“How a Styled Photoshoot, 6 Months Of Marriage, & A Beautifully Abused Wedding Dress Lead To, A Realization”

On September 26th Zach and I collaborated in a moody fall styled wedding photoshoot with the very talented @LIVISLENS photography & @HONEY_AND_SHAW florals. 

With engagement season upon us, I thought sharing this might benefit some couples, or just be a fun read for those who are curious of the realization of mine that occurred on that cloudy day :] 

We all arrived at Papago Park in Tempe, Arizona around 5:00, just in time to see the sunset and get the right amount of light. It was cloudy, but all of us, especially our photographer, made it work in regards to the slightly more dramatically romantic look her and our florist wanted.

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While the set for the shoot was being creatively put together, Zach and I took turns practicing poses and laughing. These women made it so easy to have fun in a situation that is normally almost stressful because as a couple you want photos to turn out perfect. Even though these were not our original engagement or wedding photos, it was great to pretend all over again as if we were back in those wedding planning shoes, but without the stress. Not to mention that Zach was all smiles with multiple women around him telling him what to do ;]. I am kidding, Zach is actually a natural in front of the camera and what I love about him during these types of situations is that he knows me well enough to pose so that it flatters my body and doesn’t look awkward.

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It might come as a shock, but just like all women at some point, I do get self conscience, and so does Zach even though most people would speculate that men do not feel that way. However, as we changed from our engagement outfits into what would be us on our wedding day, I realized something important.

I went back to the car to change into my wedding dress. I would like to call myself a professional car changer at this point, and thank goodness my wedding dress (curtesy of Grace Style and Bridal), is easy enough to put on by myself.


Now, before proceeding to this realization, I have to flash back to my actual wedding day.  I had worked out for three months prior to that special day because I wanted to look my absolute best. When I was in the small bathroom with my maid of honor I was so pleased with what I saw in the mirror. Toned arms, flat stomach, hair extensions for days, and a glowing tan. What I hope some women additionally feel besides me, is the rare moment when we can look in the mirror and go, “Damn” with all the confidence in the world.

I felt beautiful.

View More: http://erindezago.pass.us/brandi--zachary
Our wedding day March 10, 2017 + Credit: Erin Dezago Photography

Now, fast forward to the photoshoot that allowed me to put that dress on again, exactly 6 months later, no working out, hair that had been completely 9 inches chopped off, no tan, and the same dress.

I got out of the car after changing and proceeded to walk down to the set. Before I tell you what Zach’s expression was, I must tell you NO I was not expecting the same look he gave me on our wedding day when he saw me. That look was special and I always want to remember it as the one he gave me on that day. His expression was a new special. It was the same one he gives me when its date night and I put on a dress that I think makes me arms look big, and he tells me no it doesn’t; or when I am in sweat pants with my ASU hoodie on and my hair up; or when I am in glam head to toe. Its the same expression he gives me every day, no matter what I am wearing, or what I look like, and it was perfect.

As we started to pose, and our photographer started to take photos, it all seemed so easy. Looking at Zach for endless periods of time, spinning, twirling, laughing; it was all completely blissful. At each moment I felt so lucky and so confident despite the “not wedding day ready” me I was putting out there… and then it hit me like a really heavy sack of hearts and rainbows.

We were standing on top of Papago rock after hiking up it in my mermaid lace dress, Zach was holding my chin with one hand, and my waist with the other. I looked up at him, completely forgot that we were posing for the camera, and knew…

It was not the dress that made me feel beautiful, it was him. 


Photoshoot Information

Photography

Livis Lens

Wedding + Family + Maternity + Graduating Seniors

Name: Olivia

Bio: I was born in North Carolina and raised in Arizona. I am happy in the desert, up on the mountains, and relaxing on the beach. I am a mom of 2 beautiful, fun loving children. I also work as a nurse. But my passion is photography. I am a self started photographer, and I am always learning. I love to connect with fellow photographers and take classes. And I can tell you that I love to photograph love! Weddings are my favorite along with engagement sessions, families, pregnant mothers and seniors. I am starting to design my own photography shoots and I get so excited about being able to develop and share my creative side!

Email: Livi@livislens.com

Website: http://www.livislens.com

Instagram: @livislens

 

Florals

Honey & Shaw

Wedding planning + Event styling+ Floral design

Name: Ashley Shaw

Bio: I am an artistic, creative, and independent boss babe. I have found my true passion in life, wedding planning! I love all things weddings. I love to explore the world with my husband, adventure to new places and learn new things. Planning and florals are my greatest accomplishments in life, they are my creative outlet and challenge my mind to always find new beauty in each wedding! Gluten free planning and food allergies are my specialty! Brunch is my absolute favorite and I am on a mission to find the best gluten free donuts in the world. Floral design is one of my favorite parts of creating a wedding. Spray roses, thistle, peonies, seeded eucalyptus, and hanging amaranths are just a few of my favorites. Give me a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a glass of wine, my puppies, and some How I Met Your Mother, and I have got a perfect evening.

Email: honeyandshaw@gmail.com

website: http://www.honeyandshaw.com

Instagram: @honey_and_shaw

Recent Accomplishments: featured on Phoenix Voyage. https://voyagephoenix.com/interview/meet-ashley-shaw-honeyshaw-chandler/

 

 

My Husband Dressed Me For Five Days: A Tale Of What I Learned

Rules:

  1. Must dress me for my job: High school English teacher.
  2. Must pick out the following: clothes, handbag, accessory, and shoes.
  3. Cannot repeat any parts of the outfit after it is worn.

Monday

 

Outfit details: shoes (forever21), purse (Michael Kors), dress (Ross), & accessory (Michael Kors watch).

Sunday night, before Zach had to pick out my first outfit for me to wear to work on Monday, I explained the rules of dressing me. He was so confident, but I knew that not every day was going to be easy as I know how hard it is to pick out a modest, professional, cute, and inspired outfit on a daily basis… while the task of finding clothes early in the morning poses to be the hardest as sometimes I forget what I own. I have a lot of clothes, sue me. Although, most of which I do not even wear.

This mustard/canary dress for example I got at Ross roughly two years ago and have never worn to work because it is slightly see through. When Zach picked it out I was hesitant as I have to be modest as a teacher. He was quick to point out that I could wear a tank top and some of my spandex workout shorts and be fine. He was right! Although once he began getting the shoes I was again slightly hesitant. I had never worn those suede booties with a dress, only pants paired with a sweater during the chilly season. Then he chose one of the bags I used to wear all of the time, but placed at the top of my closet and seldom wear out anymore.

Here is what I learned on Monday: I get used to wearing the same things…with the same things. I also learned to circulate old bags or accessories so they do not go unused.

 

Tuesday

 

Outfit details: shoes (Charlotte Russe), purse (goodwill), pants (Ross), shirt (forever21), & accessory (feather necklace from forever21).

