The Bluest Water I Have Ever Seen

Hey guys, happy Friday! I am back with part 3 of 5 of our Mediterranean adventure Zach and I went on in June this year. If you have been following along, you know that we started our trip in Venice, Italy and moved on to Croatia. Montenegro was our next stop on the cruise.

In all honesty, before this trip, I could not have pointed out Montenegro on a map. I mean, I vaguely understood it was in the Mediterranean, but that's about as far as I would have gotten. It's a little embarrassing to admit my lack of geography awareness but I am doing it here on the internet anyway so you all can understand why I had basically no expectations at this port. All Zach and I were hoping to do was to see something cool and eat something yummy.

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When we got off the ship everyone in our group loaded up on to speed boats and headed off to some caves that were supposed to be cool. Don't get me wrong, the caves we got to swim in were spectacular. They were these incredibly smooth cutouts from years and years of the sea beating against the rock. What was really mindblowing, though, was the water. Right before we gt to jump off the boat into the water the tour guide told us that the water was about 6 meters deep. Looking over the edge of the boat and not being used to working in metric units I immediately thought that the guy meant 6 feet. I could see straight to the bottom where the rocks and plants were. It wasn't until Zach jumped in and I could see where his legs reached in contrast to the bottom of the ocean that I realized the ocean floor was actually approximately 18 feet down.

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Maybe this post is making me sound... not so intelligent. I mean, I didn't know where Montenegro was and I temporarily thought that 6 meters meant 6 feet... If you could have seen the water in Montenegro, though, you would understand. When you go to the beach here in Southern California you can hardly see the ocean floor once the water is shin high. If you go to the bay you might be able to get in up to your knees before you lose sight of the bottom. To be able to look over the side of our speed boat and see eighteen feet straight down through the most beautifully clear turquoise water was almost too much to comprehend.

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After a short swimming break our tour kept going. We saw submarine hideouts from World War 2, tree-covered hills, and the cutest little coastal towns full of brightly covered buildings. About halfway back to the port, we stopped for lunch at a little beach. We ended up eating lunch at this sea-to-table fish restaurant that sat right over the ocean. Our lunch had to be the freshest fish I have ever eaten. We chose a gigantic snapper and had it grilled up for us. Zach chose this meal as the best one of the trip!

Our last stop before getting back on the boat was at a little church called Our Lady of the Rocks. Apparently, a long time ago the people living in the area took over 200 ships, filled them with rocks, and sailed them out to where the church sits and sank them. Once they sank enough ships they were able to build the church on top of it. t used to be a church used for weekly services and people would sail to church each week. Now it is just used for special occasions like baptisms and weddings.

I still can't get over the color of the water in Montenegro. The water all throughout the Mediterranean was beautiful, but the water we got to swim in that day was really something else. Have you ever seen something so common and unique at the same time? What was it? Now that I know traveling means finding things as mind-blowing as the water there I know to be on the lookout!

Amazon Kind of Christmas (In July)

Hello!!!!!! I am so excited to tell you guys something: Last week for Amazon Prime Day I discovered some of the best stuff. I wanted to share it with everyone so that next year you all can have as successful of a Monday as I did! I not only found some of the best products and got them for a screaming deal, but I also learned the tricks of shopping prime day. Just to be clear, this is not an ad for Amazon and none of the links or anything are affiliate links. This means there is literally zero benefits to you buying something from this page instead of going to Amazon for yourself, I do not get paid, I just want to share with you all the cool things I found and learned. Apparently, when you post links on the internet you have to disclose if you are benefitting from them or else you can get in really big trouble... But since I am not, consider this my anti-disclaimer.

First of all, if you don't have an Amazon Prime account you should. Without fail, paying for something on Amazon with free 2-day shipping is always (okay, mostly always... like 95% of the time) cheaper than buying something somewhere else and having to pay to ship. PLUS with Amazon, it is delivered in 2 days to your doorstep instead of having to wait 2 weeks for whatever it is that you wanted. You also get access to Amazon Music and Prime video which has some of our FAVORITE shows on it. No one likes commercials, scratchy radio stations, or being patient so Amazon is basically my best friend. Plus, getting home and seeing a pile of smiling boxes waiting for you just makes me happy and I am sure it will make you happy, too. (with a school email address you can get Prime Student for 6 months for a great deal, you can try it free for 30 days, or you can pay for it year after year like I do because it is TOTALLY WORTH IT!) For those of you that have other people living at home with you, you can even have a family account so your kids, parents, siblings, or significant others can use Prime without being able to see what you bought them for their birthday.

