Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sad and Thankful

This Christmas, all I'm thinking about is how much I miss John Sessoms, my beloved Grandpop. This is our first Christmas without him, and it's just not the same. It was so strange hearing someone give the Christmas prayer (even though my Mom did an absolutely beautiful job) other than Grandpop. It was also strange not having my sweet cousins Johnny, Angie, and Natalie with us, since my uncle Mark remarried. I must say, I genuinely miss our old Christmases, when we'd all gather on the 26th at Grandma & Grandpop's house in Murfreesboro to exchange gifts & get our typical gift of socks from the grandparents. I miss it so much, and I'm so heartbroken knowing that I'll never get to have that kind of Christmas again. But I was so thankful to have the family over to Lenoir City to spend time with Grandma (where she now lives). Though she often gets confused (she has alzheimers), she seemed happy to see the family.

Grandpop's sister Eska with my cousins Nat & Angie (day of his funeral)

It's been a hard year for my mom, but I could not be more proud to be her daughter. She is a strong, caring, compassionate, selfless woman. I hope I have that much kindness in my genes.

I am so grateful that Nathan got to meet my Grandpop before he passed away. Nathan came with me to see them before Grandpop got sick & while he was in hospice care, and I KNOW that Grandpop would approve of me marrying such a wonderful man. I only wish he was going to be around to see it... though I know he's going to be somewhere smiling down on us.

I am so thankful for my family, and somewhat sad that this is my last year to spend the "Stone" family christmas altogether with my sweet family. But I know I have a wonderful life ahead of me as a Dryden (and a Stone at heart... let's face it- I'll NEVER stop being a Stone! after all, I've got the "Finley ass").

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter has officialy arrived.

Well, the weather outside is frightful.... and all of my plans for this evening have been officially canceled.

I worked so hard all weekend to finish my Sociological Theory final paper (a whopping 19 pages) in order to be free for my fun plans tonight, all to no avail. I was supposed to dance in a Christmas program, have a chili night at my dance director (if you knew her, you'd understand why this is such a BIG deal), and then have a Taco Mamacita staff party, bringing my darling friend Allison as my date!

BUT, instead, I'm snowed in! I was able to rescue Nathan before the roads got unmanageable, and we got some groceries for the perfect snow-day dinner: Oven pizza (cheese, of course), faux chicken nuggets (vegetarian friendly), and peas. How fun & fifth-grade is that?!

While cooking, I decided to make myself a Christmasy cocktail, and it turned out wonderful. So, I'm going to share it with you:

  • two parts white wine (I used a really cheap one)
  • one part Cranberry Ginger Ale (mmmmm!)
  • a dash of St. Germain (elderflower liqueur, sooo tasty)
And Voila, a tasty Christmasy cocktail to join a very juvenile dinner.

I must say, I am certainly glad that my work for the semester is done. It's been the toughest semester yet, but I dare say that I handled it quite gracefully. I can't even imagine how many pages total I've written to this point..... probably around 100, at least. I'm proud of the work I've done this semester. But I'm SO glad it's done. Only ONE MORE TO GO!!!!

and, by the way: only 172 days till our wedding! =)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

SO READY.


I am absolutely so ready to be officially done with semester & able to enjoy Christmas.
Only a couple more days.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ashamed, but hopeful.


Today, I am mourning the loss of what I thought was Belmont's Christian values.

Belmont recently forced the resignation of women's head soccer coach Lisa Howe, based on her sexuality and her expectant child with her life partner. She apparently violated the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. This bigotry & hatred has gone too far.

I have such respect for the leaders of this institution, but I am so very disappointed right now.
We all are.

Here are a few articles on the situation: Tennessean, Nashville Scene, City Paper (I'm quoted!)

Please keep Belmont, Lisa Howe's family, and the community in your prayers. We are fighting this.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

=)


my how our love has grown.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oh.Hi.Oh.