When Zach started picking out day 2 outfit I was scared once he chose the olive green shirt. “You know that is slit on both sides and goes all the way to the top?” He lifted the shirt a part and began to laugh, but grabbed a black tank top that would be tucked into the black jeggings (jeans &leggings) he picked out after. Then 20 minutes went by as he searched for the perfect shoe, because he thought the ones he was picking out were, “too boring.”

…heels… he chose heels… Now everyone, there are two types of teachers, those that wear heels to school and have super powers, and then there are those that wear birkenstocks and understand they are not a Kardashian.. can you guess which one I am.

Although, I will admit, the outfit played. I felt pretty badass and awesome for a Tuesday going in to teach. Granted I took the heels off a couple times, but mostly wore them for the entire day and received so many compliments.

Here is what I learned on Tuesday: If you bought the heels, wear them, do not just marvel at them in your closet.

Wednesday

 

Outfit details: shoes (Target), purse (Kate Spade), pants (H&M), shirt (Target), & accessory (Michael Kors necklace).

Day 3 was the hardest day of dressing so far! Everything Zach picked out I was cringing at. The previous days it was not difficult to save the outfits or make it work if he had to, but today he was on the struggle bus that was going to make me late for school. He first picked out the pink structured teaching pants, which I didn’t mind. However, he then chose a black flow v-neck that I usually only wear for comfort because I hate the way it makes my upper body look. Not to mention I usually never pair something so light with something like black, but all of my other tops are short and I have always tucked those other more suitable options into skirts. The black had to do, I was running out of time.

The next problem came down to shoes as I had blisters from the heels the size of Texas and he wanted a structured shoe. I was glad he choose these flats because the buckle around my ankle did not make the back of my foot constantly slip in and out of the shoe and helped my band aids stay in place. But then honestly he saved the outfit with the purse as it gave the light and dark contrast of my outfit a 50’s feel. And of course, today I got the most compliments of the entire week.

Here is what I learned on Wednesday: Sometimes I do not know what looks best on me.

Thursday

 

Outfit details: shoes (forever21), purse (Chanel), skirt (goodwill), shirt (H&M), accessory (forever21 clock necklace).

I was obsessed with day 4 outfit! Truly Zack stepped up his game and gave me what I wanted: chic teacher. I had actually forgotten I owned the polka dot skirt that I got from goodwill almost 5 years ago, and then was impressed when he paired it with a mustard yellow top to give it a pop of color. Then once he paired the clothes with my Chanel handbag that I almost never wear, I felt like Audrey Hepburn. The only thing I was skeptical about was the clock necklace. I hate when I look “too busy” but truly when I did not have the purse to compliment my outfit, the necklace was there to tie it together.

Here is what I learned on Thursday: My husband is a secret stylist and consistently kept me in mind while choosing outfits. What a professional!

Friday

 

Outfit details: shoes (H&M), purse (Rebecca Minkoff), shirt (Target), pants (Target), & accessory (Target ascot).

Today went slightly different, but I ended up learning the most. Zach was up late and had come into the bedroom at 4:00am after falling asleep in the movie room. As my alarm went off at 5:00am it would truly have taken a village to wake the dead sleep he was in. He had asked me Thursday night if I had casual Friday and could wear jeans. “Yes we can wear jeans on Friday.” When I got up to get dressed I put the jeans on; I figured he would have done it any way. Then I decided to pair it with one of my new shirts that screamed English teacher! Then I started to get inspired and pulled from my closet a coral orange small bag because my jeans and t-shirt seemed plain from the outfits I had worn that week. However, I went a little further and even added the small ascot scarf to turn my outfit into a look. I was so impressed at how good I felt, but also how comfortable. As I was putting my shoes on I heard Zach from the bedroom yelling my name. I went up and he was sitting up in bed feeling guilty that he had slept in; I didn’t mind.

“It was inspired by you” I smiled. “Do you like it?”

He couldn’t stop telling me how “cool” the outfit was!

Here is what I learned on Friday: I need to stop being afraid to express myself.

Husband Does My Makeup Challenge

Zach and I finally sat down and filmed something fun! Before filming I had Zach choose a makeup look from Pinterest that he wanted to create, then after he did my makeup we compared the Pinterest look to what he had tried to replicate ;]. Watch and see if he was able to do it! The thumbnail photo only shows you 25% of the way ;]

3 hours of footage in less than 30 minutes :] Comment below on how Zach did ❤

How Adopting A Dog Meant Forever

Some of you might be reading this substantially because a dog is involved and is essentially the star of the show, in the case of Zach and my life as well. You also might be wondering what I mean by my choice of phrase, “Adopting meant forever” before I even knew I was going to spend forever with Zach. It went a little something like this…

I am one of those lucky people who experienced love at first sight… but it wasn’t with my now husband, it was in fact with a squishy little black and white puppy whom we now call, Lucy.

Call me crazy, and I guarantee I have people who will relate, but I like dogs more than people. So, when Zach and I decided to get an apartment after a year and a half of dating, I knew this was the beginning of my evil and always successful plot to get a puppy. Just ask my poor parents who had to put up with 23 years of me bringing home animals unannounced. Don’t worry I started small with my hamster Buttercup, then came Skippy the turtle (whom I found at the Phoenix zoo… that day mom taught me stealing is justified when the turtle is out of the lake and about to get stomped on), then about 7 or so beta fish, a mini schnauzer named Sadie (who lives with my parents because my dad is attached), and then a bunny named Charlie (whom shockingly never bit anyone.) FINALLY, I was in my own place and could get a puppy of my own to raise! I just had oneeeeee personnn to convince…. and if you are wondering, I tried, “baby pleassssseeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!” Man would not budge, so I was left with the option that always worked best when my parents said no… and then a miracle happened….. he said, “We can go look.”

*cue ugly happy dance and over excessive hugging

However, (and men it isn’t your fault that you do not understand this about women), but when we or someone else says, “Let’s just go LOOK” it usually 100% always on a probability scale turns into a buy, or in this case an adoption.

I will remind everyone at this point that we were not engaged and had been living together for three months. Although, what happened next, meant we were already married.


Zach, his mom Jennifer, and myself all gathered in the car and drove to Phoenix where we were going to look at a puppy I had seen on the internet. She was being fostered after she was rescued from a kill shelter and according to the foster mom she was ready to adopt her if she already did not have 5 dogs. I needed to act fast. We all walked through the door and the ding of a bell alerted the volunteers in the back, “Come on in, we have been expecting you!”

At this point Zach reminded me, “We are just here to look, having a dog is a big responsibility.” I knew he was right, but I wanted a puppy so bad, and this sounds crazy, but I wanted Zach to be the dad. Okay, I didn’t think it was corny until I typed it and read it aloud. Nevertheless, I kind of have this thing called puppy radar and know immediately when a cute creature is nearby, but I couldn’t see her. Then, crawled up in a little 4 pound ball in the corner of a kennel, shook this little fur baby.

