Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gettin' Hitched Part 1

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind! I cannot believe that a little over two weeks ago, I was frantically putting together centerpieces and freaking out about last minute RSVPs to the wedding. And here I am now, enjoying a Sunday afternoon of relaxing with my husband. (Holy crap, I have a husband. Still hasn't sunk in.)

I will start this rehash of wedding events with the day before the wedding. Brad had come in from Pennsylvania the night before, and we were meeting our officiant for breakfast at Denny's. This was followed by suit fittings and a plethora of decorating. (Thanks again for everyone who helped make my vision come true! I have some amazing family and friends who worked their booty off for us).

After rehearsing at the church a few times, we went out to eat at Pietro's. Wow was it delicious! We had salads, bread sticks, pasta, pizza and ice cream. Thanks in-laws!

Then, the man and I parted for our last time as single folk.
The man and I's last single good-bye
The night then led to the girls and guys separating for bridal party sleepovers. The guys slept at one of the best men's house, and the girls slept at my parent's house. And boy, did my maid of honor do a wonderful job! She bought all of us face masks to get prettified with, cupcakes and candles for everyone to make a wish for me with, and only a billion and one things in an emergency back pack. She is a gem and I am so blessed to have her.
My A Team with our face masks
After some girl talk, we went to bed on an array of couches, cots and blow up mattresses.

Waking up at a bright and early 6:45am, us girls washed our faces and got ready for the salon. My wonderful A-Team of bridesmaids took me for a morning surprise.
Mmmm, caramel mocha
Apparently, Starbucks gives brides a free drink the morning of the wedding. And this frizzy-haired bride sure was happy.

We arrived at the salon, sleepy eyed and excited. My bridesmaids, myself, and the mothers all got their hair done and looked gorgeous. And this girl got some fake eyelashes and her makeup done. Holla!

Legit, I told the makeup girl to make me "look like a classy crack whore. Like for presidents and basketball players. I really like a lot of makeup, but somewhat classy too." And she nailed it!

After lots of brushing, curling, prodding and poking, I came out looking like a princess.

The we went off to the church, where I was tied, buttoned, and shoved into my huge Cinderella dress. And holy crap was that an ordeal! But my A Team was wonderful. (Following photos are courtesy of my brother)
Go big or go home, right? That was my motto for my look as you can tell.
After letting a few close family come see me, as well as cooling myself with some cute little fans that my rock star Aunt/Mistress of ceremonies brought, it was almost wedding time...

My cousin and Aunt getting a look at me pre-ceremony

Part 2 will be up tomorrow!

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Almost Here!

I cannot believe it is almost my wedding day! For the first time, I am feeling extremely giddy instead of stressed out. (Well, I guess as well as being stressed out haha)

But for real, I am so blessed to be marrying my very best friend in just a few short days.

I will not be blogging for the next two weeks or so. I'll be finalizing wedding junk, gettin' hitched, and honeymooning it up in the Smokey Mountains in a cabin WITH A HOT TUB! (Yeah, I'm a little excited)

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dear Camp Beechwood Hills

Dear Camp Beechwood Hills,

Thank you for being one of the stable things in my childhood and adolescence. As puberty ravaged my body and hormones, friends came and went, and school transfers occurred, you always remained an unwavering safe haven for me.

You look so pretty Camp!
Thank you for building my self esteem. As a girl who grew up as a quiet, well behaved, and studious child, you were the first place I truly felt that I could let that facade down. I could act silly, be extremely outgoing, and sometimes be a completely obnoxious freak, and it was ok. In fact, it could even be beautifully amazing. I even let this side of me trickle into the rest of my life. So thank you for helping me be a better me.

I'm the sassy one on the far left with the frizzy brown hair...
I'm blaming this one on lack of sleep
During a shaving cream fight. I rocked that mohawk. 
Thank you for introducing me to some of the greatest people. I met people from all walks of life; yet we all gelled together with a bond that became essential to my well being throughout middle and high school. We would drive miles to partake in goofy adventures. These nights kept me going and made all the struggles seem insignificant. And I would not have met these wonderful souls without you Camp.

My girls and Jeffrey the giraffe
The gang during a midnight slip-n'slide run
Yeah, we like our shaving cream fights at Camp Beechwood Hills
Some of the best nights of my life took place with these people on that old beat up couch
Also, you are who introduced me to the love of my life, so I owe you a super big thanks for that too!

