On Weight Gain and Being OK With It

7 Feb

Hello!

There is something I want to say, and although I rarely blog, this is a topic I would like to blog about. But first, let me rewind.

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I’ve been a lot of sizes over the past 8 years or so. The photo above is probably not me at my heaviest, but it’s close. Here are some at my smallest, and there are more because  I can look back and go “Damn, girl”:

Sorry for the grainy photo on the left, but my legs were looking good then.

Sorry for the grainy photo on the left, but my legs were looking good then.

So all in all, after weighing over 200 lbs in 2007 (ish), I’ve lost and kept off about 50-60 lbs. That number has gone as high as 70 total pounds lost, but has settled on about 50 at this point in time. Although it’s been almost 7 years since I began my weight loss journey, I still worry about getting back up there, and when I recently gained 20 lbs after my wedding, I got a little freaked out. You’ve heard the statistics that so many people gain back the weight they have lost. It’s sort of similar to being in remission from a life-threatening illness, the longer you go without gaining back the weight, the more likely you are to keep it off, but it’s always a struggle. I hate to compare my weight loss to a life-threatening illness — being overweight, despite the horror stories, isn’t a death sentence. Everybody has a different body type — I just knew I had let my body type get a little to heavy when I decided to lose the weight.

So, here I am 7 years later. So much has changed. I went to graduate school, and got a job that has nothing to do with what I went to graduate school for. I met the love of my life, and a bunch of really great long-lasting friends. I got engaged, married, bought a house and adopted a dog. Life was good, so we went out for wings, and beers. We stayed at home and got pizza. Then I stepped on the scale and noticed that I had re-gained 20 (ish) pounds.   My immediate reaction was to freak out, and express my discomfort with my husband, who of course said I looked great but he supported whatever I wanted to do.

So, I started working out again and trying to eat right. I’ve been doing that for about 2 months now and I’ve lost about….6 ounces. That is not a joke, I literally have lost 6 ounces in two months. But, then something amazing happened. I looked in the mirror and decided I liked what I saw. I can’t squeeze into my size 6’s, and my size 8’s look a little silly on me. But I decided that I didn’t care.

I’m still working out (although not nearly at the intensity I once did — I now consider going for a long walk a workout, and the old me would have, well, not), and I’m tracking my food through My Fitness Pal, but I don’t stress if I go over my calorie count. I can’t say I would be comfortable gaining any more weight, but I can say I don’t really care if I lose anymore. It’s all about comfort, and I feel like I’ve gotten there.

 

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A Spring-Like Weekend

13 Jan

We had amazing weather this weekend, and I really took advantage of it.

Yes, we take walks in the cemetery.

Yes, we take walks in the cemetery.

I think I mentioned here before that the one problem with our new house was the lack of sidewalks around the neighborhood. Lucky for Frank, we’ve figured out a solution. It turns out that there is an entrance to the Spring Hill cemetery only half a mile from our house, so we’ve been taking advantage of it every time we get the chance. The cemetery is huge and has lots of hills, so it’s perfect for long walks. It may seem kind of weird to walk in a cemetery, but it’s actually very peaceful and seems to be a popular route for walkers (there are lots of garbage cans for Frank’s waste bags). Don’t worry, we’re very respectful and stick to the walking paths.

Frank certainly enjoyed it. When he yawns, it means he's having a good time.

Frank certainly enjoyed it. When he yawns, it means he’s having a good time.

After our walk, I got to work on this weekend’s January Cure challenge: Tackling the kitchen. As it turns out, the kitchen was the part of the house that I picked for my ‘big’ goal for the challenge, so I was excited to get to work. I started by moving everything from the counter-tops to the dining room table:

photo 1 (4)

 

Then I got to work scrubbing the counter-tops, cleaning out the fridge and wiping down the cabinet fronts. Once the initial scrub was done, I re-organized everything on the counter-tops and re-organized the inside of the cabinets. Ok, you know how to clean a kitchen so I won’t go into too many details. Here’s the finished product:

photo 2 (4)photo 4 (1)

The funny thing is, I know how to clean a kitchen too, but it’s incredible how dirty a kitchen can get when you only “surface” clean it. I definitely will keep this in mind next time I do my daily kitchen cleaning. The worst part was the refrigerator — wow. After this challenge is over, I’m going to make a list of things that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly and annually — that refrigerator is going on the monthly list. I guess you just don’t notice  how icky it gets until you take everything out and start scrubbing. After all was said and done, I got a smile on my face every time I walked into the kitchen. I love having a clean home!

