Tag Archives: Wedding Planning

Back In It


Y’all, I am BACK.

Back in the ‘Burg,
back in my apartment,
back in my semblance of clean-eating,

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(mostly) back in my exercise routine,

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back with my grad school girls whom I missed so much(!),
and back into blogging.

It’s not hard at all to believe I went 13 days without posting. Between wrapping up my summer teaching position, studying for the CPCE (which was this morning, by the way), wedding-planning, and packing, the past two weeks have been a whirlwind of stress and excitement. Perhaps I should have taken a page out of Colleen’s book and simply taken the month of August off, knowing how much was approaching, but alas…

I had several posts I desperately wanted to write: the emotional ending to four summers of work with my students with autism; an update on Ian’s and my Zero Negativity Challenge; a close family friend’s wedding last Saturday; and a few other piddly topics. As much as I adore my blog and sharing my life with you guys, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve really dropped the ball on monthly mileage updates toward my 2,013 miles in 2013 goal. As I begin my 600-hour internship next week, I’ll be putting my time-management skills to the ultimate test! 😉

Right now, at this moment, I am in such a good mood. That counseling exam is behind me, it’s a gorgeous 79 degrees, I am finally blogging (and blogging outside),


I have dinner plans with some of the girls to celebrate yet another grad school milestone behind us, I have little else on my agenda besides a post-exam, pre-dinner workout calling my name and Pretty Little Liars reruns to watch, and I move my baby sister in to her apartment tomorrow to begin her senior year of college! I am truly blessed, because I could not ask for a much better Saturday 🙂

This semester, I plan to work diligently to be a more frequent blogger. I think daily posts might be a bit ambitious, but I’m aiming for at least every other day. In other words, my goal is not to procrastinate or make excuses; when I get an itch to write, I’ll write! Thank you all for sticking around during my unplanned and unannounced absence. I write Sarcasm for me, but it means a lot to know there are interested readers and friends out there!

With that, I’m off to hit the gym! I’ll have much more activity in the coming weeks, and I promise to make a better effort to share it!


Grown-Up Weekend


You may or may not be able to relate to this, but do you ever feel like just because you’re in your 20s, in professional school, working, or living independently, that you’re not quite a grown-up?

I’ll be 25 in December, I will begin the third year of my M.Ed. program in 25 days, I have my own apartment where I attend school, and I am planning a wedding… but I still do not feel like a grown-up.

Maybe it’s because I still call my mom to ask, “What do I do?!” for the simplest of queries.

Maybe it’s because I will wait until I’m on my death bed to see a doctor. (Though the way I hear it, a lot of grown-ups do the same thing!)

Maybe it’s because I conveniently seem to forget about appointments I’d rather not go to (e.g. the OB-GYN).

Maybe it’s because I have chosen to live with my parents (from the time I graduate in May) until Ian and I are married in October.

Whatever the reason, I, A.K., do not self-identify as a grown-up. Nevertheless, Ian and I decided to engage in some “grown-up” activities this weekend. For example, we hosted our first cookout at his apartment. We invited several close friends, including two of my favorite heterosexual life partners whom I have known since freshman year at Longwood, Rachel and Charlotte.



We carefully prepared our menu: blue cheese-infused turkey burger sliders with all the accoutrements, baked beans, and curly fries. Our couple-friends, Mark and Heather, brought one of the most delicious and unique cheese balls I have ever tasted! Plus wine. It’s definitely not a grown-up cookout unless there’s wine involved 😉


We asked our guests to arrive around 7, so we began preparations at 5:30. Ian had done the grocery shopping earlier in the day. As nervous as I was about someone who doesn’t eat tomato or avocado choosing the perfect ones, he did splendidly with the insanely detailed thorough grocery list I gave him.

He caught me a bit off-guard while I was trying to slice and dice the perfect little onion and tomato wedges and figure out the sliders:



[Don’t worry; I usually cut vegetables with my eyes closed, so I’m a bit of a pro.]

Ian and Mark manned the grill while we ladies waited for the beans and the fries to be ready.



The men must comment on the status of cooking meat, in addition to the size and heat of a fire, the poor gas mileage on cars, what good time they’re making on a road trip, and the score or status of any sports event imaginable, amiright?