This was us circa 2008...the man sure rocks his sideburns!

Lastly, Camp, thank you for helping me in my walk with God. My faith journey has been an interesting one, but you are who showed me a different way to have a relationship with God. You showed me the beauty of accapella music as us camp kids would sit in the basement, singing praises through a rain storm. You taught me how to pray to God like he is my best friend. You helped me make God my best friend.

The bible and amazing notes I received from camp kids. Still brings tears to my eyes. 
And most importantly, you helped me realize that no matter what mistakes I've made, that God loves me. God loves me through it all. Unconditionally. And that, Camp, is what saved me from myself. That is what saved me from the guilt that plagued me. That is what gave me the strength to overcome my past. The strength to switch schools. The strength to defeat any stumbling blocks that come my way. The strength that can only come from a relationship with God.

Basically, this is a big thank you to you, Camp Beechwood Hills. Please keep doing what you do, because there are many teens with hurt and angst that need healing and love. I used to be one of them, and I hope you can recreate what you did for me for many years to come.

Love and blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Last Single Girl Weekend!

This was officially my last weekend as a single lady. I will no longer be going to bed alone. I will never have a ridiculous last name again. I will never have to make a plane ride to see the man again.

And I can't wait!

My last single girl weekend was spend doing wedding errands (they never end!), going to eat at T.G.I. Fridays with my cousin and bridesmaid Kate, shopping with her, and then hanging out at another bridesmaid's house. It was so nice to just hang out with my girls, especially since I will be moving away soon. I am excited for this new adventure, but I will miss these girls, and my other family and friends, oh so dearly.

Kate and I playing with my wedding flowers. Ignore my hot mess hair :)
Saturday I had bonding time with my dad, and then babysit Jack, the little boy I've been a nanny for the past couple of years. He will also be the ring bearer in my wedding.

My little buddy Jack and I
And he is literally one of the most handsome little boys I know.

Sunday was Father's Day. I rocked it out by hanging it with the family.

Sorry for the quick weekend update, this wedding junk is frying my brain. I tried to confirm the date with our photographer...with the wrong date...yeah, I'm on the ball.

So I can't wait for my brain to be normal and not consumed with centerpieces and bouquets!

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Will I Be Pretty?

As someone who has struggled with self-love, this spoken word video really spoke to me. (Note: it does swear once, just letting my more conservative readers (or those with small children in the room) be aware.)


This inspires me to make more of an effort to love me for me. To love my body even when it's a few pounds heavier than I'd (or the BMI chart) would like. To love hair even when it frizzes out. To love my hands even if they are child sized and sport a blobby red birth mark. To love my face even when it is peppered with acne, scars and freckles. If not only for me, but for my future daughter(s), so that they will learn self love from their first example of a woman: their mother. 

When one of my cousin's used to get complimented a lot for her gorgeous good looks as a child, my aunt would come back with "You are smart and can do hard things." This has always stuck with me, and being "good-looking" (whatever that means anyways) should not be a top priority. It should not be the only compliment. You are more than the body holding together your thoughts, dreams, and talents. You are more than the hair that crowns a brain filled with ideas, hopes, and love. You are more than just pretty. 

As Katie said, "You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing, but you will never be merely pretty."

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Top Ten Ways to Survive a Long Distance Relationship

For my Top Ten Thursdays, I thought that sharing my Top Ten Ways to Survive a Long Distance Relationship would be a great way to end my long distance chapter with the man.

1) Pick the right person to do this with
I will say it over and over again, the only true way to survive long distance is to have a person who makes the distance worth it. I have been in a few long distance relationships before, and nothing has ever been worth all the pain.

An older picture of the man and I 
2) Realize that is will be hard
This is sad to say, but true: this will be very hard. It will test your relationship and test you. There will be nights that you might just want to cry because you miss that person. But once you realize that it will be hard and that it is ok to cry and feel sad sometimes, it will be a lot more bearable.

3) Have an ending in sight
Long distance becomes much easier if you have a plan on when the distance will be shortened. Whether that is after college, after marriage, or whatever, having a timeline will make the finish line seem nearer and more bearable. I know I visualized us in our little apartment a many of tear-filled nights.

