All That Glitters

I haven’t done a ton of updates on wedding planning, mainly because I’ve just been so busy actually doing it. You know how fun and amazing the movies make everything seem? Parts of planning one of the most special days is just like that. Sharing the experience of finding the perfect dress with my mom and best friend was magical. I didn’t cry when I first found my dress — until I stepped onto the pedestal in front of the mirror and my mom started to. It was the only one that made both of us tear up, and that was the moment I knew I had found my dress. Going back to get the final seals of approval and choosing a few accessories was just as much fun. I’ve loved going to wedding expos, touring venues, and being silly and saying, “I wonder what has happened to my fiancée? Oh, I have lost my fiancée!” while I still can. I’ve loved looking at bridesmaid dresses, figuring out what colors will go with my shade of white (Who else knew there are like, ten different words for “White” when planning a wedding?), and daydreaming about what Robert will look like in a tux.

The hardest part of wedding planning isn’t the actual idea of planning, though. I love researching and chatting with people, I love thinking about little details, and I love getting to hear how passionate the vendors are about their craft. The hardest part about wedding planning is all the freaking chronic pain that’s been getting in the way. I hate to complain, but I do want to keep everything as real as I can for all of you as I go through the ups and downs of life. This is, after all, a lifestyle blog. I have so many things to check off of my list every day and mentally I can fly through them, but when I sit down to send emails and scroll through pages of ideas on my Pinterest boards and wedding message threads, my arms fatigue a lot faster than anything else. Ever since I’ve gotten in gear my arms have been bad again. I have knots and tender trigger points, and I have had the burning sensations I haven’t experienced in over a year now. I don’t know if the crunchy stuff in my elbows is still leftover scar tissue or something else, but my lacrosse ball doesn’t ever fully relieve the pain anymore.

I’ve had to take a step back and ask for more help. My mom has been incredible throughout this entire thing, and she’s gotten several of the big things checked off our list. I’m kind of in awe at how wonderfully she puts things together and has researched to figure out what vendors we can use to make our day a little easier and more carefree when it gets here. My mom is a cross between an angel and a superhero; I’ve always known this, but getting sick with a chronic illness at 22 confirmed it for me. She’s taken care of me throughout the entire time of being sick, and always puts my needs above her own. I couldn’t imagine doing any of this without her, and am so thankful that she’s doing this alongside me. If it weren’t for her, I know we couldn’t have pulled off a fall wedding.

I think the frustrating part of planning is that I so badly want to be able to craft and write down every single thing I do and learn. I want to blog about it all, I want to have a really snazzy wedding website to share all the details with all of you, and more than anything I want to be able to create so many special moments for everyone who is coming to our wedding. I wrote a little draft about my dream wedding when we first got engaged, and the most important thing is that I want everyone there to feel really special and joyful too. This is all such a Krista-y thing, and I want every moment that day to be filled with a new surprise and something that will make everyone really happy. There are about seven million things I want to do, but I have to be choosy because of my energy level and pain. Surprises and events take a whole lot of planning to just get the basics done, and I never would have anticipated so much work is put into one day!

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So, now that I’ve shared the hard part about wedding planning, I’ll be excited to share all the things that have brought me so much joy. At the end of the day, this date is so much more than just a wedding. It’s the start of the rest of my life with Robert, and it’s just a really great way to celebrate with people we love and care about. I already know that there will be hiccups, I will be nervous to be the center of attention for a short bit, and that not everything will go according to plan. I know everyone says that a wedding is something a girl dreams about her whole life, but my dreams go so far beyond this beautiful fall day. Once September has come and gone, I know the real adventure has just begun. 

I Said “Yes!”

Well, I have officially found my wedding dress!

I have a million cute stories about the process, but some of these will have to wait until after Robert and I get married. I am being super careful about not sharing too much because I love surprises and want him to be completely surprised the day of the wedding. We aren’t going to do a first look because we’re both pretty traditional and want to see each other for the first time at the ceremony. I’m really excited about a lot of moments, but our first time seeing each other is one  of two moments I am most excited about.

