how to

{How To:} Revamp your social life

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Last week I told you how I revamped my closet. This week, I wanted to tell you about the amazing idea my sister had a few months ago to revamp my social life.

I have been going through a phase where I really want to build my friendships and get more close girlfriends – I am so used to having a big group of awesome girlfriends from being in college and grad school. Once I moved to Santa Barbara and started working, I had just a couple here and there – some are super busy and hard to hang out with regularly, some moved away – but I am lucky to have a handful that I see regularly. I wrote about this on a post a while back – I was feeling a little insecure and stunted in that category and wanted to meet more people.

Then I talked to my sister, who had a great idea. We were talking about how hard it is to get something going with a new friend you like. So you meet a new neighbor – what do you do, invite them over for dinner? Sounds nice – but a little intense and pressure-y, from my introverted perspective. We were talking about it and I said “I wish there was just a casual way to just see people and get to know them better without having to make a big deal about it.”

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Then she was like – wait, duh. I used to do this in college. You just make a day where you all meet at the same place every week for beers – then you can invite whoever you want, and it’s no big deal. They had Woodstocks Wednesdays in downtown San Luis Obispo, and it was an awesome social hub to fall back on every week. Then I remembered – I had one in college, too! It was Family Dinner Night – every Thursday (I think…) at my friends’ house. We would have a potluck and catch up and everyone would bring new people all the time.

So we thought – this does not need to just be a college thing. And Yellow Belly Tuesday was born.

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As it turns out, Anthony and I and our two friends were meeting at Yellow Belly about once a week anyway, just to catch up during the week. It’s perfect, because it’s walking distance from our house and we are regulars already. Yellow Belly opened sometime last winter I think, and everyone loves the great food and beer. We started calling it our dining room, since our place doesn’t really have one, and we eat there so much.

It was the perfect place for our weekly gathering. Our first Yellow Belly Tuesday was on July 7th, and it has been a hit ever since. I feel like I see people regularly that I wouldn’t otherwise, and I have gotten to know some acquaintances a lot better – and now I can call them my friends. I think it was the perfect solution to my new friend slump – if you are having one too, I highly recommend giving your social life a face lift and starting your own.

Set up your own weekly gathering:

Choose a place.

For us, it was a no-brainer. And honestly, we were pretty selfish about it… since we were starting it, we got to choose our favorite place. But if your favorite place is a super romantic Italian tiny restaurant with candles and white tablecloths, it’s not the best choice. Ask yourself a couple of questions when choosing a place:

  • Is it big enough to accommodate the number of people you want to come?
  • Is it casual?
  • Does it have food?
  • Does it have a menu that most people could choose from?
  • Is it out of the way or in the middle of town?

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Choose a day and time.

We wanted it to be during the week, to break things up and to have something to look forward to. You probably won’t want to have it on the weekend, since a lot of people go out of town or will have other stuff planned. This way you can catch up with a mix of people during the week, and have the weekend to hang out with your typical group and relax. We wanted to choose something mid-week and landed on Tuesday to avoid Anthony’s ensemble’s rehearsals that typically happen Wednesdays and Thursdays. Think about who will probably be the regulars and take a poll with your core group to see what day is most convenient for most people.

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Even if Tuesdays aren’t great for some people, we end up staying so long that most people can at least swing by on their way to or from something else if they wanted to. Ours goes from 6:15-9ish usually. It might sound like a big investment and way too long to be at a restaurant – but it actually happens naturally that way. Even before we started YBT, we ended up staying until around nine just with friends. Consider if you could hang out at this place for that long, or if there would be a changing set of people that would be there for an extended period of time – it’s nice to have a big window to see the most people around their schedule.

Invite people!

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We use Facebook to spread the word, every week. It’s nice to remind people (even those that come all the time) and make posts about that week – for example, if it’s someone’s birthday and we’re celebrating, or if we need to let anyone know that we (the core members who started this whole thing) can’t make it.

