Saturday, August 24, 2013

four year special.

Happy Birthday comeback special!

Year four of this little blog has come to an end. Big plans this fall. (Though not quite as big as a wedding, thank goodness.) Busy days and fun surprises! Guys. I'm turning 30 in less than two months. YIPES!

image above via here

Monday, July 15, 2013

the square is a circle.

I moved to the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago seven years ago, somewhat relunctantly actually. I was coerced by my sister and an apartment on the circle with a garbage disposal that was half a block from the train station. You see, Logan Square is actually a circle. A wonderfully confusing mess of staight/curved/diagonal streets that allow you to weed out intruders to your neighborhood simply by observing who does or does not know how to properly navigate said circle.

I wasn't so sure about the West Side or the Blue Line at the time. It was "FAR!" from my friends (South Loop/Lincoln Park) and my school (South Loop) and I would have to take TWO TRAINS to get anywhere! (UGGGHHH! So hard!) Stefanie said, "Just wait. In five years, this area is going to start growing like crazy." To which I said, "FIVE YEARS?! But we live here NOW!" (P.S. I love reminiscing about how whiney I was to my sister all the time.) Well, obviously, she did not lead me astray. Seven years and three apartments later, I've gotten to experience the changes to the neighborhood first hand.

The Logan Theatre was renovated back to its original glory and then some in 2012.
(Instagram stolen from A.)

The downside of living in the new "hot" neighborhood is that rent just keeps going up. And the property managers don't seem to care about making any improvements to their apartments because there are one hundred new tenants just waiting for you to get sick of your shitty place so they can move in. Immediately after the honeymoon, Todd and I had the super-fun task of looking for a new apartment, effective immediately. Not the most relaxing way to start your life together as 'newlyweds', but it was necessary.

At this point, I'd like to note that getting married can really skew your priorities and outlook on life. Like, "We're married now! We need to have two bathrooms, a garage, a fancy kitchen, a yard, and LOTS of closets!" We were ready to shell out hundreds more dollars a month to try to meet this expectation. We were open to any neighborhood; anywhere that we could check off as many of those boxes as possible. The more places Todd emailed to me to take a look at, the more discouraging the search became. How far do we go - geographically AND monitarily - to try to get the "dream" apartment? How many more places can we see before we just settle for something we don't love? Even in the perfect apartment, would we really love it as much as we love living in Logan Square? Have we gone about this search all wrong?

Our last day at our first place. That was our window right above our heads.

If the smiles above didn't already give it away... Surprise! We officially moved into my fourth apartment in Logan Square (Todd's second) on June 22nd; exactly six weeks after our wedding day. We found a great place in our favorite neighborhood for way less than the places we were looking at elsewhere. How did we do that, you ask? I'll have to get editor's notes from Todd because, honestly, he did it all. Including forcing me to make up my mind about what was most important. Our new place doesn't check all the crazy boxes we had dreamed up, but it checks enough of them. And we realized that the most important box was actually a Square. (Which is actually a circle.)

We appropriately chose to shoot some of our engagement photos last year
by the 'Home' mural outside of the Logan Square Blue Line station.

Welcome (back) Home!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

insta gratification.

It really happened. I'm a married lady. Holy moly. And we've made it five and a half whole weeks already! So far, it's... pretty much the same. Don't take that the wrong way; it feels incredible to be married! But when you have been together for five years, lived together for almost two, and known each other for about eight, the marriage part is really a formality. He's been my husband for a while now.

The wedding, though... Best. Day. Of. My. Life.

Honestly. And not because it was "my day" or because every last detail was perfect and sparkly and white and every little girl's dream. It wasn't. It was our day. And every detail was not perfect, there were very few sparkles, and the whitest part was the dancing. But it was perfectly us. It was our dream. (There you go. There's the cliche.) It was the best, most amazing celebration of family and friends. I just wanted to drink in all of the love and joy and laughter that started the moment the first guests started arriving (read: Justin. On Wednesday.) and continued until the moment the last guests departed (read: Us. Because Justin was asleep in our apartment when we left for our honeymoon. Yes, Todd knew what he was getting into before he proposed).

