wedding recaps

Help an indecisive Cheese-ball out?

Posted on December 17, 2009. Filed under: wedding recaps |

Hi, peeps!  While I put off finishing my last recap (because then I’d be finished *sob*), I thought I’d throw in a post or two about life on the other side of that whole wedding thing.  But let’s keep it wedding-related by talking about wedding photos, mkay?

More specifically, how do you decide which photos to actually display?

Step 1: Do nothing.  Wait until your fabulous parents send you a photo they thoughtfully converted to canvas, mounted and framed as your Christmas gift.  Then feel terrible that you haven’t sent anyone else wedding pictures and frantically try to pick a few to send as Christmas gifts.  On the day before you have to mail said gifts across the country.

Step 2: Freak out.  How do you choose pictures of yourself to send to other people?  Narcissism, much?

Step 3: Calm down.  Remember that this was a big event for both families and of course they’d like photographic evidence, if only to embarrass you by showing your future children at some future date.  Choose the least goofy family pictures for printing. 

Then print one goofy one specifically to embarrass your brother at a specific future date.

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Step 4: Freak out.  Family photos were an easy choice, but don’t parents also like portraits of the married couple? My favorites are the (you guessed it) cheesy pics like this:


or this:


… but I’m thinking our parents might like more formal shots, like this:


Step 5: Back to calm. You can do this. Even an indecisive person like you can do this.  Really.

Step 6: Freak out.  Now that your parents have sent you the one really awesome wedding pic, it looks very lonely as the only thing hanging on your very large, very bare wall (or it would if you could find the picture hangers and convince your husband to put a hole in the wall, but that’s another story).  You need to frame and hang more photos to go on the newly-christened photo wall.  The only thing worse than picking photos for your family is picking photos of yourself.

Step 7: Calm down.  Remember that you blog for a really fantastic wedding blog filled with decisive peeps who will help you choose which pics to frame (and maybe remind you that you’re supposed to put up photos of yourselves on your wedding day, narcissism or not).

This is the photo that my parents converted to canvas:


It’s perfect.  Help me decide what pictures to hang around it.

Option 1: All black and white. All people. All silly.

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Option 2: Just us. Mostly silly. Mostly color.





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What do you think? {Note to Weddingbee: please insert a poll with three options: “All black and white.  All people.  All silly.” and “Just us.  Mostly silly.  Mostly color.” and “Other (give me the scoop in the comments!)”  Gracias.}

Oooh, one last question: should I send people flattering (framed) pictures of themselves?  I know that I never have decent pictures of myself (well, until this photographic extravaganza), but I’m also not sure I would display one… so what do you think?

Okay, okay, TWO last questions: I’m leaning toward small-ish 4×6 prints so that our faces don’t jump at you when you visit our home. Thoughts?

All photography by Angela Herzog of Angela Herzog Photography ( unless otherwise noted. See this post for more details.

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Magic and Moments

Posted on November 14, 2009. Filed under: wedding recaps |

My dress was like magic.


When zipped into it’s curves, I felt like a bride…


Like a sassy bride…


Like a curvy, sassy, silly bride…


Like a curvy, sassy, silly, happy bride…


Like myself.

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I didn’t ever feel like I was playing dress-up.  How easy that could have been, to feel like I was a player in my own life, wearing a dress that wasn’t me.

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But it was.  Lucky for me, I can’t help but be me.

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I paid $250 for it on Ebay because I was too cheap to pay full price – at David’s Bridal.  I don’t know about you, but I laugh every time I think about my unwillingness to pay full retail at a place known for inexpensive wedding dresses.

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If that isn’t me….

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So please don’t think that your wedding dress will only be magical if you spend a ton of money.  Set a budget, decide to blow it by no more than 10%, and try on every dress in the store if you have to.  Really.  I don’t think I ever would have chosen my dress out of a picture. 


{Photo taken by the lovely alterations woman at David’s Bridal}

I had to put it on, crack a joke about feeling like Ursula (you know, the sea witch with the frothy water at her feet), and dance around.  Kinda like this.

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I waffled and debated and texted my bff a never-ending string of “what if’s” and “I don’t know’s” and “what do I do’s?”  I ordered the dress on eBay and debated reselling it.  I stuck it in my closet, figuring I’d deal with it some other time.


