Happy Wives Club: I Married My Best Friend

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This post is part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! 

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“You’ve never been married because you don’t know what marriage is about!”

During one of many arguments with the individual I was dating at the time, he screamed those words at me. I calmly, yet indignantly, replied, “I’ve never been married because I do know what marriage is about.”

I dated a long string of jerks looking for the man who I thought should be my husband. I went through repetitive years of heartbreak, disappointment, fear, failure, and emotional torment trying to find my happily ever after; I couldn’t find the man I needed to complete me.

But I still wanted desperately to be married. I still believed in it. I knew I would find the right man before I was 30 with whom to start my happily ever after.

Proverbs 18:22 states that “He who finds a good wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (ESV) and I think I figured I could help God out a little by trying to find him first. I’ve found, consistently, that God usually laughs when we make plans and try to do things our own way. When I did meet my husband, I was still looking for him and he wasn’t ready for me…I was still trying to rush him and rush God. And while our intentions were slowly syncing, we did something incredible…we became friends.

I’ve always felt like I wanted to be friends with the person that I was dating. I knew that it was important to be friends with my spouse and truly believed that having a friendship would be the foundation for a lasting marriage. I didn’t realize just how important being friends with your spouse would be until we actually started dating and got really serious about each other.

So, just shy of my 34th birthday (and only 3.75 years past my deadline) we got hitched. We just celebrated our 2 year anniversary on November 19th. There are two things that I hear most from people when they see me and when they see us: people will see my glow when my husband is mentioned and tell me that marriage looks good on me; it usually just serves to intensify my radiance…and some see us together and say that we’re only happy together because we’re still newlyweds and that all of that will wear off after we’ve been married just a little longer.

photo courtesy of Isaac Singleton Photography

photo courtesy of Isaac Singleton Photography

Hubby is quick to reply that we’re happy because we really, really like each other as friends.

In reading the Happy Wives Club book, there was something shared from one of the couples that made me grin from ear to ear and I found both comfort and satisfaction in their words. One of the husbands stated that the most important thing to having a happy marriage was “(to remain) good friends…that friendship is…the trust…the confidence…and with a good friendship, you can put up with your friend’s idiosyncrasies,…(their) small misdemeanors because you’re friends…”

One of the things that I find equally frustrating and beautiful about being married to my husband is that I can never stay mad at him. Lots of times I really, really want to be mad at him. But I can’t. I can’t stay mad at my friend. And he can’t stay mad at me. I know I’m winning on that front because I surely aggravate him on a consistent basis…but we love each other, flaws and all. We are each other’s confidant and closest companion. We do almost everything together. Even when enjoying our separate hobbies, we enjoy being together…he watches football and I curl up under him reading a book.

I often hear women lament that they can’t find a good man, that they have this really great guy friend who is locked securely in the “friend zone” because “he knows me too well…”

Ma’am, if the guy possesses the characteristics you’re looking for in a husband, he knows everything about you, and still wants to be around you and is truly a friend to you…he. might. be. the. one.

My husband knows everything about me. He knows my strengths, weaknesses, flaws and all…and he loves me unconditionally. He loves me because I’m a real person and I can return to him, the love and respect that he shows me. He compliments me where I’m strong and complements me where I am weak. When anything happens in my life, good or bad, he’s the first person I want to talk to. I know that he gets my incredibly sarcastic sense of humor and reaps the benefits of my ability to laugh at myself…he laughs “with” me A LOT. He is, without question, my best friend and I’m blessed to spend every day in his presence. I eagerly look forward to all that the future holds for us.

I held out for him and didn’t settle for the first man who said he wanted to marry me or asked me to get more serious in our relationship. Yes, I wanted to get married, but I never wanted to settle. There, sadly, was more than one occasion where I dated someone to only realize later that I didn’t even like him as a person. No bueno.

It’s been almost 8 years since I heard those words from my incredibly delusional ex, but I’ve never forgotten them. I truly believed that a happy marriage was possible and I knew that I wanted it more than anything. Marriage really is like having a job, but as Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Being married to my best friend is the easiest decision I’ve made and I love our lives together. We are living proof that happy marriages do exist!

