I haven’t wanted to write very much lately, but at the same time I’ve been writing more for myself than I have in months. So much has been going on lately and I’ve written six different blog posts that I didn’t feel were very good, or were far too personal to share. This is number seven, and I’m going to post the draft when my fingers are done playing on the keyboard.
I dyed my hair brown this weekend. Well, actually, my best friend who is the most talented hairstylist on planet earth dyed my hair for me, but my point being, I went from having a 29 year streak of being a blonde to turning into a brunette for the winter. I just needed a change and it was a semi-permanent hairstyle versus a very permanent tiny tattoo on my wrist, so the hair won by a landslide.
Sometimes when I feel like life is getting away from me and I can’t control things that are happening, I will find little things I can do that offer choices. I love doing my makeup when I feel anxious, or going out and meeting new people. I love learning, cooking, or honing in on a new skill to keep my mind busy.
This year I have a lot on my plate. Some things are exciting, others are not so great, but 2020 is definitely setting itself up to be a whirlwind. I thought a lot about choosing a word for the year. The past 2 years I had the same word — “fearless.” The year before that I chose “strong.” It didn’t look like I chose a word in 2016, but if I were to have picked one at the end of 2015 for that year it would have been something along the lines of “giddy,” “bright,” or “beautiful,” because that was the year I really fell in love.
Maybe it’s because it’s my time of the month right now, but I’m feeling pretty nostalgic, so I am turning back the hands of time by reading some of the old blog posts I stumbled upon. Writing is a cool thing because you see just how much you change over time. I’ve kept journals ever since I could write. I have dozens of books filled with incredibly boring entry after entry like,
“Went to school today, then got BBQ chips and a Slurpee at 7-11 after. Great day!”
“Went to Nicole’s birthday party and they gave me a hamster to keep! I’m not good at holding him, though, because his feet tickle my hands too much.”
These journals are some of the most boring reading material of all time, but they make me smile because I remember a lot of the feelings I had behind the entries. I highly recommend writing down things that are on your heart, because in the words of Andy Bernard, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”
We spend so much freaking time wasting our lives worrying or putting off loving others because we are too busy with the unimportant details. Life is so short, and my biggest fear has always been not having enough time to show people how valuable they are, how loved they are, and how big of an impact they make on the world just by being here. I truly think that there are so many people in the world who feel confused or lonely, and I wish we could all just come together and realize how not-alone we really are.
Back to Andy Bernard, though. I am quite certain the good old days haven’t come and left for me, but the sentiment I like behind the statement is that you need to enjoy every single moment of life, because you never know when that chapter of the book will close for you, and everything left is just a memory.
Some of my old blog posts make me cry. I get to go back and read about the third date I went on with my now-husband. I can read about funny moments we had together and remember the way he looked when I knew he was falling for me. I can read about how free I felt getting over a breakup, how much my family and friends mean to me, and all the really silly things I’ve done just to make other people laugh. I can still remember the pain of deployment without having to read about it, but my body feels numb when I read about pulling to the side of the road to catch my breath after seeing a blue F-150 on the road on a particularly difficult day.
This year I want my word to be “present.” I struggle with anxiety, so this is not an easy word to choose, but I want to learn how to appreciate little things in the moments where I feel like I can’t breathe because my mind is a million miles away worrying about something else. I want to give the best parts of myself to the people I love, and I want to give myself the best version of me. This is going to be a year of finally learning the things I’ve been dying to do, it’s going to be the year of reading books that make me a more dynamic person, and I’m going to try my absolute best to enjoy even the littlest things in life instead of letting the little things get me down.
Thanks to my writing I will always be able to pull up a little visual of what it was like falling in love, and remind myself that you can never appreciate a moment too much because one day it will just be a memory. This year I want to have stories that are worth remembering, but even more than that I want to have beautiful feelings to write about — whether or not that will be on here.
Robert and I have been meaning to update our wedding website for awhile now, as we wanted everyone attending to know a little about each of us since there will be people on both sides who don’t know us as a couple.
We talked about what we wanted to include — how we met, when we knew we wanted to marry each other, and what we want our future to look like — but after that we each went to our own computers and wrote. It was kind of hilarious to see how similar each of our answers were, so I am going to keep all of the content, even though it’s a bit redundant.
Whether you are a guest who is here for the first time to see who we are as a team, or you’ve been a reader since my Single in The Suburbs days, I hope you enjoy!
How We Met
Krista and I originally set our first date for a Friday evening. Unfortunately on the Friday that we had our date planned, I found out that I had been selected for a deployment I volunteered for. In addition to this, I was ordered to go on active duty immediately in Staunton, Virginia to help prepare the unit for the deployment.
