POSITIVE VIBES

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Does anyone have anything positive to share anymore? Lately, scrolling through my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is a collection of miserably destructive stories and negative statuses. Letting go of negative tension and exuding positivity is something every human being can work on, including myself. Being mad at the world, at your friends and family, at your job or boss, or at your significant other just leads to vibes that don’t allow you to move forward in life. You might feel like the world is coming down on you and the pressure you feel on your back is almost unbearable, but if you just LET GO of those things and CHOOSE to be positive, good things will come to you.

There was one day where Matt and I had just moved into our new house and stress levels were, what had felt like, BEYOND what I could handle. If you have moved out, you know the kind of stress I am talking about. There is mess everywhere, you don’t know where anything is, and you feel like you have so much to do. Let’s back up a little bit…When we were moving out of our apartment and packing up our truck, I was packing the boxes, and Matt and his best friend Casey were carrying the boxes and packing them in the truck. That was my first mistake, letting these guys pack the truck. For me, packing a truck was like a game of Tetris. Matt and Casey assured me that everything was going to be fine. We pull up to the house and park the truck. We decided that we wanted to unpack the next day. Matt goes to work and I wanted to get a head start on unpacking. So I go to open the back of the truck and the door is STUCK! Boxes and furniture must have been wedged against the door, due to Matt and Casey’s lovely packing job. I think Matt and I had already gotten into a fight that morning, so I just freak out. I can’t get anything out of this damn truck! I call my dad out for some help, and after many attempts of safely trying to pry the door open, I just decide to start rocking the door back and forth. I get the door open, but in the process, I damaged my favorite full length mirror that I had bought from World Market. PISSED. I start screaming and cursing Matt’s name. I was so mad!! Once I start pulling out boxes, I see my new desk (also from World Market) had collapsed. The legs had snapped off, and the table top was bowing in the middle. Maybe it was because Matt had packed 300 pounds of boxes on top of the table without any support. Again, furious. (Just writing about this story is making my heart race.)

Matt wasn’t coming home for a couple of hours and I had convinced myself that I was going rip him a new one when he got home. I cried and told my dad how upset I was and how I was going to react. He says to me, “What is that going to do?” What good was it going to do for Matt getting an ear full of high pitch screaming? It was just going to go in one ear and out the other anyway!? After having a couple hours to calm down, Matt pulls up. He walks inside and I give him a kiss for coming home and say “Hey baby, how was your day?” I told him that I had a surprise for him and I wanted to show him something. I walk him out to the truck and I say, “It makes me sad that my mirror and my desk are completely broken, but I am not going to let this ruin our day. Could you please just do a better job and come up with a plan before you throw everything into the truck?” He gave me a kiss and apologized. I felt better instantly. I wasn’t mad anymore. A little bummed. But not mad.

We had a couple things to do so we ran out to do some errands for the day together. After talking with Matt, I had positive vibes exuding from my body and felt great! We go to mattress discounters because we needed a mattress for our new king size bed. We walk in to the empty showroom and meet the sales rep. I give him a big smile and a firm handshake and let him know why we are there! Matt and I were having fun trying out all the different mattresses and finally settled on one. It was pretty pricey but I was feeling great so I told the guy that we wanted it cheaper. I told him I was a designer and asked if they had any sale promotions for designers. Long story short, we got the mattress $800 less than asking price. That was a great start to our errand trip. Then I decided I wanted to go to World Market to see if they had any desks that would replace mine. We walked around the store and see the same desk, except this one was perfectly straight and upright! I asked the manager what I could do about my desk, and he said if you just bring in the parts of the desk, we will replace it! I couldn’t believe it! I could have my desk back…We left and drove back home to get the fragmented desk and quickly exchanged it. I was so impressed with myself and how lucky I was that day. Matt and I were feeling so lucky that we bought a scratch off and won $10. I know it’s not much but it made us laugh…

Throughout the rest of the day, I was so mesmerized with the fact that I had such a great day just because I chose to. I chose to have a positive attitude and look how my day turned out.

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.
-Willie Nelson

Xo,
Jessica Calkins

REASONS TO HIRE AN INTERIOR DESIGNER

Many people have the misconception that having an interior designer is a luxury that is only available to those with extra cash. However, what people don’t realize is that an interior designer will save you time, money, and mistakes made on projects within their home.Check out my reasons why to hire an interior designer!

