Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Three Years! (Love Story Part II)

I would like to now interrupt all the travel/packing programming to wish my wonderful husband a Happy THREE YEAR Anniversary!!! To date, our wedding day was still the happiest day of my life --- you just can't beat marrying your best friend in front of all the people you love in the world!  But, marriage just keeps getting BETTER & BETTER!!  I LOVE you, and I can't think of a more wonderful way to celebrate three years together than a cross country adventure.  (P.S. We leave TODAY!)

Photo by Paul Calhoun Photography

To celebrate, I thought I'd continue our "Love Story" that I started several weeks ago... (To read the first part, click here.)
...
After my first real heartbreak, I had a rough couple of months.  I honestly had convinced myself that this boy was the one God had sent me because Jeff wasn't the right one... Oh so confusing for a young heart!  But, also during that time, Jeff and I began to see more of each other and became really great friends.  And, looking back, it is obvious that we did little things that summer all the time to find ourselves together, like the time we "got lost" on the way home from the lake because Jeff and I both just HAD to be home by dinner.  (Nevermind that he took our friend's Cutlass off-roading and we didn't make it back before ten.)

We spent so much time together (or talking on the phone), in fact, that by fall of our senior year I was CERTAIN he would take me to homecoming.  (This was after a horrible Junior Prom debacle in which Jeff refused to go at all, and I ended up taking a stranger - literally - who had broken his leg the night before in a soccer game... Oh, don't get me started!)  But, alas, Jeff asked someone else.  Ironically, the same girl he had dated just before me four years earlier when we were in ninth grade.

To say I was sad would be an understatement, but, this just confirmed that we were "only friends."  I asked a good friend to homecoming (which was still several weeks away) and Jeff and I continued to talk often and spend time together, even as he "dated" someone else. 

Finally, around the beginning of September, I specifically remember a conversation that we had: I told him that I felt like I was making enemies with his new "girlfriend" and her friends because we spent so much time together, and that as long as he was dating her he would have to stop calling me etc.  And, that was that.

Then, in early October, my best friend's dad passed away unexpectedly.  It was a horribly sad time, and I threw myself into being a good friend and loving her.  That night, I also started a new job at a coffee shop.  So, while everyone else had gone to an out of town football game to "get their mind off of things," I was stuck in Roanoke.  I assumed I'd spend the night by myself; but, when I got off work at eleven, Jeff's car was in the parking lot.  It was the first time we'd really talked in a month or so; and, for the record, he wasn't dating the girl anymore!  I was a wreck that night, but Jeff had stayed home from the game just to drive around and listen to me.  (I could still tear up thinking about how much that meant to me that night!)

A little more time passed, and we continued to be friends.  And then, on October 29th, 2001, late at night on the phone, he finally told me that he wanted to be boyfriend and girlfriend.  I'm sure I didn't sleep a wink that night!

From there, things got more "boyfriend/girlfriendish."  Our first official date, although we'd been spending time together one-on-one for sometime, was just watching the movie Shrek in his basement.  (I give Shrek a lot of credit for our relationship!)

We dated our entire senior year and then, finally, went to a dance together - Senior Prom.  (Picture here.)

Although I think we fell pretty hard that first year, we weren't your standard "puppy love" couple.  Jeff (especially) was pretty private about our relationship, and we both agreed that maintaining friendships etc. was really important.  Also, one of our first conversations - very early on - involved Jeff saying something along the lines of "I don't want to just be together for a few months and then go off to college and break up. If that's your intention, let's just not even start this in the first place..."  SO, even after I accepted my spot at Clemson University in South Carolina (6 hours away), we weren't doing the "I guess our time's up" dance...

... Oh, it's not over yet! Stay tuned for more on long distance dating, the college years, and engagement! :)

Chap-Manifest Destiny 2010

Manifest Destinynoun
A popular slogan of the 1840s. It was used by people who believed that the United States was destined to expand across North America to the Pacific Ocean. The idea of manifest destiny was used to justify the acquisition of Oregon and large parts of the Southwest, including California.


Have you always wanted to drive across the country?
Well, beginning today, I AM!!!