{Photo taken by my mother not long after telling me to look fierce or something.  This will teach her never to do that again, I’m sure.}

Six months later, I unzipped the bag, put the dress on, and I knew.  Maybe I’d been too caught up in the details before, too stressed by the drama, too overwhelmed by the life-changing realization that this was going to be a little less my life soon, a little more ours.

I don’t know, but I felt the magic.

So I forked over another $350 to make it mine, to have it taken in here and hemmed a bit there, to have an incredibly expensive (well, to me) bazillion point bustle put in, a bustle that allowed me to run and jump and shake my booty (all of which I did in the store, to the great amusement of everyone).

And then the magic was mine.  Because after the alterations, this sassy thing was tailored to my body, only mine, and only then.  It would forevermore be uniquely suited to one slice of time in my life.


I wore this dress when I hugged my mama so tight,


laughed with my favorite women,

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took a walk with my people,

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{Photo by my father. Note the look of terror on my face.}

said a prayer,


walked some more,

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got to hold hands with this man,


this wonderful man who makes me laugh,


and is so sexy,


and so smart to choose me to be his wife.    

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It was with me when I joined my life with someone else’s


and danced with some people,


some really special people,


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before starting the rest of my life with my favorite man.


This dress and I, we’ve had some fantastically good times.


We’re close.  And though we may not ever be reunited, and certainly not on a day as important in my life as that one, we’ll always be close.  I’ll always remember it as the dress I wore when I felt most loved, most happy, and most ready to be someone’s wife.

And the one that made my curves look like this:


So if I might offer (yes, more) unsolicited advice for you sweeties out there freaking out about your dress situation, it’s this: yes, it’s stressful.  I’ve been there.  And yes, you’ll hear from everyone that when you find it, you’ll know.  But if you’re afraid you found “the one” at a $5k price point (woman, WHY are you trying on $5k dresses if that’s not in your budget?), or that you’ve found three possibilities, or that maybe you’ll never find the one, take heart.

You will.  At any price point.  You will find a dress that will be with you on the day you get married.  It will be, quite frankly, any of the dresses you pick today. (See how that works?)  Your happiness and joy at finally getting to marry that handsome man of yours will overshadow any “lace or puffy or flowy or fitted” angst.

So for now, just make sure it fits and feels at least a little bit like something you’d choose for some other fabulous occasion (picture it in another color if you must).  Then hang tight.  You will make the right choice, I just know you will, because it’s your life and your body and there’s no wrong choice, mkay?

Ohhhh, you want details?  Here you go:

David’s Bridal style P9345, regular price $499, in a size 6 with significant alterations.  I’m a very busty, very curvy, very short woman (32F/ 5’0”) and I thought it looked (ahem) fabulous on me.  The bustle was a 12-pointer (or something crazy) recommended by the alterations manager and well worth the cost.  You can see it best in this picture.


Or maybe this one.


Or maybe here:


I wore a gorgeous veil and fascinator made for me by the beautiful Mrs. Seabreeze.  You can get your very own at her website, Kasia Fink Veils, and you should most definitely get one just like mine (the “Marisa,” thankyouverymuch)!


My hair was done by Tabitha Davis from Salon Barnes & Barnes on Market  Square in Knoxville.  She was absolutely wonderful, calm and sweet and incredibly talented.  And she did this:


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More pictures from my hair trial here for all you short-haired brides Googling “short hair sassy bridal style” or something similar. Smoochies!

The boleros (or shrugs) that you see were made my very own mama, which you can read about here

I wore shoes I got on sale at Kohl’s (Mootsies Tootsies, though I can’t find them online anymore), happy pink shoes that held up beautifully over eight hours and gravel and asphalt. (second from right)  Please note Jennifer’s fabulous kicks on the far left – she got them at Dillard’s and I wish I knew the brand so I could get a pair for myself.  Smart Laura in the middle was the only one who went for comfort.  And stability.


Oh, yea, and I wore a long line bra that held my bodacious ta-tas up beautifully but cut into my thighs when I sat down.  Oops.  I forgot that I am much shorter than most women and didn’t think to check for a short-line bra (wocka, wocka).

Who ever said fashion was comfortable?

Next up: my last post.  Maybe.  At least I think so.  Except maybe not.  Because I get very sad when I think of it that way.  Maybe we’ll just call it my last post… for now.

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

Part VI: Celebrate Good Times, COME ON ALREADY!