Facebook doesn’t let you set up recurring events (if I’m wrong let me know!) so we update the date every week until it doesn’t let us anymore, then we create a new one and start over. Facebook works for us because we can make it public and people can invite their friends on their own. If you choose to use Facebook, make sure to add a few people as the admin so they can update the event if you can’t.

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Engage with your new place.

Tell the waitstaff about your weekly meet up and tag their social media pages when you take photos or check in. It’s always nice to have connections with a local place that you love.

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I know you are already super pumped about this – but just to seal the deal… Here are a few benefits of this kind of set up:

  • Friend dating someone new? This is a super casual way for you to meet and get to know them.
  • Do you have a friend-crush on someone in the office, but don’t know how to be friends with them in real life? Invite them as you’re leaving work so you can integrate them into your friend group.
  • Want to meet more people? Encourage everyone to bring their office friend crush, their boyfriend/girlfriend and their friends, etc – your friend network can potentially grow exponentially.

 

Please tell me if you already have something like this that you do (weekly bookclubs maybe? Too bad I only read in random phases – beer is more of a constant in my life) and what you like or dislike about it. If you end up launching one of your own weekly hangouts, let me know how it goes!

 

Amazing photos taken by my talented sister, Mary, at Two Happy Lambs Photography

 

 

5 Ways to Revamp Your Closet

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Hello all you lovely people. I have been wanting to do this post for a while now, but dang this whole summer thing has kept me busy. Isn’t summer supposed to be the time to relax and unwind and have free time? Mine has been full of travel, work disasters, trying to buy a car, birthdays and road trips. It has been fun, but it has kept me away from this lovely blogging thing we have going.

Anyway – I, as you may know already, love clothes. I love over-analyzing outfits, shopping, scrolling through the women’s clothing section of Pinterest for hours, sending texts with pictures of my outfits to girlfriends, and just obsessing about fashion in general.

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I am no high-fashion student, and I don’t know designer names or what happened at fashion week. I love thrift shopping, and I get inspired more by friends than celebrities. I even have trouble reading fashion blogs because usually the blogger has no problem dropping $200 on a dress (I definitely have a big problem with that – it’s called my checking account). If you have any suggestions for fashion blogs that you are into, let me know in the comments!

I do enjoy following new trends (not all – overalls? Seriously??) and re-imagining my sense of style. I love thinking about what kind of style I want to have and what it would take to get there. This requires a lot of standing in front of my closet, tilting my head to one side then another, plucking at the fabric of a top and sighing, kicking a pair of shoes on the floor, and then closing the door to go shopping for a more acceptable wardrobe.

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I don’t, however, want to become a hoarder – so I need to purge more often than I binge. Since I shop mostly at thrift stores, it’s not a big deal to have a pile of things I have just HAD IT with and toss them in the car to donate – since I’m most likely going there already.

I started really cleaning out my closet when I gained weight. I was tired of feeling shitty that something didn’t fit me and then putting it back in the closet until the next time I wanted to feel shitty. I started pulling out things that didn’t feel flattering on me, even if I loved them. I gave them to friends or donated them, and now I feel so much better about choosing something out of my closet in the morning.

Then my bff did a huge purge of her closet before she moved, and looked into capsule wardrobes and read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She whittled her closet down to the bare essentials and things she absolutely adored, and she loves it.

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I don’t know if I could do exactly what she did – I like a ton of variety – but it really made me want to do a total closet overhaul. If you want to spruce up your closet, and are obsessive about your clothes like me, here are the steps I recommend:

1. Start with a big purge.

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You may be like me and donate things continually when they stop fitting or start looking like they’ve seen better days. Even so, wait until you are so sick of your clothes that you want to burn them in the driveway – we need you in a ruthless, badass, won’t-take-any-more-bullshit mood. Then go through everything. Take a piece out. Look at it. Then ask yourself these questions:

Does my heart skip I beat when I see this?

Would I buy this, right now, if I saw it in a store? (this includes considering how new it looks)

Does this represent my style, or what I want my style to be someday?