And, if all goes as planned, you will feel like you are right there with me because Jeff & I are being super outdoorsy and bringing along our laptop and an internet air-card so that we can post pictures and update you on our adventures all along the way. (Don't worry, I've also been busy preparing "Guest Posts" and other fun things in case you get tired of hearing about our travels.)

So, here's the (very basic) route.  Just a mere 6,000 plus miles we plan to cover in the next 21 days.


Our first stop: Western Springs, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) to stay with my aunt and uncle and enjoy a quick visit with cousins, etc. This is about a 13.5 hour drive (we left home at 5AM)... So, we are starting strong!  From there, we have a ten hour drive to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where we will grocery shop and stock up for five nights of camping in Badlands National Park and Yellowstone! Stay tuned!

Last night we said our goodbyes at a little cook-out at my parent's house.  My parents & sister, Jeff's parents, and Amanda & Davey all came over to send us off!  It was so fun and, as usual, we felt totally loved.  I know we will see some incredible places in the next three weeks... But, home - I'm sure - will be pretty tough to beat! 


See you soon Roanoke!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tzu and Diana 6.26.10

I warned you we had a lot of weddings to attend this summer! :) 

This past weekend we travelled to Wilson, North Carolina (just outside of Raleigh) to celebrate with our good friends Tzu and Diana as they tied the knot! :) Tzu and Jeff were roommates at Virginia Tech, and we fell in love with Diana when we first met her two years ago on the 4th of July.  They are an adorable couple, and their faith and story is an inspiration.  Not to mention, their wedding was beautiful and they both looked SO happy!

Enjoy a few pictures!

Mr. and Mrs.

I'm sure the photographer didn't mind AT ALL that I joined in!

My groom. :)

The married men... showing off their bling! :)  (Jeff & I have a theory that you can always spot honey-mooners because the bride has a french manicure and the groom can't stop playing with his ring!  It's been three years for us and Jeff still drops his at least daily!)

Congratulations Tzu & Diana!

Not Me Monday: Packing Edition


Well, it's (err... not?) Monday again!  :)  And, we do NOT leave in t-minus TWO DAYS for our major cross country road trip. I can totally believe that this is actually happening!!!


As I'm sure you all expected, I have NOT planned every single detail of our trip... I would never do this because organizing and planning is a super weird hobby and I don't know anyone who actually enjoys it!  But, if someone DID want to make an eight page document of lists and plans, that would DEFINITELY be normal and would NOT spoil the "spontaneous adventure" AT ALL.

That said, I certainly have NOT spent the last week color-coding Rubbermaid bins in our basement.  It is NOT important that all camping gear be in a pink crate and all "car-trip" items be in green.  That is just ODD. (Thank goodness pink and green ARE very outdoorsy colors... So, this would be OK, if I wanted to.)


Jeff and I also did NOT set up our equiptment and tent in the backyard yesterday.  This was not necessary because I am super-great at camping and Jeff was not worried that we would not be able to put the tent up together.  And, in case you were wondering, our camping get-up is completely low-key and we will be 100% "roughing it."  Besides, the air mattress is TOTALLY uncomfortable!


(I'm sure this view will be VERY similar to the ones in Wyoming and Montana.  In fact, I don't even know why we are going!  We could just camp in our backyard for three weeks!)

By the way, I will NOT miss Addy at all while we are gone.  I don't even really like her and could definitely use a three week break. Luckily, she will be spending the time with relatives who equally dislike her, and she will not get any attention AT ALL. (My parents didn't even buy her a mister & a temporary fence... that would be ri-dic-u-lous!)


Overall, I am NOT excited about this trip at all.  I'm sure Yellowstone and Glacier National Park will be unremarkable and HIDEOUS; and, I will definitely be MISERABLE visiting friends and family out West.  Yuck! I hope Wednesday NEVER gets here! ;)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blog Birthday!!! (Winners too!)

It's my blog birthday!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for seeing me and my stories through year one!!!