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Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer. They say the book is like “Eat, Pray, Love meets The 5 Love Languages.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy HERE.

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Wining Down 2013

It’s almost here…the end of 2013! The New Year is on the horizon and I’m looking forward to it! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the ups of this year and have (hopefully) learned from the downs that it had to teach me.

We managed to get ourselves into hosting a no-themed NYE party, as my cousin is calling it, and are having a few close friends over to just celebrate, bond, and reflect over the past 12 months. We may do another wine tasting table and I just wanted to share some quick ideas with you, if you decide you’d like to add one to your party too!

Earlier in the month, I did a NYE themed shoot…well before the date so that it could be shared with others in time to actually prepare for the evening. If you missed the post, you may find the full party over at Whimsically Detailed or here.

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What I did was super easy and super affordable! We had wines from Mirassou Winery, the Sunset Red and Moscato, and I picked simple items with which to pair them. The wines average $10 per bottle and you can pick up as many or as few as you’d like. We had a small party, so 3 bottles of each wine were plenty for us, and in the dispensers, I had non-alcoholic punch and water for additional liquid refreshment options.

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To pair with and bring out the flavors of the wines, I chose pepperoni pizza and sliced chicken sliders. And cubed cheese. Nothing complicated or time consuming at all, this is so quick and easy! I bought a small pizza from the grocery store, baked it, cut it into sample sizes, and served. If you don’t feel like cooking, there is probably a pizza restaurant within 3 miles of you who would be happy to help you out! Want to make it fancy? Cut it into smaller pieces!

We also had sliced chicken sliders. Rolls from the grocery freezer, baked, filled with sliced chicken breasts, and topped with shredded cheese. It’s all fancy over here! Check out the earlier blog post for other ideas that were incorporated into our party which included the dessert station and popcorn bar.

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If you want to go all out, Mirassou has all of the tools that you may use to make it happen! You can go to their Facebook page for ideas or go to their website for different wine-infused recipes to pair with the wine(s) of your choice! They even have this really cool tool that will walk you through the pairing, so if you’ve already set your menu, you can just pick the food and the seasoning you used and it will give you recommendations on which wine to use! Check it out here.

I hope that you have a wonderful New Year and that 2014 brings you joy and prosperity! Have a safe NYE and if you are drinking, crash at a friend’s place or use a designated driver…if you are the designated driver, grab a bottle of Mirassou wine to enjoy later 🙂

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Making Dipped Christmas Cookies

Christmas is approaching swiftly!

We had a holiday party at the taekwondo school last weekend and I was supposed to make cupcakes. I was so physically exhausted that I could not stay up long enough to make them 😦 What I did do, was opt for a quicker, and easier, sweet option…

Dipped cookies!

While this seemed to be an easy task to me, some of my friends had either never heard of the techinique or thought it to be really complicated. I promise, it’s super easy! So if you have a holiday party coming up or need a last minute idea for dessert to take to a family dinner, check this out:

1. I went to the store and bought 2 bags of Chips Ahoy cookies. You can pretty much use any cookie you like, these were just ones I picked up because they were on sale 🙂

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2. Melt your chocolate or candy melts. I use a double broiler for the chocolate. If you’re using the candy melts, you can use a double broiler, but you can also use a bowl or other microwave safe container to melt them; follow packaging instuctions.

3. Dip your cookie in the chocolate (or candy melts.) There’s no real rhyme or reason to this step, just dip them in as much or as little chocolate as you like 🙂

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4. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. The wax paper will make it easier to remove the cookies when they’re ready to come out of the freezer. Decorate with sprinkles, jimmies, nuts, whatever. Do it at this stage so that they will be set in the chocolate. I mixed my red and green sprinkles in a bowl together so I wouldn’t have to do double duty trying to sprinkle them on individually.

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5. Freeze the cookies for 5 min. This will allow the chocolate to set. Remove from the sheets.

6. Package and deliver! If you’re going to store them in the refrigerator, make sure that you use cellophane or plastic packaging. If you don’t, the chocolate will sweat and then everything will be sticky and gross. Chocolate and water don’t like each other so much :/

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These are quick, fun, and easy for a holiday party…or any other event! You can make them in any color to fit any theme 🙂

I hope that you have a happy a safe holiday season!

