And She Returns

It’s a weird feeling coming back to this blog after checking out for nearly two years. Things have been happening, or hadn’t you heard?

I had every intention of blogging in 2020 after recovering from my two concussions in 2019. But I ended that year by falling down the stairs and spraining my Achilles tendon the day we were leaving to go home to Atlanta for the holidays. That capped off a nice bookend that was my nightmare of a year, so I just wiped my hands clean of this blog and thought to myself, 2020 will be different.

How 2020 Went

Clearly, 2020 was different but not in the ways I intended. I had made it my mission to start 2020 by correcting the grapes issue I had on NYE of 2019. First of all, the grapes had to be small. Like smaller than small. And I devised a system where I held all the grapes in my hands instead of leaving them in the baggie, as this would allow me to shovel them in my face faster. Once the clock struck 11:59:48 on December 31, I ate and thought to myself, “Please don’t let me have the health issues and problems I had last year!” 

I shouldn’t have been so specific. I really REALLY should’ve vagued that up a bit.

I’ll be honest, since Trump and 2016, I struggled a lot. Internally, externally, with interpersonal relationships, with anger, with frustration, with gut-wrenching sadness, with fear and desperation, and then in 2019, my health issues and two concussions. I had so much to say about everything that was going on in the world, so much in fact that I was too overwhelmed to write it out. I was afraid my anger would drown out my points, points I knew were well-researched, factual, and necessary to state. But so much hatred, trolling, and non-sensical opinions generated by the Trumpublicans instilled in me the sense that it wasn’t worth it. I know it was but I didn’t have the energy to mount up to the fight. I was too concerned with my health, my memory, my marriage, my job, and everything else to release the internal strife that was hindering me from taking deep breaths on a daily basis.

Add in a novel, world-altering pandemic that shifted me to a remote job at home with no office space to share with Timmy, consolidation of my campus with two other campuses in the USF system, friends and family that wouldn’t listen to me as a public health expert and made up their own rules of medicine and nature, and the fact that we had to cancel our trip to Amsterdam and all other trips crushed me. Instead of forward-thinking and planning, I turned inward and focused on the immediacy of my daily needs: meals, work space at home, exercise, spending time with my puppy, and trying to fix my marriage that was embroiled in fight after fight after fight. 

I was also still dealing with the fallout of my memory loss, uncontrollable anger, and loss of patience from my two concussions in 2019. My brain injuries halted my ability to differentiate between 2018, 2019 and some of 2020, and it pushed Timmy and I too far at times. He was angry over things I didn’t remember happening or things I didn’t remember saying, and I couldn’t argue when I couldn’t remember. I had hoped 2020 would bring some calmness that 2019 didn’t provide, but instead it ramped up every external stress factor possible for both myself and Timmy.

Timmy was struggling with work and the inequities he was dealing with in his ever-shrinking territories and subsequently, his paycheck. His anger blossomed out of control, affecting the overall energy in our house, which I was now occupying 24 hours a day. Add in the fact that we couldn’t travel, couldn’t escape each other, and couldn’t be around other people since his asthma made him high risk…well, it’s an absolute miracle we’re still together. 

Once I switched to at-home work in late March 2020, things weren’t too bad at first. I was mostly concerned about setting up a temporary workspace that wouldn’t kill my back, but I also had zero expectations set by my supervisor, so I had really no idea what I was supposed to do. Thank God I was teaching at the time; moving my in-person class to an online format mid-semester and then focusing on designing a high-quality synchronous online class experience for the next two semesters kept me afloat. But like everyone else, I lost motivation, morale, and focus.

So that’s where I’ve been since March 2020. I’ve been working from home every day, trying to program and promote health for students that I don’t see and don’t know who I am. It’s been frustrating, soul-crushing, and limit-pushing.

However, there have been some bright spots that couldn’t have happened without the pandemic. I was able to stay with my parents in Atlanta for 5 weeks over the holidays in 2020, something I hadn’t done since I moved back home after college. They had quarantined as long as Timmy and I had, so there was no risk to anyone. Getting to enjoy the holidays together, at least the 4 of us, was something we all really needed.