Now that the kitchen has been tackled, I need to get another “big” project for the remainder of the challenge, so I’ve decided to tackle our storage spaces. We have a pantry located directly outside of the kitchen that has become a dumping ground, and despite having shelves in our basement, everything is just tossed down there. So my goal is to get those spaces under control. I think once all is said and done, this challenge is going to make such an improvement on our home.

The other task for this weekend was to shop for ingredients and make a nice meal. I put that off to do sometime this week, because Zach wanted to get out of the house for dinner last night.

The weather this weekend was top notch in Huntington. I mentioned our Saturday walk (I wore capris and a light jacket!) and then on Sunday, I had a training run planned with a few friends. I wore a running skirt and a light jacket and felt great the whole time. Yay for nice weather in the middle of winter! Frank went with me on the run:

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He’s not the best training run partner, but I know he appreciated the exercise. So far, half marathon training is going super well, so I’m grateful for that. After the training run, my healthy and productive weekend gave way to a dinner out (hot wings – yum) and some couch time with the husband and The Golden Globes.

Question of the Day:
How was your weekend? 

 

How To Cook a Turkey, By Kristy (Age 8)

10 Jan

how to cook a turkey

 

This was re-written by my grandmother, but I’m sure my mother has the original somewhere. I’d say Zach is happy I’m a better cook now than I was back then. Happy Friday!

Homebody: My January Cure

6 Jan

In an effort to branch out more with blogging, I’d like to include more home content here. As a new homeowner, I’m interested in and participating in more home improvement projects. Zach and I would would like to improve our home while we’re there — maybe we will live there forever, but if we don’t, we want to be able to sell it for more than we bought it for. Our first big project is on the horizon: We are getting new windows installed any day now (the company is just waiting for a good weather day to do it)! I can’t tell you how excited I am for that, as we have two huge picture windows on the front of our house that are old and needing replaced.

You can see one of said windows in this photo, the other is behind us. (photo by Courtney Bell Photography)

You can see one of said windows in this photo, the other is behind us. (photo by Courtney Bell Photography)

In the meantime, I’m trying to keep the inside of our home as nice as possible, but it’s tough to keep the clutter under control. When we lived in our apartment, I feel like it was easier to keep it nice because it was so small I was kind of forced to. Now I have lots of storage where I can stash things which is a recipe for disaster!

I decided to participate in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure this year which will kick start a year of keeping our home clean and organized. The first task was to complete a list of projects, room by room which was pretty easy for me. This weekend’s tasks were to buy flowers:

photo 1 photo 2

I ended up getting two bunches of flowers at the grocery store for $1/each (they were on Manager’s Special), which instantly brightened up our main living space. I’m always so glad when I buy fresh flowers for the house, even if it doesn’t seem like a worthwhile expense when I’m at the store.

The next task I tackled for the weekend was to stock up on ‘green’ cleaners. I ended up just stocking up on vinegar and baking soda, to make my own. I followed this recipe and put it into an old Mr. Clean spray bottle:

Basically, I just combined the vinegar, baking soda, dishsoap and lemon essential oil and let it foam up for a while:

photo 2 (1) photo 3

..then filled the bottle with water. I used this cleaner to clean up everything this weekend, and it worked very well and smelled great! I’m a big fan of using vinegar and baking soda as cleanser, if only for the reason that it’s so much cheaper than buying the pre-made stuff (even the green cleansers). In fact, I cleaned my oven last month and because I despise those stinky chemical cleansers so I sprayed my oven down with a vinegar/water/lemon juice mixture and sprinkled the whole thing with baking soda. Then I just sat down with a bucket of warm water and scrubbed away. You wouldn’t believe how sparkling clean my oven got! I will never go back to those stinky oven cleaners again.

