farewell, new hampshire

Today, is officially my last day as a legitimate New Hampshire resident,
and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't slightly emotional about the thought of saying goodbye to this state.
I moved here in October of 2010, after 5 years in Utah.
I had needed a break, I needed to be closer to family and I missed the East coast.
I lived briefly in North Conway, then Nashua, then Salem, where I've been the past year.

I've lived in a whole bunch of places in my life -
from New Jersey, to Florida, to Utah, to New Hampshire…
but I have to say that I'm fairly certain this is my absolute favorite thus far.

I'll miss the gorgeous, clear blue skies and lovely lake water.
I'll miss the stunning snowy winterscapes, which are pretty much the best thing ever.
I'll miss the insanely beautiful fall colors.

I'll miss the blueberry picking in the summer because Maine blueberries are the best.
I'll miss trips to the river with my sweet pup because she has to stay behind with my parents (more on that later).
I'll miss our proximity to Boston's fun city center.

I've never really had a problem moving on,
and I think that's a big reason why Ryan and I knew we could make this relationship work.
The Army ensures many moves in our future,
and though I love my family more than life itself,
I also love Ryan, and I know that we can travel, FaceTime and always, always stay in touch.

There's something innately beautiful about moving.
It's the close of one chapter, but it also opens a brand new door for a million new things.
And, in the end, it just means a million new adventures :)

packing is the bane of my existence

Today is officially my first day working from home.
Today is also the day that I'm running around like a crazy person getting things done.
Two days from now, my mother and I will be on the road,
so the list of things that needs to be done today is…extensive…shall we say.

The trailer hitch is being installed today.
The couch, desk and bookshelves are all being picked up by their new owners today.
I have to make a massive Salvation Army run.
The giant old-ass TV needs to be taken to the dump today, too.
Oh yeah, and I need to finish packing and do laundry.

It's a freaking lot.
Ryan and I were talking last night about stress and letting the little things get to us though,
and I loved it because it really put everything into perspective.

All these things are temporary.
The stress, the drama, the fatigue and feeling overwhelmed…
it will all pass, and when it does, we'll feel better than ever.
It's hard to remember sometimes, but it is so, so important.

Please keep your fingers crossed for me today that I manage to maintain my sanity!
I'll try to post something more exciting before we start traveling tomorrow,
but right now…this is my life :)

Love all of your encouraging selves.

some office inspiration

Ryan signed for our house on post yesterday!
I managed to convince the hubs to send me a plethora of pictures,
and I have to say that we really lucked out - especially as newlyweds just looking for a place to call home.
The house has 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, a huge open-concept kitchen, a backyard,
a 2-car garage and a walk-in closet in the master.

Honestly, for Army housing, we are really, really happy.
Once I'm there next week, I promise I'll some picture of our new house,
but let's be honest, the pictures he sent were...quickly snapped and not the best quality.

I think that the thing I'm most excited about is starting with a completely blank slate.
One of the three bedrooms will be my office at home,
and I can't wait to really put my stamp on it and make it mine.
The only real decision I've made thus far is that there will be one whole chalkboard wall.
Think of it like a life-sized to do calendar. 

Other than that, I've been scouring Pinterest for some inspiration,
and I think I've got a pretty clear idea of what I'm looking for.

images via here, here and here.

Since we won't be in our house for more than a year,
we won't be painting any of the walls,
which gives me a clear idea of how to make this office my own.

I'm leaning towards bright, clean and fresh whites with pops of pastel colors and gold.
For the most part, our house will be pretty neutral,
but I wanted my office to be a really sweet, fun and feminine sanctuary. 
I've decided that I want to buy a unique desk/table and refinish it myself,
then I'll design the room, including the textiles, around the desk because I hope for it to be a great accent.

There is something so amazing about starting with a completely blank slate.
We can't wait!

notes on packing and moving

I'm ashamed to say that I've packed very little for my upcoming move thus far. 
In all honesty, there's a bit of a catch-22 here.
I need to pack my stuff that I'm taking so I don't stress in the 11th hour.
However, I can't pack all the stuff I'm taking because the only stuff I'm taking is the stuff I really need.

I've sold most of my furniture, 
which was a decision that Ryan and I came to after I snagged the free couch.
I managed to sell that free couch for $130 because I'm obviously a genius,
and my dresser was picked up on Saturday.
Now, it looks like the bookshelves and the desk will be picked up on Thursday.

Then, I pretty much need to wrangle all my books, my clothes and all my kitchen supplies.
Oh yeah, and the cat tree because that's going to be one of our few pieces of furniture next week.

Ryan and I are only going to be in our house in Sierra Vista for 11 months before we PCS,
so while I'm crazy excited to buy and refinish furniture for our new place,
I hesitate to really put our stamp on the place because, well, we're going to have to leave again.
We've started looking at decorating our next place though,
and I'm so glad to have a husband that generally trusts my design sense. 

Perhaps the thing I'm most excited for in the new house, however, is having my own office at home.
I can't wait to make it a really comfortable little sanctuary,
especially because it's where I'll be spending most of my days.

Despite all this excitement though, 
I really thought I'd be more nervous to pick up and move on again.
I took tons of boxes to Goodwill and Salvation Army this weekend -
stuff I've accumulated through the past three moves that I thought I couldn't part with...
decorations, trinkets, clothes, a ton of books that I no longer read.

And yet, I felt almost liberated getting rid of everything.
It's like a clean slate that Ryan and I get to start with anew, and it's so crazy refreshing.
Have you ever donated or gotten rid of most of your stuff, only to feel crazy happy about it?
I might be insane, but it's probably the best thing I've ever done for myself.

snapshots from our wedding day

Ryan and I received our full proofing gallery the other day from our amazing photographer and,
though the pictures aren't final or high resolution yet,
I can't help but share a few more with the world because I love them!
It truly was such a perfect, intimate, beautiful day,
and even with all the crazy snow and canceling people, it turned out perfectly.