The sliders turned out much smaller than I had anticipated and the blue cheese flavor wasn’t as prominent as I hoped, but everyone proclaimed the meal a success. I considered it a success myself afterward when everyone sat around moaning about how full they were 😉 I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I was glowing when Charlotte complimented my ability (read: luck) to have the sliders, the fries, the veggies, and the beans done simultaneously.


A wonderful evening was had by all! I was sad to see everyone go, but it was 11:30 before I knew it and Ian and I were fading fast. We finished cleaning up and hit the hay. Asleep by 12:30 on a Friday night? One of the most grown-up bedtimes we’ve had since I met this HSC gent.

Saturday morning, we slept in and did absolutely nothing. It was positively glorious knowing we had nowhere to be and nothing to do. Ian made me a breakfast of scrambled eggs, Chobani Flip, toast with apricot jelly, and apple cinnamon oatmeal. We did a little wedding-planning business, and then we settled in for the Harry Potter marathon. My lazy butt needed a nap toward the end of the first movie, and I awoke at the beginning of the fourth thinking, How long have I been asleep?! Turns out, the movies were being played out of order. Momentary panic.

Around 3:00, we packed up and headed to my house. We ate an early dinner and then Ian and I, my parents, my sister, and her boyfriend piled into the car for the 90-minute drive to Spotsylvania. My dad and I ran in the Spotsylvania FCHC Twilight 5k at 7:30. Ian served as my gracious photographer as I stretched, got prepped, and tried to get “into the zone.”

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You probably know by now that my dad and I run races together, and we keep pace with one another. I am the watch-wearer in this relationship. Our goal for months now has been to finish together in ≤34 minutes.

We started off fairly strong with a 10:37 first mile. We lost a good bit of speed as we rounded the halfway point on the out-and-back course at 17:14. We hit mile marker two at 22:25, and I was pretty certain we weren’t going to make our PTR. To say the course was “rolling” was a gross understatement. There were some hills, man. Plus the humidity was killer.

When we rounded the last turn leaving the neighborhood and I could see the finish line in the distance, I said, “Let’s go, Dad!” and he said, “Go!” I didn’t think I had much left in me, but somehow I took off. I sprinted toward that finish line, hearing our four supporters calling my name and cheering me on.

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Dad finished strong just behind me:

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I clocked myself at 34:36. I couldn’t find the “stop button” immediately as I crossed. The chip I wore strapped to my right ankle clocked me at 34:38, finishing 118th out of about 200 runners. Dad was clocked at 34:53, finishing 119th. According to my official time, I averaged 11:09-minute miles, so we should have been right on pace to finish within our goal.


As soon as I caught my breath — which I never thought I would between the humidity and pushing so hard at the end — Ian and I headed toward the snack tent for a banana (and the requisite post-race pics).

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After the race, we celebrated with custard from Carl’s, a Frederickburg favorite, as evidenced by the crowd snaking around the building. For a shop with only five flavors, the place sure was hoppin’ at 9:00 on a Saturday night. I was too pooped to snap pictures, but Ian and I split a chocolate sundae with chopped nuts. The custard hit the spot with my sweet tooth and wet my whistle, but it can’t hold a candle to Sweet Frog or Coldstone.

Things got a bit silly on the drive home as Rob, Caroline, Mom and I cracked up at the Instagram account @youhadonejob. If you’ve never heard of it, check it out. These ridiculous mistakes will have your sides hurting!

It was to bed early for everyone as soon as we got home at 10:45. Yet again, I felt like such a grown-up: splitting a sundae, participating in an out-of-town race, and getting to bed at a decent hour in preparation for church today.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful, fun-filled, adult-like weekend. Talk to you again soon!

What were you up to this weekend? How did you get out and move?

Surrendering: Part 2


This weekend was both busy and relaxing. If that’s even a thing.

Friday, I blew into town, powered by Dayquil, Halls, Ibuprofen, and sheer willpower. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of pizza for lunch because I feel like I’ve eaten far too much of it lately. But, Ian had a gift card that was about to expire for this great little joint across the street from his apartment building, so we had lunch with our friend Mark before he hit the road for Easter weekend. Thankfully, I had time to sneak in a nap!

