the best of intentions

Posts tagged love

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wild and wonderful

We spent last weekend in West Virginia for Courtney & Tom’s amazing wedding. It was exactly what I think we all needed and will go down in the books as one of the best of all time. 

And when I say we, I don’t mean just the husband and I. The best thing about my best friends is that three years after graduation, after the loss of one of our own, several address changes, one international move, the subsequent return, and now two weddings, we’re still very much a we. We still refer to each other as my roommates. Not my old roommates, not my college roommates, just my roommates.  

And personally, I hope that never changes. 

Everything about the wedding and reception was absolute perfection. 

I mean, go ahead. Try to tell me that you have ever seen a more beautiful bride. Yeah, I didn’t think so.  

The rest of us clean up pretty well, too. 

But then we do things like this, and any credibility we’d earned, goes right out the window. 

The husband and I even managed to take a somewhat respectable photo. 

Brittany tried to one-up me with my own man, but Chad and his background creeping saved me. 

Of course, we danced our asses off. 

And sang a whole lot of Gaga. 

Kimmy did things like that.

And Brittany made faces like this. 

Essentially, we may have fancied ourselves up with make up, dresses, high heals, suits, and ties, but we were still exactly the same as we’ve always been. We were silly, happy, drunk, and completely, head over heals in love with each other. 

These are the kind of friends that save you from yourself. The kind that last a lifetime and that are always at the core of your heart. 

These are the people who remind me of how infinitely lucky I am. 

Congratulations Tom & Courtney! Thank you for a beautiful day and a crazy night. Well done, friends.  

Filed under best friends weddings ohio university love family

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my soapbox: sweetest day

I am a hopeless romantic. There’s no getting around that. My husband, on the other hand, is as close as a person can get to being dead inside. Most of what he feels is never expressed, not because he keeps it bottled up, just because he doesn’t feel like it needs to be addressed. To him, emotions are about as discussion-worthy as what he had for lunch on any given day.

This has been a struggle for us. Our needs are very different. He doesn’t need affection and sentiment on the same level as me. And that’s okay. As long as we’re open and honest about communicating our needs to each other. We’re both know-it-alls, but neither of us is a mind reader. 

One thing that I need is holidays, birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries. Yes, I realize that may qualify as four things, but I need all of them for the same reasons, so to me they are one and the same. I need the anticipation and excitement. I need that special and sometimes exclusive feeling. I need to celebrate for silly little reasons. And I need it to be acknowledged that sometimes those silly little reasons are really the big picture, epic kind of things in our life.

If the moments that bring you and all your favorite people together in joy aren’t what it’s all about, then I don’t know what could be. 

Today is Sweetest Day—a holiday my husband usually forgets and one that I actually forgot this year. A lot of people see Sweetest Day as a Hallmark-created holiday meant only to convince people they need to spend extra money on unnecessary things. I get that, and when I’m being logical and detached, I agree. 

But when my husband brings home the most touching card, takes me to Malley’s to pick out chocolates, and to Hibachi for a simple, yet delicious dinner, then Sweetest Day is epic and wonderful. 

If I hadn’t worked in the floral and jewelry businesses in which I’ve helped countless people pick out little I love yous for their special someones, then maybe I wouldn’t long for my own little I love you. And maybe if Bill were more of a natural romantic, we wouldn’t need the calendar to dictate how and when we show our affection. 

But we are who we are and our lives have been what they are, so this year I really needed Sweetest Day. And he came through big time. 

Please don’t think that my husband doesn’t show love in ways other than material gifts. He does, every damn day. He works his ass off so our bills get paid while I’m wandering around aimlessly trying to find my career path. He does his very best at handling my overly emotional states and he shows his own emotions in subtle ways that require no words at all. He is wonderful.

And just as he has learned to show affection in the ways that I need, I’ve learned to see and appreciate the ways in which he naturally shows love. 

This is our marriage. And it is far from perfect, but it is the only one we get. So every day, we’re fighting for it. That means during the life-changing, crazy difficult days and during the sweet and simple, easy to forget days. 

Happy Sweetest Day to you and yours! I hope you take a minute today to show a little love and affection to the wonderful people in your life. And if you’re too much of a rebel to do it today, then tomorrow will do. But just for thought, is rebelling against the man important enough to possibly miss your chance to say I love you one more time?

Filed under love holidays soapbox

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wanted: vintage travel posters

I have a confession to make. I’m a bit of an art snob in training, by relation. (Read: This character flaw is not my fault.)