And yes, that's the whole family, and no, I'm not quite sure where my mother is looking.
I love her dearly, but she has a habit of never looking at the camera.

In other news, I'm sitting up north today waiting for my car to be fixed at the shop,
all the while working from my parents' house.
It's snowing lightly outside right now, and I'm relishing these little moments
because they're going to be few and far between soon!
6 more days till moving day!

working out without a gym

One of the crappiest things about not having moved yet is that I no longer have access to a gym.
I quit CrossFit after injuring myself, 
and I had a gym membership through the first two weeks of January, but that's up now, too.
I'm moving in just 8 short days, 
but not having a proper place to work out is honestly driving me certifiably insane.

Working out is my stress-reliever.
I would run outside, but with sub-zero temperatures this whole week,
as well as snow in the forecast for this weekend, it's been physically impossible.
Plus, let's be honest, there are only so many workout DVDs you can do on your own.

I was so frustrated the other evening that I decided to just do an EMOM 10 of 20 air squats.
For those that don't do CrossFit, that's 10 minutes, with 20 squats every minute on the minute.
I could barely walk yesterday, and I'm walking even worse today.
But honestly, that's what I love to feel...
that crazy muscle burn that makes you well aware you did work.

Once Ryan and I are living on post, 
we're going to have our choice of not one, but three different gyms.
I told him last night that I'm so excited that I'm going to circuit from one gym to the other...
just because I can.

But for now, I'm doing little workouts like these gems, 
which are actually harder than they look. 
^^^ workouts via here, here & here

Tell me, friends...what do you do when you don't have access to a gym,
or you can't run outside?
I'd love some more suggestions because I still have a week to go!

i decided it's okay to pamper myself

So, one of my biggest resolutions for 2014 has been to take some more time to focus on me.
Even just saying that feel selfish to me, but here's the thing...
I usually put all others before myself, and I don't complain or question it because it feels right.
However, Ryan taught me through dating and loving me that it's one of the root causes of my stress.
I care too much what people think, or if I'm letting them down.

I promised him that this year I was going to focus more on me,
and yes, I'm going to be a little more selfish this year.
And you know what?
I decided to do something a little selfish last night.
I signed up for Birchbox.
^^^ image via

I usually hesitate to sign up for subscription things like this,
but I figured that for $10 a month, I can eat that cost and spoil myself a little this year.
Plus, I want to put a little more time and energy into a proper beauty routine this year because I'm usually pretty lazy about it.
How lazy, you ask?
Well, I pretty much always do my makeup in the car.

So, the point is, I caved, and I'm actually pretty psyched that I did.
There's a two week wait list right now, but I'm looking forward to getting some goodies in the mail.
And yes, I'm going to pamper myself with them.

Do any of you have Birchbox, or have you signed up for something similar?
I'd love to hear what you think!

in which i had a huge reality-check

I spent much of last night freaking out over everything.
I was stressed about the fact that I haven't packed, well, anything yet.
I was stressed that most of my furniture hasn't sold yet.
I was stressed about the fact that my car is having all these fun issues before a 2,200 mile road trip.
I was stressed about the fact that Ryan and I are moving to a completely empty house.

But then I realized something that changed my perspective entirely.
I don't really have all that much to pack.
If my furniture doesn't sell, I might not make some money back, but those less fortunate will get it.
My car always comes through in the end.
I get to move into that big, empty, wonderful house with my husband.
There is nobody else in the world that I'd rather embark upon this crazy journey of life with.
He makes me laugh, he picks me up when I'm down and he reminds me to be strong.
Most of all though, he makes me a better person,
and we finally get to start this next chapter of our lives together in less than two weeks.
I am so, so blessed.

our honeymoon on ice

Now that we've been back from our honeymoon for over a week, 
I figured it was about time that I shared some photos and a little recap of our honeymoon adventures.
Ryan and I decided to head up to Quebec City for a little honeymoon immediately following the wedding,
and we'll take a cruise later this year to celebrate, as well.
But for now, we just wanted a quick, easy, fun and relaxing getaway that we could both enjoy. 

We stayed at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in the heart of the old city.
It's the hotel right on the river that looks like a castle, topped with old copper turrets and peaks.
It was to die for.
I'm lucky enough to work in travel, and it affords us the opportunity to stay in some great hotels
for just a fraction of the cost - like this five-star gem.
As expected, it was absolutely freezing the entire time we were there,
so we explored a little bit, ate great food and really just spent time relaxing together in our beautiful hotel.

We ate at La Cremaillere, the most incredible restaurant, on Tuesday night while it was positively blizzarding outside.
We were the only patrons crazy enough to brave the temperatures, and we had the entire place to ourselves.
The restaurant had some of the most decadent food we'd ever eaten - all in European portions -
and we ate like we've never eaten before.
The owner of the restaurant even made Ryan's dish at our table.
It was an incredible experience, and everything tasted a little less amazing after that.

On Thursday evening, Ryan and I decided to check out the Hotel de Glace, or the Ice Hotel.
Each year, the place is constructed in January, and it's expected to melt by mid-April. 
The entire place is crafted from ice and snow bricks - even the beds, the bar, the chandeliers - all of it.
We very briefly contemplated spending our last night there, 
until we experienced just how cold it was, at which point we were convinced that no amount of fur would keep us warm.
All the beds and seats were covered with these furs, but when your bed is literally a block of ice?
Yeah, I'm not buying it...

Despite the polar vortex and our freezing fingers,
neither of us would have changed a thing for the world, and we really had a blast.
We're so looking forward to a cruise later this year and many trips together in the future!

procrastination is key

I wish I could tell you that I did some amazing things this past weekend,
or that I had some sort of incredible adventure that the blogosphere would be jealous of.
However, that was simply not the case.
As most of you know by now, I have a supreme skill for procrastination,
and with my moving day in just 12 days, I kind of needed to get on top of things.

