Wednesday, September 26, 2012

wedding festivities {Nik+Lauren}

It's really hard to be the "photographer" when you're actually a participant in an event, but I sure tried!  I didn't take many, but here are a few of the photos from last week's the wedding we were in 2 weeks ago!

The gorgeous view of downtown Cincinnati from the venue {Drees Pavilion in Devou Park}

The groomsmen and their gifts at the rehearsal dinner

I took a few more the morning of the wedding while we were all getting ready.

Morning must have, Starbucks for the wedding party!

the prep area

the bride having her extensions...attached?  is that what you call it?  I have no clue!

Lauren has so GORGEOUS friends!

the flower girls were out of this world adorable!

nail touch ups

applying lipstick

getting dressed

Lauren's gown fit her personality to a T, it was PERFECT for her!

 hanging out with the stunning bride before the ceremony =}

I had to share this photo Jason's aunt took during the ceremony.  Due to the way the chairs were arranged, we had to alter our original plan of where we stood a tad so myself and the MOH {who is maybe 5ft tall and wearing 4 inch heals (farthest to the right)} had to stand up on the stage with the bride and groom while the other 3 bridesmaids were on the ground level, making me looks like a GIANT!  This photo just makes me chuckle!

and one of the hubs and I at the reception {he changed into his "party tie" after the ceremony}

Lauren and Nik could not have asked for a more beautiful day to exchange their vows.  Lauren planned everything perfectly and, as far as I know, everything went smoothly.  The day was gorgeous and a ton of fun.  I'm so grateful we were able to make the trip home to celebrate with them!

The day after the wedding, Jason and I had some 5 year anniversary photos taken by the AMAZING Loft3.  Melanie was wicked fast to get some of the images up on their site.  I'm sure I'll share them on here once I receive the disc, but if you just cannot wait to see them, head over to their website {click on their name in the line above} and check 'em out and leave Melanie some comment love!  I am over the moon thrilled with them!  They are all that I hoped they would be and more!!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

30 by 30 {the end}

Well friends, that's it.  I am officially 30 years old.  I gave this project my best and although I would have liked to finish all 30 things on my list, I had fun working toward my goals and I'm happy about all the things I was able to check off {ESPECIALLY #20}!

Final tally 20/30

Health/Fitness {2/5}
1} take a yoga class
2} complete a 5K {DONE 3Jun12 AND 9Jun12!  yeah, that's right, I did 2 in one week...who is this girl!?!?}
3} climb Mt Fuji {DONE! 27Aug12} 
4} do 1 unassisted pull up
5} pass the Army PT test for my gender/age group {looked this one up, I need to run 2 miles in 20:30, do 17 push-ups in 2 minutes and 45 sit-ups in 2 minutes...I have some training to do!}

Food {5/6}
6} learn to cook lobster {DONE 16Dec11}
7} make gnocchi from scratch {DONE 8Dec11}
8} learn to make grandma's relish {DONE 23&24May12}
9} try 5 new foods {DONE} 1. natto beans 2. umeboshi.  3. ratatouille (I know, I know, I'd never had it before and now I'm obsessed).  4. collard greens 5. turnips
11} learn to make 5 traditional Japanese dishes, including sushi {DONE}  1.sushi rolls. 2. inarizushi. 3. omelet (they're slightly different than the omelets we eat in the States) 4. tempura 5. shabu shabu

Travel {4/8}
12} drink the Absynth we bought in Prague 3 years ago 
13} visit at least 3 new countries {2/3} 1. Taipei. 2. Australia
14} learn enough Japanese to carry on at least a 5 minute conversation
{ok, so it may not have been a 5 minute conversation but I was able to order our meal in Japanese and understand/answer the waiters questions.  It's my list and I say that counts!}
15} visit Disney (Tokyo Disney will have to do)
16} visit Hiroshima {scheduled for next month}
17} snorkle the Great Barrier Reef {DONE July2011}
18} ride an elephant in Thailand (this and #17 are trips that will help knock off # 13 as well and are sort of in the early planning stage.  If our vacation locations change, these will have to be changed as well)
19} visit a Japanese Onsen (hot spring) {DONE 31Dec11}

Random {9/11}
20} get out of debt {DONE 15Aug12}
21} get caught up on my scrapbooks and stay current
22} read 50 books {DONE!}
23} find out my blood type {DONE 3Mar12, I'm O+ for those that are curious}
24} design a logo for BleuDress (or pay someone else to) {DONE 5Mar12}
25} MASTER all the functions on my camera {DONE 16Oct11 thanks to this class}
26} solve the Rubik's cube or complete a crossword puzzle without any help {DONE 26Apr12 so what if it was in People magazine, I did it!}
27} save $20K {I have come to terms with the idea that this one is not going to happen thanks to the trips we will be making to the US next year.  I'm not happy about it, but it's a fact}
28} watch all of the Star Wars movies {DONE 2July12}
29} renew my CPR certification and keep it current {DONE 10Mar12}
30} be paid for a photograph {DONE 7JAN12}

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dirty Thirty!

Today is my birthday.  I can't believe I've been alive for 30 years.  As I officially enter my 30's, I want to be sure never to forget my 20's!

