DTR: The Conversation of the Century

I would like to take a moment and talk about one of the scariest conversations you can ever have.

Defining the relationship.

I am by no means a relationship expert. Honestly, you don’t even want to know all my previous relationships and where they went wrong. But there is one thing I do know: you have to define the relationship eventually.

Pretty common sense, right?

Wrong. People just expect the person they’re seeing to magically read their mind and know what they’re thinking and how they feel. That’s just totally unfair and that’s how you potentially ruin something that could be wonderful.

Relationships are a lot of “what-if’s” and there’s no point in making it even harder on you. That’s why you have the DTR, the defining the relationship.

Adam and I matched on Tinder like so many of our 21st century, Millennial, counterparts. We matched on February 27– four days after my 21st birthday– and we set our first date for the following weekend on March 4 (I only remember these dates because I wrote them down for Adam in a little anniversary book). He wound up staying the night because we got back late and slept on my couch. We woke up, ate breakfast together and he left to go back to Bragg. I kind of thought that would be the last time I would ever see him and went on about my day. Well, an hour and a half later I got a text from him asking to see me again soon. That Wednesday, I drove down to Fayetteville and we met up for dinner. I got back to Raleigh, texted him, and he asked if we could go out again this weekend.

I know, it all seems like it went so fast but stay with me here. While, yes, we had our first three dates over the course of a week, it didn’t go this fast for long.

For the entire month of March, we went back and forth between Raleigh and Fayetteville seeing each other. He would come on a Friday and leave on Saturday and I would come down on a Wednesday and meet up with him for dinner. Eventually, he told me that he was going to be doing a training exercise in the month of April and we might not be able to see each other as much while he was doing this. Right after he said that, he told me that wanted to be an exclusive couple and wanted to keep seeing just me. I didn’t even need to ask, he told me to just think about it.

Did I mention he also dropped the bomb that he was deploying in August that night, too? No? Yeah. He did. He gave me all the information I needed to make an informed decision.

We kept seeing each other after that and he never asked me for an answer. He was never pushing me to say yes and he never even brought it up. Around the end of April I texted him and said, “When you come over tonight I have some good news.” Sometimes I wonder if he knew what I was going to tell him but, to his credit, he didn’t push me to tell him right then and there. When he came over, we had the talk about what we were, what we expected from each other and that’s when we became an exclusive couple.

It has seriously been a wild ride with him. There’s been so many ups and downs and differences, I can’t count them all. The moral of this story is: don’t let anyone push you into doing anything you’re not ready to do. If you’re not ready to be in a relationship, tell them. Don’t make them read your mind because they can’t. I don’t know if anyone told you but people can’t read minds. Sorry. You need to speak up at every step of the process and let them know your thoughts, feelings, concerns and expectations.

In other words, don’t be Ross and Rachel.

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Long-Time, No-See

I mentioned in my last post that it had been a hot minute since I had written anything and that I was going to write a life update. Well, it’s here!

Relationship

Adam and I recently hit our double digit day! What that means is we hit 99 days until he comes home– hence, double digits. I don’t really want to say when we hit it for safety reasons (I’m still not totally sure what falls under OPSEC and what doesn’t) and just personal security reasons. We’ve kind of been preparing little-by-little for him to come home and making plans for what we want to do.

We’ve bought tickets for several little things after he comes home around the state. We’re going to a second chance prom hosted in Greensboro in early September and I’m so excited. I already have the dress I’m going to wear when we go and I know exactly how I’m going to do my hair and makeup. I really need to find some gold shoes or something similar to go with my dress. I wore it to my best friend’s sorority formal when Adam and I first started dating and he’s been wanting me to wear it again.

We’re also going to the Fayetteville lantern festival in October. I’m a little nervous about this one because it’s going to be a big crowd and it might be a little boring waiting for the lanterns to take off. It’s supposed to have live music, foods and things to do. So, basically, it’s concert meets state fair. The State Fair is also in October and, since he’s never been to a state fair before, I think we’ll get tickets and go this year. I went my freshman year of high school and even though my college was literally down the road from the fairgrounds (I could have walked or taken a bus to the fair), I don’t really enjoy the fair so I haven’t been in seven years.

