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Three Years of Marriage

Three Years of Marriage

Today, April 12th, my husband and I celebrate 3 years of being married.  It’s funny how fast time flies.  Over the past few years, I’ve had a lot of new readers.  So while older readers might remember when we got married, others do not!  I thought it would be fun to share our story of how we met, lived in Texas, and now have spent the last four years in NJ.

Tim and I met at across-country scrimmage race between our colleges in 2011. Tim won the scrimmage race for men, and I won the scrimmage race for females.  During the fall of 2011, I was a senior year in college, and coming off my first running severe injury: a tibial stress fracture.

After the scrimmage, we talked and went on a run a few weeks later.  The season was pretty much over, and Tim was getting ready for his competitive ski season.  I was much slower and since he was just running “to stay in shape,” a slower pace didn’t matter to him.  Our first few runs were cold, easy, runs in the late fall.  When I say cold, I mean it was already below 20 degrees in Potsdam,  NY.

Eventually, after several runs, we hung out outside of running.  The fall semester went by and by the time we knew it, it was time to go back home! Over the semester break, Tim visited for New Years and ran two local VA Beach road races.

I blogged before Tim, and I dated, and even posted about the races.In the spring, we started “officially dating”.  I think I even mentioned on the blog: OMG you guys, a new boy in my life”  (just kidding).  I don’t even know how it came up through blogging…I don’t think Tim even knew or cared that I blogged and that was okay by me.

A college date of making bread.

In May of 2012, we graduated and decided to try doing a long distance relationship. 

Our options at that point were to try and do a distance relationship or stop dating.  Tim went to pilot training school in Texas, and I began working in Oswego, NY.

The first few months of being apart were difficult. We hadn’t been dating long, but we went from seeing each other to not talking more than a few times a week.  By November, we were able to see each other for the first time since June.  Living alone and working in Oswego, NY taught me a lot about myself and being independent.  I will never trade that time.

My first visit to Texas

After Thanksgiving, we saw each other again for Christmas, then again in March and in May. It was a lot easier than the first few months.  After nearly a year, we made the decision,  I would move to Texas, and we would live together. As much as I enjoyed my job at Oswego, I wanted to continue my relationship with Tim.  Since he was in the Air Force, he did not have the option to move up North.

Winning a growler at a half marathon in Texas

Living in Texas was tough and wasn’t as glamorous as I thought it would be.  It was the first time I lived with significant other, I was miles away from anyone I knew, and realistically 200 miles away from any big towns.  Tim was also busy with school, and I felt isolated.  When he graduated, we would be moving to New Jersey.  Neither of us knew anything about NJ (except people drive very quickly on the turnpike).

When we found out, we were moving to NJ

On April 1st, 2014 (Yes April Fools Day), he proposed.  It wasn’t on social media or some big ritzy event but it was perfect for us.  We got married about a year later on April 12th, 2015.

Engaged now…let’s go to a diner

Married Life:

Life over the last 3 years hasn’t always been easy.  Since Tim is in the military, he is gone…a lot.  He has been gone about half of our marriage, and I believe 6 deployments, but they all blend together.  That being said, we make the best of the time we do have together.

A few people have asked, when he is deployed he is 100% gone.  When he is back in NJ, he may or may not be around on local trips.  It is isn’t a balance of being gone versus being at home.  When he is home, he still goes to work and still flies.  For instance, right now he is home, but last week went on a week-long trip. 

First dance

Getting home from a deployment.  (The plane he flies is in the background)

Working at a local running store, makes my hours difficult sometimes too.  Even when he is home, there have been months that we have had no days off together.  I’ve asked off from work, only to have his plans change and now I have a free day off, but he isn’t working.  Usually, it’s hard to plan anything.

A few years ago, we used to spend our limited free at home, watching TV, or doing nothing.  Then we realized that just wasn’t us.  We decided to try other things, and that is eventually how we got into exploring NJ and going on fun hikes around the state.  We don’t hike fast, and aren’t “pro hikers,” but we do enjoy it and spending time together.

