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

Have you just ever felt like this?

We all have days where we feel like the world is caving in on us, don’t we?  Sometimes,  I feel like I am the only one. To be honest, usually I am “happy-go-lucky” all the time. In fact, my husband always looks at me in times of trouble and says “you just don’t have a care in the world”!  Always perplexed with him looking at me like that, I just node, laugh and say no! I have always looked at things as if they were meant to happen and it is all in how you handle it. I am very good under pressure, I always have been but this week, I just want to pull my hair out.

Here, let me explain…

1. Leaving a house I grew up in since I was a child.

 2. Being self-employed, the bank is driving me crazy.

  3. A good friend will not speak to me and I don’t know

what I did?

4. My daughter is getting married…

5. Everyone wants something from me.

6. My house is a cluster f@%k with furniture, lighting

and accessories for the new house everywhere.

That is why I feel like this…

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But…

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These are all the great things that come out of the bad…

1. My daughter and her fiancé are moving into the house I grew up in…

2. We are blessed beyond belief to have what we have…

3. Maybe that friend is not worth the aggregation if they

do not have the time or patience to explain why… a blessing in disguise…

4. My daughter is getting married to her perfect guy…

5. At least someone wants something from you and you are not alone…

6. Well, that I need a magic wand, it is still a cluster f@%k…

There is always a silver lining in life. Don’t forget to remember that when your hands are in your hair and you want to scream and hit your head against the wall:)

One More Day!

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One more day till I can finally go home and do absolutely nothing. Fall Break is finally here and I am more than excited to go home to my wonderful family, and finally get the relaxation I have needed since the beginning of my final year of college.

If I want to sleep all day..I will do it.

If I want to go shopping..I will do it!

Spend time with my family! Ill do it.

Fall Break comes at the most perfect time. It is right after midterms, when studying becomes your life, and you can finally drop your pencils and your books and give it a rest for a while. It is the perfect time to re charge your batteries for the remainder of the semester.

I am bringing a friend of mine home with me for break so she can see what good ole Maryland has to offer. I will take her into DC, Georgetown, and Baltimore and hope to show her a good time. For any of you who live in the area, I would love to hear some ideas on where to take her!

I am not much of a tour guide so the more help the better! Hope you all enjoy your fall breaks!

Fall is Here!

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The leaves are changing, the temperature (other than this weekend) is getting colder, and the boots are coming out!

FALL IS HERE! 

My favorite season of the year is here, and I couldn’t be happier. 

Out of all the seasons, I believe that fall is the most beautiful. The irony of the changing of the leaves to the beautiful reds and oranges only lets us see their true beauty right before they fall off for the cold winter.

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Not only that, but fall is the perfect mixture of cool and warm weather. Sweaters with light jackets are an ultimate go to for myself along with, well, every other girl. 

Fall is definitely the perfect weather for sweaters. Sweaters, and boots. Boots and sweaters. Perfection. 

Fall is also the season of PUMPKIN EVERYTHING! Don’t lie. You love the smell, taste, and overall feeling you get when you are around anything pumpkin. I enjoy pumpkin muffins, pies, donuts, coffee, candles, and so much more. You name it, I love it. 

Come on people, how can you not love the colors of fall. One day I want to walk down a quiet abandoned road, surrounding by trees, and just take in the beauty that is mother nature. Fall is so peaceful. And who doesn’t love jumping in a nice HUGE leaf pile. Its a great opportunity for you to act like a kid again. 

HALLOWEEN! 

Don’t forget that one of the best holidays is in the fall. Halloween is the perfect time for you to be anybody, or anything you want without worrying what people think about you. Its a time where eating too much candy, and running around trick-or-treating, even if you are too old, is much necessary. 

Marshmallows. 

Who loves a good fire? Back home we have this awesome fire place where we crowd around and roast marshmallows all night long. 

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LAstly!

Thanksgiving. 

Boy do I love me some turkey and mashed potatoes. I love when my family can get together and do the things that we love the most. EAT food. 