It was love at first sight

Her foster mom took her out of the kennel and placed her on the floor. People, if you can keep from smiling when a puppy is stumbling around, tripping over itself, and trying to ***boop a toy, then you are truly strong and probably not human. And poor Zach knew the inevitable, and that from there on out, he was outnumbered by females. “How much!?” I couldn’t get it out fast enough. “250.” Then, with her in my arms, I handed her over to Zach who looked colossal compared to her 4 pounds of delicacy. “Can we get her?”

And then the word every girl who has ever lived wants to hear… “Yes.” 

Then, with two checks, half from Zach, and half from me, we signed forever together by adopting our fur baby.


Lucy a year later, and three days before Zach and I moved into our new house, she had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on her paw. If any of you are pet parents you know that when anything happens to your fur baby, it is devastating as we tend to think of them as children.

*At this point Zach and I had been engaged for three months.

Zach and I had taken her in for a yearly routine check up and had mentioned the small red bump on her paw. The Vet mentioned that it was almost too small to try and get a tissue sample from and test under the microscope, but she would try. A half hour later she came into the room without Lucy. “It’s cancer, I am so sorry.” I didn’t process it right away because I immediately looked at Zach, and his face said everything I was holding in. In just three months time Zach had to hear the word Cancer involving myself, and now Lucy; it wasn’t fair.

At that point I went into business mode, asking questions, scheduling the surgery, soaking up the after care information if the wound could not be closed during surgery.

Zach stood in the corner staring at the white tile.

After a while the Vet brought Lucy back into the room and Zach held her with no intention of letting go. Honestly, at first I was angry, not at Lucy, but I suddenly thought about my phone call to Zach a couple months back when I found out. He was shocked no doubt, but he seemed so much more calm in that situation, than now. But then I thought about myself just moments ago, ready to put aside everything I felt because Zach needed me to be the one to step up, just like he did when I got the news about myself.

And through Lucy’s diagnosis, I learned the first thing about marriage. It is give and take. And this little creature just brought us closer to understanding that primeval part of this thing called, being a family.

 

Adventures in Seattle, Washington

*All photos are my own unless noted.

I have never gone to a place and thought, “It would be great to live here one day.” Arizona has always had my heart as I am a native and cannot stand the cold, however Seattle just about stole a piece of my heart and kept it there for me to possibly go back to. It has a beautifully whimsical feel everywhere you go. A breeze consistently follows you around and you are always immersed in green forest. It has every view in the book from forest to ocean to skyscrapers to urban towns that make you fall in love with brick exteriors. I feel in love with a city with my love, and it was hard to come back to 120 degrees of every shade of brown.


Flight: booked through Allegiate airline for $256 round trip for two people. We scored on the price and the flight was only 2hours.

Hotel: Hotel de familia (we stayed with Zach’s cousin :]) Her and her family have the most adorable home 5 miles away from downtown Seattle and it was a no brainer to stay there while visiting. A. If you look at hotels near downtown you will be paying an upwards of $600 for a 3 night stay even for the 2 star hotels with little accommodations or amenities. B. I get travel anxiety so staying with family made the trip better than I could have ever imagined. I will always suggest to travel places where family live. It’s a bonus trip when that happens :].

Car rental: Thrifty car rental was amazing! When we began looking at car rentals it was almost $400 to rent a car for the week. However, with Thrifty we only paid $240 and the gas milage on the car was incredible! We didn’t even go through a whole tank and we drove in and out of the city every day for 5 days.


People To Meet, Places To Go, Things To See

Bacco Cafe

Information: Breakfast & lunch spot serving local produce & organic eggs, with a wine bar, at Pike Place Market. 86 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101. (206) 443-5443. baccocafe.com

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Zach and I had just landed and got into our rental car ready to get to Ashley’s house so we could settle in and then sight see. However, we did not account for Seattle traffic at 9am and I was hangry. Instead of driving and wasting the day in traffic, we decided to go to breakfast to let traffic clear. We pulled up the GPS and it was leading us a couples miles down the road to Bitch-Witch Sandwiches. Although their reviews were outstanding I was not about to wait 45 minutes for a breakfast sandwich. Although, right next door was this cute cafe that served a culinary type breakfast and we are all for the new dining experience. The highlight of the breakfast, my crab benedict! I usually get two things to try every new place we go: a breakfast benedict & bruschetta. It was $18, but when am I going to get crab that was literally caught that morning… common people, I live in Az.

 

Space Needle

Information: The Space Needle is an observation tower in Seattle, Washington, a landmark of the Pacific Northwest, and an icon of Seattle. 400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109. The height of the space needle is 605 feet. The first Space Needle Manager, Hoge Sullivan, had acrophobia, a fear of heights (This is what Zach has, but he still went up.) spaceneedle.com

I was very skeptical, as well as Zach, when we were about to go up into the Space Needle. I hate things that move because I get motion sick, so when I heard from someone that it rotated at the top I was hesitant on even going up. Zach on the other hand does not mind things that move, but that go up too high for his liking. However, despite both of our fears we went up and decided that we were both just dramatic :]. The only aspect of the Space Needle that moves is the restaurant that spins… who is able to eat and spin is beyond me. Additionally, Zach was so taken aback by the view that he did not even think about how high up we were. I could have stayed up their for hours and had a glass of wine, which you can do as there is a bar inside, but there was still so much to see down below.

 

Chihuly| Garden & Glass

Information: Chihuly Garden and Glass is an exhibit in the Seattle Center showcasing the studio glass of Dale Chihuly. The exhibit opened in 2012. The exhibit opened May 21, 2012 at the Seattle Center at the former site of the Fun Forest. 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109. (206) 753-4940. Founded on May 20, 2012.

This museum hooked me on visiting other museums in the future and here in Arizona. I absolutely fell in love with the artistic pieces of hand blown glass. It is so different when you are a kid and have to go on museum field trips on a class excursion, but being able to want to go to a museum by choice was an experience I will never forget. It was small and quaint, but you will find yourself taking so much time per area that it will be hours of fun. We were in their for almost two hours taking photographs and marveling over the amount of work that went into each beautiful piece and room set up. I didn’t even care about the $30 dollars once we got past the first room :]. Additionally, you are financially supporting the arts, a form that is slowly trickling away in society and in communities.

 

Walrus & The Carpenter 

Information: Oysters & other seafood plus American plates & specialty cocktails in a small, simple space. Opened in 2010, The Walrus and The Carpenter marries restaurant to fishing pub. Tallboys, muscadet, piles of chubby oysters and smart plates are served in a lively, approachable space in Old Ballard. 4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107. (206) 395-9227. places.singleplatform.com

Anyone who knows me knows first and foremost that I am a die hard Alice in Wonderland fan, and when I found out that there was a restaurant called Walrus and the Carpenter, I completely lost it! As Lewis Carroll wrote a famous poem called W&C, I just had to see for myself if this establishment meet the poems expectation… and mine. It did! As soon as Zach and I entered the beautifully subway tiled and fish smelling atmosphere (we were right next to the water and where they harvest the oysters! :]) we ordered wine and whisky sour while we waited to be sat. Fifteen minutes later we were sitting outside in a glass enclosed room with a view of the fishing bay and being handed the culinary menu of all menus. They serve first and foremost oysters, which I was there for, Zach tends to gag at the sight of them so he stayed far away ;]. However, they also serve small plates of delectables to share. We got the bread and brie with honey, steak tartare, I got three oysters from different harvesting bays, and some other small plates. It was the perfect amount of food and neither of us were too full to sight see more of this wonderful town of Ballard.

