friendly correspondence

Ash and Ash My best friend lives far away from me. It’s especially hard during significant times in our lives – like weddings, having kids, moving, changing jobs, etc. I wasn’t in the waiting room for either of her deliveries, and she’s not able to wedding plan with me. I couldn’t watch her kids while she put her house on the market, and she couldn’t meet me for coffee to encourage me in my job hunt. This is our reality, but we’ve figured out ways to encourage and support each other without always being physically present. I love that about our friendship. The expectation is, we support each other 1000% to the best of our abilities, but not beyond our abilities. Even over the distance, we are still well equipped to pray for, listen to, encourage, and simply check in on each other. God blessed me greatly that first evening of volleyball practice in high school, where I met Ashley for the fist time. I had no idea the impact. I met my best friend. :) (more…)


FoodE This girl!! She saved my from my wedding planning insanity. Don’t get me wrong, almost everything we did revolved around wedding planning. But it was with wine and laughter and support. I am so blessed to have Shelcy as my friend. Shelcy flew in Wednesday afternoon and I picked her up from the metro. That evening we broke open the wine and giggled about the ridiculous pressures of wedding planning and expectations. We talked about how to tackle the rest of my To Do list in an inexpensive and sane fashion. She told me of things that went wrong at her wedding, and things that went exceptionally well. She brought me the cutest little veil to wear. It was given to her at her bachelorette party. It was the best, most relaxing night I’d had in ages. If she had flown in for just that night, it would have been worth it. But lucky me, I got her for four days!! (more…)

greenville or bust

greenville1 We found our venue. This is super, super big exciting news! I am beyond relieved. Brian gets all the credit for finding Glassy Chapel. When we had to drop Daufuskie, I was devastated. It was the perfect wedding site for us, and I was so excited about everything: the ceremony by the ocean, the reception in the classy restaurant, the vacation homes for all our guests to stay at, the post-wedding celebrations… just… everything. So when they changed terms on us, we had to walk away. And I felt sick: our wedding was in two months and we were out of a location (which meant we had to start over on everything). I cried for three days. During those same three days, Brian scoured the internet and found a stunning chapel just outside Greenville, SC. It was available, affordable, and poorly marketed online. How did he find it? I think it was God’s grace. (more…)

Des Moines, IA

My grandmother, Amy Marie MacDougall Aldrich, passed away in October 2013. I so look forward to seeing her and Grandpa Harold in heaven. Heaven became so much more real to me when he died, and again when she died. Who will laugh at the dinner table with a toothpick in his mouth, telling jokes and mixing up dominos? Who will bring cranberry relish to Thanksgiving and make sure every family nucleus has their picture taken against the door leading to to the basement? I wonder who has their family Bible. It records their marriage of 69 years.


Grave small

mom church small

Brian and I flew to Des Moines, IA for Grandma’s funeral in early November. What a gathering! Everyone came in from the corners of the United States to pay their respects and show family support. I hadn’t seen most of my mom’s siblings in 3 years. It was much longer than that for most of my cousins. Kim just had a baby, Becky was about to get married, Josh was headed to Africa on a missions trip……..

It was so nice so see my parents again.

Mom and me small


It was also the first time my mom’s side of the family met Brian. We were not yet engaged, and had just hit the 3-year dating mark. It was the first time I had ever brought a significant other to a family function.

Betty and Lynette

 Josh and me

group 5

Cranberry Walnut Honey Wheat Bread

This is actually a combined bread post. Mostly because having two breadmaking posts would be boring. I made the same loaf twice, except that the 2nd time I added cranberries and walnuts. DEFINITELY the better choice. It is SO GOOD, it’s almost like dessert. If you put butter and jam on it, it gets even closer to dessert.




THIS LOAF IS HUGE! And we ate it all.



I looove tacos. Perhaps it’s because I rarely have them. Perhaps it’s because Brian recently found these trough-like shells. In any case, tacos are what’s for dinner tonight.

Not much to say on the ingredients list:

 – ground beef or turkey
 – taco shells
 – spices (I know, generalities are not helpful)
 – diced tomato
 – cheese
 – lettuce
 – taco or chipotle sauce


Brown the meat, drain. Stir in spices.
Pile the ingredients as high as possible in the shells.
Top with dressing of choice.
Eat too much.


Turkey Burgers and Homemade Fries

We had turkey burgers with homemade fries. I find that the fries taste good when they’re baked, but they turn out whiter than their deep fried counterparts. Less visually appealing, but much healthier.

I bought some freshly made kaiser rolls and some ground turkey meat, and threw together some turkey burger patties. Lately, I’ve been mixing in McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning to our meats, which I love. Even makes turkey taste a bit smoky.

I’m forever a fan of ketchup and mustard…or pretty much any condiment. You can take the girl out of the midwest, but you can’t take the midwest out of the girl.


Mexican Tortillas

You can’t go wrong with diy mexican tortillas. Brian grilled some chicken, I made a stack of tortillas.


Our toppings of choice:

 – Minute rice
 – Lettuce
 – Tomato
 – Black beans
 – Pinto Beans
 – Corn
 – Sour cream
 – Sauces (chipotle, taco)

We paired it with a delightful white zinfandel. It was a good dinner!


brunch with grandma

Yesterday Brian and I had a brunch date with Grandma Bonnie at our new favorite place, the Lotus Kitchen. It’s a quaint home-turned-restaurant with cozy rooms for dining and chatting. This was our first visit with Bonnie since getting back from the cruise and Daufuskie Island, so Brian and I recounted our engagement story and talked over our wedding plans with her. She was almost as excited as we were! I am still not used to wearing such a beautiful diamond ring. I didn’t know what to do with my hand; I felt like every time I moved, I was purposely showing off the sparkling ring. In fact, near the end of our visit, the couple at the table near us complimented me on my ring. (Is it that obvious, or am I that awkward?) Bonnie said proudly that Brian and I had just gotten engaged, and were telling her all about the engagement and plans for the upcoming wedding. After brunch I went back with Bonnie to her apartment and saw her rehearsal and wedding outfits. They were both so classy. I felt honored that she purchased two new outfits for our upcoming celebrations. It was a tangible reminder that others care about us and are excited about our wedding! I’m reminded of the picture frame Bonnie gave us years ago. It says “Mr. & Mrs.” on it – our first wedding present. It’s been carefully tucked away all this time, but soon we’ll get to put a wedding picture in that frame and display it! I can’t wait. :)

spring? can it be?


It got up to 62 degrees! Sasha and I spent most of the day outside. Warm weather, how I’ve missed you!

engagement story

DI2214 We’re both quite excited about being engaged. I’ve only had the ring for 2 weeks, so you can say it’s a whirlwind every which way! All good things. :) Brian and I both live in the DC area, but love the south. We’ve had a few occasions to visit family in Savannah, Naples, and other areas along the East Coast, and it has such an easy (and warm!) feel to it. My parents were kind enough to take us on a cruise out of Florida, at which time Brian asked them for their blessing and showed them the ring he got me – and that’s a whole story in itself! Brian played it coy with me, though, and insisted he had no ring on him…I needed to enjoy the trip for what it was, a family vacation. Since he and I had been dating for just over three years, he knew how to convince me out of my suspicions. (more…)