“Jacob started it.”

Seriously. He did. 

Here’s the thing. When your brother was a studio art and art history major in college, and he gifts you awesome things like these, you just can’t go picking up something like this… 

… from the Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and slap it on your wall with a “Well ain’t that just pretty as pink flamingo picture.”

Okay, so you could. But you’d never hear the end of it. And considering he deals with my grammar snob tendencies, I concede to making thoughtful and original art choices. (I know, my life is soooo rough.)

My main criteria is as follows: Anything I like which also happens to be vintage or original, plus family photos and anything he gives me. As often as I can manage, I also try to please the hubbin. (Pretty manageable, although I still tend to get anxious and am still a bit of a commitment-phobe with most art.) 

However, I am proud to say that I do have a particular genre I’ve fallen for that also happens to qualify as blog-worthy cool: vintage travel posters. Feast your eyes on the following Etsy finds.



south america




great lakes


pan am


My love affair started five years ago when I picked up this perfect print in Chicago, one of my favorite cities of all time.

Although it’s technically neither vintage nor original, I’m in love. She’s a reprint and thus fit into my then-college budget. And considering Jake was with me on that trip, I’m assuming he approves.

She’s definitely top-five for souvenirs. 

And just because, here’s the cozy little corner she calls home. 

P.S. I very seriously considered retaking this photo because of the mess going on with that curtain. 

Filed under art love wanted family

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introductions: miss jillian butte

I want to introduce you to an amazing little girl. Her name is Jillian Nicole Butte and she is my hero. On September 4, 2010, wearing the prettiest purple dress, she did us the honor of being the flower girl for our wedding. She sweetly escorted our adorable nephew down the aisle, stone cold serious the entire way. 

jillian 1

I have never seen a more focused five-year-old girl. I mean, really, does it get any sweeter than this. 

jillian 2

I know Miss Jillian through her mother Jessie, whom I shamefully have zero pictures with. (Note to self: get on that.) Jessie was my boss when I worked at the Piercing Pagoda in Ashtabula. She was an amazing boss and an even better friend. I was 22, just out of college, head over heels in love with the boy I’d marry, living with my parents again, trying to be an adult and feeling more lost than ever. She listened to me ramble on endlessly while we did inventory. She gave me exactly the advice that I needed. And three years later, she is one of those people who is vital and priceless to me. 

On top of everything, she is a fantastic mom to three beautiful girls and a soon-to-be step-mom to three little boys whom she couldn’t stop gushing about last time I saw her. 

So that is the story of a very sweet little girl and her wonderful family. Unfortunately, that isn’t the entire story. The reason I’m telling you all about little Jill is because just over a year after donning her flower girl dress, Jillian underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor just above her left eye. Her surgery was a huge success and she has drastically improved since then. Her memory response and speech have been exceptional but she still has a long road ahead. 


Jillian’s tumor was, in fact, cancerous and after she has spent a few more weeks recovering from the surgery, she will begin a six week cycle of radiation. They are still awaiting tests to ensure that the cancer is not elsewhere in her body. 

Needless to say, this is a scary and trying time for Jillian and her entire family. But as I’m sure you’re convinced by now, they are strong and beautiful. They are the kind of people who 110% appreciate everything they have long before it’s endangered. I would bet the house on this little girl. She is stubborn and brave. She is her mother’s child. And above all, she is loved, she is needed and wanted. She is necessary. 

jillian 2

There is not a doubt in my mind that everything will be as it should when this is all said and done. But they still need help. My help, help from their family, help from complete strangers. Here are a few ways you can help.

And if these options aren’t right for your circumstances now, then please just keep her in your heart, in your thoughts or prayers. Appeal to your God, to karma, to whom or whatever you appeal to in times of need. Trust me when I tell you that she is good and worthy of every opportunity this life has available. 

Filed under introductions beautiful baby girls fighter love

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genuine (albeit unsolicited) advice

This time last year, we were on our way to Boston. Today, I dropped off the dry cleaning. I guess every day of my marriage can’t be glamorous. But God, would I give anything to be back in that city, back inside that honeymooning newlywed bubble, having the time of my life with my favorite guy. 

I guess how long a couple stays newlyweds is debatable and rather irrelevant. I am a big believer in the ideal that only the people within a relationship have the authority to define it. Unfortunately ideals don’t always line up with reality. Once you’re engaged, everyone within a mile of your shiny diamond feels compelled to share their thoughts with you. You hear everything from genuine (albeit unsolicited) advice, to dated stereotypes, to age-old superstitions. 

