Another Excuse to Post Engagement Pictures

Y’all, it is officially 50 days until I walk down an aisle by my dad’s side to this handsome man. We’ve purchased our wedding bands, sent out (most) of the invitations, and are in the final stage’s of this adventure called “wedding planning.” Some days, I look forward to it all being over, and just cuddling on the couch watching Flash and working on creative writing pieces finally. Other days, I’m all about cherishing the moment and the process.

Engagement Picture

In my opinion, Pai and I have the perfect love story. It’s not perfect for everyone, but for us. And yes, I will be absolute mush over the next 50 days. I’m already at the point where I sign my name every time and I think, “I’m going to have to flip this ‘W’ to an ‘M’ soon.” I may or may not have had a meltdown about it one day. The good news? I like writing ‘M’s’ better than ‘W’s.’ The sad news? I just learned to like writing ‘W’s’ like two years ago.

Engagement Picture

I’ve often heard people say “I love love!” I think it’s a beautiful concept, but love isn’t all daisies and rainbows, as much as I love daisies and rainbows. I know that at this side of the wedding, everything is still so idyllic. I also know that on the other side of the wedding, life is going to get complicated. Pai and I have had a hard two years, though. Even though I have spent the past 2 years 100% out of my comfort zone, it has been the best 2 1/2 years of my life. Navigating a cross-cultural relationship has been a delightful challenge, and I don’t foresee it becoming any easier over the years. I do see us becoming better communicators with each other, though. And I’m excited to do that. I look forward to loving Pai, even when he scares me while I’m driving because he just got psyched about the Man United update and he shouts loudly in a tiny, confined space.

Engagement Picture

This morning I met with a sweet friend who’s moving “across the pond” to England and she asked me, “What are you most excited about for your wedding?” And I couldn’t stop listing things – so literally everything. I’ll be surrounded by 12 (twelve!) of my good friends, there will be coffee, there will be hot chocolate, my makeup will be on fleek and so will my hair. I’m excited about the vows that have yet to be written (agh!), the music we’ll play, the worship songs we’ll sing, my dress, my bridesmaids’ dresses, how freaking handsome Pai will be in a suit, our wedding bands, our families coming together, THE CUPCAKES, the dancing – the list could keep going. Most importantly, I’m excited about marrying Pai. I love getting to tell people why I love him, and why I think he’s just the bee’s knees.

Engagement Picture

I know, it’s all pink and love and gross. That’s just how I’ll be the next month and a half. :)

Engagement Picture


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Learning to Lean


If Emily can pull off a wedding with Ross in exactly six weeks, then by goodness I can get my act together for the next two months.

I’m not going to lie, I love talking about the wedding planning process. I look at it this way: I’m only going to get married once, so I’m going to enjoy this planning process. Yes, there have been tears, yes I have been eating french fries on the reg, yes I stress ate a cupcake in 3 bites last week, but I’m fine. We’re fine. The wedding is going to be spectacular even though sometimes I fall asleep at night with buyer’s remorse about the whole Christmas theme.

Speaking of the whole Christmas theme, I’m getting married in December. Christmas is my favorite holiday. Twinkle lights are romantic, and why wouldn’t anybody want to put all the wedding gifts under an elegant Christmas tree rather than on a table? It didn’t start out Christmas themed, but then I realized the other day it morphed into it. It matches my personality. I was listening to Christmas music in September.

I love this wedding planning process so much that I have a hard time delegating. I want to savor the moment, I want to do all the things. I also want to eat all the bacon. I’m not pregnant; like I said, I stress eat.

Remember when Pai and I decided to plan our wedding in the busiest work season for both of us? Yeah, that was a great idea. Granted, if I could go back and talk to 22 year old Nina, I would tell her no differently, because neither of us want a long engagement. Now that we’re down to just a few days under 2 months, I can’t even imagine not getting married to Pai in December.

learning to lean

I’m learning dependency. I’m learning to delegate. And I’m learning to stop saying sorry. Yesterday my mother in law, mom, and sisters gathered around my dining room table and helped me address 200+ invitations. And my MOH ran her first wedding errands: to find a post office that sold more than jack o’lantern stamps. And she designed return address labels, because who thinks of return address labels when you’re focused on the cute little Mr & Mrs stamp and ink pad? Not me. I am increasingly thankful in this increasingly busy season for the people who have surrounded me for years. You go your whole life surrounded by your support system, taking them for granted until you truly need people.

That is why it is so important to say thank you. I never want a day to go by where the people I love have to question my gratitude and love for them.

Momma, you’re a rock. You drive 4 hours round trip multiple times in a month just to eat a cupcake with me, or to go to one of my 8 dress fittings (it turns out my dress was originally a size TWENTY, not an 18. S/o to my seamstress.) and talking wedding to me on the phone almost every single day.

My MOH, you make up poems for bachelorette parties and help me with the dishes. You also designed my return labels which I’m just fascinated by, and you keep me from pulling out my eyebrows. Please just move in with Pai and me. Kidding. I love you, but not in the first year at least. 😉

My sweet MIL – God knew I would need a mother-in-law who I could love like a mom. She teaches me all the traditions and proprieties I don’t know yet in their culture, and she’s a great sounding board.