Welp, tonight is our last night in Ohio. =(
It has seriously been an amazing trip. This is basically the perfect vacation. I've gotten to spend loads of time with my soon to be in-laws, and it's been an absolute blast. We had a full house all week- Mr. & Mrs. Dryden, Nathan, Isaac, & Jared (the three Dryden boys.... sister Sarah was with her boyfriend for Thanksgiving), Grandma & Poppy (Nathan's maternal grandparents), Amanda & Bill (Nathan's uncle & his wife), Ellery Grace and Emery Cate (their two adorable little girls, 6 & 2 years old), and two dogs. There was so much going on, constantly. We watched movies together about every night, and ate almost every moment of the day. And of course, drank lots of tea. That's one thing I love about visiting the Drydens– there's always tons of delicious tea!

Basically we did a lot of sitting around and talking, reading, watching movies, cuddling, giggling, sleeping, etc. I went to the local tea house, The Swan House, with the ladies of the family on Friday morning, which was of course a lovely time. Nathan & I got to catch up with his friend Jeremy & his wife Carrie at a local coffee shop. We got to observe Amanda making adorable blankets for the girls (I took mental notes). AND- we started our wedding registry at Kohl's!!!

I'm honestly really sad to be leaving Ohio tomorrow morning. It's been a really relaxing trip. I've loved not having any plans or responsibilities for the day. I think it's been super healthy for our relationship to just be with each other without any school or work pressures for this many days. We really never get these kinds of breaks. I have loved spending every moment with Nathan. It just makes me so excited about 6 months from now when we're married.

I seriously fall more in love with him every moment we spend together.

photo by our wonderful photographers at Ulmer Studios

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful.

So last night I was journaling a list of life's little joys. I read it to Nathan and he said "that describes you perfectly." I like my list, and I'm going to share it with you. There are so many big things I'm thankful for, but it's life's little joys that we often overlook. Here's my list:

cuddling, cats, naps, fresh sheets, macaroni-&-cheese, ceiling fans, cold nights, red leaves, bonfires, oatmeal, laughter, freckles, dancing, e-mails, best friends, floral prints, marriage, hot coffee, stretching, ink pens, movie nights, moonlight, purring, warm showers, bathrobes, boots, beer, weekends, pause buttons, doorknobs, donuts, boutiques, haircuts, jewelry, compliments, wind, rain, art, the color blue,
and most of all, LOVE.we love to laugh together.
photo by Ulmer Studios Photography

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

haircut.

well, today I got my hair cut. the shortest it has ever been, definitely.
and, you know what, i love it.
I am learning to love my quirky curly hair. It's me.
and so what if I kind of look like I have an afro.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Love.

The weekend has come & gone. I think it's time for me to make a list of things I love.
  • napping with my cats
  • pepperoncinis
  • my wedding dress
  • my soon-to-be in-laws
  • Stephanie freaking Creasy, and the fact that she returns to the USA in 15 days
  • dancing out late with my girlfriends
  • sweet dinner dates with Nathan
  • bread & butter (ah, the simple things)
  • boots
  • knowing that I'll be Mrs Rebecca Dryden in 201 days!
  • this picture from my favorite sweet artist, Geninne

Have a great week, everybody!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

204 days.

I get to marry my best friend in 204 days, and I have no idea how I'm going to wait that long!
Seriously, I love him more than I can even come close to saying, and I'm so excited about sharing my life with him. Mrs Rebecca Dryden. Mmmm, sounds so right.

AND, my wedding dress is in. =) I'm going tomorrow to try it on! eeeeeeh!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Engagement Photos!!!

Today Nathan & I finally had our engagement photo session, and it was an absolute BLAST.
We were so bummed when our original shoot got rained out, and we had serious doubts that we'd get nice "fall" weather for our perfect engagement shoot after bumping the date back two weeks. But, miraculously, today was a beautiful day in the 70s with sunny skies.... and we even managed to find one tree with yellow leaves (the rest of the trees were totally bare, sadly).

We started out in the Cannery Ballroom, where Nathan & I will be having our reception on June 3rd! It was really nice to be able to revisit the venue, now that we have more tangible ideas in mind for the reception. And we had lots of fun with Josh & Amber there.