Because of these life-changing circumstances and the fact I would be relocating immediately, I sadly canceled the date and went out for a last celebration with co-workers.
About two weeks later, there was an issue with funding my position and I had to return to Northern Virginia until the situation was resolved. I texted Krista that I would be home for a couple weeks and that I had been regretting not meeting her the first time. For whatever reason, Krista decided to give me another chance at a date.
We finally met at Ozzie’s Italian restaurant. I will always remember the moment I met her. I walked up to Krista (she was petting somebody’s dog), and I said hello to her. She looked up at me, said “hi!”, and immediately returned to petting the dog.
After finally accomplishing one of the hardest missions of my life –pulling Krista away from the dog — we had dinner. We shared a bunch of stories, had a lot of laughs, and then we went on a walk around the shopping center. I still remember the things we laughed at along the walk that probably wouldn’t make sense to anybody besides the two of us. We had an instant connection.
As those last couple weeks in Northern Virginia passed, Krista and I went on a number of other dates. Our connection got stronger every day, and all of a sudden I found myself wondering how I could get out of the move to Staunton (about two and a half hours from where Krista lived). I didn’t, but came back to NOVA every weekend, and my first stop was always Krista’s house. We spent the majority of every weekend together until I was deployed.
Robert and I were supposed to go out to dinner for our first date, but a few hours before we were going to meet up he sent me a text saying that his friends surprised him for his last day of work with a cocktail hour. I was actually relieved because I got to stay home and eat pizza with my family instead of making a bunch of smalltalk with a guy.
A few weeks later he messaged me to see if he could have a second shot at a date. I don’t know why I said yes to going out with someone who was getting ready to leave the country and had flaked on me once before, but it is one of the two most important times I’ve said “yes” to something. My third will be in September.
Our first date was the best first date I’ve ever been on. We went to Ozzie’s Italian restaurant, and I remember getting a text from Robert saying that he would be an hour late because of traffic. I was still at home, so I got to watch another episode of The Office before getting ready to go, but in hindsight this is hilarious because since then the tables have turned and I’m the one who is chronically late. You set the bar low, Robert!
Anyway, when I finally got there, I found a cute dog sitting underneath a bench right outside the restaurant. I was excited that Robert still wasn’t there because I got to play with the little fella! I was unintentionally a bit rude at our introduction — not because I wasn’t happy to meet Robert — but because the dog under the bench was irresistibly adorable. To this day he still sends me pictures of puppies when he sees them, and knows that by saying, “look, a dog!” I will always squeal in excitement.
We exchanged funny dating stories and learned more about each other, and by the time we finished dinner I didn’t want the date to end. We took a short stroll outside, and I was surprisingly disappointed when he dropped me off at my car to go home. It didn’t take long, though, for Robert to text me that he had a nice time, and my heart felt warm and full. Little did I know the guy I went with on my best first date with would turn into the man I would one day marry.
When We Knew
I remember the moment I first knew I loved Robert. It was when he was in Staunton, and we had been talking on the phone for a few hours after work — as usual. I had such a hard time not saying those three little words to him before we hung up the phone that night. I resolved to tell him the next time I saw him in person, but it didn’t quite work out that way. That is one of the stories I have chosen not to share, though, and is still one of the most heartwarming moments I’ve had.
I’ve had lots of moments throughout our relationship where I’ve felt like Robert was the one for me, so I can’t pinpoint an exact day or time. Once would have been realizing how much I missed him while he was on his deployment. An earlier moment was when he told me to listen to the song She’s Everythingby Brad Paisley. He told me that the song reminded him of me, and I forever have a beautiful love song that feels like it was written just for me. We were recently apart for a few weeks because Robert had military training to attend, and I played the song for my family when they were asking about our mutual love of Brad. I realized my mistake quickly as I started tearing up in front of everyone. A tear slipped down my cheek and onto the floor, and my heart missed the guy who has become everything to me, even though we were only apart for a short time.
Little moments that made me love Robert more than I could have ever imagined have happened when we were playing Super Smash Brothers in his Arlington apartment, the time I surprised him with a prank “birthday party” in November (his birthday is in March) and all he could do was turn red and take it while I laughed, when he reviewed a date with me for my blog, and every single trip we took together in his blue Ford F-150. I loved him more when he tried to win a Minion toy from the movie theater claw game, when he got Junior Mints stuck to his jeans from my movie candy stash and walked around the parking lot looking like a crazy person, and every time he cooked me dinner or sent a little green text. Robert is kind, thoughtful, caring, and absolutely hilarious. I knew my single life was short-lived after a few dates with Robert, and even though the timing wasn’t what I felt like I wanted, I quickly became grateful for every extra day I got to spend with Robert because I met him when I did. I wouldn’t trade any day I spent with him for the world, and feel so blessed that we found each other.