I gave Adam his birthday gift early but he can’t enjoy it until November. In November, we’re going to the Legend of Zelda symphony in Durham. I had to tell him what was going on so he wouldn’t A) buy tickets for himself and B) make plans for that weekend. He also needed time to ask for a weekend pass or put in for leave. I have it so we’ll get off work, meet up at wherever we’re living and go. I’ve booked a room at a hotel in Durham for the evening so we’ll get dressed there. If there’s time, we’ll go out to dinner before the show. If there’s not, I’m taking him out to brunch the next morning. I think it’ll be a nice evening and it’s a very adult gift. It’s not us going out to a bar and getting blackout drunk to celebrate his birthday. I feel bad it’s having to wait until November when his birthday is in early July, but it is what it is. I’m sending him a little something for his birthday to tide him over.

Everything is going really well with us so far and I’m really happy with where we’re at. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much time to talk since he moved to night shift but we’ve been making it work. I think we’re both ready for him to come home. We’ve started making a list of apartments to check out when he comes home and I’m really excited to see where the world takes us.

Career

I started a new job but I’d like to remain rather tight-lipped about it right now. I haven’t even updated my LinkedIn with where I’m at now because I want to keep a lot very very private. I have my reasons for keeping it private and it has to do with personal security. I don’t want to really get into what I do, what my job title is and I’m definitely not telling where I work at.

I am super happy there. I enjoy my work, I enjoy doing what I’m doing and I enjoy going to work every day. I’ve been there officially for a month and I couldn’t be happier!

The Odyssey

I thought I was going to quit The Odyssey in May but I was talked into staying a little longer. I was getting burnt out, I had very few ideas left and I just didn’t have the time to devote to being a good contributing editor. Well, an amazing opportunity came up that I couldn’t pass by.  The Wake County Odyssey group was among the top 10 percent on The Odyssey. We had a healthy and active community since September 2016 and we’re still going strong!

Sidenote: if you want to apply to write with us, follow this link and look for Wake County North Carolina and join our team! My Editor-in-Chief or a contributing editor will reach out to you! 

As you may or may not know, NC State, my alma mater, is in Wake County. Our managing editor (basically my bosses boss) came up with the plan to merge Wake County with NCSU and make a new Odyssey group. The thinking was that while everyone in the Wake County group has ties to Wake County, not everyone has ties to NCSU. Well, this merge created a new executive board. My EIC was planning to leave in May because she was taking on a new role at her university and I was planning to follow. When we merged with NCSU, one of our star writers stepped up the the plate and said she would take on the Editor-in-Chief position. So what ended up happening was Blair took on the EIC job, Carey is now the secretary (meaning she keeps track of who is writing, who isn’t, what their topics are, ect.) and I took over the social media director position since the previous girl left. Our recruitment head stepped down to focus on her schoolwork and so the NCSU EIC stepped into her role and the strongest writers from NCSU are now the contributing editors. Confused? So is everyone else.

I now don’t write every single week; I turn in an article when we need just one more to be healthy and I have a few fun ones waiting in the wings when they’re needed. As much as I loved writing for The Odyssey, I just couldn’t keep up with everything I had going on. The social media director position is much more suited to me because it’s what I’ve done before in previous positions and I’ve been enjoying it so far. Also, if you want to read some amazing articles by some amazing writers, you should like our Facebook page. Just search @WakeOdyssey in the Facebook search bar and you’ll find us!

I think that’s everything that’s been going on recently. I’m feeling great, I’m sleeping well, I enjoy everything going on. For all intents and purposes, I’m happy!

 

2017: My Sunday Night Routine

I haven’t written in a hot minute. I could go on a diatribe about how busy I’ve been, what I’ve been up to, ect., but I’ll spare you that right now and just write another blog post later with some updates (because I have some great news!). I just wanted to get into writing what my Sunday night routine is. Honestly, I know appearance isn’t everything and some of this seems very shallow and appearance-focused, but doing this at the start of the week helps me feel more confident and put together. When I take my time to detox from the weekend and the past week, I feel like a brand new person which is honestly what matters the most.

Obviously, with a deployed boyfriend, I’m doing all the for myself and not to impress others. Don’t get it twisted.