I had grand plans for Saturday.
I'd planned to thoroughly clean and vacuum my car, making it beautiful before the trip
(and the ridiculous amounts of service it needs before the aforementioned trip),
but New Hampshire decided it was a good day to start snowing instead,
so I revised my plans, scheduled my trailer hitch installation, reserved my uhaul and started selling my furniture instead.

On the plus side, I sold my sideboard,
and it looks like someone wants to buy the couch I got for free a few weeks back (muahahaha).
Other than these mild bouts of productivity though,
there were a lot of kitten cuddles, movies like the Avengers and a brunch excursion to Boston.

On that note, if you're ever looking for an amazing brunch place in Boston, try Masa.
I had the Santa Fe Eggs Benedict, and it was probably the best thing I've had since our honeymoon...
speaking of which, I'll recap our honeymoon later this week.
Back to Masa though...it's absolutely divine, and walking 2 miles to find it was totally worth it in the end.

Also, as a quick aside,
it looks like we're getting our full proofing gallery of wedding photos tonight!
I'm really, really excited to see the rest of the pictures and relive the memories over and over again.

a roof over our heads

You may remember from this post that Ryan and my living situation after the move was going to be less than ideal.
Army housing had informed us of a really long wait time to get a place on post,
so our original plan was that we would continue renting with his roommate until a place opened up.
Needless to say, I was far less than thrilled about living as a newlywed
with his roommate, regardless of how nice the guy is.

Well, after a really long and stressful first half of our week back,
Ryan got a phone call from housing saying that one of the brand new duplexes was open
for a January 31st move-in.
If we wanted to wait for a stand-alone house, we would be looking at February 27th at the earliest.
We jumped on it, and it looks like it's going to be our place!

I can't tell you how much this excites me because
A) this means we will not have to spend our first married months with a roommate and
B) I only have to make one move(!!!)

As it stands, my mother will be accompanying me on this cross-country journey so I don't have to do it alone.
We are leaving early in the morning on Saturday, February 1st,
and we are expecting to be there by the evening of Tuesday, February 4th, as it's a fun 2,220 mile+ journey.
Want to see our route?

We might shift and drive due south to start depending on how the weather is on the moving day,
but right now, this is the route we're planning to take.

I have so, SO much to do before the move.
I'm selling all my furniture, getting new tires on the car, getting a new battery for the car,
installing a trailer hitch on my little Civic (yes, I'm nuts),
renting a U-Haul trailer (the smallest one, of course), pack my books, clothese and livelihood,
get my new office materials from work to move out west and more.

It's madness, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't completely overwhelmed,
but I know it will be worth it, and this is the last time I'll be moving alone and on my dime.
I'll be working from home the last week in NH, too, to make sure it all gets done,
but pretty please say a little prayer that things go smoothly for us, this house and this move!
It's finally happening!

a wedding recap - the details

I still can't believe I'm married and have been for almost two weeks.
Ryan and I were Facetiming last night and, perhaps it's because we had to part after a week of marriage,
but it hasn't quite entirely sunk in that he and I get to spend eternity together now.
It's still pretty amazing to wrap my head around,
so I'm keeping it alive today and sharing the little details from our teeny wedding!

When Ryan and I started our little whirlwind wedding planning process, 
we knew we didn't want anything huge and pretentious. 
We wanted to play off the colors of the season (and his uniform) and really just embrace winter.

Our centerpieces were simple - evergreen in hand-blown glass vases filled with pinecones and cinnamon.
To add a little something extra, 
We decorated the evergreen branches with glass icicle ornaments, which caught the candlelight in our reception.
I made all of them two days prior to the wedding to ensure they wouldn't die before then.

Since there were only 19 of us at our wedding and reception, we ended up having a few extra centerpieces,
which we used to help adorn the cake table.
I made both the cake and the centerpieces, as well, which was truly a labor of love. 
Our favors were peppermint hot chocolate in mason jars.
I simply layered pure Dutch cocoa, crushed peppermint and marshmallows in the jars for all our guests.

Our cake was red velvet with a cream cheese frosting, adorned with fresh pine, raspberries and powdered sugar. 
I knew from the start I didn't want a tiered, traditional wedding cake,
so I decided to play off the season with the cake, as well, using the same elements as the rest of our decor.
I was surprised with how well the cake turned out, too!

Honestly, looking back, I wouldn't change a single thing from our wedding day.
Sure, things went "wrong," and little elements were overlooked,
but everything went so smoothly, and despite our nerves, we were married that day, 
and that's what really mattered to us in the end. 

a wedding recap - the ceremony

You'll have to forgive the supreme lack of variety with our pictures thus far.
We haven't received the full proofing gallery yet, so I'm working with the 20 that I've seen thus far.
And, like I said, I'm impatient, 
so I'm sure I'll share more pictures down the road, as well.

The days leading up to our wedding were rife with blizzard conditions and freezing weather,
but our wedding day was sunny (albeit freezing) and absolutely beautiful.
After getting ready at the manor all day and not seeing him, I was more than ready to marry Ryan, 
but there's nothing like that rush of adrenaline when my father and I were walking down the stairs
and the aisle for him to give me away.

My smile was a mile wide the entire time
except when I said my vows because I was this close to absolutely losing it.
Yet, I held it together as best as I could, paused a few times, and I made it through my vows like a champ!
As an aside, Ryan memorized his vows...he wins.

Our minister, Ben, is a family friend, and he perfectly captured the feel of the day in the ceremony.
We wanted a traditional feel with Mormon verses sprinkled throughout, as well,
and I think that Ryan's parents were really touched that we did this for them.

