A Year Ago Today {Our Proposal Story}

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One year ago today, Mr. B made me the happiest girl in the world when he asked me to be his wife. In honor of our little anniversary, I’ve dug up one of the first blog posts I ever wrote: the story of how Mr. B put a ring on it.

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In our corner of the world, it can be kind of hit-or-miss when it comes to appropriately timed snowfalls. I’ve gone trick-or-treating in the snow, and I’ve worn shorts on my birthday in the middle of January. Last year, however, Mother Nature got it right. Well, at least for the week of Christmas. A few days before the jolly fat man in a red suit came to visit, our town was blanketed in gorgeous snow. It was beautiful. It was the kind of snow that sticks to the branches and the rooftops and makes everything so very pretty. Then, the sun came out, which is a rare treat for us between the months of November and March. The sky was blue and the world was white and everything was so dang lovely that for one day, I didn’t mind winter. So when Mr. B suggested taking the horses out for a trail ride, I happily saddled up Sally. We even, at Mr. B’s suggestion, bundled up Daisie Mae in her fluffy, pink vest and let her ride along in the saddle bag. (Being a Chihuahua, she’s not one for snow, or getting her feet wet, or long hikes through the woods.)

Daisie, all bundled up in the saddlebags and ready for a horseback ride. Somehow, this is the only photo we managed to take on the day we got engaged.

Daisie, all bundled up in the saddlebags and ready for a horseback ride. Somehow, this is the only photo we managed to take on the day we got engaged.

We set out on my favorite trail, which runs though a beautiful pine forest along a small creek, “down in the hollow”, as Mr. B says. As you can imagine, it was made even more stunning by the sunlight pouring through the trees and reflecting off of the snow. Mr. B suggested that we veer off the trail a bit and walk down to the creek to take a look at the icy waterfalls. I found this odd, because he’s not one for hiking either, but I didn’t think much of it. We tied the horses up, unloaded Daisie from her perch in the saddle bag, and I followed him through the woods down to a point in the creek where a huge rock jutted out over a little waterfall. He really was on the cusp of an ideal engagement proposal. But then Daisie and I mucked it up.

When Mr. B and I stepped on to the rock to admire our surroundings, I realized that Daisie was no longer behind me. I spotted her back on the trail, whining and looking anxious about her inability to get over (or under, it could have gone either way) a log that had fallen across the path. So obviously, I lost focus on how amazing Mr. B is to have taken me on such a lovely outing, and began trying to coerce the dog into hurdling the log and joining us on the rock. Mr. B, in all of his nervousness, was not prepared for such a hiccup in the plan and blurted out “Hey!” to regain the attention of his clueless fiancee-to-be. It worked, and when I turned around he pulled a diamond ring from his pocket and asked, in a much sweeter tone, “Will you marry me?” Overcome with love and joy and excitement, and blinded by the sparkly diamond, I said “of course!” and promptly forgot about Daisie and her troubles. Mr. B and I spent a few sweet moments on the rock in the middle of the beautiful winter scene, reveling in our love and the life we share, and laughing about the silly little dog and what a pitiful attention span I have. It really was wonderful. It may not have gone according to plan, but the whole thing was just so very “us” that I can’t imagine a better proposal!

Oh, and on our walk back to the horses, we realized that Daisie wasn’t nervous about clearing the log after all. Turns out, her fuzzy vest was snagged on a stick, and she was unable to free herself. Oops.

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To Mr. B (a.k.a. Ryan) (a.k.a., my hunky man-friend) (a.k.a. the love of my life),

In exactly 138 days, I will be stealing your last name, and I cannot wait! You’ve made me so deliriously happy, not just in the last year, but in every single day that I’ve known you. It hasn’t always been easy, and I know it won’t always be smooth sailing in the future, but there is nowhere I’d rather be than by your side. I truly believe we are better together. Hand-in-hand, we can take on the world. You are my love, my best friend, my comfort, my teammate, and the man whose smile I can’t resist.

It’s so strange – I can’t believe it’s been an entire year since I said “yes”, but at the same time, I can’t believe it’s only been a year. It feels like such a whirlwind, and yet, I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I’m so lucky to be able to spend the rest of forever with you.

