#MyBigFatZimWedding: The Bridal Shower

Now that I have been married almost 5 months (!!), it’s about dang time I fill y’all in on all the happenings of wedding season 2016. Over the next 10 weeks we’ll be celebrating Friday Brideday and I’m SO excited because I’ve been planning these posts for months. Today’s first segment in My Big Fat Zim Wedding is the bridal shower recap. All in all, I had a total of 4 bridal showers. I was amazed, astounded, and overwhelmed with love from our dear friends and family who came together to support our new life together with pots and pans and gift cards. Oh the gift cards. You can keep those things forever (so long as they don’t expire!) and you’ll be set for whenever you get the urge to go to Target and buy some decor and your husband questions your judgment/budget and you say “But we have gift cards!”

We had four wedding showers – each a month apart right before the wedding. Because I wanted to wait until Pai moved in to truly unpack/move everything in, my dining room was overrun with stuff for weeks. And it still is. We just cleaned our office out from the actual wedding day and Christmas last week. While we removed all the wedding shower gifts from the dining room, it’s still overrun with wedding decor. I don’t think we’ll ever officially move into our house until we move out into another house. Can any other brides relate?!

Bridal Shower Recap


My Aunt Cassie threw a Pampered Chef shower for me at my mom’s house. It was a small get together where our good friend and Pampered Chef lady did a cooking show to display some of the new products at Pampered Chef. I had “circled some items” in the catalog that I could use/ were of interest to me. My favorite item was our bakeware. . .which I sadly cracked five months later when I turned the wrong burner on the stove. It was sitting on top. It was a crazy night and I texted our Pampered Chef lady several cry emojis.

bridal shower cards


Pai and I were blessed by our church family with a fun Jack & Jill shower. It was Pai’s first time really stepping into wedding world, and by the end of the afternoon he was overwhelmed and his face hurt from all the smiling. I said, “If you’re tired of smiling now, just wait until December!” Our church family shower was full of delicious treats and fun games. They played the “bride” game where you can’t say the word “bride.” I stink at any and all of those games, so I automatically resolved that I would never win. Instead one of the girls from our college ministry gathered around 7 or 8 rings. It was insane.

party games for bridal shower


Pai’s mom threw a wedding shower Zimbabwean style. It was really neat to see how the Zim women party it up when they’re getting ready to get married. She called on all her friends from church and women from the African community to come and shower us with love and toasters. But before we could get to the presents, there was a program to follow.

We each picked out a card when we came in that had a question about marriage. Everyone filled out a question whether it was “How can you express love to your husband if it is physical affection?” or “How do you prepare a budget?” <– A budget queen extraordinaire accidentally picked up this card. She had budgeted and saved so much that she had retired by her mid-40’s. #LivingTheDream. We went around the room, and each of the ladies shared their wisdom. I eventually got to keep all the index cards to file away for a rainy day.

For a typical Zimbabwean wedding shower, the focus is more on imparting wisdom and worshipping. Before we ate a late lunch and opened presents, a few ladies led in a few worship songs and then one of the pastors shared a sermon on marriage.

bridal shower sign


The ladies at my home church threw our final shower just a few weeks before the wedding. I went home for the weekend and found myself loved on by all the ladies who watched me start off as an awkward 10 year old. My sisters came up with some fun shower games including “Guess the Age” where there were several photos of me from baby until the not-so-cute bad hair middle school years. S/O to my childhood bestie for getting almost all of the ages right.

We played several more games (including mad libs which my bestie and I tried to make a liiiiittle dirty at our nice church shower) and ate delicious cake and more chips and salsa than my belly could bear. Evidently the Mexican restaurant I worked at a couple summers ago donated chips and salsa to my shower and gave us way more than we could handle. We ate jars of salsa and several bags of chips at our house for weeks afterwards until blisters formed on our tongues. It was so comforting to step back into my hometown to be showered upon by giggly, Southern Baptist women and be loved on by so many people in my home church.

wedding dress cupcake

Wedding showers were something I was looking forward to most in the wedding season – not because of all the gifts/attention, but because it served as a great reminder that there were so many people supporting our marriage, loving on us, and surrounding us with prayer and pots and pans.

bridal shower

bridal shower

*all photos courtesy of AK Wills Photography
**all photos are also from the same wedding shower because I couldn’t find any of my photos from all the other showers. Woops.

Celebrating Color


We need to see color. We need to celebrate color.

I didn’t grow up thinking white people were better than any other race, but I never grew up around anyone who wasn’t white. When I was in middle school, I discovered the Fresh Prince of Bel air and crushed hard on Will Smith. In high school I befriended the two black guys in my high school. One of whom reminded me of Will Smith. I knew they were black, but I didn’t think anything else of it. I’m sure the words, “I don’t see color” fell out of my mouth a few times.