And when your engagement is twice the length of your dating relationship prior, those foreign thoughts can become a little consuming. Bill and I dated for 10 months before he proposed and were engaged for 19 months, 1 week, and 4 days before our wedding. By the time I walked down the aisle, I was filled to the brim with the following:

  • notions of the bitter, angry wife I was supposed to become,
  • images of myself dressed as either June Cleaver or the quintessential, harried and unkempt, What Not To Wear fashion victim slash mother of three,
  • analogies that compare sex to milk and me to a cow,

And most importantly

  • knowledge that none of those terrible things had to be a part of our life together

Yes, any relationship has the potential to fall apart and slip into really dark places. Yes, stereotypes and superstitions are born from tiny slivers of truth. But the beauty of it all is that the tone, depth, progression, and functionality of any relationship can be controlled by the participants.

None of this is easy, however. In fact, it’s a lot of work. It’s making the conscious effort to respectfully ignore the opinions of people you love. It’s realizing that drama costs more than it’s worth and that your life is not a romantic comedy. It’s understanding that the phrases I want and I need are not inherently selfish. It’s learning the art of compromise and the dance of disagreement. It is focusing on communication and setting precedents—not rules, not requirements, not promises—but precedents for your relationship. 

And for me, it was accepting that I will put more energy than Bill into determining the nature of our relationship. I know that seems to go against every notion of a fifty-fifty relationship dynamic, but for us, it is perfectly in-line. My husband is both completely agreeable and extremely particular. As things stand now, he does not need from our relationship the way that I do. I’ve had to accept that this does not mean he doesn’t need me. 

Bill gives to our relationship and our life in ways that I never could. He is our constant financial supporter and the stable safe haven for my delicate and weary soul. I can fall apart on a daily basis and he is always there to build me back up. He wants our relationship to be good, to feel right. And he knows when it needs some work. But he doesn’t understand the nuances of it the way that I do. And that’s okay with me. 

I imagine it could get a little messy if we were both incredibly focused on the same thing. So for now, I’ll worry about the details of us and leave the financial planning to him. 

Filed under love relationships unsolicited advice logistics

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Today is our first wedding anniversary. I am so happy to be here, at this place in life, with this amazing man standing next to me. I am thankful for today—a quiet day that we will spend together, stepping away from everything difficult and chaotic, and cherishing all that we have. It has been a year of beauty and tears—we are stronger because of it. 

On Tuesday, I’ll share with you more about what we’ve been through and what I’ve learned. But today is meant for unplugging and reconnecting, so I give you our vows:

Bill to Sarah:

From the moment that I met you, I was intrigued. By the end of the first day I knew that I needed to spend as much time with you as I could. By the end of the first week I knew that my life had changed forever.

From the many four hour trips to OU, to the eventual move to Columbus, I learned a lot about the person you are, and the person you were helping me become. 

Through all of the trials and tribulations in Columbus, my love for you grew deeper. There were days when we both wanted to give up, but we were able to lean on each other for support and I always knew that everything would be alright.

We both came from strong families and in you I see signs of that everyday. You are caring, compassionate, loving, and forever the optimist. Now I see the way that you are with our nephews and what I had suspected all along shines through. I know that you will be an amazing mother.

I know that I am in good hands as long as I can always hold yours. I love you, Sarah Jane, with all that I am.

Sarah to Bill:

When we met, I knew almost instantly that I could love you forever. You’re handsome without being all that aware of it. You’re smart, and probably a little too aware of it. You’re funny in the kind of way that can make me laugh even when I’m made at you. You’re tall enough for me to wear heels. And you’re honest, no matter what.

I fell in love with those qualities in the very beginning and they’ll keep you in my good graces for the next fifty years. 

But it’s the things that I’ve discovered slowly over the past two and a half years that brought me here today.

I’ve learned that I can build a life with you. That I can dream big with you. I can trust you and rely on you. I know that when I break down, you can be strong enough for the both of us. And that when I need to be strong, you can help me be brave.

And those things are why, standing here today, I don’t feel scared, or nervous, or worried about a thing.  I know that it won’t always be easy, but I also know that the best is yet to come. Because between the joy of love, and the strength of marriage, we become better than the sum of our parts.

I vow to love you always, and to live this life, our life, with everything that I have. 

Today, we celebrate love in all it’s infinite glory. May you do the same.


