Archive for July, 2009

Celebrate Good Times, COME ON ALREADY!

Posted on July 31, 2009. Filed under: wedding recaps |

“Yea!  Time to party!  Woo, hoo!

Oh, wait, what?  Pictures, right.  Well, okay, we’ll take pictures.  But THEN WE’RE GONNA PARTY! Right? Can someone check the schedule?  Right.  Okay.  Good.  That’s definitely right.

Here we go.  Um, what?  Picture list?  Yes, I did one.  On my laptop.  Which is upstairs… ooookay then, we’ll make it up as we go.  Let me think.  Man, I wish we had booze down here. I need a drink.

Girls first.  Smile pretty!


Okay, now the girls with the mister.  I think I saw something like this on a blog once.  {Note they all have the good sense to look slightly embarrassed.}


Now the guys.  Look suave.  (They reply: “Riiight.”)


If you can’t look suave, then look tough.   1713

Not quite. I have an idea!  I saw it in a blog (quit rolling your eyes, blogs are cool).  Really, it’ll be fine.  On the count of three, jump.  Yes, jump.  Yes, in the air.


1… 2… 3!

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See? Fun! No, you’re not finished yet.  No, not yet.  NO, NOT YET.  Let’s get the dads in here.  Yes, all of you.  Yes, now.  YES.  Thank you.


Now I want you to jump, just like the guys did before.  {The dads look delighted slash ambivalent.  The groomsmen are ready to go.  The mister looks every bit of the ham that he is.  See his dad just to the left?  It’s hereditary.}1722







Yay!  NO, NOT FINISHED YET.  Let’s get everyone together.  Smile.  Yea, that’s nice… but not quite right.  Not… cheesy enough!1729

I’ve got it!  Make a funny face!  Now!


Yay!  One more time! 1732

It’s working!  Last one!  {This is my favorite.  And in my opinion, much more worthy of framing than the “say cheese!” ones.}


Now all the parents.


Annnd… switch! {Ah, the things you do when your parents are divorced, just for the sake of fairness and diplomacy.}


Groom’s family next.  No, my family can’t leave yet.  Yes, I heard you the fifth time, so if you’re not related to either of us, you are free to go.  Sorry, sibs.


Oy.  These men and their posed expressions.  Thanks for smiling, SIL.


And, again with the expressions….


Moving ON.  My parents, please.  Mom and Stepdad, you first.  OH! Watch your step!  {The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. She laughs with her whole body. I’m pretty happy about that.}1754

That’s better.


And now the siblings with the parents.  {To my brother: Heh, heh, I know, this is crazy, right?  Oops, we’re supposed to be smiling.}

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And… switch!


Okay, folks, you’re free to go.  Have a drink, hang out, wander around and we’ll be ready to eat shortly.

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No, honey, not you.  We still have to take pictures.  Because it’s our wedding.  Because we want to remember this day.  BECAUSE I SAID SO.  Ahem, with love…? Or else I will bite you…!” {He doesn’t look terribly upset at the prospect, does he?}


Next up, the Cheeses take pictures alone.  Imagine the possibilities….

All photography by Angela Herzog of Angela Herzog Photography ( unless otherwise noted.  Asterisks (*) indicate that post-processing was done by me, and thus, should not be held against her.  See this post for more details.

Late to the party? See previous recaps here:

Part I: And It Begins

Part II: My People, Part I

Part III: It’s Time

Part IV: Our Ceremony

Part V: My People, Part II

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My People, part II

Posted on July 29, 2009. Filed under: wedding recaps | Tags: |

Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you, For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. And where you die, I will die and there I will be buried. May the Lord do with me and more if anything but death parts you from me. Ruth 1:16

My grandfather died around this time last year, and I was fortunate enough to be there and be given the opportunity to speak at his funeral.  While I was drafting my notes, I got to thinking about what I was looking for in a relationship, and I finally realized that it was in front of me my whole life.


Photo from my personal collection

That man would be a lot like my grandpa: loyal and devoted, honest and direct, and a silly smartass.  He was always willing to lighten the mood with a joke or a funny face, and he told it like it was and when the rubber hit the road, he was there.  My husband is all of that.


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We started talking about marriage, and soon we were engaged, and for the first time in my life, I was thinking about having a family.  Not a family of just cats, but the kind with moms and dads and kids… oh, and dogs.  And I was happy to see that what I wanted had been right in front of me.


The closer we got to being a family, the closer I wanted to carry mine.

“I carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it” –ee cummings

I wear my grandmother’s earrings every day.  I never take them off.


I asked my sister-in-law to incorporate my other grandmother’s cross into my bouquet.