The final task for this weekend was to thoroughly clean all the floors in the house. Basically, we were to pretend that a floor inspector would be checking our work when we were done. We have a 3 bedroom Cape Cod house, in which the entire upstairs is our bedroom. We have a full bath, walk in closet, bedroom and sitting room up there. The rest of the bedrooms/bathrooms are downstairs. It was definitely a huge selling point for me, it’s so nice having that space up there just for us, and I think that will be the case as our family grows. It’s all carpeted up there and the floors do not see the care that the downstairs hardwood does. So, I started up there first thing Sunday morning. I quickly noticed that the tricky part about this task was that I was going to have to do some other cleaning/organizing before I was able to clean the floors as thoroughly as I would like. Example: Our closet

I love our closet

I love our closet

I really love this closet. Again, it was a huge selling point when we decided on our house. It’s a full walk in, one side for Zach and one for me. We even have a cute little window in there to brighten things up. Lots of shelves above, tons of space. But my side basically looked like a bomb had gone off. Poor Zach was being overrun by my mess. Especially now that I’m having a little trouble fitting into my clothes, I would throw things around in there. Well, I knew I’d have to get everything off the floor to properly vacuum in there so I figured, why not go ahead and re-organize? I’ll spare you the details (although they are pretty fascinating to me), but I’m so glad I did it. It was so easy to get dressed this morning.

Doesn't it look nice? Now to keep it that way...

Doesn’t it look nice? Now to keep it that way…

After I finished vacuuming upstairs, cleaning the baseboards and mopping the bathroom, I vacuumed the stairs and it was all downhill from there. I’m no Martha Stewart, but I do clean my hardwood floors once a week (ish), so downstairs wasn’t too hard. I did keep in mind the very thorough nature of the cleaning project, so I broke the house into sections. I would sweep with the broom to get the big stuff, then run the vacuum on the bare floor setting, then use a paper towel and my green cleaner to get the corners, then mop. I seriously could not stop looking at my clean floors when all was said and done:

photo 3 (1)

Ignore that bare corner where the Christmas tree used to reside. I need to do something with that space…

The first week of the January Cure was a success! I’m definitely inspired to keep going and hopefully by the end of the month we’ll see a serious improvement in the cleanliness/organization of our house!

Question of the Day:
Has the new year inspired you to clean up your house? 

 

 

What to do When Your Pants Won’t Fasten

2 Jan

Wear a dress and tights. Done and done.

….just kidding. Honestly though, it’s the first (ok, second, but yesterday doesn’t count, right?) day of the year, and it’s time to be brutally honest with myself: My pants don’t fit anymore. The ironic part of this is that when I got out of the shower this morning, I thought I looked pretty good, but as soon as I pulled on the Gap khakis (size 8) that I purchased just a few months ago, my self esteem took a nose dive. Not only did they not fasten, but I could barely pull them past my hips.

I've fully embraced the "leggings as pants" trend anyway

I’ve fully embraced the “leggings as pants” trend anyway

I’ve said this on some social media site recently, so forgive me for repeating myself, but the Newlywed 15 is more nefarious than the Freshman 15 because I have less free-time than I did in college and I don’t have 24 hour access to a fitness facility. I’m afraid to step on the scale, because I think the Newlywed 15 is more like the Newlywed 20 and if you’re anything like me, seeing those numbers is a recipe for feeling terrible about myself.

I’d like to make a disclaimer here about weight loss. It’s a tricky subject, isn’t it? On one hand, we all want see a certain number on the scale or fit into a certain size, but on the other hand, we all want to enjoy life and not have to worry about cutting portions or watching what we eat. It’s important to keep that balance. I firmly believe that it’s important to not obsess about weight — it never leads to a good outlook on life. However, it’s also important to not let your weight get out of control, because health.