Is it completely functional? (For example, it fits right, doesn’t have any rips/holes/stains, all zippers/buttons work, I can wear it on a moments notice (it doesn’t need a tank top underneath that I don’t own), I’m not “waiting on the perfect belt that will make this top AWESOME”, etc.)

Do I wear this regularly? -OR- Do I have a VERY good reason to keep this if I don’t wear this regularly? (don’t think about seasonal stuff, we’ll get to that)

Is this adding something to my wardrobe? (For example, is this your fifth blue and white polka dot t-shirt? Maybe explore what’s going on there and give a few up.)

If you answer yes to these questions, then keep that sucka and rejoice. If you’re like “erm, um, maybe, no, sorta”, then chuck that thing in the donate/lucky friend pile.

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Look for duplicates, things that were part of a style that is now outdated for you, and things that DON’T FIT. I’m serious – I’ll allow you ONE pair of jeans that you can stare at and say, “one day when I’m the size I was freshman year…” but that’s it. That shit is torture. If you start wearing only things that fit you, I promise you will feel so much hotter and put together. Live your life.

2. Get black hangers.

Sounds random, but I LOVE it. Emily told me about it and I was like, well, maybe when I care THAT much… that time came sooner than I thought, and let me tell you, I wish I had done it sooner. They can be whatever type of hanger you want, but make ’em black. I personally like these because they are thinner than the round plastic hangers I had before, and it really makes a difference visually:

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It just – makes things look less chaotic, and you actually SEE your clothes. I had a mixture of blue, teal, pink, white and black hangers, and I didn’t realize it, but it was distracting.

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3. Keep track of what you “need”.

I always try to remember the holes in my wardrobe for when I go shopping, so I don’t keep cursing myself for not having a basic blank tank and then coming home with bags full of new shoes.

If you are a pinning addict like me, check out my post on managing your wardrobe with Pinterest. I explain how to make a board for items you need so you always have a running list. The great thing about this is it comes with you to the store, so there are no excuses. Whip out your phone when you first walk in so you can keep a look out for the things you actually need.

Another way I’ve kept track of my wishlist items is by using my mirror on my closet door. I found a dry erase pen and just started jotting things down in the moment so I don’t forget. That way I can put it on my list right when I think of it. Looking at it every day also helps keep these things in mind for when, let’s say, you’re online shopping at work….

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4. Use an app.

I recently discovered Cluise and it’s pretty fun. If you have a night alone, grab a bottle of wine, your fully charged phone, and put on a marathon of some girly show on Amazon (my choices: The Good Wife, Awkward). Then grab each little pretty thing out of your closet and take a picture of it. Cluise helps you label it and you move on to the next piece. It sounds like a lot of work, but I really enjoyed it. At the end, you have your entire closet at your fingertips. Great for scrolling through in bed when you are trying to figure out what to wear the next day.

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You can of course make outfits and save those too – Cluise even puts outfit ideas together for you, based on your local weather (!!!) or on one piece you want to wear. Here’s one it made for me that I hadn’t thought of before:

 

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I recommend using the same backdrop for every piece. It was easy enough for me – I just threw everything on the floor, and the wood actually looks nice. You can also add a photo of yourself wearing the outfit and share it with other users. Cluise has its own kind of Pinterest-y feed that’s fun to go through. When you see a picture of a user wearing their outfit, you can swipe left to see the individual garmets, and like and follow them. If you get the app and like it, check out my profile at Stephanie @ Miss Mélange.

 

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5. Archive clothes you’re not using.

Off-season clothes:

This was something that blew my mind. Why didn’t I think of it before??!! Why have coats and sweaters all in your face when it’s July? If you have a place to store them, having your off-season wardrobe out of your way will make your closet feel so much roomier. I put mine in a big trunk we have at the end of our bed – other people, like normal people with a garage or guest room closets – can use a labeled bin that’s totally out of their way for months on end.