SAVE TIME| A remodeling project requires an enormous amount of detail and logistics that require coordination and management. An interior designer takes on the “mental aguish factor” that comes with overseeing these processes.

SAVE MONEY| With the knowledge that interior designers acquire over years of experience, they can make educated and evidence-based decisions on materials and installation processes, to make sure that your design is executed right the first time. Those who take it upon themselves to design, end up wasting money on products that aren’t durable or great quality.

PROFESSIONAL ANALYSIS| Interior designers will give their clients detailed examinations of their space including space planning, knowledge of materials, systems and products, and more.

COUNTLESS RESOURCES| As Interior Designers, they have access to “Trade Only Showrooms.” This means that countless, one-of-a-kind, materials are available to us only as Design Professionals.

BUDGET MANAGEMENT| Once a designer determine your wants, desires and needs, they will weigh your needs against your projected budget. They will give you estimates for the cost of products, materials, shipping, delivery, freight, installation, to make sure you all the pieces fit within your budget, before you start ordering any materials.

Xo,

Jessica Calkins

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GRAY IS THE NEW BEIGE!

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noun
  1. a pale sandy yellowish-brown color.
    “tones of beige and green”
    synonyms: fawn, pale brown, sand, buff, sandy, oatmeal, khaki, biscuit, coffee, coffee-colored, cafe au lait, camel, ecru

Is anyone else tired of this lack-luster, mind-numbing color we call beige? I know I am and I am ready for the HOTTEST color this year…GRAY! Gray is such a versatile color and has a wide range of hues, shades, and tones that create different sensations within a space. Gray can be used to create a glamorous, calming, or edgy space. The wide range of warm and cool grays compliment beautiful colors such as blush, yellow, red, white (some of my favorites). It can be used in a classic, transitional, or modern design! What do you think about gray? Check out some of these spaces that incorporated gray into there space. unnamed unnamed (11) unnamed (10) unnamed (9) unnamed (8) unnamed (7) unnamed (6) unnamed (5) unnamed (4) unnamed (3) unnamed (2) Xo, Jessica Calkins Definition provided by Google

5 Ways of Romanticizing Your Bedroom

Creating an atmosphere in a space is one of the main reasons why I love to do what I do. Elements of design such as lighting, color, and texture trigger our senses to feel a certain way. Here are some tips of how you can create sexy vibes within your bedroom…

  1. Get Rid of your TV – even though we love to cuddle up and watch our favorite shows together, the television is a distraction in the bedroom. If you don’t believe me, take your TV out of your room for a week, let me know if you notice a difference.
  1. Candles/Set Lighting on Dimmer—Ditch those overhead lights that are on a fixed switch and install them on a dimmer. Nothing is sexier than a well-lit room. Everybody knows that those recessed cans are just not a flattering as you’d like them to be. Create shadows and highlights in your bedroom. The soft glow of light that filters throughout a room will set the mood! Also, candles are a great source of creating a romantic atmosphere.
  1. Scents – Candles, Essentials Oils and Fresh Flowers—Not only does lighting play a huge role in creating a romantic bedroom, but scents are just as important! Scent is the most powerful of our senses and when used correctly, can affect the mood in the bedroom. Some of my favorite romantic scents are Lavender, Bergamot, Sandalwood, Sage, and Mint. Anything floral like lavender will create a relaxing atmosphere. Bergamot is a type of orange that leaves a sweet and spicy smell of citrus. Sandalwood, which is commonly used in most incense, is a woody, exotic scent that will have you feeling relax and uplifted. Mint, which is my favorite, creates a clean, refreshing, and simulates your body when you breathe it in.
  1. Invest in a lush, luxurious comforter—Investing in a good comforter will not only give you a great nights rest, but also creates an inviting environment. Who wouldn’t want to jump right into a plush, luxurious cloud of down and feathers?
  1. Soft Color Palette—When creating a romantic bedroom, remember that we are creating a dream-like, non-aggressive environment. To achieve this, red is not the way to go. Though red is a very sexy color, it is aggressive. Try using whites, soft greys, blushes, soft blues and greens.

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Xo,

Jessica Calkins

I Love You & I Want You…

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Lately, Matt and I have been very busy and have had a hard time making time for each other. We both have been promoted at our jobs, we have recently moved into a house of our own, (with a house comes larger bills and responsibilities), we are planning a wedding, we have our growing nine and a half month old puppy and ten and a half month old kitty, and friends and family that deserve our attention and our time! Our relationship has gone through many ups and downs, just like any relationship…However, we are consciously making vast efforts to make time for what is most important, each other. Here are some of our tips that we’ve been trying to implement throughout our weekly schedules.