All Photos Courtesy of:

Filed under love wedding anniversary

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a white dress and dreams come true

    Tomorrow is our first wedding anniversary. 
    Can you believe it?
    Yeah, me neither. 
    Considering I started this blog post-wedding and abandoned my wedding blog with eight months still to go, I never really wrote about that day, that beautiful, beautiful day. 
    What’s that? You wanna hear all about it?
    Okay then, who am I to argue with the people. 


            When I was a little girl, I didn’t dream about my wedding day in terms of a dress, a groom, a cake, or a first dance. The only thing I thought about was who I wanted to be—who I thought I should be—by the time I was becoming someone’s wife. I figured I’d be glamorous and all grown up, living a life that was chaotic yet completely pulled together. And of course, I’d have a stellar career that required me to live in a tiny, but so chic Chicago loft.

            Remedying this delusion with my reality was probably the most difficult thing about wedding planning for me. I was broke, working a job that was just a job, showing up under-dressed for life, eventually moving back in with my parents, timidly starting a career, and defaulting on my student loans. I was anything but who I’d planned to be.

            But at some point I realized the most important thing—Bill fell in love with me anyway. The first week we spent together, I was a total mess. The day he proposed, my controlling, neurotic behavior was peaking. But he looked at me, saw exactly who I was, and still wanted me, forever. That was the most liberating thing. It allowed me to let go of every unrealistic expectation I had for myself and begin to embrace who I already was.

           And I was a girl who knew what she wanted. I got as much feedback and give-a-damn out of my groom as I could and for everything else, I simply followed my heart.

           I knew I wanted a ceremony that was eloquent, genuine and intimate. So we wrote our own vows, we chose unique and beautiful readings, and I walked down the aisle to Dave Matthew’s band.

           I knew that I was meant to get married in the fall and that I wasn’t afraid of color. So I wore purple shoes, my bridesmaids wore dresses that coordinated but were true to who they are individually, and the guys wore orange vests and ties under their tuxes.

            Our first dance was to a song that only we knew the words to, but we knew every word and it will always belong exclusively to us. 

            We knew we wanted a party that was simple, laidback, comfortable and a total blast. So we opened the bar, made the dance floor as big as possible, served basic but delicious food, and sang Journey with our friends.

           But the thing that was most important to me was that our wedding day celebrated our community of family and friends and all their amazing talents. I wanted as few total strangers involved as possible; I just felt like it was unnecessary. So, I designed our invitations and table numbers on a 30-day free trial of InDesign, my mother created all the floral arrangements, Bill’s uncle officiated, Nana and her sisters were in charge of the cookie trays, my father, brothers, and uncle created the arbor that designated our alter, we hired a photographer I knew personally from college, all the girls and my mother-in-law had our hair done at the salon where she used to work, and all our music was handled by a local DJ who happens to be married to the woman who introduced my parents.

           Essentially, zero strangers. And that was so empowering. Being able to honestly say that every person in the room was genuinely on our side—both as individuals and as a couple—made me feel a little bit more like that kick-ass version of myself that I’d always hoped to be.

            The real bonus though, is that one year later, my husband and my marriage have given me the confidence to start really chasing my dreams. 



All Photos Courtesy of:

Filed under love wedding anniversary

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someone like you

I tell myself that every girl likes to loosely hold onto the boy who once really loved her—insistent that I’m not the only one. 

I know that it seems selfish to have moved on, fallen in and out of love a half dozen times, let years pass, and tell yourself that he’s out there somewhere still loving you. Comparing other girls to you. Wondering what your life is like and if you’re happy. Hoping that you’re happy, even without him. You hope that he is as unselfish as you are not. 

I’m married now, very happily married—in love with a wonderful, wonderful man. But there’s a boy a man out there somewhere whom I hope still thinks of me. I guess, the simple fact is, I still think of him, fondly. He was wonderful to me for years—better than I could have asked for, better than I deserved. I see a bit of him in my husband. I hope that his life is beautiful and that he is happy.

I heard last weekend that he’s getting married in a couple of weeks, six days after my first anniversary. Upon hearing the news, my heart swelled to three times it’s normal size. I was thrilled, and proud, and full of bittersweet longing. On that day, I’ll think of him, and his lovely new wife, and I’ll smile the way I always have for him. 

Maybe I’m not as selfish as I’d imagined. Maybe first love just really is the kind of thing that is always with you. I am happy to always carry him with me. 

Filed under love