Friday, June 22, 2012

My Week in Pictures

I watched Say Yes to The Dress one too many times this week, which led to this....
I know you married girls feel me. Watching those girls experience the excitement of putting on their dress for the first time makes me miss being a bride. Not that I don't love being a wife. Because I so so so do. But sometimes, a girl's just gotta get back into her wedding dress and parade around the house a little bit. I'm lucky my husband is such a good sport.




I'm going to be taking care of this little guy while my brother is away at college. See the resemblance?






Last night, I celebrated my friend Shea's Birthday at a little hole-in-the-wall pizza place in Orlando called Rossi's Pizza and Pasta. Not going to lie, I was a little skeptical at first, but let me tell you, their pizza was delicious! And the company was pretty good too.


Now, this next picture was going to lead to a rant about why buns make me mad. Particularly diving into the fact that I hated bobby pins and buns when I was in ballet class all the time and therefore do not  understand why I choose to subject myself to them voluntarily. Yes, my hair may be dirty, making a bun seem like a viable option. But by 2:00 pm, I always regret my decision. Taking bobby pins out after a long day is certainly equatable to taking off your bra and going free. Both are pretty wonderful. But a bra is necessary is buns are not. So I'm think I might lose the second one. 

Anyways, I took this little gem of a picture to illustrate my bun to you, planning to crop out my arms later. Except, my arm looked like this.

What in the world is going on with my left arm?? Honestly, I know my knees and elbows hyper-extend, its something I've been working on in dance forever, but this picture is pretty creeptastic. I about dies when I saw it. Not the best bun picture ever, but I had to share.

I hope you have a marvelous weekend planned! See you around the blogosphere soon!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Faith


Faith is not an easy journey. It is not all rainbows and butterflies and cupcakes, followed by hallelujahs and joyful dancing. It is beautiful, and it is mysterious, and it is incredible. It is more than anything I deserve. But it is not easy.

Good, bad, or ugly, life is an interesting phenomenon. One that will never be entirely understood. And sometimes, life is not at all what you think it should be. But the underlying fabric of it all, the knitting that weaves each and every one of us together can be found, in Christ and in the Bible.

I’m sensitive to the fact that for non-Christians, this is a gross oversimplification of a much greater concept. But as someone who has given my life to follow Christ, I know I can find my answers there. The Bible is my resource, not necessarily for religious knowledge, but more intentionally, to hear what God may have to say to me.

I’ve talked a lot about my faith here on this little blog, but I think an important part of my story is why I choose to believe in Jesus Christ. I was raised in the church, and of course that plays an integral role in how I came to be a Christian, but the story is far deeper than that. I believe that faith must be intentional; it must be an ongoing decision, a daily choice to follow and serve.



I made that decision for the first time when I was thirteen years old. I had grown up in catechism classes, I knew the bible stories, and I believed in God and Jesus. But it wasn’t until I was thirteen that I began my relationship with Christ. I was in a dark place (dark for a thirteen year old, I don’t want to overexaggerate here.) My parents were getting divorced, my poppy (my grandfather on my mom’s side) had just passed away, and it felt like everything was falling apart.

I remember the moment vividly. I was in my mom’s bedroom, and had been reading in her bed, when I was just overcome with sadness. I curled up in a ball, bawled my eyes out, and knowing where I could turn, I started to vehemently pray. It wasn’t out loud, but in my head I was screaming. Screaming for God to come and comfort me, asking for logic, asking for anything really. And in that moment, I felt his embrace. It wasn’t a physical touch, I didn’t audibly hear God Speak, but I felt him so vividly, I may as well have. That kind of experience is so hard to put into words, and so hard to interpret, but more than anything, it is so powerful and life-changing.

I found myself in a strange position when I went to college. I was surrounded by great people. Wonderful, kind-hearted, beautiful people. But I didn’t have a group of people with the same strong beliefs as me, particularly my beliefs on abstinence and marriage. It’s amazing how something so small can be amplified in the right (or wrong) setting, and make you feel so different. My faith was separating me, and in those times, felt so hard to want to follow. I prayed a lot in those moments, moments of weakness where I thought maybe I was wrong. Was I reading the bible wrong? Was I just a freak for not giving in?