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Disclaimer: I am not a beauty guru and I can barely do my own makeup so take all this with a grain of salt. Maybe go watch what an actual beauty guru says.

 

This takes me about an hour and a half to go through all this (I’m including my shower in this time count) but I could probably do it quicker if I didn’t get so distracted and just take my sweet time.

First things first, I take all my nail polish off. I like to change my polish colors each week– but, let’s be real, it’s pretty much always a purple– and after a long week of guitar teaching, typing, opening jars because I’m an independent woman who doesn’t need a man, my polish is done for. I take it all off using a non-acetone polish remover to help save my nails. Even though I’ve taken my polish off, I don’t repaint immediately, we have a a few more steps to go through before I can even think of a new paint job.

Next, I like to apply my new favorite product: Lush’s Volcano Foot Mask. I have callouses all over my feet and they’ve been with me for years at this point. Dancing, walking barefoot all the time, tight shoes, wearing a lot of high heels and just being rough on my feet in general really did a number on my feet. My callouses were impenetrable and not even the most potent lotion could penetrate them. I had resigned myself to having ugly feet until a mistake on Lush’s part.

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I had ordered a shampoo from them but they accidentally sent me the foot mask instead. When I called customer service, they told me to keep it and they would send me the right product free of charge. Well, if you’ve got it, might as well try it.

You slather a thick paste all over your feet, stick them in plastic to prevent drying out (I use grocery bags since those are what I have on hand) and wait 15 minutes. I’m really bad and leave it on for 45 minutes (I already told you I have thick callouses) but I promise nothing bad really happens. You feel a little bit of a tingle, but don’t be alarmed because that’s normal.

The pumice and kaolin penetrate your tough feet and take off all the dead, dry skin you’ve built up. Tomatoes and papaya help to clean, cinnamon to deodorize (which I need when I wear my Toms because yuck) and a dash of potatoes, tomatoes and essential oils to round it out. It’s super messy if you’re not careful but it’s honestly my favorite part of Sundays. I was so sad when I ran out and had to wait for my new shipment to come in.

After I slather on the mask and wait my 45 minutes, it’s time to shower. I use the Pumice Power soap from Lush to wash off the mask first thing because I’ve already left it on for 30 minutes longer than the label says to so I need it off ASAP. The smell of this soap is amazing. When you smell the foot mask for the first time you sit there and think “what am I doing to my body” but the soap smells exactly what I imagine heaven to smell like. It seems to get the job done for the most part, so I’m happy.

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What I do in the shower is a routine all in itself– but it’s not exclusive to Sundays– so I’ll just breeze through it and maybe talk about it another day. I wash my hair using the Big shampoo from Lush. It’s a sea-salt shampoo with citrus a coconut oils in it to add volume, shine and to cleanse; I seriously love this shampoo because it does everything Lush claims it does. Is it expensive? Yes. Pretty expensive for the size but you really only need to use a little tiny bit to get amazing results. In fact, if you use too much, it doesn’t work as well.

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After I wash my hair, I wash my body using either a Shea Moisture soap, or this or this from Lush (I promise I don’t work for Lush, just a super fan). I read somewhere that if you wash your hair and face before you wash your hair, then when you wash your hair, shampoo can run down and clog your pores. Ever since then, I wash my hair before anything else.

Once my body is done, I wash my face. Every other day I use a glycolic acid face wash; if you have acne, or acne scars or aging concerns, a glycolic acid cleanser is something you should introduce into your skincare routine. Dry skin shouldn’t use glycolic acid more than once or twice a week. If you’re an oily gal (like me), you can use it up to three times a week. In just two weeks, I’ve noticed my skin looks brighter, my scaring is going down and my zits are getting smaller. I absolutely love this one from Mario Badescu and it’s actually really affordable. My dermatologist recommended this one from Peter Thomas Roth but I’m not as big of a fan. On days I don’t use my MB glycolic, I use a charcoal wash from Biore; if you use the strips from them they include a $2.00 off coupon. I shave my legs, underarms, and other parts of my body and that’s pretty much the shower.

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I know I said I would breeze through it and that was me breezing through it. Showering only takes me 15 minutes, total, every night anyways.