I love you, baby, and I can’t wait to be your wife.

Love, Me

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I Feel Fluffy. And Blah. Mostly Blah.

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My wedding dress has arrived.

About a month and half earlier than anticipated.

I got a call from the bridal shop last week that it came in early, and they are ready for me to come for my first fitting. But instead of joy, overwhelming excitement, and all that wonderful bride-y flutter, my first reaction was “Uh, thanks. Maybe later.”

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to marry Mr. B. I adore my gown. The ladies at the bridal shop were beyond wonderful, so it’s not like I’m avoiding them. So why wasn’t I rushing out the door to see what is arguably the most monumental article of clothing I will ever wear?

I joked that between my trip to New Orleans and all the Thanksgiving food, I’d eaten too much and was in no rush to try to squeeze into my dress. It’s true, I suppose. My clothes are a little snug these days and I am afraid the dress won’t exactly fit like a dream. But that’s not the whole story.

I’ve been eating like crap. I’m still not eating a ton of junk food, but I’m not eating the things that make me feel good. Lean protein and veggies? Sure, if someone else wants to cook it. No? I’m on my own? Ok then, Thanksgiving leftovers it is! I ate all of those? That’s cool. Pasta is cheap and easy. Basically, I’ve been carbo-loading for the last 2 weeks. Except, without the major athletic event. So I feel fluffy. Fluffy like all the mashed potatoes smothered in gravy that I’ve consumed in the last few weeks.

I’ve also been getting less exercise. I don’t work out in the typical way – I don’t go to the gym, or even really utilize the NordicTrack (remember those?!) in the basement. I’m busy, always on the move. Between the farm work and the boat and hiking with the dogs and horseback riding, I use my body. A lot. Except…it’s winter so there’s not a ton of work to do around the farm, and I’m not really up for leaving the warmth and comfort of the house these days. And since Mr. B still refuses to let me bring Sally in the house, I’m doing a lot less of the keep-me-moving stuff that I normally do. 

Slacking on the exercise + carbs + salt + butter = a fluffy Nikki.

This isn’t about my size or weight or dress size though. This is about how I feel. I feel sluggish. I feel bloated. I feel tired. I feel BLAH. And that’s the real problem.

I’m not concerned about how I look (though, let’s be honest, I don’t love the extra chunk protruding from the top of my jeans), I’m mostly concerned about how I feel. I don’t feel good. I feel lethargic, slow, and foggy. I know it’s my own fault, I don’t feel the way I want to feel. And I’ve realized, I don’t want that feeling anywhere near my wedding dress. May 10, 2014 is going to be a magical day, and I don’t want that blah feeling – or anything associated with it – anywhere in sight. So I don’t want to slip into that gown until I feel better in my own skin, until I feel better about my body and how I treat it and what it is capable of.

Yes, my face is a little rounder, my thighs are a smidge closer to one another, and my midsection is a little softer than it was a few months ago, but I don’t doubt that I will be able to zip the dress up. I do doubt is that I will feel good in it, and I don’t want to feel like anything less than a million bucks when I put it on . Even in the fitting room of a bridal shop, 3,000 miles and 6 months away from my wedding. I’ll brave the cold more often and take the time to make healthier meals. I’ll get back to me. And then I’ll go for my fitting, and it will be fabulous.

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I’m Baaaaack! {NOLA Recap}

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Oh, hey, hi there. I fell off the face of the earth there for a second while I recouped from my bachelorette trip to New Orleans. Sorry ’bout that. But now I’m back! I’m about 20 lbs heavier than when I left and I’m still completely exhausted but oh.my.god. was it a BLAST!

Did you guys have fun with Brittany and Raewyn while I was gone? They are fabulous ladies, no?

Guys, let me tell you, New Orleans is an amazing city. The food (ohmygod THE FOOD), the people, the art, the music, the drinks were all incredible. I am so grateful to my MOH, Jess, for organizing such an unbelievable weekend, and I’m so glad my friend Kristin was able to join us on such short notice.