One of my favorite memories with Krista was the first time I told her I loved her. It was in-between her birthday and Christmas. We were hanging out in my apartment in Arlington, and I could tell that there was something on her mind. As she fumbled through her words, I could see where her conversation was headed, and I wanted her to know that I felt the same way. I told her I loved her and from that day, I was sure that she was the one for me.
During the entire time of us getting to know each other and beginning dating, the looming deployment was always on both of our minds. It sucked. It was something that I had wanted to do for a long time, but I kept feeling that the timing couldn’t be worse. However, I had an obligation, and I was going to do what I signed up for.
Krista was the most amazing girlfriend a soldier could have on a deployment. We talked at every opportunity we had, she sent a ton of care packages, and she was always there to chat when things were stressful. She kept me sane, excited, and happy for the duration of my 9+ months overseas, and I could not have done it without her. By the end of the deployment, I realized it actually could not have come at a better time. Our relationship somehow grew stronger, and there was no question that we were meant for each other.
The deployment was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in life, but it was also so worthwhile. I love that we only got closer during that time, and that Robert still prioritized our relationship while he was 6,500 miles away. If you follow my blog you have probably seen the dozens of posts I wrote about him while he was away, and I have even more thoughts scribbled throughout letters and journals.
Our Future Together
I am so excited about our future together. One thing I love about us is that “quality time” is both of our top love language. This means we enjoy going grocery shopping and running errands together, and always make spending time together a priority. Whether we are enjoying a Blue Apron meal and watching Big Brother and The King of Queens, or going on a little adventure out of town, our hearts feel full at the end of the day because we spent it together. I can’t wait to move in to Robert’s home and make it just a little more girly. I think married life is going to give me a lot to write about, and I am ready to take the next step together hand in hand. Robert is my best friend, my partner in crime, and always makes me laugh — no matter what else is going on in life. If I listed every single thing I was excited for, I would have to write an entire book, but what I’m most excited about is having the other half of my heart by my side for the rest of my life. I know there are so many great adventures in store for us, and I cannot wait to see where our next step takes us.
I cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives together. There are so many things I’m looking forward to, it’s hard to come up with a list. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is all the small things that add up into one great thing. Cooking together, going on walks, going to the movies, etc. Then there are the larger things, like the many dogs she continues to tell me that we will have one day.
Krista is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I look forward to the many decades we will spend together.
I’ve never been able to relate to the whole spirit animal thing. I don’t think there’s really an animal that I can compare my personality to. I wish I could just make it simple and say a dog, but I don’t think anyone can really say that; dogs are just too good for us.
Taylor Swift is someone I can completely relate to in so many different ways, though, so I’ve adopted her as my spirit animal.
That’s such a funny sentence because if you look at her life compared to mine it couldn’t be more opposite. She is in the public eye and has 105 million followers on Instagram, compared to my account just scraping the surface of 1,000; far more people read the songs that journal her feelings than these blog posts. Taylor has all the money in the world to spend on whatever she wants, owns my dream apartment in Manhattan, and gets to utilize the best makeup artists in the world for anything from red carpet events to just going to the gym. She has celebrity BFFs and can meet whoever she wants, but her heart still beats like a normal human being’s. She still has the exact same feelings as us, and articulates them so darn well that you forget what her reality is. Love or hate her, you have to admit Taylor is the queen of feelings and can bring them out in our lives despite living in very different circumstances.
I listen to Taylor Swift to get inspiration for different blog posts and they help me bring back feelings when I need to describe how I felt at any given time in my life. If you asked me about any of my experiences, I could tell you which Taylor song I was obsessed with in any significant chapter of my life.
For my first breakup I listened to, “All Too Well” on repeat — mainly because I loved one of the last lines of the song. It reminded me that broken promises aren’t something that make for a lasting relationship, and even though the song didn’t sing the tune that I would fall in love again, I knew that there was something bigger and better to come. “Begin Again” was the song that offered hope that I would one day meet someone who loved me despite the hardships that life might throw our way, and that I might not actually know what true love is yet.