Part VII: Yummy Yummy For My Tummy

Part VIII: And We Danced

Part IX: The Cheesy, Cheesy Details… with a little bit of sentimentality thrown in

Part X: The One Where Cheese Sucks It Up and Applies Her Own Makeup

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The One Where Cheese Sucks it Up and Applies her own makeup

Posted on October 17, 2009. Filed under: wedding recaps |

Approximately one year ago, I first started blogging here, and I gotta tell you, I was a mess.  I didn’t know how to be engaged, wasn’t sure how to have fun! and productive! conversations with my fiancé about big things like money and families and his attire. (C’mon, you know that’s a big thing!)  We tried, but every little decision seemed to dissolve into frustration and silence.

Have you ever watched well-socialized puppies play?  When they start to get overwhelmed and over-stimulated, they stop.  They take a break, stand very still, and get themselves under control, then they resume playing.  Dogs who don’t speak “dog” well don’t do this and their play deteriorates into real aggression.

That was us.  We’d start a benign conversation about tents and before we knew it, be arguing about who cared more and did more and loved more and… you get the picture.  I wondered, often, how people managed to so easily discuss such big things.

“We talked about when to have kids.”

“We were chatting about our budget.”

“We decided that our dream wedding would be modern yet sentimental, light and funny, but classy.  And we want gold-rimmed stemware.”

You may as well have been saying that you and your beloved, wearing period-appropriate attire, were laid out in a field of freaking wildflowers surrounded by chirping birds and scented breezes and being massaged by magical hands.  Without allergies or bugs or the need to pee.

But we kept trying.  We had Wedding Wednesdays complete with agendas and action items.  I badgered, cajoled, harassed, gave up, gave in…

… and then we got married.  It was a fabulous and overwhelmingly loving kind of day.  Turns out you can have a rocky engagement and still have a great wedding.

More importantly, you can have a rocky engagement and great wedding and rough first few months of marriage and still have a great marriage.  Four months in, we’ve figured it out.  Well, mostly.  A lot of it had to do with the usual culprits: expectations, trust, sharing, and housework.  But then I realized that I have a choice every day to live happily or make a change, and I choose to live happily.  I focused on the bright side during the month of September and it paid off (you can read about it here).

So if you read blogs with couples who have found their joint vision and never spend big money without consensus – and you find that both awesome and horribly depressing because you can’t imagine getting there – take heart.  You can.  Take a deep breath, have faith even if you don’t know in what, and believe.  You love and are loved and you will be okay.  Cut your man some slack for being male, don’t feel bad about deciding things he doesn’t care about anyway, and love your people.

Okay, back to my wedding! 

I waffled and debated and had entirely too many free makeup trials, then decided I would do my own.  Was it cheaper?  No.  I spent more on cosmetic items than I would have paid a makeup artist.  Was it worth it? Absolutely.


Look, we brides often get ridiculed for paying attention to little things that non-brides think are narcissistic at best and evidence of a controlling maniac at worst.  The quickest way to bore a non-bride to tears is to talk about your makeup; somehow hair debates are less annoying, don’t ask me why.


But it’s my face on pictures I will be showing my grandchildren, and while makeup issues are certainly not on par with things like vows and chairs and rings, let’s not minimize them.  In the end, having practiced by bothering to put on makeup every day for months, I was confident in my skills, tools, and products.

My fake picture smile, not so much.


But handling my own makeup made for moments like this one:


And this one:


And diva-ish pictures like this one:


Add that to the fact that I can put on flattering and long-lasting makeup in 15 minutes just in time to throw on heels and run to a big business meeting, and I’ll call this one a success.

Here’s my product list (no links because I have faith in your Google skills… all costs are approximate and based on my faulty memory):

Aveda Inner Light Liquid Foundation: $22, Aveda

Physician’s Formula Powder Palette in Translucent to set the foundation: $10, Walgreens

Nars Blush/ Bronzer duo in Orgasm and Laguna: $37, Sephora. Love.  Love, love, love.  How they devised one color that works on so many skin tones is beyond me.

Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener: $18, Sephora

Sonia Kashuk concealer in Dusk 21: $10, Target

Sonia Kashuk eyeshadow palette: $14, Target

Maybelline Unstoppable eyeliner in Espresso, set with dark brown eyeshadow: $7, Walgreens

Maybelline Intense XXL Waterproof mascara in Blackest Black: $10.  Wore it to a therapy appointment to try it out and then didn’t cry one. single. time.  :)  A day later, I made an emergency trip to buy eye makeup remover because the stuff would not come off.  This was a good thing on our wedding day.  Not so good on our wedding night.  Or the next morning.

