#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.

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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

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Ode to NY

Oh NY. The things you make my heart feel.

I absolutely love going back to my second home away from my real home in Atlanta and my actual home now in St. Pete (that was confusing). I love it because of all the things that city makes me feel, what it reminds of, and how I’m so happy that I no longer live there.

Yes, I said I’m happy I no longer live there. Odd how one can feel such conflicting feelings, yet it’s the truth.

My time spent in NY was a roller coaster ride during college. Becoming an adult in that city two weeks after 9/11 happened was tumultuous, emotional, rocky, overwhelming, and crazy fun. I miss it but I really don’t. Mostly I just miss the food and my friends. I don’t really miss the feeling of needing to be everywhere, doing everything, all the time, always.

But man, when I visit, we really pack it in. Usually, I’m with my BFF Denise and her husband Vinnie, sequestered away in the suburbs, but this time we were Brooklyn people, all the way. We stayed with our good friends Jenny and Joe (remember them, from the crazy beautiful Cali wedding?) in Clinton Hill, a super adorable south Brooklyn neighborhood with charming brownstones and vistas for days. Apparently, Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis live down the street from them, so it must be a hot neighborhood, right?

The first night, we got there super late, like 10:30p, but we still went for a quick bite to eat at this adorably delicious spot named Walter’s. It was really dark and romantic inside, so no pix were bothered with.

The next day, we tried to sleep in because the sounds of NY are CRAZY obnoxious to me now that I don’t live amongst the sirens, birds, and children screaming outside. Needless to say, I slept like crap. We got up, made our way to another adorable lunch spot, took down a bottle of cava, and proceeded to walk all over the place. I ended up with 12,000 steps that day, so a success all around.

We settled in for a little while at a park in DUMBO and enjoyed the beautiful weather, which clearly we brought with us from Florida.

amazing views of south Manhattan

amazing views of south Manhattan

The night, Jenny and Joe made reservations for nearly my entire bridesmaid roster and partners at Lido’s in Harlem, where we gorged ourselves on delicious Italian food and lots and lots of wine. Jenny was like the mom of the group and just ordered everything for everyone, and all I had to do was eat and drink. I highly suggest you get yourself a friend like that. We laughed and laughed and laughed and Timmy and I almost came to blows during a newlywed-style game.

The question: Which celebrity is our number one hall pass?

My answer for Timmy: Chris Hemsworth (I won)

Timmy’s answer for me: JEFF GOLDBLUM

What the hell…the marriage is off people! (FYI, the answer I wrote down was Keanu Reeves circa “Speed”…yummmmmmm)

Later that night, somehow we all ended up with Pez dispensers because Joe went to the Walgreens across the street to get a Tide pen for Timmy, was gone for like 20 minutes, and showed up with Pez for everyone. It was weird and generous, all at the same time.

The next day, we went to Mission Chinese food where we annoyed our waitress by asking her every 5 seconds if there were peanuts in anything (because Timmy’s allergic), walked half the Brooklyn Bridge, got ice cream, then back to the airport. It was such an incredibly fast weekend, but it filled my heart to the maximum. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than see these amazing people and love and laugh with them.

Dammit, I love my friends.

♥, VB

VicTim Bach Bash

Bachelor/bachelorette parties are a funny thing. Sometimes they are just the most incredible, most memorable experiences where the groom/bride are surrounded by their best friends who turn the world over to make it all about them for one night/weekend.

Labor Day weekend was Timmy and my joint bachelor-bachelorette parties. They were joint in the sense that we both had them in St. Pete and planned a Sunday beach field day, but other than that, they were separate.

My weekend was amazing. My friends who I invited that are either in my bridal party or are my best friends in the world couldn’t have made that weekend any more incredibly relaxing, chill, and overall exactly what I wanted. We hung out at the beach which was no joke, about 50 yards away from our Treasure Island house. Or what we called it, the 80s Porn Palace.

Yeah. It’s exactly what you would picture in your mind. In fact, a few of us thought we recognized it from somewhere…:)

My maid of honor Lyndsay, my past roommate of 5 years and one of my best friends in this world, went ABOVE and BEYOND. She shopped, she cooked, she prepared, she planned, she had anxiety, but she did the damn thing. I kept telling her that I didn’t expect her to plan it like how I would plan it, because really, that’s crazy, but man I can’t believe what an awesome job she did. If anyone’s in the market (she may cut me for offering her maid of honor services), she left no stone unturned. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than what she did.

And all my friends! AHHHHHH, they were the best! I had two surprise guests show up who I thought weren’t coming, and my other friends were there for me all weekend. No one complained, no one was dramatic, no one was bitchy, and everyone stayed by my side the whole time. Sure, we were kinda boring, taking naps, and reading books, and laying out, and getting in the water, but we’re in our 30s now. My days of clubbing are over because that’s pretty much all I did in my 20s. No need to re-live the good old days because I’m still having lots of good days now.

