A mini vacation in downtown Seattle

On a whim, we decided we needed a break from Alaska, so we hopped over to Seattle to celebrate my birthday. It’s funny how you can leave your neighborhood, walk into someone else’s, and it feels like a vacation.

Personally, I blame Groupon. They sent me one of those Getaway emails that had a beautiful hotel in downtown Seattle as a special. I was hooked and it was booked!

The Roosevelt Hotel didn’t disappoint, it was welcoming, clean, and our room was incredible! Fully updated with extra credits allotted to the room, a fun view, and such a comfortable bed. This trip was two months ago and I’m still thinking about those crisp white sheets. With the Groupon deal, we also had a complimentary breakfast delivered swiftly to our room comprised of a banana, greek yogurt, a very large muffin, and juice. It was the perfect early-bird start to our day downtown.

We didn’t want to rent a car and fuss with parking, so we committed to walking everywhere to really soak up what Seattle had to offer. Luckily, Seattle was hovering between 40-50 degrees (a heatwave for us coming from Alaska) and sunny! We spent the morning window shopping and browsing through Pike Place Market, and the gum wall! We hit Local Color Coffee for mid-morning (and late afternoon) pick-me-ups as well as the Pike and Western Wine Shop for birthday wine to share that evening back at the hotel.

When lunchtime rolled around, we were half starved. Mama’s Cantina was the perfect spot to sip margaritas, crunch on chips and salsa, and enjoy hot enchiladas. It was a laid back and quirky place, it’s definitely on the list next time we hit Seattle.

After a lot more exploring and shopping, we committed to the whispered about Underground Tour. I had done this same tour 10 years prior, and let me tell you this was an entirely revamped version. Where you purchase your tickets is conveniently located in a bar, so we hopped over to grab something to sip for the tour. The introduction was hilarious, the tour itself entertaining and engaging, and we left feeling pretty stoked that we had chosen to do it. Next time? We’re thinking about the haunted pub tour.

We found so many little treasures over this corner of the city, fun bookstores, map stores, and lots of shopping centers that we just don’t have in Alaska. It was a day well spent.

On our last day we experienced typical drizzly PNW weather and were thrilled by it. D and I spent the early morning trekking to a new part of town to have breakfast at Biscuit Bitch. I wish I had a picture of our bitchin’ selections but it just didn’t stay plated long enough. Might I suggest the Nutty Bitch, for my Nutella lovers out there? We spent the rest of the day hitting the market one more time and it was even more vibrant than the day before. One of our favorite shops is called All Things Lavender and we will definitely be repeat customers online. Their beard balms and oils are to DIE for.

We cruised along the Alaskan Way and ended back up near our hotel for a quick lunch to warm us up at the Cheesecake Factory. Then it was back to the airport and home we went! It was the perfect way to spend my 27th and I’m grateful to have had such a fun time with D. Our touristy Seattle weekend was a great get-away and we’re excited to go back in August!

Let me know your fav spots for our next trip!
H

A mini vacation in downtown Seattle

I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious

I’ve been thinking about the things that solidified my relationship with D. When I started to realize I could spend my life with this cool person. When we first started dating, we had a great honeymoon period: so much to laugh about, adventures to go on, and things to learn about each other. It was fun and romantic, and a whirlwind – until reality set in and we realized we were real people, with things like communication and trust to work on, and insecurities to lay to rest, and compromising to learn.

When we actively committed to doing those things though our relationship went through a few phases from:

fun and flighty
kind of raw and overpowering
balanced and healthy, and then, back to fun.

Growing up together these past 3.5 years hasn’t always been easy, but we have learned so much about who we are and what we are looking for; from ourselves, each other, and life in general, and I hope we don’t ever stop. Here are just a few things that I saw in our relationship that made me realize we had hit that good place that might resonate with you as well:

  • You are strong individual people, who work at being a powerful and balanced couple.
  • There is no room for toxicity, manipulation, or mistrust
  • Your partner’s steady hand works authentically beside your own.
  • Becoming a “we,” does not take away from either, “me.”
  • You can make your partner a priority without compromising yourself.
  • You expect and in return give, a love built on respect, values, and support.
  • Your partner revolutionizes your world; from surprisingly little ways to life-altering impactful ones.
  • Memories of togetherness, forgiveness when needed, and commitment to your future strengthen you and your relationship.
  • Friendship is key, laughter is often and communication is swift and evolving.
  • Forgiveness comes more easily than you’d expect.
  • You win or lose, together as a team.
  • The small things and the difficult times empower you as a couple.
  • Through it all, you want to be the one beside them day in, and day out.