4) Text often
No, not in a stalker way. But sending cute and personal texts during the day really helped me feel so much more connected to the man. Sending picture texts is even better, as it made me feel like I was right there with him. Even if it was just a picture of a yummy dinner he was eating, it made me feel closer. Maybe I'm just a weirdo...

5) Have Video Chat dates
This was one of the best parts of being apart. Once every week or two, we would try to schedule a half a day or so to spend on Skype of Google+. Usually we would try and get dolled up, plan on having a similar dinner, and just spend the day talking, watching movies together, and hanging out. It was a wonderful way to keep out connection strong.

A video chat date...yeah, we're cute
6) Play online games
Ladies, most guys will be thrilled if you suggest online gaming with him. While we did not get to do this too much, the few times we did were a blast! We played Farkle (a fun dice game) on Facebook while on the phone, or played some games on the apps on Google+ chat. It was a fun way for us to be competitive with each other (a big part of our relationship).

7) Read the bible together
One of my favorite ways to be connected to the man was to read God's word together. We would read a chapter or two every night over the phone and talk about what we read. Not only was it a way to bond with each other, but we got to bond with God more AND keep each other accountable for reading the bible.

8) Pray together
This was an idea that came along later in our relationship, but it was a wonderful addition. Before we get off the phone, we try to remember to say a prayer together. Another way to bond with each other and God, as well as keep each others' prayer lists on our minds.

9) Keep busy and take advantage of the time apart.
This might sound mean, but there are some advantages to being apart. You do have a lot more time to spend with friends, and should utilize that when you can. There will be a time when friendships won't be as easy to maintain (such as when you move a few states away for your man's job...), and this is the time to enjoy those friendships. Also, keeping busy is one of the best ways to keep from going crazy from missing them. It keeps the lingering pain away, even if for a little while.

10) Remember why you're doing this.
Look at old pictures of each other. Play old voice mails to hear their voice (am I the only odd ball who does this?). Cuddle in the sweatshirt of theirs that they gave you (I highly recommend having something of theirs to keep with you). Whatever you do, remember all those feelings of being together and why you are going through the distance.

Doing these things, and many more, have helped the man and I cope with being so far apart. And as the wedding is getting near, I am really noticing what a short season apart it really was and how worth it it was.

If you ever need any long distance relationship advice, leave a comment. I am always here to chat.

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Big Move

I did it! I moved the vast majority of my junk down to my soon-to-be home in Pennsylvania. It was quite the adventure. 

Firstly, the ten-plus hour drive was not too rough for me. I actually enjoy driving (I assume I was a trucker in a past life) and loved the scenery. My mother, on the other hand, got a wee bit car sick from driving in the rain...

Jan passed out at oasis on the PA Turnpike
Once we finally made it, I ran into the man's arms. It was so wonderful to see him after so much time apart. 

The next day, Jan and Clay took a trip to look at college for him and stop at NYC (a mere two and a half hour drive from our place EEK!) This gave Brad and I some much needed alone time. We spent a little time unpacking, but then he said we should go on a date. This was such a sweet idea as we hadn't been on one in forever. 

Our date began at Shady Maple, which is a 100 foot long buffet about 10 minutes from us. Oh man was it good! We stuffed our faces with steak, salmon, crab cakes, pierogies, and of course a Philly cheese steak sub. 

Mmmm cheesy meaty Philly cheese steak goodness
I also finally got to try the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dessert of Shoo Fly Pie. Mmm it was good! For those of you who don't know what it is (I sure didn't!) it is a fluffy molasses pie. It it a pie crust with a botton layer of gooey rich molasses filling, topped by a sweet and crumbly brown sugar mix dusted with powder sugar. It was so rich and delicious!

My yummy piece of shoo fly pie
Shady Maple also has a fun gift shop downstairs full of little knick knacks and chotchkies. It was fun to browse. We bought our first welcome mat (I was probably a little more geeked than I should have been) and also got to pretend to be Amish for a moment...

Do we make cute Amish folk?
Yeah, let's stick with the English dress, shall we?

Next we went mini golfing at Lost Treasure Golf Course. Apparently this place is legit. Like National Chain Legit. So we went and got to golf through fake caves and over a pirate ship. It was super cute and fun, even though I lost by 5...
The man attempting to hit the ball while on a cave *facepalm*
 On Sunday, we all went to the Hershey Factory to take a free tour! It was a fun ride through the process of the chocolate bean coming from other countries to the finished Hershey Product. We even got to participate in a taste test. We were brought to a back room, had to cleanse our palettes with saltine crackers and water, and answer questions about two samples of candy corn flavored kit kat bars. I felt very important (don't judge me!).