Ramapo State Forest hike

In December 2016, he found out he had to go to school in Montgomery, Alabama for 8 weeks.  I decided to go down with him, and it was such a fun and rewarding experience.  I met so many people down in Alabama, and Tim ran his first marathon in 70-80 degree heat where he broke 3:00.

After that, we moved back to NJ and have continued to live here.  We genuinely like NJ a lot and everything it has to offer from the wide variety of South Jersey, North Jersey, the shore, diners, and everything in between.

private flying around NJ/NY

While I don’t share a lot of personal and marriage details outside of running, I could not imagine spending this crazy adventure with anyone else.

Questions for you:
How did you and your significant other meet?
Have you moved around a lot?

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One Year of Marriage

Today is my husband and I’s first year anniversary.  Many of LOLZ readers know how we met and our love story, but it’s fun to reshare.

aisle 2

 Here is a quick summary:

We met running in college.  We dated for the second half of senior year then maintained a long-distance relationship for a year and a half after college.  I decided to move to Texas, September of 2013 and we promptly moved to New Jersey after.  After living in NJ for a while, we got on engaged April Fools Day 2014.  A year of wedding planning went by and we got married April 12, 2015.  Now we just finished year one of marriage.  Good thing I blog so I can remember everything. 

But here is the longer version:

In the fall of 2011, we met at a cross country scrimmage race between our colleges.  After the scrimmage, we talked for a while and went on a run a few weeks later.  During that time, I was coming back from my tibia stress fracture.  I wasn’t supposed to worry about pace.  It was towards the end of the season so my goal was to make it through the season healthy.  I barely ran with my own team, let alone some random guy I had the hots for.

We didn’t run together until after the cross country season but we occasionally chatted.  I was knee deep in a recent college major change and Tim was a chemical engineer, so we were both busy. When we finally ran together in November, Tim was getting ready for Nordic skiing so his focus wasn’t pace or time either.  Running at a slower pace didn’t matter.

Eventually after several runs, we hung out. By that time, the semester was over and it was time to go home for winter break.  I grew up in VA Beach and he grew up in PA so we didn’t live close.

Tim actually came down and hung out for New Years.  We ran the Beat the Ball 5k as well as the Hair of the Dog 5k.

In the spring, we started “officially dating”.  I think I even mentioned on the blog: OMG you guys, a new boy in my life”  (just kidding).  I don’t even know how it came up through blogging…

This was about 3 years ago at the greatest night out in my life. I won a contest rapping Nicki Minaj superbass.

This was about 3 years ago at the greatest night out in my life.
I won a contest rapping Nicki Minaj super bass.

In May of 2012, we graduated and decided to try a long distance relationship.  Our options at that point were to try a distance relationship or break up.  Tim went to school in Texas and I began working in Oswego, NY.

The first few months were tough. By November, we were able to see each other for the first time since June.  I loved my time in Oswego and it was one of the most pivotal and influential years of my life.  I am so glad I chose to go there but it was hard to not be together.

My first visit to Texas

My first visit to Texas

After Thanksgiving, we saw each other again for Christmas, then in March and in May. As we adjusted, it was easier.  After nearly a year, we made the decision I would move to Texas.  As much as I enjoyed my job in Oswego, I wanted to continue my relationship with Tim and had to move eventually (he did not have that choice).

Less than two weeks after I moved to the middle of nowhere, Texas, Tim graduated his training. We were told we were moving to New Jersey. Neither of us knew anything about NJ except people drive quickly on the turnpike.

Tim's flight school graduation

Graduation

After living in New Jersey for 2+ years, we both love the area.  It’s close to Philadelphia, New York City, the shore and both of our families.   It’s the perfect location for us right now.

We got married on April 12, 2015, in Norfolk, VA.  We truly had a wonderful time at our wedding and were lucky so many friends and family that could attend.  We took our wedding as a celebration and party and that’s exactly what it was.

After getting married, we went on a honeymoon and cruise.  It was one of the best vacations of my life.

Southern Most Point

Southern Most Point

Due to travel and work, my husband has been gone about half of our first year of marriage.  It wasn’t a secret this would happen.  I can’t say it’s been easy all of the time but we have made it work.