I can't explain how fast the ceremony flew by though.
Ashley and I had been texting the days prior, and she told me to breathe and enjoy the moment
because it would be gone before I knew it, and she was so right.
It felt like it was over in mere moments, though the ceremony was close to a half hour.
Before I knew it though, Ben was announcing us as husband and wife, and his grin definitely mirrored my own.

We decided to brave the arctic temperatures for a few outdoor pictures after the ceremony,
and we've only received two of our portraits thus far, but we're absolutely in love with them.
Ladies, I'm a lucky, lucky woman to have this handsome man as my husband!

I'll have a few pictures of the details tomorrow,
and I'll be sure to post more of our photos once we receive them, 
but I couldn't help but share what we do have in advance because it all just went by so fast.
Ladies, if you're getting married, savor every single moment because it will be gone before you know it!

a wedding recap - getting ready

I'd really hoped to share photos once we had all our photos back from our photographer,
but I am unfailingly impatient when push comes to shove.
And so, I figure I'd share a tidbit of what we've received back thus far because
as Ashley warned me it would, the day went by so fast, and I almost wish I could relive it again.

The day was simple and rustic, but at the same time it was timeless and beautiful.
I got ready at Stonehurst Manor in our suite, along with the other ladies, 
while Ryan and the rest of the men got ready at my parents' house that morning.
Ryan didn't want to see me the morning of the wedding before the service, 
so I made him cover his eyes and snuck him a quick kiss before I went to get my hair done.

Though we strayed from much of the extravagance of big weddings, 
we stuck to some traditions,
and I wore my mother's antique family heirloom choker from the 1800's in the Netherlands.

That choker is all blood-red coral with a pure 18k yellow gold clasp at the front.
My mother wore it at her wedding,
and my older sister, Nikki, wore it at her wedding in 2010, so it really meant a lot to wear it, too.

I did my own makeup, mostly because I'm a bit of a control freak about the amount that's on my face,
and I was really happy with how it turned out.
I stuck with a palette of golds and a coral-pink lip to accentuate the necklace.
The only thing I had help with was the liquid eyeliner because I wasn't taking any chances on my wedding day.
My brother-in-law's sister, Rachel, kindly lent her expertise.

In the end, five people that RSVP'd to attend the wedding ended up not attending,
but some of my very best friends in the whole world made it to New Hampshire to celebrate…
including my very best friend from Ottawa, Karly.
Karly and I went to school in Utah together,
and as two lone distance-swimming girls, we definitely bonded.

This girl just barely moved back to Ottawa from Edmonton,
but she braved the snow, the wind and the ice to be there for Ryan and I.
After not seeing her for 3 years but talking to her nearly every day, we didn't miss beat.

There are a lot more pictures of getting ready to come,
and I'm sure I'll need another post for them, but for now, I'm sharing what I've seen
because, well, it keeps that day alive in my heart.
I'll be posting more throughout the week about the wedding, the ceremony and the details, of course!

*** all photos are courtesy of sarah nieman photography.

i'm back…and officially married!

I feel like I haven't blogged in years, when in reality, it's only been just over a week!
To all the sweet guest bloggers that lent their time, blogging prowess and sweet words,
I truly appreciate you helping a girl out more than you know!
I can't tell you how amazing Ryan and my wedding was because words don't do it justice.
But I promise you…I will do my best.

I'll do a full wedding recap, but for now, I'm just settling into normal life again.
Ryan had to fly back to Arizona yesterday because his leave was up, 
so I bid my new husband adieu and watched him fly away.
It was incredibly difficult.

Rather than focus on how hard it was though, 
I'm focusing on just how much needs to be done before my big move out to Arizona 
so that we can officially begin our married life together!
My mother and I will begin the cross-country journey on Saturday, February 1st,
and it will most likely take us 4 whole days.

There is a ton of stuff that has to be done before then, 
so I'm sure as much as we miss each other, the time will really fly by.

I'll be back with a start to the wedding recap tomorrow,
but for now, I leave you with one teaser photo from our amazing photographer, Sarah Nieman.
(I've seen more, but I want to save them to share altogether!)

^^^ image courtesy of sarah nieman photography

guest post from ashley: the new normal

Hi, I’m Ashley from Afternoons With You Blog and I’m so so happy to be here today!

Everyone always talks about how great the blogging community is. I never really got that until I met Melissa. In just a short time, we discovered we are “long lost soul sistas.” I love our random conversations, texts, and emails. I’m so happy to be sharing on this blog today as Melissa goes off to start her life with Ryan.

I have been married for a little over a year and one thing that shocked me after getting married was figuring out that life changes and a new normal quickly sets in. It was like a paper was signed, there was a ceremony, the ”I dos”, the cake eating, and the dancing. You get into a car that is elaborately and obnoxiously decorated and drive off into the sunset headed for a exotic honeymoon ….but wait..then what?

The new normal!!! For us…marriage was a drastic change. We, like Melissa and Ryan, had never lived together. We were both taking on new jobs, moving to a new city away from our family and friends, and starting a completely new life together.

The new normal consisted of figuring out day to day life and what that picture looked like now that we were married! There are so many little details you never think about before you’re married. Like grocery shopping, cooking, house chores, sleep patterns--just the little oddities that change when you marry someone and live with them for the first time.

And then figuring out things you never knew about him and him about you regardless of how long the two of you have been together. Like the fact that he NEVER washes off dishes before putting them in the sink and that I use TWO towels for every shower and I pretty much just drop them wherever when I’m done with them…like on the bed…or the floors…kitchen counter…sure! The new normal is figuring out this person that you are in love with in a different way and figuring out this life that you get to share together full of new experiences! Creating a NEW way of life, a new normal, with all his quirks and all of yours!