The good news is that it’s January, and that means that everyone is trying to get healthy. New apps are emerging, my beloved Weight Watchers just introduced a fun new plan, and there will be a lot of people to share with me a commitment to getting healthy. So, without further ado:

Six Ways to Fit in My Pants Again

  1. Limit alcohol — Things have gotten a little boozy in the Browning household, and that’s got to stop. Not only for my waistline, but for my health. Last night, I couldn’t sleep , so I started reading The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, which is an excellent book. If you have trouble sleeping, losing weight, have a low sex drive, are losing more hair than you think you should — pretty much anything — you should probably pick up this book. Hormone imbalance is more of a problem for women than men and Dr. Gottfried’s holistic and medical approach to balancing your hormones is pretty fascinating. Anywho, what this has to do with limiting alcohol is that I took some of the quizzes in the book and the hormone imbalances that I seem to fit into (high cortisol, low progesterone, high estrogen) all recommend severely limiting alcohol. Good for my health, good for my waist.
  2. Keep a Food Journal — Ugh, this. This is where I’m going to struggle. Listen, I kept a strict food journal for years people, so every time I think I should start again I get this little voice in my head that says, “NO! NO! Please don’t maaaaaake me!” — but here’s the thing: The years that I kept the journal? I lost 70 lbs and kept it off. So guess what? It works. Suck it up, Browning! (aww, isn’t that cute — it’s the first time I’ve derogatorily called myself by my new last name)
  3. Learn to sleep again — Good health and weight loss isn’t JUST about food and exercise. I’ve struggled with insomnia in the past, and up until recently, I thought I had it licked — but about one to two nights a week, I’m laying in bed wide awake until 1 or 2 in the morning. The specific way I’m going to handle this is no more phone in bed. I’m the worst about staring at my phone while I’m laying in bed, and although usually I can fall asleep despite that, I know it’s not good for my sleep patterns. So, from now on the phone isn’t going to even be by my bed — I’m going to plug it in across the room. However, I’m allowing myself the Kindle in bed. I need to read in bed.
  4. Drink more water — I used to be very good at this too, but I’ve noticed that while I still drink water while I’m at work all day, I don’t drink nearly as much at home.
  5. Move more — I haven’t put any exercise related steps in here, because I’m pretty happy with my current exercise level – I’m working out 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I don’t want to push it more than that because I want to be able to run without injury. I do need to incorporate more yoga and strength training, but that will come in time (especially since I don’t want to run on non-training days). By move more, I mean taking Frank for more walks, getting out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off for some light calisthenics or stretching, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, and making sure to get out of my desk chair every 30 minutes.
  6. Keep myself accountable — I need to keep blogging. I need to keep blogging. If you read this (maybe nobody does) and you notice me slacking off, ask me about it. Liz, if you’re reading this, you are the reason I started back up again 😉 Even if nobody reads my blog, it works to keep my honest about my healthy efforts.

I’ve already started some changes that I’d like to tell you about:

training journal

 

Sorry for the dark iPhone photo, but I purchased the Runner’s World Training Journal. I’ve found digital mile tracking (with apps like Nike+, a Garmin watch and/or just keeping track of my treadmill miles on my phone) to be incredibly convenient, but with so many different methods of tracking, it’s hard to see the big picture of my training. So I’ve decided to try to keep track of all of my miles in this book for 2014. I’ll do a full review of this training log once I’ve used it a  bit more.

green smoothie

Green smoothies! These are all the rage, aren’t they? (P.S. I maintain that you can be successful in weight loss and still eat bagels, thank you very much #notafraidofcarbs) My bestest friend Allison was generous enough to give me a Ninja blender for a wedding gift and man, I love that baby. The above green smoothie had banana, apple, cucumber and collard greens if you can believe it. Plus half a squeezed lemon and some water to thin it out. It was delicious (and nutritious). I’d really like to start incorporating more of these into my diet.

run with Frank

Outdoor running! Yesterday, the weather was amazing — 50 degrees and sunny — the perfect outdoor running weather, so I took Frank out for my training run and then we walked to the dog park and home. We both got a good amount of exercise in and we felt great afterwards. The weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse here in the next couple of days, but I’d really like to take advantage of these good weather days when they come around.