To be honest, it hasn’t been a crazy transformation or change since getting married.  We lived together for over a year before getting married so there were many quirks we were both familiar with.  Like any couple, we’ve had our ups and downs but we try to support each other through everything.

I feel so lucky to be celebrating our first year of marriage and many more.

Some of my favorite moments together:

Going to my college roommates wedding

Going to my college roommates wedding

Visiting Texas

Visiting Texas

Winning a growler at a half marathon in Texas

Winning a growler at a half marathon in Texas

Our first Christmas Tree

Our first Christmas Tree

Hollie & Tim-695-X2

Honeymoon

Honeymoon…because why not buy these shirts?

Tim and I

Enjoying the Jersey Shore

The one time our fitness was at the same point...

The one time our running fitness was at the same point…

wedding 9

Here are some of the wedding posts if you want to look back on those:
Rejected Wedding Ideas
Lengthy Wedding Post
The Wedding

First dance

First dance

As always, thank you to friends and family for your love and support.  It feels amazing to celebrate our first year of marriage together and we could not be happier.

Wedding Wrap Up

I received my wedding photos last week and I’ve finally put everything together.  My wedding was one of the best and happiest days of my life! It’s hard to believe it was already four months ago!  My life continues to live on and I continue to enjoy life.

In my last post I put together a final slideshow from the wedding.  I also answered a few questions with a survey.  I’m a sucker to look at my friend’s big days so please enjoy.

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—————–

Here are a few questions and a quick survey too.  If anyone can learn anything from my wedding than it’s a success right?

What was the best part of your wedding day?

It’s hard because there were so many “best parts”! As cliche as it sounds the best part was celebrating Tim and I with our family and friends.  It was great to have all of my friends together in one spot.

What do you feel was totally unnecessary?

To be honest, I think we got rid of a lot of unnecessary things before the wedding. We didn’t have over the top decorations, 10 feet tall centerpieces or anything like that.  We focused on keeping a simple wedding.  Fancy decorations and over the top glam is some people’s dream wedding but it wasn’t mine!

What would you change, if anything?

If I could change anything, I probably would have invited more people! We didn’t have a destination wedding, however, many people did travel.  This meant several people were unable to come so we had a lot more space then I expected.  Our wedding planner said about one-third of guests invited wouldn’t be able to come.  That was accurate.

What was unexpected that you loved?

One thing I loved was how much people were able to enjoy themselves and mingle with others. We decided not to have assigned seating. We wanted people to sit where they wanted. I was warned this could go badly but guests were able to meet new people and enjoy themselves.  I was happy it ended up well and people were able to meet others and chat. I think it was the riskiest thing we did at our wedding.

What are your fondest memories of your wedding day?

A few of my favorite memories were dancing with my beautiful flower girl, dancing with my husband and just laughing the entire time. I truly never stopped smiling.

wedding cake

Is there anything you wish you had spent more time or money on?

T and I agree we wished we had spent more time rehearsing our dancing. It was extremely awkward but I guess awkward is the definition of us.  We made up for it during Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda though.

Is there anything you wish you had spent less time or money on?

There wasn’t anything we felt we should spend less money on. We definitely put a lot of our budget into an awesome DJ, good food and good booze. We spent the least on decorations and I think that worked out well for us.

Were there any unexpected surprises or issues?

We were supposed to have sparklers but the firecode in Norfolk prevented that. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world and if I had properly researched that we would have figured it out sooner.

What’s your number #1 tip for future engaged couples?

Tackle each item one at time.

Similar to writing a paper or working on a project, wedding planning has multiple steps that must be conquered. There are so many websites with timelines for wedding dates.  Print one out so it’s easy to figure out what needs to be done, when!  I also think that having a day of the wedding planner was the best thing we did.  We didn’t worry about anything!

How did you feel after the wedding?

I was happy. It was truly one of the greatest days of my life and I will never forget it.

More Wedding Posts: 

Engagement
Engagement Photos
Rejected Wedding Ideas
Wedding Preview
In Depth Wedding Post

Thank you to everyone who followed along and took this journey with us.  We had one of the best times of our life and could not have done it without everyone.  I appreciate my family, friends and readers sharing their love.  It’s time to move forward to the next chapter of our lives.

