Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays!

 In honor of this special, engaged holiday season, I wanted to count a few things I am excited about and thankful for. Both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year have felt extra special, and per usual, I feel the need to get extra gushy and tell you all about.

1. Being welcomed into Heather's family. I've got a stocking, y'all, it's official!

2. Watching Heather with her family, they know her better than anyone. I haven't heard her laugh that hard in a long time.

3. Making new traditions. Double decker pizza + homemade key lime pie on Christmas eve eve.
Eating at Reba and Poncho's in PA with my family every Thanksgiving. Why does repetition make us feel so at home?

4. Florida fruit! Avocados, lemons and limes galore! And I picked my first grapefruit.

5. Watching Louisa open presents for the first time (in PA). This one can only get better with time.

6. Reading and drinking coffee while listening to the water. I wish I could do that every morning!

7. For the past few holidays, Mozey was either with friends or with me in Tennessee while Heather was in Florida. The gang is all here in 2015.

8. Getting to celebrate both holidays together this year!

9. Heather's mom decorates her home to the GILLS. I have never seen such a thing, and I love it.

(Heather's nephew made these!!)

10. Exploring new places together, including St. Pete, St. Augustine and Savannah.

11. The endless entertainment I get from retirement communities - these are my people!

12. Water! Never have I celebrated Christmas by the beach, let alone with a tan.

13. My family. I talked to my mom on the phone before they boarded their flight to Paris and my mom got a little teary. When I hung up, Heather said, "That's a good mom."

I hope you ALL have a beautiful holiday, no matter what you celebrate.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Top 5 Thanksgiving Moments

Since it's almost Christmas, it felt timely to look back on Thanksgiving. This year we got to celebrate Thanksgiving with both of our families, which makes it one of my favorite Thanksgivings yet. To celebrate, I am counting my top 5 moments from this year's celebration.

1. Old family photos.

Heather's sister and my soon-to-be sister-in-law (woop, woop!) came up from Florida the weekend before to celebrate with Heather and their dad. We all went out to eat together and Heidi brought along a box of old photos she had found. It was a total blast seeing both of them as little kiddos!

2. Sierra Nevada

While Heidi was here we checked out the Sierra Nevada Brewery for the first time. And, holy crap is it beautiful! We ate some reallllly decadent food (duck confit fries) inside and then moved outside by the fire for beers. It was super cozy, I highly recommend it!

3. Flying with Mozey.

The scene of us with our carry-on bags, dog carrier, two backpacks and leashed dog was a sight to behold. I was super nervous about going through security with her and about how she would do on the plane - but it went off without a hitch. Unexpectedly, it was also really fun to have her with us in the airport!

3.5 One of my best friends and I got to say a quick hello in the Charlotte airport!

Due to a never-ending group chat with my besties from college and to some serious stalking while Meredith was in the air, my friends and I discovered that we would overlap. We sleuthed out her arrival gate and I got to be there for a quick hug before boarding my flight to PA. It was total serendipity, and she and Heather got to meet for the first time too! This is the beauty of technology, I tell ya.

4. Louisa.

Always and forever, Louisa will be a top moment. Having a baby around just always makes the occasion sweeter. She is a total wild child, and I cannot wait to have real conversations together and give her life advice. Is that arrogant? But really, what are aunties for?

5. My hometown!

Growing up, I took for granted how beautiful my hometown is. Now that I am older, I notice so much that I never did before. I love walking downtown with Heather, showing her my old spots. And hanging at the quintessential townie bar, of course!

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Heather and I are officially engaged!

So people keep asking if we have a date for the wedding yet, and I am getting the feeling that we aren't a traditional couple. (Well, we already knew two girls wasn't traditional, but ya'll know what I mean right?) Ever since we met there was absolute confidence that this was it, so getting engaged wasn't a huge change in mindset for me and didn't rev me into super-fast planning mode.

Also, I was never the girl who dreamed of what her wedding would be like, I was just open to whatever came my way. But over time, I realized that I wanted to be a family with Heather and that, one day, I would want to have my best people around me to celebrate that. We have talked for a while about what we would do at our wedding.... songs, vows, location... the beginnings of wedding dreaming. This was all totally new to me, and a lot of the wedding stuff seemed crazy and some of it seemed awesome. Since this will be a mutual planning thing (two girls, remember?) and we want to be intentional with that cash money, this will take a bit. So, no, we do not have a date, but we are both enjoying being engaged and have been really grateful to feel like love from our friends, family and coworkers.

All of that said, can I get a Hell YEAH, F*&% YEAH, please?!

People have asked how it went down, so here it goes, in great detail. If the idea of reading this makes you cringe, please stop now!

The 15th was a Sunday and earlier that week Heather asked me if I wanted to go on a Sunday brunch date with her, to which I responded YES! The Saturday beforehand she went to have lunch with a friend and didn't return until late that night. That day I rearranged all of the furniture in the house, went on a run, walked the dog, made dinner and watched all the Netflix shows she hates (The League, anyone?), so I was in the zone and just figured she was being her usual sneaky, romantic self. I love to be surprised and my birthday is coming up, so I just let it be. Everyone needs their privacy, ya know? Turns out she was at our friend Meta's house making me a ring! Here's a photo Meta shared later:


Sunday morning, I wake up super early and pronounce that I want to go on a hike before brunch. Heather looks a bit panicked and said there were a few things she wants to finish before we eat, but that she can swing it. So we hustle out to our go-to hike spot in Montreat. While we're hanging at the top, she whips out this 2nd edition Rilke compilation and reads me some beautiful poems and says she bought the book for me. Little known fact, I love and read lots of poetry, so I was pumped. Again, I just thought she was being sweet!

After we head home, change clothes and drive downtown, I did get a little suspicious. Heather dressed up a bit more than normal and told me I should wear something nice too. Heather would literally never tell me what to wear, other than telling me I look beautiful in all things (including my favorite disgusting pj outfit of flannel pants + airbrush 80s sweatshirt). She's a gem. At Limones, we sat at the bar, ate the freshest, limey-est ceviche, sipped fancy cocktails and both had really stellar, fancy egg dishes with obscure ingredients that I could never recall for you now.

After we ate, Heather was nervously driving all over downtown, saying she had somewhere to take me. Once she parked she led me to the Battery Park Book Exchange, a really cool spot that's like a cross between a library + bar + secret garden. Basically, it's amazing, and dog-friendly! Heather dragged me all over the bar looking for the little private nook we once sat in and then spent 5 minutes trying to get me to call my dad (it was his birthday). Once she realized I wasn't playing along, she whips a painting out of her bag titled We Do by a local artist we both love. She had been trying to get me to look away so she could hide it in a bookshelf, but at this point I was aware of how nervous she was and just waiting to see what would happen. She gave me the painting, had me look at the title on the back and then she proposed and gave me the ring she made! And we cried and hugged a lot and cried some more.

I honestly have no idea what either of us said, it was like a blackout due to emotion instead of booze. Somehow we ended up downstairs where Heather's dad, step mom and our friends were waiting! Then I ugly-cried A LOT and hugged a lot of people and drank a lot of champagne. Later that night we ate a Buxton Hall Barbeque with some friends and ended up home chilling on the couch discussing the day. I don't have lots of details to give about the day after it all happened because it was such a blur. So here are photos from our friends.

Thanks for all of the love. Here's to the Belliotts, heh heh heh!