So, that’s that. My pants don’t fit — but I have a plan. To be honest, I don’t really care about looking “hot” or getting a “beach body” — my priorities have changed. I figure if I can keep myself feeling comfortable in the clothes I have, then I won’t have to worry about my weight spiraling out of control.

Question of the Day:
How do you know when you’ve gained a few pounds? 

 

Failed New Year’s Resolutions (and why that’s ok)

30 Dec

I’ve found a trend in the healthy living blog-o-sphere lately, and that is the non-resolution. Several blogs I read are bucking tradition and opting instead to focus on little changes. I totally get it, because statistics show that only 8% of people who make resolutions stick to them! New Year’s resolutions have gotten to be some what of a joke, and I myself have fallen into the trap of planning big on December 31st only to fall flat by March.

Image source: http://ideas.time.com/2013/12/30/new-years-resolutions-are-bad-for-you/

Click image for image source

However, I do feel there is something to be said for New Year’s Resolutions, even if you don’t always stick with them. If you’ve read this blog before (or you go back in the archives) you can see that one of my resolutions last year was to run 600 miles. Well, to make a long story short: I didn’t. However, I did run a lot more than I would have if I hadn’t made the resolution. You see, somewhere around June, my priorities changed and it didn’t seem as important — I joined Crossfit, and I wouldn’t change that experience. My fitness interests wax and wane, and now that I’m no longer a member of a Crossfit box, I’m more focused on running and yoga — and I’m enjoying every minute of my fitness pursuits.

Another New Year’s resolution I had last year was to run another half-marathon, shooting for a PR. Another failure, but again – I’m ok with it. I saw my opportunity to run a half-marathon this year come and go, and I think I made the smart decision to abstain this time. I hadn’t trained properly, and although I probably could have finished the 13.1, I wouldn’t have gotten a PR and I might have aggravated my IT Band injury from 2012.

So despite these failed resolutions, I’ve still progressed. And both of those goals are still within my reach, and here are three reasons why:

1. I got a treadmill!

<3 <3 <3

My awesome husband got me this baby as a Christmas/Birthday present and it’s wonderful having it in the house. It’s so much easier to hop on the treadmill if the weather is bad, and if I just don’t feel like working out, it’s easy enough to hop on and try it out. Usually I’ll just end up finishing a mile or two and that’s better than nothing. I’ve set my yoga mat out right next to the treadmill to remind myself to always stretch afterwards!

2. New shoes!

Hello, lovely.

Hello, lovely.

I love these shoes. They are the Asics Gel Nimbus 15, which is the same model I got last  year, but these feel so much better somehow. The man at the running shop really showed me how they will bring my knees in and help with my IT band issues.

3. The biggie — I did this this weekend:

flying pig

My first out-of-town half marathon! This could be the PR that I’ve wanted for so long (2:00 or under) — although I’ve heard it’s hilly! I’ve got some friends (including veteran marathoners) who I’m training with and we’ve already started (we’ve got 19 weeks). I’m super stoked to be doing this.

I guess the moral of the story is this: Even though you may not reach your goal by December 31, 2014, don’t give up on it. The other moral of the story is: Don’t be afraid to fail, because you might learn something if you do.

Question of the Day:
Do you make New Year’s Resolution? Why or why not? What’s your resolution for 2014? 

Wedding Recap #2: Formal Photos/Ceremony

20 Dec
Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Well, hello there! Again, I’m pretty sure nobody reads this blog anymore, but these wedding recaps are mainly for my own reflection. Let’s get right to it, shall we? After our “first look”, we took the formal photographs. I tire of taking photos pretty quickly, and I was pretty excited to make a lifetime commitment to the love of my life, so we kind of flew through them (plus, it was hot, and I was wearing crinoline.) 

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

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Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

This first part of the formals was so nice. It was just after our first look, and both of us were very giddy. We just talked, walked where they told us to walk, posed like they told us to pose and smiled really big. We were so excited! I’ll never forget that energy between us. It was very sweet and just amazing.

