Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

My first wedding dress experience happened on a Thursday. I walked into the salon thirty minutes before my appointment. Yes, this was the first time in my life I had been early to anything. I’ve slept through job interviews and waltzed in late to every class I’ve ever taken. I didn’t even get to see the ceremony of my friends’ wedding, but this time, I was early.

The salon was just what I expected, classy and good smelling with a touch of snooty. I went to the receptionist’s desk, gave my name and was told to look around for just a bit while my consultant finished up another appointment. I became aware of the soft music playing just as I spun around, which, as soon as I spotted the dresses I recognized to be Etta James’s “At Last.” A smile took shape on my face, goosebumps filled every patch of skin on my body and I (somewhat) gracefully leapt into the showroom. And, as Etta James sang to me, I knew I was home.

Those close to me understand this story because they know I’ve been planning my wedding since birth. For those who are not close to me, you must understand that I sprung from the womb carrying a Martha Stewart wedding planner and a handful of silk, organza, lace and tulle fabric samples.

This experience was one of the greatest of my life. Who would have ever though that playing dress up could actually be this joyful?

As per the instructions of my consultant, I surveyed the store searching for a gown I liked in each of the different styles and silhouettes. Just before we went into the fitting room, I spotted another, and asked if I could take that one along too.

“You’re welcome to try on anything you’d like,” she said, and then I knew that the next words out of her mouth were going to break my heart. “This is a Lazaro dress, and they’re a bit pricey.” That’s like saying that the bitter cold of the icy tundra is “a bit chilly.” I suppose I shouldn’t have tried on a dress I didn’t feel comfortable falling in love with, a dress that I would later find out costs nearly six thousand dollars. But I tried it on, fell in love, and wanted to marry that dress more than I wanted to marry Patrick.

From then on, my mission was clear: Find the version of this dress that is within my price range.

The next day I went searching at another bridal boutique after work. I left, sans wedding dress, filled with discouragement. I’d begun to believe that I wouldn’t find anything comparable to that designer dress. It didn’t help when the bridal consultant and the second boutique told me I’d have to buy a dress from a couture line if I wanted the cut and style I was looking for. She told me I had expensive taste, and I punched her in the ear. Then I left, wishing a stranger would approach me on the street and hand me a $6,000 wad of cash.

My friend and bridesmaid, Krystle, came into town for a visit late that night. I had recruited her to be my partner in Operation: Vision in White. We drove for hours to a boutique near Tampa. And, after trying on dress after dress, I found it. I found the next best thing to that Lazaro dress, and I actually liked it better than the original.

Now, more than ever, I’m looking forward to making my grand entrance. I think “At Last” will echo in my head that day. Amen, Etta James.



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So there we were, eating grilled cheese at 12:50 am. It was dead silent as we scarfed down our food with minimal conversation.

Hearing a loud thud didn’t startle Patrick the way it startled me. In fact, he hardly even noticed until I asked him.

“What the heck was that?”

“Well,” he said, “it was either a scary noise …or a burglar.”

Rewind three hours. I was in Auburn Hills – an hour away from Patrick’s house, and I was just getting off work. I was working in retail and closed the store that night. I’d packed a bag so I could go directly to his house after work. Just as I walked out of the building, the rain began to pour. I was completely drenched by the time I got to my car.

Between the sheets of water cascading down my windshield and the defrost malfunction I was having, the trip to Patrick’s was difficult despite having driven that route dozens of times.

“I’m lost.” I said, a little embarrassed, when I called him.

“You’re what?”

“Well, where are you?”


This went on for a minute or so before we figured out I’d missed my exit. Upon pulling into one of those “authorized vehicle only” u-turn lanes, I realized (as I nailed a giant pothole) that my car is, well, NOT an authorized vehicle.

Patrick, who played the role of knight in shining armor, jumped on his noble steed and rode toward the beacon that was the flash of my emergency hazard lights. While I was waiting for him to find me, I rolled down my window and a giant wad of karma hit me in the face. I’ve never again attempted to forge authorized vehicle status.

Patrick changed my tire. In the rain. In record time. Starving, tired and bursting with frustration, I followed Patrick back to his house where he made me a delicious grilled-cheese masterpiece. By this time it was nearly one in the morning.

“What the heck was that?”

“Well,” he said, “it was either a scary noise …or a burglar.”

