July 2014 archive

DIY: Frame Makeover

By Natalie

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I made this adorable frame a few weeks ago, and had to share. I’ve had some more DIY stuff recently because I’ve been spending a little more time in the craft room. I love every part of our house, but the craft room is my own pretty little space. A place that is fairly untouched by rolled up husband socks, and dog toys.

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • Frame
  • Washi Tape
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Flower Embellishment

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I started out with this old frame I had laying around.

photo 1Picked up the fun glitter tape in the Target $1 section. The flower was found in Hobby Lobby. All I had to do was measure out my pieces of tape, and place them.

photo 3Squeeze a little hot glue on the back of the flower and apply it. Clean the glass to freshen it up. I stuck a piece of scrapbook paper behind the glass so the frame could be utilized as a decorative piece. I love  finding ways to repurpose things. Reviving them, and molding them into something unique.

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It’s in the Small Things

By Natalie

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The first thing people asked when we got home from our trip was “What was your favorite part?”

That’s such a difficult question. I spent 10 days with my husband… “Surely that was the best part.” Is what I really want to say. But if you must know, I honestly couldn’t choose any one part. We saw so much of beautiful California, I couldn’t possibly pick one thing. We delighted in movie magic during the Warner Brothers studio tour, because.. why not?

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Do you see the glee in my face? It’s a little embarrassing. But this was pretty much the look I had on my face the entire trip. A mixture between disbelief, happiness, and a worry free, no obligations week. You would look the same. Trust me.

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Yes! It’s the Friends Couch in Central Perk! Do you see how high my shoulders are in this picture? That is sheer excitement.

We splashed our feet, and skipped stones in the beautiful water and vast beach of Santa Monica.IMG_5418 IMG_5409

We did all these incredible things, but like most experiences in life I found my favorite moments of the trip to be in these little pockets of time. These pockets, they were full of the small things. Allow me to get a bit repetitive with you? Because I want you to know, that laughter is in humiliation. Happiness is in the unfamiliar. And love, most often, can be found in the midst of the small things.

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I rode a motorcycle for the first time. May I confess to you that it was so much more incredible than I was expecting? We had a beautiful view of the orchards and mountains along the way. Now if you want my honest opinion I don’t believe it’s possible to have any troubles while riding a motorcycle. I gave in to the exhilarating speed, and allowed the wind to press against my skin.

It’s in the small things.

It was in the road trip along the coastline where B and I fell in love with each other again. It was during the first dinner we shared together that first night in LA. Where I cozied up in the corner of the bench seat with an Aztec print pillow.

It’s in the small things.

It was in the comfort I felt while I stood in Brandon’s arms in the longest line for crepes you ever did see.

It’s in the small things.

It was when we stood as hidden from view as possible on Pier 39. While Brandon wiped seagull droppings from my hoodie sleeve. We thought we seemed too far from the edge to be splashed with water, and as we looked around in confusion we discovered that we were right. It wasn’t water. It was a seagull’s droppings. On my hoodie. In Brandon’s hair, and maybe even a smidge in his beard, though he wouldn’t ever allow me to tell you. Shhh. It was really kind of hilarious.

It’s in the small things.

It was at the lunch table outside of the Griffith Observatory. B & I finished our lunch while looking out at the LA skyline. And there, just to the left of B’s head sat the Hollywood sign.

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People say “Oh big woop. Hollywood hardly has anything worth seeing.” But it wasn’t about Hollywood. It could have been Mt. Rushmore. It could have been Seattle’s needle. It could have been anything we hadn’t seen before. It was the sheer fact that we were on the other side of the country able to experience something together we had never experienced before. There we were smiling under the sunshine on a Tuesday afternoon. I typically don’t get the privilege to be in Brandon’s company for Tuesday lunches. It made my day. It made my week, and frankly it made everything leading up to this glorious trip well worth it.

It’s in the small things friends. Look out for them.