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Life was good! Next, we did the group photos with our bridal party:

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

….and our families:

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Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

There are some shots we didn’t get — for example, for some reason there is no shot of my family with me AND Zach — but I really don’t care. Our photos are amazing, and I wouldn’t change anything about that day. I was so incredibly low stress (ok, I had a few bridezilla moments, but they were fleeting), and it was wonderful. Before long, it was time to head to our ceremony!

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

We had our ceremony and reception in the same place. This was my wedding vision — Zach and I don’t belong to a church, and since I had so many out of town guests I thought it would be nice for them to just be in one place. So our ceremony and reception took place at the hotel where everyone stayed. My family raved about this decision! They loved being able to have everyone in one place and not have to travel around much. I gave everyone maps in their rooms with directions to certain places they may need to go, and it seemed to work out very well. 

One thing I want to talk about is the sweetheart table. This is a new (?) thing people are doing, where instead of a big head table with all the attendants, the bride and groom sit by themselves at a little table and let the bridal party sit among the guests. While it was important to me to have the bridal party be able to sit with our guests (I didn’t want the bridal party’s spouses and significant others to have to sit alone), I was very opposed to the sweetheart table idea. I just found it to be…weird! Well, the day we came to set up the reception hall, Shelley (who is the coordinator at the Ramada and amazing!) had a sweetheart table set up for us and I just liked it! So I went with it. It turned out to be a really fun idea, but I’ll talk about that more in the reception recap. Which at this rate will be in a few months 🙂 

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography (can I just tell you how annoying it is that somebody put that brochure on the guest book table and it's in the picture?)

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography (can I just tell you how annoying it is that somebody put that brochure on the guest book table and it’s in the picture?)

After photos, the bridesmaids and I went up to my hotel room to wait until it was time to go down for the ceremony. Zach and the groomsmen went to the room to greet/seat guests. This worked out very well. Us girls had time to relax (and in the interest of complete honesty, I had to air out my undercarriage, haha. The dress and the crinoline + warm weather meant sweaty legs), and the guys were able to get the guests situated.

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Soon, it was time for us girls to head down.

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mismatched bridesmaid dresses for the win! If you are planning a wedding, please consider this trend. Not only did it make my wedding look super chic and adorable, but it was so easy. The girls just browsed on their own and sent me ideas along the way. Easy peasy!

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

My nephew Nick was Zach’s Wingman. He is too old to be a ring bearer, and he didn’t like the idea of wearing a bear suit (that’s what he thought it entailed), so we changed it to Wingman. It was in the programs and everything. He took his duties very seriously and did a great job. 

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

My cousin’s daughter, Ava, was the flower girl. I bought her outfit roughly a year before our wedding, estimating what size she would wear and I’m so glad it fit. Isn’t she precious? Basically, she walked into the door and threw all the flower petals onto one spot and ran away from my mom, which is exactly what I wanted her to do. I think it’s adorable when flower girls just do their own thing.

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Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Ok, so I just want to talk about the ceremony for a minute. I never could have guessed how amazing the ceremony would be. I knew it would be important, but I had no idea how much I would feel its weight (does that make sense?) I definitely felt the gravity of what we were doing, and I could tell that Zach felt the same way. It was awesome!! 

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Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Our officiant was a good friend of ours, Adam, who did such an amazing job. He worked with us a few times on our ceremony, and it was just perfect. I had several people come up to me after and say how nice it was. We also had two very close friends participate. Mandee, a close friend, read “I Like You” by Sandal Stoddard Warburg  — a common wedding reading, but I knew it was “the one” after it choked me up every time I read it. Another close friend, Patrick, sang “This is the First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes — and it was better than the original. Definitely teared up. 

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

After the reading and song, it was time to get hitched! 

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Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

You guys, I’m totally crying as I post this. That was the best day….

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

ZKceremony163 ZKceremony165 ZKceremony166 ZKceremony167

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Mark Webb Photography/Courtney Bell Photography

Next up (in a few months): The Reception (aka the dance party to end all dance parties!)

Question of the Day:
Tell me about your wedding ceremony!