2014 in 365 seconds

One of my New Year’s Resolutions of 2014 was to take more personal photos and video. Does anyone else feel like your life isn’t exciting enough to take photos and video of everyday life? Well, whether my day was extra special or mundane, I recorded a video on my iPhone every single day of 2014. I never forgot a day, although there were some close calls that sent me jumping up out of bed at 2 AM to capture a video. I chose just one second of the video per day and compiled it into a 6 minute video of the year (using the app 1 Second Everyday). It is so fun to watch the video and see a tiny part of each day. It feels like the year went by as fast as the video does. As you watch it, you’ll notice a common theme – food, pets, and friends and family. 🙂

Here’s a few notable memories of 2014:

It was the snowiest and coldest winter I ever remember. The snow was pretty at first, but it stayed way past its welcome. Depression/anxiety set in and I had a rough month or two, but I got back on medicine and spring eventually sprung and all was better. I had never been so happy to see dandelions pop up out of the ground.

When we were stuck inside for the winter, we learned how to make some delicious homemade pizza and waffles. Later on in the year, I learned to make a poached egg, frittata, and granola. I tried to eat more veggies and fruit and less carbs and sugar.

I faced one of my biggest fears (dumb, I know) and got blood drawn for the first time I remember. I didn’t pass out!!!! 🙂

In the spring, we had a squirrel problem in our attic and our house. Our cat Onyx caught two of them inside and then Ryan had to get a baby one out of our attic (that fell between the walls) with grill tongs!

Ryan went on a fishing trip in Mississippi with his Grandpa, went on a work trip to Chicago, and went on his yearly WooTrip to San Fransisco. I was blessed to be able to spend a lot of time in Missouri with my family.

We (okay, mostly Ryan) worked on our house. Our fridge died so that led to replacing all of our kitchen appliances. He replaced almost all of our light fixtures and installed 4 ceiling fans. We made a fire pit in our backyard and did some landscaping, in the form of 10 cubic yards of mulch. It literally took us all summer to get all the mulch shoveled off our driveway. He installed a wood stove insert into our fireplace, which is so awesome!

We planted a garden for the first time! We grew flowers, herbs, tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, green beans, pumpkins, etc. I think it was pretty successful – in getting every pest and disease there is. 😉 Some bunnies even grew in our garden, hah. Nonetheless, it was a fun learning experience.

We spent a week in Missouri both at the beginning of July and beginning of August. I went to the Sole Hope retreat in St. James, then we visited Ryan’s Grandparents in Branson and went fishing on Table Rock lake, we went on a float trip down the river on my Dad’s 5th heaven birthday, and then celebrated my 26th birthday swimming/kayaking/fishing. Ahhh, summer!

We went to the Indiana State Fair for the first time.

We celebrated two years of marriage on August 25th.

Our Moms came to visit on Ryan’s 27th birthday weekend and we had a fun party with them and our closest friends.

We visited Holland, Michigan in October. It was so much fun! We rented a house through AirBnb, where a couple of our good friends joined us. The week consisted of exploring downtown, trying local breweries, coffee, and food, walking the beach, visiting a huge apple orchard, and filming a wedding in Saugatuck.

Our friend and talented photographer, Amanda, took our photos in a nearby apple orchard at the end of fall.

Ryan earned the most prestige award at WooThemes – The “Iron Ninja!”

At Two Are Better, it was our first full year of just video (no more photos). We filmed 12 weddings and 2 family documentaries.

Thanks 2014 for a blessed year!!! 🙂

Our Wedding – 8.25.12

In honor of our first wedding anniversary, here is a little story of our day + photos and video!

From the beginning, Ryan and I knew we wanted our day to be personal, unique, and fun. Without reinventing the wheel, we wanted to put our own touch on everything. Traditional wasn’t really our style. I think we accomplished it without going insane. 😉 We wanted it to be a day to remember, not only us, but for our friends and family as well. After our wedding, we couldn’t believe how many times we were complimented that we had “the best wedding ever.” We certainly didn’t set that high of a standard for ourselves, but somehow it all came together better than we ever expected. Don’t get me wrong though, as there were all the normal mishaps as well.