I prayed for a partner in faith. I prayed for someone to lead me to spiritual growth. I prayed for someone to make me a better and stronger Christian. And after months and months of praying and (perhaps impatiently) waiting, in came Anthony.

Anthony was the first guy who “got me.” He respected my views, he didn’t pressure me into anything, and we started going to church together. He helped me to grow in my faith, and supported me in moments of doubt (because inevitably, in every faith journey, there will be.) We have pushed each other in our faith, trying to be better, and we have both grown substantially for it.

Faith plays a huge role in our everyday life. For a worrier like me, I am constantly trying to learn to trust God with his provision and his timing. That is my biggest faith journey. For as much as I espouse my faith and as much as I know about my relationship with God, I have such a hard time letting go of the reins of my life.

When you choose to be faithful, you are certainly not choosing the easiest path. You will face trials, and you will have to choose daily to obey the words you have chosen to live by. But the path to heaven is never easy. The reward, however, is more than worth it.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: The Reception

Before I get into today's post, I thought I'd give a little update on yesterday's. Kate is out of surgery, has two brand spanking new lungs, and is doing well. I am so thrilled that everything went well and there were no complications. What a major blessing!

Well, here we are on Wedding Wednesday, and today, we are talking all things reception. Now, I have to tell you, I went into the day prepping for a party. I wanted music and dancing and fun, and I was not disappointed.

When I entered the room for our introduction, to "Bring 'em out" by T.I., I was beyond excited for what I saw. The florist had matched my centerpieces to exactly how I had envisioned them. The lighting was beautiful. Our tables were set with all of the little details I had planned for, and all of my favorite people were gathered in one room to celebrate with us. It was perfect.






We had our first dance to "Marry Me" by Train and Martina McBride. It was an acoustic version from CMT's Crossroads and was the same song that Anthony used to propose. It couldn't have been better. I have to admit, I thought I would cry more during that first dance, but I was just so overwhelmingly happy, that all I could do was smile.






Our reception timeline was pretty close to the norm.  Toasts, dinner,  dancing, cake- cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss, more dancing, the end. But the actual way the events went down was anything but traditional. Let's start with my maid of honor's toast. Um...hello, best toast you've ever seen. She rapped the entire thing to the tune of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire, and made it all about me and Anthony. Unfortunately, I can't get the video to upload, but here are some pictures to give you an idea.






In no uncertain terms, this speech was epic!

Our music choices were a little of the wall as well.

Cake-Cutting - "All About My Cake" - lil Wayne
Bouquet Toss - "Girl Fight" - Brooke Valentine
Garter Removal - "You Shook me All Night Long" - AC-DC
Garter Toss - "All I do is Win" -  DJ Khaled

We had a photobooth to keep our guests entertained when they needed a break from the dance floor, or were just feeling particularly goofy. I highly recommend these for any wedding. The line was going all night for this thing and my family and friends absolutely loved the silly get-ups and the pictures they got to take home afterwards. 







We ended around 10:30 pm (it was a Sunday night after all) and drove off in one of the most beautiful cars I've ever had the pleasure of riding in. I would tell you the model, buuutttt...... truthfully I'd probably get it wrong. Anthony knows and was thrilled, so that's what counts. I just thought it was beautiful. Allowing Anthony to drive it was a gift from our Best Man's dad. I don't think Anthony could've been much happier.




I do understand now why people say you don't eat at your wedding. I didn't. I was so excited to see everyone and talk that sitting down to enjoy the meal was low on my priority list. I did eat my slice of cake though. Sweets are sweets after all and sugar gives you more energy than food right? (At least that's what those pixie stick moms on toddlers and Tiaras have taught me.)

All in all, the night was incredible and pretty perfect in my ways. I wouldn't have changed one thing for the world.

Next week, I'll be back here highlighting some of the vendors I used so make sure to check those out, but for now, here are some more pictures of the evening to hold you over. As always, all of my photography is by the amazing Kate + Kris.








Tuesday, June 19, 2012

For Kate


Sometimes, you meet people who are just unabashedly joyful. That doesn’t mean they are always happy, or that they have no down moments. But what it does mean is that they literally emanate joy. You can’t help but be happy when you are around them.