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Before I get into sharing all the great deals I found, I thought I would share HOW I found all the great deals. About 2 months before Prime Day I started making a list of all of the wishlist things I wanted to get for the house, anything I wanted that was difficult to find in the stores, and anything that I had thought about ordering on Amazon but couldn't decide if it was a good enough price. Every time I found myself looking to buy something I would add it to the notes on my phone. It might seem crazy to save up all of your purchases for one day, but Amazon, Target, Walmart, and tons of other stores all have amazing sales in July and I would way rather buy something on sale than pay full price. The way I see it, I was going to spend a certain amount of money over a few months so saving it all up for one month doesn't cost me any extra.

The night before Prime Day I got on my Amazon app. I had never used the app on Prime Day before and it made the whole thing SO. MUCH. BETTER. If you go in the app and click on today's deal, there is an option to look at upcoming deals. I spent about an hour scrolling through all of the Prime Day deals that would be going live in the next 24 hours and picking the ones that were on my wishlist. When you add something to your watch list you cant see the price, so I added multiples if I saw more than one. That way if I didn't like the deal or if the deal was so good that the item I wanted sold out right away I was able to move on to the next one. I turned on notifications from Amazon on my phone so I would get a reminder right before any deals went live which you don't HAVE to do but it made sure I didn't have to check my phone every 5 minutes to see what time something was going on sale. After I looked through all the deals, I went to sleep and waited for the deals to start.

For those of you who don't know, Prime Day starts at midnight here in California and runs for two days. I was not interested in waking up at 1 or 2 am because I love sleep even more than I love a good deal, so I just waited till I woke up at 5 am to start shopping. The deals that became available in the middle of the night were waiting for me when I woke up. Every time I got a notification I would just open the app and check the deal as it went live. If it was a good deal I would add whatever the thing was to my cart and check out right away before the deal ended (some only last 5 minutes, and some sell out even faster!). If the deal was good but sold out faster than I could buy it I would add myself to the waitlist. Most of the deals were incredible- I am talking about 40-85% off- but if the deal was not as good as I had hoped or I thought I would be able to find it that price somewhere else, I simply deleted the notification. With deals that had multiple times happening, I found that the items did not get any cheaper as the day went on, but I have heard that some people have gotten even better deals by waiting later in the day.

Now that you know how I got all the great deals, I wanted to share a few of my favorite finds. Since Prime Day is over you won't be able to get the exact same deal on these things, but I will still put the links in so anyone who is interested can get something similar. I was mostly shopping for home decor this year so you might start to see a theme as you scroll through the photos :)

Are you an Amazon Prime member and do you shop on Prime Day? I honestly used to think it was stupid because I would sit at my computer and have to wait anxiously scrolling through lists of things that I didn't need waiting for that one special thing to go on sale. After figuring out how to use the app this year I am never going back! I am also going to keep my running list of things to buy going and leave anything I can wait on until Black Friday this year... the next time all my favorite stores will be having major sales! If you have any tips for finding stuff on sale or shopping Prime Day let me know so I can try them out next year. Also, let me know what you bought, if anything! I love seeing what other people love!

4th of July Adventure

For the first time in 6 years Zach and I did not go up to Lake Arrowhead with his family for 4th of July. Instead, we headed up to North Lake Tahoe with my family for a family vacation! We were nervous about taking a break from tradition but it was SO MUCH FUN! Check out our adventure and let me know what some of your family traditions are I the comments below!

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I JUST CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!

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Happy Monday! Did you have a productive weekend? Zach and I spent the weekend working on all the projects that have been sitting around our house for the last year and we just never seem to get around to doing. For those of you that don't know, Zach has lived in our home for 2 years and I moved in just over a year ago. You would think that since we have been there so long we would have everything put away and decorated and have it all together.... but at 24 and 25 home decorating seems to always get bumped from the to-do list by the latest Game of Thrones episode or a nap.

