Like the Parisians…

I just returned from a week in Paris with my family. We had a getaway and saw (and ate) everything. It was an incredible experience. It was my third time there but I was much younger so I saw it through new eyes.

I really connected to the fashion and the way that it laid the foundation of a beautiful and historic city. I stood next to the Yves Saint Laurent red wedding dress and was told about a 1.5 million euro wedding dress that resembled a waterfall. In Paris, people take fashion seriously, and it continues to blaze the trail for style around the world.

When it comes to your engagement and wedding season, there are a few opportunities that you will have to wear an outfit and I encourage you to put some thought into these purchases. You will have (at least) five key items that you will need to wear for your bachelorette, bridal shower, rehearsal, and then the actual big day from getting ready to walking down the aisle. It seems overwhelming but take your time to decide what to wear. Here’s what I recommend:

Once you get engaged, start keeping an eye out for these key outfits. You will likely start to daydream about your wedding and if you make these decisions earlier, you will have more space in your mind to make other key decisions closer to the big day.

And don’t feel like you have to fit into a particular style-box shared in wedding magazines or on tv shows. Whatever you decide to wear, it should feel: special and like an elevated version of yourself. It shouldn’t be something that you would wear any other day because these outfits can make you feel like this is a once in a lifetime event, and I think that’s important.

If you’re able to purchase an outfit for a special event, like a bridal shower, it’s great if you can wear it again. All of your outfits don’t need to be this way but if you can wear a white dress from a shower to a date night with your husband in the future, that can bring back your wedding day butterflies.

Take your style seriously, like the Parisians do, because it’s all much more than just a garment. Not only will these photos last a lifetime, but more importantly, your memories will.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Husband Appreciation Day

Today is Husband Appreciation Day. While that should be every day, social media likes to make an annual hashtag out of pretty much everything. So in honor of this day, and the fact that hubby and I just celebrated 9 years since our dating anniversary (Friday), I thought I’d share our love story.

Ever since high school I was often in a relationship. Most were very innocent short 3-month bursts of spending time with a guy and enjoying typical teenage activities together. I enjoyed the company and liked the idea of being with one person. I had a few get a little more serious as years passed and then I had one on and off longer term relationship with someone that I thought was the one. It turns out that he wasn’t and I am thankful for all that relationship taught me.

In college my family moved from Texas to California (which is currently where I reside.) I dated a little bit but nothing serious. A boyfriend and I broke up and then I decided to be single for a while. I wanted to get my priorities straight, to be able to love God first, then love myself, before I could have the space in my heart to love someone else. I learned over time that if this were done in the wrong order, it could be detrimental for me and what was truly important to me in a soul mate. I ended up being single for two years.

Fast forward and my sister was in town for her Spring Break. We went to T-Mobile to get her a new phone. A kind and funny employee with spiky hair helped us out. He had a beautiful smile and made me laugh but I don’t pay much attention. My sister saw there might be a spark there and got me more engaged in the dialogue. We ended up going in another time to see him and actually pick up her phone. My sister encouraged me to give him my business card.

I had two cards on me, one with an email address and one with a phone number. I gave him the one with my email address. Up until that point, I had never met anyone like this out in public (that I would end up dating)—it was always through existing circles like friends of friends, school or church. But he emailed me. And we wrote back and forth before we made plans to meet up again, so I then gave him my number.

We casually went on dates for a few weeks, I knew that he was different and that there might be something there, but didn’t know if it would be a ‘forever’ thing. When we started spending more time together and wanted to be exclusive, I made him ask me to be his girlfriend! (He thought that was strange, but how else would be know when our anniversary would be?)

I am glad that I dated because it helped me learn what was important to me and see how different people have unique strengths and weaknesses. And for that season that I spent time alone, I knew that God was not only preparing my heart but was working in the life of my then-boyfriend. Five years later we were married. I am feeling incredibly blessed that we have each other as life partners and I have so enjoyed being able to live out our love story. So today as I sit here, nine years since he asked me to be ‘his’, I appreciate him more than ever.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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3 Tips for Expectations of Marriage

Yesterday we celebrated four years of marriage! It was incredibly special and I am thankful to have another year of life behind my life partner and I.

As we enter a new year of marriage I have been thinking lately about the expectations that each one of us has when going into marriage. Expectations can change over time but each one of us enters a wedding (and the years that follow) with preconceived notions in our heads.

It’s important to think about how the past as an individual will shape what you come into marriage believing. Past relationships, and the relationships around you (like that of your parents) will greatly change what you believe marriage should be.