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Dress shopping was such a fun experience and a small part of me is sad that it’s over, but I’m so thrilled with how the entire process went. I tried on every single style dress imaginable, and the one I chose was the only one that made my mom cry. That was the moment she and I both knew I had found the perfect dress.

I can’t wait to share more with you all, but I am so happy that I can give little peeks into our journey on here. I have a lot of fun photos in wedding dresses I’ll share after we get married, but I don’t want Robert seeing me in any of the gowns until this fall (And he’s an avid reader of my blog — right, babe? 😉 ).

Next on my list: Find and message the rest of the vendors I need, choose some beautiful bridesmaid dresses, and GO CAKE TASTING!! I think before I met Robert the most exciting part about planning a wedding always seemed like it would be the many opportunities for cake tasting. I will most definitely be writing a lot about this, as dessert is one of my biggest passions in life.

The “We” Mentality

I love seeing women support one another and strongly believe the more we become each other’s cheerleaders, rather than competition, the greater an impact we can make on the world.

This is why I want to encourage each and every one of you to view your friends’ hearts as your own too. Instead of criticizing the girl who is smack dab in the middle of a really messy breakup, realize that she is trying her best and probably wants to get over her ex, it just takes hearts some time to heal when they’ve been torn apart. Open your arms to the women who need your help and come to you for advice. It isn’t always easy for people to spill their hearts to friends; be proud that you are someone who people can trust with their feelings, and be gentle with their heart.

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The “We” mentality says that we’re in this thing called life together. It views someone else’s struggles as our own, and their victories as ours too.

I remember so vividly when one of my best friends and her boyfriend broke up. My heart ached alongside hers, and I shed a few tears too. Not because I thought she lost someone irreplaceable, but because I knew exactly the way she felt, and wished I could take away the sharp pain from her. I’ve always said that in a close relationship only one person has to be strong at a time, though, and this was my turn to be strong for both of us. We talked every single day and I always offered an open heart, even when I was busy, because a heart is easier to heal when you have a friend who will help you put the pieces back together again.

On the other hand, I remember when my best friend got her dream job. I got the text and literally squealed out loud and did a happy dance alone in my room. She absolutely deserves the best things this world has to offer, and her new company is so lucky to have her on their team. We went out to celebrate over dessert, and I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw how excited she was. This wasn’t just good news for her — it was great news for me, too. I got to watch my bestie live out her dream only a few years after graduating from college. This is one of the moments in life that feels so incredibly perfect.

One of the best parts about celebrating in others’ success and joys is that you have so many opportunities every week to be excited. Even just seeing my friends post about engagements, babies, puppies, and new jobs on Facebook is exciting. I feel like a tiny piece of my heart gets to celebrate even with the most distant of friends when I see something happy happen online. Regardless of who it is, someone on the other side of the computer screen is filled with joy, and that makes me really happy too.

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Today’s lesson: There is no room for competitiveness and jealousy in a beautiful friendship. Pushing each other to do better is always a great thing, but when you’re constantly competing to be better than each other you miss out on so many opportunities for joy. Stop comparing, and start rejoicing in each other’s “wins” in life. Learn to love people with your whole heart, and realize that when you celebrate others, they will want to celebrate you, too. Life is hard enough as it is with all the things we can’t control; we’re all in this together, and the world would be such an incredible place if we all could learn to lift each other up every chance we get.

Dear Men, Take More Pictures.

I think a lot of us saw the post that went viral last year from the mom who said that men need to take more pictures of their wives.

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Photo Credit: ShaiLynn Photo and Film

Truth is, my Facebook feed is filled with photos of dads, boyfriends, children, and dogs, but we often don’t see the women behind the camera. As the post states, if girls don’t ask, the photo isn’t getting taken. You could argue that females might be a little more likely to update their Facebook feeds, but I also think it rings true that men are generally less likely to preserve the little moments of everyday life that many women enjoy having.

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I’ve never been very good at taking pictures. I always felt too “in the moment” to capture my life on camera — that is, until the deployment. Before Robert was deployed I took pictures of him cooking, playing games with me, driving, and on dinner dates. I took videos so I could hear his voice while he was gone, and I tried my best to get some photos of us together so I could remember everything. In all honesty, I don’t know what I would have done without those tiny pieces of him while he was overseas. My heart hurt every night he was away, but when insomnia struck I was able to pull up a picture or video that reminded me of the fun times we had together. I had funny moments, sweet moments, and even a few sad moments of us together on my phone.