And Pai. . . you talk sense into me, you give the bests hugs, and you help me clean the house when I’m frantic before we have people come over. Boom. Husband Material. (Also you’re cute. So YAY.)

Who is your support system? Send them a note of encouragement today! I’m just going to send my people the blog post. #promotingtheblog


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From Bloggers to Bridesmaids

When I woke up this morning, I saw that it was 63 on the thermostat. SIXTY-THREE. INDOORS. Now I love a cold night’s sleep (I actually had the AC on in my room last night) but that is far too frigid for someone who is rudely awakened by her alarm clock and forced from her cozy covers. Y’all, it’s officially fall. Bring on the cardigans and blanket sweaters.

Hottest Trend this Fall - Blanket Scarves and Burgundy Pants

Sadly, it’s been an entire month since I last hopped upon this little place. I’ve been traveling throughout the Appalachian region and beyond for work this past month. When all you do is drive and talk at fairs and drive some more, you really only have enough energy to put on a little face mask and watch Grey’s Anatomy for the 5th (or 6th?) time in a row.

So much has happened, though, that I couldn’t let this month pass by without telling you about the grand adventures we went on throughout the month of September.

One of my favorite parts of September was traveling to Pennsylvania to see two great friends get married (not to each other, to their respective grooms!) Yup, we went to two weddings in a day – both in Pennsylvania. How we managed that is luck and a lack of traffic. My good blogging friend, Erica, married her sweet husband, Jamie. She originally asked if I would be a bridesmaid, but I wasn’t able to since I had another wedding later in the afternoon. Instead, I had the honor and privilege to pray the intercessory prayers. (And she gets the honor of being a bridesmaid at my wedding!! #FromBloggerstoBridesmaids) Since Erica is Catholic, her wedding was essentially a Catholic mass. It was my first time experiencing Catholic mass, but I was thankful for the opportunity to worship God in a new way. In mass, I can see how it would be easy to go through the motions after doing the same thing every week, but I also see how it is a great way to “go back to the basics” and practice purposeful reverence. All that said, Erica’s wedding was lovely. And she had roses, no surprise there.

from bloggers to bridesmaids

The night before her wedding I was able to join them for a delicious rehearsal dinner and hang out with the bridesmaids and Erica afterwards while we all discussed weddings and married life. I had met Erica back in March – but we talk almost on a daily basis – but I had never met any of her other bridesmaids before. It was crazy, though, how at home I felt with everyone even though I only knew them for a few hours! It’s a great testament to the types of friendships you make when a stranger can join you and feel like an insider.

After Erica’s ceremony, Pai and I high tailed it to another friend’s wedding about an hour away. We got to sit outside next to a creek and the woods while our college friends wrote the sweetest vows for each other and their pastor (the bride’s dad) delivered the most beautiful, intentional wedding sermon I’ve ever heard.

The following Sunday Pai and I took our first long road trip together – 8 hours! – and didn’t even argue (although I was particularly whiny at 11 o’clock after we had been driving all day and I did not like a song on the radio.) It felt like a long date, which we hadn’t had in a while since I had been gone for work. We drove a few hours and stopped at an outlet store where I did not need to spend money at Gap buying burgundy pants and a whine colored sweater. Oops. Then we drove a few more hours and stopped at the sweetest place in the world – The Hershey Factory! We didn’t have enough time to do many of the excursions, but we did make sure to go on the tour. It was fascinating (and smelled delicious!) to see how the cacao bean is harvested and how they process it. I’m also excited that they are on a mission to ethically source their chocolate.

the sweetest place in the world

We also had to make a stop at Red Robin because Pai had never been there and I just really needed some hamburgers and bottomless fries. Seriously y’all, all I’ve eaten over travel season is french fries. I just go through these phases where all I want is one thing. Three years ago it was flaming hot cheetos, this time it’s french fries. ANY french fries. Give me the salty goodness.

So that was the first exciting weekend in September. Stay tuned later this week for pictures of the cutest little bridal shower you ever did see!

What was your favorite part of September?



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8 Things I Want to Do this Fall

Make your fall bucket list this year to optimize your fall festivities!

The mornings are cool and it’s officially sweatshirt weather in the evenings, too. It’s hot as all get out during the day, but I work in an air conditioned office, so I don’t really notice unless I have to step outside for some sunshine. Windowless Office = Depressing. I’m seriously excited about fall weather. It’s my favorite season for three reasons. 1) I’m not sweating everywhere. 2) My clothes are cuter in the fall. 3) Sweatshirts, coffee, bonfires, and books. OK all those can happen in the summer, but they’re better in the fall. And this fall, I’m particularly excited because as of tomorrow, we are officially down to the wire for wedding planning. It’s exactly three months away and when you’re an admissions counselor and travel for 1 month of that, plus you add in the Thanksgiving holiday, it feels like we’re practically getting married next week. Agh!