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It’s A New Year…Time For A New Me!

The end is near!

2014 is just around the corner and I’m ready for all of the things that the next year has in store for us, personally and professionally. So many doors have opened and opportunities have presented themselves this year, I’m so incredibly optimistic for the next year…and the years beyond.

My friends and I have been through a lot this year…good and bad, full of lessons and adventures. So to celebrate the freshness of a new year, we had a New Year’s Eve party with the theme “New Year, New Me 2014” and it was one of the most jovial nights I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

I absolutely have to use the word “jovial” because we laughed, long and hard, for about 2 hours straight with all of the stories that we told each other. Maybe animated, facetious, or jocund? Yeah, I had to look those up…

Hosting an intimate NYE event is not really that hard. Especially for me…I’d much rather spend an evening with family and friends than be out partying it up in the streets.

A homebody event planner. Go figure.

The decor and colors of the shower were based on a set of party printables that I won in a giveaway from Cupcake With Character. I love bright colors and was excited about incorporating the color scheme. It wasn’t the usual print that is usually associated with a NYE party and I was totally OK with that. So I picked the traditional black and gold, for timeless elegance, and the not-so-traditional, hot pink and turquoise, for spunky fun!

My husband said it looked like two parties hanging out together.

For our party, we centered it around a wine tasting. We had a delicious stash from Mirassou Winery. The 2 wines we enjoyed were the Sunset Red and Moscato. To accompany the wines, we snacked on pepperoni pizza, Teriyaki chicken sliders, and Colby jack and cheddar cheese. For the one friend in attendance who didn’t actually drink, we had punch and water; the recipe was one that I’d previously used at a baby shower and was a big hit. We also had tulle poms/swizzle sticks provided by Fizzy Party and they are so much fun to have in your glass!

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The dining table set up was of hot pink and turquoise plates, with black napkins and champagne-colored bands. Each place setting consisted of a personalized goblet, filled with Rolos and almond Hershey’s kisses, as well as an inspirational keepsake. The table scape was a gold sequin runner that was centered in the table, and dressed up with recycled wine bottles spray painted gold and trimmed in turquoise glitter ribbon. The flowers were left over from another event and the gold sprays I found for $1 at Michaels.

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The dessert table was (obviously) our (my) favorite party of the party. The printables got to strut their stuff on the dessert table. The banner was customized for our theme and hung with gold glitter ribbon against a black backdrop. The sweet stuff on the table was a simple menu of fresh strawberries with cream cheese dip, jumbo white chocolate  s’mores, wedding cake cupcakes, and a popcorn bar.

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The popcorn came from Sweet Noshings, which is a local candy store/popcorn corner/coffee bar.

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It is The. Best.

We got to nosh on Peanut Butter and Chocolate, Honey Butter, Cherry, and Spicy White Cheddar and Cheddar Cheese mix varieties of popcorn. The other element on the table was a gift box for all of the guests. The gift boxes contained a bunch of goodies from Mirassou and included a over a dozen different recipes (which can be made with the various Mirassou wines,) a wine charm, a stemless wine glass, and a brochure about the fabulous winery.

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The gift boxes were also personalized with each guests’ name. They were tied with white and gold twine, and held a countdown clock cookie, made by the awesome Jess Add Sprinkles, and a tag I created, which said “It’s time for a new you!” All of the ladies were impressed with her art…they didn’t know it was a cookie, and they loved it!

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We also had some fantabulous cookies that Kima’s Konfections sent to the party, but they didn’t get to be on the table because of the ice storm that we had. And by ice storm, I mean that we got 1/4″ of ice and the city shut down. Even though they didn’t make it to the shindig, I was still able to get them to the guests. I mean, how could this beauty not be shared with them?!?

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We also had a photo booth set up and staged it with a huge 36″ balloon from Party On! Designs. Again, Icemageddon 2013 prevented us from getting helium, so hubby volunteered to blow it  up. I told him how big it should be and he did as I asked, which freaked me out. I have a phobia of popping balloons and the bigger it got, the more I tried to run away. But it looked incredible with the party and decor! I used gold spray paint and painted “2014” on it and a few of us took pictures with the “globe.”