Lengthy Wedding Post

Wedding vendors

In my last wedding post, I posted a glimpse of my vendors.  Now I will post a longer more in-depth version.

Our wedding was everything we imagined and more.  Honestly, we were never stressed about anything. Both of our families were there for us as well as our friends.  We could not have done it with out the professionalism of our vendors and the help of our family.

We currently live in NJ, but got married in my hometown area of Hampton Roads, VA.  As much as we LOVE New Jersey (at least I really do), neither Tim or I have family here.  It didn’t make sense to have a wedding around here.

While being engaged, we visited VA four times.  Each visit we hit the wedding planning hard.  We had back to back meetings but got everything done.  It wasn’t nearly as scary as we both had anticipated.  I think that the majority of the no stress was because our wedding planner, Hannah, was so helpful.

My philosophy of weddings is it’s one giant party.  That is how we treated it the entire time..

Previous wedding posts:

Engagement

Engagement Photos

Rejected Wedding Ideas

Wedding Preview

———-

The Wedding

With the exception of the venue, we booked the first vender we met with in every category.  I was happy with each person and company so we thought it was silly to continue looking.  Wedding planning is like playing the slot machines, you quit while we were ahead.

First, I’ll start with my wedding planner: Hannah Hiladabrandt.  Hannah helped through most of the wedding process.  I found her in August and she helped until our wedding April 12.  She is truly an incredible women and I am so glad to have found her!

hannah

After emailing a few people, she made me the most comfortable and she was the most laid back.

  • She helped put us in contact with our venue as well as the DJ, and makeup.
  • She also gave ideas along the way and put together a timeline the month before of the wedding
  • She also gave a lot of ideas of things I never thought about.  There were so many little things that piled up the last month!
  • At the wedding she made sure everything went smoothly and our only job was to have fun.  This was the most important and having her allowed us to truly enjoy the day.

I cannot stress how much having someone else in charge made the day much easier.

hannah 1

All I did at the wedding was drink booze, talk to family and friends and dance.

Neither Tim nor I worried about a single thing.  Hannah and her staff were there to help, coordinate and make sure the timeline went as anticipated.  She was great and I 100% recommend her.

Venue

We got married at the Half Moone Cruise Center in Norfolk, VA.   About a month after we got married, it reopened and has a few different cruises that dock there.  I loved the center because of the massive windows and how modern it was.   It’s not normally a wedding venue but Hannah was able to get into contact with them.

half moon cruise center 4

half moon

Photographers:

Justice Images have done a lot of photos for myself and my family and friends.  The Justice’s are family friends as well as professional photographers. If you ever need any sort of photography done I would recommend them.

laughing

Sometimes people fear wedding photographers are intrusive but we never felt that way. I will always book the Justices for any photos I need.

aisle 2

Caterer

For food and alcohol, we used Omar’s Carriage House in Norfolk, VA.

food

My bridesmaid, Theresa,  recommended them and after trying them once I knew Omar’s was perfect.  We had a steak, seafood and vegetarian option.  We chose buffet style because you never know what someone wants portion size.  Everyone wants a different amount of food and it’s nice to pick and choose.  We had more than enough food and I was happy to have some for breakfast too.

I think my favorite part of the wedding was when the caterer says: “You know, most brides don’t eat but you are already up here for round two…”food 2

One thing I can’t stop raving about was Omar’s “Delux” Coffee Station. Obviously an important and necessary part of the wedding was a coffee bar.  Tim and I’s wedding had a coffee bar with coffee syrup, whipped cream, and all the things you put in coffee.