At the risk of sounding like a total freak, I LOVE blogging!  When I started last June, I never imagined what a big part of my life it would become.  Honestly, I've decided that blogging really changes your perspective on life... Whenever anything bad/embarrassing happens to me, I just look at the bright side and think: "Oh, the blog will love this!" 

I blog because it helps me record and remember all the little "everyday" events and thoughts of this stage of life.  I blog because it lets me be creative again and, for the first time since I was little girl, write FOR FUN.  I blog because it keeps me connected to people I love that I don't get to talk to every day in real life.  And, because it introduces me to people all over the world who provide laughs, encouragement, affirmation, and support.  I blog because I still get SUPER excited whenever I see I have a new follower or an email from a new friend.

Over the last twelve months, I feel like I have been blessed to be a part of an incredible community of women (and men) with fascinating stories from all walks of life.  THANK YOU for coming alongside me and hearing my stories in my little walk. 

Here's to another year of blogging with - hopefully - lots more adventures to report!!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now, the moment you've been waiting for....
The WINNERS of my Blog Birthday Giveaways:
(All chosen by www.random.org.)

The winner of the $40.00 to CSN Stores is.... SarahRachel
The winner of the Crystal B. earrings is.... Karen

The winner of the First Kiss Designs hair poppies is... Rooted in Love
And, the winner of the Tricia Nae blog design is... Emily
Ladies, please email me at e@emyselfandi.com to claim your prizes! Thank you ALL so much for entering my giveaways and celebrating with me!  It's been a fun week!  Lots more to come in the next few days as we get ready to leave for our big trip... the most color-coordinated camping trip EVER! ;)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blog Birthday Giveaway #4

Tomorrow is the big day  (I promise, I really haven't totally lost it... I realize my blog is not a human-being with a real "birth" day... Just bear with me, ok?), and I'm still celebrating...
Today, I'm flashing back to June 29, 2009.  This one's for you animal lovers!! Enjoy! The Evolution of Dog Ownership.

And, you are going to L-O-V-E the final giveaway of my blog birthday celebration... It is just perfect for this occasion!

Tricia Nae - the awesome gal who designed my blog back in March - is giving away a Blog Make-Over!!  I am so jealous of whoever wins this!
 This package, valued at $35.00, is available for blogger users only, and includes:
A custom header
Matching wallpaper/background
Post signature
Color coordinating of text and links
& installation

And, just in case there was any doubt about how awesome she is... check out these other adorable designs she's done:

 All you have to do to enter is comment below!  (It doesn't get much easier than that.)  But, ACT FAST, because this one will only be open for twenty-four hours... All giveaways close at 11:59PM Wednesday & winners will be announced some time on Thursday.

*It's not too late to enter other fun contests here, here, and here either.

Good luck!

Blog Birthday Giveaway #3

Another little treat for you today to thank you for being my readers and bringing me back to my love of writing over the past twelve months...


To celebrate my blog's first birthday, I'm posting a link to one of my favorite posts from the "early days" of blogging AND giving away something fun.

Today's link?
The Poppy that Cried Wolf  (July 7th, 2009... I think that title is all the explanation it really needs.)

Today's giveaway?


Poppy hair clips (oh so appropriate) from First Kiss Designs.


Do you love these?!?!  To win them, just visit First Kiss's Etsy shop (here) and then tell me your favorite item in the comments.  The winner will be announced at the Bloggy Birthday Party on Thursday!

*Don't forget to enter the other giveaways here and here
*All giveaways open until Wednesday at 11:59PM.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blog Birthday Giveaway #2

The birthday celebration continues...


In honor of my blog's first birthday on Thursday, I'm taking a trip down memory lane to look at some of my earliest blog posts AND hosting a slew of great giveaways.

So, first, I bring you... MVP Announces Retirement.  This post - from July 29th, 2009 - was a favorite among my "real life friends," primarily because of the image it recalls in their minds of a kickball game last summer!  Hope you get a good laugh from this ridiculous stunt!


And, even more exciting, Crystal B. is giving away these ADORABLE jewel drop earrings to a lucky reader.

To enter, just check out her Etsy shop (here) and leave me a comment telling me your favorite item.  Then, come back Thursday to see who wins!