I was racking my brain about what to write about today, but the truth is, there’s only one thing on my mind. A good friend of mine is in surgery today, finally getting the new lungs she’s been waiting for for over five years. You see, she has cystic fibrosis, an illness that is hard and draining, and every bit as awful as it sounds. And today, she is undergoing a double lung-transplant. But, I have never once heard her complain.

When I first met Kate, I never would’ve known she was sick. In fact, I don’t think I even had a clue for the first 6 months or so of our friendship. She is bubbly and joyful and talks far more about her penchant for fashion than anything health related. She is a beautiful person inside and out, and I cannot imagine being more excited for her than I am today.

I’m asking for your prayers and your thoughts today and in the weeks to come as she undergoes this long surgery and the journey of recovery that is sure to follow. I know it will be hard, but I am convinced that the joy that she possesses has been gifted to her for a moment such as this. God’s blessings will push her through this journey, as long as it may be, and I am so blessed to count her as a friend.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday's Letters


Oh Friday, how I love thee. The perpetual promise of two whole days off. Forty-eight hours without the thought of work, and two slow mornings of breakfast cuddling with my hubby.

Our original plan for this weekend involved a lot of lawn work. I am convinced we currently have the ugliest lawn on our street, primarily because we haven’t done anything with it since we moved in, and the leaves that have fallen from our giant oak trees have proceeded to ruin any chance we have of lovely green grass.

However, those plans are going to be put on hold. I’ve got a lovely girls day planned for tomorrow with these two gorgeous ladies...

My Nana and Mom


 ...followed by this little one’s dance recital.


 I am so excited!

Sunday is father’s day, so I get to spend that with this handsome guy, cooking out on the grill.

My Handsome Daddy
So, even though the weekend isn’t going to be quite as planned, it should be absolutely wonderful.

Today, I'm linking up with Ashley for Friday’s Letters as well.
Photobucket


Dear Hubby, How did I get so lucky? You drove 40 minutes each way yesterday to have lunch with me because I was stressed at work. I love you so so so much, it’s ridiculous. Dear House, You’re pretty awesome, and I’m loving this makeover we’re doing on you. You’re going to be quite the stunner once we’re done with you. But if you wouldn’t mind, please please please stop hiding dust from me. I know your last owner clearly didn’t dust you often, but I would like to, so finding these dust balls in little crevices that are so incredibly difficult to get to is no fun. Dear Florida Weather, It’s cute that you like to change up your style every now and then. Rain, sun, who really knows with you? But maybe, just maybe, we can chat about the convenience of this with my schedule? That would be great.
Dear Friday, Thank you for coming so quickly this week. I appreciate it. Let’s make this the usual. Thanks!

Happy Weekend Everyone and Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: The Ceremony

It's that time again, Wedding Wednesday! And today we will be talking about the ceremony, the moment when it really truly becomes official. The real meat and potatoes of a wedding. But, before we get too ahead of ourselves, I have some exciting news. After two hours in a Social Security Office waiting room and far too many minutes in lines for a Wednesday morning, I am officially a Koscielecki.

Now I just need to make it over to the DMV and both of my banks, call all of my creditors, get brand spanking new debit/credit cards, all of that good fun stuff. One step down, a million more to go.

Anyways, lets get back to why you're really here. All the details of our wedding.

We held our ceremony at the Lake Mary Events Center, in a rotunda overlooking Crystal Lake. I love the look of outdoor weddings, but didn't want to take on the stress of risking the weather (particularly in Florida in April.) This venue satisfied both of my wants.

Our florist, Vicki of Peddles Orlando, did a beautiful job putting together the simple and elegant aisle pieces I was looking for and our altar arrangements were gorgeous as well. If only I could've kept them forever.

Emotionally, I can't even begin to take you through the journey I experienced walking down the aisle. It was elation, and joy, and nervousness, and all of the above. I didn't want to cry but the minute I heard my song come on, it was hard to hold back the tears. I was so focused on Anthony, I couldn't see anyone else. I had no idea who was there and who wasn't, I just knew I was walking towards the man of my dreams.