Prestige lip liner in Natural: $3, Walgreens.

Bloom lipstick in Indulge: $10, Dillards.

Sally Hansen Diamond Lip Treatment (gloss) in Royal Romance: $10, Walgreens.

Next up: hair, dress, veil and other attire-related details!

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

Part VI: Celebrate Good Times, COME ON ALREADY!

Part VII: Yummy Yummy For My Tummy

Part VIII: And We Danced

Part IX: The Cheesy, Cheesy Details… with a little bit of sentimentality thrown in

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The Cheesy, Cheesy Details… with a little bit of sentimentality thrown in

Posted on October 10, 2009. Filed under: wedding recaps | Tags: |

I love me some cheesiness, and if my world were perfect, goofiness would have been spread around our property far and wide.  I wanted silly signs, funny photos, witty sayings, and lots o’ love songs.

Alas, my DIY skills (and time and dedication, frankly) were lacking, but I did manage to pull together a few really fantastic details at the last minute.  Some were literally at the last minute: I stayed up until 1:00 AM the night before we got married doing the things I just. had. to. do.

Y’all know what I’m saying, yes?  Sometimes, sleep be damned, a woman’s just gotta follow her inner cheese and DIY some stuff.  And if you feel the need, the insane desire to make some stuff that is not strictly required, and you just know that even if nobody else notices, YOU will notice and be just a tiny bit happier, do it.  Throw practicality to the wind and make some stuff (but only if you are confident you can do that and still enjoy your wedding day, mkay?)

Behold, a non-DIY’ers version of DIY:

Little goofy table tents that I loved more than I should have. Loved.  Made them at 1:00 AM and smiled every time I saw them (okay, and every time I pointed them out to people, every one of the hundred times I may have done that because I loved them so much).  My husband and I both have goofy, cheesy souls.


There were multiple versions, some funnier than others (“C’mon, Baby, light my fire. Seriously. Light the candle, please?”). This was my brilliant solution to the quandary of not knowing how to interrupt dinner or dancing to light candles.  Who wants that job?  Nobody!  And even if we could find someone willing, some people (not naming names but they were all in our wedding party) were having WAY too good a time to stop to light candles.  So instead, we deputized our peeps to help us out.


While we’re on the subject of paper goods, let’s take a moment to remember the crossword puzzles. After debating what to do with them, we solved the problem by completely forgetting about them until after the ceremony (forgetfulness as solution, thankyouverymuch).  So we scattered them about between the ceremony and reception and they were well-received.


I, on the other hand, was very confused as to why people kept asking me where my dogs were and what the second one was named.  Apparently some people were loath to share their answers because they thought there’d be a prize (hello, you’re here and I’m about to get you drunk, that’s your prize) and I was too caught up in being married to remember the things.

Thank you notes. I haven’t shared these yet because I love them so much, and sometimes when you love something so much, you just want to keep it to yourself for a while.  Sort of like earlier today when I had an amazing prime rib and a so-so New York strip sharing space on my plate and for some reason I felt compelled to eat the strip first.  Why?  So it’s feelings wouldn’t get hurt?  No, because the prime rib was so freaking good I wanted to savor it.

So, here we go: remember Mrs. Gummibear, she of the pink salt?  Well, in addition to an unmatched attention to detail, the woman can draw.


I was so thrilled!!!  Working from our engagement pictures and never having met us, she still managed to capture our essences quite convincingly.  {My husband’s reaction to seeing it: “You look hot as a cartoon. I look pretty good, too.”  Let’s not tell him I had her pump up his chest just a little, mkay?}

I used the image on my thank you cards…


Me: “Hey, sis, how freaking cool is that???”


My sister: “You’re a dork.”

Me: “I know, isn’t it cool!?!”

I used the image on our reserved seating signs…


Heck, I love the darned thing so much I’m thinking about using it on my new blog’s header.  Thanks, Gummibear!  You rock!!

The Goonies flag flying in front of our house. Does it count as DIY if it’s not really necessary for a wedding?  Say yes!  My husband loves “The Goonies.”  Loves.  And I love my husband.  So when, one week before our wedding we decided that we needed a flag flying, and my husband made the sad eyes and said, “You know what would make me really happy?” then showed me the flag, what could I do but agree to make it? Granted, not the most intelligent of decisions when I still had a sofa slipcover to finish (yes, the bright yellow one in some of our pictures), but hey, he was happy!