I can’t even begin to explain what an amazing city NOLA truly is. The people were all so friendly and welcoming, the food was delicious, the drinks were strong, and there was art and live music everywhere we went. I’ve been sitting here for an hour now trying to find the words to describe everything we did, but I’m at a loss, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking for now.

I was blown away by all of it: the gorgeous architecture, the funky voodoo shops, the amazing view from our hotel room, the palm trees/Christmas decorations combo, and HOLY CRAP do you see the SWEET RIDE my bff scored for us?!

I was blown away by all of it: the gorgeous architecture, the funky voodoo shops, the amazing view from our hotel room, the palm trees/Christmas decorations combo, and HOLY CRAP do you see the SWEET RIDE my bff scored for us?!

 

There were musicians and street performers EVERYWHERE. It was incredible to see such talent on display all around us.

There were musicians and street performers EVERYWHERE. It was incredible to see such talent on display all around us.

And what trip to New Orleans would be complete without a few photos of Bourbon St at night?

And what trip to New Orleans would be complete without a few photos of Bourbon St at night?

As you can see, I have mostly daytime/tourist photos. I was afraid to take my fancypants camera out at night for fear of losing it, breaking it, or spilling adult beverages on it. My phone’s failures are a post for a different day, but let’s just say it wasn’t very useful for anything, let alone capturing memories.

We squeezed so much into the two nights and days that we spent there, but I feel like there is still SO much more Big Easy amazingness to behold. I definitely cannot wait to go back and explore even more of the funky, quirky city.

So what did I miss while I was gone? What’s new with you?

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Random Ramblings

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Hi lovers.

My head is all over the place today, so this blog post will be too. Sorry ’bout that.

shinythings

 

In no particular order, here’s what’s going on in my world:

// I found a wedding dress! I’m very excited, but mostly relieved. It was stressing me out. I was really starting to think I’d never find anything that worked with our venue, wasn’t strapless, and still looked like a wedding dress. But I did and I love it! 

//That’s why I was MIA yesterday, I was dress shopping. My dad came along. It may seem like a weird thing to bring your father along for, but it was great. I’ve always loved shopping with my dad. (My mom came too, but in general she hates shopping and usually ends up annoyed which ends up annoying me. She’s better suited for other tasks.)

//I kind of want to give my wedding dress a name and talk about her like she’s my friend. I’ve been watching too much Bridezillas on Netflix.

//Joey always comes to the back door when he wants me to let him back inside. This makes absolutely no sense because I always let him out through the front door. He’s a weird one.

//I’m really unhappy with Mother Nature. Summer is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the sunshine and the warm weather, but this year, she’s really failing me. It’s been crazy rainy almost all summer, then we had a fun little cold spell, and now we are back to rain and humidity. Not cool, Mother Nature, not cool.

//Have you seen those fried bananas with honey that are circulating around the Pinterest world? I finally tried them and I love them. I am getting plenty of potassium these days.

//Last night, on my way home from my shopping spree, I rounded the bend to our house and found a thick layer of fog rising our hay field and the most beautiful sunset. I stopped to take a picture, but it doesn’t do it justice. 

FogSunset

 

 

So yeah, my brain is just bouncing around today. Mostly about wedding stuff, but not entirely. What’s going on in your world?

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Picking and Choosing Wedding Traditions

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For those of you who are new to this party, Mr. B and I are getting married in May. We are having a destination wedding in Riviera Maya, and since we are getting married on the beach, neither of us plan to wear shoes. Clearly, we never had our hearts set on a traditional wedding. We want some traditional elements, but at this point, we are kind of picking and choosing which to keep and which to ditch.

For example, we don’t think we want to spend the night before our nuptials apart. I think the resort offers us a separate room for the groom for the night before, but we probably won’t be taking them up on it. There are a few reasons for this, but mostly we already live together, so it seems a little silly. We will part ways in the morning, so when I walk down the aisle it will still pretty much be the first time he’s seen me all day.

 Also, I won’t be walking down the aisle to the traditional wedding march, we are going to look for a song that suits us a little more. Mr. B won’t be wearing a tie, and we are considering registering at Amazon. So, while it’s nothing too strange, it’s certainly not the most traditional wedding.