{Yes, we were growling at each other. It’s our thing.}

And our tables were decorated with geraniums, which both of my grandmothers loved.  I carried them all with me, every moment.


But the idea of saying this big emotional thing to my parents in front of all of those people – most of whom were friends, not family – was too much.  We paid tribute to our people with a few lines in our ceremony (read just before our parents were each asked to pledge their support):

{Parents’ names}

You stand before us

Symbolizing the traditions and family

From which bride/ groom comes.

Do you willingly and gladly support

Bride’s marriage to Groom?

It was good, but it wasn’t enough.  Not for an emotional girl like me.  So the morning of our wedding, while getting my hair done and hanging out in our bedroom, I wrote thank you notes:

Dad, you’re the kind of dad I want for my kids.  Your willingness to be there — everywhere, all the time, at every game no matter how early on a weekend or how many times you made the drive — your niceness, your caring, your commitment… you were — are — the best kind of dad. Thanks.  Mr. Cheese is a lot like you.  When you need him, he’s there, willingly and until the work’s done. I wouldn’t have recognized it had I not grown up with you.


Photo from my personal collection

Mom, I wouldn’t be me without you.  When things get bad, you’re who I need.  You’re my cheerleader, my teacher, and my therapist.  You can sort through the barrage of words and pick out the ones that matter, then help me figure out a solution.   I don’t know how you do it, but you handle me better than anyone else… except for my guy.  He’s not quite at pro level, but 9 times out of 10, when I bring a trouble or worry to him, he’ll help me sort it out.  And like with you, I end up feeling like I knew the answer all along.


Photo from my personal collection

I have great people.  They flew across the country, cleaned and fixed and set up, all because their daughter found a guy she really loved.  All of them – my mom and dad, stepmom and stepdad, sisters, brother, and niece.  And after sweeping and trimming and running to the store, my mom and dad escorted each other down the aisle, simply because I asked them.


And my stepdad and stepmom waited at the top of the seating to join them for the last part of the trek.  A fitting tribute to all of them, I think.


My husband’s parents, having little desire to be in the spotlight, were already seated.  And hiding from the camera (ahem).

At the end of the night, our photographer snapped two shots I treasure: of all my parents dancing,

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twice in perfect mirror images of each other.


You’d almost think it was meant to be.

Love lives sometimes take meandering paths, but that doesn’t mean they don’t end up where they should, or make them any less perfect.

All photography by Angela Herzog of Angela Herzog Photography ( unless otherwise noted.  Asterisks (*) indicate that post-processing was done by me, and thus, should not be held against her.  See this post for more details.

Late to the party? See previous recaps here:

Part I: And It Begins

Part II: My People, Part I

Part III: It’s Time

Part IV: Our Ceremony

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This post is probably going to suck

Posted on July 27, 2009. Filed under: wedding recaps |

Hi.  I’m Cheese and I once blogged here.  And, much like many of my blogging buddies, I am now apologizing for dropping my once-breakneck recap frequency.

Frankly, I’m not sure what happened, though I think it’s a combination of factors.  First, I have no idea how to write about something as personal as a ceremony and still make it interesting to people who aren’t me.  That’s closer to the truth than it first seems: I wrote our ceremony with myself in mind and it was a bit too long and too rushed for everyone else, but I don’t care.

See, I struggle in this relationship thing.  (Cue the laughing at such an obvious understatement.)  And I know myself well enough to know that I will need words of wisdom and support and guidance to get me through the low times.  So, I wrote our ceremony with that goal in mind: to get me through the rough times by reminding me why I was married, what being married meant, and what to do next.  Literally.

My husband is not a words person; he’s more of an actions guy.  We both knew that our ceremony wording mattered more to me than to anyone else, which gave me permission to be selfish.  I am not good at selfish, but I’m glad I was.

Since then, we’ve had a few fights, (more laughing at the inevitability of this fact), and I’ve thought of our ceremony, and of our vows, and of the faith our people have in us that we can make this work.  I’ve remembered that we are bound together through rough times, we are supposed to ask for help, and we are guided through it all by our God and our people.  See?  It worked!

And finally, you all have been such sweethearts about my previous recaps that I’m feeling the pressure of writing something great.  Our ceremony wasn’t nearly as emotional as the morning before or as funny as the reception afterward.

It was perfect, though.  So, with your expectations hopefully lowered, I’ll go ahead and get this part recapped.

I’ll start by setting the stage.  Moments before, I’d said a prayer, borrowed faith in myself from my loved ones, and walked myself down a steep and uneven trail to meet my new husband.  If that’s not a literal enough analogy….