The pole is a length of copper pipe because paying $25 for a cheap piece of plastic just because it was labeled “flagpole” was not acceptable.  Nope.  Sorry.  I made the flag from outdoor Sunbrella fabric. It’s still proudly flying today, almost five months later.  And yes, people driving by still slow down to read it.

Signs for the path to our ceremony site. After painting the whole house at least once – including floors in the basement – I am an accomplished painter, thankyouverymuch. My sentimental heart loved that the planks of wood came from an old fence we found on the property.  Lest you think I was capable of a consistent color palette, please know that this paint was leftover from painting trim in the bathroom; when my foam brush failed me, I used my finger.


We may or may not have left the signs up (ahem).  What?  There WAS a wedding here.  Maybe it wasn’t today, but it was here, and we were happy, and remembering is good.

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Cake stands. Let’s not get me started on the how unwilling I was to pay a hundred dollars for two cake stands to hold ten buck cakes.  I had a better idea: eleven dollars scored me three big plates, one vase and two dessert glasses from the thrift store.  A little bit of super glue (from the dollar store) and the sweet helpfulness of a stepmom later, we had cake stands.2151

Flowers! Again, I can’t take credit for these, but my SIL created fantabulous bouquets from flowers I bought at the fresh market and grocery store (and, um, some additional stuff I may or may not have taken from our neighbors’ temporarily vacant house but theywouldhaveletmeifIhadaskedISWEAR – let’s just call these sentimental additions).




Beautiful! What kind of a lucky girl was I to score peonies at a (let’s be honest here) grocery store on the week of our wedding?  Really lucky.  I LOVED them.  My grandmother’s cross wrapped around the stem, together with my mama’s necklace and my other grandmother’s earrings, gave me faith and strength and the feeling of being very literally with the women from whom I come.


As for my sister (the remaining female member of my clan) she kept me laughing.  For heaven’s sake, I have no idea what was so funny, but it was really funny.


This is my sister-in-law slash flower creator:


I love her (and not just because she’s fantastic with flowers).  See?


Mmmm.  Happy flowers.


Oh, yea, my mom beautified the flower girl’s basket with some stuff I had and a fifty cent basket from the thrift store because I flat out refused to pay fifty bucks for a freaking basket just because it was labeled “flower girl basket” (are you sensing a trend here?).  My flowergirl was thrilled and that’s what matters.

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And since we’re talking about my mama, let’s not forget that she made me seven (SEVEN!) beauteous shrugs to choose from (seven!). Here are two:

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Yea, I make stupid faces when faced with a camera.  And apparently I lack the self-preservation necessary to keep me from posting these on the internet.


Also, she made me this happy little beauty of a clutch from the same silk as the first shrug and it held my lipgloss and Blackberry quite well (what else do you need when you have a MOH who takes care of your every need, caters to your every whim, refills your empty glass?).


Yea, that’s my veil.  Someone was evidently very intent on making sure that some unknown thing about my veil was clear.  Lovely how quickly you forget the details, huh?

My mama also made this ring posy. I mean, really, who says it has to be a pillow? What if your ring bearer isn’t a cute little boy, but rather a really gorgeous almost teenaged niece who needs to be free to hug and primp and do little girl things?  Then you call your mama, rant share your thoughts, and a few days later she mails you this little bit of happiness.  The rings tied onto silk strings and my husband and I just held our palms open to catch them when it was time.


Those are her gorgeous hands, not mine.  Nope, mine were (as they are today) nail bitten and not at all elegant or bridal, but I am irrationally tied to the ability to chew on my nails when grace eludes me.  And hey, a girl’s gotta keep it real.

The music. All you need is a wonderful little brother with a bad*ss Mac and a willingness to buy a bunch of cheesy songs.  Oh, and the sound system your bachelor (not anymore!) husband paid way too much for because apparently blowing out your ears with the awesomeness of action films in surround sound is totally worth it.  Note: we used a laptop rather than an iPod for the sake of robustness and continuity.  Plus, I hear he was able to download songs on the fly via my wireless internet.2019 BW

Wow, there was more DIY than I thought!  Hang tight, we’re almost there.

And please let’s not overlook the fact that having a backyard wedding at home is, in and of itself, DIY’ing. My husband laid a ton of gravel, we painted almost every wall, renovated the bathroom, landscaped landscaped landscaped… and every bit was worth it.