Anyway, I’m going dress shopping tomorrow, and it got me thinking about another tradition/superstition: the groom shouldn’t see the dress (or the bride in the dress?) before the ceremony. I’m not considering dragging the poor guy along to watch me try on bridal gowns, but I really do value his opinion. Once I choose a dress, or if I’m trying to decide between dresses, can I show him? 

I’m not looking for anything crazy, the dresses I like are fairly traditional gowns, but Mr. B does tend to question my fashion choices. (Fair is fair, I question his too.) He’d never tell me what to wear, (in fact he usually tells me not to change or to just wear whatever I want), but that doesn’t stop him from voicing his opinion when I ask for it. He’s made it known that he doesn’t like anything strapless (not an issue for my wedding dress, a strapless gown isn’t for me) and he loves me in baby pink (which is odd because he doesn’t go crazy over anything girly) and Ugg boots (what guy actually likes those? Mine, apparently.)

Here’s the real conundrum: he doesn’t like lace, and I’m looking for something along the lines of this:

He tells me that he’s sure I will look beautiful in whatever I choose, and I really do believe that he would think I looked beautiful if I walked down the aisle in a burlap sack. Still, he says that lace is “old lady-ish”, and I don’t want to take the chance that he will view my wedding dress as matronly. It’s entirely possible that tomorrow I will try on similar dresses and decide they aren’t for me. I could end up going in a completely different direction, you never know. No matter what though, I care what he thinks; his opinion is important to me.

I always consult with him on big stuff, and sometimes even trivial stuff. Even if I don’t always take his advice, I like to know where he stands and what he’s thinking. Plus, even when I’m not looking for his opinion on a new purchase, I always show it to him. I get excited and I want to share. Maybe that’s why it seems so odd not to discuss something so huge with him. It’s a big decision and it’s exciting!

I’m not superstitious enough to believe that our marriage won’t last if I do show him, but I kind of like the idea of him seeing it for the first time on our wedding day. I wouldn’t model it for him or anything, so our wedding day would be the first time he sees me in it. I’m just not sure if I want to show him a photo of the dress I pick.

Should I not show him at all? If I do, where do I draw the line? Do I show him the actual dress when I pick it up? Or should I draw the line at showing him a photo of it? What are your thoughts? Does every bride hide the dress from the groom or is it an outdated tradition?


5 Random Facts About Mr. B

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You’ve seen his mug around here, and you’ve read a little bit about him here and there, but who is this stud known as Mr. B? Obviously, he’s a pretty awesome dude with great taste lots of patience since he’s signed up to spend the rest of forever with me, and as kick ass as I am, I can be a bit of a handful. You know what he wants to be when he grows up, that he’s my cowboy, and that he’s the reason I moved to the sticks, but here are five more facts about the fabulous Mr. B:

1.) Animals are fascinated by him. He’s a bit of a horse whisperer, but he’s also got a touch of Snow White in him. Animals just gravitate toward him, watch him in wonder, and respond so well to him. It’s amazing to witness.

MrBandAnnie

 

 

2.) He can slalom ski. (That’s water skiing with only one ski.) He only does it about once a year, mostly just to prove that he can still do it. Plus, I’m usually the one driving the boat, so I haven’t gotten a picture of it yet. Here’s one of him rocking out on a wakeboard instead:

MrBWakeboardErie

 

 

3.) He drinks chick beer. Proudly. He loves just about anything that’s sugary sweet, so it’s really no shock that he loves wine coolers. They are too sweet for me, but by all means, do your thing babe.

Because there is nothing like an ice-cold wine cooler after a long day of dirty, manly work!

Because there is nothing like an ice-cold wine cooler after a long day of dirty, manly work!

 

4.) He likes to play in the dirt. He will never pass up an opportunity to dig something up, level something off or bury something, as long as he gets to do it with heavy equipment. For instance, he jumped on the chance to dig this canal across our yard when a pipe needed buried. (We had a spring creating a nice swamp pond in our front yard. Mr. B and his excavator to the rescue!) Unfortunately, his love of playing in the dirt does not extend to helping me pull weeds or any of “that gardening crap”.  