Another thing I loved was getting to relive it all immediately, and peruse the hastags on instagram the next day. Here are a few favorites from #garciaganza2013 and #lovetoddandstacey.

heart breaker at hooters the day before. sorry fellas. this prize has been WON.

post-rehearsal-dinner drinks. post-post-rehearsal-dinner-drinks hair fix.

hs bffs. there's a baby in there!

clones. my hubba and my nuzzle. she knew before we knew.

oh yeah, and then it got real.

and then i got to dance with my dad.

best buds.

todd and his mama got the party started.

photo. booth. mania. (+ unicorn.)

best day of my life.

These instas are courtesy of my wonderful friends and family, whose social media links I will keep private. But many thanks to all of them for capturing such perfect moments and letting me steal them because I'M THE BRIDE. xo

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

soon-to-be mrs.

In four days, I will be getting married to this little guy:

Chicago, Summer 2008
That is the first know photo of the two of us together after we started dating. Todd was 21 (finally) and I was 24. Ah, the good ol' days. We started dating on May 15, 2008 - we were engaged on May 13, 2012 - and we will be married on May 11, 2013. Almost five years exactly. It's amazing how much people change in five years. Who are those tiny people sitting on that couch?

Seattle, Spring 2009
We have had a lot of adventures together, and I can't wait to see what else is in store for us. The first trip we ever took together was by train, from Chicago to Seattle. No internet access or phone service for two days. It was incredible, and stil one of my favorite trips we have ever taken.

Puerto Rico, Summer 2010
Todd will try anything. He is so brave. He works hard and dedicates himself to everything he does, even if he has no idea what he is doing. He figures it out, and then excels at it. He helps me realize that I can do more than I give myself credit for. If he can face his fear of sea monsters and get his scuba certification (on our honeymoon!), then I can probably find the courage to do the things that scare me, too.

Glacier National Park, Summer 2011
One of the greatest things about Todd is how well he gets along with everyone. That, and his cute behind. But more so, because of how effortlessly he takes to people. He makes everyone feel at ease. And he lets me be silly and ridiculous and sad and mad and out-of-control-excited and whatever else I feel like being whenever I feel like being it. You might not be able to tell by how calm-cool-and-collected I look in all of these pictures, but I may have been voted "Biggest Mood Swings" my senior year of high school. (Thanks, Justin.)

Chicago, Fall 2012

In short, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I have found my match. Or is it "met my match"? Either way, it's true. We have so much more life to experience together. It won't always be easy. "But at least it will be always."

Soon-to-Be Mrs. Garcia

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

bauble troubles.

HELP! I can't decide what jewels to wear for The Big Day! (Which is coming up SO FAST, btw.) I've compiled some of my top contenders, and I need help choosing. I wish I could share some of the deets of the dress, but T-O-double-D looks at this here blog occasionally. Wouldn't want to spill the beans. I'm going for no necklace, clear-ish stones, gold. Pearls might be okay. Accent colors are coral and gray. Maybe a stack of bracelets? I can't decide!

So let me know which combo you like best! Or by all means, send me a link to something awesome!

1. givenchy line. clear. $65. | 2. faux tennis. mom. | 3. givenchy line. coral. $65.
4. j.crew pave link. $125. | 5. kate spade knot. $78. | 6. j.crew crystal crush. $118.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

getting past the past.

I had the most conflicting, but heart-warming, dream last night. I dreamt that I was at some event - almost like summer camp - with all of my friends. Past and present. A couple of my exes were there. We talked. It was easy to remember the good things when their faces are staring back at you. And I started to think about how my life would have been different if I had ended up with any of them. I was swept away by memories of a certain time of my life. What might have been.