The Hershey Tour Ride...and it only cost $15 for this surprise housewarming picture...
Overall, the trip was a blast! It flew by WAY to quickly, and I was very bummed to leave the man. But at least this will be our last long good-bye until the wedding. Only 11 more days until we're hitched people!

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Top Ten Reasons I'm Excited/Nervous About Moving to PA

For my Thursday Top Ten List, I thought it would be fitting to post about Why I am Excited/Nervous about moving to PA. Tomorrow I will be taking a trek down to Ephrata, PA with Jan and Clay to move my crap load of things down to Brad's (soon to be our) apartment! I heart is tingly and fully of excited to see my man (it's been about a month and a half since the last time we've been whole!) and to see his man cave turn into our little home.

So here are the reasons why I'm excited and nervous about moving to PA:

1) I'm excited to move to PA because I get to see the man EVERY DAY! We've never even lived in the same town, let alone the same place, so I am excited to see him everyday like most couples get to.

The Man and I at his going away party.

2) I am nervous about moving to PA because I don't know a soul besides the man. Do I make pies and give them to neighbors to bribe them into friendship? Join a book club?

3) I am excited to move to PA because of the Amish community near us. It is so cool to be near a different culture, as well as eat their delicious foods!

Some Amish folk
4) I am nervous about moving to PA because I am awful at directions. I have a hard enough time getting around Grand Rapids (where I've grown up), let alone a whole new place full of winding roads. Google Maps will be getting tons of use I'm sure.

5) I am excited to move to PA because of the gorgeous scenery. The hills and mountains take my breath away. I wonder if I'll ever get used to those picturesque views.

A shot I got while walking near our apartment. The picture doesn't do it justice.

Gorgeous mountain!

6) I am nervous about moving to PA because I am starting a new school. I understood how Western Michigan University worked. I knew which teachers were amazing, which ones to avoid, how to get around campus, and how to add classes. Now my college world was flipped over starting at a whole new place.

7) I am excited to move to PA because of how close we are to so many amazing locations. We are only 2 and a half hours away from New York City, 45 minutes from Hershey, PA, 2 and a half hours away from the ocean, and many more places. I am so looking forward to day trips to explore these places with the man.

8) I am nervous about moving to PA because I will miss my friends and family. Yes, there is Skype and Facebook. But it is not the same as running to my parent's house for the night, or grabbing lunch with my best friend. I know I will make new friends, but I will always miss those deep in my heart from Michigan.

My bridesmaids, and best friends, who I will miss dearly when I move.

9) I am excited about moving to PA because I am excited to decorate our own grown-up place! I want to thrift for kitschy decor, browse Ikea for entertainment centers, and turn our little two-bedroom apartment into our home.

10) And lastly, I am excited about moving to PA because I know that God has us going on this adventure for some amazing reason, and I am excited to see exactly what he has planned for us.

Please keep us in your prayers as we trek down to Pennsylvania tomorrow and then back to Michigan on Monday. Thanks so much! Enjoy your weekend!

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Oh-So-Yummy Breakfast Muffins

My boredom today led me to the kitchen, which led me to create these delectable little guys:

The great thing was everything needed to make these were in my kitchen already! (Well, Jan (my mother's) kitchen, but yeah, I digress). All you need is sugar, flour, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, shortening, milk, baking powder, salt and eggs. All fairly normal kitchen ingredients, which together, create a perfect muffin with a sugary-covered outer shell protecting a moist cakey inside.

Jan said 'This is the best muffin I've ever had!" Which is high praise from my longtime baking/cooking mother! These freeze as well, so I'm planning to make a large batch of them soon and freezing them so I will always have a home baked good for guests for breakfast.

The recipe is here. It is so very easy! Although a Kitchen Aid mixer helps a lot...(thanks Jan for owning one!)

Hope everyone's week is going great!

Love and blessings,

Annmarie Faye

P.S. Sorry for my lack of posts lately, I am moving my stuff to Pennsylvania this weekend and have been very busy planning the trip.

P.S.S. Only 18 more days until I'm married! EEEEEEE! I can't wait!