Settling into this new normal and new life with my husband has been one of the best experiences of my life. Of course not every single day is rosy and I will forever get annoyed by the dishes and he will forever have to endure the fact I shed obscene amounts of hair EVERYWHERE! But, it’s the best adventure and experience and this new normal is the best thing that has ever happened!

Congrats again, Melissa! I know you made a STUNNING bride. Can’t wait to see what your new normal holds.

guest post from lauren - marrying the military

Hello all!

You may remember me being here a couple of months ago guesting for Ms. Melissa from over at Going Green: Our Army Adventure. Well, now that her wedding has finally gotten here, I’m back again and ready to guest post for Mrs. Melissa while she takes some time off for her honeymoon!!

I’m so happy for her and Ryan, and glad to welcome her to the military spouse family.

Of course her beautiful well planned nuptials remind me of my own military semi-elopement (with just a hint of jealously!), as well as a word to those thinking about joining the milSO club!

If you’ve ever been over to my blog you know that FM and I were married on the quick in between his AIT training and being sent directly to South Korea for a yearlong hardship tour. Our decision to be married in those 10 days was something we thought about for quite a long time; I mean, we had been together for 5 years already, it wasn’t like a surprise or anything, but we knew it would not make for many happy people no matter where we decided to have it, so we went with what was best for us, a quick ceremony at a local courthouse with just a few select members of my family and friends.

And I must say, as much as it was unplanned and unconventional, and as much as it created some waves in the two family oceans for a while, we loved every minute of it, and I’m so glad we decided to go through with what we truly wanted. FM and I had the chance to have a beautiful day together that set us on a path towards an amazing life & future, and of course it also ensures that I am finally recognized as a permanent part in his military life, included in all future PCSs and financial considerations.

So, as a pointer to anyone thinking about doing the same, anyone in a position where they want to be married to their soldier but are concerned about what their families will think if they just have a quick & small civil ceremony in between training, tours, or deployments, here’s a few words of wisdom from me to you…


And I mean that without any reference to Nike, or any other mildly perverse association.

Do what makes you and your soldier happy! After all, it is your life together, and if you made this decision mutually, follow your gut, leave the naysayers to their naysaying, and do what is right for you!

Sure, FM and I plan to re-do the whole day, white dress and suits included, and invite everyone we love and care about to share in our happiness, but our first wedding with my $12 dress from H&M and his spiffy dress blues will always be just as special and meaningful, if not more, to us. We will forever remember what we did for us to finally start our own family, and how happy we were to have that day, no matter how small or short it was in the eyes of others!

So a very, very heartfelt congratulations to Melissa and Ryan on your marriage!! All the best to you both always, and I hope you’re having a great time your honeymoon!! And Melissa, an equally heartfelt welcome to the crazy but supportive military spouse family! We’re sure glad to have you!

Have a happy & healthy holiday season all, and follow your hearts always!

- Lauren

guest post from elizabeth: marrying military men

Well hello there loving readers! (See what I did there--"loving" readers aka "loving" life moore? Cute right? Too cheesy?) Well, anyways, just in case you're wondering who in the world has hijacked Melissa's blog, let me introduce myself--I'm Elizabeth and I write over at Army Ever After. My husband Zach (the very handsome soldier boy in the picture to the left) and I have been married for just a little more than a year and a half and we are currently living in Hawaii.

Most of you probably already know that Melissa's man Ryan is also an Army man so I thought it would be fun and in keeping with the theme to tell y'all some of the reasons I love being married to a military man.

You get to travel with your best friend.
I'm just a small town girl from New Hampshire--never in a million years did I think I would ever live in Hawaii! But here I am! Ok so I know not all places the military sends you are as glamorous as the aloha state but each one offers different experiences you probably would never have had. And whether you're walking on the beach in Hawaii, shoveling snow in New York, or driving on the autobahn in Germany, who better to have next to you than the person you love! 

You get built in me-time.
Separation is pretty much part of the package when you're in a relationship with a service member. And it pretty much sucks all around. However if you look on the bright side (which is the side I like to look otherwise I become Miss Gloomy Pants), the hubs being away means you can eat ice cream for dinner, binge on episodes of Gilmore Girls or Real Housewives, and take up the entire living room floor with craft supplies. And the best part of time apart is always that moment when you're reunited. There's really nothing else like it and it pretty much makes all those lonely nights worthwhile. 

You learn patience.
Have you ever heard the phrase "hurry up and wait"? It was coined for a reason--military life involves a lot of waiting. You wait for paperwork to go through, you wait for your spouse to come home, you wait to know where you're going to live. Whether you want to or not, you're going to learn some patience because there's absolutely nothing to do to make the waiting go by faster. Just call the military "Persistence Builder". 

You are a part of an amazing community.
I'm absolutely blown away by this every time I meet (in real life or through blogging) a fellow military wife. It doesn't matter what our spouses' job in the military is or what branch they serve in, there's an instant camaraderie and kinship that's hard to explain. Of course, I cherish all my friendships but there's just something special about my milspouse friendships.

Well, there you have it, all--four reasons why I love being a military wife. A big thank you to Melissa for letting me takeover her blog for a day! If you're like me, you can't wait for her to come back and tell us all about her wedding and winter wonderland honeymoon. I'm so excited for her and Ryan as they start this new chapter of their lives!! Congrats, girlfriend!

guest post from miranda: love and long distance

When I first entered the dating scene I never thought I would be able to handle a long distance relationship. It wasn't something I wanted and it wasn't something I ever thought I would need to do. All that changed when I got together with my now Husband, Jake. Jake and I met back in high school. I was a freshman and he was a senior. We dated for about two weeks then decided we were better as friends. Not long after he left to join the Marine Corps and we lost touch for SIX years.