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Love & Long Distance

By Natalie

As I’ve been married I’ve grown more of an appreciation for those who are able to maintain a relationship long distance. I don’t know if appreciation is really the right term to use. Maybe fascination because I’m not so sure that I would ever be able to do it, and couldn’t imagine having to make that type of sacrifice. I have two friends who are in this boat, and I’ve asked them to share their stories for me, and for all.

Casey is a marine wife.

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Her husband Ethan has recently come home from a 7 month deployment. They’ve been married for 2 years.

During his last month of deployment I kept track of her updates. She was preparing their home, and eagerly awaiting his return. As I myself was anxiously awaiting I thought for sure that he would be home any day, and when I asked she said that he wasn’t due to be home until another couple weeks. If I’m on the other side of the country getting anxious about it, I can only imagine how she must feel as his wife. I’ve mentioned before that I have what Brandon calls light at the end of the tunnel syndrome. I’m telling you, I couldn’t do it. To wait 7 long months husbandless, as a newlywed at that. Knowing all the wonderful joys that marriage brings, and then all of a sudden your husband goes off, and you’re left to live your life by your lonesome. Those last couple weeks I’d curl up into a ball I tell you, unable to cope with the anxiety.

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Casey’s experience with long distance in her own words…

I have started this, erased it all, and started again nearly 100 times now. Each time I wrote out a page, it sounded so depressing and sad, and I didn’t want it to be that way, because being in a long distance relationship, or in my case being married to an active duty marine is in fact easy, and not sad at all.

It’s hard to explain to most, even fellow marine wives will give me a look like I am wearing one of those tinfoil ‘hats’ from the movie signs “What do you mean it’s easy!?” They’ll say.

It honestly is easy! Okay, I will admit that there have been a few rough times where I’ve sat in my room and had a good ugly cry for about 15 minutes, but I got up and went on with my day.

When I began dating my husband I knew within two weeks that I was madly in love with him. No, I was not a psycho or a stalker, he felt the same. He even had a romantic night planned to tell me, which I ruined when I couldn’t even go two minutes without wanting to blurt out I love you.

Another thing that was different for us was that two weeks later he was gone, starting his journey in the Marines. So we really got to know each other better through letters, texts, phone calls, email and skype. 

In our relationship so far we have spent about 28 months apart. That’s basically half of our relationship. To make it last we knew we had to put our best foot forward and just do it, clinging to the old quote “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Honestly, I couldn’t describe it any better myself. I knew I loved him before we began a distance relationship, but I fell even more in love with him through getting to know him from afar.

-Casey


Maggie has been dating her boyfriend Brad for just over a year and a half. They met in college, and after going their separate ways after graduation they found that living and hour and a half away from each other wasn’t all so bad. They visit one another as much as possible, alternating weeks making the trip to the other’s home. When work gets too busy and even the bi-weekly visits become difficult, they meet halfway for dinner and enjoy the presence of each other’s company.

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Maggie’s experience with long distance in her own words.

My experience with long distance relationships is unique. I have seen so many friends in relationships with more miles between and harder circumstances, so I am grateful in so many ways for just seventy miles between us. There are days where that trip feels like a few neighborhoods over, and days—more often, nights, that turns the seventy miles into seven hundred. The unfortunate part about those miles, aside from being apart, is that anyone local understands that a lot of traffic can happen between Arlington and Spotsylvania. It took us a few tries last summer to understand how we could make visits work without taking too much time away from family, work, and most of all, savings. With the support of both of our families as we live at home for now, we have successfully managed alternating weeks to visit and understanding when life happens and visits can’t.

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In any difficult situation, I believe the most important, and quite often, the toughest part is staying positive. We are both so thankful for everything in our lives, and thankful that we are able to be together at all. I think that’s when it struck me that this was going to be a serious commitment and change in the relationship.. and I wasn’t scared. I was and am happier giving it my all an hour and a half away, and on those visits, than to be with someone else who is conveniently next door. Cheesey? Maybe, but I don’t care. I can speak for both of us when I say that we will be happy when the gap between us is closed, and though I am not sure when that will be, I know in time I will be grateful for this last year in our commuter-relationship. The experience has made our relationship stronger, we value our time together in a different way now, and we can know now without a doubt that distance sucks — but it is able to be conquered.