We did have a few incidents with someone, but other than that, the rest of us were no-drama, sun-loving, relaxing fools. I love you all, there’s a reason you’re in my life — you make my life happier and brighter, you celebrate with me and you grieve with me, you’re there when I need you and I’m there whenever you need me. Thank you for being you.

Two of my bridesmen (my 3rd couldn’t get on a flight unfortunately) stayed at Timmy’s place and spent the weekend going back and forth between our house, our Saturday night dinner, and their house. I planned a private dining room dinner at Station House Saturday night  in downtown St. Pete where we stuffed ourselves silly and just really really really enjoyed ourselves, went to one bar, then went home to get into our pjs. Sleep was such a necessity that weekend, I’m really glad all my friends are now in the same “I kinda love sleep more than people” space that I am in.

I was so sad to say goodbye to everyone, it was just enough time to get comfortable with my friends, but not enough time to feel like we had all really caught up with each other. Seriously you guys, you made the trip, you took the time and $$ to celebrate my life with Timmy, I’m so humbled and honored and blown away that you would put me first like that. Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

It’s true, the time went by too fast. The weekend shot by like a bullet. And at certain times, I wish that it had been a real bullet directed at a few people who attended the parties that weekend. Timmy’s experience…well, let’s just say, it wasn’t the same as mine. But that’s his story to tell, not mine.

But to end this post on a happy note (because by nature, I’m not a negative person), I love all of you who made our parties a place to celebrate not only our love, but our friendships with you, our bonds, our connections. You spent money on us, you blocked off time for us, you came because you love us. Without y’all’s support, Timmy and I definitely wouldn’t be the people we are today.

♥, VB

What Happens After a Perfect Day

I figured I might as well get the horrible part of this blog post out of the way so I could finish it on a high note. I can look back on it and laugh, but that day, nothing was funny.

I’m talking about the day after our amazing engagement party where I experienced what I assume to be the 2nd closest feeling to death without actually being dead (the actual closest is food poisoning, where I would gladly welcome death instead).

I honestly don’t know what happened. Being a health educator, you’d think at this point, 32 years old, hangovers would be a thing of the past. But man, did I get schooled on what it’s like to mingle at a wedding-themed event that revolves around you and your partner.

I had no idea how hard it would be to remember to eat enough and drink water when attempting to make every single guest who drove 1+ hours to Athens in your honor feel welcome and appreciated. I’m sure some people felt a tiny bit shafted by Timmy and I; I promise we tried to make the rounds but we only had so much time to fit it all in. And we only had like 30+ guests! I can’t even imagine how freaking difficult this is going to be at our actual wedding.

We did make it out to downtown Athens that night with Timmy’s cousins Matt and Leeanna and my brother in law Jared with a follow-up at Waffle House, if that’s any indication to you how the day went.

So obviously, Sunday, was the the worst. Absolute worst. Ever. I’ve never felt that bad for that long. It’s true what they say about hangovers in your 30s — they will make you regret every decision you ever made that led you to that point. I won’t go into details, but needless to say, I had to reschedule my flight home until the next morning (I would’ve missed it anyways thanks to construction traffic), and I finally stopped throwing up at 4 PM. FOUR O’ CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON.

Thankfully, my mom was there to take care of me and make me my favorite childhood soup remedy. I don’t care how old you are, when you get sick, all you want is your mommy.

I’m getting flashbacks, so let me move on with the story.

So the actual engagement party day was pretty perfect. It was hot as f%^k (which duh, it was the last weekend in July in Georgia. Of course it’s going to be hot) and we all pretty much sweated off any attempt at makeup, but I didn’t care for long. Once people started showing up, it was pretty sweet.

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setting up

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sitting area

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all ready for that low country boil!

It’s a little odd to be the direct center of attention at a party. Even our 30 Years, 1 Wish party was about something bigger than ourselves, so the attention, while on us, was shared with our charities and special guests. Our engagement party and subsequent fiestas are about us, and that’s a little odd.

But not unwelcome. If anyone loves being the center of attention, it’s this girl and Timmy. It’s like we were born for this kind of stuff. 🙂

You’ll probably notice that I have on two dresses in these pictures. The first one, I loved and felt like a pretty little girl in. But I quickly realized that the fabric wasn’t letting any air in between my legs, and I immediately ditched that plan after the first two guests arrived and switched to a shorter dress.

One of my favorite moments of the party were when at one point, I walked inside and all my guy friends were inside in the AC with their children while their wives were outside drinking. To hell with gender roles!