What really set the tone for everything was our venue. The ceremony and reception were held at a hidden gem in the middle of no where, Missouri. It was a fully restored barn from 1926 on 120 acres of land. The ceremony was outdoors, overlooking the lake, fields, and woods where the prairie grasses and wild flowers are abundant. It is truly a photographer’s dream, or for that matter, a bride’s dream! Following the ceremony, our reception was in the beautiful loft of the barn. There were also yard games and a bonfire on the lawn and a hayride around the property. It was actually difficult to get everyone together for the reception to begin because there was so much activity!

We set the date for August 25, thinking the weather would be perfect. Well, little did we know that 2012 would play out to be one of hottest years on record. Missouri was also under drought conditions for most of the summer. Funny enough, it rained on our wedding day. It started pouring on us and our wedding party as we were finishing up photos earlier in the day. We frantically ran for cover and grabbed our ceremony programs and guestbook that were already set up on a table outside. I remember Jan, the barn owner, pulling me aside and telling me, “You are SO lucky. Rain on a wedding day is good luck.” Bless our family and friends for drying off the ceremony chairs twice, and for my hair stylist who insisted on curling my hair again before the ceremony. We embraced the rain and the cooler temperatures that it brought though. Without that storm, it could’ve easily been 100 degrees that day.

I would call our wedding style eclectic. It was a little bit of rustic, charming, vintage, and handmade. We followed our color scheme of mint and coral very loosely, as we didn’t want anything to be matchy-matchy. We told our groomsmen to find a shirt in a shade of coral and the bridesmaids to find a dress in a shade of mint. Trust your friends! You’ll be amazed how all the different styles and colors come together to create a beautiful palette.

There were many, many hours spent thrifting and crafting and researching. Yes, research! I researched everything from personalized napkins to paper straws to cupcake liners. We wanted to make sure every purchase was not only a quality product, but also made sense financially. Just some of the things we bought were: strings and strings of globe lights, paper lanterns, yards of cream voile, mason jars, and 100+ lbs of candy. You can imagine how quickly all of those purchases add up.

It was truly a labor of love to pull everything together. It’s amazing how much money you can save when you really try! Ryan’s Grandma sewed many feet of bunting and burlap table runners. Ryan’s Mom thrifted various vases, old cameras, frames, and the cutest little knick knacks. My Mom grew wildflowers in her garden and planted succulents for the centerpieces. Ryan’s Uncle made yard games by hand (corn hole and hillbilly golf). We borrowed lace overlays, a tandem bike, and candy jars. With the help of our amazing friends and family, we painted wooden signs and canvas bunting, stamped candy bags and name tags for jars, and made our own chalkboards and luminaries. Ryan and I designed our own invites and ceremony programs, and he designed our wedding website. We even made our own honeymoon registry on our website (www.ryanandmindy.us) by creating our shop using WooCommerce.

The handmade ceremony backdrop was probably the biggest project. We cut long strips of cheap fabric in different colors and patterns and tied them on a rope between two handmade posts. (We had to improvise since there were no trees.) They were actually cardboard carpet rolls, but you wouldn’t have known because we covered them in burlap. The posts were held up by fence posts we temporarily put in the ground.

Being videographers ourselves, we knew that the photos and video were top priority on our list. As cliche as it sounds, they would be the most priceless investment we could make on our day. Therefore, most of our budget went to the photographer and videographer. We compensated and saved money in other places, like doing a homemade dinner for family and the wedding party before the ceremony and by buying a $40 wedding dress. Besides our amazing photos and video, our guest book is one of our favorite keepsakes from the day. Our guest book, a handmade journal, is full of instant photos and sweet messages from our guests.

