on trips in the US to the Dominican Republic together, growing in our faith, eating absurd portions of pineapple pizza at the pool in the summer, strumming our guitars in worship and just in our spare time, splitting a dozen donuts in one sitting at a dive in Indiana, cheering each other on in track meets even though we were competing schools, getting ready for a plethora of church events and getaways, and she was even the one who sat with me in silence after my dad passed away, my deepest heartbreak. She is as loyal as they come and has always been a role model of mine. I love her deeper than just a friend, she is a sister to me.

We were just missing our Clair, our good friend who is having a baby and was due on Lyndsay’s actual wedding day! The babe still hasn’t came, but literally ANY second now. Eeek!

Here is a little walk down memory lane….

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I was honored she asked me to be a bridesmaid, and I was beyond thankful (and shocked) that I could make it. I also haven’t seen her since my own wedding– two years ago! The reunion was quite special. I quickly got to know the other amazing girls in her bridal party and exchanged hugs with her family. They were like a second family to me growing up. I and my dear friend, Sarah, arranged the bouquets for some of the tables. I loved doing this. In another life I’d like to be a florist.

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The venue was incredible. I wish I had taken more pictures, but we were busy bees getting ready for the big day and just soaking up the precious moments! If you live in Pittsburgh and are looking for that rustic, yet elegant, venue- THIS IS YOUR PLACE. It was straight out of a fairytale.

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All of the creative touches actually outdid Pinterest. Lyndsay ironically was the first person who I ever heard about Pinterest from! Ahh, to think back to when we both started planning our weddings all those years ago.

Below is a picture of all the bridesmaids & Lynds (in white). I think this picture sums us up way better than the more normal ones we took 😉 Gosh, it was the best bunch of ladies.

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The rehearsal dinner was in-cred-ible. She served Greek food with wide arrange of marinated olives, hummus, baba ganoush, tabouli, pita, lamb, chicken, feta, dolmas, rice, and finished off with the best greek desserts ever (naturally I tried them all- the baklava was baklavamazing).

I scarfed it all down before I could grab a picture. Once I finished the food I decided I needed to find out where this was catered from. Lyndsay said it was actually her good friends, a life mentor, (with no Greek heritage), who cooked the food. I was blown away. I found the lady and by occupation she is a physician’s assistant. She said she just grew an interest in Greek food and was determined to learn how to cook it. We chatted for a while about cooking (she’s my new inspiration) and about medicine. In a little over twenty four hours I had met a diverse number of new, unique, and wonderful people.

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Friday night we headed to Lyndsay’s to do nails and spend some last minute reminiscing before she took the plunge into wedded bliss. Ugh, I love her so much.

Saturday morning we went to the hair salon to get that hair did. It all went smoothly and was a blast! We were in and out in about less than hour. CRAZY!

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Lyndsay was nothing short of perfect for her day, inside and out.

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This is Sarah’s hair- It looked identical to the picture she showed it was nuts! I had to take a picture.

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This was my up-do. I did a braid into a low bun.

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Mimosa time!

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We all did our makeup together at the hotel and then packed up to go to the venue. Things were getting REAL!

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I am obsessed with this photo below because this is just Lyndsay: All dressed up and effortlessly gorgeous with her yoga mat and Nalgene bottle in hand. She literally drank from the Nalgene at the venue all night. I love how true to herself she is in any situation. It’s always been something I’ve admired about her.

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Even the ride to the venue was such a blast.

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We made it!

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We took all our pictures with the party which may have included chasing a chicken, but we did not catch it, unfortunately. We also all gathered before the wedding to witness the magical first look! It was the type of first look that didn’t leave a dry eye to anyone who witnessed it. The day emulated the beauty of the union- it was supposed to rain, but the rain held off and the sun made it’s presence known, wrapping each guest with the warmth and glow that radiated from the love of the couple.

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Here is a picture of the bridesmaid’s bouquets! Stunning, right?!

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The ceremony was the most Christ-centered, loving, sweet, and beautiful wedding I think I’ve ever been to. The message from the pastor (Lyndsay’s father) resonated with me big time. The way Joseph looked at Lyndsay melted all of our hearts. The whole day was PERFECT. I know I have used that word far too much, but seriously- there is no other way to describe it.

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Reuniting with friends I haven’t seen in forever was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. I missed these people beyond words. Seeing them all made my heart so happy. <3

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**CUE THE TEARS**

For dinner there was burrito bar. YUUUUMMMM.

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They are the stinking cutest that ever was.

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And the rest of the night was followed by dancing our tails off.

At the very end of the night, all us bridesmaids and Lynds had an impromptu dance to “Marry You” right before the sparkler send off. As cliche as it may sound, it was seriously a cinematic movie moment, and I can’t imagine a better way to send off my best friend, my sister, into her next stage of life.