Hot Cakes

Information: Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery crafts organic, classic American comfort desserts and other original and innovative confections. We were founded in 2008 by Autumn Martin with the dessert that gave us our name: Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in a Mason Jar. 5427 Ballard Ave NW · (206) 453-3792.

 

This little place of chocolate paradise is right down the road from The Walrus & The Carpenter and Staple & Fancy. Their ingredients are top notch scrumptious and is bound to give you a cavity the second you walk in and smell the chocolate melting in the kitchen. Zach and I both caved in and purchased shakes since we had just gotten through with dinner and let me tell you… worth the price. Because wells the price of these shakes even if you do not add booze (yes you can add booze) is $14 for 6 oz of goodness. I got the vanilla because I can only drink so much chocolate, and Zach got the dark chocolate, which was so rich I would only take a couple sips. No wonder it is only 6oz. It really was the perfect amount! Not to mention when you walk outside their is this magnificent bell tower in an area called Marvin Gardens (yes like in Monopoly).

Pike Place Market

Information: Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle, Washington, United States. The Market opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the United States. Seattle, Washington. The architect is Frank Goodwin.

This was our favorite place to go! If you want a place with everything from shops to food to farmers markets to fish markets to music to the first Starbucks, then this is the place for you. It was one of the most lively places I have been to and truly it takes your breathe away from how much there is to do in one area. We started with walking around the seeing what the tourists were up to. Turns out the fish markets would take turns hurling fish at one another to catch for every ones amusement. Next, street performers would pull people out of the market with lively music and almost a broadway mannerism, it was so much fun! Finally, food vendors would pass out samples like hot cakes to entice you to buy from them… it worked all too often. Last but certainly not least… the basic bitches in us both came out as we entered the first Starbucks. I didn’t even mind that they got my order wrong, after all the line was down the block, and yes we waited.

Elliots Oyster House

Information: Waterfront restaurant with a bay view known for its selection of oysters & sustainable seafood. 1201 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101. (206) 623-4340. elliottsoysterhouse.com

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I got the:

1/2 Crab and Shrimp Melt & Caesar or Chowder. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

Zach got the:

Alaskan True Cod & Chips. . . . . . . . . .18

Truthfully I was shocked at how many amazing food places we had gone to and this one was no exception. We both ate seafood almost every time we went out, its like we couldn’t get enough because once we went back home to Az we were not going to get the same quality as “Just caught that morning.” We would definitely recommend Elliots! Not only did Zach say their fish and chips were the best, as he had it four times on our trip at four different places, but by my account they had the best chowder, and I tried chowder at two other places.

Woodland Park Zoo

Information: Woodland Park Zoo is a zoological garden located in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. 5500 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103. 92 acres. Opened in 1899. (206) 548-2500. For over 100 years, Woodland Park Zoo has been a cherished community resource and a unique urban oasis. seattlesouthside.com

This is hands down the best zoo I have ever been to! The animals literally were so unafraid of people that they would generally parade out in the open or curiously come up close to the glass. It was never hard to get a good picture or gaze endlessly at their adorable and majestic behavior as they happily played in their area. Not to mention it seemed like the perfect climate for all ranges of animals. I always felt bad going to zoos where it is too hot for the animals, however this zoo in particular gave their animals so much room to flourish and feel comfortable. Zach and I had quite the time walking 15 miles in total at the end of the day to see these beautiful animals in their marvelous habitats. It was well worth the $20 for an all day adventure.

 

Staple & Fancy

Information: Brick-walled Italian eatery by chef Ethan Stowell, with a rotating menu & 4-course tasting option. 4739 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107. (206) 789-1200. ethanstowellrestaurants.com

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photo credit: staple & fancy website
Zach and I love a good culinary experience! So, even though he was really scared of being given something he did not like, we went with the Chef’s menu experience and we both were so happy we did it! Of course its expensive people! You are paying for a 5 star meal and a popular chef to choose (you do not have a say, it is literally a surprise 4 course meal) and prepare your meal! I highlighted in “red” what the chef prepared for us :] Desert was not on the menu, but it came with a rhubarb tapioca pudding with cinnamon crumble 😀 
Our Chef’s Menu $55
When you arrive, feel free to order as much or as little food as you like. But, if you would like to avoid the trouble of ordering altogether, please feel free to hand the menu back to your server and allow us to take care of you. *Participation by the whole table is required for the Chef’s Tasting menu.

Appetizer

Bruschetta 12
Smoked fish, pickled onion, watercress.
Seared Albacore Tuna 16
rhubarb, asparagus, olive tapenade, pea shoots
Burrata 15
walnut and red pepper pesto, currants, wild watercress
Fried Oysters 16
fennel salad, calabrian chili aioli
Salumi Board 17
prosciutto, salami gentile, speck, spicy coppa

Pasta

Papparedelle 17
beef and pork bolognese, mint, ricotta
Linguini 18
manilla clams, pangrattato, calabrian chili, white wine
Conchiglie 17
anchovy, mint, green garlic, pangrattato
Ravioli 18
ricotta, pea vine, snap pea, meyer lemon

Entrées

Grilled Pork Chop 30
polenta, caramelized cipollini onions, mustard jus
Grilled Copper River Sockeye 33
controne beans, taggiasca olive, agretti, pea shoots
Roasted Half Game Hen 27
baby carrots, farro, spring onion, red wine jus
Wood Grilled Whole Fish 28
brown butter, capers, lemon, fried herbs
Penn Cove Mussels 26
spanish chorizo, fingerling potatoes, safron aioli, grilled bread

Ivars Acre of Clams

Information: Local chain dishing up fried fish & chowders in casual quarters with nautical accents. Pier 54, 1001 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98104. (206) 624-6852

I got the:

Dungeness Crab and Goat Cheese Dip 15
Ivar’s Famous Clam Chowder 6.50

Zach got the:

Ivar’s World-Famous Fish ‘n Chips 16

Original recipe since 1938!

Here is where I become blinded by disbelief. I have always been told that Seattle is cold and rainy all the time minus a couple days out of the year. However, the five days we stayed it was BEAUTIFUL! If those five days are going to be the best all year, then we must have won the weather jackpot. I got an actual sunburn because I wasn’t prepared for it to be so freaking stunning! Honestly, this was on our last day and my favorite part about it was sitting outside of Ivars with Zach eating and drinking for about 2 hours, watching boats pull in and out of the bay next to us, and looking out at the contrasting snowy mountains to our sunny ocean restaurant deck. It was so surreal I can’t put my finger on any sense of a word to describe it.