One of the most personal parts of the day was our ceremony. Our videography business is actually called Two Are Better (www.twoarebetter.us), and we live that motto out in both our professional and personal life. Therefore, it only made sense to carry that theme out in our ceremony. Our officiant was my Aunt Marcie, who spoke the most beautiful and memorable words. We wrote our own vows and instead of doing a unity candle, we actually tied a knot during our ceremony. We found out later that rain on your wedding day (that it did!) is good luck because it makes the rope wet and thus the knot harder to undo. That gave me goosebumps! Ryan and I served communion to our guests, and our youth pastor served us communion. We didn’t plan for so many people to participate in communion, thus the DJ had to play “Crying in the Chapel” by Elvis 3 times in a row!

I mentioned mishaps, and there were a couple that won’t be forgotten. Like at the end of the ceremony, when my Aunt said it was time to anoint us with oil and pray over us… when I realized that the oil had totally slipped my mind! I knew I was forgetting something! We all laughed about it and she did a symbolic anointing. It was amazing to have our friends and family lay their hands on us and pray over us as a newly married couple. We walked out to “When I’m 64” by the Beatles and the party began! We had an amazing dessert table (thanks to a family friend!) and a candy buffet as favors for guests.

For our reception (and ceremony) we carefully chose every single song that was played. Our DJ was so awesome at fulfilling all of our specific requests. One of the best moments of the day was when we were introduced at the reception and we went straight into our first dance. We surprised everyone by dancing the fox trot to Frank Sinatra’s “You Make Me Feel So Young.” In secret, we had taken dance lessons in preparation for this special moment! Since we didn’t have a best man or maid of honor, we had everyone in our wedding party say a little something at the reception. That was so special to hear from each of them! Plus, two of the guys surprised us with a hilarious rap they wrote for us. We played the shoe game at the reception and got many laughs out of that. The reception seemed to fly by! As it was slowing down and guests were leaving, we moved the party out to the bonfire in the lawn. I felt like I could’ve stayed there all night just chatting with our closest friends.

My Dad passed away 3+ years ago, and although he wasn’t there physically, I wanted everyone to know that he was still very much part of the day. I cut out a heart from one of his favorite shirts and had it sewn on my wedding dress. My Mom and I lit a lantern at the ceremony in memory of him. We invited everyone to the dance floor in memory of the father-daughter dance and we danced to the song “Unforgettable.” Although I physically walked down the aisle by myself, I know I wasn’t truly alone.

After writing this, I still can’t believe that this was our wedding. We’ve never felt so grateful for friends and family and feel like we can’t thank everyone enough. We already wish we could go back and re-live our big day!

Jan & Bruce Sassman – Owners of barn venue

Amanda Fales Photography

Jet Kaiser Videography

Kelley King (Friend) – Cake & Cake Pops

Lois Hall (Friend) – Other Desserts

Tom Rotter of Block Rockin’ Beats – DJ

Holly Yoder – Makeup Artist

Erika Fluhrer – Hair Stylist

Our Moms – Floral designers

Ourselves – Invitation & Ceremony Program Design

Darren’s Ballroom Dance Studio  – Dance lessons

Alicia Wines Photography – Engagement photos

Ruche – Bride’s dress

Hey Lady – Bride’s shoes

The Red Magnolia – Bride’s belt (http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheRedMagnolia)

db Boutique – Bride’s garters (http://www.etsy.com/shop/DinkybirdBoutique)

Tessa Kim – Bride’s Veil (http://www.tessakim.com/)

JCrew – Groom’s Pants (www.jcrew.com)

Men’s Warehouse – Groom’s Shirt (http://www.menswearhouse.com/)

Nordstrom – Groom’s Shoes (http://shop.nordstrom.com/)

Knot Co  – Groom’s Bow Tie (http://www.knotco.com/)

Speak Louder  – Groom’s Pocket Square (http://www.etsy.com/shop/speaklouder)

Suspender store – Groom’s suspenders (http://www.suspenderstore.com/)

LilaFrances – Personalized Hanger (http://www.lilafrancesdesigns.com/)

TOPS Malibu – Cake toppers (http://topsmalibu.com/)

Candy.com – Candy

Peregrine Arts Bindery – Guest book (http://www.etsy.com/shop/PeregrineArtsBindery)

Sip Sticks – Paper straws (http://www.sipsticks.com/)