My dogs chase each other in the same clearing where we pledged our futures to one another. Someday our children will join us.


And every time I want to remember how joy feels, every time I want to remember the love of my people waiting for me, every time I need to remember that I made the choice, the happy and joyful choice, to be with this man, I stand here in this spot, look to the heavens, and say a prayer.


And that, folks, is why I think DIY matters.  You may not make your own invitations or write your own ceremony, but find something you’ll love, something you’ll remember, something that will make you feel good both while you create it and forever in your memories, and do that.   It will be worth it.

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

Part VI: Celebrate Good Times, COME ON ALREADY!

Part VII: Yummy Yummy For My Tummy

Part VIII: And We Danced

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And we danced

Posted on September 6, 2009. Filed under: wedding recaps |

My husband and I debated our first dance song for weeks.  I wanted romantic; he wanted fun.  At some point, I gave in, figuring it would be less embarrassing to pick something fun and cheesy and join in the laughs than to sway and smooch with everyone watching.

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So we chose “Islands in the Stream.”  Oh, yea! Dolly (who is pretty loved around these parts) and Kenny singing the cheesiest song ever… and one that we both apparently sang as five year olds.  With heart.

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My girls joined in to help detract from the train wreck about to happen.  Smart girls. 

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Here we go.

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So embarrassing.  Who knew that song was so incredibly long?  Not us, that’s for sure. 

We survived.

My people are dancers, turning every get-together into an excuse to party… but most of my people weren’t at our wedding reception, joining us instead at our hometown reception.  Having grown up in my own family, I didn’t realize not all families are dancers, so I was a little bit sad that our dance floor wasn’t packed with people.

But hey, the people closest to me and it made for some fantastic photo ops.  Always a bright side! 

Check it out:

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We sing, too!

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Oh, the embarrassment!

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Look at the joy on my stepsister’s face!

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Me and my best girls:


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I taught my new husband how to two-step.  “See, honey, my parents are doing it.”

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He agreed to try and he did great!

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… but complained that dancing made his legs hurt.  Wimp! (I say that with love!)

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My brother stepped in to show him how it’s done.

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And my hubby had to step back in!

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He’s thinking he’s pretty awesome.  {And yet again, I’m checking him out… or am I looking at my cleavage?  Hard to tell.}

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Note to future brides: if you’re going to serve beer in bottles (easy peasy), CHARGE SOMEONE WITH POURING YOURS INTO A GLASS, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE.  Then again, who cares?  Not me!

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*Happy sigh*  So much fun! You don’t need a packed dance floor or a pricey DJ to have a great wedding reception.  You just need fun-loving peeps and a fantastic little bro willing to manage your playlist.  Isn’t he just the suavest?

We used our home theater speaker system, his laptop, and a really long extension cord.  We didn’t have any problems, and I’m told we even took requests for songs and downloaded them on the fly via my wireless connection.

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When I started writing this post I’d planned to end with a lesson: do not hesitate to go with a romantic first dance song, because I often wish we had.  But, as has happened so often during my recap-writing, I remembered how darned fun and completely appropriate our decisions were, and I realize I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 

Sure, it was embarrassing, but we’ve always been willing to laugh at our own expense.  Like the story of our life, the idea was good, the implementation not so perfect, the end result perfectly suited to us.

So do what feels right.  And then enjoy the heck out of it.

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

Part VI: Celebrate Good Times, COME ON ALREADY!

Part VII: Yummy Yummy For My Tummy

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Yummy Yummy For My tummy

Posted on August 10, 2009. Filed under: wedding recaps |

Hi, remember me? *waving* I used to blog here, but then I got a serious case of the Recaps and I’ve been fighting it ever since.


Much like my predecessors, I’m struggling to finish them, and I’m going to let you in on a little secret: recaps aren’t nearly as much fun as I once thought they’d be.  We love you guys, our supportive and fantabulous readers, and we sometimes have a hard time trying to live up to your expectations… and our own.  I want to find the words to make you feel like you were there, to make you understand that “it was the best day” is completely genuine, to give you hope and peace and help you get through the meltdowns that we all go through.


And it’s hard, because we are, after all, ourselves.  Like you, we have doubts and regrets and an unwillingness to knock the glitter off.