I am not sure exactly what happened, but one day I absolutely could not stand looking at the huge pile of mail on our kitchen table and the 6 pairs of shoes in the front hall. I am by no means an organized person (I can barely even see the floor of my closet) but that day I just lost it. At that exact moment, I needed everything put away and for there to be no more piles of anything in my house. When Zach asked me what I was doing running all over the house moving things around I shouted "I JUST CANT TAKE THIS ANYMORE!" I looked insane. Zach told me I WAS insane. I acted insane. Now the house is all clean and it was definitely worth it! Simply picking everything up took about 3 hours since Zach and I hadn't done that since.... well probably ever. Once all the random stuff was put away we started realizing what kinds of projects we had been putting off for months.

The first thing we did was hang curtains in our bedroom. We have glass French doors in our master bedroom and I love them. It is awesome to get to look out and see all the lights at night and to be woken up in the morning by natural light. What I don't love about them is that they leave us with very little privacy. In about 2 days we went from not having any idea what we wanted to having everything done! I really should have recorded us hanging the curtain rod and attempting to hem the curtains to the length we wanted because it was pretty entertaining, but since I didn't you will have to imagine what happened from this picture.

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We decided the next step would be to hang the pictures we had sitting in a pile on our pool table. We spent 45 minutes looking for the perfect place and 1 minute actually hanging the pictures. In my mind, hanging things on the wall is such a time commitment and labor intensive project but as it turns out the hardest part is just deciding where things should go. It only took one nail to hang most of the frames on the wall!

The last thing we did doesn't really count as decorating because you can't actually see it when you walk in our house. It was more of an organizational thing. My aunt and uncle gave me their crystal glassware before I got married. It is a beautiful collection of Waterford goblets and serving ware. For the last year, it has been sitting boxed up in my office without being used or a permanent home. Zach's parents also recently gave us a set of china that they were getting rid of. That, too, was sitting around in the house in a moving box without a permanent home. After two different trips to Bed Bath and Beyond we finally got the proper storage, packed everything up and got it put away. Now, instead of having my office full of kitchen things maybe I can actually use it for its intended purpose!

Are we the only ones who let things pile up in the house until someone loses their mind? I feel like other people must let this happen, too. Also, what was the last wedding gift you finally put away? I still have one more thing sitting up in my office that I am trying to find the perfect place for (Being so short means I can only reach the first shelf of my upper kitchen cabinets without dragging out the ladder!). Let me know so I know I am not the only one who doe these things!

Kinda Trying to be Healthy, Kinda Liking Eating Pizza on the Couch

Hey guys! I know I haven't been keeping up with posting every Monday and Friday like I have been trying to, but sometimes life gets in the way. I've been soooooo behind on everything from grocery shopping to laundry that sitting down to write a blog post about what we have been up to just didn't even make the to-do list. But here I am, back at it, and ready to let you all in on what we have been doing!

How many of you made New Year's resolutions that you have long since forgotten about? I am sitting here with my hand raised high. Both Zach and I made goals to be healthier. We said we would eat more veggies, less dessert, eat in more and go out less. We also said that we would use the home gym that we worked so hard to put together. I am sure most of you can guess that by the middle of January these ideas went right out the window.

Two weeks ago, we both re-committed to this new healthy lifestyle. I made a menu full of veggies and protein. I looked up workouts and announced that I would be working out 4 days a week. Zach did the grocery shopping and got tons of fresh produce from Trader Joes. It looked like we were all set up for success. What could possibly go wrong, right?

By the time Friday rolled around, I had worked out exactly 0 times. I had also cooked 0 meals from my healthy eating meal plan. To make it even better, I texted Zach on my lunch hour saying how tired I was and we quickly decided that ordering pizza and garlic knots from Zitos was the best possible decision we could make for the day. It was delicious, but clearly not in alignment with working towards being healthy. Finishing off a quart of ice cream while watching a movie, eating a giant shave ice, and mowing down a bag of gummy bears over the weekend also didn't get me any closer to being healthy. I clearly have a problem.