When I get out, I put my robe on and start to finish up. We’re already an hour into our routine, 30 minutes left!

I like to use a Biore strip on my nose right after I shower. I stick that sucker on my nose and get to work on my hair while it dries. I don’t like to use a lot of heat on my hair. I have natural waves that I try to protect as much as I can but I also have really fine hair that gets weighed down easily with product. The ogx coconut water spray is my holy grail right now. I spritz it on my ends and then brush my hair. After I get all the knots out, I do a loose little braid and call it a night. By the time I’ve gently worked all the knots out, my Biore strip is dry and ready to take off. After I remove the strip and all the gunk, it’s time to tighten the pores. I really enjoy using this mask from Target since it has witch hazel and tea tree oil in it. It soothes my skin and if you seal it up right, you can get three uses out of each little packet.

While I’m waiting for the mask to dry, I put lotion on my freshly-shaved legs. I like to use the Aveeno lavender lotion because I can feel it on my legs the next day, all day.  After I wash my mask off, I use my MB aloe lotion and my acne serum, top it off with a vitamin c oil. Finally, I paint my nails using an Essie polish (I love their color selection and the formula stays on my nails without a base coat or a top coat sooooo yeah). After that, I call it a day.

I don’t usually wear makeup on the weekends so I can give my face a break and time to breathe. If I do, I take off my makeup before my shower with a micellar water. Just wanted to add that.

I know, it’s a lot. It’s a very long process that takes forever to go through. I could cut the time down by a lot if I didn’t keep the foot mask on my feet for so long. I enjoy it though and I’m always really excited to get ready for bed. I feel refreshed and energized the next morning when I wake up and I feel ready to take on the world.

When You’re Running On Rumors

I’ll admit it– I’m a drama addict.

love to read all the Internet drama and shenanigans that go on around the Internet (hello, Cracker Barrel and Brad’s wife was the funniest thing to happen in March) and I love to see the carefully curated screenshots that go along with the drama. However, I don’t like to participate in it and I hate when things are based off of rumors. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t run on facts like a little robot girl– I have feelings and pathos appeals to me just like any normal human– but I hate when all you have to go by is rumors.

But guess what, friends. Rumors are what makes the military float. Every day it’s been something new; “we’re coming home in month A”, “just kidding, they’ve decided to push it back to month B”, or (my personal favorite), “they said they’re going to keep us past our orders and have us come home four months later in month C”.

I know, I know, never plan around the military; that’s a lesson I’ve learned all too well these past 8 months. I’ve had a crash-course in planning to plan again. At this point, I could teach a master class on preparing for one thing just to have another happen. I have no idea when Adam will be home and I’ve resigned myself to that fact. Like I keep telling him, it is what it is at this point and I have to be okay with it because there’s no other choice. I mean, where does getting upset get me? Hint: the answer is nowhere.

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There is one thing I’ve noticed– the actual lack of information. I know that they’re given orders and (most of the time?) those orders have a date when they’re coming home. But, as I’ve just so recently found out, those orders can be extended. How often are orders extended? Is this something that’s common and you can always look forward to or is it rare? I’ve tried googling the answer to this question but, alas, to no avail (but if you know the answer, please tell me. It’s not so much that I need the information but more-so I’m just curious).

But wait, my friends, there’s more. Adam and company do not have new orders in hand about extensions. That’s right, there’s rumors heavily circulating around that they won’t be coming home when they were supposed to but yet there’s no official word that they aren’t. Wouldn’t you think they would get on that soon? I mean, there’s not exactly a whole lot of time left until they should be preparing to come home. Only one person has officially been given orders but he’s the last one to leave for continuity sake when the next group comes over.

I understand the logistics of moving thousands of people at once can be difficult, I really do. But wouldn’t you think someone somewhere would want to make a concrete decision about something somewhere? I guess the answer is no.

How I imagine the Army looks right now

Adam and I are trying to plan our whole lives around this deployment and when he comes home. I’m currently looking to relocate closer to where he’s stationed when he’s not deployed because, more than likely, when he leaves the military to transition into the civilian world with all us plebs, he will be working out of the same city his current base is. In the long run, it makes more sense for me to be there as well so we don’t have to spend so much money on car upkeep and gas for long commutes (oh, did I mention that my city and his city are an hour and a half apart and the only housing options in the middle is farmland?).