The change in national leadership rocked my world in the best of ways. The day that Biden was declared president, I spent the rest of the day drinking cava, drinking to my favorite Atlanta-based jams, and breathing deeply like I hadn’t in years. Timmy commented on it numerous times about how much I was breathing deep, and for me, it felt like that Trump-sized elephant that had been crushing me since 2016 was gone. I truly hadn’t felt safe, respected, or validated since then and because of it, I felt like I wasn’t ever getting enough oxygen. I could finally expand my lungs and let the air in. For me, the 2020 elections became the turning point that cracked the door to let the light back in.

How 2021 Is Going

I also got all 12 grapes down leading to 2021. I had very tempered hopes of how much better 2021 would be considering I had really high hopes for 2020. We finally decided to expand our family and welcome a new puppy in January. It’s next to impossible to rescue a hypoallergenic dog anywhere, so after 2.5 years of looking at rescue sites, it became crystal clear that we’d have to go with a breeder. Luckily, I found an AKC breeder with a new litter that she hadn’t even advertised yet so we were able to get our newest guy pretty quickly, which wasn’t actually great news for Timmy who can struggle with change.

We decided on a Havanese because honestly, this was the description: “Havanese, smart and trainable extroverts with the comic instincts of a born clown” is that not an exact description of Timmy??!!? We introduced Floyd to him at a neutral park in Palm Harbor, and because of that successful meeting, we took him home that day. Armand, named after Robin Williams’ character in The Birdcage, has been for me the addition I was hoping for. Sure, it was crazy having a puppy and waking up in the middle of the night, multiple times for two months, then training him and getting him into classes, then entering into puppy adolescence and eating a hole in our wall and regressing in the most maddening of ways…but he makes us laugh daily, all day, and loves us and his brother Floyd so much. And our old man Floyd, at almost 13 years, loves Armand and hates him all in the same breath sometimes.

He’s 8 months old now and I couldn’t love him more. Even though Timmy got a rough start with accepting the new puppy and the temporary change to our lives, I catch him wrapping Armand up in the sweetest and most loving of embraces, and I know that we made the right choice in the end.

My parents got fully vaccinated and slowly I started to remember what hope felt like. Once vaccinations opened up to us in April 2021, Timmy and I immediately got fully vaccinated (him Moderna, me Pfizer), which finally opened up the whole world to us. We started flying, traveling, seeing people, leaving the house regularly, and overall feeling less paranoid and scared about others and their poor decision making skills. We went to Disney a few times (obviously for my birthday), traveled to Atlanta to surprise my mom for her 70th, spent some time with my in-laws WITH hugs, and made all we could of our re-entry to society.

I finished my DrPH classes with great grades since the program had always been online, but then this summer came the time to start writing my doctoral project proposal in order to defend it before fall. That too has escaped through my fingers because, like always, life has gotten in the way.

This summer started out just peachy. We decided VERY last-minute to go to Cancun for our annual travel-abroad vacation that had been stolen from us in 2020. We were there for 4 days in mid May, and it was magical. Healing in many ways, and necessary to take before an impending surgery. I had arthroscopic hip surgery in late May to repair a torn labrum, shave down a hip impingement and release my psoas to fix the never-ending hip pain I’d had since early 2019. Since my brain injuries were so much more immediate and noticeable than my hip pain, I didn’t really start noticing the major issues I was feeling there until my brain healed some. After receiving the correct diagnosis after seeing two other doctors, I was able to finally schedule the surgery, and since then I’ve been pain free, albeit still limited while I rebuild strength and balance.

In what can only be deemed yet another overwhelming blow to the family, my father-in-law Trey became very ill in May and died two weeks ago. He was so sick, he never was able to have a biopsy to determine a diagnosis, but it was most likely advanced pancreatic cancer that spread to his lungs and liver. I never met Timmy’s father, who passed away in 2002, so Trey is the only father in law I’ve known. Barbara, Timmy’s mother, is now a widow twice over before the age of 70 and we are all devastated not only for the major loss of Trey but for her as well. 