Here are my tips for expectations:

    Talk to your spouse about what you envision and hope for your marriage to be. And don’t just have this talk in premarital counseling. Discuss this over time because your needs will change in different seasons of life. Be open and share what your best version of a marriage looks like, because that’s likely what you expect to strive towards. If you don’t share this then your spouse isn’t going to realize what your expectations are, so how can they meet them?
    Challenge what’s most important to you and in the process, learn to let some things go. Here’s an example. My parents were married 33 years and you would have never seen them without their wedding rings on. They both always had their rings on THAT finger. Before I got engaged, I dreamt of having someone love me enough to choose to put a beautiful ring on my hand. He did and I love my ring and wear it 24/7. We then planned the wedding and bought a beautiful band for my husband. I knew he didn’t wear jewelry, but I ‘expected’ that he was going to make an exception and wear his wedding ring. Two months after our wedding, he lost it. We replaced it with silicone band(s). He kept losing them. Kept taking them off because he didn’t like how it felt. Now, I have two options: fight over it, keep replacing them, make him do it…or let it go. Would I love to have him wear a ring? Of course. But is it a battle worth having? No, it’s not. In the grand scheme of things, we’re committed and he’s an incredible husband. That’s most important to me.
    As time passes from your wedding day and you continue to grow in your relationships, what’s most important to you might change. Like think about when you were dating and not living together, chores at home weren’t even on your list of expectations. Then once you’re married, you might be able to evenly split home responsibilities and that will work for a while. But what happens if one of you is working more while working towards a promotion? Or a health challenge comes up for the other? Be open to change because things will ‘look different’ than they did in the beginning of your marriage. That’s a good thing, though…it will keep life interesting!

If you’re committed to loving each other and working through ‘life together’ those are the most important expectations to be met…and exceeded!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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How to Say I Love You All Year Round

As February kicks off, you will likely begin to see all-things-love with Valentines Day right around the corner! What I’ve found is that the lovey dovey sentiments while in a relationship can sometimes come a little ‘easier’ when you’re dating (as opposed to in marriage.) Being married can be incredibly romantic but you might need to become a little more intentional to keep the spark turned on during some life seasons together.

So what I highly would recommend is that you don’t just do nice things for one another during the annual events like Valentines, anniversaries or birthdays. Year after year that will likely begin to feel forced. And it’s important to remember that it’s the small moments of everyday kindness that can make your spouse feel cherished and loved. Here are a few ways that I think you can say ‘ILY’ all year round, in no particular order.

  • Surprise your spouse by doing a house chore that typically falls outside of your responsibilities.
  • Go to their favorite restaurant or movie of their choice…without complaining
  • Take their car to the car wash or fill it up with gas. While you’re at it, buy their favorite car air freshener.
  • Leave a love note in their car, under their pillow, or on the bathroom mirror.
  • Send a nice text to let them know that they are on your mind during the day. This could be an emoji, a cute photo of the two of you, or a love quote or saying. You could even send a link to a song that reminds you of them.
  • Deliver a bouquet of flowers or chocolate-covered fruit to their work…not on Valentines Day!
  • Surprise them with a gift card to their favorite spa for a pedicure or massage.
  • Bring home their favorite drink from Starbucks with a hand written message on the cup.
  • Plan an entire day to getaway and drive to your favorite romantic spot.
  • Propose an impromptu dinner at the beach or visit to the local park.
  • Bake (or purchase) their favorite dessert for a normal weekday night at home.
  • Plan ahead for date night with a bottle of wine to share, either their favorite kind or one that might remind you of your wedding day or wedding location.
  • Play your favorite romantic song and ask them for a slow dance, in the kitchen.
  • An album of boudoir photos, perhaps?
  • Change up your nighttime routine and serve them in ways that they desire to be served, not the other way around.
  • Check out the app “Hotel Tonight” for an inexpensive hotel stay.
  • If you want to try something completely different, spend some time on the Groupon app for creative+local ideas that could create for a special experience!

These are just examples of small things which can truly add up to a fulfilled life with one another. I hope you can make these personal to your insidiously personalities and relationship-norms. If Valentines becomes ‘less of a big deal’ because you do these things together often; that isn’t a bad thing. Try to put a few of these into action in 2019 and just see how it goes!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Another Year Has Come to an End

It’s been another great year for me over at Girl with a Diamond Ring. This is truly a passion project for me and it’s such a fun hobby to take my mind off of ‘real life’!

I have now been married 3.5 years and am so thankful that I have my best friend by my side to endure the ups and downs of life. He always makes me laugh, with his silly dance moves and sarcastic sense of humor. He takes care of me and asks me “How can I support you?” when I’m struggling. I have had great marriage mentors, too. I have been incredibly inspired by my parents who celebrated 33 years this summer before my dad lost a quick and tragic battle to kidney cancer.

If I have learned anything through this recent season that my family has endured, it would be to hold your loved ones close and pick your battles (especially in marriage). At the end of the day, much of the stress and ‘small’ day to day things that we freak out over are not worth it. Stay present, give thanks, and let your spouse know that your life is better with them by your side.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out my other social channels for GWADR, check out my regrams on Instagram from some of my favorite wedding photographers and real bride moments, and hop on over to Pinterest for my wedding theme boards and style inspiration. To catch up on my blogs, just scroll down this page!

Happy New Year: don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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