Then, we ventured out to Radnor Lake.... where we almost got arrested. We drifted off a hundred feet or so from the paved roadway to take a few shots, and some crazy tree-hugger lady stood there staring at us & yelled that we weren't allowed to be there. Then a "ranger" came and told us he could fine us & take away the cameras (which he actually couldn't legally do)... he asked if we were "students or something", and once Josh & Amber said that they were our wedding photographers & were taking some engagement photos, he immediately warmed up & lost his "hardass" demeanor. It was actually quite sweet. He drove by us later & gave us some other ideas of where to shoot some photos.... hehe. But we managed to take some good photos before being reprimanded. And we even got some "legal" photos after the fact, being sure not to veer too far from the paved pathway.

Amber & Josh put up a teaser of the photos on their photography blog: UlmerStudios

check it out! I can't wait to see the rest of the photos from the fun-filled photo shoot!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time to be positive.

This week has put me in a bad, bad mood.
Particularly after getting my allergy shots, & then a pap smear. Not a good day.
But, I've been so negative all week that I decided I need to be positive about something.
So, here's a short list of things that I'm happy about.
(I must pay homage to Steph's "happy list" posts, that I always love reading)
  • I have the sweetest cats in the entire world.
  • I have the most perfect fiance that I could ever imagine.
  • I saw Margaret Atwood tonight!
  • I get to see my best friend in a sketch comedy show on Saturday night!
  • My friend Alex is coming in town all the way from NYC.
  • My best friend comes home from Africa in a matter of weeks.
  • Nathan & I will, at some point, have an engagement photo shoot, and it'll be awesome.
  • I'm doing well in my classes (so far....).
  • The leaves are bright orange and yellow.
  • Nights are getting colder.
  • I am back to dancing, which I've been missing so badly.
  • Life is, despite its bumps & bruises, good.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Longing for London...

Today I'm feeling blue. I'm stressed, tired, and altogether bummed out by life right now.
So, I'm taking a moment to remember one of the greatest months of my life. Last summer I went to London and got to spend 5 weeks there with my past roommate Amy & my current roommate Caroline. They are two of my favorite ladies in the world, and two of my bridesmaids!

I absolutely fell in love with British culture, and I want to spend at least a year of my life living in this British countryside. If we had the money, it'd be the perfect honeymoon location.

Here are a few of the highlights. I wish I was there right now...

Pittenweem, Scotland

St Andrews Cathedral ruins
St Andrews, Scotland

having a cosmo at the pub in Hampstead

mint chocolate ice cream at the market

We found this in the bushes, no lie.
Absurd, and vile... but hilarious.

Winchester Cathedral, where Jane Austen is buried

Jane Austen's home in Chawton, England

outside the British Museum

a piece of the Berlin Wall,
Imperial War Museum in London


This week sucks

Sorry to be a sour puss, but this week really sucks already.
Today was supposed to be me & Nathan's engagement shoot with our awesome photographers.
So, naturally, Nashville decided to have SEVERE freakin weather all day.

UGH.
Rescheduled.

yeah, really doesn't look good for an outdoor photo shoot....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do I really look like Shirley Temple?

It's not that she's ugly or anything.... but when people say you look like Shirley Temple, they mean 6-year-old Shirley Temple, not 55-year-old Shirley Temple. So basically I look like a 6-year-old with ringlet hair. Awesome.


Gah.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bridesmaid dresses?!

Right now I am in the midst of a floral-induced headache.
I've spent practically my entire weekend looking at floral fabrics & dress patterns for my bridesmaids' dresses. I am realizing now how big of a task this is!

Here are my favorite fabrics so far (next to photos of the chapel, to see what it might look like)






I think my favorites are the last two (and they're almost identical.... very subtle differences)

Now, what dress pattern? Well, Mom & I found a pattern that we really like (cred to her, she actually found it online), and it could easily be altered for each girl. I'm thinking every girl can decide what kind of neckline she wants (boatneck, halter, strapless, sweetheart, etc) and have her dress made for her. That way they'll all have the same line & look, but they'll have some individual flair.