MrBDirt

 

5.) He’s a really great teacher. He doesn’t think he is, but he’s wrong. I’ve learned so much from him. He taught me everything I know about boating, water sports, horses, cows, farming, driving a tractor and even how to mow the lawn (I’d never cut grass in my life before moving here). The list goes on and on, and I learn new things from him every day. Which is pretty cool, because I love learning new things.

All in all, he’s a pretty swell guy. I think I’ll keep him. (Even if it is like pulling teeth to get him to smile in photos.)

MrBCoopersLandingDinner

 

 

 


We’re engaged! Now what?

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Well, I guess now it’s time to start planning a wedding.

That thought actually occurred to me about 4 months into our engagement. We discussed options and decided on a very rough idea of what we wanted shortly after he put a ring on it, but no actual plans were made. Until now. 

NowWhat

I’m not one of those girls who dreamed about her wedding details. I imagined getting married one day, in a long white dress but it was all very vague in my mind. Now that we are engaged, it’s probably a good time to start thinking about the details. Continue reading »


Wedding Beauty: How to Shop for Beauty Products When You Live in the Sticks

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We’re getting married! You already know that, but I’m just so dang excited. There are many, many reasons why I’m thrilled to marry Mr. B, but I’ve stumbled upon yet another reason why getting married rocks: the upcoming wedding gives me the perfect excuse to go nuts trying out new beauty stuff. After all, this will likely be the most photographed day of my life; I want to look and feel beautiful. So I’m on a mission to find the best beauty products, routines, tips, and tricks. To find what works for me, I have start experimenting. How fun is that?!

Well, that is easier said than done. As you know, I don’t live anywhere near…anything. Specifically, I don’t live in an area where I have access to boutiques, cosmetic stores, or departments stores with an expanse of beauty counters. The nearest town where I could peruse such shops is over an hour away, and because that particular area’s selection of such things has dwindled in recent years, I’d likely need to go farther. While not impossible, driving an hour and a half to go shopping for new makeup and skin care is inconvenient  Plus, knowing that I can’t easily “just sleep on it and come back tomorrow” will likely lead to costly, impulsive purchases. While I don’t plan to avoid this approach completely, I do realize that I’ll need to find other means of acquiring beauty knowledge and goods. 

One great resource I’ve found is BirchBox. It’s fabulous. You sign up online, and each month they send you an adorable little box with high-end beauty samples. I’ve  been a subscriber for a few months now, and so far, I’ve received nail care, cosmetic, skin care, hair care and fragrance samples (and one month, chocolate!) If I decide to order the full-size products of anything I’ve sampled, I can do so and get free shipping. Plus, if I leave a review on the product page, I’ll earn points, which add up to discounts on any product purchases I make. Membership is $10/month, but it’s definitely worth it.

 

Filled with all kinds of girlie goodies!

Filled with all kinds of girlie goodies!

I love finding the pink box in the mail, and I have access to products I wouldn’t otherwise know about, let alone be able to sample. And since there is an incentive for members to give their honest opinion on their purchases and samples, the reviews are a great resource when shopping for products I haven’t sampled yet. I used “wedding beauty” as an excuse to join BirchBox, but I will likely keep my membership after we are married. It’s just so fun to get a box of beauty goodies each month!

I’ve also been finding lots of DIY beauty tips and product reviews on Pinterest, which is how I found my new, super-weird face wash (more on that another day).

How do you find out about new beauty products? How did you learn about your favorite tips and tricks? 


How I Met Mr. B

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I’ve told you how I ended up living in the country, but you may be wondering how I even met Mr. B. We come from such different worlds, how did our paths ever cross?

Mr. B and I, last summer in Put-in-Bay, OH.

Mr. B and I, last summer in Put-in-Bay, OH

Well, our friends made it happen. 