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My two bridesmen, Matt and Austin, with their sons, Matthew and Aidyn

Also, this moment was made possible by our old neighbors from Norcross who remember me from before I was even a baby. Their gift giving ability receives a perfect 10.

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The Joy of Sex, indeed

Also, at some point, this also happened. No words. Just awesomeness.

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’01 Yeah

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my bro in law Jared and Timmy mean muggin’ like old ass high schoolers

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We love being dorks and will never apologize.

Honestly, I’m so impressed that we all fit into our old letter jackets. Seriously, that’s an accomplishment to add to our life lists.

We just can’t find the words to say how appreciative we are of everyone who came to the party and risked standing dead still in traffic on insert-any-Atlanta-highway-here. To my sister (and matron-of-honor) Carla and my bridesmaid Heather for hosting the party. Thank you to my bro-in-law Jared for standing in direct sunlight for over two hours making the low country boil (first batch non-spicy, just for me!) and quite possibly losing a gallon of body hydration in the process. To my parents who came early in the week to help babysit my nieces, set up, cook, and decorate.

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THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

It was just an awesome day. Thank you.

♥, VB

Life Lately + Head Trauma

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller

SO FREAKING TRUE. While we haven’t done anything monumental lately, we have had some really awesome weekends, and the more I forget to share, the faster the time seems to go.

Let’s start out by categorizing what’s been going on with our life lately!

Wedding Planning

I. AM. SO. EXCITED!!!! This is the stage where I’m the most comfortable being at when I’m planning anything. It’s the anticipatory, to-do lists, breathable, productive, I’m-going-to-conquer-the-world stage and I’m loving it.

Obviously, the beginning was ROUGH. Like, beyond rough. Like crying every day for a month rough. Once we set that date, it was a ticking time bomb strapped to my back. Looking back, it was a combination of everything in the world that overwhelms me, hitting me all at once.

  • Ginormous price tags? Check.
  • Guilt beyond belief at my parents paying? Check.
  • The idea of being married when I had never wanted that? Check.
  • Decisions that I never thought I would ever need to make and try to make them with someone who doesn’t like making decisions? Check.
  • Planning a major event from a different state for a reason that I never had wanted before? Check!

One of the main problems was that Timmy and I do not approach decision-making in the same way. In fact, we’re complete opposites. I’m a snap decision-maker. I don’t like to over-analyze anything and I just want to move on and get shit done. Timmy becomes paralyzed. He gets frustrated easily when it’s time to decide, and then he will just stonewall until he feels he’s had enough time (usually about 10,000 times longer than I’m okay with). This does not make for smooth decision making and it’s been an issue for a long time in our relationship in general.

But we sat down, hashed it out, and now we’re excellent. Timmy and I finally found a groove to wedding planning. I’ll do some research here and there and compile some ideas and send it to him, and then 2-3 weeks later, we’ll basically knock out like 3-5 decisions in one day. And I’ve had time to digest the fact that my parents WANT to do this for us and I can accept it now.

We have just under a year until we get married. This is what we’ve done so far:

  • wedding coordinator hired
  • date and time chosen
  • venue chosen
  • guest list almost complete
  • photographer chosen and engagement pictures printed
  • caterer, food options, baker, and design chosen
  • band chosen
  • alcohol package chosen
  • wedding website nearly complete
  • invitations printed
  • registries complete
  • save the dates designed
  • rehearsal dinner space booked
  • wedding dress and bridal party and outfits selected
  • bachelor/bachelorette party scheduled

I told you, I don’t mess around when it comes to planning. I want as much done now so that we can just pretty much coast up until the wedding. We have about 4 things on the docket that should be complete in the next few weeks, so as that to-do list gets done, I get happier and more and more excited to marry my partner.

Travels and Visits

The first weekend of June, I traveled to NY to celebrate my best friend Denise’s daughter’s baptism. Seeing as how I hadn’t met the little lady since she was inside her mom’s uterus, I thought it would be a great time to meet her and chill out with my besties. This trip, I didn’t even step inside Manhattan, which was a nice change of pace. It always feels like the city is trying to run me over when I visit because I try to fit so much into one weekend, and this time, we just stayed in the suburbs and enjoyed beautiful weather with family and friends.

Not going to lie, their apartment does not absorb sound well, so in addition to little Mary’s screams, I also was privy to the fighting Puerto Rican family below them, and good god, getting 4 hours of sleep is just not okay.

A few weekends later, my good friend from grad school, Alex, came down for a half week of relaxation and fun. This woman, god I love her. She’s amazing. Strong, driven, intelligent, and with a heart as big as the sun. I admire her in so many ways, and it’s always such a nice calming feeling to be around her. She pretty much came down to escape a little drama in her life in Atlanta, so we ate well, beached it, had a boat day with my old work colleague Leila and her husband, and just enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

Pride Weekend

It’s really really fun living in monumental moments. Timmy had made the trek to St. Pete a few weekends in a row, and so Pride weekend (the last weekend in June) was supposed to be my weekend in Orlando. But then the Supreme Court upheld marriage equality Friday morning, and because Timmy is the most amazing person ever, he decided to come to St. Pete to help me volunteer and experience what a major civil rights victory feels like.