My mug was filled 50% kaluha and 50%, 20% coffee and 30% whipped cream.

coffee station

Cake

My cake was done by Diana’s Sweet Tooth  Honestly, it turned out beautifully and it was the best cake I have eaten. I’m definitely a cake snob too.  In fact the only thing that upset me during the evening was the cake didn’t come home with us.  I wanted midnight cake!

cake

Our favorite type of cake is red velvet.  Since our colors were navy and white, red totally clashed (haha!).  Diana dyed the inside so the cake was “blue velvet”.  The cake was dense and had the perfect frosting.  The top tier is still sitting in my freezer haunting me.

cake cutting

DJ

With the recommendation from Hannah, we went with Astro DJ.  I was really happy because shortly after we booked Astro, I found out one of my personal friends was a DJ. It was truly incredible to have a personal friend and famous local runner, Jon, as our DJ. He was great and we danced the entire night.  He is extremely friendly and I don’t think we ever stopped dancing.

dance 1

Dancing and having fun was the important part of the wedding to me.  I can guarantee we did that!  In fact I think I was upset when I couldn’t dance.

dance 2

dadlolz dancing

Hair:

The same women who cut my chlorine filled hair in middle school, styled my hair for the wedding. It was perfect and I loved everything about the style. Tiffany is truly incredible and I think she did so well with everyone’s hair.  I honestly couldn’t think of anyone else I wanted there for my big day.

hair 1

hair 2

Makeup:

My makeup was done by Blush Tones. Hannah recommended her when I had absolutely no idea where to go.

Before the wedding, I hadn’t ever tried airbrush makeup.  I kept telling the woman, it’s like you are putting on a whole new face! If you are one the fence about getting your makeup done for your wedding, I recommend it. It was such a fun experience and I loved it.

blush tones 3

Flowers: 

My flowers were done by personal friend Kyle.  We grew up and swam together.  He worked at a florist so was able to really help us out.

flowers

Flowers were also something I had no idea what I wanted or even needed.  We wanted flowers to enhance the wedding but didn’t know anything about different types, centerpieces and arrangements.  I told Kyle “I know nothing about flowers please help me and I trust you“.  He did such a wonderful job and we could not be happier.

tim and i 3

Theme and Decorations:

The Half Moone is a beautiful venue to begin with and that made decorating much easier.  We used a few flowers as well as plane related decorations.  We went with a traditional navy blue and yellow theme with cute plane designs (since T is a pilot…). I wanted old running shoe center pieces but that just isn’t as cute.

We kept it simple.

planes table

Limo: 

We had a last minute issue with transportation so luckily another personal friend Chasity was able to give me a connection to a limo service where she manages.  I would highly recommend them for any weddings, proms or times you want to rent a limo.

Thoughts: 

As you can see everything with my vendors went extremely smoothly.  If there is anyone getting married locally, I would  recommend any of my vendors to work with with. I was never stressed and everything was perfect.  They were all professional, friendly, and more on top of their game than I certainly was.

It will take me a bit longer to write up the last couple of posts with more photos and final thoughts.  In cliff notes, my wedding was everything I hoped for.

Wedding

About four months ago I got married.  I wanted to wait until I received wedding photos to write a post.  To keep from typing 1000 words I plan to have several posts.

This is just a brief wedding post, mostly consisting of photos, but if you are interested in a longer post with more detail it’s here. 

We truly had the greatest day of our lives.  Our family, our friends and loved ones were all there to support us and I could not have asked for a better day.

Date: April 12, 2015

The Venue: Half Moone Cruise Center Norfolk, VA
Wedding Planner: Hannah Hildebrandt
Flowers: Personal friend, Kyle L
Dress: Maya Couture
Photographers: Justice Images
Caterer: Omar’s Carriage House
DJ: Astro DJ and personal friend Jon L
Hair: Tiffany
Makeup: Blush tones
Cake: Diane’s Sweet Tooth

half moon cruise center 4

half moone cruise center 1

flowers

flowers 1

cake

cake 1

planes table

flowers table

food

hair 1

blush tones 1

groomsman 2

bridesmaids 10

wedding party 1

wedding party

hannah

behind dress

kiss

first dance]

tim and i 3

Wedding Sneak Peak

As a child you visualize a lot of things and a wedding is one of them.  I can’t say I’ve been obsessed with this day my entire life but my wedding is something I’ve always looked forward to.