In early 2011, I had finally broken up with a guy who I’d known for some time wasn’t any good for me. Once I finally ended things, my good friend Jess was there to make sure my new freedom wouldn’t be squandered on wine, popcorn, and made-for-TV movies. In an effort to keep me busy, she suggested we go Jeeping with a friend of hers and some of his friends. Up for anything, I quickly agreed. Then I asked, “what is Jeeping, anyway?” As it turns out, I was familiar with Jeeping, I just didn’t know that particular name for it. I knew it as “4-wheeling”, “muddin'”, or “off-roading”. Basically, it’s when you venture out into the woods in a jacked-up truck, SUV or, in this case, Jeep. I had friends in college who did this, but I’d never had the chance participate myself. I was excited to finally get to experience it for myself. Little did I know that Jess had arranged more than an outing in a Jeep…

Mr. B, was in a similar situation, having just found himself alone when his wife left him for the third and final time. He organized an evening of Jeeping with several of his friends, an one of his buddies, Ryan, promised to bring a couple of girls (Jess and me). It wasn’t until that evening that realized that our friends had planned to hook Mr. B and I up all along. Mr. B knew this, but I was completely unaware; that is, until we arrived and J literally pushed me in his direction. As it turns out, Mr. B had been waiting two weeks for the introduction, ever since he saw a picture of me that J had passed along. I, on the other hand, was blindsided.

When we arrived at the arranged meeting spot, Mr. B’s garage, Ryan introduced Jess and me to the group. Mr. B immediately offered me a drink, which really impressed me. (Never underestimate the power of good manners, boys. It will get you far.) Despite this chivalry, I immediately decided that we would have a fun night, but there was no way anything would come of this.  Jess hasn’t exactly been a spectacular matchmaker in the past, and in my dating experience, “country boys” weren’t for me. Plus, this particular country boy lived more than an hour away, in a part of the world that didn’t even have any cell phone service, and he smoked like a chimney (a dating deal-breaker for me).

Still, I anticipated a fun evening and happily climbed in the backseat of Ryan’s Jeep with Mr. B. Mr. B had a Jeep of his own at the time, but it was out of commission. (I’m not entirely sure what was wrong with it, but it was missing all sorts of pieces, like rear wheels.) This worked out well, I was still with my friend, but it gave Mr. B and I a chance to get to know one another. And we did; we talked non-stop the whole night. He explained the finer points of Jeeping to me, we mocked each other’s taste in music, and we told each other about ourselves and our lives. At one point, he told me that he has a hard time talking to people he doesn’t know. I just assumed this was a load of crap, he didn’t have any problem talking to me. I eventually saw this to be true, but that night it seemed like a exaggeration, at best. We really did have a great time together. When he asked me for my number, I gave it to him, even though I still didn’t see us being anything more than friends.

Mr. B didn’t waste any time calling me and asking me out. I told him I’d love to hang out with him, but I was honest with him about the fact that I didn’t see a future between us. When he asked,  I explained why, and he said he would be happy not to smoke around me if it bothered me and that he’d happily make the trip to my city if it meant he got to see me. We went out a few more times and I was astounded by how well we got along. I could talk to him about everything, and I really felt like I could be myself around him. I was pleased to learn that he actually wasn’t anything like the country boys I’d known; he is incredibly open-minded and adventurous. He doesn’t want to live anywhere else, but he loves to visit new places and experience new things.

Eventually, he approached the subject of dating again. I’d seen that the distance wouldn’t be an issue; we found ways to spend time together despite it. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to date a tobacco user, and he both smoked and chewed smokeless tobacco. When he told me that he’d thought about it and decided to quit, I was skeptical. He assured me that he’d been wanting to quit for sometime, but knowing that it was a deal-breaker for me was the motivation he needed to actually do it. I was afraid it wouldn’t last, or that he’d resent the fact that he’d done something like that for me. I’m pleased to report that I was wrong. It’s been more than two years and he’s remained tobacco-free. I know it wasn’t easy for him, (he went through a lot of gum and sunflower seeds at first) but he doesn’t go anywhere near tobacco now (except for the occasional cigar, which doesn’t bother me). I am so grateful that he did, and I am so grateful that I trusted him enough to start dating him. A few months later, I moved in with him and began my life as a rural rookie. A year and a half after that, he proposed. We plan to be married next spring, and I can honestly say I’m so thankful my conniving friend had something up her sleeve that fateful February night. 

PIB Kiss