Every now and then I would see Todd - in the bleachers, the field, the woods - lauging with friends, and he would smile at me when we saw each other. He was letting me figure something out for myself, but still observing. He wasn't jealous or mad. He was friendly with everyone. He's good like that.

There was a very real moment towards the end of the dream when I was standing at a table, looking at these familiar faces that I have loved and will always care for, and I realized that those lives I may have had were not the one I wanted for myself. They weren't the life for who I am now. And a rush of clarity came over me - the only person I could think of was Todd. I love our life - our life is good. It's us.

In my dream, it wasn't as if I was breaking up with anyone, or saying good-bye. I didn't run to Todd in the rain, crying, telling him I loved him and only him. Dream Todd already knew that. Real Todd does too. I was just giving myself permission to let go of the invisible ties that I allowed to remain in my subconsious. I will always hold the good memories in my heart, and care for those whose lives have crossed with mine, but I woke up feeling like a weight had been lifted. Like a responsibility had been relieved. And like my heart was so full of love and excitement to be married that I could burst.

Friday, February 15, 2013

one particular harbor.

I know I don't get there often enough,
But God knows I surely try.

It's a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe.

always happy.

Heading down for a healthy dose of Vitamin D.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

hey bub.

I was reading my usual daily blogs yesterday, when I came across a 'link-party' spoofing the Ryan Gosling "Hey Girl" meme by having you hey-girl-ify your own man. Here's a quick example for all the ladies:

Now, I'm no pro at this blogging thing, and I've never really understood what a 'link-party' was or how to participate, but adding text to images I can do. And since Todd got called out on the blog earlier this week, here is his redemption. (I imagine he'd say most of these in real life.)



For Monday. xo

Happy Valentine's Day! Sending you all lots of love, today and everyday! XOXO

Monday, February 11, 2013

love and hotdogs.

In honor of Valentine's Day this week, I really wanted to make sure that I saved the following screenshots for posterity. Below is a side-by-side compaison of my and Todd's current Facebook cover photos and profile pictures:

My page: Awww, so cute. Engagement photos.
Todd's page: Headshot. Hotdog.
(At least it says "love" on it?... And am I the only one that thinks it looks like he's smirking AT the hotdog? "I'm gonn eat the sh*t out of you...")

My man. I love him so.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

let's go.

I'm going to be honest with you (whoever 'you' are that may still check on this blog after a five month hiatus). 2012 sucked. It started out bad. Day 1: Bad. And we were just never able to climb back up from there. It was like the whole year was spent trying to swim against the current. A rip current. With an undertoe. It was rough.

There were a few bright moments. (Sparkly, even!) Three of my best friends got married. (Two of them to each other!) Todd and I had an amazing vacation, and got engaged. We took a few quick trips, and had some fun times with family and friends.

But right after those lovely moments, there was always a cloud right behind us ready to gloom things up again. It wasn't any one thing. And it wasn't everything either. But no matter how many times you try to tell yourself "Be positive. Things could be worse.", it's hard to believe it in the moment.

What made things worse was the fact that this was supposed to be the most wonderful year of my life. Being engaged. Planning our wedding. These are things that I have looked forward to for a long time. But, full disclosure: wedding planning is not all cake and flowers. Fullest disclosure: sometimes it flat out sucks. But also, sometimes you luck out and find yourself with a partner who just wants you to be happy and stress-free and who has great ideas and really good taste (in ladies). So I will never, ever, ever take credit for how wonderful our wedding is about to turn out. And it is going to be awesome. And it is going to be mostly Todd's fault.

I don't want to jinx anything, but I think 2013 is going to be great. It might be a backwards-ly optimistic way to look at it, but honestly, "It couldn't be worse than last year." I'm trying to wake up everyday with a positive attitude. So far, it's worked about 70% of the time. But that's better than 0%.

And just to ensure that this post ends positively (because Gloom & Doom is sooo 2012) here are some joy-enducing insta-images from the last month or so. Things are looking up. It's 2013. Let's go.