That night I left for the airport around 3 am. Needless to say I slept every minute on each flight on the way back. When I arrived around 10 am (SF time), DJ picked me up. I went back home to sleep, but in the afternoon we went to Bill’s to have a nice breakfast together.

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It was a quintessentially perfect wedding weekend that I felt blessed to be a part of. Joseph and Lyndsay are a tremendous couple that already are changing and inspiring others’ lives.

Thanks for sharing in this weekend with me!

xo <3

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Our Engagement (12-22-14)

On December 22, 2014 my life changed forever. This day holds within it a joy that surpasses even some of my most fondly reflected upon moments in life. It was the day DJ asked me to be his wife.

He was in Puerto Rico when the sun rose that day with his college basketball team. They had traveled there for a tournament, and I hadn’t seen him for a couple weeks. I was missing him fiercely. He was coming back that very day, and I was thrilled that we would just be able to talk again.

My family and I were in Traverse City, Michigan at this time for the holidays- the place that formed me and molded me through my life, created some of my most treasured memories, and was a home and safe haven if I could identify any. My beloved and I had also fostered great memories there from climbing the world-renowned Great Bear Dunes to whipping our way through the ice cold waters in various water sports to strolling downtown with ice cream cones in hand to placing our own footprints in the beached sand of generations before.

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It was our special place with endlessly treasured memories.

I knew we were going over to my Aunt and Uncle’s for dinner that night. I looked forward to spending time with my family in their beautiful home that overlooked the bay.

On our way there I was texting DJ. He told me he was back in the U.S., and I was nothing short of ecstatic. I longed to see him, but I knew that it would still be a few days. I asked him what he was doing on this first night back and he responded, “Just having dinner with my family.” I didn’t think much of it.

We arrived at my Aunt and Uncle’s. I walked up to the door and stepped inside. Music filled the air that tugged on a string on my heart. Our song. DJ and I’s song. Then I saw the candles and the framed pictures of him and I from five years ago when we started dating that littered the foyer.

I soaked it up, mouth agape. Slowly everything started coming into focus more clearly. My heart raced with a mix of bewilderment and exhilaration.

DJ stepped out from behind a corner. I was elated to see my love. My family was all smiles, all knowing. He took my hand and led me down their stairs that winded into a beautiful open living room.

The pictures of us that lined the walkway showed us growing up together in a pictorial timeline as we walked along, hand in hand. From teenage kids to young adults, the pictures told stories, and those stories told stories, and those stories brought us to the place we stood today.

He led me outside the basement door, down their mesmerizing stone walkway lined by candle votives to a trellis. Next to the trellis was the bay. The bay that held petoskey stones, my feet in their infancy, and my favorite memories from childhood. Next to the water’s edge was the most recent picture of us on the table, the culmination of our current journey, soon to lead into a future that neither of those people in the propped frame could have foresaw the true beauty of.

He told me many sweet things. Oh so many sweet things that I cannot recollect. Then he was on one knee and in a whirlwind, in a moment, my heart cried a definite “yes” so uncharacteristic of my indecisive nature.

He placed the ring on my finger. Physically gorgeous, yes, but the symbolism was more profoundly beautiful than anything I could express. My love grew in that moment. Words truly cannot describe those depths of the heart.

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We were engaged.

That night he did have dinner with his family, his soon to be family. We chatted about how he drove seven hours from the airport that day, about his trip, and about our future. 

Nine months later  we were married and two years after him getting some dust on his knee we are happier than we have ever been. 

I love you DJ. Thank you for asking me to be yours and demonstrating unconditional love to me each day.

Here are our engagement pictures from the next April 🙂 All photography to follow is by Julina Marie Photography .

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 Thank you all for being supportive of our relationship, and thank you to our Lord and Savior for guiding our steps and directing them toward one another.

xo <3

Mack

 

Our Fairytale Told in Pictures

Happy Monday! This day in particular has extra special meaning for us. It is officially our one-year anniversary. Today we reminisce on one of the best days of our lives. These pictures bring us such joy because they represent the day that we finally committed the rest of our lives to each other. It has been the greatest year of my life, and I am convinced I have the greatest man as my husband whom I continually fall more in love with each day. He also leads me to fall more in love with Jesus each day above all else. Marriage is not always easy, it is not always simple, but it has been the greatest blessing of my life. 

We would also like to thank our family and friends who have always supported our relationship and helped make this day so special for us. We love you!

Here is our wedding as told through pictures 🙂 Below are videos of our trailer and our surprise bridesmaid dance. Enjoy!

All pictures taken by Julina Marie photography.  Videos by ZMedia photography.

Wishing you a lifetime of 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7,

xo <3

MackView More: http://julinamarie.pass.us/bettingerwedding

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We exchanged notes before the wedding. Of course, I could not let him see me before the big walk down the aisle! I gave DJ a journal I had been writing in for the past year of our memories together.

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