20 {2002-2003}
*dropped out of EMU
*moved back to Cincinnati
*started dating Jeremy

21 {2003-2004}
*celebrated my birthday at Blue Note with some of my very best friends
they obviously had some strong negative feelings towards Jeremy.  Things would be very different now if I had listened to them at the time!

*Jeremy deployed to Iraq for a year
*Took classes at UC and worked at a Chevy dealership

22 {2004-2005}
*Jeremy returned from his deployment and we broke up
*Joined Facebook {thank God for the timeline, it's making this recap MUCH easier!}
*Met Jason {through a mutual friend on FB}
*Introduced him to the fam-bam just weeks after meeting him in person
4th of July 2005 with my family

23 {2005-2006}
*Jason broke up with me ={ then deployed to Iraq for a year ={ ={
*Starting working at Delta
*Traveled A LOT.  The highlights were Vegas and Spain
my friend, Tim, and I in Spain

24 {2006-2007}
*Went to my 1st NHL game
At the Hurricanes game in Raleigh with my friend, Derek.

*Traveled all over the US with my best friend
Holly and I on a cruise in Nassau

*Jason returned and we started dating again
*Took a vacation to Puerto Rico with Jason

25 {2007-2008}
*Celebrated my birthday with friends in Columbus
celebrating my birthday

exchanging vows at a ghetto "chapel" in Kentucky with my lover

*Moved to Ft. Bragg and met some life long friends
my first "Army Wife" friends

*Moved to Ft. Riley and then back to Cincinnati
such a good helper

*Jason deployed to Iraq for a year ={
we tried really hard to be happy that day

*Went to Vegas for a hockey tournament
in Vegas with some of my favorite people

*The Cyclones won their league championship
We partied like WE had won the cup!  This was the only night during Jason's year long deployment that I consumed any alcohol.

*Jason and I spent R&R in Europe
in Paris during our 2 week tour of Europe

*Visited my BFF in Alaska

26 {2008-2009}
*attended the NHL all star game
{1st anniversary present from my awesome husband!}
We met Gordie Howe at the airport in Montreal. 

*My grandpa lost his battle with cancer
love this man

*Jason returned from his deployment
photo from our awesome OpLove photographer Kim Kravitz

*We moved to FLW, bought a house and a new car
our awesome little family in front of our 1st home

*I lost my grandma and my best friend and inherited Buster

27 {2009-2010}
*lived in Missouri with some of the best friends we've ever known
some of our awesome friends on a trip to Branson

*Celebrated our WEDDING with friends and family
having fun before our wedding reception

*Started this blog
*Lived in Cincinnati while Jason was at Ranger school
*Visited him and his extended family in GA

*Volunteered in NOLA

*Said goodbye to my amazing family and MOVED TO JAPAN

28 {2010-2011}
*Celebrated our anniversary in Hawaii
Anniversary dinner at Chef Morimoto's restaurant

*3/11 Earthquake resulted in a free trip to the US
celebrating my grandmother's brother's 50th wedding anniversary while I was visiting the US

*Traveled to Taipei
at the zoo in Taipei

*Visited Australia
at the Koala park in Australia

*Volunteered in Tohoku
Digging a hole at the park in Ofunato.  Photo courtesy of my friend, Ari.

29 {2011-2012}
*My sister surprised me and came to visit me for my birthday
Dressed up as Geisha in Kyoto with my sister

*Hosted 35 Japanese ladies for Thanksgiving lunch with my friend, Melissa
some of the ladies, Melissa and I after our lunch

*Mom came to visit
Cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo with my momma!

*Ran the Warrior Dash

*Paid off debt
*Climbed Mt. Fuji

And those are just SOME of the highlights of my 20's.  I started off a little rocky but definitely got better as the years passed.  I'm so grateful for all the blessings I've received over the past 10 years.  Looking back through all these old photos made me giddy with love and happiness. Thank you to my amazing friends and family for being there with me through it all.  I cannot wait to see what the next decade has in store for me and I hope you'll all join me for the ride!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Birthday Celebrations

This weekend I celebrated my birthday a few days early.  I could not have asked for a better final weekend of my 20s!

Saturday I finally got to try one of the art bars that I've been seeing and hearing about.

Jill from Cheers to Art was a great host

With my sister-in-law, sister, and momma before we got started

We started with our blank canvases

 Then, after we got a base coat on, we started painting swirls

and more swirls

until we had a final masterpiece

I love that each one, although the same, is quite unique.

Saturday my BFF's parents allowed me to take over their home and have my birthday party there.  I am so blessed to have her and her family in my life!
{ps, she's responsible for my gorgeous new haircut}

it was a perfect day to be outside with so many of my loved ones

My friend's mom made me this sign and everyone signed it.  It was such a great, unexpected keepsake from my day.

I love these girls to pieces...and that guy in the photo?  Oh, that's Ernie Halter!

He played a private show for me and my friends and family.
{my husband really knows how to get me the best gifts!}

 E, you're the best!  Thanks for making my "dirty 30" one I'll always remember!

The weekend only could have been better if my husband had been around but he'll be here in time for my actual birthday =}