Meeting Robert and falling in love with him confirmed that to me, and “Enchanted” soon became my new favorite song. He doesn’t know it (Until now, that is), but sometimes when I feel like my heart is going to overflow with love I’ll dance around my room and sing it at the top of my lungs. I think about the countless times he picked me up before he went overseas and drove me to and from his little apartment in the city just to have a little bit of time together. I remember how I felt when he wondered aloud how he met someone so compatible to his own heart, and I remember thinking about how he didn’t know quite how strongly I felt about him because I had my guard up. I blushed when he told me how he felt, and I tried my best to bottle up the words, “I love you” that were just dying to spill out. I remember the day I couldn’t contain myself anymore and decided to tell him how I felt. There hasn’t been a day we haven’t said those three little words since.
When we started doing long distance for his deployment, the song “Ours” really touched my heart. I remember driving to my favorite local coffee shop one day and pulling to the side of the road to cry when that song came on the radio, as it brought up so many of the delicate feelings I had been having since he left several months before. I still can’t watch the music video without tearing up a little.
The really difficult feelings from my past have disappeared, but I can still remember them all so well. My heart remembers feelings the same way minds keep track of numbers, dates, or formulas. I don’t try to; I’m just programmed to rely on my heart more than anything. This is why I want so badly to reach out and let other people know that the hard emotions that you want to forget will disappear one day and be a distant memory. I want to share my experiences about falling in love and caring deeply about people because that’s what makes life so worthwhile, and we can all have those kind of feelings in our lives if we’re willing to put ourselves out there and risk getting hurt. Love is the one thing in the world I think is worth risking everything for, and when you find the person who’s heart beats to the same rhythm as yours, all the pain and heartache from your past begins to disappear.
Send them notes and letters; not just emails. We are so fortunate to live in a connected world, but there’s something extra special about a handwritten note that will not only make your SO’s day, but it will keep them going throughout the deployment. Those beautifully written cards will be referenced when they’re scared, missing you, and feel alone. Think about the reasons you love your partner in crime, and carve it into a piece of paper for them to treasure forever.
Remember that this experience doesn’t just differ from couple to couple, but it also is very different for your partner than it is for you. There are different ways it’s harder on each of you. Be gentle and patient; they are likely trying their best to hold it together every single day you’re away.
Skype, Snapchat, and send pictures often. These, like the letters, are things your significant other will be waiting for. They’re the moments you can use to connect to one another and feel close. Nothing compares to having you home, but a picture is the closest thing to being there with one another since they get to see a little moment of your day.
I hope you’re getting lots and lots of care packages from home. You deserve them, especially since you are likely not in the nicest of living situations. Try to send a few packages back home to your loved ones, too. They certainly understand that you are overseas for a mission, but it also feels so great to feel cared about and knowing that your loved one is taking time away from their busy schedule to think about you.
Deployments are one of the most difficult things this life has to offer, but if you’re with the right person the heartache you feel during them is completely worth the joy of an entire lifetime. Stay safe, connect at any chance you get, and thank you for the sacrifices you are making. I know they’re not easy in so many different ways, and I am so proud to know so many people fighting for justice and equality.
I strongly believe there is someone for everyone in the world. No, that doesn’t mean I think that everyone should — or will — be in a relationship or get married, but I do believe if you want to have a romantic partner there is someone out there who will be a good fit for you.
There are so many amazing examples I’ve seen of people who thought they would never find true love because they were too quirky, too sick, too old, too tall, too short — the list goes on. I would like to argue, though, that the only thing that would ever really hinder someone from finding true love is being too picky.None of the other “too’s” are going to deter every single person in the world from dating you.
Something to remember in the world of online dating and infinite choices is that nobody is perfect. You will never have a partner who has every single quality checked off on your “list,” or who doesn’t sometimes get on your nerves, but that’s normal. The most important thing to remember is that if your relationship is overall a really big asset to your life, the little annoyances you sometimes have are so tiny in the grand scheme of things.
Luckily we aren’t all attracted to the same kind of person. That would make life pretty boring, and the journey to find love way too competitive — kind of like an ongoing episode of The Bachelor. People have different “types” that they’re into, and just because you are rejected by one person doesn’t mean the next one who comes around won’t like you.
I don’t know why it takes some people longer than others to find a partner when their heart is ready. Sometimes I think it really is because dating is a numbers game. The more dates you go on, the more people you meet, and the more likely you are to find someone you really click with. Other times, I think people get in their own heads about dating and can take things too seriously too quickly. I know how hard it is to want the beautiful, loving relationship that you picture in your head, but remember that love and trust take time to build and you can’t force things.