Fast forward those six years. I write a heartbroken facebook status because I had just ended a 3 year relationship with someone I seriously thought I was going to marry. At the same time Jake had just ended a serious relationship too. We were both in a sad place and Jake reached out to me to tell me I was going to be ok and he was there if I needed someone to talk to. Facebook messages led to texting which led to Skyping, which led to me flying from MN to CA to see him which was when he officially asked me to be his girlfriend as we walked along the beach hand in hand. Six months later he asked me to marry him on the same beach. Two months after that he deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months and I was still in MN working, finishing my Bachelor's degree, and trying my hardest to keep our relationship alive. 

The number one thing to focus on during a long distance relationship is COMMUNICATION!
Things were a lot easier communication wise when Jake was not deployed. In the beginning of our relationship we Skyped just about every night as we battled each other on Words With Friends. We texted throughout the day and everything was going really well. It wasn't the same as seeing each other, hanging out, going on dates, etc but it was all we had so we tried to make the most of what we had. During his deployment things were a lot harder. I stuck to letters, Facebook chatting, the rare Skype session when he had good enough internet connection, and e-mails. E-mails like this one gave me the strength to fight through the loneliness and hang on to the love we had. 

TRUST is next in line when it comes to keeping the love going during a long distance relationship. I have to admit this was something I really struggled with and still do. I had my heart broken and trusting another man so quickly was a struggle. Especially when he lived so far away and I didn't know what he was doing or who his friends were. All I had to go off of was what I knew about his past which wasn't filled with the most pleasant things. I had to learn to put that aside and realize that people can grow up, people can change, and that it was possible that this man really loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with ME. Not his ex girlfriends. ME. Quiet, shy, socially awkward, nerdy ME. 

Keeping things FUN helped us stay connected as well. We played games together over X-BOX live, we told each other lame jokes, and we innocently teased one another. While he was deployed I sent him care packages, letters of encouragement, and daily e-mails. He mostly looked forward to the care packages and I must admit I made some really FUN ones! His favorite was this LEGO themed box!

Not letting JEALOUSY overcome you is also key. He will be hanging out with his friends. He will be out doing fun things without you and that's something you have to learn to accept while you are apart. You just have to keep in mind that you will get your chance and when you do it will be that much more special and rewarding because it isn't something you get to do often. You grow to appreciate one another on a whole new level and the little things other relationships take for granite are things you cherish and hold onto. 

My Husband and I went through 1.5 years apart before we finally got married in March 2013, and I moved to CA in May 2013. We love doing things together, we love building a home together, and we love that distance is not an obstacle for us at this moment. Since Jake is in the military we know another deployment is bound to happen, trainings and schooling will also come up. However, we know that we can make it through these times apart because we have done it before and we have learned tips and tricks to stay connected when distance separated us. If you are going through a long distance relationship hang in there! It will all be worth it in the end and you can do it! 

This post was contributed by Miranda at Hurry Up and Wait.

I'm Miranda, a small town MN gal living in the big city of sunny San Diego! Happily married to a military man and a proud momma of two fur-babies. Follow me as I embark on life's greatest journey as a college grad and Marine Wife!
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more about me please visit my blog Hurry Up and Wait

guest post from amanda: navigating marriage

Hi everyone! My name is Amanda and I blog over at Love and Coffee Mugs about my husband, our lives, my obsession with coffee, and just anything else that stumbles through my head. It’s basically a place for my word vomit and the ridiculous amount of pictures I take. Melissa was kind enough to let me take over for the day while she's off enjoying what I'm sure is an incredibly beautiful honeymoon. So let's talk about marriage a little bit. I haven't been married for very long but I've learned one very important lesson that I believe is worth sharing.


When Will and I were still dating, we’d lay on the couch at night cuddling and watching t.v. I never told Will about this but while we were cuddling, I used to pretend that it was years down the road and we were married. That it was our couch and our house and we would have to get into bed soon in order to get up early for our jobs. Imagining this always gave me a very overwhelming sense of peace and happiness. I seriously could not wait to marry him.

So imagine my surprise when we got home from the honeymoon and were trying to settle into our house and we learned that marriage is not easy. Shocker, right? I’m sure you’ve heard people say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. They’re not kidding. Being married is not always rainbows and sunshine and sleepovers every night with your best friend. Don’t get me wrong. It’s definitely awesome a majority of the time but there are some adjustments to figure out.

I don’t want to go into detail about the problems that arose during the first few months after our wedding, but we did our fair share of fighting and heart-to-hearts to try and resolve the problems. Sometimes we felt like we had a deadline to fix all our issues because four months after we said “I do”, Will left for basic training to join the Air Force. We knew we weren’t going to be able to really talk for 2 months. The looming “deadline” only added unnecessary stress and by the time his leave date arrived, of course, the issues weren’t resolved. We basically swept them under the rug and pretended everything was okay to make an unpleasant situation as pleasant as possible.

While we were apart during basic training, I missed him so much more than I thought I would. I didn’t even know it was possible to feel like you were missing an appendage while still retaining all your limbs, fingers, and toes. If you’ve ever experienced being separated from your spouse with very limited contact, you know how much it just sucks. It made every single thing we fought about or anything I whined about feel incredibly insignificant. Suddenly all our problems finally felt surmountable because working through issues with Will was better than not having him in my life at all.


There was only one problem. For some reason, I just assumed that because we missed each other so much, our problems were magically resolved. That the relief from being back together would erase all of them. And for awhile it did. We didn’t fight or argue for a couple months before the trouble slowly showed its ugly face again.

We realized that it didn’t matter how much we loved each other or how grateful we were to be back together, marriage will never be easy. We realized that just because it was so easy to love each other didn’t mean it was easy to make this marriage and partnership work. They're totally not the same thing. Probably a no-brainer to everyone else, but we learned we have to consistantly try to communicate better and consider each other’s feelings more among several other things. The difference now is that we use our basic training experience and future deployments as a reminder that no matter how hard it may feel to work through a problem, it’s better than not having each other around at all and it’s worth every argument to be married to your best friend.