However, I don’t want to move to an army-run city by myself where I have no friends and no support system. I mean, I’m currently living the dream. I live with my parents, I pay no rent and no grocery bills, all I pay for is my car upkeep and insurance and when I go out or shopping. If I move, I have to take on more responsibility– more responsibility than I’ve ever had. And, I could be doing it all alone for an indeterminate amount of time.

I don’t want to live in a high-crime city all alone with few friends and my family an hour away. It sounds terrible. Of course, one of my best friends lives in the same city since he’s stationed at the same base as Adam but he has his own career, own trainings to attend and his own friends to hang out with. I’m sure if I asked he’d come over all the time; but, do I really want to ask and take him away from his friends?

Nah.

Of course, there are apps like BumbleBFF but I don’t really want to take the chance of the wrong person seeing my profile and thinking I’m on it for dating purposes. Or, I might get catfished and killed– there is no in-between in my mind.

The point of this is that I’m running on rumors right now and rumors get you nowhere. Remember when people thought Y2K was going to happen and they pulled all their money out, bought freeze-dried food to last a lifetime and built bomb shelters in their backyards? Obviously you can’t believe every rumor that circulates because then you wind up looking like a serial killer with a ton of freeze-dried food, no money and your family shoved in a tiny lockable space.

I’m trying to make huge life changes based on rumors. Will he come home in three months? If he does, then living alone won’t be so bad. Will he come home in five months? Maybe, but I can’t count on that either. Could I afford to keep up an apartment by myself for that long? I don’t know. I also don’t know how well I would do living alone for five months. Maybe he’ll come home in seven months. I for sure cannot live seven months alone with no friends and no family. It will literally be me going to work and coming home and that would be a miserable experience. But, if I move now, everything will be settled and ready for when he comes home.

But no one knows when that is.

 

 

Why I’m So Salty: An Essay

I don’t consider myself a “salty” person in general but sometimes I’m saltier than the Dead Sea. For those of you who don’t know, salty means:

Being angry, agitated, upset

Thanks, Urban Dictionary.

What am I salty about? Glad you asked. Sit down and get prepared for the diatribe of salt that’s about to spew from my fingertips.

I’m salty because I live at home with my parents.

I love my parents but I left home at 18 and showed back up at 21. It’s been an adjustment for everyone involved; I think we’ve pretty much settled in to a routine by now but sometimes you need a little more freedom. Besides, you cannot sound cool saying “yeah, we can just go back to my parents’ house and chill”. Can’t. You sound dumb.

It’s been great having their support and being able to save money but sometimes you need a little bit of a break.

I’m salty because my Lush Dirty bar is almost done. Again.

I love Lush with all my heart. The products are good for your skin and good for the environment. With no animal cruelty and their tendency to use vegan products (so no animal fats to clog my oily skin!), Lush has quickly become one of my favorite brands. The only downside is the price. For $10.50 you can buy the Dirty massage bar and it’ll last you a month. A month! That’s $126 a year. I guess I can afford it since it’s not like I stop by Starbucks on the daily. But dang, it’s hard to drop that kind of money on a little lotion bar.

I’m salty because I need to go to the gym.

I haven’t been since November and I have a desk job. You do the math because that’s all I have to say on the subject.

I’m salty because my boyfriend’s deployment homecoming date keeps changing.

When is he coming home? No one knows. I don’t know, he doesn’t know, no one knows. It’s really great– I love being totally in the dark about my future. It’s not like he and I have plans or anything.  I do understand the need to keep everything under wraps due to safety concerns but dang, we didn’t even have a month when he was coming home so we have no idea about anything.

I’m salty because I have $60,000 in student loans and no idea where to start paying them off.

I racked up a ton of debt by going to school. But it’s fine, I’m not worried.

*cries internally**

I’m sure there’s more but that’s pretty much what’s weighing on my mind currently. I just need to keep repeating “life it great, life is fine, you’ll be okay”.