#1 Remind each other that you are their number one priority. When Matt and I decided that we liked each other and we wanted to spend more and more time together, life was easy. We didn’t have a house, bills, a wedding to plan, animals to care for…It was literally Matt and I. All we did was focus on each other and make each other a priority in our lives. Then we added an apartment to the equation. This came along with bills and stress. Then we brought home Rosie and Moe…and the list goes on. When our relationship grew, so did our responsibilities and stress levels. We recognized that we were putting all the things in front of our relationship and that we had lost sight of why we were even here in the first place, each other. When you are going throughout your week, make sure to remind each other that you are their number one priority and everything else isn’t as important.

#2 Leave work at work. This is a big one! What a lot of people don’t understand is work is not what defines you. It took Matt and me a while to figure this one out. Both Matt and I work in stressful situations. For Matt – he is a teacher for the county and works with special needs students. This job requires an incredible amount of patience and compassion and can leave you feeling stressed by the end of the day. For me – I work in an environment where there are very high standards expected out of me, which I love. Every day is a challenge and learning to balance certain aspects can be stressful. However, when Matt and I come home from work, we leave our issues and stress at the door. Maybe if one of us had a bad day, we will talk about it with each other and help each other de-stress. For example, if Matt knows that I had a bad day at work, he will clean the house for me because he knows I hate coming home to a dirty house. He loves me…

#3 Organize your bills and responsibilities around the house and write them down. Money and bills are a huge factor in a marriage or any relationship that will eventually cause you stress. People will tell you that money doesn’t matter and love is the only thing that matters. That’s not true. In our world, money is what provides you with food, shelter, and peace of mind. It is important to keep in mind that money is only an object and it can’t make you happy, but it will stress you out. What Matt and I are currently doing to organize our bills and responsibilities is importing them into this App on our iPhones and iPad. Once everything is organized, then the fun begins. In order for us to accomplish our goals financially, we have been finding fun and entertaining ways of saving and spending our money.

#4 Learning how to fight. This is another important one. For me, when I get angry, I need space. If Matt keeps arguing with me, I won’t back down. He is the same way. We are VERY stubborn. What we have done to eliminate that aspect of arguing is give each other time and space away. Sometimes, it will only take Matt and I five minutes to smile at each other and then it’s over. Fighting in a relationship is normal, in fact, if you’re not fighting, there is something wrong. What the tricky part about relationships is learning how each other fight and learning what you need to not continue to fight. Learning how to fight has been one of Matt and I’s goals since the beginning of our relationship and we are perfecting it every single day.

#5 Giving each other time and space for yourself and friends. Anyone who lives with their significant other understands what I mean. Spending 100% of your time with your significant other while you are not at work can get on your nerves. It is really important that you make time not only for your friends, but for yourself. In my first point, I said that making each other your number one priority is really important. But there is one exception: yourself. You are always your number one priority, you have been in a relationship with yourself for a very long time. Maybe you just want to relax and get your nails done. Maybe he just wants to go throw a couple baskets in the court for a while. Spending time away from each other only makes you miss that person even more. When Matt and I spend time away from each other, I feel accomplished because I did what I wanted for myself and I can’t wait to get home to see Matt. It makes our time together more special.

#5 Show that you love and want each other constantly. When you are alone with each other, make sure to not only tell each other that you love them, but that you want them. Feeling wanted and needed is something that every human being craves. Reminding each other, whether it is through words or a kiss, do it passionately. Even holding that kiss for an extra couple of seconds can do a lot.

There are a lot of ways of making time or creatively using your time with your significant other. You can even make doing dishes together fun. Or maybe instead of eating dinner in front of the TV on the sofa, you set the dinner table and enjoy each other’s company. Everything that you do with each other doesn’t have to be romantic, however, making that extra effort and emphasizing that time with each other is important to you, is key!

Xo,

Jessica Calkins

 

On My Way Down the Aisle: Aisle Style

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There isn’t anything more exciting and nerve racking than searching for that perfect white dress for your wedding. I couldn’t tell you how many “Say Yes to the Dress” reruns I have watched or the amount of wedding magazines I have read to find my perfect dress. No matter how many reruns I watch or how many magazines I read, it does not make my decision of finding a dress any easier. I’ve researched what dress looks best on my body, color, and budget; all major factors when choosing a dress. However, researching will only take you as far as a pretty dress that looks great on you. The most ESSENTIAL aspect of choosing a dress, it was feels right. Can you see yourself walking down the aisle in this dress?