Above that, its not just about the food, its a time when we all can really be there, and enjoy each others company. We can finally forget about the troubles and stress of reality, and be care free. The only stress I feel is being too full and struggling a bit 😉 

If this doesn’t sell you on loving fall the most, then I don’t know what will. Fall is beautiful, peaceful, fun, happy. It is all the above. It is everything that I could ask for in a season, and so much more. Fall is my happy place. 

If you think you sound like a broken record…

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Okay darlings… If you think you sound like a broken record just change your song.

I can not tell you how many times I have heard this statement from women and myself,  I think it is just our instinct to try to show the crazy male that they are wrong, insensitive or just a tool.  If you find that you are continually  trying to sell the same old thing, then maybe it is time for you to change your thinking.

First of all, you should never be with anyone that drives you that crazy or maybe you should? It is your call, your life.  Maybe that is what keeps you together. The strong pull of indifference. If you choose to stay with someone who you feel does not understand where you are coming from, then change your thinking, play a different song. SHOCK them by being different, someone new. Sometimes, we all need a checkup of our usual patterns and sometimes that is what keeps us where we are in life. I think a little crazy is good. Take a chance, step outside of that nice box you have made for yourself…

For me, I want to be a person that is understanding of others needs but sometimes I can not get past myself and what I want to change. I have made a pack with my inner most sacred being to try to not be so predictable. I want to play a new song and dance.

The great laws of physics and chemistry dictate who you are attracted to, who you love and what you do to sustain the friendship, relationship or just a sheer acquaintance. I find that if you have the same old, same old in life it is just mundane and everyday. Something void in you that keeps you searching. We all have that instinct to fight for what we believe in, love, the needy or just righting a wrong. I happen to be the person that will go to the ends of the earth for what I believe in, a lioness mother protecting her cubs or just standing up for what I think it right. I actually get into a lot of trouble because usually,  I do not think before I speak. I wear my emotions on my sleeve and say whatever I feel when I feel it. I am salty at times and I do not apologize for that, it is me. Be true to yourself and follow your instincts, most of the time they lead you where you need to be. That inner voice is your conscious and loves you. Be true to it and yourself but just try to change it up. Look for the good in the ugly, the silver lining or just stare at the stars one night to let you see how big your universe really is.

Dream big and follow your endless possibilities but try not to stay in your usual comfort zone… Be kind and loving always, be crazy but not to crazy, need but not needy, love endlessly. That is truly the only thing that really counts. Just change your song and stop being a broken record.

Out of the Darkness

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Today I had the pleasure of participating in an “Out of the Darkness” walk near my college. One of my close friends, Morgan, lost her brother to suicide, and she put together a team to help raise money and awareness for it.

Suicide claimed 39, 518 lives in 2011 in the United States alone. Someone dies by suicide every 13.3 minutes.

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By participating in walks such as the Out of the Darkness walk, you are joining efforts with people nationwide in hopes to raise money for AFSP’s research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives.

Not only do these walks help people to spread awareness about depression and suicide, but it helps to comfort those who have been impacted.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention  is a non-profit agency that works to prevent suicide all over.

Their mission statement reads: 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), which began in 1987, is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide. 

To fully achieve their mission, AFSP raises money to fund scientific research, provide educational programs, educate the public, and promote policies that impact suicide and prevention. When I arrived to the walk with my friend, I was not surprised to see how many people showed up for Morgan and her family. Morgan participated in a lot of different groups throughout Wilkes, but she is also loved by many. Lots of her friends showed up to support the cause. Not only that, but many of Morgans brothers friends showed up. You could tell that so many people loved him.

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As I walked through the crowd, I felt so much love from everyone. So many stories were shared, and I could tell that Morgan’s brother was really something special. I know that I didn’t directly know him, but he must have been pretty wonderful.

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I woke up today concerned that the weather was not going to be so great, and that people would be bundled up for this walk. I put on my layers and prepared myself for the cold. But as I walked over to the pavilion where the sign up table was, the sun came out! It turned into a really beautiful day, and I thank Morgan’s brother for that.

I learned a lot from today. Not only did I learn about the organization, but I learned how much Morgan’s family loves one another, as well as those around them. I continue to keep them in my thoughts each day.