It’s strange to have a weekend dedicated to you and your life.  For those who don’t know, I’m not one for the center of attention.   I don’t like all eyes on me.   I have a blog and I’m able to write but to have 100 eyes on me was not something I looked forward too.  At least with blogging, if people grow tired of reading they can click out…

The actual wedding:

To be honest I had the perfect wedding and I didn’t stress about it.  Of course there were a few brief moments that I was lucky to complain to my parents, bridesmaids and T but I wasn’t perpetually stressed for a year.  I have too much other stuff to stress about versus a celebration.  I don’t have a lot of advice to give because honestly I took each day as it came.  I trusted the wedding vendors, caterers and everyone involved.  They are the professionals, not me.

The second part of no stress was T and I took the wedding as a giant party.  Why get stressed about something that you know is supposed to be a celebration?  We spent time and effort on things that were important to us such as music, food and cake.

I’ll probably do quite a few wedding posts.   It’s a running blog, diner blog and for the next month a wedding recap blog too.  There is so much to talk about and I’m sure parts will be lost in the cracks. 

In March, my dad gave me the best advice:

“A wedding is like a freight train.  Once the freight train has left the station, you cannot do much to stop it.  What happens, happens”.

I really took that advice to heart.  Once we began planning, we just allowed the punches to role and things to happen.

Here are a few sneak peak photos.  I think photos tell more of a story than thousands of words.  My photos were done by Justice Images and I think they did an amazing job capturing the day. 

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We truly had such an incredible time and I cannot think of one thing I would do differently.  I will always be grateful for the support and help from friends and family as well as the wedding guests, vendors and caterers.

I plan to talk more about my caterers and vendors.

The ceremony (if anything just show a bunch of pictures…because they are truly incredible)

The reception (hashtag so much dancing)

I already rambled away about how much fun we had on our honeymoon.

Key West

Cruise

Vacation Eating

Cruise Ports

So please feel free to follow along in such an important and incredible moment of my life…or just skim and wait for the diner and running posts…

Cruise Ports

The recaps of the honeymoon have been so sporadic the last two weeks.  It shouldn’t really matter and I’ll get to them all eventually.  So many blog topics, so little time (I joke…).

To keep myself organized here is what I’ve Recapped so far:

Key West

The Cruise

The Cruise Food

The last chapter of the honeymoon posts is the actual ports and islands we visited.  We went to Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maartin.

Nassau is the easiest to recap because we only stayed in Nassau a few hours.  We spent the time shopping and just walking around the town.  We bought souvenirs but other than that didn’t go very far.  Honestly we enjoyed that a lot.

The Bahamas!

The Bahamas!

In St. Thomas we walked around even more.  I don’t think I have walked that much in a very long time.  We walked around the area and even walked to the other cruise ship port (about a mile away).  It was great to see the island and see what was going on by foot.  St. Thomas is also where we stopped at Glady’s Café (diner review this weekend).  By the end of the day I was so exhausted!  I have never fallen asleep that easily!

Grilled mahi mahi at Glady's Cafe (the photo does not do it justice)

Grilled mahi mahi at Glady’s Cafe (the photo does not do it justice)

At the final port we visited, St. Maartin, we decided to do an excursion.  We went kayaking and snorkeling.  I am not coordinated at all and we shared a kayak.

Does this filter make us look tan?

Does this filter make us look tan?

The group instructor said “we do not provide marriage counseling after the tour”.  HA!  We had a great time and saw a lot of fish and creatures.  The fish were not as bright as I imagined but it was awesome to take our underwater camera around and look at things.

Kayak ready

Kayak ready

I floated like a log while T dove down underneath to the bottom.  Honestly I still think that is the most swimming I’ve done in a couple of years and I had a life jacket.  It made me realize I still don’t miss swimming.

I will take selfies while T paddles the kayak

I will take selfies while T paddles the kayak

After snorkeling, we were starving.  I think swimming for 1 minute makes me hungrier than running for 100 minutes.  We stopped at a local café.  We toured around (by foot again) and looked at various shops and markets.  There is so much shopping on the Bahamas, it’s overwhelming.

Cafe view (yes this is real life)

Cafe view (yes this is real life)

I really enjoyed each of the ports we visited.  One major thing I like about cruises is the ability to see other areas for a little while and move on.  You get to travel and don’t have to plan a lot!

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to any of those islands?

Do you enjoy snorkeling?

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