As I’ve said before, I am not too traditional of a bride. I wanted a dress that was unique but fit my personal style and the style of the wedding. I was lucky enough to fly to Los Angeles and search for the perfect dress! (Thanks, Mom!) My sister, my mother and I flew to LA last October. What brought us to LA was the Trunk Show for Grace Loves Lace. I’m sure most of you are familiar with Grace Loves Lace, one of the most unique, wedding dress designers from Australia. I had my eye on a few of their dresses for a while, even before I was engaged! Anyway, we decided to plan a few visits to small boutiques in the LA area as well, one of them being Lovely Bride Wedding Boutique. Lovely Bride has several shops; even one in Washington D.C.!

My first appointment of the trip was at Lovely Bride and I couldn’t have been more ecstatic to start my journey on finding my dress with my mom and sister. When we first arrived, we all looked around the shop and picked out our favorites. I was really open to trying on any dress since it was my first appointment. As a bride, I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted this to be a fun experience for all of us. So, I tried on all types of dresses of different shapes, lengths, and styles. One after the other, I would walk out and we would talk about what we liked and what we didn’t like about each dress. After a few, I tried on this beautiful lace gown (I don’t want to give too much away because Matt reads this blog!) that made me feel like a bride for the first time. As I pulled back the curtain to show my mom and sister, we could all see that it was a top contender. I still had a few dresses to try on, but that dress was definitely in the back of my mind for the remainder of the appointment. After I had tried on all the dresses, I wanted to put that beautiful lace gown back on. I’m looking at myself in the mirror with only my wedding dress consultant in the room with me. I kept telling her, “this is it…THIS IS IT!” Again, I pull back the curtain to show my mom and sister and tears start streaming down my face. I felt so beautiful and knew that I wanted to walk down the Aisle and marry Matt in this dress. It couldn’t have been more perfect for me…except one thing. I did the one this you are NOT supposed to do when trying on a wedding dress. I tried on a dress that was WAY out of my budget. I was upset to say the least. I could never spend this amount of money on a dress that I was going to wear once in my life. I would never forgive myself.

We decided to hang up that gorgeous dress and leave. The way that dress made me feel was something I’d never felt before, and it was so, incredibly hard to let it go. We headed toward the Grace Loves Lace Trunk Show and were feeling optimistic about what we were going to find. Once we arrived, there was an extremely long line to try on dresses that weren’t even in your size. There was one dress of every style of dress that they had, which was maybe 20-25 dresses. Feeling discourage, we left. It just didn’t feel right.

We ended up flying back to Washington, D.C. without a dress in hand. I have tried on a couple dresses here and have found a very close second but that dress is ALWAYS on my mind. I have recently enter a contest on Instagram for Lovely Bride! They are giving away $5,000 toward any purchase of their dresses. Of course, there are thousands of beautiful brides entering…but there is always a chance, right? Wish me luck!

Xo,

Jessica Calkins

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On My Way Down the Aisle: Location, Location, Location

Now that Matt and I had a rough idea of the style of our wedding, the next big step for us was to find a location where we would say “I do!” The location of your wedding dictates the theme, date/time and overall atmosphere of your big day. I have always dreamed of getting married outdoors and near water. Originally, my dad came up with the idea of renting out an estate somewhere in Maryland. We would host the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, and reception in the same place; easy and affordable! However, it was very difficult finding a place that allowed events over 15-25 people. I wanted to keep our wedding small, but not tiny! Also, my dad is an incredible chef and I always envisioned him cooking for my wedding; no one could do it better!

We had a couple places on our list, but only one of them fit the criteria (within budget, allowed events over 50 people, and didn’t restrict us on what vendors we used) that we were looking for! It was this beautiful outdoor lighthouse museum that they had converted into this event space. The lighthouse was by the water and from the pictures, it looked perfect! So Matt and I decided to take both of our parents to look at the property. I was so excited and so sure that Matt and I were going to get married at this gorgeous setting. As we pull up to the property, my mom says “Oh Jessica! Heck no! What is that? Is that a barbed-wired fence?” I tried to stay positive and told her maybe it was worth looking past the barded-wired fenced gate!? The property manager met us at the gate and let us in. She took us for a tour and there was barded-wired surrounding the entire property. Not happening!