I was determined that Ian and I were going to conduct our wedding business and then enjoy a nice dinner with my parents at — where else? — Capital Ale House. I literally felt as though someone had stuffed my ears full of cotton, and then was trying to put so much pressure on my head that it would implode. Nevertheless, we had an incredible dinner, and we even popped in at a friend’s birthday party before finally hitting the hay.

Saturday morning, we slept in for the first time in awhile, and it was blissful. We did absolutely nothing the entire day, and it was exactly what I needed to recuperate. Mom made a phenomenal Easter dinner of spiral honey-glazed ham, corn pudding, green bean casserole, biscuits, mashed sweet potatoes, salad, and cream cheese pie for dessert! (I’ve been amazed that through all this cold/allergy business, I haven’t lost my sense of taste.)

We took off about 8:00 to hit this little wine and beer place Ian can’t get enough of, Once Upon a Vine. They carry the Fox Barrel pear cider I like so much at Cap Ale, so I satisfied my craving 😉 We took our libations to our good friends’ new apartment for their housewarming party. It’s always so much fun to reunite college friends and old and new friends. It was a pretty late night, but well worth the journey down to “the Fan.”

Sunday, of course, was Easter! We dressed up in our finery for church, which is one of my favorite services of the year. I love all the bright colors and the decorations. Afterward, we had lunch at the Tobacco Company, a Richmond landmark and one hell of a restaurant. It has a lot of character, but it also has really great food. Sunday, I was back to feeling pretty crappy, and combined with the rainy weather, it was the perfect day for a nice long siesta. Because I don’t have Practicum this week, I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home one more night.

Despite feeling like utter shit pretty awful most of the weekend, it was a wonderful weekend full of food, family, and the perfect amount of R&R.

Now, on to the real subject of today’s post…

I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t follow up about my foray into the personal counseling world. To be quite honest, I still have not sought counseling, either at my campus’s counseling center or elsewhere. I know that my counseling experience (or lack thereof, as the case may be) is nobody else’s business, but I believe in an honest and direct approach to blogging. The reason I have not sought counseling is simply because I have been too lazy to do anything about it. I’m not going to make the excuse that I’ve been too busy or tell you that all my stressors have melted away. I fell into the trap that so many adults fall victim to, thus perpetuating the cycle that never ends (at a counselor’s office). If that isn’t firsthand experience of what my future clients will experience, I don’t know what is. I’ve been learning a valuable lesson about the premium people put on their health when they push problems aside instead of dealing with them, and I recognize that I am by no means setting a positive example for those considering seeking counseling.

I still absolutely have every intention of seeking personal counseling, as well as couples counseling prior to Ian’s and my wedding. It’s all part of my journey toward deepening my awareness of myself and areas where I need to focus as I become a counselor. I just wanted to “come clean,” so to speak, and not mislead you in any way. Honesty is the best policy, after all.

P.S. If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking around. If you’re new to SwaSoV, welcome!

Cruisin’, Boozin’, and Schmoozin’


Heya, blends!!


I sure have missed blogging! I took a bit of a lengthy blog sabbatical. Longer than I intended, actually. The weekend prior to the cruise was a whirlwind of planning, packing, and pandemonium. Ian’s parents were in town, plus we crammed the day before we departed chock-full of fun. If you had told me I’d tour a reception venue, go out to lunch, run around Maymont Park tossing a football and enjoying the rarity of all of the animals being out, grab dinner, and cheer on the Richmond Spiders on Senior Night all before a 5:15 a.m. wake-up call… I would have laughed in your face.

Now that we’re back, I can fill you in on deets! Sunday, we drove from Richmond to Jacksonville, FL, which took about 10 hours with stops. (I’d forgotten that one of the luxuries of driving a small car is that it doesn’t cost both arms and both legs to fill up…)

Monday morning, we were up at the absurd hour of 4:30 for the second leg of our journey to Miami. I can’t even describe the feeling of stepping out of the car into shorts-weather and sunshine, especially after the pre-break snowstorm. We finally boarded the Majesty of the Seas about 12:30 — and we headed straight for the food!

From there, it was fun, sun, and a LOT of adult beverages for four days. We were in Nassau on Tuesday, Coco Cay (Royal Caribbean’s privately-owned island) Wednesday,



and one of my favorite places in the world Thursday: Key West!