 

50 Couples Tell Their Biggest Wedding Day Regret

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I started with my friends, family, and community members, then began to reach out to others across the globe from my instagram community. Regardless of culture, country, or tradition, these married couples (all are still married) found common ground in some of their wedding day regrets. They responded to help anyone in need of a little friendly advice ;] or anyone who just wants to relate on some level to these people that went through the wedding ringer.

 

  1. “I wished I wouldn’t have asked one of my bridesmaids to be in the wedding. She was so rude most of the time, threatened to not be friends after the wedding was over, and was pretty selfish most of the time. She made it really difficult to enjoy being around my bridesmaids when she was around. She was angry and rude to me at the wedding and spoke poorly about me and my family afterwards. I have other tiny things I would have changed, but that’s my biggest regret!” Niccola W.
  2. “My one regret was being incharge of everything… Not letting someone else take over!” Anthony C.
  3. “Ours was not hiring a DJ to MC the reception, it left for some awkward transitions and dragged out speeches.” Casey C.
  4. “Not having a wedding 😭 And being in the army it was easier to do the courthouse since all of our family is so dislocated. The court house was just easy and wasn’t time consuming since I was getting ready to deploy. We were crunched on time.” Kole G.
  5. “Honestly I didn’t do a lot of my own planning for it. I would say that’s probably my biggest regret was not using my voice and just letting my parents do it all.” Chloe M.
  6. “My only regret was not having the reception on the same day as the actual wedding. It takes away some of the magic.” Todd B.
  7. “I wish I had done a super cool first dance, like the dirty dancing dance or something involving the bridal party.” Melody F.
  8. “I wish we would have booked the videographer’s premium package! I love our wedding video, but things got so fun and interesting late into the night, long after he had packed up and left!” Taylor H.
  9. Letting my bridesmaid who is a hairstylist was supposed to be doing my hair do my grandma’s hair first even though she was supposed to be doing mine and we ran out of time and I did not like my hair 😂 I guess moral of the story is don’t think of others first on your wedding day LOL.” Hayley B.
  10. “I would say, my one regret is that I did not make a “thank you” toast to everyone who came. It was important to my husband and I to personally thank everyone who came (which we did) but I wish I would have grabbed that mic and told everyone as a whole just how much we appreciate them being there!! Ashley G.
  11. “My biggest wedding regret was not taking my little courthouse wedding more serious. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but in the short time you are on this earth you only have a handful of times when you have an excuse to really make things about yourself. I missed out on the bridal shower, cake testing, the intimate rehearsal, and all of the fun little things that lead up to saying, “I Do.” Jennifer K.
  12. “If I could do it all over again there are a few VERY small things I would do differently. I will say though, that I wasn’t going to hire videographer, and I ended up doing it just a few weeks before the wedding and that definitely WOULD have been a HUGE regret for me! So I’m glad I did it last minute!” Ashley L.
  13. “I wish I would have done a destination wedding.” Stacey D.
  14. “Not taking 5 or 10 min. to be alone with each other until entire wedding was over.” Sandy D.
  15. “Not being more creative with our introductions. The picking of my bridal party. Not giving my husband a gift on our wedding day.” Toni G.
  16. “My one regret is not having copies of the videos of the speeches. I so loved the maid of honor and best man speeches and wish I could relive them! Because, at the end of the day, all you have are memories.” Bonnie O.
  17. “Mine was waiting to the last minute to write my vows. I was so busy dealing with everything else, I kept putting off writing them until the night before. By that time I’m exhausted, I had spent the whole day with my mom, grandma and sister setting up decorations, making bouquets and boutonnières etc, so my sister helped me write my vows before bed. They were short and sweet but I wish I had put more time into them.” Emilie D.
  18. “Last minute errands got the best of us. For a wedding you try and get all of the big things done that you forget about the little things that are important at the end of the day as well that help complete everything. I wish we would have prioritized better earlier so we could enjoy the days before the wedding.” Eric A.
  19. “Waiting until after the wedding ceremony to have all photos taken. Followed the tradition of waiting to see the bride in her wedding dress. The photo session took so long that most of the food at the reception was already eaten and the ice sculpture had melted. 😒” Karl M.
  20. “Leaving the bride at home.” Charles L. (married for 60 years)
  21. “Letting my relatives who I offered to stay with us, use the two bathrooms and I could not get ready for my own wedding. Let relatives get a hotel.” Beverly W.
  22. “Not getting a custom cake made the exact way I wanted it to look. I went with the wedding house cake decorator instead of spending a little bit more money on a cake that I actually wanted. Really bummed me out.” Taylor B.
  23. “Check the weather over and over and over again so you have a plan B just in case. An Arizona dust storm his us toward the end (at least it was toward the end), but it did make the end of the wedding interesting.” John M.
  24. “Waiting to go on my honeymoon.. which I still havent 17 yrs later…” Tiffany P.
  25. “Not doing enough research on the company we hired to provide entertainment and MC our wedding. At the last minute the company switched MC’s and  we got a guy who did not take the job seriously. He got the song I walked down the isle to wrong and the song my husband and his mother danced to wrong. Additionally, he did not have the proper equipment and played songs from his iPhone most of the time.” Caitlin M.
  26. “I guess if I had one thing I would do again, it would be to have a videographer! My hubby and I decided it was way too pricey for something we would probably only watch once (weddings are expensive as it is). I don’t necessarily regret it but if there was one thing I had to choose, that would be it! Our photographer made our wedding come to life again, though! I still look at our pictures all the time!” Elan C.
  27. “Not hiring an actual photographer.  Our wedding was a fun little vegas elopement.  A friend offered to do photos as the gift, and I was thrilled that she wanted to.  But, friends are there to enjoy the wedding, not work it.  I should have hired someone! I ended up with very few photos of my wedding.” Elizabeth A.
  28. “Sure, I could have made cute clues for the buffet table call, finalized my parents gifts earlier, or finished my homework before my wedding day so I wasnt doing it during hair and makeup. Even though all that didn’t happen, we were completely zen.” Jory B.
  29. “Not having sparklers in time as plan B when the lantern send off didn’t work.. or, forgetting to put my vail on for the ceremony lol I was just so excited and ready for the wedding that I forgot it.” Kenzi P.
  30. “The only one that sticks with me is not ordering a cake big enough that I could eat a piece besides the one we “smashed” in each others faces…I was really bummed, because half the cake was carrot cake, and half was black forest cherry torte, my fave, and I didn’t get to even eat a piece! :0″ Angie G.
  31. “It really came down to the small things like me wanting matching bridesmaids dresses, etc. I was 5 months pregnant with my son and per everyones advice I was just trying to make it as simple as possible not realizing until later that I should have taken planning more seriously than just making things “simple.” Lindsay R.
  32. “I should have had a talk with the bridal party and my family a couple days before the wedding. They say that brides can be divas, but I thought that some of my family and bridesmaids were worse than any bridezilla that I have encountered. Truly it was all about them, and I should have had a heart to heart with them instead of just not wanting to deal with it because I was already stressed.” Ashley T.
  33. “I hired my friend to do our photos for the wedding and I should have really hired a professional. I felt bad telling her what I wanted and she continued to do things that just were not a part of my vision. I felt like because she was a friend it was hard to speak to her professionally because she kept insisting she knew what I liked. Separate personal from professional.” Stacy S.
  34. “I did not really plan the wedding. My wife did everything and she never asked for help because she is rather particular. I had a couple small jobs that I did like call to check up on aspects of the photos, etc, but I wish I would have insisted more. It is your wedding, and now that people ask us about it I do not really have any stories about planning.” Matt B.
  35. “I wish I would have had my bridesmaids help more. I was so busy trying to make sure they had a good time that I forgot that they are there to help. When it came to the wedding day I was hurrying to decorate and such that I hardly had time to get ready while they were able to do last minute hair and makeup that I could not do. It isn’t there fault, I kept insisting I wanted to do it.” Megan H.
  36. “EAT DINNER! I have a big family that loves to talk and I knew it was going to be a problem when it came to dinner. I should have had us get our dinner 5-8 minutes before everyone else so we had time to stuff our face before we got slammed with conversation.” Davan B.
  37. “Make a list the night before of things you will need to take with you, especially if you are going on your honeymoon after the wedding. I made the mistake of thinking I had everything, just like I do every vacation and spent too much time asking my husband during the wedding if we had everything for our trip.” Make a list and pack or get things together the night before.” Valerie C.
  38. “Spend some time with yourself either the night before or the morning of. I constantly felt rushed and wished that I could have gathered my thoughts and relaxed for a bit. This is a day you will always remember and I should have stopped more to reflect and appreciate it.” Kendra H.
  39. “Do not drink too much. Yes it is a fun party, but it is also your wedding day. I regretfully drank too much and it did not make for a fun night going into our honeymoon.” Frank A.
  40. “I should have created a more realistic budget based on research I should have done on prices of a wedding. I had no clue that weddings could cost so much, I mean 10$ per person for cake is absurd, but I didn’t realize that until later on once I had already made the budget. I ended up going over 7,000 and it hurt. Do your research on all things wedding from cake, to venue, to invites, etc. then create your budget based on the research.” Rilie B.
  41. “I wish I would have been more outgoing. I suppose it just felt weird to me that everyone was here for us, that I became a fly on the wall.” Daniel S.
  42. “Bring comfortable and cute shoes to change into for the reception. Do not try and dance in heels, I repeat, do not party in heels.” Anna M.
  43. “Trial run makeup and hair. I did both on the wedding day for the first time to save money from doing it twice, and wish I had forked over the money for a trial run. My hair took so long because we constantly had to tweet things or try another style braid that worked, and my makeup colors just did not look glam, but too dark on my spray tan. Always trial run your look.” Trish V.
  44. “Do not smash the cake in your spouses face. You both took time to look presentable and there is no need to take time away from your wedding to clean up your selves.” Aaron D.
  45. “Pause together throughout the reception to remember what was happening. We were busy going from game, to garner tossing, to first dances, to dinner, to cake, to ahoaiefasfaskdfgasi that we hardly took the time to pause together and just look around at the love and people that were here for us.” Brandon F.
  46. “Ask for help throughout the planning process and especially on the day. There are so many people around you that it is not fair for the bride or groom to be doing anything.” Rachel G.
  47. “Get a car to take you to your hotel after. I didn’t drink at the wedding because I had to drive.” Kelsey T.
  48. “I wish I would have given my husband a gift the morning of the wedding, even something small like a letter.” Mckenzie N.
  49. “I found my vows online… that was a bad idea.” Taylor F.
  50. “I have always had a fear of public speaking and even thinking about the fact that I had to say my own vows in front of people gave me test anxiety almost. However, once we got to the ceremony and I realized how calm I was that entire day, I wish I would have written my own vows and stated them. All of my friends and family kept asking why I didn’t write vows, because I am a writer, and it made me feel embarrassed that I couldn’t just do it.” Brandi M.

