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Aug 28, 2015

Forever Fick

Just popping in to say that we're getting married today!  

Eeep!  It's crazy to me that this day is finally here, and I'm so excited to walk down the aisle, say "I do," and start a marriage with AJ!  

Thank you all so much for your well wishes, love, and putting up with my crazy Instagram countdown over the past few days!  I love this community and all of you and I'm so excited to become Mrs. Fick and share all of the beautiful details of our day with you guys in a few weeks!  

See you in September!

Aug 27, 2015

The Guys Behind the Blog // August Edition

Hey friends!  I'm taking a break from all of these awesome guest posts (thanks SOOO much to these girls!) and dropping in with this month's Guys Behind the Blog!  I'm so excited to be marrying AJ tomorrow.  (Holy. Cow.), and so in the spirit of celebrating wedding week, Laura and I decided to theme this month's questions around love!  So grab your guy and join us this week for our fun little link-up! 

1. How did you meet your significant other?
We met working at our church! We worked in the youth department and we were a great team.. So we figured that that would translate well into a relationship. It was all business and I was very cool/smooth the whole time it was all developing... of course ��

2. What is your top love language? What is your significant other's love language?
I don’t even really remember. But since it IS wedding week for us, I will say that it was Betsy. #BrowniePoints

3. If you're engaged or married, how did you propose? If you are not, how did you ask your girl out?
My love languages are Quality time and Physical touch, and Betsy’s are Quality time and Acts of Service.

4. Share a funny wedding story with us - it could be from your own or one you attended.
This was not funny at the time, and is still not funny to me... But we went to the wedding of a few church friends a while back and during the bouquet toss, Betsy of course was in the right place at the right time and caught the flying flowers. Being extroverted as she is, of course, when they had called for the ladies to come up for the toss she went up without much hassle. After she caught the bouquet and the newly married couple were preparing for that weird garter thing that people do, I was putting up a fight and very adamant that I wouldn’t play along. Right as they were about to start, I thought I was home free still sitting at our table when all of a sudden Betsy’s uncle yelled out in front of like 200 people calling me out and making me the center of attention... which I hate. OF COURSE I ended up with the garter, after everyone else in the group of guys dodged it.. Worst Wedding Experience EVER. 

(Can you tell he's an introvert?)

5. On the topic of love, who was your childhood crush?
I hired a team of people (aka family) to help convert our church’s worship center after the last Christmas eve service. It was all decked out and pretty and stuff and we added tons of candles down the aisle to make it super nice and fire hazardy. We had my aunt, who is Betsy’s boss, send her off on some mindless task far away from that room so that she didn’t stumble in... and I played some pretty music through the speakers. Then we called her down into the worship center, she didn’t realize what was happening at first, and then immediately started crying haha. It was a lot of fun to plan and I had a lot of great people and family members convert the room as fast as possible ... all so I could stumble over my words and only pray that Betsy understood the words coming out of my mouth.

We want to hear from you! What are you dying to know about the guys behind the blogs? What is a funny question you want us to ask your guy? What is your favorite ice breaker question? September's questions for The Guys Behind the Blog will be completely reader submitted so get your thinking caps on and ask away. Please submit your questions using the form below or here.We will choose our favorites and announce the top five questions on Monday, September 14th if you'd like to link-up with us on Thursday, September 24th.

I hope you'll join in on the fun!  Grab the questions for this month and interview your guy, then link up with us below!

An InLinkz Link-up

Aug 26, 2015

He Said, She Said // On Marriage and Love

Ok, I am SO excited about today's guest post!  It's totally fitting with our wedding just two days away (eek!).  Rebecca's interview with there husband about marriage and love is adorable and wise and filled with advice that I'll be taking to heart!  Thanks so much, Rebecca, for taking over the blog in my absence today!

Hi everyone - I'm Rebecca and I'm delighted to be guest posting today for the lovely Betsy! I am so excited for her and AJ getting married this month - I've loved following along with their long distance relationship, seeing their sweet engagement story, and I cannot wait to see the wedding photos. It is truly 'wedding' month - the 17th is my anniversary - so in honor of that I thought it might be fun to talk all things wedding and marriage - with both me and my husband, whom I call M.

M and I met in London, where we were both living at the time, back in 2010. We started dating a few months later and within 2.5 years we were married...it was without a doubt a whirlwind romance!