It was back to Miami — and back to reality — come Friday. But we couldn’t have concluded Spring Break without passing through downtown Savannah to celebrate St. Patty’s Day with two of our favorite people, Alan and James!

I’ll spare you the minute details of every activity we did, but here are some thoughts I jotted down poolside throughout the week at sea:

Was I ever that douchey as an undergrad?


Am I really seasick for the first time in 24 years? (Luckily, it was fleeting, and probably cheap champagne-induced.)


Beer for $6 apiece? Make it two. Or five.


I feel more comfortable wearing a two-piece than I have in about a decade.


Bed at 9:30? Don’t mind if I do!


Ian is the only other person I know on this entire vessel, and I don’t hate that fact.


I’m not even people-watching; I’m people-judging.


We would kick ass at the Love & Marriage Game Show.


Are there really sharks swarming around out there?


Of course it’s raining on our only real beach day…


Even on a luxury cruise, we still have to call maintenance. Go figure.


How ironic is it that the ship featured in Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is the Carnival Dream? #suckstosuck


(Would it make me an idiot or a bargain-hunter to try to book a Carnival cruise for next Spring Break…?)


Mojitos sure do make me thirsty… for more mojitos!

T-minus 51 weeks until next Spring Break…

Spotting 42 states represented on license plates (plus Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario) is pretty impressive, if you ask me.

I’m fairly certain most of the greens I consumed came in the form of lime and mint.

That’s all, folks! 😉


Establishing a Routine


As part of individual supervision today, my on-site supervisor at my Practicum and I were discussing self-care with regard to diet, exercise, and weight loss. I divulged that over the past 13 months, I have lost — and maintained the weight-loss of — 35 pounds. She asked me how I had done it with such a busy schedule. (I imagine that she was trying to place my running and strength-training sessions in her daily routine, and having difficulty. Everyone’s busy schedule is unique, so what worked for me won’t necessarily work for her, and vice versa.) She is a licensed professional counselor (LPC), which is my down-the-road aspiration. Her schedule is so action-packed that I wasn’t surprised to hear her say she doesn’t have time to work out, and when she does find time, there are other things she’d rather be doing.

Our conversation got me to thinking…

When I’m out in the real world, I (hopefully) won’t be trying to balance a full courseload, planning a wedding, finding summer employment, establishing an Internship site, traveling back and forth between school and Richmond, managing a somewhat long-distance relationship, carrying out daily-living tasks and classwork assignments, and finding time to exercise and eat well.

However, I will be trying to manage a household, balance my career with my marriage and my social life, and find time to exercise and eat well. Lord only knows what my life will look like when kids are factored into that equation…

This not-so-distant-future got me to thinking:

How valuable it is to establish a routine so that when all of these requirements, time demands, and stressors collide, I will (again, hopefully) already know where treating my body right fits into all of that chaos! I have an established routine now, and even the added 10+ hours of weekly Practicum didn’t disrupt my routine much. Next semester, when I’m in my Internship, I’ll have to re-establish my routine yet again. This is all good practice for Big Girl World and the adult responsibilities that come with it.

That being said, I’m off to the gym for a little QT with my iPod and some weight machines 😉

[Edited to add: For the month of February, I traveled 56.22 miles! In keeping with my 2,013 in 2013 goal, I “should have” traveled 154.42 miles for a total of 325.389 miles in 2013 thus far. Last February, I traveled 41.83 miles. Always improving!]

A Hodgepodge of My Thoughts


In my mind, the best kind of learning is unanticipated or unplanned lessons. I got a healthy dose of such knowledge this weekend. Warning: The following is a collection of my scattered, slightly overwhelmed thoughts.

I mentioned recently that I had a bit of a meltdown related to wedding planning… So naturally, I took a week or so off from the planning agenda and focused on me, myself, and I. I exercised mindfully and got myself more centered. I ate well and tried to stay away from the booze. I scheduled a physical and discussed diet and exercise with my doctor. And perhaps most importantly, I put a lot of effort into ensuring that I got enough quality sleep. All of that helped a lot, and when I was finally ready to think about wedding business again, I was actually excited about it.