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This was after the best weekend with Robert right before he flew overseas. Looking at this picture still makes me tear up, as it was the most heartbreaking “goodbye” I’ve said in my life.

If you look at my Instagram you’ll see photos I’ve captured of Robert in everyday life since. I took pictures of him while he was painting his new home, filling up his truck with gas on a road trip, and of how nice he looked when he got home from work. My iPhone is filled with pictures of dogs, my family, food — primarily dessert (Sorry Instagram) — and Robert. These are the most special things in my life, and I want to be able to look back on them 50 years from now and remember the little details my own memory might forget.

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This is one of my favorite pictures of Robert. In the first few months of dating I got Junior Mints to take to the movies. We accidentally spilled them in Robert’s seat, and he noticed them plastered to his butt before he went home. I’ll never forget moments like this, but I love having a picture that I can giggle at along with the story.

I am a hundred percent my own worst enemy when it comes to having my photo taken, though. Instead of embracing it, I blush and wonder why I need to be alone in a photo. I say “No thank you” when someone asks to take a picture of me, and my reflexes have gotten great at pushing a lens out of my face. From now on I am going to try my best to move past my own insecurities and ask to have my picture taken too. With dogs, by myself, and even when I’m tired and not wearing any makeup.

Instead of feeling like it will make me seem vain or be offputting, I am going to realize that having my photo taken too is just another piece of the puzzle for documenting a memory. That way when I get older and have kids of my own, I’ll be able to show the candid moments of myself as well as my loved ones, and will be included in all of the adventures, too. In all honesty I’m actually really nervous about committing to this, but I’m going to try to be a good sport and will start sharing the more candid, less than perfect photos on here too.

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Here’s to creating lots of beautiful memories with loved ones — and capturing a few in the process.

Shifted Dreams

It’s funny how dreams in life change with the circumstances.

Ever since I was teeny tiny I’ve wanted to be a journalist. As a kid I made my own little newspapers, magazines, and short stories. I was homeschooled for a few years, and I always begged my mom to let me get ahead on my English homework. We had these little editor workbooks where I got to find and correct grammatical errors, and I would take them to my room to play with when I was done with my schoolwork.

When I finally went to college it was really easy picking my major. My school didn’t have a journalism program, but we did have communication with a concentration in journalism, so I declared my major the very first semester of school. In my free time I still enjoyed writing, and kept several different blogs throughout my college career. I took writing classes as my electives, and I worked for the school newspaper — both as a reporter and as an editor. I went back and forth from wanting to do television or print journalism, and held internships in both fields. My first was with FOX News’ national network, and my second was with Seventeen magazine. I was never very interested in politics, but these internships made me realize how in love with writing I was. I had a fire in my heart to help teenage girls feel less lost and alone in the world, and I worked extra shifts at Seventeen just so I could make a greater impact during my time there.

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Living in NYC was such a dream to me. I am someone who absolutely loves the energy it gives off, and every day felt like an adventure.

Little did I know, the internship that segued into a job would be very short-lived, because I got sick just a few weeks before moving back to the city.

After the initial shock of getting sick quieted down a little bit I realized my life had just changed forever. Four years later I know my dream of moving to New York isn’t going to come true, but I’m really grateful for the months I did have there. New York will always have a tiny piece of my heart, but the rest of it goes to my loved ones… Which brings me to today.

My dreams today are so much more simple than they’ve been in the past. I don’t want to be on television or be famous, and I don’t care deeply about whether or not I get to live in New York again how often I get to travel. My heart is with my family and loved ones, and I have accepted that my career path has drastically changed. I don’t have the strength or stamina to be a journalist — or even work a “normal” job — so I’ve improvised. I’ve actually been really happy working as a consultant for Rodan + Fields. it still fulfills my dream of building other women up and helping build their confidence, and I love that I’m making new friends in the process. I joke to my friends and family that my dream now is to be a stay at home dog mom, and it’s kind of incredible that this dream is quickly becoming a reality.