Writing people off without getting to know them is another thing that can really hurt your dating life. Whether it’s because you don’t think you’re good enough for someone or because you don’t think they’re the right fit for you, sometimes it can be really beneficial to give people who have the important things in common with you a chance. When I first became single my motto quickly became “It’s just a date.” By having this attitude I was able to chat with guys, get to know them, and give them a chance. If you really dig deeper into my own life, did it make sense that I went on a date with a soldier who was getting ready to leave for a long deployment? It doesn’t seem like an ideal situation — especially for someone who isn’t keen on doing long distance — but going on that first date with Robert and giving him a chance was one of the best decisions the best decision I have ever made. Seriously, I could not have known two Octobers ago that going out to a little Italian restaurant with someone I met online was going to be a life-changing moment for me, but it was, and despite all the hard times we had during the deployment he was worth every single one of them. Giving this cute, funny stranger a chance gave me one of the most important things I have in my life — us.
Regardless of how dating has been for you, the only way you can find what you’re looking for is by putting yourself out there and trying again. I hate heartbreak so much, but the great thing about loving and losing the wrong person is that you are another step closer to finding the person who is right for you. Hearts are fragile, but they’re resilient and can heal, even when it feels like they are smashed into a million different pieces. Hang in there, and be gentle with yourself.
Did you know that it’s possible to feel like the luckiest girl in the world because you genuinely believe you have the best significant other? I sure didn’t.
In the past I’ve looked at relationships like Jim and Pam’s, Chip and Joanna’s, or Thomas and Laura Rhett and completely thought they were #RelationshipGoals. I would watch their little acts of kindness with one another and think that they weren’t really genuine because I thought I knew what real love looked like. Real love, to me, was someone just choosing not to leave. Real love was giving up a lot of my own hopes, dreams, and values to make another person happy. Love the way I always had imagined it didn’t exist. Even the stories of real people like Chip and Joanna Gaines seemed fake to me because I hadn’t ever felt the way they did about each other about a guy before.
I never knew what it was like to have someone who fit so seamlessly that you didn’t have to force things to work. You don’t agree on everything, but you don’t always have to because you can figure out compromises you are both actually happy with. I never knew what it was like to have someone who loved you to your core — faults and all — someone you didn’t have to question whether or not he would accept the weird things that make you, you.
I never had someone in my life who I just couldn’t help but smile about when a love song came on the radio because I couldn’t think of anything else but him — until I met Robert. I hear songs that I would want sung about myself and think the words fit so perfectly for the way I feel about him. Brett Eldredge sings “Mean To Me,” and I know my feelings about him are more beautiful than the words I hear played, but I can’t seem to put pen to paper as eloquently as my heart feels about him. I think of him when Blake sings “God Gave Me You,” and I prayed for him when I heard Kristian Bush’s “Sending You A Sunset” when he was thousands of miles away. I never could have imagined I would have someone I felt I could pin to Hunter Hayes’ sweet words. I always thought the way men felt about women couldn’t be flipped. I didn’t realize I could love someone with even more than my entire heart, and I never thought I would be with someone I felt so strongly about.
When I think about Robert my heart often feels like it’s about to burst. Sharing my feelings with a few thousand people on this blog doesn’t feel like enough; no matter how many people read my writing it will never feel like enough. When he’s gone I want to talk about him, and when he’s sleeping I want to curl up next to him and feel his heart beat.
I didn’t know that love could feel like this, and for the first time in my life I really feel like lightening can’t strike twice in the same place. For the first time, though, I also don’t feel like it will have to. For the first time in my life I’m not afraid to talk openly about love because I am not afraid of it ending.
Today’s lesson: Be with someone who is absolutely irreplaceable. Love is one thing that people should never settle for in life. Being a writer, yet being unable to explain my feelings about someone on paper is one of the craziest, most incredible things in the world, and I wouldn’t trade Robert for anything.
As y’all know I haven’t been single for a long time now, and when I first created this website I thought I wouldn’t be in a relationship for a pretty long time. The joke was on me, though, because I met someone really great a lot faster than I anticipated.
Single In The Suburbs is always going to be a part of my brand, but it’s time for me to change to something that’s going to reflect my life today and for years to come.
I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time, as I’ve been resting on my new domain, and I finally finished saving all my drafts and posts just in case something terrible happens when I change websites… Which is probably good because I’m having so much trouble trying to figure out how to get my darn WordPress site to connect to my new URL (I’d like to give a shoutout to my blogging friend Rosie, though, for giving me some encouragement with this big change, as she just did the same thing last week!).
So if you’re having trouble accessing my website, you’re definitely not the only one. I can’t see it anymore either, so I am going to bring in the big guns and get my brother to help me with this mess later this week. My site might be down for a couple of days, but I will absolutely be back! After that you won’t find me on the “Single In The Suburbs” WordPress anymore… You’ll be redirected to my new Dating and Lifestyle website, KristaLauren.com. 🙂