-Margaret

Promises to Myself

By Natalie

Remember when we were kids? Remember when not everything was about expectations? Remember when being in each other’s presence was enough to put a smile on each other’s face. Remember when?

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I wouldn’t trade puppy love for the love I have for you today. It’s a different kind of love. It’s something we’ve discussed, but I need it here for my records, you know. I need something to look back on.

You take care of me. I take care of you. Not 50/50, but 100/100. This love, it’s changed, as does a fine wine, or an aged cheese. It’s become sweeter. It’s become more comfortable. We’ve watched each other grow, we’ve been a part of one another’s youth. My love for you is more full of admiration, and gratefulness these days. My love for you has grown stronger. It’s been challenged, it’s been uphill, and from time to time I think that the younger version of my self may need to step in to remind me of a few basics. When you get into the hustle and bustle of life sometimes you just live alongside your spouse. Demanding this, and being ungrateful for that. It’s dishonorable. It’s wrong. And sometimes it gets the best of us, and we need a reminder. So, here are some promises to myself.

Less nit picking
More loving

Less disagreement
More understanding

Less nagging
More patience

Less annoyance
More admiration

Less irritability
More cuddles

Less of the same thing
More adventures

Less spoken goodbyes
More kisses goodbye

Less trying to figure it out on your own
More asking for help

Less wishing to be right
More apologies

Less I told you so’s
More being helpful

And All Around Continue to…

kiss goodnight

Embrace
Write love letters
Find new ways to show love
Keep up with being healthy and feeling good about yourself
Show appreciation in all things

The Blue Waters of Tahoe & Monterey

By Natalie

I have never seen such blue waters before as in these two beautiful places. These are the places that I wish to revisit some day with my journal and coffee in hand. These quaint places are the ones that spark inspiration in me. They are places that I can completely unwind and take in… everything. From the sunlight that warmed my skin. To the lap of the water, and children playing with sheer excitement in their voices.

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Monterey

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I did alot of thinking in Monterey. Our stop was short here, simply stopping for lunch and B figured we should stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery while we were stopped. We walked the trail near the water and cozied ourselves on a lonely bench.

I could have sat on that bench for hours. I could have walked there in the early morning, sat down, closed my eyes and not left until the stars came out. Monterey, you were a dream. A whimsical dream, of calm waters, and blue skies. Sunshine… Quaintness… Happiness… and fresh sushi of course.

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I could spend the rest of my days here and never complain. I could feel refreshed. And hey, with all that sunshine and no humidity to rain on the parade you would probably see a smile on my face every day. Brandon, we may be young, but perhaps it’s never too soon to start discussing locations for retirement.

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What Happens in San Francisco Lasts Forever

By Natalie

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This has been a week full of dreamy lovey posts, I know. I’m sorry, but remember my writing derives from the deepest feelings within me, and these days I just so happen to be smitten.

Now yes, It’s time to address that picture. I got a tattoo! [Insert your shocked faces here] It’s something that I’ve wanted for a long long time, and I figured well, there’s no time like the present. Right?

If you know my story you know I grew up with an absent father. You know we moved around, all the time. I talk about it quite a bit, because I’ve chosen to allow my circumstances mold me into a better version on myself. Sometimes I think about who I could have become, and how I could have given up hope so easily. How I could continue to be angry with someone who is no longer in my life. I could be a not so nice person, and have the perfect excuse. But then, I would never be happy.. I am so thankful for my mother’s prayers, and God’s protection over my sister’s and I. I am also incredibly grateful for my loving husband and his family who have taught me that love can last forever.