Once we heard about his illness and hospitalization (which happened the day after my parents left St. Pete after 2 weeks of helping to care for me, post-op), we made our way to Atlanta and saw him late Saturday night on the 12th. He was gone by 2am on Monday the 15th. We still say how thankful we are that my parents FaceTimed us on Thursday the 10th to tell us that it was imperative for us to see him ASAP while he was still lucid. His doctors had given him 6-8 weeks, so we thought we had time, but when hospice saw him on the 14th, they said no more than 48 hours. And sure enough, he passed away peacefully in his favorite recliner in the living room not even 14 hours later.

I haven’t really had an opportunity to grieve. Timmy’s been struggling to get through this, and I don’t think anyone in the family has even gotten to the toughest parts of grief yet. He was more involved in Trey’s passing than I thought he needed to be, but he stepped up to help his stepbrothers and mom in a superhuman way. Unfortunately, his helping nature will undoubtedly lead to some type of post-traumatic emotions and anxiety, which will only exacerbate the other issues he’s been dealing with.

Because of this, I’ve choked it all down. I have no choice right now but to be the rock Timmy can depend on. While we were in Atlanta to say goodbye to Trey, I was still on crutches and couldn’t physically help like I wanted to, so emotionally, this was what I could offer. Timmy’s been up and down every day, so I will continue to support him as much as I can. As time ticks by, inevitably it will explode in my face, but I’ve decided to cross that bridge whenever it collapses.

Our relationship has been on a rollercoaster, as I’m sure many have these past few years. Thankfully, we are stronger than we have been since we’ve taken a renewed and necessary focus back on our marriage. We’re strengthening our ties, trying our hardest to meet each other’s needs while focus on repairing our own mental health that of course wavered and failed after these last two years. Now that we can make plans for the future, Timmy’s interviewing for a new job, I’m gearing up to physically return to the office full time in August (I’m in now 2 days/week), our families are healthy and mostly vaccinated, and Armand outgrows this phase, I have to say, I am so excited about standing almost fully back in the light. It was dark for too long, in ways that shadowed us separately and that threatened to eradicate the parts of ourselves and our relationship that were special to us. 

It’s been a real claw-back of a year, but halfway through it, even though we’re still hurting, I can now see that there is still plenty of joy to be had. We’ll find it again. And we’ll share it with everyone we know.

♥, VB



No, I Didn’t Forget I Had a Blog

It is laughable how terrible I’ve been at updating this thing.

I’ve been stepping away from using FB more and more ever since I rejoined last year after close to a 9 month hiatus. It just sucks. I’ve had to hide so many people now: the majority of my extreme right-wing friends — the ones who keep posting about how gun control is the same as “giving our rights away” (complete effing nonsense); the ones who keep posting about Rodan & Fields/Plexus/stupid ass diets that don’t work; the ones who keep posting pictures of their half-naked bodies in an attempt to get compliments but who claim modesty and humility (EITHER STOP DOING THIS OR JUST CALL IT WHAT IT IS); the ones who go on just to start fights with anyone who doesn’t 100% agree with their political views.

This is just exhausting and no longer fun to look at. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss the days when it was just all weddings and babies and football posts.

So instead, I’ve been living my life on Instagram and/or offline as fully as I can. We’ve been having so much fun as a couple lately, ever since NYE (WHICH WAS 3 MONTHS AGO) and I don’t see this train stopping anytime soon. Life has been busy, as per usual, what with my full time job, 2 classes that I teach Monday and Wednesday evenings, supervising 3 part-time student employees, completing my Wellness Coaching certification, and getting ready to hire a full-time employee whom I will be supervising starting this summer. Whew.

We’ve been busy on the weekends living it up in FL, which has included the purchase of a new sectional couch (“HELL YES!” says my back), some pool days during an unusually hot February, a Beer and Bacon Fest, an extremely awesome day of surprises for Timmy’s 35th birthday which included a wine making class and an escape room (which we won with only 38 seconds left on the clock!), Phantom of the Opera tickets (where I def cried), a quick trip to Miami that resulted in no pool days but 1 long spa day for me while Timmy worked a conference, and lots of trips to Disney World.