Love Letters Of A Non Famous Couple

I wish texting would be a thing of the past, for it has immensely pushed back the written word, the ever so tangible pen to paper relationship that does not  simply get deleted. Nevertheless, it can be kept, re-read a thousand times if preferred, or allotted through generations if the letter was superiorly romantic in all senses of the word.

A couple days ago, I came across such letters.

No not from my parents, the ones that believe pack-ratting does not do anyone organizational good. I did not find any in my grandmother’s home, which I have not physically been into since I was 10 because she accumulates too many treasures and no one in my family can enter. I think experts would call it hoarding, but we will never know just how many antique lamps light up that old house. Let alone, I do not believe I could find such a letter in what I perceive to be an abyss of gadgets and gizmos a plenty. These letters were from him & one particular letter was kept because the first time he told me he loved me, he wrote it. Read through to find out just how long into our relationship he finally told me :].

But first, some much needed love from Love Letters of Famous Men (hence my title) to exemplify my point: Write. 

Ronald Reagan to his wife:

ronald-reagan-lover-letter

“Oh well — that isn’t important. The important thing is I don’t want to be without you for the next 20 years, or 40, or however many there are. I’ve gotten very used to being happy and I love you very much indeed.”

“Your Husband of 20 something or other.”


Jimi Hendrix to an unknown woman:

Jimi-Hendrix-love-letter

“little girl… Happiness is within you…. So unlock the chains from your heart and let yourself grow like the sweet flower you are… I know the answer — Just spread your wings and set yourself FREE”


And my personal favorite,

Ludwig Van Beethoven to his “Immortal Beloved”:

beethoven-love-letter

“Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, Be calm — love me — today — yesterday — what tearful longings for you — you — you — my life — my all — farewell. Oh continue to love me — never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.”


Okay, if you do not have romantic goose bumps at this point, then you did not actually take the time to appreciate the fact that these letters no matter how old, are still admired by women outside of whom they were meant for.

So, it was a wonderful surprise when I found some letters Zach had written to me towards the beginning of our relationship.


Zach wrote me this letter when we started dating around March 2013. I was in school full time and he did not re-enroll until fall. I was busy and stressed and sometimes he did not understand. I am essentially my fathers daughter, and that meant that nothing was going to distract me from my goal, especially not some boy. The part where he says, “I know I do not help much” meaning my stress and determination when it came to school, was true… he sometimes made it worse. However, do not forget that this is what building a relationship is all about. It is trying to find balance in each other while creating a foundation for understanding. He left this letter along with chocolate and flowers at my house so I could see it when I got home from school. I kept it because it made me realize that relationships are not made perfect, but two people that keep trying. Because my dad also said that you only lose if you don’t try, and after all… I am my fathers daughter. 