Maybe some most people live(d) to plan their wedding and soak(ed) up every minute of planning bliss, but I am not one such bride. Don’t get me wrong — I’m loving exploring color schemes, floral arrangement possibilities, menu options, and dress styles; I’m just not so gung-ho about the pressure surrounding it all. It literally feels as though if you get engaged today, you should have had the reception venue and the photographer booked yesterday.

Okay, enough of my rant.

This weekend has been a busy and planning-heavy one. Ian and I had a venue tour scheduled for 4:30 yesterday, a belated Valentine’s Day double date with my parents at 6:30, a cupcake tasting at 1:00 this afternoon,


and a plantation tour at 4:00. Whew! Needless to say, I am on information (and junk indulgent food) overload right now!

I don’t think I did myself any favors by indulging in (a savory but insanely unhealthy) Mickey D’s breakfast this morning… But on the other hand, it’s nice to know that my body has grown used to wholesome, nutritious foods, and that that’s what it craves. It pretty much rejected hashbrowns and McGriddles, which is fine by me. I don’t need more than one warning that grease and trans fat are no match for my Kashi with banana slices or my Chobani with chia seeds and granola 😉

Ian and I planned a more health-conscious dinner of grilled chicken Caesar salads and fresh mango and Granny Smith apple. Between the cupcake samplings and the multiple ciders at Cap Ale Friday night, I’m pretty sure I’ll be on workout double-duty next week in preparation for Operation Spring Break Cruise (T-minus 22 days!). My plan isn’t of the stereotypical cleanse-or-fast-until-I’m-bikini-ready variety; more so, I’m trying to tone up and do as much cardio as possible in preparation for a week of fantastic food and fun in the sun. I’m also attempting (attempting being the keyword) to train for a 10k at the end of April.

This weekend has been absolutely fabulous, especially seeing Ian so animated and involved in asking questions and touring venues. I am beyond ready to kick back with my salad, put my feet up, and watch some mindless TV.

[Yet again, my apologies for the photo-light post. I’ve been way too busy, and honestly, way too uninspired recently to write much of substance. I’ll have more for you when I’m not feeling like such a cottonheaded ninnymuggins. Thanks for checking in!]

Hope you are having a phenomenal Saturday, blends!


Groupon + Cupcake-Tasting


This afternoon, my wonderful mother surprised me by bringing home a half-dozen Carytown Cupcakes! Maybe it was because she knows I have an insatiable sweet tooth, maybe it’s because she thought I might like a sweet treat after my power-walk and doing a trillion loads of laundry, or maybe she was just being my mom 😉 Either way, her surprise totally hit the spot! We split a cookie dough cupcake after lunch. Full disclosure: we’ll probably split another one after dinner.


She selected red velvet, carrot, cookie dough, raspberry lemonade (vice-versa cake and frosting), and an adorable Hershey-bar-adorned flavor she can’t remember for us to taste-test. Ian and I haven’t made any decisions regarding cupcakes vs. a traditional cake for the wedding, but hey, I’ll taste-test anything that has the word “cake” in it.


Part of the reason she splurged on Carytown Cupcakes was due to Groupon. She had been hoarding holding on to some sort of fantastic deal I didn’t know about, and she decided to use it for the greater good… (a.k.a. me). She got 6 cupcakes, normally priced at $16 for a half-dozen, for just eight bucks!

Another reason is because we got caught up looking at bakery websites last night — Carytown Cupcakes, Sweetly Smitten, Ukrop’s Bakery, Baker’s Kitchen, Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe… — until well after our bedtimes. I gotta say, all of the promos, offers, packages, and decisions (decisions, decisions!) are overwhelming. Maybe my taste buds can help me choose, eh? [Sorry, honey, but this is one taste-test I’ll be conducting without you.]

Thankfully for Ian and me, a lot of the research I’ve done indicates that most bakeries will schedule tasting consultations with couples and let them sample several flavors gratis. [Guess I’ll have to kick up my workout regimen…] We’ve scheduled one such consultation for next month, and I am beyond excited! Right now, I feel like things are still in the “discussion” phase, and with the advent of upcoming appointments, I feel like we’ll transition into the “planning” phase.

I hope you all have a *sweet* evening, my blends!

Disclaimer: I don’t promise that the blog won’t be flooded with far-too-much wedding-planning info, but I do promise that the blog won’t be all wedding, all the time. I’m just really excited to share everything with you!