I’ve hit Disney 3 times since January (which as you know is my favorite place on earth, and no, I won’t apologize for it). It actually comes in handy when your family comes to town for spring break and you’ve got the skinny on how to plan out your days and paths at any given Disney park (you’re welcome familia). Which is exactly what happened last week, my first spring break I’ve taken off in 5 years.

God that was fun. I couldn’t wait to see Disney through my nieces’ eyes, the magic of it all. What I didn’t expect was their willingness to wait in 2+ hour lines which we didn’t do because eff that. But all in all, we hit every ride (almost) and the whole family had the best time ever. It was also maybe the fastest week in the history of ever.

The one thing I’ve been struggling with since last October is my chronic, never ending, mind-erasing back pain. Around the time I got rid of my walking boot after my bunionectomy last August, my back decided to go haywire and destroy my emotional stability. I couldn’t do anything without severe pain that would take my breath away for nearly 5 months.

I decided after my last facet injections in January didn’t work that I would try anything, and I meant ANYTHING. There have been a few days at the beginning of this year where I just couldn’t take it anymore. Timmy would have to help me get up from a sitting or lying down position or pick something off the floor or help me put socks/pants on. I was immobile many, many days and hysterically sad about it the other days. I broke down, cried nonstop, and fell into a hole of despair and hopelessness that my pain would get any better, that I could have a normal life, that I would ever be pain-free.

In short, I was completely miserable.

I got an epidural in February which reduced my pain from super crazy intense to a dull 24-hour bother. I started going to cryotherapy, which at the time I thought helped, but I haven’t gone in about a month and I feel no difference (= it was probably mentally helpful). It is as cold as you think, if not colder, and every time my legs would turn a bright lobster-shade of red, and it hurt the skin on my thighs like whoa. If that’s the beginning stages of hypothermia, then I have a new respect for people who go hiking in crazy cold places.

I started seeing a chiropractor (which I still believe that the adjustments are nonsense) but the TENS treatment, massage, ultrasound and physical therapy 3x/week have been making a difference. I’ve only worked out once since my injection because I’m terrified to do so. The last few times I worked out in January, my lower back muscles seized up and I was immobile the rest of the day. So I’m doing things at a slower pace, trying to remind myself to slow down and be patient (which is my opposite nature, so you can see how this would be difficult for me to do).

I should be released from physical therapy this week, so wish me luck as I try to regain a new sense of normalcy and control over my life. I now have a standing desk at work, and that’s been a game changer. Help me stay patient and calm as I try to integrate exercise back into my life.

That’s all for now. There are still some HUGE changes in my life on the horizon, so stay tuned for all the insanity that will start to happen around here in the next few weeks!

♥, VB

#TheVictimWedding Part 1

I’m in no way going to attempt to tell the story of our wedding week and mini moon in one post. I can’t sit still for that long, and I wouldn’t want to torture you by making you scroll endlessly.

Needless to say, our wedding week was CRAZYTOWN U.S.A. In the months and weeks leading up to our wedding, I really thought I was going to go legitimately crazy from the stress, drama, and fighting. Note to self: next time, fight harder for the things you want in the beginning, especially when you know EXACTLY how things will turn out if you don’t.

For nearly a week straight, I drank Pepto Bismol like water. If you don’t think stress causes your internal organs, namely your stomach and intestines, to go completely berserk, then you clearly have never planned a wedding. Ours had a guest list topping out at 382. Thankfully, only around 280 came, so yeah, there’s that too.

I’m also not very good at keeping surprises, so holding all of it in, the stress, the surprises, the procrastinating, the not fighting-Timmy’s-battles-even-though-I-wanted-to-so-bad stuff, took their toll on my body and mental health. Two days before the wedding, Timmy and I went to dinner where we discussed how in the future, event planning will go one of two ways: either I do everything with little to no input from Timmy OR there is no event.

Seems reasonable, right?