I was a little bit embarrassed to have all of those people smiling at me.  “What do I do?” I thought briefly.  “Do I smile back?”  But way back when, I thought about what I wanted to feel and experience during our ceremony, so I was prepared.  I looked at my guy.

Photo by my father

“Psssst.”  Oops, forgot to hand over my bouquet. I decided early on that I wanted to be holding his hand, not a bunch of flowers.


“Wow, he’s squeezing my hands really tightly. Ow. What the…?”  I looked over at my MOH who was looking at my chest with eyes big as saucers.


Noooo, I hadn’t spilled out of my dress.  A seriously effective bra prevented any kind of spillage mishap.  I was, however, literally flushing with an overwhelming rush of feeling – of relief, of gratitude, of being loved.  My chest was bright red.

“Relax, relax, relax,” I told myself.  And then I did.  This was the fun part.  And then it was.

Our ceremony was the easiest part of our whole wedding day.  No stress, no decisions, no prepping.  Much like walking into a final exam and knowing you cannot possibly know more than you do at that moment, I was as ready as I’d be.


I had high expectations for our ceremony, something I’m sure you’d expect from a woman who loves words as much as I.  I wanted prayers, because prayers amongst loved ones are special.  I wanted blessings, because blessings from loved ones are magical. I wanted to come right out and say that we were giving something up to get a marriage, and we were okay with that.  I wanted our people to pledge to support us, our gratitude for them to be clear, and for our vows and pledges to be in honest, direct, achievable words.  I wanted them to be promises.


Oh, yea, and I didn’t want to struggle not to roll my eyes, even inside my head.  Or for him to roll his. We love us some cheesy, but only on purpose.

And while our ceremony was a bit long, the words sometimes couldn’t be heard, and there was nary a cool breeze, we got it all.


Our parents gave us their blessings,

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we all bowed our heads in prayer,

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my siblings sang us a song (“Time after Time” by Cindy Lauper – think about it, it’s perfect),


his sister read us a poem (“Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali),


and our preacher – a long-time friend of my husband’s family – spoke words of encouragement, support, and guidance.

We laughed,


and I cried when our people pledged to support us.


He spoke the most perfect vows,

Marisa's Wedding and Rudy's Graduation 2009 054 

Photo by my father

and I surprised him with mine (wherein I pledged not to yell, which proves that vows can include things you can only aspire to).

Marisa's Wedding and Rudy's Graduation 2009 056

Photo by my father

We exchanged rings,

Marisa's Wedding and Rudy's Graduation 2009 059

photo by my father

and we were blessed, by our God and our people (and the State of Tennessee).


Did I already say that our ceremony was the easiest part of the whole shebang?  I felt no stress, no worry, no concern or panic or distance from myself.  When our preacher asked us to come into the quiet of prayer (I love that phrasing), I thanked God for second chances and finally let go of my regrets about my past

I forgave that immature and unprepared girl that I used to be, the wife that didn’t know herself well enough to love someone else well, the woman who’d learned so much since that first wedding day almost ten years before.  I apologized, one last time, to my ex-husband, and let it all go. Right there, in front of our supporters and with my husband’s hand in mine, I forgave myself.  It was time. 

And then I became a wife.

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Our ceremony was too long, but I’m okay with that.  Before you get married, everyone is very concerned about how long the ceremony will be, and you get annoyed.

“Isn’t this the whole point?” you’ll think.  “Is that all anybody cares about, rushing to the party and the food?”  You’ll be very, very annoyed.

Ignore them.  I won’t say this about any other time on our wedding day, because I believe weddings are more about families (“your people”) than they are about the couple, but this was our time.  For approximately one hour, we got to hear someone special say the words that will guide us through good times and bad, in front of our people.  He spoke my favorite verse in the whole world:

Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you, For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. And where you die, I will die and there I will be buried. May the Lord do with me and more if anything but death parts you from me. Ruth 1:16

We heard a song (love music), laughed through a reading (love dogs), and held hands every moment (love holding hands). 

Marisa's Wedding and Rudy's Graduation 2009 045Photo by my father

It was the only time in the whole day we were together every minute, and I loved it. From that point forward, with the blessings of our people (and God and the State of Tennessee), we had a mandate to make things work and to ask for help if we need it. How amazing is that? Permission – no, responsibility – to ask for help. 

The words we’d need in the future were spoken in that blessed space.

You keep your love alive

through the choices you make moment by moment,

day after day, and year after year.

Through practice,

you learn how to love yourselves and each other

with devotion and freedom.

And that was it.  We were married.


Suddenly, I felt free, not something I’d expected at all.