Luna Bazaar – Paper lanterns, battery operated tea lights, and one parasol (http://www.lunabazaar.com/)

Target- string globe lights (www.target.com)

Online Fabric Store – cream voile (http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/)

Blain’s Farm & Fleet – mason jars (http://www.farmandfleet.com/)

The Smart Baker – cake pop tower

Pretty Tape – washi tape

Honeymoon – Day 2

Today was our first full day in Asheville and we had no specific plans! We’re flying by the seat of our pants on this trip. After sleeping in too late (I see a pattern here), we made our way to brunch at The Early Girl Eatery. We LOVE that so many restaurants here are locally sourced as much as possible and also offer many vegetarian options. Anyway, the food was to die for! I had a cheese, egg, and baked tempeh biscuit and also vegetarian gravy on the side. Ryan had a black bean cheddar omelet with sour cream and homemade salsa on top.

The next few hours we spent walking around downtown shopping! There are so many awesome stores with lots of goodies handmade in Asheville. We also stopped by the Sole Hope office, but no one was there. Thankfully I ran into Holly in another store and introduced myself! 🙂

Ryan needed a break from shopping (plus another rain shower came through) so we stopped at The Bier Garden and got a flight of some more local brews. As you can tell, Asheville is known for its food and beer! By that time, the shops were closing down for the day so shopping was over. Probably a good thing for my wallet!

We decided to head east on Blue Ridge Parkway and see what we would find. We didn’t find exactly what we were looking for (beautiful views of the mountains), but we did find pretty forests and houses. It was really peaceful and with the windows down and we breathed in fresh mountain air! 😉 We’ll get back on the Blue Ridge Parkway tomorrow.

Next we headed to dinner in the River Arts District at White Duck Taco Shop. Again, delicious!! We shared the homemade queso dip and each tried the black bean taco + the potato and mushroom taco. They had every kind of taco you can imagine!

Again, this was another calorie-rich day. I’m going to gain 20 lbs on this trip! We went for after dinner drinks at Wedge Brewery (also in the River Arts District) and tried more local brews. All the local beer has been so flavorful!

As if my stomach wasn’t stuffed enough, we went to French Broad Chocolate Lounge. It’s so popular that there was a line out of the door! Ryan got some chocolate cake and I got a chocolate drink and we brought it back to the house. I think I could only take 5 sips of mine. Too much good food/drinks to try, not enough room in my stomach!

Honeymoon – Day 1

Today our honeymoon officially started! Yesterday we just traveled from St. James to Knoxville. We got a late start and couldn’t quite make it to Asheville. That’s okay though, because while we were in Knoxville we had some delicious food and coffee. We had brunch at Tupelo Honey Cafe and got coffee to-go at Remedy Coffee. Then we were on the road and so excited to finally make it to Asheville! Thank goodness it was only 2 more hours of traveling.

It was so exciting to start seeing the mountains in the distance! I didn’t even fall asleep while Ryan was driving. We don’t see anything like that in Indiana. 😉 We made it to Asheville about 4:30 pm and went straight to “our” 1920’s Bungalo. It’s a house that someone rents out on AirBnb and I’m pretending it’s ours for a few days. SO gorgeous and comfy! I couldn’t be happier that we aren’t in a hotel.

After we got settled into our house, I was ready to go check out Asheville! We weren’t sure what to do first, but we ended up bringing our bikes downtown. After riding around a little bit, we realized that most shops closed at 6 pm. 🙁 Also, we got caught in a quick rain shower. We decided to put up our bikes and walk instead.

First we checked out the pub, Jack of The Wood. We had our first taste of a local brew and an appetizer of delicious BBQ chips. After debating over where to go to dinner, we decided to walk to Rosetta’s Kitchen, an all vegetarian restaurant. The reviews were all good, but we were disappointed. The vibe was strange there; a little too hippie/crunchy for us.

We ended the day with some local ice cream from The Top Hop. What a calorie-rich day! It was delicious though. I had salted caramel and Ryan had fresh ginger ice cream. They had vegan ice cream, which was cool!