We spent Memorial Day weekend as the calm before the storm. It was us two and Floyd, beaching it, sleeping in, enjoying what we could before we had to pack up and head to Atlanta. It really was glorious.

Photo May 30, 8 17 29 PMPhoto May 30, 8 19 08 PM

We arrived in Atlanta on Tuesday evening after a 7 hour drive. It was a PAIN in the ass to try to remember to bring all the wedding stuff that we had stored in our tiny little apartment. With my checklist in hand, I made sure we packed every last item. However, as soon as Timmy got his hands on one of our marquee letters that had been hanging in our apartment for MONTHS, he immediately broke one of the bulbs at the stem.

Imagine the scene, will you. We’re already leaving 4-5 hours later then planned, Timmy’s to-do list hasn’t gotten any shorter, and he breaks a bulb.

Now imagine my brain exploding.

So after that fun experience, we hit the ground running in Atlanta. My mom and I knocked so many things off the to-do list that weren’t necessarily big things, but small things that were growing by the minute. The poster program had to be printed and backed. Check. We had to drop off all the decorations at our event designer. Check. We had to get a new bulb and back up bulbs from Home Depot for the marquee letters. Check.

It felt like it went on and on. And this doesn’t even include Timmy’s list that he left for the last minute.

We did make time to stop by our friends, Matt and Lindsey’s house to give them a reprieve from a tough year, even if it was only for about an hour. We gifted them a couple’s massage and I watched their son for them so they could get out of the house and reconnect. It was probably the best idea Timmy and I had this entire time. I highly recommend that in the thick of wedding planning that you do something for someone else. It got our minds off of things and helped us focus on what matters: friends and family in our lives.

Thursday night, I had a wonderful night at home hanging out with my family that had come from so far. We danced, drank LOTS of cava, and relaxed before the craziness of the weekend began.

Friday rolled around and I started the day off with a hike up Stone Mountain with 4 of my friends from my bridal party. It was amazing. Getting a good sweat, seeing all of Atlanta, spending some much needed quality time with my friends…it was the best start to our weekend. We even got done faster than expected, so once I got back to my parents’, I decided to watch Harry Potter until the verrrrryy last minute.

Those were the last moments I had to myself for the rest of the weekend.

We headed over to our next door neighbor’s house where our neighbors threw me the best bridal luncheon ever. It was EXACTLY what I wanted and what I needed. The most important people of my life were all there: those I grew up with, the women of my family, my bridal party, my best friends. It was low-key, delicious, and so so so fun to catch up in an intimate setting.

Of course I cried. Who wouldn’t??

Then we headed over to our hotel, the Glenn Hotel, our home base for the weekend. Our friend Mathew scored us a SICK deal on the penthouse, and we’re still amazed at what he was able to do for us. It was HUGE, posh, and completely sexy. It was awesome! We grabbed our shuttle bus with the grooms’ party and headed over to our venue, the Foundry at Puritan Mill for the rehearsal.

That was quite the clusterf**k. Imagine 24 people plus 4 parents plus the engaged couple plus our officiant and music man plus our wedding planner. It was ridiculous. Timmy’s side tended to not shut up the entire time we were up there and it took EVERYTHING I had not to just completely lose my mind at them. With the stress of everything just starting to bubble over, I was reaching my breaking point with the drama and disrespect. But I held it in and made sure we got through it, blow-up free.

See, I’m improving.

I can’t fathom trying to do something like this again, and although I don’t regret our wedding weekend AT ALL, I still wish I had gotten something more intimate, something smaller, something more, for lack of a better word, calm. Some people really did go off the deep-end in the planning of this wedding, and I can’t help but think that if the sheer magnitude and scale of this wedding had been eliminated from the beginning, the drama would have decreased significantly.

Or not at all. Who knows.

All I know is that it was the greatest weekend of our lives. Words don’t exist to describe it at all. But when you make your wedding as personal as we did, the effects are felt and are lasting. Stay tuned for #thevictimwedding rehearsal dinner.