This last letter, and perhaps my favorite disappointment, yes you heard that right, was written by Zach in October of 2013. The day he wrote I love you… 9 months after we started dating..yes people he waited that long, and then I waited two months more :). I was laying in my old bedroom finally done with school work when he came upstairs and presented a letter. “Read it.” Okay first, I never even liked reading birthday cards with people watching me let alone a letter with that person watching my reaction. He proceeded to sit in bed next to me and watched me open it. But first I must tell you that I have a problem not reading the end if something first…and I saw “I love you” before I read anything else. I began to read the rest and all the while thinking that he had not said it, but wrote it. Some where in my disappointment I found it still genuine, but wanted to hear his voice behind it. Two months later and specifically Christmas Eve, I wrote “I love you” on a piece of paper and gave it to him before he left my family party. He smiled and finally I got to hear it, not just read it. I keep this letter because with something that I would normally be upset about, I turned into a little joke when I felt ready to say it, and he knew I was lovingly mocking him♡ 

Couples Who “Do Yoga” Together, Stay Together

IMG_0064HELLO AGAIN & WELCOME TO OUR WONDERLAND! Today’s blog post is brought to you by my husband’s surprising balance at 6’5”… who knew, not me.

Zach and I since starting this blog have reached out to the community in finding fun ways for couples to spend time together, but also please realize that anything we do is for other types of relationships in your life as well, such as: friends, family, co-workers, etc. Essentially we figured out that there are only so many coffee dates, dinners, family bbq’s that you can stand before they start to instill the same type of vibe and conversation. “How’s the family” “How are the kids” “What did you do this week” “How is school”….and really the list of been there done that questions could go on forever.

Thus, our mission. To find and try out fun activities that you can do to get out of the normal dinner conversation. This is the very first session of, “Couples Who _________ Together, Stay Together.”

We had a blast trying out yoga for the first time, and we hope that you consider this activity in the future for you :] After all, this would be great to do solo, however we both found comfort in having each other there as a support system. If I couldn’t do something, Zach would make me laugh or encourage me to try again, and vise versa.

Also, a huge shout out to Bikram Yoga Studio Mesa! Without our yoga instructor’s wonderful and supportive assistance, none of this would have been possible. Thank you JON!

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Live schedule at Bikramyogamesa.com
Walk ins always welcome
Classes everyday + holidays
4803822034 call/text owner Jon (teacher of 9 years, student 12)
Open 6 years & newly remodeled floors (no stinky carpet).
Bring Mat towel water (we also rent) maybe change of clothes or extra towel.

FOR YOUR FIRST SESSION FREE MENTION ALICEMARRIEDTHEHATTER.COM BLOG OR SAY THAT WE SENT YOU :] 

Capturing Moments & Memories

This post is dedicated to my hardworking and supportive husband who only thought he bought me a camera, when he in fact gave me a lifetime of memories to marvel over. 

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I would not go as far as to say I am a modern William Bradford, but I come pretty close in comparison.

History Lesson: William Bradford was a Plymouth Plantation settler that recorded the Puritan way of life. From the Mayflower voyage to the building of Plymouth, he recorded it all, and we thank him.


I am here to tell all of you couples to record EVERYTHING! Take the picture, video tape the moment, freeze frame life, and zoom in close to those smile lines and beautiful double chin moments. Here is the deal, most of us have those parents that took endless photos of themselves in short shorts and tight tanks, with big hair, and sometimes we (my siblings and myself) came across a bathing suit pic or 20,000 from the 80’s if you’re like my beautiful mother and my hunk of a dad that did not mind taking the photo. But I also remember thinking, when I would lay in my parent’s closet flipping through the old family scrapbooks, that I wanted to be able to do that some day. I wanted to be able to sit with a glass of wine and marvel over moments in a scrapbook with my husband or friends, even if it is the day after a great adventure. The phrase, “Remember When..” is my life’s purpose, for it is better than saying, “I don’t remember that…”

If you’re worried about not living in the moment because you have a camera out, don’t. In fact, you might thank yourself one day when you’re packing up to move into your next home and come across that box of pictures. You might sit there for three hours and only notice how much time has gone by when your partner gets home and is confused by how much packing didn’t get done. But you sweep them into your field of memories and soon you are both missing your home. Or, maybe you are like me, and are scrolling through your photos on the computer because your significant other needs a specific one, and of course you find it. However, my favorites are when I come across a picture of me that I did not take and its because he took it without me knowing. And I get emotional because rarely do we see ourselves from someone else’s perspective.

This is why we document our life, and that is why you should too.


Now granted I am not telling you to take 30 selfies just to find the one that depicts your face the best, although a selfie every once in a while never killed any body.

OR that you should take your phone into the ocean, even if you have a waterproof case, just to capture that perfect wave… you know, the one that just swept your phone away. Fish like to take selfies too.

OR stick your camera arms reach over the ledge of a tall building because the world looks so small from up here…. and so will your camera when it falls and crashes into a million tiny pieces.

BUT if that sunset comes down just right

if he is sleeping on your shoulder on the plane flight home

if you paint your first room together

if you tell them you are only going to look at dogs, and buy one

if they are dancing to Taylor Swift

if you both have the day off

if they dress up for you

if you are away from them, and miss them…

TAKE THE PHOTO

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The 6 Curious Questions That Should Be Answered Before Marriage

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Olive & Ivy Scottsdale, Arizona

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The dinner conversation that allowed us to fall straight down the rabbit hole. Are you ready?

If you are currently in this moment wondering what my husband and I talked about before marriage well then read on. However, please know that these are our thoughts and you may not agree with them. Although, I do hope that if you are currently in a relationship, engaged, or married and want to ask these questions, then I encourage you to do so. It was a conversation we will never forget, and yes in the middle of one particular question, tears were slightly shed. I blame the wine.

When these questions were asked, Zach and myself were at Olive & Ivy in Scottsdale, Arizona (our favorite special occasion restaurant) celebrating valentines day. At this point we were only one month away from marriage, and with some wine in our systems we went head first down the rabbit hole. Mind you, some of these we already knew about each other, but never assume your significant other “really knows”, thus it being so important to sit down and have an actual conversation… without your phones. I’m serious, put them away.

  1. Do you want Kids?

*FLASHBACK

I began initiating this question because of something that happened almost a year ago in February 2016. I went in to have a regular “lady doctor” check up and received a call two weeks later. “You have abnormal cellular change.” I had no clue what this meant, but apparently it meant a biopsy to rule out, or in, what was happening. With my biopsy done, I was sitting in the office waiting for my doctor to KINDLY AND NOT IN A SCARY WAY, tell me the verdict.

Stage 3/4 pre cervical cancer. I was 23 years old.