I still don’t know where our future will lead us. I’ve felt like a wanderer for a long time. That is why I’ve had an obsession with compasses, because I’ve always felt like I lacked direction. About a year ago I had the idea to get a tattoo of a compass and then I thought maybe I’d like to incorporate Brandon in there somehow. Since wherever he is now, is my home. And then I got a lot of slack for having anything on my body that had to do with someone else. Because “You never know what could happen.” STOP. My heart was broken. My throat sank to my stomach, not for fear of separation from my husband but for the world. Do we live in a world now where things are so disposable? That one day you are bound to fall out of love with your spouse, or they will do something unforgivable or worse, you will. It’s only a matter of time. It breaks my heart I tell you. Marriages are meant to last. Otherwise what’s the point of vows?

I am someone who had built solid walls around myself to guard all my vulnerability, all my love, everything. And then Brandon came along with a sledgehammer and tore it all down. And there I stood with God whispering in my ear that it was ok, and I didn’t have to fear abandonment anymore. That love can last forever with Him in the center.

I found it so easy to have something permanent etched into my skin that had to do with B. I asked the artist to place our anniversary date at the North of the compass. As he did it, it was of course painful, but it was also more relieving than I could ever try to explain to you. It’s a constant reminder that love can be permanent. That marriage can last until the end of your days. And then of course I get the whole “What if Brandon stops breathing tomorrow!?” If Brandon stopped breathing tomorrow he will continue to be a huge part of my life would he not? He would continue to be the one who taught me to face my fear.. So there. That’s my confession for the day. Now say what you will…


This tattoo was done by Jordan Mitchell, at Black & Blue tattoo in San Francisco, CA. You can follow his work here. I’d highly recommend him, if you’re ever out that way.

Thanks for Dinner Santa Barbara

By Natalie

Oh Santa Barbara, you had me at your tremendous amount of palm trees.

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After visiting family for the weekend B and I took a rather long road trip from Yuba City to Los Angeles. A total of about 11 hrs. I think.. I lost track after about 8. The drive of course made for an exhausting travel but I found myself incredibly grateful to be able to spend so much quality time with my wonderful husband.

IMG_5294Vacation, and most especially road trips provide us with the opportunity, yes opportunity of being stuck in each other’s presence. Forced to get to know one another better. I do love getting to know my best friend better. We drove along the California coast in order to get our best views of the Pacific. And it was grand.. Here’s some photos of our stop in Santa Barbara, where we consumed to freshest, most delicious fish and chips of the whole trip.

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You’ve out done yourself Santa Barbara. Our time was too short with you.

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IMG_5302And this is what happens when you tell a B that you wish to take a picture of him under a palm tree.

 

A Love Letter

By Natalie

Vacation is over. I know, it stinks. But we really can’t complain because we had the most beautiful time. I still have stories to tell on our adventures. But for now I have to say that on this trip I fell once again in love with Brandon. I like to believe that the greatest parts of marriage are those moments when you fall over and over in love with each other. I can’t believe we got to spend so much time together this past week. We’re absolutely smitten. Pardon us.

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My dearest B,

Spending 10 straight days in your company has been perfect. We’ve had the opportunity to relax, and enjoy beautiful scenery together. We were granted the time to sleep in, and enjoy a Friday morning breakfast we’ll never forget looking out onto the streets of San Francisco. I couldn’t remember the last time I was able to savor my coffee, and listen to your heart. Your wonderful, loving heart. I can’t explain just how exciting it is to discuss our future together. I love listening to your dreams for us. I love encouraging your passions, and most of all I love being the one you have chosen to spend your life with. I will always support and love you. Because you have been an excellent leader in our home. I see how every step you have taken has been to better serve God, me, and to allow for a bright future. I’m honored to be Mrs. Brandon Taylor Poe. Take me, I’m yours. Thank you for being a man that I can trust when I knew none. Thank you for working so hard to treat us. Thank you for being mine. Thank you for being you.

I love you my B,

xoxo