Our ceremony was everything I could have ever wanted. Beautiful and simple, traditional and so full of emotion. If I could relive those 20 minutes over and over again, I absolutely would. A pastor from our church officiated for us, and did an amazing job of focusing the ceremony on God and his gift of the sacrament of marriage. It was beautiful.

Our Ceremony Music:
Parents Procession - The Winner Is - Danna Devotchka
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen - So This is Love - Instrumental
Bride - I Can't Help Falling In Love - Ingrid Michaelson
Recessional - Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Stevie Wonder

Some photos for your enjoyment. Again, all photography by Kate + Kris .














Tuesday, June 12, 2012

20 Random Fun-Facts About Me


As a blogger, you feel like you share the majority of your world with everyone on-line. You guys tend to know when I’m having a rough day, when I’m experiencing a joyful season, and everything in between.

But still, there are bound to be some things you just don’t know about me, generally random, unimportant things, but certainly things that will give you a better idea of me.

So, in the honor of transparency, here we go.

1) I am 100%, allergic to all dairy, like, beyond lactose intolerant allergic. I spent a good deal of time in the 5th grade going between doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me because I was dealing with some serious stomach aches. All from a little dairy.

2) I am half Italian which makes number one a little harder to deal with. There are a lot of substitutes out there which make it a little more bearable (my veggie cheese lasagna is pretty bomb,) but its certainly difficult to enjoy a refreshing caprese salad when you cant have mozz.

3) My husband and I lived around the corner from each other when we were kids, went to the same elementary school for a couple years, and even had back-to-back classrooms at one point. And we never met until college. How cute are we?

How did he not fall in love with this all those years ago?


4) My degree is in Advertising and Public Relations, but I currently work for a church in pastoral credentialing. Technically, our P.R. falls underneath me, but it is not my primary job focus (though I often wish it was, I really love getting creative.)

College Graduation 2010

5) The only bones I’ve broken are in my feet (though I recently fractured my ankle- small baby fracture). That’s dance for you.

6) I am a nerdy girl at heart. I was my high school valedictorian, graduated magna cum laude, and as sad as this is, have a valedictorian sash from my middle school graduation as well.

7) I LOVE public speaking. Assuming I have something to talk about, give me a podium and a mic, and I am in my element. (Unless that mic is connected to a Karaoke box. In that case, forget it.)

8) My very first car was a lime green Volkswagen Beetle named Tinkerbell. She was a stick shift and I loved her until she finally died on me 2 and a half years ago.

Photoshoots like this happened often in that little Beetle

9) I am currently on my third car since Tinkerbell. Why so many, you ask? I’ve been in two major car accidents in the past two years, neither of which my fault, both resulting in totaled cars. My current car is a black Pontiac G6 GT, and I love it.

10) I often eat dinner foods for breakfast. Pizza is probably my favorite, but I’ve been known to dish out some soy mac and cheese in the morning as well.

11) My favorite food right now is a BLT with avocado. I could literally eat this every day.

12) I am OCD about dirt, but not so much about clutter. I can’t handle dirty, but unorganized doesn’t typically bother me. I always know where things are in my disorganization.

13) My favorite movie of all time is Aladdin. Yes, it is a Disney movie, but nothing will ever be better.

14) My typical Starbucks order is a Grande Iced Soy Chai Tea Latte. Just in case you need it in the future.

15) As if you couldn’t tell, my favorite color is pink. If I were single, there would be a lot of pink walls, pink fabric, pink d├ęcor in my house. My bedroom growing up was pink and my bathroom was pink and kelly green. Sadly, it is no longer.

16) I am an oldest child and have one younger brother, who is 18 and will be attending the University of Minnesota next year. Go Golden Gophers!
Isn't he handsome?


17) My favorite baseball team is the Boston Red Sox, much to the disappointment of my Braves loving husband.

18) I am obsessed with DIY/Crafting ideas, but don’t have any particular sewing skills. Good thing I married a carpenter so at least I can have the big things DIY’ed.

19) I’ve never been overseas, but I am dying to go to Europe.

20) If I could meet/be friends with any celebrity, it would be Emma Stone. I have decided, particularly after last year’s Oscars, that we would get along very well.




Well, there you have it. Twenty random fun facts about me. Feel free to share some of your own in the comments below. You know I'm dying to hear them.