All photography by Angela Herzog of Angela Herzog Photography ( unless otherwise noted.  Asterisks (*) indicate that post-processing was done by me, and thus, should not be held against her.  See this post for more details.

Late to the party? See previous recaps here:

Part I: And It Begins

Part II: My People, Part I

Part III: It’s Time

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It’s time.

Posted on July 10, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I was nervous.  Oh, so nervous.

After my hair was done,


my makeup was on,


I’d chosen jewelry,


sent a few last minute messages,


and grabbed my flowers,


it was time.

Nine months of angst and soul-searching since he asked me to marry him, two years after I met him at a bar, and finally coming to terms with my past and the whole purpose of this wedding thing, it was time.

“Four minutes,” she said.  I thought I might vomit.

Marisa's Wedding and Rudy's Graduation 2009 022

Photo by my father

“The men are down there,” he assured me.  I regretted not taking a potty break.

Marisa's Wedding and Rudy's Graduation 2009 020

Photo by my father

“The music’s playing,” she said.  I wanted to pass out.


“We’re off.  We love you,” they told me, just before smiling and heading down the hill – together, simply because I asked.  My stomach was in my throat.


“Can we go now?  It’s time for the flower petals!”  I kissed my niece and sister and sent them on their way.  My hands were shaking.


Suddenly, the decision to walk myself down the aisle didn’t seem like such a great idea.  Sure, the symbolism was clear, but I hadn’t anticipated not being able to move.

I prayed. “Dear God, I can’t do this.  I don’t think I’m up to it.  I can’t be a great wife and a great person and everything this marriage deserves.  And all of these people… they’ve worked so hard, spent so much money, been so amazing.  How am I worth all of this?  I don’t think I can do this.”

1549 Vertical Crop

I was going to cry.  And then, I heard the first few bars of my favorite song. “Sweet Pea, Apple of my eye….”

Played by my talented and supportive little brother, that song makes me smile, every time.  I call my husband, my cat, and any adorable little kid, “sweet pea.”


And that was it.  That was my moment.  My happy song, my people waiting, my almost-husband at the end of the trek, and I was standing alone with myself.  If all of these people had faith in me, then so would I.  So I took a deep breath, and I took a step.   1555

And then another.


And then another.


And I was there.  It was time.

Marisa's Wedding and Rudy's Graduation 2009 030

Photo by my father.

Next up: our ceremony.

All photography by Angela Herzog of Angela Herzog Photography ( unless otherwise noted.  Asterisks (*) indicate that post-processing was done by me, and thus, should not be held against her.  See this post for more details.

Late to the party? See previous recaps here:

Part I: And It Begins

Part II: My People, Part I

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My people, part I

Posted on July 9, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Up until a few years ago, I’d never really been a fan of women.  Frankly, they scared me.  A few bad break-ups (the friendship kind) in high school and college, a few intimidating (or, let’s be honest, silly) girlfriends of good male friends, a few too many snarky comments – I was done.  I had a few male friends and my mom. That was it.

And then, at a very low point in my life, I met L.  She was my vet, actually, one of many vets I’d had in my life, but for some reason, meeting her changed my life.  She was so funny and smart and sweet, and for just a second, I wondered what it would be like to be friends with her.

And then I was.

Since those days, more than two years ago, she’s moved on to bigger cities and better dreams, and I miss her all the time.  But she boarded a flight and bought a dress and traveled all the way across the country for little ol’ me.  And I needed her.

Because she, too, laughs with her whole body.


Because she jumps in to help without a second thought.


Because my life is a little bit brighter, a little bit happier, when she’s in it.  Her laugh makes me laugh,

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her smile makes me smile,

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her infectious enthusiasm makes my heart sing. Um, literally.


And through her, I met J.  She is, quite simply, a sister to me.  A woman with very few personal boundaries, she makes everyone feel a little bit more honest, a little bit more normal, a little bit like you’re not alone.  Okay, a lot.  When she’s around, I don’t worry.  Let me repeat.  I. Don’t. Worry.  I know she loves me and has my best interests at heart, and I trust her completely.  This emotional honesty thing you all like about me?  I learned it from her.

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And I love this face.

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And this one.


And especially this slightly mischievous one.  I love everything about her.

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As part of the husband deal, I got his sister, who is hilarious and talented and super sweet.  They look nothing alike, but act so similarly that I can’t help but love her.  Not only did she check in periodically and offer her errand-running services, she offered to make our bouquets… and WOW. (More on that later.)


Together with my mom, who understands me better than I do,


and my sister, who is the slightly more fun and significantly more stylish version of me,


they got me through the day before and of our wedding.

