Monday, January 23, 2012


Oh man, do we have some talented friends! Us + Jimmy + an & + a wintery Bellingham day=

Thursday, December 29, 2011 crazy

I have been a little sappy about this holiday season because it will be the only one Zak and I have as an engaged couple, and man, did this engaged couple have us some Christmas! It was a very special two-day whirl-wind. Check it out:

It started with a quiet Christmas Eve morning, just the two of us. We stuffed stockings and exchanged gifts. (Check out my celebrity dream date, James Franco, peaking out from the top of my stocking. Merry Christmas to me!)

Quick picture in front of the tree (kind of) before we ran out the door.
Our first stop was at our friend Nate's house. He hosted a really lovely Christmas Eve brunch, and we were happy to hug some friends and spend time talking about whether Peter's tank-top had a dog, a wolf, or a bear on it. It's on a sled, so it could be any one of those.
I have spent every Christmas Eve of my life at my Grandma's house. I got to play with my favorite kiddos. My amazing niece (and flower girl), Marigold insisted I continue to put on the princess crown.

Michelle's son, Alexander (ring bearer) is so fun and lovable and funny and good.
Zak put the finishing touches on the traditional family broccoli casserole.

I got to take all kinds of pictures with Fidelia and Michelle (2/3s of my bridesmaids).

My brother, Casey, Zak, Fidelia and I sat on the traditional "present opening bench" at Grandma's house.

Michelle, Eric, and Alexander were kind enough to share their Christmas morning with us, so we slept over at their place. Before bed, Zak showed off his gifts from my Grandma...plaid pajama pants and a very different plaid shirt. It's a good look.
Fortunately, Santa found us.

Alexander could not have been more delightful on Christmas morning. He reminded Zak and I both how magical Christmas can be.

He and Zak played with his new train set, as well as his new video game (not pictured, but equally adorable).

Our next stop was Casey and Fidelia's house.

My dad literally had a bag full of toys...kind of. He was the jolliest.

I have the prettiest sister.

Zak showed off some kind of gift he received. Look at his face...clearly, we're having the best time.
Zak's not the only one lovin' some gifts! Best of all, Marigold really liked the outfit Uncle Zak and I got her!
After we said good-bye to the Schoolcrafts, we headed back to Bellingham to spend the rest of Christmas with Zak's parents. His mom, Kathy, made me a stocking last year, and it means so much to be a part of the family!

We made cider. (It had the Captain, of course.)
Really cute one of the Van Winkles!

We decided we look pretty good when we're crouching, so I'm going to have to find a wedding dress I can get low in.
 By the end of the weekend, we were exhausted and truly overwhelmed by how fortunate we are to have such incredible family and friends to share our lives with. Bring on 2012! It's going to be a really good one!

Getting Crafty...

If you haven't checked out Pinterest (, you should. Shortly after Zak and I got engaged, I read a wedding blog that stated a Pinterest account was a must-have for any bride-to-be. Naturally, I jumped on the bandwagon, and I have since been borderline obsessed. You'll have to check it out to really understand the nature of it, but basically, it's an on-line cork board that not only allows you to "pin" images that you find on the internet, but you can also cruise around and become incredibly inspired by the brilliant "pins" of others. (It is by no means only a wedding thing either. Looking at it will make you hungry and fashionable and crafty.)

My lovely friend, Kourtnei has also become a big Pinterest fan, and at some point we discovered DIY (Do It Yourself, an abbreviation that I embarrassingly enough had to Google) yarn lanterns. I am looking for ways to inexpensively decorate the Depot, and this seemed fun. Kourtnei is owns glue gun which made her qualified to convince me these lanterns were something we could definitely do, so the week before Christmas, she and I had a yarn lantern craft day.

Armed with the required supplies, a youtube video tutorial, Kourtnei's craft confidence, and my weird extra room, we got started.
Our sweet set-up. Yes, those are balloons, tied to a broom with yarn.

"Goo" making materials.

An action shot...I am running yarn through the very splattery, sticky "goo" while Kourtnei wraps it around the balloons.

It didn't take long to realize this was a very messy job, so Kourt fashioned use these sweet plastic bag smocks.

The goo-soaked yarn is left to dry around the balloons, and when ready...
The balloons get popped, and we are left with these cool lanterns. It was a good first run!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Meet John-James...

Zak described this as "macho."

 John-James is Zak's best man. They've been friends since high school. They played tennis, rode three-wide in a Chevy Nova (with Peter, who you'll meet later), ate a lot of donuts at Lafeens, and drank Absolut Kurant (Zak's first drink) and Amaretto Sours together.

If you ever see these two hanging out, you immediately know how special their friendship is...mostly because they won't talk to you or anyone else. They disappear into a friendship wonderland where their own quirky humor and hugs rule.

John-James lives in Seattle, so when Zak and I started dating, I didn't get to meet him as soon or spend as much time with him as I did with some of Zak's other friends. When he visited Bellingham, however, John-James made sure we hung out. We even went on a few friendship dates when Zak was working on the weekends. He made it very clear that he wanted to know me because he loves Zak so much. It doesn't take long to figure out that John-James is one of the most devoted friends and good-hearted people you would ever want to know. He even hopped a fence to rescue our beloved cat Oscar in his time of need. There is no end to what this guy will do in the name of friendship.

John-James, Hero

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Making it Official...

Officially boyfriend/girlfriend and loving it.
Zak and I have been together for a little over three years. It's incredible how in a relationship there are so many little milestones that make things "official." We officially became boyfriend and girlfriend a few months after we met. We saw a Ben Kweller show in Seattle and had "the talk" at dinner. At some point after that, I gave him a key to my apartment and after we got back from Hawaii, he officially moved in. A year and a half ago, we moved into this house and officially signed a lease together. A few months after that, I took my cats to the vet and listed Zak as their official co-owner.

Yesterday, I called Comcast to have Zak's name put on the cable account. I am too weak to be the one to call and tell them that we need to drastically reduce the cost of our monthly bill. I already know they'll use their devil trickery on me, and I'll end up adding an additional 6 landlines so we can get free HBO for a week. Our lives are meshed to the point where we "officially" have equal power when it comes to making cable decisions. Maybe it's because I loved living alone and was financially independent for so many years, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about how easy all of the emotional steps have been, and how it is the logistical things, like sharing access to accounts, that make me appreciate the extent of this commitment. I guess what it comes down to is that Zak has both my heart and my DVR in his hands, and I am officially trusting him with both.