It wasn’t until I was in college and started dating my now-husband that I realized how many things I had done in ignorance could be perceived as racist. When my husband, Pai, and I started dating, I had that safe place to ask the ignorant questions. I learned about systematic racism, I learned about the white savior complex. I learned that saying “I don’t see color” whitewashes the incredible experience and story each person of color carries.


I could feel the eyes. A couple of times I noticed (mostly from the older generation) people staring at us as we walked, hand in hand. And in my lack of graciousness, would look them dead in the eye as I held on tighter to my handsome chocolate man. Once, when we went home to see my family, I noticed someone staring at us as we were stopped next to each other at the stoplight. I turned to Pai and said, “Kiss me” and then made sure I kissed him passionately. He thought I was being sweet. I was being rebellious against the ill-conceived notions that races shouldn’t mix. . .

Read more

Today I’m guest posting at Sage the Blog, by Cassie. She is a lifestyle blogger, grad student, and mama-to-be. 

Why I Gave Up Social Media

Why You Should Cleanse Yourself from Social Media

It’s not until someone says, “Oh, did you see this on Facebook?” and I reply, “No, I gave up social media for Lent” that they say, “Ohhh that makes sense. I was wondering why you’ve been quiet.”

I’m the type of blogger who is hit with the elusive muse, pounds out a couple of blog posts for a consistent month, and then I just get tired. I get tired by a lot of different things – maybe because I have too many irons in the fire, or the harder truth – maybe because I’m just lazy.

Why I Gave Up an Online Presence 

I gave up social media for Lent for 3 reasons:

1 ) I didn’t think I could. I was so addicted to Scrolling Syndrome that I didn’t actually believe I could make it through an entire work day without checking Facebook. I didn’t think I could sit through a Netflix binge without seeing what was up with Instagram

2 ) I needed to cleanse myself of opinions. I found myself bogged down with everyone’s thoughts and opinions. Anxiety started to take control of my heart and I started worrying about things 100% beyond my control. I questioned people. I questioned myself. I found myself increasingly disappointed with others and myself.

3 ) I couldn’t keep up. I started to see my Instagram following grow. I was hashtagging, curating a “theme” on my feed, and spending way too much time thinking of pictures, how to edit them, and how to caption them. When I first had Instagram, I would scroll for 10 minutes before I went to bed and called it a day. Now I found myself obsessively checking my notifications, planning posts, and forgetting to enjoy the moment without thinking, “How can I add this to my feed?.”

What I Expected

I expected to spend more time in my Bible, in quiet time, and journaling.

I expected my house to get cleaner.

I expected to feel lighter.

I expected to be more productive at work.

I expected to finally get our office organized and finally start on my creative writing portfolio.

I expected to read more.

What Actually Happened

I have been sleeping better because I wasn’t on my phone as much before I go to sleep, and if I was, I was reading my Bible app.

I didn’t spend as much quality quiet time as I thought I would because there were still many other distractions i.e. sleeping in, Netflix, Snapchat, books, Pinterest. . .the list could go on.

My house did not get much cleaner. I’m just not a good housekeeper.

Some days at work I wondered how I was going to fill my time because my to-do list seemed so short. But I found every day there was always something to do even when I didn’t think there was. It’s like the mountains of laundry that are never finished.

I did read more. I read a LOT. And I was able to enjoy it without feeling like I needed to check my phone.

Surprising Finds

I was surprised to find that I didn’t miss Instagram or Twitter one iota throughout my Lenten fast. In fact, I was relieved that I didn’t have the tug to scroll. I did miss Facebook almost every day, though. I felt out of the loop in the lives of people and in the world and I missed the important NY Times and NPR articles about food and anthropology and sociology. Never mind that I could have visited these sites on my own accord. . .

I thought all my anxiety would subside without the Internet world, but anxiety is sometimes inescapable. While it was better, I still experienced bouts of anxiety. It’s up to me to choose what I dwell on. It is up to me to pray through/meditate through those moments when I felt anxiety in the pit of my stomach.

I spent a lot of time introspecting on my online presence and the purpose behind it. I almost didn’t come back. But through the encouragement of my husband, I knew I needed to continue to write.

It’s been a day since I’ve added social media back into my life, and I already hate it. I got on Facebook several times yesterday just for a few minutes each. Did I need to? No. I was just bored.

So moving forward. . .

I know that I don’t need to be on social media when I’m bored. I can find other things to do.

I know that I need to find time to myself throughout the day where I’m not with my phone. The silence is so refreshing.

I know that I need to continue writing, both on the blog, and in my personal time. I am so thankful to have a place where I can share my thoughts. I forget how much I love the quiet of a morning with my cup of coffee, the sun pouring in, and the clackity-clack of my fingers dancing across the keyboard. Thank you for continuing on this journey with me.


