It’s impossible to “just look” at husky puppies (& 29 other lessons learned during the first 6 months in Fresno)

6 months ago we packed up our lives in Bloomington, IL where we had lived for 2 years and moved to Fresno, CA. We drove ourselves and what could fit in our car while the rest of our stuff met us here 2 weeks later. We took our time on the road trip stopping along the way to see family and friends. #mancotofresno

Colin’s job spurred this relocation but it was something that has been on our hearts for awhile: the west. This past summer was a whirlwind and I feel like we are just starting to feel settled here and calling Fresno home. I didn’t spend much time blogging or reflecting on the experience of moving so I’m taking this time over winter break to do just that. Taking a deep breath and being so so so thankful.

Our roadtrip looked like this:

  • Bloomington to Ames, Iowa so I could show Colin where a piece of my heart still lies, at Iowa State. Go Cyclones!
  • Ames, Iowa to Lincoln, Nebraska. Not much to report there.
  • Lincoln, Nebraska to Denver, Colorado to stay with our good friends, DJ & Mariesha.
  • Denver, Colorado to Colorado Springs, Colorado to see Colin’s dad and go fly fishing!
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado to Flagstaff, Arizona.
  • Flagstaff, Arizona to Albuquerque, New Mexico to have lunch with Jenny!
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona to to see my grandparents and Colin’s great aunt & uncle.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico to San Diego, CA.
  • San Diego, CA to Fresno, CA. #homesweethome

untitled-design-3It was a lot of car time but it was also a blast. We got to see some amazing people and places. We didn’t get sick of each other, but we did get sick of hotels. We were creative with getting our workouts in on the road. We spent a week in sunny San Diego exploring and relaxing. It was my first time to California since I was a little girl and was a flower girl in a wedding. Then, we made it to Fresno!

The list below just barely scratches the surface of things I’ve learned since we arrived here 6 months ago… Fresno is a pretty incredible place! I hope you’ll come visit us and check it out soon.

  1. The lack of humidity here makes 110+ in the summer not feel so bad.
  2. It’s impossible to “just look” at puppies. Meet Denver, our new husky puppy.
  3. Fresno is full of Bulldog pride.
  4. Heat rash is a thing and when it happens on your face, it’s awful. The cure? Copious amounts of aloe.
  5. Being a homeowner is exciting + scary + overwhelming + feels like real-deal adulting.
  6. California isn’t all “Hollywood” and actually people are super down-to-earth here.
  7. Trying to go for a run in the middle of the day when it’s 120 degrees outside  is not safe or smart.
  8. Being unemployed is awkward and hard.
  9. Job searching is tedious and exhausting.
  10. Sometimes, all the right pieces fall into place at all the right times.
  11. Making decisions based solely on what’s best for you isn’t always easy, but it’s better in the long run.
  12. Having the best realtor in the world made the house buying process so much better and a little less scary.
  13. My #chloeandisabel community continues to mean more than ever, no matter where I live.
  14. Running a marathon in the same town you live in is a super convenient thing.
  15. It’s still weird to see palm trees when I walk out of Target.
  16. The craft beer here is really great.
  17. I need to learn more about wine.
  18. If you’re going to run long distances in Fresno, you need to invest in a hydration pack.
  19. In & Out Burger is pretty amazing, but the line is always way too long.
  20. Having access to both the beach and the mountains is pretty incredible.
  21. Moving halfway across the country means my #snailmail has increased quite a bit! Let’s be penpals!
  22. People here are very dramatic about the weather. Foggy starts instead of snow days? I’ll take it.
  23. The Pacific time zone has it’s perks, but I’m still not used to it.
  24. A cross country road trip leaves plenty of car time to make a music video.
  25. It does get cold here, just not Chicago-cold.
  26. San Diego is one of the coolest places to spend a week. Use Groupon.
  27. Having an REI in the same town we live in makes us feel like “we made it”.
  28. I lost my “thick skin” already and I need a sweater if it drops below 75.
  29. We are very close to both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.
  30. Fall lasts forever here! There are still leaves on the ground at the end of December.