“Haha… good one.”

Patrick’s house is a beautiful colonial house that was built 80 years ago, so it makes a lot of weird noises. This time, though, it wasn’t the house.

I walked out into the hallway, and heard another thud. Holding my overnight bag over my shoulder. I stared at the man pressed up against the back door.

“Patrick. There’s a man.” (I know, how robot-like of me.)

“What? What are you talking about?” he said, sticking his head out of the kitchen. I pointed to the back door, which happened to be only about a foot away from where Patrick’s face was.

“Come here now!” he said as he stayed surprisingly calm. I was still in some strange realm of shock as he pulled me into hiding on the dining room floor, then called 911.

Patrick remained calm the whole time in the face of danger.

“Mom, dad, don’t be alarmed. The police are on their way. Someone is trying to break into the house.”

We gave the description to the police when they arrived: a tall, scraggly man in his fifties, wearing ripped jeans and a plaid flannel shirt. Scraggly gray beard and hair. Such a description accurately describes half of the men in any given high-security prison cell block.

Jim, Patrick’s dad, headed out back onto the porch and, noticing the fresh boot prints, made a comment about how our story did, in fact, check out. Apparently he didn’t realize how dangerous it was for him to open the door and retrace the steps of a could-be killer on the loose (in his bathrobe, mind you).

Patrick and I went back up to his room and began telling all of the scariest stories we could think of (why? who knows). It was maybe ten minutes later that we heard banging on the door. In one swift motion Patrick jumped off the bed, turned off the lights and grabbed his weapon of choice — a golf club — before running down the stairs.

Turned out the police were back. They had caught the guy. He was carrying an empty bag an had no explanation as to what he was planning on doing with it. He said he was looking for a friend he met earlier that day at a party store, but wound up in Patrick’s neighborhood. From then on, he assured them, he would “stick to the main drags.”

As it turns out, there was a warrant out for his arrest. We never found out the name of our scraggly intruder, but we just call him “Rodney.”


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Dear Whitney,

You know how whenever you find one of my eyelashes you put it on my hand and tell me to make a wish? Well, I always wish for the same thing.

I can’t tell you exactly what I wish for but I can tell you it always comes true. I’m the happiest guy in the world with you.



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I’d say I’m the second love of Patrick’s life — his car is his first.

On one of our first dates, we were out for a drive in his little blue Subaru WRX. It’s a manual, which is quite a trend among youngsters who learned to drive in the Detroit-metropolitan area. We were at a stop sign, listening to loud music and having a good time when the car started shaking and then turned off.

He had stalled.

Pointing a stern finger at me and trying hard to keep a straight face, he said, “Don’t EVER tell ANYONE about this!”

And I never did.


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Moments to remember

Most photos of Patrick and me were obviously taken by one of us, showing only our faces and an occasional arm blocking out a chunk of one side. It was a breath of fresh air when a coworker of mine approached me and told me about her fiance’s growing photography business, E&G Photography. We were offered a deal we couldn’t turn down, and we knew engagement photos would make the perfect announcements to share the good news with our families.

We began the shoot on our apartment complex property. Patrick wore a cotton shirt and jeans, and I wore a casual little dress and jeweled sandals — both of which I had bought earlier that day. When I bought the dress, I asked one of the store employees whether it was a dress or a shirt. “How do you want to wear it?” she asked. Good tactic, I thought. “Honestly, is it too short to wear as a dress?” I asked. “Well, for me, anything that I can pull off as a dress, I do,” she answered. Sold.

Our earth-tone clothing blended well with our natural scenery — the overhanging trees and the hills overlooking the lake. It was a beautiful day, and while I struggled a bit with the sun in my eyes, Graham, our photographer, did a great job of capturing those special moments. We didn’t feel at all embarrassed or pressured. Elizabeth and Graham worked well as a team of photographer and assistant, both giving us suggestions offering us compliments.

We changed into more casual outfits and headed to a park to get a few more shots. It was a beautiful day and a successful photo session.

Elizabeth also happens to be a graphic designer, so she was able to color correct and process the photos, which turned out amazing. If you’re in the Orlando area and are looking for a photographer, I definitely recommend this company. We are grateful to both Elizabeth and Graham for a pleasant photo shoot experience, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the way our photos turned out.


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