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All in all, we had a great time 🙂 The weather outside was frightful, but my friends were so delightful!

This party is perfect for throwing an intimate NYE gathering or just a girls night in. Very budget friendly, the wines run under $10 a bottle, and taste wonderful!

If you want to opt for something sans alcohol, think spa night, movie night, or even a game night! We brought in 2012 with a Wii party with our friends and it was a blast!

Celebrate life! Cheers to a New You and a Joyous and Prosperous New Year!

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Concept and Styling: Creating Awesomenessity!

Printable Collection: Cupcake With Character

Recipe Cards and Gifts: Mirassou Winery

Clock Cookies: Jess Add Sprinkles

2014 Cookies: Kima’s Konfections

Tulle Poms: Fizzy Party

36″ Balloon: Party On! Designs

Gourmet Popcorn: Sweet Noshings

Photography: Lyndsi Metz Photography

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Laughing It Up

One of my absolute favorite quotes is by Charlie Chaplin:

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image from iheartinspiration.com

I had the priviledge of having my friends with me this weeked to get together for a small wine tasting party…nothing fancy, but we had such a wonderful time! It’s been several months since I’ve laughed that hard… In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and the regularly scheduled hectic rush that has become our daily lives, we tend to miss out on the blessings and gifts that we have right in front of us.

I love to laugh! It’s easy for me because I tend to find just about everything funny, appropriately or otherwise. I wanted to share another pretty common quote, and when I looked it up, I found something better:

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As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let you down
probably will.

You will have your heart broken probably more than once, and it’s harder every time.

You’ll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.

You’ll fight with your best friend.

You’ll blame a new love for things an old one did.

You’ll cry because time is passing too fast, and you’ll eventually lose someone you love.

So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you’ve never been hurt, 
because every sixty seconds you spend upset 
is a minute of happiness you’ll never get back. 

Don’t be afraid that your life will end,
be afraid that it will never begin.

~ Anonymous Author

However sucky you think your day/week/month/year is going, be grateful to have the sucky day; having a bad day is a priviledge that many don’t have today…you’re alive! That alone is worth being thankful for 🙂

Laugh at something, smile at someone…it takes way more muscles to frown and lots of expensive makeup to remove the wrinkles. Remember this too:

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I can honestly say…with this thought alone, I never cease to be amused!

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Win a Macbook Air!

Fa La La La La…La…La…La…La!!!! Cupcake With Character has teamed up with over 30 sponsors to make this MacBook Air giveaway possible! A complete list of sponsors is in the giveaway tool below. Take a moment to visit our featured sponsors pages and show them some holiday LOVE!

A-Manda Creations, The Pretty Party Shoppe, Petite Bebe, Dinnerella, Six Twelve Boutique, Painting Paris Pink, Small Moments, Totally The Bomb, Beyond Rubies, and Leanne Bakes!

Rules: Contest is open from December 6, 2013 at 11:59 PM PST to December 31, 2013 at 11:59 PM PST. The winner will be chosen randomly through the Giveaway Tools form. Giveaway is open worldwide to all participants 18 years of age and older. Void where prohibited by law. Winner must comply with all laws in their Country. Winner will be asked a skill test question upon claiming prize. The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Should they not claim their prize within this time, another winner will be selected. Please ensure that the email cupcakewithcharacter [at] gmail [dot] com is on your “safe list” !
Disclosure: This is an independent blogger giveaway. It is in no way associated with PayPal, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Etsy, or any other social media network. This giveaway is in no way associated with Apple, Inc. or any of its products. Cupcake With Character and participating sponsors are not compensated to promote any Apple products. Sponsors contribute to the prize, taxes, shipping, fees, forms of paid promotion, the time and effort it takes to prepare, launch and promote giveaway. This is not a lottery. A skill test question will be asked of the winner upon claiming their prize. Should you have any questions, please contact Shauna at Cupcake with Character via email at cupcakewithcharacter [at] gmail [dot] com.
Winner outside USA can opt for Paypal cash in USD. Fees may apply.