Since I am clearly failing at working towards a healthier me, I am hoping you all can help me out. Zach wants to get healthy with me, so let me know in the comments below what your favorite way to be healthy with your partner is. Do you have a favorite healthy recipe? I would love to try it! Do you and your spouse work out together? What do you do that you can both enjoy? I am hoping that between now and the end of May Zach and I can make some serious progress towards our goal and I would love any suggestions you have to offer!

What I Wish I Knew Before Going to New Orleans

If you didn't read my last post, Zach and I just got back from our spring break trip to New Orleans! We thought we were really prepared for the trip, but once we arrived we realized that we weren't as smart as we thought we were. We had prepared for the weather, the humidity, and made plans for what to do while we were there but we still missed preparing for some things that would have been helpful to know. Just in case anyone was wondering, I thought I would share the things I wish I knew before flying 3/4 of the way across the country.

1) Walking is the fastest way to get around. Unlike here in Southern California, taking a Lyft or an Uber is not going to get you anywhere in a hurry. Every night on our way to dinner we would check to see if calling a car would be easier or faster but it never was. Walking everywhere not only saved us a ton of money, but it also saved us 10-20 minutes everywhere we went! The French Quarter is so crowded in the afternoon and evening that some of the streets get closed off to cars. The rest of them have so many people in them that it just takes forever to get through. Zach ended up with sore ankles from wearing the wrong shoes and I ended up with multiple blisters in places I wouldn't have even thought possible. If you are planning on doing anything more than just staying in your hotel, make sure to bring comfortable shoes that you won't mind walking all over the city in.

2) California has different standards of dress than the rest of the country. I packed some sundresses, jeans, t-shirts, and sandals figuring that I could pretty much make an outfit for any occasion out of what I packed. Just for good measure, I threw I medium-formal dress, a blouse, and a pair of wedges. In Southern California, wearing jeans is acceptable for almost any occasion so I figured I would be fine. Zach, luckily, packed a blazer and a couple of button up shirts for the trip or we really would have been in trouble. Most of the restaurants we went to for dinner had a business casual dress code that specified no jeans. Some of them even said jacket preferred. Even just for day-to-day activities, I noticed that all the locals, or at least people visiting from the south, all were dressed much cuter than I was and NO ONE (besides me) was wearing flip-flops. If you live outside Orange County, maybe you think I am crazy for saying jeans were my plan for the whole trip, but if you are from here and are planning a trip to New Orleans, make sure you bring plenty of "dressy casual" and business casual clothes.

3) Everything moves just a little bit slower. This really was not something I was expecting. From the moment our plane touched down, the passengers got off the plane slower. When we caught a Lyft to our hotel, the driver drove slower. People talked slower and waited longer to take our order at restaurants. When we were walking in the streets everyone walked slower and nobody seemed to mind. People ate slower shopped slower and greeted each other slower. I loved it! Zach was going insane.

I really try to plan for every trip we go on. I hate being unprepared and try to think of everything I can before a trip. Still, almost every time there are things I miss when planning. Have you ever had something pop up on your vacation that you weren't prepared for? Did it work out or did you have to scramble to come up with a solution? Let me know in the comments below so I know I am not the only one this happens to!

New Orleans, Louisiana

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As a teacher, March is the WORST. Those of you who have normal, year-round, 9-5 jobs are all about to start making fun of me, but it's true. It is the only month of the whole year where you have students every day. There are no random holidays, no teacher work days, and no professional development days- just 4 1/2 straight weeks of students coming to school every day with spring fever. If you are a teacher, you get it. If you are not, I dare you to try teaching in March.

As someone who likes hanging out with my husband, April is the worst. Not as bad as being a teacher in March, but it's still not great. Zach has a work trip almost every weekend in April which means I am home alone a lot. Even when he is home, there is work to catch up on from being gone and in-town swapmeets to run. It seems a little unfair that these two months back up against each other, but right in between there is a magical week where everything seems to go right- Spring Break!

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When Zach and I picked a wedding date, we really over thought it. We thought about birthdays and holidays, work schedules, we changed our minds 100 times, and finally settled at the end of March. The first week in April is spring break every year and we decided to get married just before that so we could take a spring break trip every year. Last year, we went to Maui, Hawaii for our honeymoon and this year we went to New Orleans.