♥, VB

The People You Turn Into

What is it about weddings that can turn a person inside out? What happens in a person that makes them either go to the light or the dark side?

If there’s anything I’ve learned about wedding planning (and there have been many lessons), it’s that people change when it comes to weddings. Weddings can either amplify the good nature within people or it brings out the crazy. The complete bat-shit crazy.

Sound familiar? Here’s some of the people you might meet, the good and the bad, after you get engaged:

  1. Butt-Hurt McGee

This person is sooooooooooooo offended that you didn’t ask them to be in the wedding party/throw a shower/include them in your day somehow. In fact, they’re so butt hurt by not being included that they’ll throw shade every which way they can by turning down invitations to parties, not answering phone calls or texts, and even threatening to not go to your wedding.

This person will basically be absent for you during wedding planning. Even if you were close before, they will vanish anytime you call or try to hang out. There’s nothing you can do to make up for the terrible “rift” your decisions have caused the relationship, mainly because the “rift” is made up and not that serious.

Depending on your level of closeness, you can decide to really put some effort into repairing the relationship and addressing the conflict or just walk away.

2. The Nickle and Dimer

This person is so obsessed with the bottom line that they’d rather you have your wedding in a parking lot and ask people to bring their own chairs, booze, and food than try to pay for anything over the budget. They can’t see the end picture because they’re so bogged down with the small details that nearly every decision ends in a stalemate and uber frustration.

No doubt, this was me at the very beginning of wedding planning. I was so overwhelmed with the high price tags of everything wedding-related that I basically shut down and cried every day. The guilt of a big budget followed by millions of decisions made me the human version of a IED. Want to know when the next explosion is? Just say the price tag and KABOOM.

3. Me, Myself, and I

This person has made it clear that your wedding is all about them. Every question they ask is all about them. “How am I supposed to get around town?” “Who is going to watch my kids?” “How could you NOT want to meet my child?” “Can you do this for me?” “Can you do that for me?” “Your wedding locations are really inconvenient for me.” “Me me me me.”

This is the worst person ever. Not only can they not understand that your wedding is about you and your fiance, they make it a point to let you know any chance they get that if you’re not meeting their every need, they’re not happy for you in the least bit. Not until you switch the focus to them, that is. Then they’re overjoyed at the chance to have a me-party during your big day.

4. The Worrier

This person is worrying about everything and they’re not even the one getting married. They will contact you obsessively about every little detail, even ones that have nothing to do with them or their duties. “Has anyone done this yet?” “Where am I supposed to meet you?” “I emailed/texted/called you 1 hour ago, why haven’t you responded?” “Who is picking this person up?” “Why don’t I know everything that’s going on?”

This person is EXHAUSTING. I mean, 100% completely out of control debilitating. If the incessant calls/emails/texts don’t wear you down, then the million and one ridiculous “What if/then this?” made-up scenarios will stress you out so much you can’t help but lose it.

5. The “I’ve Forgotten How to Adult” adult

Normally, this person has everything in their life together. They have/had a job, pay their bills on time, may have a family, and is someone who typically handles their stuff. Yet, somehow wedding planning makes them question how they accomplish the simplest tasks day to day. “How do I get around a city I already live in?” “How do I get myself dressed and looking presentable on the wedding day?” “When and where am I supposed to feed myself?” “How are others supposed to feed themselves?”

This person will frustrate the crap out of you. No matter how many times you remind them that they normally drive themselves around, or that they can call a cab, or that they can hire someone to do stuff for them, they will continue to insist that they don’t know how to do these things. The easiest thing to do with this person is to ignore them until after the wedding.

6. The Ghost

Where has this person gone? You contacted them at the beginning to ask them to be a part of your wedding in some way, and they subsequently ghost you and never respond to anything again. In fact, you have to contact them 5 or more times before they respond, and who knows if they’re actually going to answer the questions you posed for them.

Sometimes your Ghost is Me, Myself, and I. They disappear until you can somehow make it about them again. And when you do, they’ll respond to you lightning fast as though they never ghosted you in the first place.