My heart was crushed and I felt so defeated. My dad told me to stay positive and start looking up places that we could look at on our drive home. I found this one venue that seemed a little out of our budget and they also had their own catering company. My dad insisted that we go take a look because of how beautiful the setting was. I called the Event Office and let them know that we were coming. Once we pull up, my mom (who is sitting in the passenger’s seat) turns her head back at me with these round eyes and big smile. It was STUNNING! There was water, sailboats, green grass, flowers, sand, and one happy couple. Even though I was so excited, I couldn’t get my hopes up because we had a budget to stick to!

We walk into the reception space where the Event office was located and I am literally designing the reception space in my head as we walk around. Dark hardwood floors, light that filtered into these large windows that framed this beautiful picture of the water and sailboats outside, light white pieces of fabric…Picture perfect! We walk up the stairs to the second level of the reception and balcony area and meet the event coordinator, Michael.

Matt, our family, Michael, and I sat down and discussed our vision and budget. There was one downside. Michael said that we would have to use their catering company but assured us that they would do an excellent job. He had his chef serve us food and dessert, which was a nice treat. Matt and I weren’t set on having a traditional plated dinner at our wedding. My dad suggested that instead of doing a platted dinner, we do h’ordeuvres and carving station.  This cut down the price tremendously and would add to the laid back vibe we were looking for. In order for my dad to enjoy the wedding, we compromised on my dad cooking for our rehearsal dinner! Everybody wins. What also cut down the expenses was having our wedding on a Sunday. Since most weddings are held on a Saturday, venues have Sunday’s open on their calendars! Matt and his entire family are teachers in the county school system. So in order to party all night and not have to wake up early for work next Monday, we chose a Sunday that fell right before a holiday that schools normally had off! Problem solved!

After a lot of discussion, budgeting, and compromising, Matt and I decided to get married in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland at Herrington on the Bay! We couldn’t be more excited…Check out the pictures below!

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On My Way Down the Aisle: Time to Start Planning

After Matt popped the question, I could not wait to start planning. We told our families and friends the news and you can only imagine the amount of ideas that overwhelmed Matt and I. What wedding planning really turns out to be is a balancing act of what you’ve dreamed of since a little girl and incorporating ideas of the ones you care about most. Though it was and still is a tough balancing act, I always kept in mind that this is me and Matt’s big day.

The first thing that I did to start our planning process is think of the style of wedding that I wanted. I’ve always wanted a laid back, outdoor wedding, where my family and closest friends could come celebrate my future husband and I. I had three important elements that needed to be a part of our wedding; the water, flowers and greenery everywhere, and candle light. Then we started thinking about color themes…well I guess I did because Matt wanted our wedding colors to be burgundy and gold (Washington Redskins colors). Sorry babe, not happening. After changing my mind three times on the colors that I wanted, I finally decided on a blue-gray and white theme while mixing metal, wood, and glass for texture.

Once I had a few ideas in place, I started pinning on my Wedding Pinterest board. I’m sure everyone saw this coming. Pinterest is loaded with inspiration and it also helps you communicate with your family, friends, wedding planner and vendors exactly what you want for your big day!

Here are a couple of images I pinned to my board. Having this “inspo board” (what we call it in the design industry) has helped as a source that I can reference when making decisions throughout the process. No one likes a wedding where their theme is totally jacked up!

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As I’m sure you can probably tell, I’ve made a lot of decisions based on my design and personal style. I am lucky enough to have a man that lets me have what I want on our big day. He has been extremely supportive and helpful throughout the whole process…Make sure to check back tomorrow to find out where we chose to get married!

Xo,
Jessica Calkins

On My Way Down the Aisle: Wedding Series

A large percentage of the Bare & Me Blog viewers are our beautiful, recently engaged bride-to-be’s…including myself! I am so incredibly lucky to call the owner of Bare & Me, my mother. I thought that it would be really fun to write about my experiences and my process of planning my wedding. During this “On My Way Down the Isle: Wedding Series” feel free to ask me questions or request topics for me to write about.

Naturally, I thought that I should first write about where our love story began and how he popped the question! My incredibly loving fiancé’s name is Matt. When the world is coming down on me, he always has a way of breaking down my walls and finding a way into my heart. I know this sounds cliché, but you know when people say, “When you know, you’ll know?” I knew from the second he held my hand, it was going to be forever.