Across our 5 day trip, Zach and I visited 4 state museums, took 2 tours, ate at 12 different restaurants (some of them twice!), and walked over 62 miles. Neither one of us had been to Louisiana before and we loved exploring the city together. The people, the buildings, and the food gave us the perfect respite from our crazy lives.

Our favorite part of the whole trip was just walking around and looking at all the beautiful architecture. From walking around the French Quarter and admiring the shops and shotgun houses to wandering down St. Charles street and shopping for our imaginary other life we loved seeing all the architecture that was so different from what we have here in Orange County. We both felt like we had stepped into another world where uniqueness was celebrated and conformity did not exist. Instead of pre-planned neighborhoods where every house was one of 3 floor plans each house had its own unique styling and details that made it stand out from the next.

I learned that Zach loves wrap-around porches and traditional details. I learned that I love bright colors and rocking chairs. Neither one of us would have been able to tell you that we liked these things before spending hours walking around the streets of New Orleans aimlessly taking picture after picture of strangers homes hoping they weren't watching us.

It ended up being the perfect way to wrap up a month straight of teaching and prepare for a month hardly seeing Zach-After all the activity we managed to cram into one week we were both ready for a break from vacation. I don't even think Zach minded waking up early for his work trip the day after we got home after being stuck with me 24/7! Either way, it was the perfect way to break up the two worst months of the year in a way that made each one totally worth it.

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Zach and I set a goal to visit all 50 states together as a married couple and so far we have only been to a few. We live in California and have visited Hawaii, Indiana, and now Louisiana (we also visited Utah, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, and Oregon while we were dating). Where should we take our next trip to? If you have a favorite state to visit, let me know down below and tell me if there are any can't miss things to do! We are already thinking about our next adventure and I know we will go somewhere next year for Spring Break, too!

Day 365

I cannot believe that Zach and I have been married a year. A YEAR! I feel like we just got married a few months ago. This time last year we were eating the first of many shave ices and taking pictures in our matching husband and wife shirts. Since we just celebrated our anniversary yesterday, I thought it would be fun to look at what the first year of marriage has taught me.

I feel like I should start out by saying that I really thought I had everything together when I got married last year. I felt like I had all the skills necessary to be a great wife and that I would be the most patient, understanding, loving, put-together 1950s-era housewife while still working full time. Anyone who is married is probably already laughing at the ridiculousness of this idea. If you aren't married, or if you are about to get married and have this same idea about what you will be like as a new wife, good luck. It just isn't going to happen. Everyone told me this and said learning to be married is "an adjustment" and that there is a "learning curve" and to make sure and "be patient with each other while you figure it all out" but I was positive that those words of advice were only for those people who weren't ready for marriage or were really immature. Apparently, I was one of those immature people since I assumed these things would not apply to me.

The first thing I learned this past year is that I am absolutely horrible at time management. I regularly am running out the door to work with my shoes in my hand and praying that traffic is on my side. No matter how early I wake up for work, I always seem to waste all but the last 10 minutes. Most days I am forced to choose between a cute hairstyle and a full face of makeup. Some days I am putting my hair in a ponytail and swiping on mascara in my car sitting in the parking lot at school. I don't know what I do in the mornings other than get ready, but without fail, I am always running out of time.

The second thing I have learned in my first year of marriage is to ask for help... kind of. More like I have learned to accept help when it is forced upon me without too much complaining. Sometimes the only way the laundry is going to get done is if Zach helps. Sometimes I just don't have time to make the awesome dinner I planned for the night. Sometimes I fall asleep because I refused to ask for help the week before and I am flat out exhausted but there are chores to be done. Zach often helps hang up the laundry, he has gone to the grocery store for me, and he has brought me things when I have been sick. For the first 9 months of our marriage, I insisted that as super-wife I could do it all and never needed help with anything. I am now learning to accept these gestures of love and not feel so guilty when I can't make everything happen on my own.