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What I’m doing with my life isn’t as wild and crazy, but it’s actually turning into a bigger blessing than I could have ever created for myself. If I hadn’t gotten sick I wouldn’t have met Robert. I wouldn’t have found an opportunity to be my own boss and have time to spend with him during the week. If I hadn’t gotten sick I wouldn’t have thought outside the box and found a job working from home with the two sweetest puppies on earth. None of what makes my heart so joyful today would have materialized, so in a very strange way I feel blessed that my own dreams didn’t end up working out. God truly does have a greater plan for me than I ever did for myself, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me next.

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Pup Cups & PT

I’ve been a little MIA on this blog lately for a few reasons. First, because we have a new puppy in the family, and Jax has kept us all incredibly busy… Which also means I’m trying to spend more quality time with my sweet little Macy so she feels included!

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I’m making sure Jax knows how important snuggle time is.
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Robert and I took him to the farm for his first swim last week… He had a blast!
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After that, Robert took Macy and I out on an ice cream date so that she could feel special too!

Second, I’ve been working on a few little projects that I’ll be ready to announce on here this fall. Nothing too crazy, but you’ll see why my time has been occupied and a bit away from blogging. I’ve also still been dealing with my arm pain, so physical therapy and my exercises take up a lot of energy.

Third, I’ve been focusing on building a team of other young women for my Rodan + Fields business. It’s been a blast getting coffee and lunch with friends and discussing how they fit in to my new small business. I’ve been so thrilled with all the support friends and family have shown already, and am so excited to keep adding to my team.

Lastly, I’ve still been catching up on spending time with Robert. Ten months was a really long time to be gone, and even though he’s only been home for five months it’s felt like we’ve packed a lot of quality time in together. We’ve gone to a few weddings together, watched a bunch of summer movies, and enjoy cooking out and relaxing at his new home. Time is the most valuable thing I have on this earth, and I’m so happy to be able to spend it on him and my loved ones. Life is such a beautiful thing, and I’m blessed to have so many great people in mine.

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Feature Friday: Play Now, Pay Later

Here is something written by my lovely mother about getting diagnosed with skin cancer. I wanted to share her post because I think it’s really important for people to know more about the dangers of the sun. I hear so many of my friends say they are going to the pool to “tan,” and I understand wanting to have nice color, but it can come at a very high price. I’ll do another post soon about a few of my favorite products (self tanner, bronzer, vitamin D tablets, clothing items, and a few other things) that keep you healthy and make you feel like you have a nice, summery glow. Without further ado, though, here is my mom’s message about skin cancer.


One of the biggest fears most people have when getting a diagnosis from the doctor is hearing the “C” word, and in March that’s exactly what my dermatologist told me I had.

As a child I spent most of my summer days in our backyard pool or at the beach.  My mother always insisted I wear a t-shirt over my swimsuit since I was fair-skinned, and thankfully she always kept me in a sun hat.  As I got older I admired my sister and friends who could get a deep, golden tan, which is when I started using concoctions like baby oil mixed with iodine to attract as much sun as possible.  My best friend and I would sit out in the midday sun when the rays were their brightest in hopes of looking like the model on the Coppertone ad.

As a young adult, I discovered that nearly anyone could get a “healthy” looking tan by going to the tanning booths that were popular in the early 80’s.  It seemed like they were everywhere, and everyone was doing it.  Looking back I am so happy that I only purchased one package, as I hated the strange smell and the claustrophobic feeling they gave.  The beach was still my favorite place, so whenever I had an opportunity to travel I chose somewhere with lots of sun and sand.

I have always been interested in health and wellness, which is why I decided to become an esthetician many years ago.  By then I knew that any kind of tan is considered sun damage. I did whatever I could to avoid having sun on my face and always used a good amount of sunscreen.  My kids who were avid swimmers never left the house without being slathered with sunscreen and an SPF shirt.  I lovingly nagged all of my clients about the danger of too much sun exposure and my “platform” was reinforced when a sweet young man treated his mom to a relaxing facial with me. He had driven her straight from the hospital.  To my horror, when she removed her hat she had a giant scar from one side of her scalp to the other and had received the diagnosis of terminal melanoma.  Her sweet son was treating her to something he hoped would make her feel better.  That poor lady and her son will be forever ingrained in my mind, so you can see why this has always been one of my most important platforms when educating my clients.