Bonus: it gets you super excited for the new season. “I forgot how CUTE my sweaters are! I can’t wait til it gets cold enough to wear my peacoat!” (where I live, this will never happen, but I can dream.)

Clothes you love, but you aren’t in love with:

This was another thing my bff told me about and I was pretty into it. If you have a TON of clothes and are struggling to have them all in your closet at once, this might be something to think about. Personally, I was totally going to do this, but actually ended up with a lot of room after the seasonal archive, so I didn’t have to. But I definitely recommend it for those who are still trying to free up space.

Go through your closet (after archiving your non-seasonal stuff) and see if you can make even more room, for the ultimate zen experience when you open that door. Take out things that you like, and don’t want to give away…but it’s not exactly the hotness right now. Think about your closet as your Spotify or iTunes library – take out everything that you are not obsessed with – leave everything that lifts your mood every time it comes on. It’s not like you’ll never want to listen to the other stuff again, but let’s make your wardrobe AMAZING whenever you go to pick something out. Go through each thing and ask: “Am I in love with this?” If yes, leave it in. Then, voilà – you’ll end up with a closet full of things you are completely in love with.

Now, put the clothes you took out in a pretty accessible place. The non-seasonal stuff can be tucked somewhere that’s not as easy to get to, since you’ll only grab it a few times a year. But you’ll want to have these clothes close by in case you want to swap some things out or need something specific for an outfit. When I was thinking of doing this, I used some drawers in my closet and rolled the clothes up for maximum space and visibility (these drawers were freed up after my purge – turns out I didn’t need 5 sweatshirts! – and the seasonal archive):

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Hopefully this method will allow you to fall in love with your clothes again and again. When you first get it set up, getting dressed in the morning will be so much easier, since you love everything in front of you. Once you start getting sick of everything and bored again, bring out your other clothes and switch what’s in your closet with what you put away. You’ll have a fresh new wardrobe like you just went on What Not to Wear.

(If you never get bored of the stuff you kept hanging up, and you never really feel like wearing the things you put away, then you know what to do – throw that shit out. You never wear it, and it’s taking up space.)

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What do you do to revamp your closet? Do you have a different seasonal process? Do you have a way that you keep your closet fresh and up to date with what you are into?

Please share – my closet is always a work in progress.  :)

 

 

 

The Easiest Bun: 3 Ways

Hello all of you lovely people. I hope you are having an awesome week so far and still have Easter candy to munch on.

I have been super lazy after starting to work full time again, so I’ve been mastering the dirty hair ‘dos lately. Buns are thankfully in style, and are so easy – now that I’ve discovered and mastered a few tricks.

titlepic I wanted to share the love and tell you about my 3 favorite ways to do a bun. Perfect for work, play, or a night out.

The Pinned Messy Bun

This is a variation of a style my sister showed me years ago. Her go-to hairstyle was putting it in a messy bun, still wet, and pinning everything down so it looked more like a fancy up-do. These days I try and make it look more like a round, typical bun – and it works much better dry for me. Here’s how I do it:

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I start with the messy bun I’ve been doing since junior high. You know how you can’t really teach anyone that? Anyway, try it with your personal messy bun technique and see if it works for you. If not, you can start with a pony tail that’s not all the way pulled through:

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Next, pinch the front pieces together.

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This will make the bun circular. When it looks cute, pin that shit. Then pin any other pieces around it to make it look like a round updo on the top of your head. I like to pull at it after I’ve pinned a few to make sure it’s still looking full. You won’t need many pins for the back- I usually only use about four bobby pins total. I always like to bring a few extra with me, though, since some pieces can fall in the back over the course of the day.

Here’s what it looks like finished:

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I’ve done this with a headband and a looser front, with a flower, or hair sprayed for a more slicked back look. So many options. Make it your own!