Tackle Your Goals

A new way to make New Year's Resolutions: start small.


Like any well-laid New Year’s resolution, only 2 out of 5 of may come to fruition . . . if we’re lucky.


Last year I wrote down a list of 15 goals ranging from run another half marathon, learn 52 Bible verses, and get married. OK the getting married part was a “secret” goal, but that’s the only one that I actually accomplished. There were several other goals on that list that I can’t even remember because when I moved to the new house and hung up the poster of my goals, I realized I had accomplished zero of them and quickly tore it down and put it on top of my refrigerator. I don’t reach up to the refrigerator often. It’s scary, there’s lots of loose papers, and reaching that high is just an effort I’m not interested in making – especially if it’s to see the list of New Year’s Goals from last year.

So this year I decided to switch things up a bit.

I don’t make resolutions, I make goals.

I did this last year and it really helped – for the first three weeks at least.

If you’re like me, you may find that with the new year, the prospect of new change is so exciting that you go a little overboard. Suddenly you have more goals than the 10 commandments.

So here’s what we do:

Only set 3 goals at a time.

3 realistic goals that is. I’m not going to resolve to stop drinking coffee because that’s a problem for everyone involved. But what I can do is try to drink 8 cups of water a day.

My 3 realistic goals look like this:

1 – Get my house back in order

It looks like we just moved in again. While Pai did just move in, I did not. And yet every single room in our house has boxes in it. I get one room sorted out, and then I turn around and there’s boxes in it again. I fall asleep at night dreaming of minimalism (because we just watched a documentary on it while opening wedding presents. MISTAKE.) and knowing those white walls and one little succulent plant elude me. I’m a clutter bug, and that may never change.

2 – Work out twice a week

I do like working out. I really do. But if I don’t get my butt to the gym as soon as I get off work, then I’m not going. Because if you go to the gym at say, 6:30 in the evening, then by the time you’re home, you’ve eaten dinner, and you’ve showered, it’s already time for bed. Working out is a big time waster. So that’s why I have to go asap or I’m not going at all.

Bonus Tip: Know your habits. If you are a lazy person, do the thing you don’t want to do ASAP.

3 – Read 2 books

I love books and winter time is my favorite time to read. When I’m not trying to put boxes away, I’m either cuddled up with the Netflix or with a book. Pai got the new FIFA 17 for Christmas, and so far it’s working out really well for me. We can be together preoccupied with our own thing. Ahh marriage. I’m suuuuper excited about my goal of reading 2 books because a) I know it’s possible and b) I just started a book club! So that takes care of 1 book. The only way I’m containing my excitement over starting a book club is because I’m typing, and not talking to you in person.

Now that I have my 3 goals, I know where to focus this month.If I don’t achieve all 3 of these goals, that’s ok. That is what February is for.

I’m learning to accept that I am not a Superwoman. I may be Super. I may be a Woman, but I don’t have super strength or xray vision, and I’ll just have to be ok with that.

But if I do accomplish these goals. . . then February holds 3 new exciting goals.

Do you like to set resolutions or goals?
What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions?

The Best of 2016

learning to thrive in a world of hopelessness

My 2016 can be easily recapped into one big word: WEDDING. That’s almost all that I thought about for 7 months of the year. But before May, I still did have a life, and that life consisted of “book dates” where Pai worked on grad school homework and I got to idly read because I wasn’t in school. Yay!

Undeniably, Hugs and Lattes suffered a little bit underneath all of the wedding stress. I thought this was the year – this was the year to monetize my blog, grow my readership, and make it all happen. I realized towards the end of this year that that kind of life isn’t just me. I was putting way too much pressure on myself. Even though I hadn’t even started the process, I was paralyzed by the overwhelming thought of it all. Blogging wasn’t fun anymore; it felt like a chore.

There was a lot I wanted to do, and there was a lot I didn’t do. But most importantly, I grew. I grew in my friendships – both old and new. I grew in my relationship with the Lord, and I grew in some areas of my life that definitely needed maturity.

I learned how to be a prisoner of hope. . . and how to eat broccoli without gagging.

I accepted that I’m not a great blogger, and also, I have a lot of questions.

I faced what keeps me from inspiration. 

chili dinner

I tried to find the balance between sharing sacred moments and keeping them to ourselves. (And honestly, I’m still trying to figure this one out.)

I learned that it’s OK to be loved in the way you best receive it.

I found ways to practice contentment and endurance.

I shared the joy of what it means to date in community.

I went on adventures.

I changed my name.

And I got married. :)

the best of 2016


What was your favorite part about 2016?

Helene in Between