 

Dealing With Loss When You’re Alone

Last Monday we got the news that my great-grandmother had passed. She was 96 years old and we were closer than you’d expect a great-grandmother and her great-grandchild to be. She was one of my heroes and I looked up to her my entire life.

Wednesday we went to the funeral and internment and it was, um, interesting to say the least. There was just a lot of unnecessary drama that wasn’t needed at a funeral. It could have waited at least until Maw Maw was in the ground but what’s done is done at this point.

But, one of the hardest things is knowing your partner wants to be there to support you and can’t be. Adam was there on Monday when the news broke but had to leave that night. It was a rough twelve hours; at 7 am, I got the news that my great-grandmother had passed and at 7 pm I had to leave Adam at the airport. Monday was probably one of the hardest days– emotionally– of my life.

My great-grandmother isn’t the only one I’ve lost while Adam has been deployed. I lost my grandfather (her son, actually) in November the same week of Thanksgiving. Ironically, we lost my grandmother, another of my dad’s family members, a week or so before Christmas two years ago. My family kind of sucks about holidays, I guess. But I’ve experienced significant loss during the 7 months he’s been gone.

Loss of a loved one is already something that’s incredibly difficult to take in and deal with and it’s even harder when you’re dealing with it alone. I hate to say alone because I had my family and we all came together to mourn and to heal but I was without my partner. You learn to rely on someone that you love to be by your side through everything.

What do you do when they can’t be there?

You just move on. There really isn’t a choice– you have to keep moving. Did Adam want to be there? Yes, he did. Did I want him there? Yes, I wanted him there. But sometimes, when you’re in that much pain, you can’t spend your time wishing and wanting for things that cannot happen. You just have to keep moving and going and being.

I know it sounds insensitive of me but what can you really do?

 

When He Has to Leave After Leave

Adam’s time on leave with me has finally come to an end. We spent a great few weeks together and enjoyed our time on vacation immensely. It was nice to get to sit together and do simple things like watch TV or make dinner together. We got to talk about doing laundry and how my day at work was. We got to talk face-to-face rather than over the phone and there wasn’t that terrible delay that you get with Facebook Messenger.

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Blue Ridge Parkway sightseeing

We enjoyed a lot of hiking.

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Climbing to the top of Split Rock at Grandfather Mountain

A. lot.

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The creek while waiting for our tour to start at Linville Caverns

I think we hiked every single day.

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Carefully scaling Blowing Rock

We had some birthday fun! It was my birthday, I turned 22 on February 23 and Adam really helped to make it extra special.

He made me breakfast in bed and even got me some cute cupcakes and put a candle in it. Which I blew out and made a wish, of course (I won’t tell you my wish, I really would like it to come true).

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All hand-made by Adam

We made some amazing dinners together (seriously, try this recipe and substitute the chicken with the shrimp. It’ll blow your mind).

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We walked around Historic Blowing Rock on my birthday while doing a little bit of window shopping and even got some ice cream.

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Ice cream from Kilwins. We had bought fudge there earlier in the week.

We went out to different breweries and I expanded my picky palate just a little bit.

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Cider from Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Of course, I think you can see a trend in the kind of alcohol I like to drink. Bring on the ciders!

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This was Mellow Mushroom– but it counts, right?

We saw a ton of weird stuff on our adventures.

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Giant wooden burl at Grandfather Mountain

We did a ton of touristy stuff at Old Salem like eating at the tavern and going to see the blacksmith.

We even found a little troll under the bridge.

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Adam gave me one of the most wonderful gifts for our anniversary. It’s a map of the world where we can put all sorts of pins in to signify different things. Green is where we’ve been, red is where we want to go, yellow is where we have a trip planned, blue is where family and friends are and black is where we have genealogical roots.

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It’s funny to look at because all his green pins are on the west coast and all my green pins are on the east coast. It’s a visual reminder of how lucky we are to have met.

We went out with my friends to celebrate our anniversary at the bar we had our first date at. It’s a fun bar to go to– even if you can’t talk over the music. It was a great way to celebrate being together for one year. To be honest, I’d probably get married at Rum Runners if that was allowed.

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Mango Tango fishbowl

All-in-all, it was a great month. The last day was sad but I just have to remember that we’re one day closer to the rest of our lives.

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