The Sock Bun

Okay, I’m assuming you know this one. But I am so in love with it that I want to show you how it looks, in case you are one of the few people who haven’t seen it on Pinterest. Here’s a quick run down of how it works:

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Obviously the most mysterious part of this whole thing isn’t pictured. How the hell do you roll it in your hair? If you haven’t battled the sock before, trust me. It is not a science. It looks like a train wreck until magically I stuff it all in there and it looks good. It’s really hard to mess up, trust me – if I can do it at 6am with dirty hair, you can do it. It’s also good for wet hair when you don’t feel like dealing with the blow drier (which is me every day).

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The Twirl Pin Bun

Okay, so it’s not called the twirl pin. I guess they’re technically called “Spin Pins”. Meh. Anyway, funny story – I bought this thing forever ago and then lost it for, seriously, years. Then I just found it when I was moving and thought, this thing definitely doesn’t work. My hair has always been slippery so I was so surprised when it stayed in place while I packed up the rest of my apartment. Then when I took my hair out, it gave me these awesome waves! I highly recommend it. Of course I called Em and she’s like, “Oh, duh, I’ve been using that for forever.” Umm, why did I waste time without this in my life?

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If you get one (you can buy it online or at a CVS), I have some tips for how to make it work best. I like to do a kind of french twist updo with it, but that doesn’t stay in place as well. A normal bun works the best and looks really cute.

It seems weird to just start with all of your hair down and expect this little thing to hold it all up. But I swear it works! Even with my long heavy hair.

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Twirl your hair into a bun at the top of your head and hold it in place.

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Then twirl the pin straight across your bun, making sure to grab hair from underneath it. Try and get it as close to your head as possible, and it should feel tight.

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I love this style because it’s so easy to do on the go and still feel like you’ve done something cute but casual with your hair. You can throw it in your purse and take it out and redo it throughout the day super easily.

What is your favorite? What’s your go-to hair do when you are lazy?

 

{How To:} Write Your Own Vows

Wedding Vows Header_0012 Kirby and I talked a lot about our ceremony during the year and a half leading up to our wedding. We said the whole time that we wanted it to be special and to represent us. As much as we were excited about the reception, the dancing, the dress, and our favorite people in all the world being at our wedding, we knew the reason we were celebrating was because we were getting married. We didn’t want to breeze through the ceremony and just get on with it. We wanted to tell each other and our friends and family who surrounded us how much we meant to each other. We wanted it to mean something, to be special.

I think the most compliments we received were about our ceremony, and I couldn’t believe it! I knew that it was perfectly tailored to Kirby and I and what we wanted, but it made me so happy to know that everyone saw how much we put into it. I compiled a few tips about how to write your own vows because when we first started we felt a little lost. RZ7A6306 1.) Create a relaxing environment  I finalized my vows two days before the wedding after I got a massage. I was relaxed and excited about the wedding, and it was the perfect time to collect my thoughts. They let me sit in front of the fire and have tea, and I actually got teary while I finished writing. I know not everyone can do this, but if possible try writing your vows when you’re calm. Maybe have tea in bed and put on some calming music or pour yourself a glass of wine and sit on your balcony (I don’t have a balcony, but you might!) Point is, try to avoid writing your vows during your stressful wedding week. It takes all the fun out of it. You want to be able to enjoy the process as much as possible.

2.) Get a feel for the tone and length of your partners vows We wanted ours to be a surprise to each other, but some couples decide to write them together, which is totally fine!  However, I felt the same way about our vows as I did about our first look; I wanted it to be a complete surprise during the ceremony. We went back and fourth about how long our vows would be. We wanted to make sure they weren’t completely different lengths (ie one of us going on for half and hour and the other one simply saying ‘I love you’). Being that Kirby and I are both kinda wordy, we agreed upon about one page single spaced in order to keep us from going on too long. Also, ask yourselves this: Do you want your vows to be funny, serious, light hearted, or a mix of all three?  Discussing tone is important because you don’t want it to seem like you’re on completely different pages. It’s good to know what your partner has in mind.