At the end of the day, a relationship is what you make of it. Everyone knows they are not always easy, and they shouldn’t be – people mature and grow with challenges and no two relationships are the same, regardless of how similar. I full heartedly believe that we often need to learn lessons the hard way and that was certainly the case in our love story. I don’t regret one chapter of it.

I’ll leave you with a note by Jane Wells, Marriage Advice from 1886 that has always stood out to me:

Let your love be stronger than your hate or anger. 
Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break. 
Believe the best rather than the worst.
People have a way of living up or down to your opinion of them.
Remember that true friendship is the basis for any lasting relationship. The person you choose to marry is deserving of the courtesies and kindnesses you bestow on your friend.

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I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious

Sense & Sensibility

Okay, so I’m guilty of talking about how changing my last name was the difficult part of getting married, but there is one more thing: the emotional aspect of the wedding planning. I’m a planner by nature so you can bet conceptually this wedding is planned down to the minute. I’m not kidding. In order to create the light and enjoyable wedding weekend we’d like to provide our guests, we need to have our ish down. Hustle hard, party harder sort of deal. Who cares if we’re basically done planning the wedding just 3 months in? Everyone. Is. Different. Where did the bride-shaming come from?

What is also draining is our choices being questioned and even scoffed at. That is so silly to me. Other people’s ideas, expectations, and emotions play a part here, rightfully. However there’s a line and family/friend drama, tensions, and icky histories will not play a part. As much as this is our chapter, the day itself is also about uniting two families into one and that is worth celebrating not stressing about, ya feel me?

I know most people are well-intentioned when it comes to their two-cents. I don’t intend to dismiss anyone’s input, it is so lovely that others want to share in the process. Just keep in mind that everyone has different styles and wedding experiences and no two will look the same. I’m not judging brides and grooms who aren’t sure of their planning decisions and I expect not to be judged for knowing ours.

I mean, we are grateful to everyone for their valuable advice and we’ll obviously consider it, but it would be great if others could respect what we ultimately choose to do. It isn’t worth feeling offended if we don’t end up using a particular florist/caterer/hair stylist/travel agent, etc. It’s all about the love here! We’re just going to make the decisions that jive with our dream; we’ve been envisioning this wedding together for basically a year straight and we’ll be 27 and 29 respectively when we tie the knot. Trust the two people getting married and let’s all just have a grand time.

Since we are paying for the wedding ourselves with the help of our parents, our budget is capped – for good reason. We’re going to kick off our marriage being financially responsible (while in the throes of purchasing our first home directly following our wedding). That said, our gorgeous and natural venue is on our family property so it is graciously free (see picture below!) but limited in the number of people that can comfortably stay the wedding weekend. It is fun to begin drafting our loving guest list but we will also have to make difficult decisions here soon. We hope those who are not able to join us on our wedding day know how much we love them and their lack of an invitation is not a reflection of our respect for them.

What would make us happy is to host a truly intimate outdoor wedding with simply close friends and immediate family. No live band or DJ, no crazy wedding cake, no official photographer, no big white church, no champagne waterfalls, expensive attire, or live doves. If that’s someone else’s jam, fabulous! For us though:

Simple. Nontraditional. Rustic. Woodsy. That’s who we are and we wouldn’t want to tie the knot any other way. Our union is more than the party, the wine selection, the dress, or the rings. It is solely about our promises to one another and building a future together side-by-side. Our wedding will be in the details; personal, handmade with love and a lot of fun. Trust us. And for the love of everything awesome let’s stop the wedding judgment.

xoxo,
H

Sense & Sensibility

From Miss to Mrs

The struggle is real, sweet friends. This is probably the most difficult part about getting married so far: deciding whether to keep, hyphenate, or change my last name. It just didn’t occur to me until I had a feeling D would propose soon whether or not I would take his.

I was born with my mother’s maiden name. My “step-dad” who is simply and forever “dad” adopted me when they were married and my last name was changed to his. This means everything to me. My dad is a man of integrity, honor, and dedication, it is a privilege to carry this surname. Keeping it for professional reasons certainly makes sense too. Not to mention a lot less paperwork!