The last big thing I have learned this year is that I am either a WAY better cook than I thought or that Zach is WAY less of a foodie than I thought. Zach grew up eating out at restaurants multiple times a week. I was constantly trying to look up new and exciting recipes to compete with the meals I knew he was used to. Other than one time making butternut squash soup, Zach has loved (or pretended to love, maybe its all a lie!) every meal I have made. Sometimes I make stuff up based off of what is in the pantry. Sometimes I have no idea what I am doing until dinner ends up on the plate. Sometimes I follow a complicated recipe that takes 2 hours to make. It doesn't really seem to make that much of a difference. It is usually the meals that I thought were going to end up terrible that end up being added to our cookbook and make it into the regular rotation.

That's it... I only learned 3 things all year. JUST KIDDING! I learned and grew so much this year, these were just the top three things that stood out. It was hard to let go of my idealized version of what my first year married would be like but if I hadn't I never would have learned what I did. Leave me a comment below with something your marriage has taught you or what the ideal of your first year of marriage was like (and if it held up to the real thing!). I love hearing from you and can't wait to see everyone's thoughts!

Thank You, Next!

How many of you have heard of the show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix? How many of you have actually watched it? Finally, how many of you drank the Kool-Aid and ended up searching your home for the things that bring you joy?

I have officially joined the club and have spent multiple hours over the past two weeks deciding what brings me joy and thanking things that don't before adding them to my donate pile. I love holding on to things way past their expiration date. I still had a pair of jeans I wore back in high school that hasn't fit in years. It is pretty much a miracle that I still had so many random things since I grew up with a mother who LOVED to clean out closets and drawers (and boxes and desks and backpacks) and would make everyone who lived with her weed out their wardrobes at least once a year. If I didn't have a mom like that my own baby clothes might still be hanging in my closet!

It is probably no surprise that I have never enjoyed cleaning out my closet before. I hate cleaning and I hate getting rid of stuff. I only decided to watch Tidying Up With Marie Kondo to see what everyone was talking about and so I would understand all the social media references to tiny boxes and finding joy. I was shocked when I found myself spring cleaning on March 2 and piling every article of clothing I had onto my bed.

I started with my closet. It had probably been 3 weeks since I had seen the floor and I figured it was the best place to start. My closet is the "junk drawer" of the house. It is pretty big, so almost anything fits in it. Any time I don't know what to do with something or need to stash something before someone comes over it ends up in my closet. Don't have time to fold the laundry? Put it in the closet. Unpacked the suitcase but haven't put it away? Put it in the closet. Didn't have time to pick up before guests arrived? You guessed it, put it in the closet. I have cleaned out my closet many times in my life and I have hated it every single time- except this time. All I could think about was the Ariana Grande song where she thanks all of her ex-boyfriends before moving on. I know, I was getting rid of clothes and not boyfriends but the concept still applied! The whole concept of keeping things that bring you joy and ditching the things you feel apathetic about or dislike was mind-blowing. By the time I was done with the closet looking at my clothes made me so happy. The closet looked scarily empty, but I was happy.

I was so happy, in fact, that I moved on to my drawers. All my t-shirts have been folded and stacked up. Pretty soon I was stacking up Zach's t-shirts, too, so everything could fit in the drawers without having to shove (I did NOT throw out any of his stuff... Just wanted to make that clear). I even got Zach to go through his sock drawer and decide which socks brought him joy. I doubt he kept socks that brought him joy, but he did go from 65+ pairs of socks down to 30. I even convinced him to thank the socks he was throwing away.

I don't know what it is about the Con-Marie method, but I can honestly say it is a life changer. I keep looking around the house and seeing more things to tidy up now that my clothes have been taken care of (my desk, the guest room, the closet in the music room, etc.). Who knew that something as simple as a closet could bring me so much joy?

Out of curiosity, how many of you are pack rats and how many of you are minimalists? I feel like even after clearing out tons of stuff I am still worlds away from minimalism but at least I am not a borderline hoarder!

The Benefits to a Long Distance Relationship

I whole heartedly believe that being forced to grow our relationship from 800 miles apart is what kept us together. There are some really unique aspects of long distance dating that people often overlook… Here are our top reasons why long distance relationships can be great!

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Yes, I Date My Husband

Whenever I talk about dating without specifically saying that I mean dating my husband I get some pretty weird looks. Just like before we got married, Zach and I love to go out on dates and try to have date night at least once a week.

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