How long did you date before you got engaged?
  • Him:1 year and 5 months, is it?
  • Her: (counting on fingers…) Yeah that’s right!
  • Him: Boom! Husband’s on fire.
When did you realize that you wanted to marry the other person?
  • Him: The first date. I was in total shock, that someone that perfect for me was out there.
  • Her: Yep. By the end of the first date! I went home and told my flatmate that I thought I would marry him. She (naturally) thought I was a little bonkers.
  • Him: Game, set, match!
How did you realize?
  • Him: I couldn’t stop smiling. She just kept surprising me all day. And I knew every day since then - I just couldn’t wait to see her, find out more about her, and every day she was more interesting than the day before. And that’s still happening. 
  • Her: I was just amazed at how comfortable I felt with him. I had never felt so at ease being 100% ME, and certainly not on a first date! It's true what they say - we just 'clicked'. I felt it from the very beginning. After that it just became more and more clear; he was the most fun person I'd ever spent time with. We have had some hilarious moments together!

What do you remember of first trips together?
  • Him: The New Forest - still one of the best trips ever. Getting lost in The Deverills which we’ve still never even found on a map. Mountain biking together, staying in weird places, not booking anywhere. Blagging our way into a place to stay because I claimed to know a famous footballer (soccer player). The wild horses in the countryside, the windy roads. Arriving at a fancy place with no reservation and being turned away but not caring. And despite all the things going wrong she was still laughing and having fun and I never felt any pressure to impress her. It was that trip that made me realize she just wanted to be with *me* and that was the happiest moment of my life then. Plus we were having so much fun - I never laughed so much in my life.
  • Her: Well the New Forest was our first weekend away together and it was a brilliant trip. But Torquay was our first trip out of London together, so that always comes to mind, even if it was only a day trip. That trip showed me just how much I liked him already. It was only our 2nd or 3rd week dating and he texted me in the middle of a weekday saying he had to go out to Torquay - known as 'the English Riviera' - the following day, and did I fancy joining him. I got the all clear from my boss to take a last minute day off and when we caught the train I had all these flutters in my stomach from nerves and excitement. I couldn't remember the last time I'd done something so spontaneous, simply because I wanted to. It POURED the whole time we were there - but we still had fun.
How did it go meeting the other person’s family for the 1st time?

  • Him: I met her family first. Rebecca's parents arrived in Canary Wharf, I popped out while I was working. They were so happy to see her because they hadn’t seen her in a while. Oh yea, I remember that I wanted to impress them and didn’t own a car so I rang up EuRopcar rentals and told them I wanted the biggest car they had so we could take them up to Windsor Castle and they gave me a tiny car and they could barely see out the windows in the backseat. And I got lost! And her parents didn’t care, they were just so happy to see their daughter. I’d never met parents like them. They were really welcoming. And I thought you don’t marry a person, you also marry their family, so that sealed the deal really, a big bonus that her family are awesome.
  • Her: I think the story of me meeting M's family requires its own blog post...I met them before we planned a trip back. It was at Christmastime, and I got caught in that horrible snowstorm in London and all the flights had been canceled for days, thousands of people were stranded in the London airports because hotels were all booked for the holidays. Your dad managed to get us both on one of the only planes flying out to Ireland and we planned on me trying to get home from Ireland since they hadn't had the snow London had. That visit was FILLED with mishaps galore - funny things out of all of our control - but I think it was better that way. I didn't have the chance to get nervous because it was so impromptu. His parents were so warm and inviting, and they made me feel completely at home. They knew how badly I wanted to see my family for Christmas and did everything they could to make it happen; and yet they made sure I knew that if I couldn't get out to the US, I would be wholly welcomed at their house too. I really felt that, too. I love his family!
What was your favorite part about your wedding?

  • Him:  Two things: one was turning and seeing Rebecca at the end of the church. I was completely gobsmacked and overcome with emotion, and had to tell myself to pull it together. And that moment just before she put the ring on my finger because she looked at me nervously with this grin, biting her bottom lip. Like she didn’t believe it was going to happen until that moment.
  • Her:  Absolutely everything. I loved our day so, so much. We both had so much fun celebrating with everyone - we danced all. night. long. The music was wonderful, the food was delicious, the Cathedral looked beautiful, and I LOVED the cake. Seriously - the only thing that could have made the day any better was if my brother and sister could have been there.  

What 3 words describe marriage (so far) for you:

  • Him:  United team forever. That’s the thing for me - it’s forever. Knowing that Rebecca is my wife makes me feel solid as a man. This is what I’m supposed to be in life- her husband. And that gives me the confidence to be good in whatever I do.
  • Her:  Commitment. Partnership. And Joy. We are fully committed to each other. This is forever, no matter what. And we have to work as partners to support each other in everything - parenting, the household, etc. We work really well together and we will have to do that in everything that comes up in life! And being this team together makes me so happy - I can't imagine how I'd ever have more joy in my life!
What's your favorite thing about being married?