This person is different from Butt-Hurt McGee. They’re not offended or hurt, they’re just terrible at staying in contact. Even when they know it’s crucial to be around and accessible, they can’t get it together long enough to respond to emails/texts/calls in a timely manner. They simply, POOF, vanish from communication and you don’t know if they’re alive or dead anymore.

This person isn’t terrible, they’re just annoying as f^*k.

7. The “I’ve Lost My Mind and Will Make Terrible Decisions” friend

This person will out of nowhere and with no warning become your worst enemy at a moment’s notice. They will behave like a crazy person, make really terrible decisions (usually fueled by alcohol and a general unhappiness with their own life), and end up destroying the bond you may have had with them.

This person will generally not apologize. In fact, instead of apologizing, they’ll use any excuse to justify their bad behavior and question you for even bringing it up to them like they did anything wrong. This person is T.O.X.I.C. You may have seen some of the warning signs before but chose to ignore them because they never did anything bad to you in the past, and besides, it’s your wedding! Everyone will be on their best behavior, right? Right??

This person may make you question yourself and what you did to deserve this type of reaction. The person may also fuel the fire of other people’s bad behavior because they think they may be able to get away with acting out. Which will then make you question your relationships with these people in the first place.

This is not really the state of mind you want to find yourself in while you’re planning your own wedding. The best thing you can do is sever the tie and move on.

8. The Human Bra

Without question, this is who you want everyone associated with your wedding to be. These people are the most supportive, the most helpful, the most loving and caring people of all. Never hesitating to ask, “How can I help?” “Where do you need me?” “I’m here for you”, the human bra is the person and persons who will support you through the drama and help out when you’re about to lose your mind from all the stupid little decisions that have to be made.

They’ll text you out of the blue to tell you they love you and they’re excited for not just your wedding but also your marriage. They’ll do their best to keep the drama away from you and your fiance, attend all your functions, and never complain. Even if they can’t bring their children even though they want to (because duh, they love them), they say nothing and handle their lives efficiently so that they can help you out.

I’m happy to report that the human bra is everyone on my side. They have gone out of their way to make me feel special and loved and excited for my wedding and my marriage. They’ve even done the same for Timmy, just to make him feel all the love and support that I’ve received. I just can’t get enough of them!


Obviously, I’m exaggerating a bit and poking fun not just at the people I’ve met during my own wedding planning, but stories I’ve heard from friends who had their own fair share of craziness during their weddings. You can only control what you can control. and although some of these personalities have driven me crazy, I’m choosing to focus on the good. The good being my friends, family, and of course, Timmy.

2 weeks. Let’s do this.

♥, VB

Parties Galore

Do you understand what it feels like to have people throw parties in your honor? It’s like this completely overwhelming mixture of appreciation, love, gratitude, humility, and guilt, wrapped up into 72 hours. That’s what this past weekend was like for us.

If you know me (or have read this blog), you should be well aware by now that I like to plan. This weekend was a planner’s crazed wet dream. From the second we landed in Atlanta Thursday night until we left Sunday evening, I don’t think we got to sit down and chill out for more than 30 minutes at any given time.

Because we only have limited time whenever we come back to Atlanta, we usually have to do double duty with social events. We want to see everyone but time constraints make it hard to prioritize. Not so with this weekend! We had a number of close friends and family ask if they could throw parties in honor of our upcoming wedding, so to save airfare, we requested that they be hosted on the same day. Who needs sleep, right?

Friday, we hit the ground running. Got our marriage license, got my nails done, had a hair and makeup trial while Timmy went to a hotel to check out suites for our wedding weekend, then we had a rehearsal dinner tasting and venue walk-through with the caterer.

So while we planned to come home for a full day on Saturday, it occurred to me if people were going to be in town for these parties, why not try to throw yet another thing in the mix? Since I could be classified as insane, I decided to take on the monumental task of hosting a party at Timmy’s mother’s house on Friday night.

Because Timmy’s first bachelor party did not really go as planned (read: massive drama ensued), I decided to throw him a surprise bachelor party 2.0. My anxiety was at an all-time high trying to plan this party and keep it a surprise from him. Do you know how difficult it is to do that when you live in less than 800 square feet??