Here's the pattern we like the most so far:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

please watch.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Trip to the Bakery


Today Nathan & I had a cake consultation at Dulce Desserts in Edgehill Village. It went absolutely perfectly. The owner, Juanita Lane (who happens to be the ONLY person I've ever met to have the same middle name as me), was so extremely helpful and honest, and she was able to quote us a really great price. They make all of their cakes from scratch, which means no lard, no crisco, no weird fake preservatives. Yay! And they use excellent ingredients in their frostings and fillings. =)

We got to taste just the plain butter cake with a few different flavors of frosting. We decided that our absolute favorites were the Almond-Amaretto Buttercream and the Lemon Curd filling. YUM.

We talked for a long time about our aesthetic ideas and what flavors and designs we wanted. I'm totally convinced that our cake is going to be both beautiful and deliciously tasty!!!

Once we send in a contract & deposit (which we need to do soon so she doesn't get booked for June 3rd!), we'll get to schedule our "Cake-a-palooza,"as she so lovingly put it, when we get to come in for tastings of freshly baked cake & frosting flavor combinations! We are seriously so excited. And mom already said that she wants to come to Nashville for the cake tasting, haha! I definitely don't blame her.

Things are coming along! Now if only I could get this dang thesis written so I can graduate in May....

Happy National Coming-Out Week!

As many people know, I am a serious supporter of gay rights issues. It's increasingly becoming one of my biggest passions, and I could definitely see myself working long-term in LGBTQ rights & community-building. There is such stress put on the divide between "heterosexual" and "homosexual," but in reality we are all people. I have loved the past couple of meetings with our unofficial GSA on Belmont's campus. Just because BU won't officially let us be a recognized group, that won't stop us from being a community and supporting one another in this important, transitional time in our lives. LGBTQ students need a welcoming support-group the way that theology students going through spiritual crises do. It's a HUGE life issue, and we all need to have somewhere safe to turn to.

Also, the number of suicides and tragic bullying cases this fall have been devastatingly high. We need to reach out to one another to offer protection and support, and prevent the kind of bullying and degradation that has been happening to kids in schools.

I am an ally. There is no us & them, there is only a WE. Anyone who chooses to lash out in hate and judgment against the LGBTQ community has also to deal with the vast and expansive group of allies. We will not stop fighting for justice.

Monday, October 11, 2010

YES.


One step closer to graduation...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Impatient.

Today
I am very tempted,
more than ever,
to screw this whole plan
& run off to the city hall with Nathan.

Patience....patience...patience.

Today I almost wrote "Becca Dryden" in a book.
That's how badly I want it to be June 3.

not a bad place for a wedding.....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Date Night with Nathan & The National


Last night, Nathan and I had a very fun date at the Ryman to see The National live in concert! They're Nathan's favorite band, so I was really excited to share that experience with him. It was truly a breathtaking show. Unfortunately, the entire audience decided that they should ignore the pews and just stand the whole time.... seemed a bit dumb to me. But, despite the mass of somewhat irritating kids around us, it was a really wonderful show. The National put on a stellar performance. Every song was just about perfect. I'm so glad I've seen them live because I can appreciate their music more now. I've always enjoyed listening to their songs, but seeing them in concert made their music really come alive to me. It was phenomenal.

The highlights of the night:
Being with Nathan (duh)
When their lead-singer jumped off the stage and started climbing through the audience during a song.
Their last, entirely acoustic song.

What a wonderful evening. =)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ponyo


I finally saw Ponyo (Wednesday night, when I had my personal evening to recover from my bad day)

It is an absolutely delightful film. This was the first Miyazaki film I've seen, and now I want to see all of them! The story is just absolutely precious and wonderful, and the animation is astoundingly beautiful. The colors he uses and the images he creates are so imaginative and exciting. Not to mention, the two main characters to too cute for words. I really enjoyed every moment of this film, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who had a bad day & wants to see little glimpses of joy through a child's eye.




"Ponyo loves Sosuke!"