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3.) Don’t worry about what other people think This is for you, not anyone else. Yes, your family and friends are there to support you, but this moment is about you and your soon to be spouse. Once we realized we both had a lot to say, we kept worrying that we would bore people and go on for way too long. Eventually we decided to just not care about what other people thought and just go for it. The ceremony was for us and about committing our lives to each other; it’s not a time to rush and worry about what other people think. Because we stopped worrying about other people, our ceremony came out exactly how we wanted it, and we had no regrets.

4.) Take your time! I added sentences and ideas to my vows for months and months. I didn’t end up using half of them, but I didn’t want to look back on the ceremony and wish I had said something else. Sometimes I would be sitting at work and a random thought would pop into my head and I would immediately add it to my list of ideas so I wouldn’t forget. It was so nice to have so much material to work with once I was finalizing my vows.

5.) Read other vows and get to know what you like and dislike. Even if you’re a good writer, you (most likely) don’t write a declaration of your love for your partner everyday. It’s a different style of writing and it takes some thought. Give yourself enough time to make sure you’re really saying what you want to say. Both Kirby and I read a bunch of other vows to get an idea for how we wanted to put ours together. I realized there are so many different styles! Some people read famous poems, some people turn it into a comedy act, some people say a few simple sentences. Find out what you like best and what seems the most ‘you’.

6.) Practice. After you’ve written your vows, practice them several times. Just because what you’ve written comes across well on paper doesn’t mean it will feel natural once you’re reading them out loud. I made quite a few edits once I started reading my vows to myself and imagining saying them to Kirby. I wanted it to feel like I was talking just to him, not making some fancy speech.

Also, decide if you want to memorize them or not. I practiced enough to where I was really familiar with my vows, but there was no way I was gonna try to memorize them and hope my nerves didn’t take over. We both read from our vows, but we knew them well enough so we could make plenty of eye contact with each other. You want to be able to look into your partner’s eyes, not just down at a piece of paper. Also, read through them several times so you know where to pause and take a breath. There were several parts where I knew I just wanted to pause, look into Kirby’s eyes and take in the moment.

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7.) Have them written out and give them to your officiant. Even if you think you have them memorized, have them there just in case. Our officiant had asked for them the day before the wedding so he could have them ready for us. It was really nice not having to run around saying “Who has my vows? I don’t want to forget them!!!”

8.) Read them again! One of the most memorable things I’ve ever done was reading our vows to each other again on our honeymoon. We made sure to bring them with us, and we were able to truly soak them in and say them to each other without feeling any pressure. I cried through the whole thing! We vowed to read them to each other every year on our anniversary.

 

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Here are our vows so you can see what we came up with:

Kirby- Our wedding day is finally here, and as we stand up together in front of our closest friends and family, I want to tell you how thankful I am to be marrying you today. You are my best friend, confidant, teammate, and my one true love. I think often about how lucky and blessed I am to have a man like you.  You are the same person behind closed doors that the rest of the world sees, and you are a good, honorable, ethical man. You have so much integrity and you live your life with such honesty. I love the way you treat your friends and family and how you always have everyone’s backs. You are truly an incredible person, and there is never a doubt in my mind if this is meant to be. Ever since I was a little girl my mom told me again and again, “to thine own self be true.” I really took her advice to heart, and I know I can truly be myself when I am with you. I am able to be authentic with you, and I love that we can be silly together and we laugh with each other, not at each other (at least most of the time.) I take so much comfort and honor in the fact that you honestly and whole heartedly love me for who I am. Kirby, you, more than anyone, know my vulnerabilities, insecurities, and weaknesses, and yet you have never made me feel judged or inadequate, and you love me without reservations. You have helped me become the person I am today, and I look forward to growing with you, learning with you, and doing our very best to live fulfilling, happy lives. I adore how you always want to find new and exciting things to do whether it being trying a new food or seeing a new place. You make me laugh in all situations, and you help me keep perspective on the important things in life.