This year, I’ve been trying to volunteer more around my community, and Pride felt like another perfect moment to help out. I volunteered earlier in the week for the Stonewall Reception and got to meet the mayor of St. Pete. We volunteered together at a concert with someone from Glee (no clue, but holy cow they could sing!), and then we made it out to the nighttime Pride parade on Saturday night. Of course, Timmy is the greatest flirter in the world (which I warned him about), so he won the bead war. Hey, it’s not my fault most of the floats were men and Timmy was practically throwing himself at them!

Slut.

But all in all, it was pretty much the perfect weekend, and I can’t wait for next year! 🙂

Destin and 4th of July

UGGGGHHHH, this trip was no bueno for me. It seems like every time I’ve been to Destin, it ends in E.R. visits (which is actually the case for Timmy. He and his friends really have never been able to finish a trip to Destin without visiting a medical professional). They actually still had my information on file from the last time, like 5 years ago, when I jumped in the water and stepped on some barnacles which tore the sole of my foot up.

This time, it started out great. Magda and Corey, who so generously donated the BOTE board for our “30 Years, 1 Wish” party, invited us to stay in their renovated, white, shiny new home. Their house is super gorgeous and seems to be the perfect party pad. I’m not a huge alcohol drinker, so I knew I would have to psych myself up to hang out with this crew who have livers of steel. Not that I went overboard, but I definitely had to pace myself to get through the day drinking part (which for those of you who know me well, is NOT a strength of mine).

Friday, they had a get-together at their house where people just drove their boats up or paddled up on their boards (which is the greatest way of life, let me tell you) and we all hung out in the sun by their pool. Saturday started out much like Friday. The sun burning our eyes out (they hadn’t put up drapes yet), children crying, that sort of thing. But we were heading out to Crab Island, so I was excited to have a really awesome day.

The only photo I got of the weekend.

The only photo I got of the weekend.

We made it out there, anchored the boat, played a frisbee game, met people, it was great! BOTE is constantly trying out new designs, and this weekend they were trying out a prototype for a wake surfing paddleboard. It’s smaller than a regular paddleboard, and way less stable. I tried it out a few times, was able to get the hang of it, and even tried (and failed) to do a little yoga on it.

But then, it all went downhill.

Here’s where my memory gets a little fuzzy. I remember talking with Timmy, facing their boat, and then all of the sudden I heard, “Look out!” and then BAM, the paddleboard came crashing down on the back of my head. If you’ve ever been hurt by something that’s also taken you by complete surprise, you understand the feeling. It was horrendous.

After that, I remember things in bits and pieces. I remember being brought on someone else’s boat to ice my head, I remember feeling really sleepy and just wanting to rest my eyes, and then I remember being at the E.R. with a brace around my neck, going in for a CT scan. I couldn’t remember who the president was at first (which made me cry because I was so scared).

Timmy was by my side the whole time. He was my rock, calming me down when I started to freak out, asking all the right questions, and helping me with insurance and confusing payments. In short, he was incredible.

The following week, I had some nausea, trouble sleeping, headaches, and general confusion. I had a lot of trouble getting words out, and am still kind of struggling here and there with speaking smoothly and quickly but in general, I’m completely back to normal. Timmy hated it but loved it because he eventually said, “I finally feel smarter than you!”

Slut.

After that, I felt good enough to have another St. Pete weekend (the last one in a while, since it’ll be my turn to visit Orlando multiple weekends in a row. It’s only fair). We had a really good time at the Rays game last Saturday night for an Emory alumni event, which I may or may not have outed him to everyone as a non-alum. As though his Auburn hat didn’t give him away. We had a delicious dinner at our new favorite place, Brick and Mortar, met a couple and talked with them the entire night. Sunday, we had lunch at Locale Market (an incredible, jaw-dropping place) and saw Jurassic World (which pretty much sucked. We were uber disappointed), and had ourselves a delightful weekend together.

The weekends are getting harder and harder when it comes time to say goodbye. We may be seeing an end in sight as we try to figure out Timmy’s job and what moving will look like. We’re not there yet, but we’re definitely having the talks.

Life is so funny. As I’ve been going through the summer, I haven’t really felt like what we’ve been up to has been that interesting to share. I haven’t been taking as many photos, I’ve really been trying to be IN the moment. But now that I’ve finished writing this post, damn, we are busy people. I love our life.

♥, VB