So come on over, say hi, and follow along while Will and I continue to figure out this whole marriage things.

guest post from taylor: marriage & relationship advice from the pros

Hey Y'all!
I'm so excited to be guest posting for Melissa while she is off getting married and spending precious time with her new husband! 

 My name is Taylor Rae. You can find me over at Taylored and Turquoise where I blog about life as a newlywed, DIY projects I attempt, and recipes I try to make taste good.

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I've been been married to my husband for a whole six months {you can read all about our wedding here}. I'm still very much learning when it comes to marriage and relationships in general really; obviously we aren't the pros. While we were engaged, we went through premarital counseling twice, once with our pastor/uncle and once with our church. I think the husband {James} thought it was a little excessive at the time, but now we are both so thankful for all we learned about marriage, relationships, and each other! I just wanted to share a few things that really stood out to us and have really made an impact in our marriage. We, by no means do all of the things perfectly, but I like to think we are improving and learning along the way :) 

1. Fight Fair
Confession: I'm not good at this! While my husband is calm when we fight, I yell or shut down. Thankfully, James is a good forgiver {see #4} and has taught me a lot about fighting over the past 6 months. Things to remember: yelling doesn't help, stay focused on the topic at hand, and keep it respectful. I know for me I need a cool off period before I can talk about something that has really aggravated me. We have agreed that I can have that as long as I come back and talk about it within 24 hours. Talk about it and find out what works for you and your relationship.

2. Make Goals
I've always been a goal setter, so this one makes sense to me! Make long-term, short-term, serious, and fun goals! Setting goals helps you figure out what is important to both of you and allows you to plan for fun things in the future. Make goals on your anniversary and revisit them every few months to see how you're doing.

3. Don't Talk Bad About Your Significant Other
Our 2-to-1 counselors shared this one with us and although I had never given it much thought before, it made a lot of sense. They told us a story of how her friends would always comment on what a great guy her husband was because she never said anything bad about him. Not only did it make him feel good when he heard about that, but it made her feel good too! I want to be that kind of wife! I get it, sometimes you just want to vent; however, while it may seem innocent it's not really helping anything. Not only can it start to change how you see your significant other, but it can start to change how your friends see him/her too. I want to build my husband up when I'm with him and when I'm not. I want him to feel encouraged by me and by the things that I say. I can't do that when I'm complaining about him and what he does or doesn't do.

4. Be Good Forgivers
James and I agree that this was the best advice we got along the way. Good relationships are made up of two good forgivers. Let's be really honest, forgiveness is hard and, frankly, sometimes I just don't want to! We're all human. We all make mistakes, and we all seek forgiveness. I have peace knowing that my husband is a good forgiver because I'm not perfect and sometimes I screw up. He deserves the same from me. Plus, relationships are much more fun when you spend time forgiving rather than fighting.

5. Have Fun and Keep Dating!
No matter how long you've been together make sure you continue to date and get to know your significant other. Plan adventures, date nights, and trips. They don't have to be extravagant or expensive; sometimes it's fun to have a picnic in your living room or an all day movie marathon. Just make sure to keep having fun and never stop learning about each other!

Thanks for letting me take over your blog today Melissa! I can't wait to hear all about the wedding and the honeymoon! Congrats!!

guest post from kaysie: don't let the toilet seat seal your fate

It’s a tale as old as time (or as old as toilets). You climb sleepily out of bed, find your way to bathroom, jammies to your knees, an then EXPLETIVE!, you think (or yell). Your warm clean buns have plummeted into the icy waters that are your toilet bowl. Where is your safe, room-temperature ledge? Behind you, while your husband sleeps soundly.

We all know it, or have heard about it in the playful husband-wife fights or clich├ęd movies. But I’m here to tell you that that seat can ruin your relationship, if you let it.

No, no. You say. We are so in love. He is my best friend, my soulmate.

But at some point, you may start to harbor how pesky that one little thing is, and then it will trickle into how it’s so annoying that his little mustache hairs are always in the sink, and then it will seep into that weird habit he has, and then, before you know it, you’ve got a list of “hates” bigger than your list of “loves,” with the blissful “honeymoon” days so far behind you can’t even see ‘em.

I don’t write this to be another one of those people who believe the first year of your marriage will be the only happy one, because I don't. I have adopted it as a life goal to never think of my marriage as a chain link around my ankle, something I look at with a grumble and tell my younger peers, “Just wait, you won’t be this in love for long.” Because I don’t think that’s how something so intimate, personal, and sealed with an oath should be. I think people should strive to stay in love forever. I write it because I know, and have seen, the tiny little weeds of “real life” grow into the cracks of a 5 or 10-year marriage. And I think they usually start somewhere little, like in the bathroom.

When we first moved in together, the toilet seat spent a lot of time up. One evening, I non-threateningly said to Nick, “How much effort does it take to put it down?” And he casually said back, “It takes as much for you to put it down as it does for me to lift it.” Now, I understand that some people just have a “thing” about the toilet seat, but this was solid reasoning to me. I would rather spend those extra 5 minutes sitting with him on the couch than arguing with him from down the hall. Especially when I would remember this argument - label it and store it in the back of my mind where it would start to chip away at the admiration I have for my husband.

One of the most important things I have learned about marriage, or relationships in general, is not to mentally harvest the little things that don’t matter. I want to fill my thoughts and life with all the loving things of our time together, not our low points. I want my heart to smile when it wanders to him, not be rooted in why he isn’t as good a husband as someone else’s seems to be. These are the loves of our lives we’re talking about, so why focus on all those little ticks that make him imperfect, when you promised to love him despite them?