When I look back to before we were together, I realize I have always loved you. I respected the person that you were, you made me laugh harder than anyone else, you gave me butterflies that wouldn’t go away, and I trusted you like a dear friend. Now, 9 years later, our love has grown and now I get to tell you how I feel instead of just writing about it in my high school journal. We have been through a lot. We have grown close to each other’s families, gained many amazing friendships, and have traveled far and wide. You have held me up, encouraged me and coached me through some of my most difficult times, and I am so thankful to you for that support. I am aware that life will be full of ups and downs, but I feel we have already shown each other that we have each other’s backs, that we know how to work things out, how to forgive, how to laugh things off and how to support each other when life gets challenging. I look forward to many more nights of cooking dinner with you, days spent on the beach, riding bikes, and travelling to new places. I can’t wait for more inside jokes, times spent with family and friends, and making a family of our own. I wouldn’t want to grow old with anyone else.

Today Kirby, I join my life to yours. The decision to commit to sharing my life with you is one I make joyfully, easily and with total confidence in our love, and one that I’ve been looking forward to for a really long time. I promise to always make sure our relationship is strong, healthy, and fun. I promise to live life to the fullest with you, and always do my best to keep you happy, to have fun with you, to laugh with you, cry with you, protect you and love you with all of my heart. I promise to mix things up, try new things, and always do whatever it takes to keep our love as strong as it is on this day. I promise to stand with you in the good times and the bad, including rough Sharks, Giants, and 49er seasons. I believe in us, the people we will grow to be and the couple we will be together. With my whole heart, I take you as my husband, acknowledging and accepting your faults and strengths, as you do mine. I promise to be faithful and supportive and to always make our family’s love and happiness my priority. Kirby St. John, I am so excited and thankful that today I have the honor of becoming your wife. You are my best friend — my love and my life, today and always. I love you

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Emily- An actress named Loretta Young once said, “Love isn’t something you find. Love is something that finds you.” And when I heard that, it really stuck with me because I can’t think of a better way to describe how all of THIS came to be.

I met you on your first day at Soquel High. You hadn’t even walked all the way through the door of Mr. Myers’ class when I first saw you. I was struck by your beauty, of course, but there was also something about your presence that felt different and special to me. You chose a seat right next to me, so really, you found me. I didn’t do a thing. As we’ve talked and joked about many times, there was an instant chemistry between the two of us. Never dull, always engaging, and often hilarious. If someone would have told me five minutes after I met you that I was going to commit my life to you in marriage, my answer would have simply been, “Ya, okay!”  Now, it wasn’t just all downhill from there. We’ve had other relationships and experiences, partly because you kind of avoided me after our first date and you turned me down for the winter formal, but our friendship kept us close and that chemistry we had from day one always seemed to gravitate us to each other. When we first started “officially” dating in college, I remember having this sense of comfort and of my mind being at ease. It probably sounds a little intense to a lot of people, but you and I started talking about sharing our lives together pretty much from day one. And the beautiful thing was that there was never any doubt or fear in either of us. We weren’t searching for a sign or a feeling. We knew love had found us.

The most amazing years of my life have been the last six. We’ve shared a home together, traveled together, grown together, grieved together, dreamed together, and been pieces together. Being engaged has been fun and exciting, and using the word “fiancé” has even grown on me a little, but now, I am sooo ready to call you my wife. You are so stunningly beautiful today, and every day, and when I think about the way you brighten my world with your smile, your laughter and your love, I know how lucky I am and how happy you will make me throughout our life together. I promise to forever do my best to return the favor. I will always be not just your partner, but your best friend. I promise to hold your hand whenever you want, even if you squeeze a little too tight. I vow to help shoulder your challenges and nurture your dreams. I will always strive to better your life, whether that means tickling your arm when you’re falling asleep, or taking you to every corner of the world. I will always cherish what makes you you, like your made-up songs and your impromptu dances around the house. I will never stop trying to make you smile or laugh. I promise to always enjoy the little things in life with you. I will always be honest and trust your honesty with me. I promise to treasure the experience of growing old with you, because you are the love of my life, and I know that a love like ours will only find us once.

And last but not least, our ceremony video!

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