Good luck and thanks for keeping my blog alive and strong in year one!




*Enter yesterday's CSN Stores giveaway here.
*All giveaways open until Wednesday at 11:59PM.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blog Birthday Giveaway #1

Let the countdown begin...

E, Myself, and I will be celebrating its FIRST BIRTHDAY on Thursday, June 24th.  To celebrate, I'm counting down the days with FOUR great giveaways and FOUR links to some of my favorite posts from the early days!  Feel free to enter all the giveaways and come back for the "Birthday Party" on Thursday where I'll announce all the big winners. :)

So... on to the fun...

Blog Birthday Giveaway #1:
In the market for new lights, furniture, art, outdoor gear, baby supplies?

CSN Stores literally has it ALL.

 And, you, my friend, can win a $40.00 gift code to spend there on anything you want!  (Ahh, a birthday dream come true!)

To enter, just go to their site (here) and browse their HUGE selection.  Then, leave a comment telling me how you would spend your $40.00 of "birthday money." That's all!

Happy Shopping!

And...

An Oldie but a Goodie:
Reason #1 This is my second blog post ever (June 25th, 2009) about wearing shorty-shorts to an exercise class next to a high school friend. (A good laugh at my expense!)





*Contest open until Wednesday at 11:59PM.

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful dad!

The only man I know who can...
- Rock a mustache.
- Design a beautiful centerpiece
- Buy tampons and put together "emergency kits" for his girls.
- Walk a cat
- Build an entire addition to the house in a weekend
- Survive a fall through the attic into the garage
- Tell you everything about the latest People magazine
- Grill ribs and shrimp during a huge flood
- Carry four chairs, a cabana, a cooler, and an umbrella to the beach
- Read all the Babysitters' Club books with me
- Create fictional characters (named George and Mabel) for our car-rides to school
- Answer all the questions on Jeopardy
- Dial the number to Amtrak (or anywhere) by MEMORY
- Practice Wii yoga before work
- Make my husband feel like a son
- Fix ANYTHING
- Play taxi driver at any hour of the night
- Make me feel beautiful, but not let me care about that kind of thing
- Buy my favorite candy whenever we travel
- Dress perfectly (and color-coordinated) for all occasions

... I mean, seriously, the list goes ON and ON.  He set the bar HIGH for me from a very early age.

There really must be a special place in heaven for the father of two girls!

I love you Daddy!
P.S. Come back later for the first of my Blog Birthday Giveaways!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Poppy Goes to the Beach

I'm sure one day these will all be very special memories for us of our time at the beach with Poppy!

Monday:
 Tuesday:
Wednesday: 
Thursday:
Friday:

Rotisserie Chicken

No, this post is not about last night's dinner.  It is, actually, about the condition of my skin this morning.  BARBECUE Rotisserie Chicken is probably the most appropriate description.  Honestly, I don't know what I've done to deserve skin like this...  I take the term "basking" in the sun to a whole new level.

While my family soaks up sun and turns into perfectly browned biscuits, I gracefully burn and freckle.

Today is our last day at the beach, and I will sit in the house with the oldies.  Yesterday, in an attempt to come home with some semblance of a "beach" look, I slathered myself in tan extender (leftover from the spray tan disaster) and hit the sand.  Kathryn warned me that this was a bad idea, but the image of golden legs in my head made me oblivious to any sense of reason.

Well, I should have listened...  By 3:30PM I could barely move my legs.  And, by 10PM when my family and I went out for a margarita and a "night on the town," I was literally sick.  As in, had to clear a shopping bag in preparation for a puke.  I am so fun to go out with.  (And, super attractive, not to mention.)

Dearest Epidermis,
Truly, I've been good to you.  I don't smoke or drink, I stay hydrated, and I get plenty of sleep.  I moisturize, I use SPF (every day if you count my make-up), I don't go to tanning beds, and I really only lay out once a year on vacation.  I have EVEN forgiven you for being covered in freckles and mostly translucent.  Would it really be too much to ask for a little natural color? Or, at the very least, NOT turning into a baked lobster?  Thank you for your consideration!
Love,
E


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