I hope that you guys can take some time to donate to AFSP in hopes that research and prevention can grow.

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 http://www.afsp.org/ways-to-give/make-a-donation

TGIF!

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WOW! THANK GOD ITS FRIDAY EVERYBODY.

This week has definitely been a stressful one. Have you ever bit off more than you can chew?

Well I felt that way on Wednesday of this week. By no means am I complaining about it, because I love being busy. I love being a part of a lot of different things. But this week hit me especially hard. I am not sure if it is the gloomy weather getting to me, but GUUUURRRRRLLLLLL needs a break. So here is my post for the day.

THANK GOD ITS FRIDAY.

I know I already said that but here it is again….

THANK GOD!

What are you guys doing this weekend? Are you going out with friends? Girls night? Get away with your boyfriend? Wanna know what I am doing?

I am not touching any work this weekend. I am going to do fun things. Fun, college things. Maybe I will go to a party? Definitely going to go to the football game! I need to take some time and remember that college is about making some memories.

I have gotten so caught up in my work and my extracurriculars that I forgot that I am still a 21 year old girl who can have a little fun now and again.

Weekends to just rewind and lay low are such good remedies to a stressful week. I find myself counting down the hours till it is Friday and I do not have to be on my A game. I know many of you feel the same way too.

Let your hair down, put on some sweats, and watch a movie. I know that will be the first thing I do after I get home from classes today. I need to charge my battery so I am ready for the upcoming busy week.

I feel that college has not only reminded me that, yes, I am going to be in the real world before I realize it, but also, I need to remember to have some fun along the way. Life isn’t about work and no play. Gotta balance it somehow.

So all you business men and women.

All you stay at home mom’s  and dad’s.

All you professors, teachers, deans, colleagues.

HAVE SOME FUN!

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What Are You Most Thankful For?

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Recently I have started to miss my family very much. Being at school can be stressful, especially senior year, so I always find myself thinking about my family. I know that if I were home they would be able to help me, but the distance makes it hard.

I have realized that being away from them months at a time has made me realize how important they are for me. When I was home all the time I found that I took my family for granted.

So as I sit her writing this, I have come to the conclusion that my family, by far, is what I am most thankful for. They are always there for me, no matter what. Even when they do not agree with me, they have always proven to back me up 100%. I know that there have been times where I have not made the best decisions, but I always will know that my family will be there to have my back.

This month I would like to know what you are most thankful for. You can post it to the BareandMe Facebook page or you can post it in a comment. I know that I am always writing on here, so at times I get bored talking about myself. I would love to know what you guys think. Who makes you happiest? What are the things that you appreciate? Just a few sentences as to why this person has impacted you.

Let me know! Would love to hear.

Matt Greene…His Thoughts on Beauty

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Beauty…When the word comes to mind for many the first thought is the physical. After all we live in a physical world. A world built of consumerism and appreciating items and physical appearances and not so much the inner beauty of the human race.

People were created to be loved, to appreciate each other, to feel empathically towards others, to care, laugh and love each other is real beauty. Don’t get me wrong beauty can represent the physical of people but I feel like with social media such as Facebook or even Tinder as a human species we are conditioned to only think of beauty in terms of the outer physical appearance.

We stray away from what makes us human and the beauty of human connection and empathic relationships, which is real beauty. So to me beauty is not just the physical but beauty is the relationships we build, the time we spend together, the fulfilling feeling when you help someone live better. That is beauty.

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            I have lived in three different continents, traveled to twenty different countries and all over the USA seeing the good, bad, and ugly. I have worked with people in trailer homes and have worked with some living in the 3% of the world so to me beauty is not and should not be based off of the physical outer shell of human beings but seeing the connections built within.

Seeing the 3% helping and working with the less fortunate is beauty, getting food for a homeless man outside is beauty, making someone laugh is beauty, living a fulfilling life that is not based on a paycheck but based on bettering those around you is the real beauty. So to me beauty is not so much a physical word but it describes the center of all human connection.

Real beauty is the positive impact you have on those around you and I will always stand by that.