Dear best fran


I just need to say, for the whole digital world, how proud I am of my best friend Stephanie.
She is changing the lives of kids in Africa, and she makes my heart glow with joy every time I get an e-mail from her. She is definitely one of the most beautiful people, inside & out, that I have ever known. I can't WAIT for her to get back from Africa.... even though I'm sad about all of the great relationships & experiences she'll be leaving.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

chin up

Today was a really bad day.
In a really dreadful sort of way.
But, I'm at home now, my cats are keeping me company,
I'm drinking a homemade margarita,
and trying to have a positive attitude.
I think I might just do a bit of homework and curl up in my bed with a movie on my computer.
There are too many wonderful joys in my life to let a bad day keep me down.
So, I'm keeping my chin up and moving on.

After all, only 246 days until I'm married to my best friend & the absolute love of my life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My cats are the cutest!!!


and they really love to help me with my homework.

This morning, I woke up to Corduroy & Fiero chasing each other around the apartment. That's right, kitties, get some energy out so you don't mess up everything in the apartment. Someone please explain to me how my tiny little cat (Fiero) has learned to jump ON TOP of my dresser?!?! It's a pretty tall dresser. At least 4 1/2 feet. And he just jumps right up there. And knocks over my vase of flowers. In the middle of the night.

But it all becomes worth it when they jump up on my bed while I'm reading some Buechner, and cuddle with me until bed time.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Engagement Party!

Last night, my 3 best friends (Sarah, Amy, & Stephanie, through cyberspace) threw me & Nathan an engagement party! It was seriously perfect (except for the fact that Steph wasn't there). It was a fun, classy evening full of wine, cupcakes, and friends. Sarah made the BEST cupcakes I've ever had, Gretchen made brownies, Dan made tea-cake, Amy/Caroline made fruit pizzas, and Shauna made pumpkin cookies! I might be forgetting something.... but it was all SO good! And, we made some tasty sangria to share with all the guests.

My favorite part of the evening was definitely the toasts. Amy read Stephanie's toast, and I was so deeply touched. Nathan & I saved the copy of it. =) I loved all her cute jokes, and also the sweet, encouraging things she said about my relationship with Nathan. She has played such a huge part in my life & thus in my relationship with Nathan, and it was an honor to have her toast us. Next, Amy & Sarah made an adorable candid speech, which I loved in every single way. It made my heart so happy to have them standing there with me. They, too, have been huge influences in my life & my relationship with Nathan. I can't say how much those 3 girls mean to me.

Nathan's best friends also toasted! His friend Sean gave one of the most touching speeches I've ever heard. He called Nathan his soulmate and said all sorts of wonderful truths about how much of a wonderful man Nathan is. I'm so blessed to have Sean as a friend. He's a great listener, a great thinker, and one of the sweetest human beings I've ever known. He's taught both Nathan & myself a lot in our time as friends, and I'm thankful that Nathan has had him as a friend for these 4 years.

Nathan's other friend & roommate, Ian said some sweet things, too. Ian is such a tender, gentle soul, and I'm so happy that Nathan's last "roommate" experience is with Ian. I love coming over to their place and watching them have conversations with one another. They're such great friends for each other, and Ian has quickly become one of my favorite friends. I was so glad he made a toast.

All in all, the night was better than I could've ever imagined. And, what better way to end the evening than going to McDonalds for a large french fries? Yes, we totally got fries on the way home. No shame. =)

A few pictures from the evening! More to come!

Me & my Allison!

Just being silly!

Me & my man!

Me & my dear friend Dan.

Both of the Beccas!

Wonderful friends: Shauna, Cole, and Becca.


We're both engaged!!!

The crew, at Amy's ADORABLE house.

Me & sweet Hailey.

The DELICIOUS assortment of desserts. =)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tired.

When Fiero gets sleepy, he gets to nap all day.... I'm jealous.

This whole routine is leaving me quite exhausted. I don't know if I can seriously handle being a full-time student, writing a thesis, working at a restaurant, interning, planning a wedding, taking care of the world's worst-behaved cats, and maintaining my sanity. I'm tired. And I'm also pretty sure my butt is getting bigger because I don't have time to exercise. Bad news.

Please excuse my complaining. Now, back to positivity (and homework).