1955 BW

Oh, yea, and we’re also married. Life on this side of our wedding day is both low-key and busy as all hell.  While my husband and I don’t have this big event looming anymore, we do have friendships to catch up on, dinners to enjoy, neighbors to meet.  Not spending every moment thinking about your wedding frees up some serious time — and a long list of stuff we set aside to get ready for our wedding — and it’s hard to go back to even the best of days to find the right words.


So, forgive us if we don’t always recap as quickly as you’d hoped.  Much like getting married, writing about getting married is an emotional rollercoaster.

On that note, let’s talk about food!


I’ve wanted to write about food since the first moment my Weddingbee application was accepted!  See, I love food.  Love, love, love food.  I’m that person who bounces when my food arrives, the one who learned to cook solely for the eating, the friend who tells you all about her favorite cities by describing the restaurants she loved.


While I confidently and somewhat recklessly declared caterers to be an indulgence we didn’t need, my friends and family held the line: leaving the food up to someone else would be money well spent, they assured me.

Then our good friends, the owners of one of our favorite restaurants, mentioned that they cater.  And the decision was made.

1963 BW

See, we’ve never eaten one. single. thing. made by Marty that wasn’t absolutely incredibly fantastically good.  When inspiration hit, I didn’t hesitate to trust my idea to Marty and his wonderful wife Demi, and boy, did they deliver.

Our menu? South meets Southwest by way of pulled pork and toasted bread.  We offered two sets of fixings: jalapenos + guacamole = torta, or coleslaw + barbeque sauce = pulled pork sandwich.


Marty smoked the pork butts from Thursday until Sunday and thank goodness we’d already invited our neighbors or they would have followed their noses to our party.


Yummy. DSC_1862

More importantly (can you believe I’m saying something about CATERERS that’s MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE FOOD?), they were absolutely amazingly supportive.  Really.

“The caterer wants to know if you have cake plates.”


“Yea, and the cakes are on them, remember?”

{Sidenote: $6.99 cakes from Sam’s Club. Coconut – wedding white —  to make my mama happy, super duper chocolate to make my man happy, and lemon because it’s happy all by itself. And hilariously, we got asked multiple times who we used for the cakes.  “Sam’s Club, $6.99”  The tortes were a gift from our neighbor and they are TO DIE FOR.  Oh, and the cake stands were DIY courtesy of $10 worth of plates and glasses from the Goodwill and some super glue.  From the Dollar Tree.  Because that’s how I roll.}


“No, plates for serving the cake.”

“Oh… sh*t.”

And then Demi ran out and bought cake plates.  And a serving set.  And gave me a hug and told me not to worry. Now that’s a fabulous caterer.


Oh, and one more thing: see the egg sandwich Marty’s giving Joey, and Joey’s expression?

1957 BW

Every Saturday we went to their restaurant, Joey ordered a BELT (bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato)… which was not on the menu.  For months he called my husband “IHOP.”  It was a joke between them, and not only did Marty remember, he brought an egg, slice of bacon and two pieces of bread in a little container so he could surprise my hubby.

Did you catch that?  THE MAN MADE SCRAMBLED EGGS ON A GRILL JUST TO MAKE MY HUSBAND LAUGH ON HIS WEDDING DAY.  In that moment, they became my people too.


I could not recommend them more, either as wonderful people, or as amazing chefs.  If you’re looking for a really great caterer who makes real food, the kind of food you can’t wait to eat and enjoy every bite of, even (especially!) on your wedding day, contact Marty and Demi Smith.  You won’t be sorry.  Tell them IHOP’s wife sent you.

And, lest you believe we went booze-less (bite your tongue!), I will admit that the beauteous containers of pretty liquids you see here are, in fact, spiked.  Margaritas (with Blue Curacao intended to make them something blue and instead ended up looking like pool water but nobody cared while drinking them happily), vodka punch and vodka pineapple lemonade.  Despite my numerous reminders, my sister did not label them as alcoholic, leading me to chase down elderly neighbors to warn them they might be imbibing only to be told that they knew this, thankyouverymuch, and were planning to enjoy themselves.


Well. If that’s not a successful party….

Next up: the Cheese’s dance.

2033 BW

Yes, it was seriously cheesy.  See my guy checking out my dance moves?  Yea, more of that.

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

Part VI: Celebrate Good Times, COME ON ALREADY!

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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!

1715 1716 1717

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.}

1762 BW 1763

And… switch!


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

1768 BW 

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.


1954 BW

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,

2286 BW

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

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

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,

1568 1575



we all bowed our heads in prayer,

1578 1576

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.

1652 BW

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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    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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