I’m such a forward thinker that it’s a daily (and sometimes momentary) practice to be present. I want to enjoy this season before we’re thrown into the cold of winter. (Which I’m totally fine with this time because I’ll have a live-in snuggle buddy whose back I can put my freezing cold toes on.)

My favorite way to practice presence is make a list of fun things to do.

My Fall Bucket List

1 – Make Smores

Smores are my favorite. Bonfires are my favorite. Add in an apple cider drink and we are golden.

2 – Day Trip to Asheville

Probably my favorite place in the entire world right now is Asheville. I literally do the same thing every time I go there: Go to bookstores, go to chocolate stores. Eat delicious food. Seriously, what more can this girl want? My favorite bookstore in Asheville is a used bookstore that has multiple levels of red carpet and black walls. They have couches and love seats and shelves and shelves of books. They serve coffee, espresso, beer, wine, and literary cocktails. It’s every book lover’s dream. I’ve always just gone there and perused the books. This year I want to just take an afternoon and sit down and read to my heart’s content. Then go eat chocolate and hit up those sweet potato fries at the Bier Garden. Seriously, if you’re ever in Asheville and want to know what to do – I’m your girl. Last year Pai and I saw Josh Garrels at the Orange Peel in Asheville, and it was one of the best concerts I’ve been to. Josh Garrels is also officially my favorite artist for the fall. Along with She & Him and Norah Jones and Ingrid Michaelson. Give me all the coffee shop tunes.

3 – Go Hiking!

If you saw my planner, you would see that every single weekend, spare two, is already booked from now until December 10. (Eep!) I need one of those Saturdays to somehow be a day where I’m out with lots of colorful leaves and the crisp air.

4 – Carve pumpkins

Pai and I went to the pumpkin patch with the intention of carving pumpkins this year, but instead they sat out on my porch and one freezing night I sat in front of the TV with a knife and an apple cider and froze my hand off and broke my knife cutting those bad boys up to make roasted pumpkin seeds. Pumpkins: 1. Nina: 0. But the pumpkin seeds were delish. (Esp if you mix them with brown sugar & a hint of cayenne. Freaking yum.)

5 – Host Friendsgiving

Last year I hosted Friendsgiving and it was stressful (there may have been tears over a frozen turkey) but so delightful in the end. This time Pai and I actually have space to host more than 2 people, so I m stoked about all the possibilities of my home being filled with lovely lovely people.

6 – Make an Apple Pie

My sister is the designated apple pie maker in the family, but I’m slowly turning into Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart, Chrissy Tiegen, etc. and it’s high time I try my hand again at making an apple pie. The last time I made one, like 10 years ago (not really) I got the sugar and salt mixed up. Woops. We scooped it out somehow and told no one and all was well. But still. It’s time for redemption.

7 – Take all the Fall Leaves Pics

Kidding. Kinda.

8 – Not Drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte
I’m sorry, but Starbucks PSLs are gross. You know what is not gross? Local coffee shops who roast their own coffee beans and make pumpkin white mochas. Yep. I offically sound like a hipster.

What are you excited to do this Fall?


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It Takes a Village

It takes a village of strong community to navigate both the big and little things in life.

Hello! After an unintentional (but much needed) hiatus, I think I’m back as full time as I can be when there are only 95 days left until I become a wife and I’m entering upon my busiest season at work. How did I decide to plan a wedding during my travel season? I don’t know. Hormones and the excitement to be married made me do it, I guess. We have had a crazy two and a half weeks, though.

After 11 months in an shoebox apartment with neighbors who were less than lovely, we packed up my tiny place, rented a uhaul, and moved my stuff into a quaint, charming 1940s house that Pai and I get to make our home in just a few months. There is so much space in this house after living in an apartment, that I don’t really know what to do. I used to be able to sit in my bedroom while Pai sat in the living room, and I could just peek through the door way, through the kitchen and say hello. When we were unpacking the house, I was in the guest bedroom and he was upstairs in what will be our bedroom in just a few long weeks and I missed him. Like I couldn’t just talk and he hear me. I had to wait for him to come downstairs. I had FOMO. What was he doing? Where was he? Did he miss me? I promise I’m not crazy.

I’m kind of in love with this little place, though. I’m in the honeymoon phase where I actually wash the dishes after I use them so the kitchen is clean.

The Saturday that we moved in we had his parents, his lifelong friends and my friend from work help us pack and unload. We got everything moved and unloaded in under 3 hours. Plus his mom made us spaghetti so we wouldn’t have to go out and buy us pizzas. I was so overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in our lives who gave up their mid-day to help us get settled into our first home. The word “community” kept ringing through my mind. If we were not intentional in creating a strong community around us, I don’t know how we could have done it all by ourselves.

Community goes beyond helping people move, though. They’re the people you call up to ask for prayer. They’re the people you get to share and experience life with. It calls for vulnerability, and vulnerability is tough. But when you’re rewarded with community, it’s so worth it.

New House!


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