I wrote them thank you notes…


and I hugged them…


and I gave them vintage purses and little makeup bags and many, many apologies… when all along I should have just said, “I love you.”

Without my mom, there would be no me (literally, but also emotionally).  Without my sister, there would be no wedding (since she goaded me into going out the night I met my husband). And without him, I wouldn’t know SIL. Without L, I wouldn’t know J, and without J, I wouldn’t be sane.  And if I’d never met L, I wouldn’t have discovered the wonderful world of women… and I NEVER would have had the guts to blog.


And without you all, I wouldn’t feel like my life is held safe surrounded by this silken web of connections with women.  When I need something, even just to share, you are there.  I love you, too.

But don’t worry, I won’t grab your boobies.

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Someday, I’ll share this story with my daughter (or, hell, maybe my son).  Trust women, I will say, because you are one of them, and in their love you will find peace. (Okay, maybe not appropriate for a son, but there are always girls needing to hear that, don’t you think?)

And that’s how I got through the morning of our wedding… by leaning very heavily on this group of women.  And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Female friendships that work are relationships in which women help each other to belong to themselves.
— Louise Bernikow

Want more Cheese?

Part I: And It Begins

All photography by Angela Herzog of Angela Herzog Photography ( unless otherwise noted.  Asterisks (*) indicate that post-processing was done by me, and thus, should not be held against her.  See this post for more details.

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And it begins….

Posted on July 8, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

{Note: I’m changing themes for the duration of my recaps because I have no patience with resizing pictures and I don’t want them to be cropped by my current theme, which I much preferred.}

I’m a jealous person.  I know, I know, not the most flattering of personality traits, but since honesty is one of the better of those, I may as well admit it.

I went to a wedding just two weeks after ours, and though it was surprisingly just like ours (funny what they say about imitation), I was a bit jealous.  That couple did very little of their own planning, and I thought about how nice it would be to just walk into a well-planned wedding.

I saw the lovely Mrs. Meatball’s pics and I was OH, so very jealous.  She looks like the cutest and happiest freaking fairy (I say that with love!) and I wanted to be just like her.  Just like that.  Exactly like that.

But then I got a sneak peak at a few of our pictures and I remembered: Oh, THAT’S who I am.  I’m the loud mouth who laughs with her whole body.

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I’m the nutcase whose every thought crosses her face – flattering or otherwise.2127 BW

I’m the one who hugged her mom so tight,

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laughed so hard,


danced so much,

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ate every bite on her plate


and smiled at her husband all night (or is that lust?).


That’s me.


And him?  He’s the cutie pie who dances a jig when he’s all dressed up.


He’s the man who fully admitted wanting to pass out from the stress of standing in front of all of those people.


He’s the fella who noticed how much fun I was having dancing with my brother and so he just had to cut in.

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And we’re the couple so happy with our lives that we couldn’t help but want to host our own wedding,


at our own home,


on our own street.


Because we love our neighbors, almost all of whom joined us for the party, even those who had to be helped up the street or helped home afterward.

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And we love our families, our people who traveled hundreds of miles — and then another twenty between our house and Home Depot — and smiled while cleaning and hugged while helping.

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And we love our friends, who traveled and sweated and calmed a stressed out woman down by taking over the directing and the executing and the scheduling.

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And then they danced.

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That’s us.

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And this was our wedding.


Consider this the beginning of my recaps. As you can see, they won’t be organized in any rational fashion.  You know the story, because you’re living it.  Guy meets girl, proposes, much planning and freaking out ensues, then culminates in a wedding filled with carefully and lovingly executed details and stunning coordination.  Except that I’m not much good at details, and the coordination was anything but stunning, so instead, I’m going to share our story in the way that feels best… which I’m going to figure out as I go.

All photography by Angela Herzog of Angela Herzog Photography ( unless otherwise noted.  Asterisks (*) indicate that post-processing was done by me, and thus, should not be held against her.  See this post for more details.

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Message from the Bee-roadcast System: promo

Posted on July 5, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Hey, all.  Remember me?  I was the one who blogged about Twister and going to Brazil.  And then y’all gave me your input on photo books because you’re so sweet.  {And then I might have fallen on the face of the blog-earth because I haven’t gotten my recaps together.  Yup, that’s me.}

I just downloaded the software from MyPublisher and those lovely folks sent me a promo code good for a free book. Yup, just for giving them my email address.

So go.  Go now.  The code I got is good until July 20th.  And they emailed me a different code two weeks ago that’s valid until tomorrow.  So for the price of two books, I can get two different layouts… a total of four books for a hair under $60.

You can thank me later.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )


    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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