Matt and I have known each other for a long time, since elementary school but we didn’t develop a close relationship until recently.  During the time that I was single (in 2013) I went to a local bar with my friend and we ran into Matt and his best friend, Casey. Both Matt and I were recently single but weren’t quite ready to date again. But Matt took my number down anyway. Months went by with a few texts messages here and there, but the real love story begins in September 2013.

My brother, Zack, played High School Varsity Football and Matt was his Coach. I didn’t realize that it was Matt until I saw him throwing a football down the sideline, their opening game. I yelled “MATT” and told him to meet me at the entrance to the bleachers. As I’m walking down, I thinking “What am I going to say to him!? I haven’t seen him in months!” When we met, I had this goofy smile on my face and he grabs both of my hands and says, “You look so beautiful today…” Instant butterflies. I don’t even know where he got the nerves to say that, neither does he. I was almost speechless. I gave him tight hug and told him good luck. They won that day and I give credit to myself. I was now his good luck charm.

One of my brother’s High School Varsity Football rules was they all had to ride back to their school on the bus together. So I came up with every reason to ask my father to pick him up from school. I texted Matt and told him that I was picking him up and I’d love to see him. Once the bus pulls up, Matt meets me at my car. We talked for a few minutes, about anything that we could think about at the time. We ended up making plans to get a drink after the game at one of Matt’s favorite local bars (Which I secretly hated). But I went anyway, because I wanted to see him. I walk into the God-forsaken bar, sit down next to Matt, and I ask for my favorite beer, a Shock Top. It was Matt’s lucky day because we were sitting next to these men who were questioning Matt’s knowledge and opinion of sports. If I was impressed with ONE thing, it would be Matt’s knowledge of sports. He knows every stat, from any year, about any sport. I happily sat there, staring at him, quiet. He glanced at me about every 5 seconds and at one point grabbed my hand and held it tight. I wouldn’t normally be swooned by a man who was having a conversation with someone else, but Matt assured me that all he wanted to do was hold my hand and let me know that he was thinking about me the whole time.

After a drink, I told him I wanted to get my favorite dessert, frozen yogurt. Finally we had a chance to talk and learn more about each other. Likes, dislikes, family, friends, the usual “first date” questions. I told him that I was speechless when he told me I was beautiful. Then, when I thought there wasn’t anything that he could do to take my breath away, he kissed me. Again, speechless.

After only 3 months of dating, on February 14th, 2014 (Valentines Day), we moved in our first apartment together. You can say that our relationship moved fast, because it did. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. After a couple of months living in our first, small rental apartment, we brought home a little kitty, that we named Moe. It was a perfect beginning to our little family. Moe was very easy and very low maintenance. So naturally, we brought home a little puppy named Rosie because our little 750 square foot apartment wasn’t already a Zoo. I thought I had it all. I had recently scored my first big design job in Washington, D.C., I was living on my own, and had my own little family; Matt, Moe, Rosie and I.

On April 6th, 2014 my family invited Matt and I over to their home (where I grew up) for dinner. My dad built a nice, warm fire in the backyard and we sat outside an opened a couple beers. Only minutes go by until Matt asks to talk to my dad alone. Again, instant butterflies. I knew. I just knew. There are only so many things that Matt and my dad wanted to talk about, right? I run inside with my mom and I just start freaking out. I keep asking my mom, “What’s going on? What the heck is going on, MOM!? She goes outside to talk to them and I hear my mom scream. She runs back inside and says, “Nothing is going on, don’t worry about it!” My mom is not a good liar. After a couple minutes which felt like a couple hours to me, my dad calls my mom, my sister and I back outside. At this point it’s dark and the only light we have is from the fire. I go to sit down and Matt’s not there. Did my dad scare him away!? “Dad, where is Matt?” I start crying because I hear footsteps behind me. Matt stands in front of me, grabs both of my hands like he did the first day of our crazy-in-love relationship, told me a bunch of things I didn’t even hear because I was crying and so nervous, a gets down on one knee, opens this beautiful white box, which held the most gorgeously perfect diamond ring that I couldn’t have picked out better myself, and asks me to marry him. Of course I said yes to my once in a lifetime love.

I will become his and he will become mine September 13th, 2015 and I couldn’t be more excited for this year. I love you, Matt.

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XO,

Jessica Calkins