My Husband is my Family

I had a conversation the other day when I met someone new for the first time. The typical small talk. Weather. Where I’m from. How long I’ve lived in Bloomington. If I have a family…

Them: “Do you have a family?”
Me: “Yes, I got married in June!”
Them: “Oh! And you already have a baby? How fun!”
Me:”Haha, no, no baby.”
Them: “Oh so you don’t have a family…?”
Me: “My husband is my family.”
Them: (puzzled) Oh.


 Yes, my husband is my family. No, children are not in our immediate future.

My Husband is Not My Other Half

Correct. Colin, my wonderful husband, is not my other half.

Sure, I’ve been tempted to call him that sometimes, because all sorts of cutesy wedding, love, & marriage things talk about other halves and then I really thought about it, thought about what those words are saying about each of us as individuals. When we were dating, Colin and I talked about this idea of completing one another, about being each other’s other half, and how that would not be the case. We are whole apart from one another. Whole, awesome, fun people and when we are together, it’s just even better.

We were two whole people when we met. I feel in love with him because of his wholeness. Colin has hobbies, interests, quirks, and a passion for life that I had never found in anyone else. We compliment each other in many of the ways that we are different: he is calm & level-headed and I have many moments when I am all over the place; he likes late nights and I love early mornings; he loves to talk about facts during an argument and I like to talk about feelings; he could tell you everything you want to know about super heroes and I can barely tell you the differences between Batman & Superman; but even in all of those ways our differences compliment each other, we are not what makes the other whole.

Bursting with excitement, married to my best friend!

Bursting with excitement, married to my best friend!

We got married on June 15th and now we don’t only share an apartment and a last name, but we are sharing our entire lives with one another.  However, my husband is still not my other half. I am still who I am and he is still who he is, and life is just that much more awesome because we are sharing it together.

The honest truth of the matter is, neither of us like pickles so when my burger comes and there are pickles on the side I have no where to put them besides leave them on my plate. If Colin was my other half he would love to eat my pickles. Just kidding. 😉

I see our marriage more as a venn diagram than a pizza. We are two awesome, colorful people that are sharing our lives together through marriage. Every part of who we each are is a part of who we are when we are together. We are learning hand in hand every day all about this thing called marriage.


If he was my other half, without one another we would be like half a pizza – only whole when we are together. As much as I hate being away from Colin, I still stand strong on the fact that I am a whole pizza when I am without him just like he is when he is without me.



Colin is my other whole, my best friend, my partner, the other circle in our venn diagram of marriage but he is not my other half.