  • Him:  Trust. I can rely on her no matter what happens.
  • Her:  Nightly foot rubs! Kidding ;)  Knowing that together we can do anything, handle anything that comes our way.
What was the hardest thing to get used to about marriage?

  • Him:  It’s only been positive. The things that people say they miss about being single, I don’t miss.
  • Her:  I'd say the need for everything to be communicated clearly. It's not new to marriage exactly, it carries through from dating, but living together and especially parenting now means that we really need to communicate constantly, even about little things that I wouldn't have thought about previously.
How do you resolve disagreements?

  • Him:  “Happy wife, happy life!” In the times we have had disagreements I can see that I looked to win an argument rather than solve a problem. And that’s the biggest learning - if there’s a problem, it needs solving. It’s not a battle that needs to be won. A successful marriage means me leaving the debating team.
  • Her:  We don't disagree often, and when we do it's usually about something small or even silly in hindsight. Sometimes it probably wouldn't even become a disagreement except that we both decide to dig in our heels and try and 'win' for whatever reason. Resolving it means that one of us has realized what we're doing and stopped playing tug of war on the topic. A simple "I'm sorry" goes a long way.

What's been the biggest surprise about marriage?

  • Him:  Parenthood. It’s been the most amazing gift. I never knew I wanted to be a dad until I met Rebecca, and then I knew immediately that I wanted to have kids with her.
  • Her:  How we can be so cohesive as a unit! I know we joke and call ourselves the team, but truly it surprises me how much we have gotten on the same page about nearly everything, and how I know his mind on topics and how he will react to situations. It's wonderfully unexpected to know someone that well.  
What are your marriage goals?

  • Him:  Keep it fresh. Not let it go stale. It happens, people say it’s life, but I’m very conscious of that and want to keep the romance alive. I see my parents, they’re so romantic, and I’d like to aim for that. Go as if to never give up on each other, to always support each other, to always find a way to talk it through. To know when to just shut up - I hope I always know that! And I hope that her writing takes off - I really want to support her in that, no matter what it means, because I can see it makes her happy. I know I joked "happy wife, happy life", but truly "Happy Rebecca; Happy Mike". And I would like to think that I’ll be closer to God at the end of everything. I was close to Him, then I wasn’t, and then we both grew closer to Him together. And I'd like that to be more of a focus in our marriage and our life. The family that prays together stays together.
  • Her:  To learn how to be the best wife that I can be. I know that parenting has taken the forefront at the moment, but I want to be a great wife too. I want him to be happy with our life and where it takes us. I want to continue to grow as a couple, not just as parents or a family - I want us to continue to learn about each other, continue to show each other how much we love the other. And yes, I want us to grow together in God's love too, to pray together, to teach our children how to pray as a family. And I want more date nights!! :)  
What advice do you have to anyone just getting married?

  • Him:  My advice to a newlywed: remember your vows. It is a promise - in front of friends, and in front of God. To me I’m married forever - until death do us part - and that is my intention. Remember that this is new to the other person too. Talk about things, about your feelings, about any doubts or insecurities. If there’s ever mistrust, talk about it before it becomes something big. If you’re unhappy about anything, talk about it. It sounds so simple but communication is the key! Always remember why you married this person - even in times of upset or frustration. Life is short. Make every day count! Surprise each other. Blog together. ;) Love each other.
  • Her:  Remember that you're always on the same side! To M's point on the disagreements, you're a team. No matter what happens, you've got to solve the problem together. Always have that in mind. If you haven't done premarital counseling, talk about all the big stuff ahead of time - i.e. joint or separate bank accounts, how you will discipline any potential children, who will handle what chores, even where you will spend Christmas. It sounds pretty simple but you can assume you know the other's answer on little things like that and then be surprised- figure it all out now together! Figure out what makes the other person laugh and do it often. I find that nothing breaks the ice more than laughing together.
Thank you so much Betsy for having me today - wishing you and AJ all the best for a beautiful wedding day and a lifetime of happiness, love, and laughter!!  

You can find more of Rebecca over at The Adventures of Bug and Boo  and on Instagram       Twitter  Pinterest  

Aug 25, 2015

Community Within The Blogging World

Well friends, I'm super excited to have one of my blogging besties taking over today while I'm continuing the last-minute wedding madness!  Emily is so sweet...I honestly don't even remember how we crossed paths, but I do remember Emily emailing me one day asking if I had any tips on how to help a link-up gain momentum, and over a year later, her Grateful Heart Mondays is kicking butt!  You definitely need to check it out if you never have.  Additionally, Em and I have spent a bunch of time emailing or tweeting or texting and she's my go-to on all things Nashville, where she currently resides with her husband and where AJ and I plan to relocate to someday!  Em's here to talk about one of my favorite things...community!  So give her a warm welcome and enjoy her super practical tips on how to find community in the world of blogging!