The struggle, though. If I take D’s last name I will be in the historical sense erasing who I am, where I came from, and who raised me. My inner feminist snarks that women fought for their rights to maintain a separate identity from their husbands. However, I too have this right to decide and it in no way diminishes what women before me have fought for. I could hyphenate, that is a perfectly logical option, but as much as I love the idea it doesn’t feel like a good fit for me or our future child either. Here’s the beauty of it: this is my choice. It is every woman’s individual choice.

I remember very clearly having a conversation with a girlfriend a long time ago talking about D being “the one.” She made the point that Harley Tennant sounded pretty and I had butterflies. Excellent point, it is pretty and it means everything to take his last name and marry into a wonderful family. It lays the groundwork for us walking in the footsteps of a family before us while we build our own.

D and I are a team and our marriage will solidify that. I can still be who I am: an individual and equal part of this marriage regardless of if I choose to keep my last name or take his. The decision doesn’t diminish our partnership or my adoption, and the fact that it is my decision is fundamentally feminist. I’m liking that.

So, to all the other ladies deciding what is the best option for them, cheers to freaking you. Make the decision that empowers you and sits well with your soul. The quality of the marriage is most important, right?

From Miss to Mrs

The Precious

When D and I first started talking about a future together, he asked what kind of ring I would like. For me, something simple was it. I have small hands and a size 3.5 ring finger so a large stone wouldn’t be flattering (in my opinion). It was also important to us that the ring is a classic but not necessarily something that everyone was wearing. 

I’ve had a lot of questions about the stone he chose and if it’s a pink diamond. So I’ll share because it’s girly and fun! The stone is actually a morganite, a peachy colored stone in the same family as the emerald. I don’t consider myself to be a pink kind of girl, it isn’t my signature color if you get my drift, but there was something about this gemstone that we both really liked.

After months, and by months I mean literally a year and a half of reading about the care and keeping of morganite and comparing where to make the final decision, D purchased my ring from Rosados Box on Etsy. Not only is this an American business based out of Chicago, but their attention to detail, response rate, affordability, and designs were unparalleled in our search.

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We had narrowed down a few choices together and he ultimately chose the “Skinny Alberta.” We liked the timelessness of a classic solitaire and the subtle coloring of the stone and I have to say, the pictures online and from what I can capture on my camera do not do this gem any justice. 

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Morganite is a particular stone though and does require a little extra TLC (just like any relationship right?) This doesn’t bother me but is something to consider individually. I take a few minutes a couple times a week and gently clean my ring so it maintains its sparkle and luster, morganites tend to cloud as they pick up oils and therefore dust and anything else you come into contact with. Soap and warm water do the trick! They are also not as hard as a diamond but come in close with a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. I’m a dog mom, clean freak, and work in an office so I’m constantly working with my hands and have not experienced any problems with the durability of its craftsmanship.

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I am beyond happy to have this sparkler on my hand and as Alice would say, “it’s just the right size!” I love the fact it will be there the rest of my life. Marriage isn’t about the rings, though I love that we found something special together that he was proud to place on my finger.

xoxo,
H

The Precious

From the ground up

My great-grandparents were married for 72 years before my great-gramps passed away. They eloped and were married in Reno in 1939.  My grandma, one of their daughters, can attest; “it wasn’t pure bliss all that time! When I was a kid they fought like cats and dogs. They were both scrappy.” Which is what made them work. How gorgeous and unimaginable is that?

A lifetime: not unlike other girls growing up I wondered what spending my life with someone would look like, what it would feel like, and who that man would be. I crave the authenticity and dedication my great-grandparents had together in a simpler time, for better or for worse. I’m thankful to be spending my life with a man who shares that dream. 

Mine and D’s story began almost three years ago and we’ve spent those chapters growing up together and separately. We’ve definitely had to figure ourselves out along the way and there’s this beauty in our chaos that is settling us into our own beat. We are never happier than when it’s us, our dogs, and the outdoors. That’s how we dated, it’s how we became official, it’s how we fell in love with each other. It’s getting back to basics together that makes us thrive and that is exactly how he proposed tying his life to mine – in the wind, in the cold, in our element. Turning to see this man down on one knee, surrounded by Alaskan mountains, asking me to be his wife is humbling and everything. 

Our life together is challenging, fulfilling, and everything I ever wanted in a marriage. On Saturday, June 24th, 2017, our promises made thus far to one another become permanent. Until then, I’ll have fun planning our wedding and looking ahead to 70 years of taking on life together: traveling, slow dancing in our kitchen, playing hockey, and filling our home with rescues, friends, and pitter-pattering little feet. 

There is no greater adventure for me,
H

From the ground up