12 Things Learned During Our 1st Month of Marriage

Not that I thought it wouldn’t be, but being married to Colin is super awesome.  Living together, getting to hang out, not having to drive two hours to be together… all still feels too good to be true!  I’m not sure it’s even hit me yet!  I’m so thankful.
2. Pet Peeves Turned To Habits.
When we moved in together I asked Colin to pleas shut the cupboards once he was done in them – I was worried I was going to hit my head on an open cupboard.  He has done a great job closing them but I’ve been the one leaving them open all over the place.  The things that I thought were going to bother me, I have ended up doing myself.  Ha.  I’m learning to not be so stuck in my ways and to give a little bit.
3. Kindness Matters.
Brian, during our ceremony, reminded us that being kind to one another is one of the most important pieces of advice he ever received and wanted to pass it along to us.  I try to remember to remind myself everyday to above all, be kind.
4. Best Friend.
Colin is absolutely my best friend but I do not think that I knew what that meant until we were married and sharing everything together.  He is the person always pulling for me and cheering me on.  He believes in me when I don’t believe in myself and he is the person that I have the most fun with!
5. Healthy Lifestyle.
Colin is my partner in living a long, healthy life together.  I have learned that marriage is about making healthy choices together so that we can have the most years that we can together.  It is easier to stay fit when someone else is encouraging you!  There have been many times when I would have skipped a workout but Colin was there, lacing up his shoes and out the door we went!  I am so thankful for that.
6. Sharing Space.
I have learned that sharing a space with a partner is humbling.  I am a control freak.  I like things a certain way.  Colin helps me to remember the big picture and not to get hung up on the little things, like if the pillows on the couch are perfect.  Life is messy and sometimes our apartment is too.  I’m starting to learn to love the imperfections.
7. My Biggest Fan.
Letting Colin be my biggest fan is hard for me.  I’m good at cheering others on but not as good at letting others be there for me.  I’m learning what it means to have someone in your corner believing in you.  It’s pretty wonderful.
8. Full Length Mirror
Being married is like looking into a full length mirror all of the time.  Colin gets all of me: my irrational sides, my dramatic tendencies, my meltdowns, my crazy – and he loves me just the same.  Marriage is teaching me about letting someone love all the sides of you.
9. All About Love.
A faculty member in the Western Illinois University College Student Personnel program said this in Theory 2 class one day, “It’s simple really. It’s so simple that we’ve made it complicated. It’s all about love” (J. Q. Adams, personal communication, October 7, 2013).  This is what marriage is all about, love and partnership.  I’m known for making things more complicated then they need to be.  I’m learning it’s all about love.
10. Happily Ever After.
Happily ever after means working each day to be the best partner that we can be for one another.  I’ve been learning that this takes work and patience but that it is a dream come true to be starting our life journey together.
11. Oxygen Mask.
Colin reminds me that you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help another.  In marriage, being a good partner to him sometimes means putting myself first.  I’m still getting better at this.
12. We Aren’t Alone.
The advice, support, and love of our family and friends has been overwhelming.  In our marriage we are lucky to have so many awesome role-model-marriages out there guiding us. So, thank you.  I’ve learned that we aren’t alone.



The Dilemma of Picking Wedding Colors

On January 3rd, Colin, my best friend and the one who I could not wait to spend forever with asked me to marry him.  We plunged into wedding planning bliss and tied the knot on June 15.

I learned a lot planning this wedding.  I learned that even though Colin loves me enough to want to marry me, he might not have a lot of opinions about centerpieces, bridesmaids dresses, and color schemes.  I learned that my mom was a key player in keeping me sane, listening to my off-hand ideas, and being alongside me as my indecisiveness drove myself crazy.

One of the first questions people asked after our engagement was, “What are your colors?”.  I had seen enough bride shows and read enough magazine/blogs to know that traditionally, you pick a few colors and then base your wedding planning off of that palate.  I browsed color palates for hours on Pinterest.  I google-searched “wedding colors” over and over hoping something would jump out at me.  My mom has a degree in art and a brilliant eye for decorating.  I have a decently crafty eye.  Colin was entirely supportive of whatever colors I threw at him as ideas.  But picking colors, for our wedding, seemed like the most impossible task of all of this for me.
Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 9.43.31 AM

I started with coral & turquoise, inspired by this lovely photo:

That led to bridesmaid dress confusion.  Coral dresses?  Turquoise dresses?  Hmmm… so I floundered and broke out in a cold sweat for a few weeks whenever anyone asked me what our colors were.

Colin, who never really understood the color dilemma in the first place, asked me one day why it mattered what our colors were.  That made me think.  I only really felt pressure to pick colors because that is what you are supposed to do.  In wedding planning, there are a lot of predetermined guidelines that most people follow.  I had fallen into the trap of feeling that our wedding had to follow the same template that I had seen before and read about.

Picking colors is awesome.  Weddings that follow schemes are beautiful.  But so are ones that don’t.  In life, break outside of the box.  Push the envelop.  Don’t let yourself be boxed in by what the world around you says.  Our day was perfect without set colors.  It was perfect because it was a reflection of us.

And in the words of my wonderful husband, “Our love was colorful enough”.