For weeks, I had to make sure my phone was on me at all times in case one of his friends texted me. I had covert phone conversations with his mother and texted with his stepfather to ensure that everything would go as planned. It drove me insane to have to depend on other people to get this done, but concessions had to be made as I knew that I would have ZERO time to pick up food, drinks, and a passenger van that I chauffeured to and from Decatur to make sure no one drank and drove.

Barbara and Trey really came through for us on this event, and I could never thank them enough. Towards the last hour or so, Barbara began to crack trying to stall Timmy while I finished setting up at the house. He got so suspicious, I don’t know how Barbara managed not to just give up and tell him! Major props to her though as she used a fantastic stalling technique at the bar they were at before they came home: asking Timmy what the differences are between a Roth and Traditional IRA. Genius.

Once he got home and saw the door closed to the living room, a smile spread on his face, because while he knew something was up, he didn’t know what. And when he walked into the room and saw his friends, he was still so confused! I had to tell him it was his Bachelor Party 2.0 before he realized what was happening. He lit up and the rest is history.

To be honest, this party wasn’t the most incredible production ever. It was nothing fancy, nothing crazy, just an opportunity for him to get together with his best buds for a night of drinking, laughs, and catching up. And it 100% worked. He said later that the bad memories from his first bachelor party were a dim memory compared to his 2nd fiesta.

And all was right in the world.

Saturday was NON STOP. I made it crystal clear to Timmy and his friends that fun could be had, but not so much fun that he couldn’t wake up for our 11 am shower being thrown by Timmy’s neighborhood friends. Sure enough, he woke up slightly hungover but hey, he woke up and made the best of it.

We walked two doors down to the most incredible food spread and warm and welcoming people ever. It was incredible. These people hardly know me and my parents but spent a lot of time making us feel loved and part of the group. It meant so much!

And the gifts! I’m still not over the feeling that registering for gifts is one of the most 1st World things one can do, especially when you’re in your 30s and already own everything you need. And even after registering, we were told 3 separate times that weekend that we hadn’t registered for enough!! CRAZY TALK, I tell you!!

After our first shower ever, we walked out of there on a high immediately followed by a 2 hour nap at Barbara’s. You’ll see that the two gifts I decided to include in the pictures are our favorites only because 1) I have wanted an immersion blender for YEARS, and 2) Timmy and I have now worn our monogrammed robes every night since we got home. Thank you thank you thank you!

Saturday culminated in another party thrown for us by our friends Mathew, his fiance Lucie, Michael and his wife Abigail (who unfortunately couldn’t make it from DC). This was known as the “young people’s party” and we did it up! Gosh this was so fun.

We got to see so many of our friends that night, food, drinks, the works! And of course, it’s not a party until someone lights an old Christmas tree on fire and endangers the neighborhood, right?


Other than that safety hazard, we stayed there until close to 1:30 am and got home just in time for Daylight Savings Time, which has royally kicked my ass. Just an FYI, it’s incredibly hard to recover from a weekend of partying AND an hour lost. (Ugh, isn’t our life so hard?!?!)

Sunday we finished up with lunch with our wedding planner extraordinaire to review the timeline for our wedding weekend, and visited with a friend who is about to undergo some pretty scary brain surgery in a week. We flew out Sunday night and I haven’t really recovered since.

The weather could NOT have been more perfect. We waited for rain everyday, and it never happened. Actually the rain came, no joke, RIGHT as we left for the car after Saturday night’s party. It’s like the world’s forces conspired to make sure we had the greatest weekend ever.

As we left for the airport Sunday evening, the feelings from the weekend began to hit me. The well-wishes, the congratulations, the amount of support we have behind our relationship is overwhelming. We couldn’t fail even if we wanted to; it’s clear to us how many people have our backs. We still can’t believe how much time and effort and love was put into everything.

To everyone who played a role in this weekend, small or large, THANK YOU. Truly, completely, just THANK YOU.

♥, VB & Timmy