My mom was sitting in the corner in a chair, and I could tell she was more shocked than I was. I think she was crying, but I was too busy listening to my doctor scare me practically out of pregnancy, when I was already skeptical about it before this happened to me. “You will have to be very careful if you become pregnant because the baby will potentially be pre term, this could result in a C-Section, or you might not be able to have a baby and..” blah blah blah blah…

While her voice was the white noise in my head, I thought about Zach and the fact that he was in a relationship with someone who could not have a baby. I cried in my old bedroom when my mom and I got back to my parents house and held my phone in my hand. I dialed, it rang, Zach answered. He, just like my mother, was more shocked than I was when I told him. To fast forward, about 20 minutes later, he came through the front door after leaving work and came to me in the kitchen. Normally when I don’t know what to say I will fumble around with something, in this case, I was organizing the pantry. He held me tightly in the pantry for what felt like an hour while my every other word recognition found its way out of my mouth and with half of his shirt emotionally soaked, because when I cry, it pours, we parted and sat. “I am scared to have a baby and I don’t think its in the cards for me.” The Queen Of Hearts AKA my doctor had ripped the deck. And I knew that he had always known what to say, just like the scene in a movie where the guy offers that mic drop line that girls tend to swoon over and beckon that “they want a guy like that.”

“I will always accept you.”

*BACK TO DINNER

We specifically talked about why I was afraid to have kids. He wasn’t interrogating me, he just wanted to understand where I was coming from. As it was possible, just very difficult. I told Zach plainly that I was not even sure why. I just knew deep down that being a mom was something that I might not want to do for a number of reasons, and I could not count them like Alice did her 6 impossible things. He expressed other aspects of the silver lining of not having kids like: we get to travel, binge watch Netflix at our leisure, adopt more four legged children, etc. According to him the possibilities were endless, and I was relieved. After all, I told him this before he even proposed. He could have run, but he didn’t.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?

These questions were slightly more upbeat and transitioned nicely from the first question. As we were on the subject of looking into our future, it was a perfect opportunity to ask small goals first, and then long term goals. For one, if you cannot accept where your partner wants to be in the future, then is there really one for you two?

We had talked about our dreams, but this question was different as it honed in on a realistic timeline and this also acted as a sense of security for us. In five years I saw myself still teaching in order to put my degree to use, but also having a little fun starting a blog, traveling, and saving up for something for us to do as a business together (food truck perhaps). Zach wanted to move up in his company at PF Changs so he could make enough money for me to possibly full time blog or do something else If I did not want to teach for more than five years. Also, he wanted to travel while we were still in our 20’s because aren’t we supposed to have fun while we are young?

At this point it seemed as though regardless of our own selfish wants, were were inevitably including each other in our plans, which made this conversation fun and easy as it seemed we were on the same page. Not to mention when we started talking about our 10 year plan, we both were not hesitant on stating that we would eventually love to save up enough money to do something together. These two questions definitely paved the way for more fun questions, yet still equally as important as the first to answer and have a conversation about.

3. What do you think of when I say, “In sickness and in health?”

This question had been on my mind since my diagnosis, which now is perfectly resolved :]. I couldn’t help but think of wayyyyyyyyyyyy into the future and the potential for something to happen. It is so easy to state at the alter, “In sickness and in health” although actions will always speak louder than words. I needed to know, as well as Zach needed to know, what we would do if we became sick. This ranges from the flu to the worst scenario. So, we came up with a game plan for if anything does happen.

  • Stay calm. As strange as this sounds, remaining calm when someone you care about is dealing with something can be the biggest comfort.
  • Do not state things like: “You are over reacting”, “It’s not a big deal”, “Are you sure thats what the doctor said?”, etc. None of these help the situation, even if you are trying to lighten the mood with humor… just don’t.
  • Let the person do what they need to and do not just help when asked. I had gotten alcohol poisoning (It was my first year teaching at our annual Christmas party.. do not judge me, I received honors in college and never partied) I was toilet ridden (you’re welcome for the picture) and Zach slept outside of the bathroom door in case I needed anything and never mentioned how disappointed he was in me, or judged me. He stayed awake that entire night, even when I blissfully slept in 20 minute increments when I wasn’t heaving up what felt like my soul.
  • Most importantly, never seem like this is affecting you as much as it is the other person.

4. Do you believe in, “For better or for worse?”

This question was an inevitable transition from the last question as we both knew the answer to it. YES.

When you are in a relationship you really do see that person at their worst, but you also see them at their best. And as the saying goes, “You do not deserve me at my best, if you cannot handle my worst.” From no makeup to sweatpants, from bad accidental haircuts to random hair dye jobs, from happy to cranky, and so on and so forth. Because I can guarantee you are with that person because anything “worse” will never out weigh the love.

*MORE WINE AND ORDERING BEFORE OUR NEXT TRANSITION :] This was a great time to flip the switch from heavy, to a lighter conversation, although that is not the order in which our meal went.

5.  What do you picture our home will look like?

We both had fun with this question as we both love our home, but a fun question like this can go south quickly depending on your individual visions that ultimately need to come to gather in a comparison. After all, this is the home you BOTH will be living in. The hope is to find middle ground in decor, what should be fixed, and what rooms should be what. Because he knows if I could have floral wallpaper, patterned chairs, curtains hanging on every window, and a house turned into a library I would… however my vision is not the only one that matters any more. He would love a man cave, putting green, neutral color pallet, and nothing floral, but he loves colorful patterns.

Here is the picture we began to paint for each other and our reasons behind some of them; this is called compromise.

I would absolutely give him a man cave, but I think its weird to call it that so we will make it a movie room where he keeps all of his game consoles. We picked out the couch together, and the sage green color of the room. If you guys watch fixer upper like we do, our inspiration for compromise came from Joanna Gaines.

Although, because he gets his movie room, my next compromise was for our front room to be a library. He argued that it needs to be functional as well so we threw a desk in there. I wanted ceiling to ceiling book shelves so my Pinterest dreams would come true, however the making of a home is also the making of a realistic budget. We compromised on a beautiful bookshelf that was large and came with a ladder even :D. And the compromising continued for 20 minutes just on our home. I do not want to give too much away for I am creating a blog post on “building a home vs a house with your spouse.”

Pinterest name: Brandi Marinig

6. What makes you happy?

One of the easiest questions we asked. Although, we both knew what made each other happy, it is nice to have a conversation about it, especially since it should tie into the previous questions. It also gave us room to elaborate on some of the aspects we had already brought up, such as traveling.

We both agreed that traveling was something that made us happy. We both have stressful jobs and it was nice to talk about getting away in the future. He was additionally sold on the whole traveling concept when I proposed we travel to Europe (specifically the Greek Islands). Zach had never been outside of the United States and had only been to a couple places within the U.S. We have completed one Europe trip, and plan on traveling to China next. What was essentially great about this conversation is that we forgot we were asking each other questions and enjoyed talked about things that we could plan “WE” into.


I know if you have gotten to this point, you must be exhausted. I had a lot to say and I am grateful if you have gotten this far without drowning in a pool of your own tears like Alice. But she made it out alive, and I am glad you did too :].

For more on some of these topics please stay tuned for another trip down our rabbit hole, although today was more of a peak into our looking glass ;].