This leads me to my doctor’s appointment this past March. I have always been diligent at getting my annual skin cancer screenings.  It’s never fun sitting in the paper gown knowing that someone will be scanning every part of you from head to toe, but the alternative of not being checked could always be worse than the embarrassment, so I bit the bullet and went into the office.  “No changes, you look fine,” the doctor said. I showed him a very tiny dry patch of skin just below my throat that I had been concerned about.  “Oh that’s nothing,” he assured me, so I left feeling confident and proud of myself for being able to cross the annual appointment off my “to-do” list.  A couple months later I accompanied my daughter to the same dermatologist for one of her appointments.  Before the doctor left the room I asked him if he would mind taking a look at that tiny patch of dry skin again that he had dismissed as normal before, and told him I had tried exfoliating it but that it kept coming back.  Again, he took a look with his doppler glasses and said casually, “Nothing!”  I felt relief, because in the back of my mind I kept thinking of that poor lady and her sweet son who had visited my esthetics office some years back.

About three months passed and I went to my family doctor for my annual checkup.  During the exam, I showed her the tiny patch below my throat and she said she wanted me to see the dermatologist she refers to, so I went to see him that Thursday.  I showed him the dry patch and he biopsied it right then and there in the office.  He told me if it was positive, someone would call me within 3 business days.  Tuesday rolled around and no call.  Great, I thought!  I’m in the clear.  Another week passed, then another. Several weeks later the phone rang.  “I’m calling to tell you that your biopsy was positive for cancer,” I heard on the other end of my phone.  Wait, didn’t they say they would call within three days?  Now my mind was racing back to months before when I had first asked my dermatologist about the cancer I now realized had taken residence in my body!  When I asked the bearer of my news why she didn’t call me sooner she simply said, “Ma’am, we have a stack of calls to make every day.”  I asked her what my next step was and she said the doctor would do the surgery to remove an inch around the area.  My first concern was getting these rogue cells the heck out of my body, but realizing this scar was going to be significant and unable to hide above any neckline outside of a turtleneck I said I would get back to her to make the appointment — I wanted to check with a skin surgeon I knew of who was also a plastic surgeon. Then she informed me that by law I needed to let her know within a few weeks that this procedure had been completed.  Why then did it take the dermatologists’ staff three weeks to let me know I had cancer in the first place?!

Due to the busy demands of the doctor, yet another three weeks passed before I was able to reluctantly go in for the surgery.  The surgeon performed what they call MOHS surgery, which is a procedure in which they take as little tissue as possible and test it for cancer cells right away.  They continue to take more if necessary until it is all gone.  I was so thankful that it only took one “pass” until I was told they had gotten it all.  They stitched me up, put dressing on the wound, and told me they expected to see me again as most people who have these types of carcinoma become “repeat customers.”  That was the last thing I wanted to hear.

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Shortly after the procedure I was talking with my friend and described my cancer patch to her.  She grew quiet and said she had the same kind of thing just above her eyebrow.  “I’m sure you are just overly-concerned because of what I just went through,” I reassured her, but knew there was always a chance, so suggested to get it checked — just in case.  She phoned me a couple of weeks later to let me know that her doctor had found bad cells!

My platform for maintaining healthy skin now feels even more important and I am asking you to thoroughly check yourself. Get on the phone and make that yearly dermatological appointment to get yourself checked head to toe.  A good exam includes the doctor checking your scalp, behind your ears, between your toes and even inside your mouth.  If you have a strange feeling about a mole or a freckle or a dry patch of skin that just won’t go away, get to the doctor as soon as possible.  If you feel that someone might not be right about your diagnoses, it never hurts to get a second opinion.  Early detection is your best friend.

My scar is healing well.  A couple of weeks ago I knew that my incision was healed enough to use my needling roller to smooth out the scar.  I honestly can’t believe how much that has helped!  I’m guessing there will always be a small scar but I will wear it proudly as a reminder for myself and others to take precautions when outdoors, and to always get your annual dermatological skin screening.

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After using the roller for a few weeks.