Hello, dear HTB readers! I'm so excited to be over here with you all while our sweet Betsy is celebrating all things MRS! 

Being a full-time blogger, I'm often asked (especially by non-bloggers) what I like the most about my "job." This, of course, after their first question: What is a blog? ;) Aside from the fact that I honestly just love to write, my response tends to always lead back to my love for the blogging community. Never in a million years did I imagine I'd make the friendships I've made in the blogging world. Was it something I hoped for? Definitely, but I didn't know just how genuine and real and close some of those friendships would be. Today, I thought I'd share some of the benefits of being part of a blogging community, as well as various ways to find it.

I took a quick poll on Twitter and asked the question, "Dear Bloggers, what is your favorite thing about the Blogging Community?" Here are some of the responses I received:






Here are three of my own personal favorite things about the Blogging Community: 
  • No explanations needed. These people, while you may not see them in person everyday (or ever, for that matter), do understand what goes into blogging, what it takes to balance it all, the frustrations you feel when you reach the blogging burnout or fall into a writing rut, as well as your excitement to write about the most random things. They get it, whereas your IRL (in real life) friends may not always understand. There are no explanations needed with your blogging community. 
  • Support/Help. Not only are these people there for you when you go through all blogging-related moments, but they are also your biggest fans, regular readers, promoters, and technical helpers. I can't tell you how many times I have emailed Anne to ask her a blogging or technical question. Half the time I swear neither of us has the answer but two is better than one and somehow we find the solution together. (I will say though, if you're ever looking for a how-to for anything blogging related, Anne's blog is your place to go.) The blogging community on Twitter is also something fierce. Within minutes of tweeting a question, you'll have many answers - case in point in my Twitter question above!
  • Self improvement. A great blogging community will make you want to be a better blogger. This is not to be confused with comparing your work to someone else's, but I believe that when you surround yourself with other creatives, especially in your field, if you can maintain a positive mindset it will only propel you to work harder, try new things, and inspire you to create from a deeper place. 

So how do you find community within the blogging world? Here are some good places to start:

  • Read other blogs, comment on posts you connect to, and respond to the comments on your own blog posts. My close friendships in the blogging world all started by reading their blogs, commenting, and responding to their own comments on my blog posts. To keep track of the blogs I aim to read on a daily or weekly basis, I use Bloglovin'. (This is also a great and easy way for others to follow your blog.)
  • Facebook groups & Twitter chats. Betsy has done an incredible job building the community in The Peony Project, a Facebook group where you can share your posts and social media, as well as get to know other bloggers. There is so much encouragement given by this group of gals! Twitter chats are also a great place to 'make new friends' within the blogging world and can be a fun way to introduce yourself as you answer the questions in the chats. 
  • Sponsor other blogs. Yes, you usually have to pay to sponsor another blog but what better way to be introduced to a group of bloggers/readers you've never "met" before than having someone else promote you? When you sponsor another blogger, your picture/ad will be sitting pretty on the side of their blog and, depending on how you're sponsoring them, you may also get your own feature/guest post. I really recommend choosing an ad spot that includes a guest post or an introduction of sorts so that the blogger can introduce you personally to her readers. This spot may also include social media shout outs, or the blogger sharing your posts with her followers throughout the month.  
  • Join/Host linkups. There are a number of fabulous linkups out there, a place where you can not only share your own posts with others but can also get to know other bloggers. Here are some of my favorites that happen weekly: 
 MONDAY- Grateful Heart (eh hem, this is my linkup so I may be biased but this one is all about starting your week out on a positive by focusing on what to be grateful for.), Meet Up Monday (share any post!)
 TUESDAY- Creative Closet (Weekly fashion prompts), Tuesday Talk (share any recent post!) 
 WEDNESDAY- Bloggers Give it 100 (join Kendra, Lora & Melissa as they provide encouragement for all things fitness), The Wednesday Showcase (link up DIY's, recipes, tips and tricks, travel inspiration and more!)  
 THURSDAY- Makeup Mixup (weekly makeup prompts)  
 FRIDAY- Blogger Love (a time for you to share your favorite posts written by other bloggers), Friday Favorites (self explanatory!) 
*There are also MONTHLY LINKUPS: The Golden Vlog (get in front of the camera to answer Faith's fun monthly questions!), The Awesome Linkup (share 10 awesome things about the past month), Conversations (share your most favorite conversation of the past month), The Guys Behind the Blog (interview your guy and share the results - so funny), Twelve Months of Bliss (also mine! ;) We're already in month two of this twelve month linkup but it's never too late to join in!), Between the Lines (a blogger's book club!) 

What do you love the most about the blogging community?

Don't be a stranger!

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