I’m Kaysie, and I write a blog about whatever I want over here
Thank you Melissa, for letting me tell a little story. Best wishes sisterfriend!

guest post from brianna: long-distance relationships

Hello lovely Loving Life Moore readers! My name is Brianna and I blog over at Endlessly Beloved. When I saw that Melissa was looking for some guest posts on love and relationships, I was so excited! I absolutely adore Melissa and her blog, and love just happens to be my favorite topic! My blog is basically all about my long distance relationship with my handsome man who is in the United States Air Force. Even when I talk about other things, it always somehow comes back to him! I guess that's what happens when you're in love, right? Everything reminds me of him.

Here's a little background story: 

Handsome and I have know each other our whole lives. Our moms have been friends since before I was born (his mom was one of the first few people to ever hold me!). So when we were young, we always used to play together. He still teases me about the fact that I never shared my little red cash register (how he remembers this is beyond me!) 

So that's us when we were little. Models- I know. 

Anyway, once we got old enough to make our own friends we pretty much didn't see each other anymore. Now fast forward about ten years. Last year I was doing some Facebook stalking, and I came across his Facebook page. The first thing I thought was "Wow! Dj got hot." So of course I added him. He messaged me, we talked all night, and it's been that way ever since. It's been over a year now, and I'm absolutely going to spend the rest of my life with him! 

So, he's in the military and when we reconnected he was living in Germany. When he came home, we really hit things off and we became a couple. Last summer I also got to visit him in Germany, and it was the most amazing experience of my life! I must say, it's been a pretty perfect year, and I can't wait to spend my life with this man.

Now he lives in Montana, and I'm in Arizona. Doing the long distance thing can be pretty tough sometimes, but we've gotten pretty good at it. 

So now that I've talked about myself way more than I should've, I wanted to share some tips for those of you also in long distance relationships!

Communication and trust are key. Obviously if you're going to be away from the person you're in a relationship with, you have to trust them. Establishing a trust from the very beginning is one of the most important things in any relationship. If you don't trust him, being away from him is going to be that much harder. It's also really important to communicate. Whether you have concerns or you're happier than ever, make you sure always tell your loved one. When you're not there to show them every day how much you love them, its important to always remind them!

Do things for each other. Just because you're not together doesn't mean you can't still do things for your loved one. Whether it's writing them a love letter, sending them a care package, or having flowers/cupcakes/gifts delivered, it's always a nice way to show your loved one that you're thinking about him or her.

Utilize technology. I don't how what I would do without all of the amazing apps and things we have today! When Handsome was in Germany, we couldn't text or call each other because international rates are crazy! Fortunately, we found ways around it. Viber is an amazing app that lets you call any number for free (even international ones). Couple is another app we love. It's meant for couples (hence the name Couple) and it's really great. You can share photos, make to-do lists, and add important dates so he won't forget your anniversary! ;) We also Skype a lot. There's so many ways to stay connected- so utilize that! It makes the time away so much easier.

Have a good support system. Surround yourself with friends and family that understand your situation and are supportive. Keep yourself busy, and make sure you always have someone there when you're feeling down!

The most important thing to do when you're away from someone you love is to stay positive. I always try to remember that all of the waiting will be worth it the second I get to be in Handsome's arms again! 

Please feel free to visit my blog and say hello! I love meeting other bloggers, especially those in situations similar to mine!!!

With endless love,

guest post from amanda: l-o-v-e

Hi there, Loving Life Moore readers! I'm Amanda and I blog over at Voyage of the MeeMee

When Melissa put the word out that she was looking for guest posters, I jumped at the chance to be one of them. I’m so honored that she’s allowing me to be a part of her blog because I’m a huge fan of it (Melissa is the bomb dot com and her blog is an accurate reflection of that). I hope I do her proud! :)

Melissa asked her guest posters to write about love, relationships, etc. which I think is such a cute theme as she’ll be getting married and going on her honeymoon when these bad boys hit the world wide web. I’m proud to say that I’m in a happy and healthy relationship now, but, it hasn’t always been that way. I struggled a LOT with relationships in previous years. While some of the lessons I’ve learned were learned the hard way, I’m still grateful for them and I thought I would use this opportunity to share them with you.

Leave your past relationships in the past. I know this is easier said than done… believe me, I do – it’s an absolute must though. Many of my relationships/potential relationships failed because I expected to be treated the same way as I had been in the past, which was poorly. I pushed good men away and pulled bad men in. While I think it’s wise to be cautious, I also think it’s senseless to hold someone else accountable for anyone’s actions but their own.

Operate as an adult. I’ll admit to you that up into my early 20’s I was still that girl that would hang up and call her boyfriend back a million times until he answered. Looking back, I’m embarrassed. That isn’t cute. It’s annoying. It’s immature. If you’re aiming for an adult relationship you need to behave like an adult, it’s as simple as that. Grow up, or the growth potential of your relationship will be stunted as well.

Vocalize what you want and need from your partner to your partner. Granted, certain behaviors should go without saying (being respected, etc), however, we’re all unique and therefore have different expectations when it comes to what our vision of a healthy relationship is. People aren’t mind readers. If you treat them as though they are then you’re setting yourself up to fail.

Expect no more, and tolerate no less, than what you are willing to give. I wish I could take credit for that saying, but, I can’t. I don’t remember when or where I came across it but the words have always stuck with me. If you’re struggling with a relationship issue, repeat them to yourself and things will become much more clear. I once heard that you should think of yourself as a third party. What advice would you give a friend who was in your situation? You wouldn’t tell them to stay with someone who treated them like garbage even though they had that person on a pedestal, would you? No. Why should your circumstances be handled any differently? They shouldn’t.

I’m no relationship guru. But I’ve lived, loved and learned. I hope there’s something from my past experiences that you can take away from this and apply to your future experiences. I wish you all nothing but happy and successful relationships! :)